Gina @Berlinale: Panorama Opens With Olga

Já, Olga Hepnarová

Michalina Olszanska as Olga.
© Black Balance

It is a sinister black & white movie shot in 70s Czech Republic. Olga is bullied by everybody: her mother who won’t tell her who her father is, the other children, the inmates of a boarding school. She thinks that everyone is picking on her without any real reason. So she flees into her own world, moves into an abandoned hut, has several intimate affairs with other women, but can’t really develop feelings of any kind to other people.

Directors Petr Kazda and Tomas Weinreb manage to tell the story of “Já, Olga Hepnarová” with the persuasive Michalina Olszanska who is seen in a lot of close-ups. She plays Olga, looking more like a 12-year old boy, with the posture of an old man, more and more alienating herself from the world around her.

So the only natural way out of this seems to be to commit suicide. But Olga thinks that this would not be a fair revenge to the people, to society, because nobody would take notice of her if she would kill herself, alone somehere in the woods. So she decides to use her truck as a murder weapon, intentionally runs over about 20 people on the sidewalk, eight of them die. Olga pleads guilty at court and asks for the death penalty which was still in effect in early 70s Czech Republic. She says she wanted to set an example and to warn people that there are more like her running around and to take revenge on society.

Based on a true story, Olga was the last person in the Czech Republic who was officially executed. A disturbing movie.

 

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