Bolek Polívka at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
|Occupation||Actor, mime, playwright, screenwriter|
|Stanislava Polívková (divorced)|
Chantal Poullain (divorced)
Polívka first started appearing in films in the 1960s. He graduated from the Janá?ek Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno in 1971, in the play Podivné odpoledne dr. Zvonka Burkeho ("The Strange Afternoon of Dr. Zvonek Burke") by Ladislav Smo?ek. In 1969 he co-founded Divadlo Husa na provázku (Goose on a String Theatre) in Brno, and founded his own theatre in the same city, Divadlo Bolka Polívky (Bolek Polívka Theatre), in 1993. He is one of the best-known exponents of Czech mime and frequently appears with foreign theatre ensembles.
Polívka's work as writer, director and mime artist is inspired by clown comedy, Commedia dell'arte, and early comedy films, but he occasionally introduces voice and words into his performances, thereby crossing over into a form of "total acting".
In 1997 he was awarded the Czech Lion and voted Best Actor at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival for his performance as the priest Holý in Forgotten Light (Czech: Zapomenuté sv?tlo). Polívka received a second Czech Lion for his role in the 2000 film Divided We Fall (Czech: Musíme si pomáhat) by Jan H?ebejk. The film was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
Polívka was involved in what BBC News described as one of the oddest legal disputes of the Czech Republic's history. In a 1993 TV performance he had himself crowned as "king" of the fictional Kingdom of Wallachia (named after Moravian Wallachia). In 1997 he began a collaboration with Tomá? Harabi?, who had independently created and officially registered a separate fictional "Wallachian Kingdom", complete with "passports". Polívka, as a well-known actor, became the public face of the "Wallachian Kingdom" as "Wallachian King, Boleslav I the Gracious, Forever", and Harabi? and Polívka's partnership made the "Wallachian Kingdom" one of the most successful tourist attractions in the Czech Republic. Their working relationship continued amicably until 2000, when an acrimonious dispute erupted over legal ownership of the "kingdom", as the kingdom's name had been trademarked by Harabi?. In 2001 Harabi? deposed "King Boleslav", but in 2002 Polívka retaliated with a lawsuit, which accused Harabi? of making unlawful profits from Polívka as "King Boleslav". In 2008 Polívka lost the case.