Directed by Agnieszka Holland, biographical, drama, 118 min, eng subtitles, 16+
Written by Marek Epstein, Martin Šulc
With Ivan Trojan, Josef Trojan, Juraj Loj, Jaroslava Pokorná
Agnieszka Holland’s Charlatan is inspired by the true story of herbalist Jan Mikolášek, who dedicated his life to caring for the sick in spite of the immense obstacles he faced in his private and public life. Born at the turn of the 20th century, Mikolášek won fame and fortune using unorthodox treatment methods to cure a wide range of diseases. Already a local institution in Czechoslovakia before World War II, he gained in reputation and wealth during the Nazi occupation and under the Communist rule. One after another, each regime wants to use his skills in return for his protection. But how high are the costs to maintain this status as the tide begins to turn?
A fascinating, loosely inspired biopic, Charlatan brings to a wider audience a cult Czech figure, whose patients spanned from local villagers to Nazi officers and the Czechoslovak president, Antonín Zápotocký. Tackling sacrifice and compromise, Holland once again delivers a thorough and intriguing study of a nuanced, multidimensional character whose life spans several major political events of 20th century Europe. The film premiered at this year’s Berlinale.
With the support of