The breathtaking story of a man gifted with exceptional abilities set against the background of the events of the totalitarian fifties.
A new movie by the worldly-renowned Agnieszka Holland.


Film genre: drama

Target group: 25+

Film lenght: approx. 100 min

Resulting format: feature film; DCP

Estimated cinema attendance in the Czech Republic: approx. 300 000 visitors


The story is based on the real events of healer Jan Mikolášek’s life that were crafted into the dramatic form by the renowned Czech screenwriter and a Czech lion winner Marek Epstein. The film is directed by one of Europe‘s most outstanding contemporary directors, Agnieszka Holland, whose movies have won dozens of international prizes.

The plot of the Charlatan takes place in halfway through the fifties.  In the Czech republic, in times of communist totality and the consequent materialism, lives a man, to whom dozens of people turn as to their last hope. Jan Mikolášek is a man with no medical education, but gifted with the unique and in fact unexplainable talent for diagnosing and healing even those illnesses which leave doctors helpless. Mikolášek‘s unusual abilities are, nevertheless, counterbalanced by the fight he has to fight with his own demons. His healership, which is his inner salvation and a protection against his own self, is also the cause for a constant threat from the communist establishment. Mikolášek is arrested, falsely accused, interrogated. In going way back into Mikolášek‘s past, we slowly uncover the very origin of his healing abilities, and we discover his lifelong traumas and pains and also his homosexuality to which he can‘t, and, considering the society of his time, mustn‘t, openly confess. Mikolášek‘s character, as supernaturally gifted as it is, has normal human limits, when it comes to courage or the ability to make sacrifices. Against the background of moving life stories, a narrative that transcends it‘s own self in an aspiration to name universally and generally valid truths is built.

Mikolášek‘s personality comprises two contrasting principles that have had control over humanity since the beginning of time – the principles of good and evil. Their eternal conflict is exactly what makes Mikolášek‘s story relatable for people of today. That is why the Charlatan isn‘t just the story of a specific dramatic human life, but is also a general meditation on the price that usually has to be paid by those gifted with extreme mental or spiritual abilities.



One of the most outstanding contemporary Europian directors, who has recieved many prestigious awards for her films, such as the Golden Globe or nominations for the Academy Award. In her films, she demonstrates a rare empathy  towards matters in which the intimate personal stories collides and is heavily altered by changes in society.

Her films have received many prestigious awards:

  • 1985 – her movie ANGRY HARVEST was nominated of an Oscar
  • 1991 – her movie EUROPA EUROPA was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe and the BAFTA award
  • 1995TOTAL ECLIPSE, starring Leonardo Di Caprio a David Thewlis
  • 2002 – her movie JULIA WALKING HOME was nominated for the Golden Lion
  • Since2002, she has directed various popular TV shows, such as THE WIRE, COLD CASE and HOUSE OF CARDS
  • 2011 –  her movie IN DARKNESS was nominated for an Oscar
  • In 2013 in the Czech Republic, she directed the movie HOŘÍCÍ KEŘ, which won the prestigious award Český lev for Best Director and Best Film.
  • In 2016 she finishes the co-production international project SPOOR. She was awarded the Silver Bear at the Berlinale 2017.


Motive:: Martin ŠulcCostume designer: Katarína Bieliková Štrbová
Script: Marek EpsteinMake up artist: Andrea McDonald
Dramaturgy: Jaroslav SedláčekEditor: Pavel Hrdlička
DOP: Martin ŠtrbaComposer: Antoni Lazarkiewicz
Production designer: Milan BýčekSound: Radim Hladík


Jan Mikolášek

A healer and an ingenious diagnostician. The story follows the key moments of his life, from his twenty-something self to him as a full-grown man in his sixties. As an old man, he appears in the dramatic part of the story – when the trial takes place. Mikolášek‘s character is an ambiguous one, torn in himself, gifted with a supernatural power to diagnose the state of a person‘s health from their urine and, at the same time, possessed by the desire to harm. Arrogant yet full of love. His goal is to find a balance between what he was given from God and what he‘s tempted with by the Devil.

Alexander Zounar

The assistant of Jan Mikolášek. The man who‘s become the exterminating person of the healer‘s life. He has accompanied him on his journey for almost thirty years and, as the character closest to him, he knows Jan Mikolášek perfectly. Only he can silence the healer‘s dark side and reinforce what‘s good in him. As the character closest to his heart, Zounar is predestined to make the greatest of sacrifices, to reach the peak of all evil in order to finally bring Mikolášek the redemption he needs.


The prosecuting attorney. (30 years old). A young lawyer who is, as the very first case of his career, assigned the defending of a seditious individual, charlatan and possibly even a homosexual Jan Mikolášek. Zlatohlávek is the character through which we uncover the dramatic story of a man blessed and cursed at once.

The Interrogator

The interrogator (50 years old), a man who, along with Zlatohlávek, helps us uncover Mikulášek‘s past. He is set to compile proofs sufficient to prove that Mikolášek is a saboteur, a reactionary and ideally even a murderer. A thorough, systematic and skilful state employee of the early fifties. He is taken aback when in the second half of the decade, the society makes and unexpected turn towards human rights, which makes it impossible for him to use violence to force Mikolášek to confess.

Schedule of Realization

2015-2017 Developing of the project

2017 – 2018 Financing of the project, implementation to ensure co-productions; work on the script; casting; locations

Summer 2018 – Shooting of the film

Fall – Winter 2018 – Postproduction

Spring 2019 – Distribution of the film in cinemas

Summer 2019 – DVD, WOD

Spring 2020 – TV Broadcasting