Vaclav Havel—A Life in Freedom | Chicago Reader

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70 minutes · 2014

Documentary
When a documentary maker begins by describing her subject as the nation's greatest hero, one doesn't anticipate any surprises, and none are forthcoming in this superficial portrait (2014) of Vaclav Havel, the Czech playwright who became a political dissident under communist rule and president of Czechoslovakia after the country went democratic. Director Andrea Sedláčková touches on the highlights of Havel's storied life—his youth amid the bourgeoisie, his artistic awakening in the theater, his sponsorship of the Charter 77 human-rights manifesto, his years as a political prisoner, his unlikely rise to the presidency, and his controversial administrations in Czechoslovakia and later the Czech Republic. Particularly lamentable is Sedláčková's hasty survey of Havel's years in office, when the people's affection for him was sorely tested by the hard political choices of the postcommunist era. In Czech with subtitles.

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