The trailer for the 2007 Karlovy Vary Film Festival is a highly kinetic and graphic introduction told through various typefaces. It was also the first – and so far the last – break with the festival’s traditional practice of using directed pieces with actors. The ad is exemplified by several things at once: immaculate decorum, for one – it is about film and nothing but film. Hyper-minimalism for another: the entire video uses exactly five words: “Karlovy”, “Vary”, “International”, “Film”, “Festival”. And last, symbolism and sound effects that convey
For this edition of Czechs Today I met octogenarian Zdeněk Mahler, born and raised in Prague’s Industrial Vysočany district. Over the last three quarters of a century, Mahler has repeatedly found himself involved in some of the country’s best-known cultural exports. He helped prepare the famous winning Czechoslovak exhibit at the Brussels Expo in 1958, and lived and worked with a certain Miloš Forman throughout the period of the Czech New Wave.
A recent opinion poll suggested that a majority of Czechs are so far satisfied with their government’s running of the EU presidency one month on – even its handling of the gas crisis and the conflict in Gaza. But one area the government apparently mishandled was its commissioning of artist David Černý’s Entropa, the controversial art work which surprised Europe when it was unveiled in Brussels roughly three weeks ago. Even now, it is apparent the work will not soon be forgotten. But was it appropriate? The artist and colleagues duped the Czech government
Czechs are reputed to be one of Europe’s most atheist nations. Yet in the course of its history, the nation has produced many outstanding religious thinkers, philosophers, writers and other personalities who left their mark on the development of theology and religion. In this edition of One on One, we talk to one of the country’s leading Catholic intellectuals, Martin C. Putna, a literary historian, specializing in Czech Catholic literature, who has recently become the head of the Václav Havel library. He recently hosted a popular TV show which
The commotion in recent weeks over David Černý’s Entropa exhibit in Brussels has made the sculpture one of the hallmarks of the Czech EU presidency. While its opponents deem its stereotypical depiction of the 27 member states a thing of antagonism, something between mockery and insult, its proponents have defended the work as a defining example of Czech humour and have asked what European representation means at all, if national humour is censurable. This week in Arts we’ll be taking a look at the wider context of Černý’s work, what could be called
It seems hard to believe, but one of the leading personalities of the Czech film business, director Věra Chytilová, turned 80 on Monday. Congratulations poured in from colleagues, actors, critics and even President Vaclav Klaus. On the occasion of her jubilee Věra Chytilová was awarded a golden plaque for her lifelong contribution to Czech film.
Few books written in the Czech Republic since the fall of communism have aroused as much debate as Tereza Boučková’s 2008 novel, Rok kohouta. The title translates as Year of the Rooster – in the Chinese horoscope the year in which the author was born, in our calendar 1957. Tereza Boučková is one of the best known Czech writers of her generation. Nearly all her books are highly autobiographical: her best known work, the short novel Indiánský běh (Indian Run) is a vivid and very frank evocation of her life in dissident circles before the fall of
This week’s Arts focuses on two photographers from rather different backgrounds who both have exhibitions right now at Prague’s Langhans Gallery. Pavel Dias, a Czech documentary photographer, has a show called “Padesát” (Fifty), featuring work spanning half a century. Bill Jacobson, meanwhile, is an American artist showing new work under the title “funny, cry, happy” alongside early pictures never shown publicly before.
In this edition of Czechs in History, we look back at the life and work of Ester Krumbachová, an artist, costume designer, screenwriter, and one of the most important personalities of the Czech New Wave. Although her name is somewhat forgotten today, she was a major inspiration to the leading filmmakers of the 1960s, such as Věra Chytilová, Jan Němec or Vojtěch Jasný.