A biopic about the playwright and dissident Václav Havel which manages to authentically capture the atmosphere of the period between the 1960s and 1980s in Czechoslovakia and at the same time recalls the life of an upright man and subsequent politician who both refused to serve the powers that be and also lived and, when necessary, suffered for his ideals.
There have already been many documentary films about Havel, whilst the playwright, dissident and later president also played minor roles in several feature films. Director Slávek Horák here dedicates an entire feature film to him; he shows how Havel became politicised during the “Prague Spring”, then campaigned for the persecuted band The Plastic People of the Universe, initiated Charter 77, was monitored by the secret police, sentenced to prison and finally, in 1989, ran for for the presidency. In the process Horák does not draw a heroic portrait. He also does not ignore doubts and uncertainties, as well as Havel's unconventional relationship with his wife Olga. Details such as the lectures given by fired professors in private apartments, theatre performances by banned artists in Havel's holiday home or his constant surveillance reflect the atmosphere of the years in question. A reference to the unmistakable playwright can be found in the scenes in which Havel suddenly steps out from the film plot, onto a theatre stage in front of the audience. CF
Slavek Horak, Rudolf Suchanek
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