This week Czech Books met with a relatively new, but highly praised writer of prose and poetry, Josef Straka. The way in which Straka describes his experience of modern life, particularly city life, could be considered to be very postmodern in its fascination with the peripheral and the fragmentary. Originally from Jablonec nad Nisou in the north he is now based in Prague, though likes nothing better than to make long walks around the margins of other European cities, seeking out fragments of real life, what he calls ‘small miracles’, and living
In this week’s edition of Panorama, we report from the latest edition of Anifest. Now in its eighth year, this international showcase of animated film has become a major cultural event in the Czech Republic. It screens several hundred films and attracts tens of thousands of festivalgoers and scores of international guests. In fact, Anifest has now got so big that part of the event this year will be held in the spa city of Teplice in addition to the charming town of Třeboň in south Bohemia, which is its traditional base but which no longer has the
My guest for One on One this week is British director and singer Michael Sarne, who is perhaps best known for his number one hit in the early 1960s “Come Outside” featuring the late Eastenders actor Wendy Richards. Since then Sarne, has also worked extensively as a film director. His most notable pictures include the swinging-sixties romp Joanna, which was nominated for a Golden Globe, and the highly controversial, sexually explicit adaptation of the Gore Vidal novel Myra Breckenridge. As an actor, Sarne has also made numerous appearances on hit
In the Czech Republic an incredibly high number of children – over 20,000 – are living in institutional care. Very often they are from poor families, with an extremely high percentage coming from the country’s Roma minority. This serious and disturbing social issue is the focus of a new art exhibition in Prague.
One of the highlights of the Czech cultural calendar, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, gets underway in the west Bohemian spa town on July 3. While the list of special guests this year has not been completed, some names were revealed – along with the programme highlights – at a news conference in Prague on Tuesday morning. I spoke there to KVIFF’s programme director Julietta Sichel.
In this week’s edition of One on One we talk to the artist, sculptor, painter, musician and actor Jaroslav Róna. In the 1980s, he was one of the founders of the art group Tvrdohlaví, or The Stubborn but today, he is perhaps best known as the author of the Franz Kafka Monument in Prague’s Old Town. I talked to Jaroslav Róna in his studio and asked him was why he decided to base the highly acclaimed Kafka memorial on his short story, Description of One Struggle.
Less than six months ago, a disastrous fire reduced an entire wing of Prague’s historic Industrial Exhibition Hall to a pile of twisted metal and masonry, but the building has made a remarkable recovery. In a few days’ time it will be housing the Czech Republic’s biggest annual book fair, Svět knihy or Bookworld, which will be taking place for the fifteenth year running, and seems remarkably unscathed either by the fire or the rages of the world economic crisis. To find out more, I managed to steal a few minutes with the busy and energetic Bookworld
The Cirkus totality (or Totalitarian Circus) was one of the cultural projects chosen to accompany the Czech Republic’s EU presidency. As part of the project, a new textbook about Central Europe’s communist past has been written, there will be a series of plays and performances staged, and a giant ‘communism timeline’ has been unveiled on Prague’s náměstí Republiky. I went along to have a look:
The studio Bratři v triku, or “Brothers in T-Shirts”, has been the major producer of Czech animated film since the 1940s. Virtually every talent in Czech cartooning has gone through the studio, and it has won essentially every national and international award available to animators. But most importantly perhaps, the work of the studio has influenced generation after generation of Eastern Europeans and audiences elsewhere in the world as well. In this week’s Arts, Christian Falvey takes a peek into the cradle of Czech animation.