Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square


Year: 2020
Country: CZECHIA
Language: Czech, German
Run Time: 118 minutes


“The Oracle of Urine.” That’s what they call the subject of Polish auteur Agnieszka Holland’s latest skillfully crafted biopic. CHARLATAN portrays the fascinating life of successful Czech healer and accused conman Jan Mikolášek. A certified herbalist with the uncanny ability to diagnose ailments on sight, all Jan needs is a vial of a patient’s urine to prescribe—or rather, sell—his plant-based solutions. Over decades, millions of everyday people make their way through Jan’s doors to have their fluids examined, many singing his praises. But unlike the masses, those in power challenge the herbalist’s drive and ability to heal, especially after the death of his most high-profile patient, Communist president Antonín Zápotocký. Spanning two World Wars and three regime changes, the film jumps between Jan’s highs and lows—including a tender but sometimes manipulative romance with his assistant Frantisek, as well as his collaboration with the Nazis. At once cold and passionate, caretaker and killer, philanthropist and crook, Holland crafts a layered portrait of an imperfect figure who will go to great lengths to help others—himself included. (In Czech and German with subtitles) — D.O.

Content Warning: This film contains material that may be difficult for some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.

CIFF45 Screenings

CIFF45 Streams On Demand

Thursday, April 08, 2021 at 11:00 AM -
Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 11:59 PM

Streams Access: United States and US Territories
Accessibility (?)
Closed Captions: No
Audio Description: No
English Subtitles: Yes


George Gund III Memorial Central and Eastern European Competition
Reel Women Direct Award for Excellence in Directing by a Woman

Agnieszka Holland

Šárka Cimbalová, Kevan Van Thompson

Marek Epstein

Martin Strba

Pavel Hrdlicka

Principal Cast
Ivan Trojan, Josef Trojan, Jaroslava Pokorná, Jiří Černý, Miroslav Hanuš

Film Contact
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