Hello and welcome to Czech Books. On 1st December a great new source of information about Czech literature was launched – an English language version of the Czech Literature Portal. I went to visit Viktor Debnár of the Arts Institute in Prague, which is responsible for the project, and Jaroslav Balvín, the portal’s editor, to find out more.
Three years ago Prague’s main railway station Hlavní Nádraží was not a nice place to be – poorly-maintained and dirty, it afforded travelers little opportunity of refreshment. A major reconstruction launched in 2006 is radically transforming the premises which now afford modern terminals, sales counters, boutiques and restaurants. Now the company Grandi Stazioni which is conducting the reconstruction has gone a step further – offering weary travelers some art as well.
Interviewing Anna Geislerová leaves you with little doubt as to how she came to be the most well-known actress in the Czech Republic. She hardly needs a role to be a fascinating character in her own right: individualistic, forthright, thoughtful and indeed very charming. She puts her personality into a lot of different activities - literary, charitable, social, artistic - and the country loves her for it. But the Czech Republic has become too small for Anna Geislerová. In the illustrious Vinohrady Theatre, where she was doing a photo shoot, we talked
The streets of Prague are currently packed with people going about their Christmas shopping. Many head for the nearest shopping mall, but those who want something special – a designer article – need no longer run from one boutique to another in search of just the right present. Young Czech designers who don’t have an outlet for their products have joined forces to open up a temporary arts and crafts “supermarket” in the centre of Prague. Earlier today I met up with Jan Plecháč, one of the organizers of the event, to find out what had led him and
"Zoufalci" started out as a thesis film. It was then picked up for production by Czech Television and is currently showing in movie theaters across the Czech Republic. I talked to the film's director, Jitka Rudolfová, who just finished her studies at Prague's Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU), about the unexpected success of her film.
Svoboda? Svoboda! (Freedom? Freedom!) is the name of an international theatre project that culminates at Prague’s Archa theatre on Friday night. Involving theatre groups and contemporary history institutes from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Germany, the show provides a forum for examination of the states’ recent communist past, and asks – what kind of freedom did they achieve in 20 years? Ahead of Friday’s event, I found out more from the director of Divadlo Archa, Ondřej Hrab.
This week saw the opening of a new exhibition of some of the best work by one of former Czechoslovakia’s most famous illustrators, painters as well as the father of Czech animated film, Jiří Trnka, who died in 1969. Trnka is beloved for his creative use of highly detailed and mobile marionettes, and remains a veritable favourite among children for his illustrations – not least in Jan Karafiát’s famous Broučci (Fireflies) and also Trnka’s own much loved children’s classic, The Garden – about five boys, five elephants, a curmudgeon of a tomcat and
Preparations are being completed across the Czech Republic for what will undoubtedly be one of the biggest cultural events of the year. Next year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of perhaps the country’s greatest poet, Karel Hynek Mácha. We take a look at the dozens of international, national and regional events being planned.
Few Czech rock bands have gained such notoriety as the Prague-based group Jasná Páka. Founded at the beginning of the last decade of communism, their music was a beacon for a generation that grew up in a Soviet-occupied country. After it was banned by the Communists in a crusade against rock music, the band reformed as Hudba Praha. The man behind both bands, Michal Ambrož, is one of the last pioneers of Czech new wave of rock still around.