Movie, Reviews

“I, Olga Hepnarova” Powerfully Poignant and Tragic

 

 

One of the strangest biographies ever to be made into a film, I, Olga (Já, Olga Hepnarová) tells the true tale of revenge. Nicely paced and presented, the movie plays out like a diary told from Olga’s letters and notes. Sometimes humans are calling for help and no one is listening. This is a story of one of those times. Not to be missed, it powerfully poignant.

The film opens with Olga Hepnarova (Michalina Olszanska waking up in her bed at a special school hostel in Prague Czechoslovakia where she’s been sent for being a runaway. She’s a strange girl and her schoolmates bully her constantly and following her attempt at suicide, she gets beaten in the showers of the school. It’s a start of a hatred that is building up inside of Olga, one that will lead her to an unthinkable crime.

Olga waits in line for her paycheck in “I, Olga Hepnarova”

But, we are getting ahead of the script as it gets very juicy, compelling and finally so despicable you won’t believe your eyes. Directors Petr Kazda and Tomas Weinreb take you through the paces as Olga makes several transitions from her life at home, work, dealing with paranoia to finally living on her own where she experiments with lesbian sex. He allows his audience to grasp what gets played out on the screen with camera shots that linger on the subject so you digest each scene. Filmed in black and white, it instills the dark feelings of what Olga is going through and how she deals with her colorless life.

Jitka (Marika Soposka) and Olga (Michalina Olszanska) experiment with lesbian sex in “I, Olga Hepnarova”

The acting performance by Michalina Olszanska as the screwed up Olga is magnificent. Here aura and looks reminds me of Scarlett Johansson when she played the brooding female in Under the Skin. She makes her Olga very introverted and slowly develops her into a schizophrenic trying to break out of her shell by accepting advances from women her age. When she gets to the point of being the aggressor in a sexual tryst, she’s already on a road of no return to normal life.

The film itself works society into a questionable situation as to how far someone would go when their home life was hateful and the person’s peers force her into an introverted posture. Reaching out for acceptance can force one to rethink their life, choosing to take the least road of resistance, even murder. In I, Olga that road led the main character to do the most heinous of crimes as a vengeance for what she felt life dealt her.

I, Olga (Já, Olga Hepnarová) has not been rated by the MPAA, but contains violence, sex, nudity, language and drug use. It also has a profuse amount of smoking in the movie, especially on the part of Olga who seems to be using it as a suicidal poison. Shown in Czechoslovakian with English subtitles.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A powerful well-acted film for those that like something completely different.

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Michalina Olszanska, Martin Pechlat, Klara Meliskova, Marika Soposka, Juraj Nvota, Marta Mazurek, Zuzana Stavna
Directed by: Petr Kazda and Tomas Weinreb
Genre: Drama, Crime, Biography, Foreign
Language: Czechoslovakian with English Subtitles
MPAA Rating: Not Rated, contains, violence, language, sex, nudity, smoking
Running Time: 1 hr. 45 min.
Release Date: March 24, 2017
Distributed by: Outsider Pictures and Strand Releasing
Released in: Black and White

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Film Editor John Delia has been on all sides of the movie business from publications to film making. He has worked as a film critic with ACED Magazine for more than 11 years and earned a Bachelors degree in communications from the University of Florida. John is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association. Follow John on Twitter @staragent1 or send John a message at jdelia@acedmagazine.com