Vaclav Havel Died Today

… and what a loss it is! Luckily – in terms of films, we have a lot of material that documents who he was and how he performed as a writer, a politician and, simply, a human being. I go back to early times of filmkommentaren to re-publish, what was written after I saw a rough cut of what was going to be the masterpiece ”Citizen Havel”:

Yesterday in Prague, I attended a sneak preview of a still unfinished documentary on Vaclav Havel. The version (for cinemas and festivals) I saw was 150 minutes, for me it could easily have been longer, simply because the company of Havel is such a joy! 

I was told that a 6 hour long (6 x 1 hour) TV version has been made as well to be screened on the private channel NOVA, and not on public Czech tv, that did not want to take part which of course is no less than a scandal.

The film is wonderful being the result of 12 years of shooting by Pavel Koutecky who died last year in a tragic accident. The film has been completed by Mira Janek, and covers sequences from the life of Havel when president until the moment, he steps down and leaves the castle in Prague. Private life and official life. Havel in a lot of situations with his advisors, Havel constantly versus the other Vaclav (Klaus) and Havel with his first wife Olga, who dies in 1996. And Havel with Dagmar, Dasa, who is his life’s companion now. A film full of humour about a gentle man, who – as he says himself – is unwilling to conform to the stereotypes. A man who listens and thinks before he talks. A man who appears to have some drops of vanity when it comes to shirts and ties, and who is absolutely unpractical and who could not live without a woman at his side.

Apart from the joyful meeting with a man of great modest charisma, the film gives you an inside to important moments in Czech politics when EU is to be the reality for the former communist country.

This is not a review, just a first advertising: Watch out for “Citizen Havel” that will be a success all over the world when it comes out next year.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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