Based on the incredible true story of Czech herbalist and healer Jan Mikolášek, Charlatan is veteran filmmaker Agnieszka Holland’s (In Darkness, Europa Europa) handsomely filmed biopic of a little-known icon of 20th-century Europe. Beginning his career in the 1930s, this gardener’s son began using plant-based treatments and dietary methods to heal both the rich and the poor of Europe—his controversial treatments serving as a precursor to modern-day holistic and integrative medicine. A figure of both admiration and ridicule in his time, Mikolášek grappled with a number of internal struggles, not least of which his sexuality and his faith.
In a clever bit of casting, Holland enlists the father-son duo of Ivan and Josef Trojan to vividly bring Mikolášek to life at different periods in his life. With great skill and a cinematic eye, Charlatan—the Czech Republic’s official submission for Best International Feature at this year’s Oscars—weaves the personal and the professional in Mikolášek’s life, from teenage flashbacks and his passionate clandestine affair with his hunky assistant (Juraj Loj) to his trials under the Communist regime in the 1950s.
– JOE BOWMAN
Buying Note: This digital screening is available to view between Thu, Jun 17 and Sun, Jun 27. We suggest watching it at 9:00pm PDT Thu, Jun 24.
- Language: In Czech and German with English subtitles