You Shouldn't Rush a Lady

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In the summer of 1968, a young art student in Prague named Jan Huk threw a Molotov cocktail at an invading Soviet tank.

But the Molotov cocktails thrown by Czech teenagers couldn't repel the Soviet invaders, and a few weeks later Jan Huk fled Czechoslovakia. He wound up, with $10 in his pocket, in downtown Toronto. He was 19.

Within a year he became friends with an eccentric 55-year-old bookstore clerk named Anna Russell . She was the widow of a once famous and very successful Canadian artist, John Wentworth Russell, painter of prime ministers, the toast of Paris and the love of Anna's life.

Anna Russell introduced Jan and then his wife, Milada, to the finer points of western culture. To artists and musicians no one living in a communist country was allowed to enjoy. They sampled fine wines together, they travelled together. And in return Jan Huk and his wife looked after Anna .

Now 10 years after Anna Russell's death and 50 years after the death of her much older husband, Jan and Milada Huk have honored a promise they made. They have - against all odds - put together a show of the work of John Wentworth Russell - in their tiny gallery on Pender Island in British Columbia.

The documentary You Shouldn't Rush a Lady was produced by Karin Wells.

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