On Monday, March 26, 2012, Facets Cinematheque is honored to host a documentary and a post-screening Facets Dialogue about writer and politician Vaclav Havel. Havel was a highly respected statesman who guided his country through one of its most tumultuous periods. Yet there’s so much more to the man and his legacy. He was:
- The last President of Czechoslovakia
- The first President of the Czech Republic
- An award-winning playwright
- A dissident jailed for his efforts to improve his country
- The voice of the Czech people
- A thorn in the side of Communist bureaucrats
- Admired by everyone from the Rolling Stones to George W. Bush
The documentary Citizen Havel follows him through his political career, just prior to his election as president of the newly formed Czech Republic through his defeat by arch-rival Václav Klaus in 2003. It offers a unique insight into Havel’s life, presidency and innermost thoughts during this turbulent period in history.
Havel grew up in a well known, politically charged family. Because of these ties, the Soviet-backed Communist regime denied him access to an extensive formal education in the 1950s. After completing his military service, Havel felt compelled to pursue the humanitarian values that were being suppressed by the government at the time. He began a career in theater before completing his studies in Drama at the Theater Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague.
After the Velvet Revolution in 1989, when the Eastern Bloc turned its back on Soviet Communism, Havel was elected President of Czechoslovakia in a unanimous vote by the Federal Assembly. As President, he encouraged political change through civil initiatives rather than through government institutions. When the Czechs and Slovaks split in 1993, Havel was elected as the President of the Czech Republic, and then re-elected in 1998.
|Havel chats with Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. How many politicians can claim that distinction?|