23.02.1938, Prague, Czechoslovakia (today Czech Republic) - 05.09.2020, Prague, Czech Republic
Menzel is an actor, film and theatre director and screenwriter who graduated from the Prague FAMU in 1963. He made several short feature films and with his first feature film Closely Watched Trains (Ostre sledované vlaky, 1966) he gained international fame after it won an Oscar as best foreign film. Afterwards he directed Capricious Summer (Rozmarné léto, 1967) in which he also starred, and Skrivánci na niti (1969), which caused a ban on his career and the film was first shown in 1990 when it received its rightfully-earned recognition. Menzel returned to film in 1974 after he publicly stated his support for the Communist regime and then he directed Kdo hledá zlaté dno. Later he renounced that film and from late 1970’s and mid-1980’s he stayed away from politics and directed comedies Those Wonderful Movie Cranks (Bajecni muzi s klikou, 1978), Shortcuts (Postriziny, 1980), The Snowdrop Festival (Slavnosti snezenek, 1983) and in Croatia very popular My Sweet Little Village (Vesnicko má stredisková, 1985). After his film Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin (Zivot a neobycejna dobrodruzstvi vojaka Ivana Conkina, 1994) he took a break from directing films and returned to it in 2006 with I Served the King of England (Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále). Then he directed a weaker comedy Donsajni (2013), which is his last film until now. In Croatia he is also famous for his theatre work as he directed Hamlet at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, as well as theatre plays A Flea in Her Ear, The Imaginary Invalid and The Dinner Game in the theater Komedija and The Mandrake in Theater ITD. In 2003, he received an award for outstanding contribution to the world of film at the International Film Festival Karlovy Vary. In 2001, a collection of his columns, which he wrote for the magazine Story, was published as a book.