January 11th, 2019 (Friday), 7:00PM
Free Movie Night
Citizen Vaclav Havel Goes on Vacation by Jan Novak
In the summer of 1985, Vaclav Havel decided to go on a roadtrip - to visit friends, and also to test the extent of his civil liberties as a citizen of communist Czechoslovakia. The results were Kafkaesque in their absurdity: over the course of nine days, Havel was arrested twice, charged with "incitement to disturb the peace," and held in jail for a total of four days. All of his hosts had their homes searched, and several of them were detained as well. For the remainder of his trip, Havel was followed by some 300 plainclothesmen, one of whom nearly drowned while discharging his duties. Still, the massive surveillance had its upside: whenever Havel got lost, the state security men helpfully pointed him in the right direction, sometimes without even asking where he was headed. Jan Novak's documentary reconstructs this memorable holiday, interspersing footage from the reenacted journey and commentary by its original participants with sunny, optimistic news clips that aired on Czechoslovak television that August.