Celebrated author, screenwriter and documentary filmmaker Jiří Stránský has died, at the age of 87. A former political prisoner, he led the Czech branch of the international PEN club after the fall of communism and later headed the state cinematography fund. He also dedicated himself to educating schoolchildren about the perils of totalitarianism – all the while nurturing an infectious optimism.
The 12 films contending for the Best Film Crystal Globe at the 54th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival have just been announced. They include works by hot young directors, as well as faces familiar to regular attendees at the Czech Republic’s biggest cinema event. However, when the festival takes place from the end of June there will be no Czech films in the main competition, which is something I discussed with KVIFF’s artistic director, Karel Och.
Mexican animator José García Moreno studied at Prague’s famous film school FAMU and apprenticed at the animation studio Bratři v triku in the last years of communist Czechoslovakia. There, he made his fist short film, and developed what would prove to be a life-long love for Czech auteurs, especially the surrealist Jan Švankmajer. Now a professor in Los Angeles, he spoke to Radio Prague about the differences between American and central European animation, Czech and Mexican humour, and the need for tactility and relation to the animated object through
Waldemar Matuška, without question one of the most gifted Czech popular singers of the modern era, passed away 10 years ago this month, on May 30, 2009. Born Vladimír Matuška in Košice, Slovakia, he grew up in Prague and started out as an actor with the legendary theatre company Semafor, before making an impact in movies such as If a Thousand Clarinets and All My Good Countrymen.
With three books published just last year, Marek Toman is currently one of the most prolific Czech authors. He last spoke to Radio Prague almost three years ago after he published a novel narrated by a building – Černín Palace, seat of the Czech Foreign Ministry. Since then, he has written two other novels closely connected to historical Prague. When we met up I asked him what it was about Prague and its particular districts that inspired him to write whole books about them.
The 18th edition of the annual Prague Fringe festival is set to start on Friday. Theatres, cafes and many other spaces in the Czech capital’s picturesque Malá Strana district will host a weeklong programme packed with events ranging from theatre to music. The festival is the brainchild of Scotsman Steve Gove, who has been based in the Czech capital since the 1990s. He says the relatively small size of the Prague Fringe is actually an advantage.
The eleventh edition of the Night of Open Churches gets underway across the Czech Republic on Friday. This year, more than 1,600 churches and other religious sites will remain open to the public until the late night hours. Visitors will be also able to attend concerts, exhibitions, workshop and other programmes:
The annual nationwide Festival of Museum Nights, during which museums and cultural institutions around the country organize special events and late-night opening hours for visitors, is traditionally preceded by a gala ceremony at which the Czech Association of Museums and Galleries hands out Gloria Musaealis awards in different categories. The award ceremony took place in Prague’s Municipal House on Thursday night and carried a special significance for the winners.