One of the things I find most refreshing about Iva Pekárková’s writing is that it is so untypical. Her books have taken us to New York, Nigeria, and now London and Senegal, breaking the stereotype of Czech literature as inward-looking and local. You may remember Iva talking in a past edition of this programme about her autobiographical novel “Dej mi ty prachy”, published in English as “Gimme the Money”, inspired by her experiences as a New York cab driver. After New York, Iva spent several years back in Prague and she also travelled widely in Africa,
This Saturday, the National Museum in Prague will open its newest building to the public, the former Prague bourse, former building of the Federal Parliament, and until only recently, the headquarters for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Located across from the neo-Renaissance National Museum at the top of Wenceslas Square, the neighboring glass-and-steel building will house new exhibits starting this autumn.
“Path of Life” is the name of a new exhibition by the Jewish Museum in Prague marking 400 years since the death of Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, a 16th century scholar and teacher, the Chief Rabbi of Bohemia. Today, most Czechs remember him not only for being a wise man and a learned scholar, but primarily for being the legendary creator of the Golem, a mythical deed that earned him the status of a national hero.
Few rabbis and Jewish scholars became part of legends of non-Jewish people. But one, Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel who lived in Prague at the turn of the 17th century, has long been part of a Czech national legend which describes the creation of the mythical Golem. The Jewish Museum in Prague has staged an exhibition at Prague Castle to commemorate the life of the great rabbi.
Matthew Stillman is the boss of the Czech Republic’s biggest production company for foreign films, Stillking Films. It has produced some of the blockbusters that have tapped into Czech skills and locations over the last 15 years. At his main office in the heart of Prague’s Barrandov Studios, I asked Mr Stillman how he came to the Czech capital in the first place.
Iva Bittová is a phenomenon in contemporary Czech music – the avant-garde violinist, singer and composer has developed a music style all her own, blending the music of many cultures into what she terms her "personal folk music“ and drawing deeply on her emotions and the sounds of nature. Her vocal utterances range from traditional singing to chirping, moaning, yelps and deep throat noises that keep audiences mesmerized. Her style is not easily defined but perhaps one of the most accurate comments made about her is that she brings the human voice
Today in Mailbox: we find out the answer to the July competition question and announce its winners. We quote from the answers by the following listeners: Hans Verner Lollike, Colin Preston, Debakamal Hazarika, Jayanta Chakrabarty, Colin Law, Constantin Liviu Viorel, S. J. Agboola, Tracy Andreotti, Henrik Klemetz, David Eldridge, Charles Konecny.
Instead of vespers, it was bands such as Health and Final Fantasy’s music reverberating around Kutná Hora’s Jesuit College on Thursday evening. Over the next couple of days, the building, its spires and courtyard, will be playing host to an impressive selection of alternative bands from around the world, all in the name of the Creepy Teepee music festival. Štěpán Bolf is one of its organizers:
The 2006 James Bond remake Casino Royale is becoming an endangered species. The film was mainly shot at Prague’s famous Barrandov studios and used Prague and Karlovy Vary as a backdrop for many scenes. But Casino Royale is one of a dwindling number of blockbusters which have recently come to the Czech Republic. Revenues from foreign films have tumbled in recent years. That has put the spotlight on whether the government should fall into line with other countries and provide incentives for bringing them back.
Jan’s guest in One on One is the world-famous conductor and composer Carl Davis. Mr Davis, who has composed hundreds of scores for TV and film, recently appeared in Prague to conduct the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. Jan caught up with the conductor at Prague’s Obecní Dům to discuss his remarkable career as well as Czech connections: writing the scores for films like the French Lieutenant’s Woman and series like The World at War. The first thing he asked Carl Davis about was whether he knew early on that film and television would play such