The story of the Czechoslovak Legions in Russia is one of the most remarkable episodes of the first world war. It has now been captured in a new documentary entitled Accidental Army by the Czech Legion Project. The group's Chicago-based founder Bruce Bendinger was in Prague screening it last week, and he stopped by at Radio Prague's studios to discuss the Legions and their fascinating history.
In the twelve years since it was established, the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival has quickly become the biggest showcase of creative documentary films in the Central European region. Over 30,000 people attended 240 film screenings at this year’s event, which attracted high-calibre guests such as the American pioneer of “fly-on-the-wall” documentary Frederick Wiseman and the controversial Austrian filmmaker Ulrich Seidl.
“Each of our lives can be unique, if we decide to live it in a unique way. Private films testify to the unique intensity of every moment of our lives. They capture private stories from our shared history.” This is the motto of an acclaimed cycle of documentaries by Jan Šikl entitled Soukromé století or Private century. The eight films in the series are based solely on private family archives, and their stories draw upon the memories of contemporaries and relatives.
Czech designer Jan Čtvrtník has been receiving a great deal of recognition around the continent recently for one of his nifty pieces of glassware, highlighting the issue of climate-change. Čtvrtník’s vase - depicting a shrinking lake - won an international competition in Amsterdam in September, and has now been lauded by British newspaper The Independent for its environmentally-aware design. I spoke to Jan Čtvrtník, who’s currently living and working in Italy, and asked him first about the inspiration behind his award-winning piece:
This Tuesday marks 90 years since the foundation of the independent Czechoslovak state. To celebrate this important anniversary, the National Museum, together with the Military History Institute in Prague and the Czech Senate, has put together a major new exhibition entitled Republika or The Republic, dedicated to the first twenty years of the new state.
Rob Cameron’s guest on One on One this week is Kabir Bedi, one of India’s best known actors and one of the few to make that difficult transition from Bollywood to Europe to Hollywood. Kabir already had dozens of films under his belt before he won the lead role in the 1970s TV series Sandokan, a role that won him a legion of fans throughout Europe and especially in communist Czechoslovakia. Kabir Bedi was in Prague recently as a special guest of the Bollywood film festival, and Radio Prague asked the actor what explained the huge success of
Earlier this year, a leading author and very well-known and much admired personality in the Czech Republic died - Alexandra Berková. She was a journalist, writer for tv, novelist and short story writer, a campaigner for social justice in many areas, as well as being a beloved teacher of many. Her novels were highly experimental in nature, mixing, for example, allegory, fairytale and satire. In order to discuss the work of Alexandra (or Saša) Berková, I visited Pavla Jonssonová, a cultural theorist who teaches at the Anglo-American University in
The old industrial district of Holešovice in Prague 7 has undergone something of a revival in recent years, a change perhaps best exemplified by the opening last weekend of an ambitious new art gallery on the site of a late 19th century factory in the area. At 3000 square metres, Dox is far and away the biggest privately-owned gallery in the Czech Republic.
Josef Sudek was one of the most important Czech photographers of the last century. Whatever he turned his camera to - be it Prague’s monumental St. Vitus’ Cathedral, or his own lowly studio window – exploded with light upon being snapped. He enjoyed critical acclaim throughout his life, and after his death in 1976 public interest in his work has remained immense. His former studio, in Prague’s Malá Strana, has been rebuilt in his honour. The space, which now exhibits young Czech photographers’ works, is run in part by Miloslav Saňko: