„Charlatan” by Agnieszka Holland is a Czech candidate for the Oscar

Co-financed by the Polish Film Institute, Agnieszka Holland’s „Charlatan” was announced a Czech candidate for the Oscar in the Best International Feature Film category. It will compete for the nomination, among others with the films „Never Gonna Snow Again” (Poland), „Aida” (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and „Oblivion” (Greece).

„Charlatan” is a Czech-Polish-Irish co-production whose world premiere took place at this year’s Berlinale. In turn, the picture „Never Gonna Snow Again” is the Polish candidate for an Oscar, and „Aida” is a co-production of eight countries: Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Austria, Romania, the Netherlands, Germany, France and Norway, the Polish producer of which is Ewa Puszczyńska. The film „Oblivion” by Christos Nikou is a Greek-Polish co-production, shot by Bartosz Świniarski.

Film plot

This is a drama based on facts and starring Ivan Trojan, Juraj Loj and Josef Trojan. The film is about the famous Czech healer, Jan Mikolášek. He was a self-taught medical practitioner who, thanks to his horticultural profession, perfectly got to know the world of plants and their healing properties. He was famous all over the Czech Republic for his skills, and among his patients were President of pre-war Czechoslovakia Tomas Masaryk, actress Olga Scheinpflugová, painter and graphic artist Max Švabinski, composer Josef Bohuslav Foerster, violin virtuoso Jaroslav Kocian, as well as the communist prime minister and president of post-war Czechoslovakia Antonín Zápotocký, after the death of whom the authorities decided to imprison the healer.

Recalling the legendary figure of the Czech herbalist, the director brings to light his secrets, emotions and desires, for which the only remedy is fanatic devotion to work. „Charlatan” shows that talent can be a curse, and power is always associated with pride. By creating a fascinating, contradictory figure of the healer, Agnieszka Holland escapes from answering the question of whether he was a folk doctor or an ordinary fraud. The truth that interests her concerns our faith in miracles, our longing for authority, and our desire to live in harmony with nature – including our own. The almost alchemical knowledge of the properties of herbs that Jan Mikolášek possessed, and his amazing gift of penetrating the human interior, attract thousands of needy to his clinic. But this gift also has its dark side.

About the filmmakers

Agnieszka Holland – director and screenwriter, born in 1948 in Warsaw, a graduate of the FAMU film school in Prague. After graduation, she worked as an assistant director on films by Krzysztof Zanussi and Andrzej Wajda. She directed over 30 films and won important awards, incl. Golden Globe („Europe, Europe”) and Silver Bear (for „Pokot”). Nominated for BAFTA, Emmy and three Oscar awards (for „Bitter Harvest”, „Europe, Europe” and „In Darkness”). She has worked with the biggest Hollywood stars, incl. Leonardo DiCaprio, Ed Harris, Maggie Smith, Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Apart from making films, Agnieszka Holland also translates Czech literature into Polish. She translated “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Milan Kundera.

The author of the script for „Charlatan” is Marek Epstein, Martin Štrba was responsible for cinematography, Milan Býček for stage design, Katarina Štrbová-Bieliková for costumes, Antoni Komasa-Łazarkiewicz for music, Radim Hladik jr for sound, Pavel Hrdlička for editing, and René Stejskal and Gabriela Poláková for make-up. The production was managed by Kinga Tasarek, the producers were Sarka Cimbalova and Kevan Van Thompson, and the co-producers were Klaudia Śmieja-Rostworowska, Wojciech Gostomczyk and Adam Gudell. The film was produced by Marlene Film.

Production in co-production with Film and Music Entertainment Ireland, Madants, Studio Metrage, Moderator Inwestycje and Furia Film.