Well, I wouldn't say that this experience had any influence on my decision to do this film about Andy, because Andy was apolitical. Andy was never political.
I don't think I was ever as fascinated or have had so much respect for anybody like James Cagney.
I can say, with a little arrogance, that I could be an actor, a cameraman, a writer, but composers are the most mysterious people.
And also they were absolutely brilliant in one way, you know: they knew how effective is not to punish somebody who is guilty; what Communist Party members could afford to do was mind-boggling: they could do practically anything they wanted - steal, you know, lie, whatever.
I worked with Jack Nitzsche for 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,' and we'd booked a symphony orchestra. He dismissed them and came with a little man who poured water into glasses of different sizes to make a glass harmonica. And most of the music for the film was that - with some Indian flutes and some drums.
If it weren't for 'Cuckoo's Nest,' it would be very difficult for me. It gave me a cushion to live at my artistic pace and not fear I wouldn't have money to live on.
Well, listen, you know, the Czech saying is, you know, when you are drowning you are grabbing even a little twig. That's what all Czechs were doing, grabbing for... with the hope for this little twig.
Definitely, it would be foolish to try and make my Czech films here in America, as foolish as it is when some Czech filmmakers try to make movies of America in Czechoslovakia.
You know what happened, you know, in 1938: France, England, you know, just sold out Czechoslovakia to Hitler.
In Czechoslovakia, we consider Kafka a very funny man. A humorist.
A modern hero is very ambiguous. I went through some very rough times in Czechoslovakia - the occupation by the Germans at the end of the war. We had people going against their tanks with brooms. Are they nuts, or are they heroes?
First of all, whoever didn't want to be a member of this association or the other association, was branded, you know, like a dangerous individualist, you know, infected by the Western decadence, you know. So everybody joined.
Now, after the communist take-over in 1948, the amount of feature films produced dwindled to three a year, while the school was, you know, every year another three, four, five students.
I remember in 1968 when we were in Cannes, in the festival, and we were supposed to be there 10 days, and the second day the festival collapsed because the French, you know, film-makers raised the red flag in the festival and ended the festival.
I tell you, in my opinion, the cornerstone of democracy is free press - that's the cornerstone.
It's not a lighthearted decision to change your language, your country, your citizenship, and come to a world where you don't know anybody, to leave a place where you've had opportunities to build friendships from childhood. That's quite a big decision to make.
I get out of the taxi and it's probably the only city which in reality looks better than on the postcards, New York.
So I left with Jean Claude and went to Paris, so when the Russians came to Prague, I was in Paris.
When I entered the film school at the Prague Academy in the '50s, it was the hardest time in the Communist countries. The ideological control of the society was almost absolute.
Individuals fighting or rebelling against the status quo, the establishment, is good for drama.