Czech film director Jan Němec, a key figure of the Czech new wave in the 1960s, died on Friday at the age of 79. According to sources, he had been battling a serious illness. In the 1960s, the director first made his name with Demanty noci (Diamonds of the Night) based on short stories by the writer and Holocaust survivor Arnošt Lustig. Mr Němec achieved further acclaim with The Party and the Guests (1966), a satirical allegory describing servility to the ruling power. The film antagonised powerful figures in the Communist regime and was banned until after 1989. Němec also made Oratory for Prague that recorded the first day of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia on August 21, 1968. He described it as his "most successful film, seen by over one billion people". In the Normalisation 1970s, Mr Neměc was prevented from working in film and for a time worked in television. He left Czechoslovakia in 1974 and for 15 years lived in Germany and the US.
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