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PFF20 Charlatan

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One of Poland's most eminent filmmakers and three time Oscar nominee, Agnieszka Holland brings to screen yet another fascinating true story of a well-known and successful Czech healer who diagnosed people using his intuition and cured them with plant-based remedies.

CHARLATAN is the newest biopic by prolific Polish director, Agnieszka Holland inspired by the true story of herbalist Jan Mikolášek, who dedicated his life to caring for the sick in spite of facing immense obstacles in his private and public life. Born at the turn of the 20th century, Mikolášek wins fame and fortune using unorthodox treatment methods to cure a wide range of diseases. Already a local institution in Czechoslovakia before World War II, the healer gains in reputation and wealth whether during the Nazi occupation or under the Communist rule. One after the other, every regime will want to use his skills and in return gives him protection. But what will be the cost of maintaining this status as the tide turns?

His remedies and prescriptions, although mostly plant-based, included lifestyle and dietary changes. He healed not only poor villagers but also many eminent personalities, including the Czechoslovakian president, Antonin Zápotocký. Mikolášek's diagnostic methods and notorious healing got the attention of the Czech Communist regime. He was finally arrested after strychnine was found in the bodies of two men he had treated.

The film premiered at Berlin International Film Festival on 27 February 2020 and is Holland’s third Berlinale premiere in only four years, following the prize-winning mystery drama “Spoor” and last year’s biopic “Mr. Jones”.


WINNER: Best Director – Agnieszka Holland for CHARLATAN European Film Festival Palić

NOMINATED: Best Feature Film I Berlin International Film Festival 2020

Movie Information

Release date

Sunday 8th November


118 min




Agnieszka Holland


Film Festival


Czech with English subtitles

Participating Cinemas

Palace Norton Street