'Charlatan' Takes Czech Lion for Best Film

CHARLATAN Still 1 - Berlin International Film Festival - H 2020
Courtesy of Marlene Film Productions

Agnieszka Holland's Oscar-shortlisted drama also won best director, best actor, best cinematography and best sound at the Czech Film and Television Academy awards. 

Agnieszka Holland's Charlatan won five Czech Lions, including the top prize for best film, at the Czech Film and Television Academy Awards, held this weekend. 

The based-on-a-true-story tale of Jan Mikolasek, a Czech herbalist and healer persecuted by Communist authorities in the late 1950s, also won best director for Holland, best actor for Czech star Ivan Trojan, as well as best cinematography and best sound.

The period drama is on this year's Oscar shortlist for best international feature for the 2021 Academy Awards. 

Charlatan premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival last year and was sold worldwide, including to Strand Releasing in the U.S.

Holland, who is Polish, studied at Prague’s film academy FAMU in the 1960s. She received an Oscar nomination for In Darkness in 2012, in what was then called the best foreign-language film category, and a best-adapted screenplay nomination for Europa Europa in 1992. In addition to Charlatan, Holland directed the three-part Czech miniseries Burning Bush for HBO, which swept the Czech Lions in 2014, winning 11 trophies, including best film.  

Bohdan Sláma's Shadow Country, another historic drama, this one chronicling a massacre in a small village on the Czech-Austrian border, won six Czech Lions, including the best actress and best supporting actress honors for Magdaléna Borová and Petra Špalková, respectively. Shadow Country scribe Ivan Arsenjev won for best screenplay and the film also won Lions for best editing (Jan Daňhel), best music (Jakub Kudláč), and best costume design (Zuzana Bambušek Krejzková). 

The Czech Lion for best documentary went to Caught in the Net from directors Barbora Chalupová, and Vít Klusák, which looks at child sexual harassment online. 

Television awards went to crime drama Rats for best series and to Herec (Actor), for best TV movie. 

This year's Czech Lions awards were held under strict COVID-19 measures with only a small audience. Holland accepted her trophies online from her home in Poland.