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International Programme 2014
Olga Miroslav Janek

Art, parties and politics merge in the life of the Prague dissidents around Vaclav Havel. A tightly woven image of the time and a portrait of his wife that tells of the lightness of resistance.


Documentary Film
Czech Republic
87 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jarmila Poláková
Miroslav Janek
Miroslav Janek
Tonička Janková
Miroslav Janek
Vladimír Chrastil
It’s a community of misfits living on the margins of society in whose lives art, partying, performance and politics merge inextricably. One of them is Olga.
After his masterpiece “Citizen Havel”, Miroslav Janek now turns his attention to the long time companion of the Czech playwright, dissident and president, Václav Havel, who died in 1996. He portrays her as a “girl from Žižkov”, the Prague working class neighbourhood, as a down to earth and wise woman whose contribution to her husband’s work cannot be overestimated. The co-signatory of the Charta 77 took Havel’s place while he was in prison, kept the Café “Slavia” circle together, was active as a writer and publisher of Samizdats and always spoke her mind, even as First Lady – much to the protocol officers’ chagrin.
Yet Janek does not make this a hagiography but, above all, an atmospheric vision of that time, in a densely interwoven montage of black and white images of old Prague, Super 8 films, photos, private journals, secret service reports and vividly staged memories of companions. Rather than the portrait of an individual, this is the portrait of an artistic and political avant-garde who – unlike their East German counterparts – never took themselves too seriously. At the same time, it is a tale of resistance and its lightness only a Czech could pull off.
Grit Lemke