Citizen Havel (Obcan Havel)

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Director: MIROSLAV JANEK & PAVEL KOUTECKÝ

Vaclav Havel, one of the political heroes of the last half century, whose Czech “Velvet Revolution” and Charter 77 movement was a crucial part of an unique historical upheaval, is star in this almost-slapstick underground movie against politicians. Would that more of them could be made with such fun about the historical figures of our day. This newly-released feature about the life (now a private citizen) of a dramatist who became president and never wanted it is a behind-closed doors look based on 100 hours of footage, finally edited down for the screen by a former Minneapolis filmmaking team who were refugees here in the Eighties.

Mirek Janek, director and wife Tonicka, took over several years ago when top Czech doc filmmaker friend Pavel Koutecky died in an accidental fall while shooting the film. (The documentary has outgrossed 3:1 all previous releases in Prague since Jan., 2008, including Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 and Supersize Me.) Trying to maintain his balance between private and public life, in the witty, tightly-edited account is Havel, who must find a decent saxophone for visiting Bill Clinton; quaff a beer with Boris Yeltsin who wants vodka, instead of laying a wreath; being told by his wife during a Prague Castle state photo op, “pull your tummy in, stand up straight” as he tries to squeeze into tuxedo trousers. erious politics also enters. His parliamentary nemesis, now-Czech President Vaclav Klaus, refused to the film.

(In Czech w/Eng. subtitles)

CZECH REPUBLIC • 2008 • 119 MINUTES • DIRECTOR: MIROSLAV JANEK & PAVEL KOUTECKÝ

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