Milan Kundera, Author of ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being,’ Dies at 94

Milan Kundera, the Czech novelist whose international 1984 hit “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” was adapted into a film starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Juliette Binoche, has died, his publisher announced Wednesday. He was 94.

Kundera died after a prolonged illness, according to the French publishing house Gallimard.

“Unbearable Lightness,” about a Czech surgeon who regularly cheats on his wife with an artist, was a global hit reprinted in dozens of languages. Its political undertones mirrored Kundera’s own experiences during the 1968 Prague Spring, which was crushed by Soviet invaders and sent him to exile in France in 1975.

“Lightness” was adapted for the screen by Philip Kaufman in 1988, and starred Day-Lewis as Tomas, who becomes a window washer after his political views get him expelled from his profession. Binoche played his wife, while Lena Olin portrayed the seductive painter whom he regularly meets for sex.

The film was nominated for two Oscars, including adapted screenplay and cinematography. Kaufman won a BAFTA for his adaptation.

JuJuliette Binoche and Daniel Day-Lewis in a scene from the film ‘The Unbearable Lightness Of Being’, 1988. (Photo by Orion/Getty Images)

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