Ivan Passer, a part of the Czech New Wave and director of Cutter’s Way, has died at the age of 86.
Passer died on Thursday in Reno, NV, following a 40-year career in film and television, and later a spell teaching at USC’s School of Cinema-Television.
The Associated Press said Amina Johns, a friend of the family, confirmed the news as the Czech Culture Ministry and the country’s National Film Archive. Passer’s attorney Rodney Sumpter told the AP that Passer had been dealing with pulmonary issues.
Passer was part of a Czech New Wave of filmmakers in the 1960s along with names including Milos Forman, writing the screenplays for Forman’s films including Audition, Love of a Blonde and The Fireman’s Ball. His debut feature was 1965’s Intimate Lighting.
After 1968 he emigrated to the U.S. from communist Czechoslovakia.
He is known for 1981’s Cutter’s Way, the mystery thriller which starred Jeff Bridges and John Heard. It won Best Motion Picture at the Edgar Allan Poe Awards and the Belgian Film Critics Association’s Grand Prix de l’UCC.
But it was his 1992 HBO movie Stalin, starring Robert Duvall, that garnered him serious recognition in Hollywood. The project won three Golden Globes and four Emmys.
His last major screen project as a director was 2005’s Nomad: The Warrior, a historical epic set in 18th-century Kazakhstan. Sergei Bodruv co-directed.
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