Available 1-14 December
In 1968, acclaimed playwright Vaclav Havel was enjoying his new-found success and freedom under Alexander Dubček’s ‘socialism with a human face’. Whilst his success lives on, Havel’s freedom is short-lived. As portrayed by the film, over the 20 years, Havel and many of his friends and colleagues are followed, harassed, censored, and imprisoned. The film highlights the well known points of these years; the creation of Charter 77, Havel’s imprisonment and later confession- which haunts him for the rest of his life-, the Committee for the Defense of the Unjustly Prosecuted, and the 1989 presidential election.
For those who have seen the documentary on Havel- Citizen Havel/ Obcan Havel (CaSFFA in collaboration with Melbourne Cinematheque in 2019)- Horák’s dramatised biopic presents the man true enough, even if the writer-producer-director has taken some liberties with the events themselves. Strong writing, cinematography, and performances from the cast make Havel a very pleasing watch. Whilst the film draws strong parallels between Havel’s experiences at the hands of the authorities, and how this immediately impacts his art, focus also lies in how the women in Havel’s life- from his wife Olga (a quiet yet powerful performance by Anna Geislerová (The Noonday Witch, CaSFFA 2015)) to the many he has affairs with- shape him.
Tickets for online films will be available to purchase via ACMI from December 1st.