Following the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, former dissident and playwright Václav Havel became the first freely elected president of the Czech Republic in 1993. From the run-up to these elections until after his 10 years in office come to an end in 2003, filmmaker and family friend Pavel Koutecký followed Havel from up close, during campaign meetings, party deliberations, state visits and private matters.
At home, the leader of the Czech Republic is a charming fellow who enjoys life, cigarettes and the occasional drink. Over the years, the changing situation of the country is juxtaposed with problems in Havel’s personal life, such as the death of his beloved wife Olga and Havel himself being diagnosed with lung cancer.
A heartfelt portrait of the man and the statesman, Citizen Havel also documents how moral integrity, key to Havel’s life and work, is hard to come by in the young nation’s political arena. After Koutecký tragically died in 2006 while shooting another project, fellow documentarian Miroslav Janek finished the film.