There is no easy way to review Petr Kazda and Tomás Weinreb’s, I, Olga Hepnarová. It touches upon a painful subject matter that, I am afraid, we all failed to learn from. It goes back to July 10th, 1973 when eight people were killed and more injured by a truck in Prague, driven by Hepnarová. Yes, this film and even the message delivered by a mass murderer conveys a crucial message that should be passed on… especially to those who’re potential bully.
Olga is a troubled child who fails to connect with society. Her mental unstableness was still hidden somewhere deep in her mind when everyone in the school, later, at work would pick on her. Mostly, they would do it for no reason, or for one reason – she would never fight back. She rejects living with a family. Her mother would behave with her as if she was not her own child. It seems everything around her plants a dreadful and vicious plan into Olga’s head, when one day she writes a letter to a local newspaper where she states that, “It would be too easy for her to leave this world as an unknown suicide victim. Society is too indifferent.” She added, “My verdict is: I, Olga Hepnarová, the victim of your bestiality, sentence you to death.”
When the film begins, we find her after she attempted suicide, but she, fortunately for herself, but unfortunately for those who cross her path survives. Even her mother displays more indifference towards her daughter, rather compassion that any other survivor would seek for. But sometimes, when you get a chance to learn more about Olga, you realize she is an exceptional human being but in a way you would not want her to be, or anyone else.
The scene when Olga was beaten up by her schoolmate is impossible to comprehend. The hate all those girls show towards Olga as they continue beat her as if she were a soccer ball, is something that should have been punished by law. As the story unfolds, Olga is sent to a psychiatric clinic, where again nobody could understand the mess that was going on in her mind. From that moment on, you could easily predict something terrible will happen. And when that happens it will be a tragedy that will go down history, but sadly, overseen by many nowadays.
It also was interesting to see the way Olga attempted to build her life through her messy relationship with girls. As she showed no interest towards men, Olga, more and more starts losing her femininity, becoming like a dark shadow of an ugly creature she was trying to turn herself into. However, after sometime an idea comes to her mind to punish the society and to warn people about victims of bullying that one day can become a huge problem for those who back then overlooked the potential danger planted under their roof.
By the time Olga was facing the judge, she refuses to plead insanity, even though she was one. The point she brings is quite valuable, when she insists on being hanged as she believes then her crime that she committed will have more value. Was she right or wrong, the answer is obvious – she was not. There are certainly many ways to deliver the message to corrupted minds that bullying itself must be considered as a crime, and everyone who committed it should be charged. But I am afraid Petr Kazda and Tomás Weinreb‘s brilliantly crafted film was not about that.
In conclusion, I, Olga Hepnarová is an important film to watch. Performance delivered by Michalina Olszanska as Olga Hepnarová is vivid and memorable. She captures Olga’s insanity, loneliness in a way it may scare you sometimes. But unfortunately, the character which the actress performed was real and that is the saddest part. In the end, this movie once again shows the importance of not to ignore bullying. It emphasizes clearly that everyone has its own limit. And once that person reaches it, the implication of it will be unpredictable in the worst possible way.