September 05, 2013, 6:00 PM
The Embassy of the Czech Republic launches the festival with Václav Havel's Evening on September 5, at 6 pm. The program includes the presentation Prison Experience of Václav Havel in Memories and Documents, with special guests Petra Čáslavová (Political Prisoners.eu) and Tomáš Bouška (ASPEN Prague). The screening of Jan Novák's film Citizen Havel Goes on Vacation (Občan Havel jede na dovolenou) follows the presentation. The documentary recreates Václav Havel’s trip across Czechoslovakia in 1985, when he was still the country's most prominent dissident. In the course of one week, he was twice thrown into jail for 48 hours of preventive detention and followed by over 300 plain-clothed policemen. The event will conclude with the opening of the exhibition Olga Havlová: In the Memories of Her Friends and in the Photographs of Bohdan Holomíček (sponsored by ÚSTR Prague and PANT Ostrava). Explore the many nuances of Havel's personality at this very special kick off to the festival.
Photo © Oldřich Škácha
2004 - Václav Havel gives an interview in a former cell of detention in Bartolomějská street.
Prison Experience of Václav Havel in Memories and Documents
Through the project, researchers are creating a specialized website that will offer the general public as well as researchers and experts a wide spectrum of sources including interviews conducted with Vaclav Havel himself, official documents, archival materials, Havel´s letters from prisons and memories and testimonies of his cellmates. Pieces of structured and transparent information and audiovisual materials will allow for all persons interested in President Havel´s story to understand better one of the key chapters of his life. His prison experience represents an ultimate experience as well as an important feature shaping the career of the statesman who became a leading icon in the fight for human rights and the rights of political prisoners all over the world. Through mapping the prison experience of Vaclav Havel, they hope to make available the research of Czechoslovak political imprisonment in the 1970s and 1980s.
The project is prepared by Czech doctoral candidates from different fields of humanity studies in the framework of the civic organization Political Prisoners.eu. The project team collaborates with a number of institutions including the Vaclav Havel Library in Prague.
About the film:
The documentary Citizen Havel Goes on Vacation (Občan Havel jede na dovolenou) recreates a trip across Czechoslovakia. In 1985, Václav Havel embarked on a road trip when he was still the country's most prominent dissident. In the course of one week, he was thrown into jail twice, each time for 48 hours of preventive detention, and followed by over 300 plainclothed policemen, who would helpfully point out to him the right way whenever he got lost. Contrasted with the authentic Czech TV news of the period, the stories of Havel and his dissident hosts show the humor in life even under the staggering pressure of a totalitarian regime. (Dir. Jan Novák, 2004, 90 minutes, in Czech with English subtitles)
Location: Embassy of the Czech Republic
3900 Spring of Freedom Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008
Admission is free. | Reservations are required.
For reservations, e-mail: email@example.com and put “Launch” in the subject line.