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FRANE MILČINSKI - JEŽEK (1914 – 1988) Slovenian poet, satirist, comedian, actor, writer, scriptwriter, musician. Frane Milčinski-Ježek (1914–1988) is without a doubt the most important Slovenian humorist and satirist. The third child of judge and author Fran Milčinski, one of Slovenia’s greatest storytellers, at an early age Ježek got involved in theatre and began performing on stage. He started working at Radio Ljubljana in 1936, and he was on the team that developed the first test programmes for Slovenian Television in 1958. Ježek was the author of the first radio play ever in Slovenian language, Steep Stairs, as well as the first Slovenian radio play for children, Twinkle Sleepyhead (1952), which was later adapted into a puppet play, translated into several languages and performed on stage in numerous countries. The same year the feature film Kekec, which he co-scripted with director Jože Gale and starred in, won the Golden Lion for Best Youth Film at the Venice Film Festival. He acted in seven feature films, including Frantisek Cap’s Vesna (1953), a seminal work of Slovenian cinema, and France Kosmac’s Good Old Piano (1959), based on Ježek’s own radio play.

He wrote a myriad of sketches, short stories, poems, songs, chansons, couplets and adverts, directed, acted in and hosted numerous entertainment programmes on TV. He is today regarded as the founder of Slovenian chanson, and the first Slovenian modern singer-songwriter. In addition to many other honours, in 1975 he received the Prešeren Award for Lifetime Achievement, Slovenia’s highest decoration in the field of arts. After his death in 1988, RTV Slovenia eastablished the annual Ježek Award for original artistic achievements creation for radio or TV, which follow Ježek’s spirit. Throughout his life, Ježek remained a man for the people, and through his performances and humour always clearly displayed his love for the humankind. On the other hand, he was always very critical of the society, rejecting both the populist wisdom and authoritarian power and vanity. His view of life is perfectly captured in his foreword to poem The Prisoner’s Ode to the Bedbug, wonderfully performed for this film by Josipa Lisac and Jani Hace: “You know, I like this life very much. Some people don’t believe me, but that’s the way it is. I don’t know why, but I love it. Maybe it’s because I don’t expect too much from the world, and least of all what it cannot give me. Look – this is what I’m like: if I don’t have a ladybird, if needs be, a bedbug will do.”

My world is upside down