Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Citizen Vaclav Havel Goes on Vacation|
Directors: Adam Novak, Jan Novak
Before he became president of the Czech Republic after the Velvet Revolution, Vaclav Havel?playwright, essayist, intellectual? was a leading dissident, repeatedly jailed by the communist government. This extraordinary docu... more »
John L. Kopecky | Lenexa, Kansas | 03/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1994 I spent ten days with my great uncle Karel Kraus who was a disident in Czechoslovakia and was jailed many times for his anti-Communist views. Watching this film brought me back to the conversations I had with Karel in that we don't know how precious freedom is in the United States as we take it for granted. Jan Novak does a great job of protraying what it was like under Communism through the eyes of Vaclav Havel and some of his associates.
A slice of Communism, 1985
David Shaw | Michigan | 08/26/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
Havel is one of my anti-Communist heroes, so this was something I certainly wanted to see. Aside from some chronology that seemed a bit jumpy to me, this was an enjoyable, if limited in scope, documentary. Its ironic bent is wonderfully expressed in the way it weaves clips from the nightly Czechslovakian TV news (for August, 1985) together with what was happening to Havel and his compatriots. In the former, there is an unintentionally funny nightly update about the wheat harvest, with earnest reporters interviewing farmers about their difficulties, and in the latter we get the real news that went unreported there, in which the buffoonish police tailed Havel everywhere he went, and Havel, being the gentleman he is, actually helped them out when their car got stuck in a ditch, for instance. And though there are some good hearted laughs in the midst of the recollections (quite a few, actually), it should not be forgotten that many people suffered long jail sentences (one of the men interviewed spent the entire 1950's in prison; Havel himself at least four years) under the regime--a regime whose comeuppance is shown in the end, when one of the police under the Communists talks about how the Velvet Revolution turned everything upside down, and the man he formerly pursued as a "criminal" suddenly is the President of the state that once so unjustly pursued him. It's a moment worth savoring."