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Interview with Karel Hermanek

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Interview with Karel Hermanek (Leopold Hilsner)

Leopold Hilsner is your biggest role so far. How challenging was it to shoot?
The most difficult thing about Hilsner was to introduce him on several levels. He was a very simple man - a bum, who, without the unfortunate murder, hadn't been interesting to anyone. From the very beginning, we tried to make the character look colorful so the viewer could go with what Hilsner is going through at the moment. Especially in this sense, it was a huge experience for me.

Did you know anything about the case before filming?
I have to admit that I didn’t. I don't know why we didn't deal with this topic in detail at school. The whole affair had an impact on later events not only in our country but also in the world. Masaryk's activities opened the doors of the world to him, and thanks to it, he had more support. For example, in America with the creation of an independent Czechoslovakia. The affair itself lives on today. It is still a mystery to me why Hilsner's name has not been cleared yet.

How would you describe what Leopold Hilsnerwent through based on the experience you gained while shooting? Did filming change your view of him?
I think it must be clear to anyone who has heard of the ritual murder for which Hilsner was convicted that this is absolute nonsense. I just kept wondering what people were able to say at the time. And they were very educated people. 

Have you been to the scene or Hilsner's house?
Yes, I was. I took a day trip to Polná and gradually went through all the places where the story of the film and the affair takes place.

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