Agnieszka Holland's latest feature, Charlatan, is this year’s Academy Awards contribution from the Czech Republic and is loosely inspired by the fascinating true story of the herbal and faith healer Jan Mikolášek (1889-1973).
People would wait in line for hours outside Mikolášek's large mansion, armed with urine samples. Passionate and uncouth, he goes about things in his own unconventional way, and with his handsome assistant Frantisek by his side, he diagnoses patients in all walks of life based on a quick glance at their urine. These talents have made him rich and famous, and the regimes all saw the benefits of his special abilities, before, during and after the war. However, Mikolášek is not without his own demons and faults, and maintaining his status can cost him dearly in totalitarian Czechoslovakia.
The Catholic and withdrawn Mikolášek is plagued with guilt over his own sexuality, and there is a lot lurking beneath the surface when we explore this complex character who gained hero status in his time. With a steady hand, Agnieszka Holland tells a riveting and touching story about the tormented and intuitive genius who, despite adversity, devoted his life to healing people.
This film is available at Kosmorama Digital 8th – 28th March.
|Land||Czech Republic, Ireland, Poland, Slovakia|
|Cast||Ivan Trojan, Josef Trojan, Juraj Loj|