While Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Smoczynska's killer mermaid musical The Lure may be getting all the press, there was another film from Eastern Europe quietly racking up award after award and stunning festival audiences last year. Tomás Weinreb and Petr Kazda's I, Olga Hepnarova is the true story of the last woman executed in Czechoslovakia, a mass murderer responsible for the deaths of eight people in 1973. The film tells the story of her youth, up to and including her well-planned spree and the resulting trial and conviction in stark black and white.
Kurt Halfyard saw the film at Montreal's Fantasia last year and had this to say about it's effect on him.
Despite coming right out and having the lead character state her thesis on bullying, the word rendered in German, prügelknabe, is used in the films monologue, the most words Olga ever speaks in the picture, and it is interesting because it means both 'whipping boy' and 'beaten ones'. The experience of the film may be dire, but sometimes we need to be the prügelknabe of a film, if only that a film or piece of art teaches us simply what NOT to do. There are no answers in life, only choices.
It is quite the harrowing experience, and the directors do not lighten the mood at all, however, the film does make a long lasting impact, for better or worse. It is worth nothing that Michalina Olszanska who played half of the mermaid sister duo in The Lure takes the lead in I, Olga Hepnarova and her performance is mesmerizing and bold, even as she absolutely oozes a combination of nihilism and malice from every pore of her body.
Check out the trailer below, but be aware that you may catch a stray nipple, rendering this one NSFW
Kurt Halfyard contributed to this story.