Celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution began at the weekend and, of course, they began with Václav Havel. The dissident playwright cum philosopher-president was the main figure behind the bloodless uprising that toppled 40 years of communism within just a few weeks. At the weekend, Mr Havel held a semi-private concert to commemorate the music that accompanied the overthrow of communism, inviting Joan Baez, Lou Reed, and Suzanne Vega, among others. In exclusive interviews, Radio Prague spoke to some of the guests who
The Czech Republic has lost two renowned photographers, Ladislav Sitenský and Jan Reich, both of whom died at the weekend, the former at the age of 90, the other at just 67. Both men had an important impact on 20th century Czech photography, Sitenský during World War II, and Reich during the ‘Normalisation’ 1970s.
The 78-year-old novelist, Ivan Klíma, is one of the best known and most widely translated of all Czech writers, with novels like “Love and Garbage”, “Judge on Trial” or “No Saints or Angels” acclaimed worldwide. Nearly all Klíma’s work focuses on human relationships, in particular between men and women, but at the same time he offers far broader insights into modern Czech society. In a recent interview for Radio Prague Klíma spoke about his latest book “My Crazy Century” in which he looks back at the first half of his life including his years in
The Normální Festival or Normal Festival features films about people with learning disabilities and films made BY the mentally handicapped, and this year’s edition – the fourth – has just got underway in Prague. Feature, animated and documentary films from the Czech Republic and abroad will be screened over the next four days at the city’s Aero and Evald cinemas. Normal Festival will also offer a number of music and theatre performances. At Wednesday night’s opening, I spoke to organiser Lenka Vochocová:
One of the greatest legends of Czech cinema, director of photography Miroslav Ondříček, turned 75 on Wednesday. Twice an Academy Award nominee, he made over 40 movies in the course of a career that began in the 1950s. His most successful works include the award winning 1984 film Amadeus, many successful English and American movies as well as films of the Czech New Wave of the 1960s.
Some of the most important Czech films since 1989 have been screened in a kind of mini-festival that has just come to a conclusion at the famed Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York. Six days. 16 films. 10 guest speakers. The series? The Ironic Curtain. Czech Cinema since the Velvet Revolution.
October 28 is an important holiday in the Czech Republic as the day that the Czechoslovak - and thereby Czech - nation was born out of the ashes of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918. That moment of independence was the triumph of a hundred-year mission to rebuild a national identity out of a dozen generations of Austrian rule. It is called the Czech National Revival, a cultural movement that re-awoke interest in Czech history, gave a new lease to the Czech language and pushed Czech art, and particularly music, to the forefront of Europe. As we