The Czech Republic marks Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday, January 27th, the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in 1945. Some 80,000 Bohemian and Moravian Jews perished in the Holocaust, and before the community could even start recovering from the war, the communist regime practically froze its activities. It was not until the fall of communism in 1989 that the Czech Jewish community could start to rebuild.
Theatre director Pavla Dombrovska has long been fascinated by Romany culture; inspired by the vigorous, joyful and often tragic tone of Gypsy music, and enthralled by this people's storytelling tradition. So she set out to adapt for the theatre a collection of Romany folktales: they were compiled - or rather, lovingly transcribed - by the noted scholar Dr Milena Hubschmannova, in the '60s and early '70s. But the play got off to a difficult start: Dombrovska was shocked to find how little she really understood of these "naïve" fairytales, and how
2006 is the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Prague's Jewish Museum, and to mark the event, exhibitions, concerts, films and theatre performances will be held across the country. The festival, dubbed The Year of Jewish Culture, will aim to reflect the huge cultural contribution made by the Jews of Bohemia and Moravia over the centuries.
Helena Trestikova's early documentary Manzelske etudy or Marriage Stories is one of the few Czech television programmes from the communist era which still stands up well today. In this groundbreaking work, Trestikova used the filming method that was later to become her trademark by charting the destinies of six newlywed couples in real time, revisiting and recording their stories over a number of years. The end result proved a big hit with viewers when it was first broadcast in 1987. Now, Helena Trestikova has returned to her original subjects nearly
In this edition of Czechs Today Jan Velinger talks to Czech film director Radim Spacek, whose projects have combined documentary and fiction elements in new ways, twisting traditional narrative. In the past his subjects have included difficult themes such as suicide and war but also a famous crisis at Czech TV.
The new ultra-violent film "Hostel", presented by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Eli Roth, may have made headlines and shocked some in the US by beating King Kong on its opening weekend, but already it is clear the film, one of the most violent in years, will appeal mostly to horror fans. Anyone else, be warned. For Czechs, perhaps the most interesting thing about the film will be the fact that the film was shot in the Czech Republic featuring a number of local actors.
Selling a country's image abroad is by no means an easy task - and when a survey six months ago indicated that many of the Czech Republic's neighbours thought the majority of Czechs were peasants whose major export was sunflower oil, it became alarmingly clear something needed to be done, to present the country in a rich, relevant, and above all, more truthful light. The Foreign Ministry announced a competition to find a new logo for the Czech Republic by the end of the year. The winner was chosen last week.
The 2005 film adaptation of C.S. Lewis's literary classic, "The Chronicles of Narnia: The lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" is out now in the Czech Republic. Czech viewers will instantly recognise that some scenes were shot in the nature reserve of Cesky raj or Czech Paradise. The unmistakable stunning sandstone formations of Cesky raj and other natural beauties of the Czech Republic are not the only attractions for foreign filmmakers.
The Jezek and Cisek theatre here in Prague is most unusual in that all of its members either are homeless or have spent time on the streets in the past. Its dramaturg, or artistic director, is a young man called Petr Sourek. I caught up with Petr after a recent show at Prague's NoD club, and began by asking him to tell me a bit about the history of the Jezek and Cisek theatre group.
The Jewish Museum in Prague is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, with a year-long programme of concerts, theatre performances and exhibitions. The events will celebrate the centuries of Jewish life in the Czech Lands, and the substantial cultural contribution of the Jewish community, a community which was decimated by the Holocaust. Rob Cameron spoke to Leo Pavlat, director of the Jewish Museum.