Citizen Havel lifts curtain on playwright-turned-president’s decade in office
Citizen Havel, a new fly-on-the-wall documentary about the former Czech president, premiered on Wednesday night in Prague. The film draws on 45 hours of unique behind-the-scenes footage of Václav Havel shot over a period of 13 years. The result is a film that lifts the curtain on the Havel presidency, in a way that no other politician has been captured on screen before.
Tragically Pavel Koutecký died in an accident while filming in 2006, and Citizen Havel was completed by a colleague, Miroslav Janek. The film shows Havel at times the master of his country’s destiny, at others frustrated at the reality of political life. Few world leaders would agree to having their every move recorded for posterity, and not all of Václav Havel’s colleagues were originally keen on the idea. Former spokesman Ladislav Špaček was one of the president’s closest advisers.
“We have some documentary footage of President Masaryk, six or seven minute movies – Masaryk on his horse, Masaryk with cheering crowds, and that’s all. And I realised - this is a great break in our history. This is the first democratic president in maybe 50 years. And it’s my responsibility to leave our successors something more.”
Also at the premiere was Jan Švejnar, the man who is challenging Havel’s successor Václav Klaus at next week’s presidential election.
So you were surprised.
”Yes, actually it was amazing to see myself and everybody there.”