It wasn’t a very auspicious start, and it didn’t end very well either – Czech Television, the country’s national broadcaster, has confirmed that it’s withdrawing from the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest due to lack of public interest. The Czech Republic only made its debut in the competition in 2007, but its first three attempts have been disastrous – the most recent gaining the dreaded “nul points”.
Imagine being invited - as a member of a stadium audience – to perform on stage with one of the world’s greatest bands. It could never happen, right? But that’s exactly how it was for a trio of Czech musicians at a U2 concert in Berlin last weekend. Incredibly, U2 singer Bono invited the Czechs – all strangers to him – to come up for the song Angel of Harlem.
As always there was plenty going on at the Karlovy Vary film festival this year. Alongside the marathon of movies, there were bars and beer tents, swanky soirees and grotty clubs. There were also a number of live concerts, with perhaps the most unlikely the appearance of Boney M in a nite spot in the basement of the festival’s centre, the Thermal hotel.
The high point of this year’s Český Krumlov International Music Festival will surely be Saturday’s performance by Renée Fleming, whose programme includes her “signature piece”, Song to the Moon from Dvořák’s Rusalka. On the eve of the festival, the great American soprano discussed that aria, her Czech roots, performing at the Obama inauguration, and plans to duet with Lou Reed in Prague to mark the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution.
The 44th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, which has just come to an end in the west Bohemian spa town, will surely go down as one of the best in recent years. Many believe that there was an improvement in the standard of films in competition, while the glitter factor was also high, with Hollywood stars like John Malkovich and Antonio Banderas gracing Karlovy Vary’s red carpet.
As the annual film festival comes to a close in Karlovy Vary, so ends a week of reports from Radio Prague on the goings-on at the Czech Republic’s foremost cultural event. Saturday evening the crystal globes will be awarded for the 44th time, and to discuss the week I had a general chat about all things film with someone who knows film festivals from every angle. Phillip Bergson founded the Oxford Film Festival, among others, he has served on a number of juries, written on film for scores of publications and has devoted a great deal of effort and
Each year, as the Karlovy Vary Film Festival gets underway, the West Bohemian spa town becomes the Czech Republic’s undisputed cultural capital for a week. The epicentres are the cinemas of course, with more than 200 films from around the world. But there are all kinds of goings on that that keep the town abuzz from early morn to early morn for eight long days. Christian Falvey is in Karlovy Vary, trying to keep up with it all.