A retirement is cause for celebration. You have worked so many years and for thousands of hours. Retirement is the goal, but should it be? For those within The Firemen’s Ball, it must be. Packing your life into a banquet hall for a night of celebration to be replaced by the next prospective chief the next day, it is a bleak existence masquerading as a hopeful night of respect and awe. A time where the elderly generation can rattle the cage a bit and can cling to their prospective future, which is surely closer to its end than its beginning. Still, none of that is on the mind of the older men who stagger around the halls of this Miloš Forman piece, clawing their way through their golden years looking for that spark of youth once more.
Social maverick and self-indulgent individuals are ten a penny. Egoism and the many philosophies that hound their isolated, centred thought process are relayed with simplicity and effectiveness by their personal enlightenment. Move on, help yourself, and live life to the fullest, consequences be damned. Such a thought process was adapted by the late Larry Flynt, his rise to controversial success as publisher of Hustler magazine and subsequent assassination attempt is not a life as well-documented as it would seem. Saying that, though, the great Miloš Forman took a pop at Flynt’s life and high points of controversy in The People vs. Larry Flynt.
From the calm acoustics and mellow pondlife that open One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, one could be forgiven for thinking such tranquil life would last forever. The procedural and sanitized white walls broken by the arrival of a woman clad in black attire, the contrast is immediate and pristine. Director Miloš Forman presents an immediate yin and yang, two tones that would battle with one another throughout this adaptation of the Ken Kesey novel. Sedated oddities line the halls of Forman’s work, and the catalyst of entertaining and free behaviour they find themselves adorned with are all thanks to one Randle Patrick McMurphy, here portrayed by Jack Nicholson.
Years ago, the release of Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond on Netflix inspired a whole new era of interest in both the work of late comedian Andy Kaufman and the biopic of his life, Man on the Moon. Carrey’s blending of reality and fiction with his method acting approach, coupled with the already engaging life of Kaufman, was a recipe for success. The final year of the 20th century saw such success in the form of Miloš Forman’s Man on the Moon, a biopic that documents the rise, fall and return of performance artist Andy Kaufman.