"My verdict is : I, Olga Hepnarová, the victim of your bestiality, sentence you to death penalty." Those were the famous words of the 22-year-old mass murderer Olga Hepnarová, who in 1973 drove a truck into a group of innocent people in Prague.
Alienated, bullied, and raised in a strict family environment in Prague, the timid by nature and troubled child without any friends, Olga Hepnarová, nurtures a raging hatred towards an indifferent and faceless society. However, under those circumstances, pretty soon, Olga will find herself trapped in the middle of a war she can't win, utterly defeated by the same element she's been trying to avoid: its people. Now, more and more, Olga feels rejected by everyone--and as a silent but meticulously prepared plot becomes her only means of retribution--her odious circle, her apathetic family, and the rest of the world are not safe. Will she ever find peace of mind?Written by
Based on the crimes of Olga Hepnarová (b. June 30, 1951) who on July 10, 1973 drove a rented truck into a group of about 25 people waiting for a tram in Prague, Czechoslovakia, all aged between 60 to 79, killing 8 of them. Before the murder, she sent a letter to two newspapers explaining her action as revenge for all the hatred against her by her family and the world. She was found to be sane and sentenced to death. The execution took place on March 12, 1975 in the Pankrác Prison in Prague. She was the last woman executed in Czechoslovakia. See more »
A chilly experience, but still a missed opportunity
Rating this movie is not an easy task for me. It has its strengths, but also aspects that I could not digest. First, the black-and-white picture is fine and takes you back to the 1970s. But a movie without opening credits and absolutely no music was somewhat shocking. Actually, most of the movie consists of short, mutually unconnected scenes, where people don't talk, and are just sitting or standing.
Although this "art style" captures the gloomy inner world of Olga, I can not ignore that it is disrespectful to the audience who may have problems to understand, what is actually happening on the screen. The original version reportedly lasted 2 1/2 hours and the editor's digital scissors reduced it on the border of comprehensibility. And I say this as a man who had studied the entire history of Hepnarova and I was able to successfully predict what will follow in the next few minutes. Undoubtedly, the movie will lose spectators due to these insensitive cuts. And that's a pity, because the second half - starting from the massacre through the trial up to the execution - is already filmed in the chilly spirit that I expected.
It is here, where Michalina Olszańska shows her superb performance, and with her, this whole spectacle stands and falls. The probe into Olga's depressing psyche is the true peak of the movie. The filmmakers also try to be authentic and virtually all presented scenes are based on real testimonies, Olga's letters and court documents. It is only in the lesbian scenes, where they apparently exaggerate. For example, Hepnarova was in love with her female colleague, but they have never had any intimate relationship. Even the openly lesbian contact at the disco party is odd in Czechoslovakia of the 1970s - to say the least. (Although it is again inspired by the fact, because Olga liked provoking and was sometimes wearing a jacket on a naked body.)
As a whole, this film biography of Olga Hepnarova is impressive and leaves feelings that will fly you off the handle for many hours. In fact, it is not unusual that during the final credits, spectators remain downright frozen to their seats. However, I am still sorry that the final result could have been even better. If I were in place of the directors, I would take the movie as Olga's retrospective narrative during interrogation. Her own words would cover the "dead spots" in the story and explain her inner feelings. Too late...
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