Director Juraj Herz was born on 4 September 1934 in Kežmarok, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia). Interestingly, acclaimed Czech animator Jan Švankmajer was born on that very day. Although Herz attended the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (AMU) with directors such as Jaromil Jireš, Jiří Menzel, Evald Schorm and Věra Chytilová, he studied in the puppetry department with Švankmajer. The other directors listed above, all of whom have become poster children for the Czechoslovak New Wave, were enrolled in the Filmová a Televizní Fakulta Akademie Múzkých Umění v Praze (Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague). In his interview with Ivana Košuličová, Herz suggests that he was looked down upon and excluded from the movement because he was considered “a puppet artist, not a film director”.
Today, Herz remains on the margins of the Czechoslovak New Wave. Monumental texts on the movement, such as Peter Hames’ The Czechoslovak New Wave and Antonín J. Liehm… read more
I may be biased in saying this and I haven't seen The Cremator , but his other film Morgiana is right up there with Valerie and her Week of Wonders in terms of visual gorgeousness.