06 Oct 2017

THE WOMAN WHO WAS LET IN TO A DICTATOR'S SECRET VILLA

Why did this secluded man choose to let Nvotová into his villa with a camera? The film director doesn't know. But we are all eager to see what she discovered there.

Ria Gehrerová
Ria Gehrerová Denník N, Slovakia
Source: Denník N
THE WOMAN WHO WAS LET IN TO A DICTATOR'S SECRET VILLA - NewsMavens
Vladimír Mečiar Péter Kamocsai/Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

Why this story matters:

Young female film director Tereza Nvotová is about to present her new documentary The Line/Čiara on Vladimír Mečiar, the man who ruled Slovakia in the 90s and whose name was on a Committee to Protect Journalist's list of dictators.

After losing power in 1998, Mečiar became less and less visible. Nowadays, he lives a lonely life as a retired politician in a huge villa and doesn't talk with the public.

Mečiar has also avoided the media in recent years, with the only exception of this recent spring, when he agreed to be interviewed on television after being hounded by journalists. His name had resurfaced in the news cycle because politicians were discussing scraping his controversial amnesties from the 90s. Mečiar had offered them to people who were involved in kidnapping Slovak President Michal Kováč's son in order to blackmail the head of state. The investigation was dropped and the case went cold. 

We know about Mečiar's political life, but his personal life, especially his more recent life, is largely secret. "I remembered him as a man people talk about and argue about. His face was everywhere. I wanted to know who he is," says Nvotová.

Why did this secluded man choose to let Nvotová into his villa with a camera? The film director doesn't know. But we are all eager to see what she discovered there. 

Details from the story:

  • Tereza Nvotová (1988) is Slovak director living in Prague.
  • Her new film The Line/Čiara about former Slovak dictator Vladimír Mečiar will premiere October 12.
  • A new wave of courageous female directors is making waves in Slovakian cinema.
    • Tereza Nvotová and her new documentary The Line/Čiara, and earlier film Filthy, which discusses the long-term effect of rape.
    • Iveta Grofová demonstrates the difficulties of children's everyday lives in the film Little Harbour
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