New biopic contrasting Václav Havel’s moral stand as a human rights activist with his flawed private life, buiding up a captivating portrayal of the man who has become an icon.
Dir. Slávek Horák, Czech Republic 2020, English subtitles
Cast: Viktor Dvořák, Anna Geislerová, Martin Hofmann, Barbora Seidlová
Havel, up close and personal: such is the new biopic by director Slávek Horák of the critically esteemed Home Care. Focusing on the period 1968 – 1989 and Havel´s personal life, Horák explores Havel´s metamorphosis from internationally celebrated but persecuted playwright to banned and jailed human rights defender and finally to president of Czechoslovakia. But it is his relationship with his first wife Olga, suffering from her husband’s infidelities, that is at the centre of the story. Situations from his life such as the secret police witnessing his failed attempt to resolve a love tringle in a restaurant mirror his absurdist plays, provide humour and emotion while Horák’s imaginative use of actual theatre settings to stage key moments from Havel’s confrontations with communist power document his public persona. An excellent cast including Viktor Dvořák capturing Havel’s moments of uncertainty and weakness, and Anna Geislerová as direct and decisive Olga, complement a portrayal depicting not an icon but a flawed man who steps out of his comfort zone to become politically engaged. Watch out for news footage from Havel’s life under the end credits including the Rolling Stones in Prague castle.
Nominated for The Czech Lions 2020 Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Screenplay and the Czech Film Critics Awards.
“It is the personal life that helps the viewer to experience the story. Because few people can identify with being jailed or fighting against the Communists, as Havel did. But everybody can identify with a marital crisis or relationship problems, which Havel – like all of us – had with Olga.” Slávek Horák
The film will be available to rent (from UK only) for £6.99 from 10:00 on Sunday 1 November GMT till 10:00 on Wednesday 4 November 2020 GMT on Czech Centre Vimeo on Demand via https://vimeo.com/ondemand/havel
BONUS: Q&A WITH DIRECTOR SLÁVEK HORÁK
Organised by the Czech Centre as part of Made in Prague ON/OFF Festival.