Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček on Friday handed out Gratias Agit
awards to fifteen Czech expatriates and foreigners for promoting the good
name of the Czech Republic abroad. Among this year’s recipients were
Bohdan Pomahac, a leading plastic surgeon living and working in the United
States and the head of the Festival of Czech Art and Culture Prague-Berlin
Dušan Robert Pařízek.
The Czech foreign minister thanked the laureates for their good work and highlighted the fact that while some of them had been driven from their homeland during the communist regime they were not bitter and selflessly contributed to promoting the country’s good name abroad.
The Gratias Agit awards were first handed out in 1997 and the ministry has since honoured over 300 individuals and institutions.
In a world still ruled by men, Hana Podolská –later dubbed the Czech “Coco Chanel” –fulfilled her childhood dream – she married a man who loved her passionately and built up a family fashion empire. Her clothes and fashion advice was sought after by the film stars of the First Republic, the wives of rich entrepreneurs and the country’s first ladies. But the communist take-over robbed her of everything she had worked hard to achieve and she died abandoned and forgotten in the harsh normalization years following the crushing of the Prague Spring.
Franz Fühmann (1922-1984) was one of East Germany’s most widely read writers. He is also one of few that have stood the test of time. He grew up in Czechoslovakia in Rokytnice nad Jizerou, a small town in the mountains close to what was then the border between Czechoslovakia and Germany. This provided the setting for several of his stories, drawing from his pre-war memories of the Sudetenland. They form part of his 1962 collection The Jew Car which is now available in English, published by Seagull Books and translated by Isabel Cole. David Vaughan
Power, sex, and film world glamour, against the backdrop of the rise and fall of the Nazi regime. The story of Czechoslovak film actress, Lída Baarová, has it all. And it’s therefore not surprising that the Czech film world has returned yet again to Baarová this month, first with a documentary film about the actress and then with a full length feature film.
A documentary is now screening in Czech cinemas on the life of the actress Lída Baarová, sometimes described as the first Czech international movie star. For its tragic twists and roller coaster ride, Baarová’s own life story, including a tempestuous love affair with the Nazi propaganda boss Joseph Goebbels, surpassed any of her film roles. The young star ended her life in exile, a controversial, if not despised personality in her homeland.
A new film by one of the country’s leading documentary makers, Helena Třeštíková about the Czech interwar actress Lída Baarová, who was the mistress of Nazi propaganda chief Josef Goebbels, will hit the country’s cinemas on Thursday. Called Zkáza krásou, or Doomed Beauty, the documentary probes the life of one of the country’s biggest film stars, whose life was shaped by the dramatic events of the 20th century. A feature film biography about Baarová, by director Filip Renč and starring Táňa Pauhofová, will be shown in Czech cinemas in the spring.
Shooting has begun in Prague on a film biography of Czech interwar actress Lída Baarová. The project, helmed by director Filip Renč and starring Táňa Pauhofová, had been in the planning stages for some years. Lída Baarová was the mistress of Nazi propaganda chief Josef Goebbels and he and Adolf Hitler will appear as characters in the movie, which has the working title Hour of Temptation.
An unprecedented 60 percent of the State Cinematography Fund’s annual budget to support feature Czech film production is set to go to one movie, the news site Respekt.cz reported. Some CZK 15 million from the state agency’s CZK 25 million budget has been allocated to a film about the black-and-white era actress Lída Baarová by director Filip Renč. Respekt wrote that the decision to award the support to the film was taken despite the fact it did poorly in an evaluation of all projects submitted. Mr. Renč last month received a high state honour from President Miloš Zeman, for whom he had made a campaign ad.
Lída Baarová was one of the most famous and successful Czech actresses to have ever lived. Her career spanned over 70 years, in the course of which she starred in a whole number of both Czech and German film classics. She even made it into Federico Fellini’s ‘I Vitelloni’ in 1953. But she is perhaps best known for her life off-screen, as one of Czech film’s most unhappy characters. Lída Baarová’s beauty attracted the attention of Joseph Goebbels, and her career - tragically for her - reached its peak in Nazi Germany shortly before World War
In the last couple of weeks we have looked at the growing tensions in Czechoslovakia in the second half of the 1930s, as pressure from Nazi Germany grew. The period leading up to the Munich Agreement in September 1938, when Britain and France gave Hitler the green light to annex vast areas of Czechoslovakia, is extremely well documented in the Czech Radio archives. The archives also reveal that this was one of the first international diplomatic crises to be played out on the airwaves. Through radio, the Munich crisis became a battle of international