lvan Reitman Once Recalled the ‘Strangeness’ of Returning to Slovak Roots

This story was first published in Daily Variety in June 2001.

The last time Ivan Reitman was near the Czech Republic, it was the middle of the night in 1960, outside the Slovakian town of his birth, Komárno. He was 3, and he and his Holocaust survivor parents were trying to get the hell away from Communist tyranny.

It shouldn’t be a great shock, then, to learn that the director-producer isn’t completely at ease about the July 6 premiere of his “Evolution” at the Karlovy Vary film fest.

His ambivalence is plain. Asked to describe the circumstances of the family flight that led them to Canada, Reitman said quietly, firmly, “No.”

“I don’t remember anything before the escape,” Reitman said. “These were traumatic events, and I always thought of that as a chapter that was going to stay closed.”

What has reopened the book is the invitation to present his work to fans who have only had the freedom to laugh at his films for the last dozen years.

“I’m very curious and excited to go there,” he acknowledged, but says of the changes that have transformed the region, “It’s odd, and it adds to my feeling of strangeness that it’s now two countries. I’m always having to correct people and bios because I’m no Czech.”

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