Karel Roden, a charismatic Czech actor, plays the reluctant diplomat and unwilling Czech hero Jan Masaryk, as the politics of appeasement catapults Europe into WWII.
For those who wonder how Adolf Hitler occupied Czechoslovakia practically without shooting, ‘A Prominent Patient’ offers a look at the politics of appeasement in Europe’s darkest hour. The story of the diplomat Jan Masaryk, son of the first president of Czechoslovakia and a self-professed bon vivant and madman, is whittled down to crucial years before the Nazi invasion of his country as he shuttles between London, Prague and the Vineland psychiatric hospital in New Jersey.
At Vineland, where he is called ‘Your Excellency’ even while pilfering cocaine from the dispensary, the clinically depressed Masaryk grandly locks horns with a German psychiatrist in exile, a fictional character inserted to make us understand that his trauma is not personal, but stems from the political betrayal by the big players like Britain and France.
As one of the latest Czech and Slovak internationally awarded films, winning not only twelve Czech Lions, but also a prize at Berlinale, ‘A Prominent Patient’ is a not-to-be-missed masterpiece that will be screened at the Closing Night of the Czech and Slovak Film Festival.