I, Olga Hepnarova | Chicago Reader

I, Olga Hepnarova

106 minutes 2016

In 1973, a 22-year-old Czech woman named Olga Hepnarová drove a truck down a crowded street in Prague, killing eight people. This austere docudrama by writer-directors Petr Kazda and Tomaš Weinreb reconstructs her life leading up to the attack; fashioned like a case study, it shows Hepnarová engaging in routine activities and at times revealing to others how she feels about her life. The black-and-white cinematography (by Adam Sikora, who has worked with Lech Majewski and Jerzy Skolimowski) is cold and pristine, almost overwhelming the drama, but the directors ground the action in a vivid psychological realism, aided by Michalina Olszanska in a committed lead performance. Given Hepnarová's history of abuse and self-destructive behavior, this isn't always easy to watch, but it's impressively free of sensationalism. In Czech with subtitles.

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