The Prague Writers’ Festival which begins on June 6 is all about the encounter of ideas. Over the last twenty years this annual event has become a lively forum for writers from many parts of the world, and the diversity of their work and thought has been the festival’s greatest strength. This year it revolves around the theme of Heresy and Rebellion, pointing to the perennial tension between the writer and the society in which he or she lives. A couple of days ago I met the festival director, Michael March, to talk about this year’s event. We began
The Nové divadlo (New Czech Theatre) was established in the Canadian city of Toronto in 1970. Since then it has enjoyed several high points: the great actor Jiří Voskovec appeared in one production, Josef Škvorecký wrote a play for the amateur group and it staged the world premiere of the Czech language version of Václav Havel’s Temptation. Recently the New Czech Theatre received an award from the Czech Foreign Ministry for its work in promoting the good name of its founders’ native country. After the ceremony, I spoke about its beginnings with
Visitors to the Czech capital will likely have come across the legend of the Prague Golem – the famous man-like creature created by Rabbi Yehuda Loew – in the 16th century. The most popular depiction of the character is as a burly clay giant, designed by the late sculptor Jaroslav Horejc for the 1950s film The Emperor’s Baker/The Baker’s Emperor. On Tuesday, a Prague court recognised his descendant’s claim to the film version, meaning that anyone else using the character will have to pay for the rights.
My guest in One on One is Tomáš Škrdlant. With more than sixty films to his name, covering over thirty years, Tomáš is one of the Czech Republic’s foremost documentary film makers. Much of his work has focused on the lives of people living on the margins of society: sometimes because of disability, sometimes old age, or simply because they are different. This ties in with a second thread that runs through his films: our complex relationship to the world around us, how we identify with the place we live and its ecology. When I visited Tomáš Škrdlant
Just a week to go and the 65th International Prague Spring Music Festival takes to the many stages of the Czech capital. This year will see more than 60 concerts, theatre performances and other events and bring some of the world’s best composers and musicians to Prague. And what’s more, young performers will also about at this, one of Europe’s most important music festivals.
In 2004 Vít Klusák and Filip Remunda made a big splash with Český Sen, or Czech Dream, about a hoax they pulled on shoppers in Prague, using a big advertising campaign to draw them to a non-existent hypermarket. The documentary, originally their final project at film school, received a good deal of international attention for the way it raised questions about consumerism in a post-communist society.
If you had been listening to Radio Prague back in the late 1930s, it is very likely that you would have heard the voice of Ivan Jelínek. He was one of the pioneers of broadcasting in Czechoslovakia, and an early presenter of our broadcasts to Britain and North America. From the radio headquarters here in Vinohrady, he witnessed many of the dramas leading up to World War Two, including moment of the German occupation itself. During his wartime exile in Britain and in the decades that followed the war, Ivan Jelínek became a familiar voice in the
The extermination of the village of Lidice by the Nazis is one of the most harrowing tales of WWII, and Czech filmmakers are have long wanted to bring it to the screen. The acclaimed director Alice Nellis is set to helm the project, with some of the country’s top actors already on board. But still what would be an important historical film has been in a proverbial development hell for some years now. Amid a dearth of sponsors, the film’s producers are now looking to the public to help complete the budget. Earlier today, Radio Prague spoke with
April 30 is Čarodějnice, or Witches’ Night. In the past, this date was believed to bring the arrival of spring. People would gather to burn bonfires in order to dispel evil spirits. Nowadays, the celebration is still popular among Czechs, and the organizers of Prague’s biggest witches’ night celebration at Ladronka park are getting ready for a night full of magic and fire.