May 6, 2012 6:00 PM
Havel's Audience with History
Film Screening. Free admission. Documentary directed by Jiri Menzel, 1990, 57 min. In Czech with English subtitles
HAVEL’S AUDIENCE WITH HISTORY, the first American film to be made in the about to be formed Czech Republic, chronicles the remarkable confluence of art and politics during and immediately following the Velvet Revolution. Produced by Robert Kanter and Michael Wolkowitz, impressions of Mr. Havel are combined with scenes from two stage productions -one English, the other Czech - of his one-act play ''Audience,'' being performed publicly in Czechoslovakia for the first time. Mr. Havel is seen attending a performance just days after he became President.
Jiri Menzel (''Closely Watched Trains''), this warm celebration of Mr. Havel
includes an introduction by Paul Newman and interviews with people who knew the
playwright-president well, including his wife, Olga, the film director Milos
Forman and then-United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia Shirley Temple
Black. The film includes scenes from ''Audience,'' set in the kind of brewery
where the once ostracized Mr. Havel worked years ago, from both the American
production, done by the Actors Studio, and the slyly humorous Czechoslovak
version featuring Pavel Landovsky and Josef Abraham.
One of his former co-workers at the brewery recalls how Mr. Havel ''never talked much, was terribly quiet and watched all the time.'' A country caretaker wonders if the writer isn't too gentle (''such a good soul, so very calm'') for the strain of political battles. One thing is certain: Mr. Havel's conviction that artists must be free to express themselves. After his 20 years of effective isolation, of never being able to see his work performed before an audience, his triumph is indeed cause for celebration.
Admission is on first-com, first-served basis.
321 East 73rd Street
NY 10021 New York
May 6, 2012 6:00 PM