Obcan Havel (Citizen Havel)

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Few movers and shakers in 20th century Eastern European history can claim the accomplishments or the legacy of former Czechoslovakian president Václav Havel. An ardent supporter of democratic political systems, Havel was subjected to systematic persecution by the Communists at an early age, and went on (during adulthood) to lead the "Velvet Revolution" of 1989 - a non-violent coup triggering the fall of the Czech Communist regime that accompanied the collapse of the entire Iron Curtain. All told, Havel served as the ninth president of Czechoslovakia from 1989 through 1992 and the first president of the Czech Republic from 1993 through 2003. As a film produced over a grueling 12-year span, Pavel Koutecky's Citizen Havel presents a biographical portrait of Havel over a lengthy period, comprised not of familiar, media-covered events (as might be expected) but of numerous "candid" behind-the-scenes moments and events, such as the president's preparations for the famous 2002 NATO summit meeting, a visit with Bill Clinton in early 1994, and Havel's wife's death in 1996. The result provides a view of a nation undergoing some of the most tumultuous social and political changes in its entire history, as filtered through the highly personal and intimate lens of the man leading the way to a Czechoslovakian democratic transition. Director Koutecky died in a freak falling accident, toward the end of the film's production. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

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