Monday, March 26, 2012

"Citizen Vaclav Havel Goes on Vacation", police trailing, in the days before the Velvet Revolution

The little documentary “Citizen Vaclav Havel Goes on Vacation” (2006, dir. Jan Novak) documents the trip to friends that Havel took in August 1985, during which he was followed by state police and briefly arrested twice.

Havel was, of course, known then for his Charter 77 Initiative, a human rights movement.  The freedom of each individual becomes the freedom of all.

Havel would, of course, become the “last” president of Czechoslovakia in 1989 (with the “Velvet Revolution”), and the  first president of the Czech Republic in 1993. How often to artists become politicians?  Outside of actors, not that often.  This gives us good pause to wonder why political campaigns in the US don’t attract more intellectually sound people (as in the film “Game Change”, reviewed here March 10).

The film (full screen size on DVD) opens with a curious shot of shirtless athletes in a stadium, in some sort of ritual.  They have no modesty.  Later, one of his play acts is called “The Unveiling”.

In the US, the movie is distributed by Chicago Motion (link).

Here’s another documentary (6 min) by Lunchbox Communications in 1994, “Vaclav Havel: The Power of the Pen”.  Havel indeed proved the power of words. It is narrated by Walter Cronkite, and features Dvorak in the background.

Havel died in December 2011. 

My father’s side of the family came from Czechoslovakia in the 19th Century and settled in Iowa.

Wikipedia attribution link for Havel picture. 

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