The documentary Oko nad Prahou (The Eye Above Prague), which premiered in the city on Wednesday night, is about Jan Kaplický winning the contract to build a new National Library building in the Czech Republic’s first ever international architecture tender. However, his futuristic design – nicknamed the Blob – soon met opposition from the president and others and the plan was abandoned. Tragically, the Czech-born architect died last year on the day his wife gave birth to their first child. I spoke to Kaplický’s widow Eliška Kaplický Fuchsová, who produced the film, and asked her what she felt the fate of the Blob told us about the Czech Republic today. More
PanoramaMamas & Papas – an intimate new film by director Alice Nellis – to premiere in Czech cinemas
Alice Nellis, the writer and director of the awarding-winning feature Tajnosti (Little Girl Blue) will next week see the release of her highly-anticipated new film called Mamas & Papas, a story of four couples whose lives, intertwined, are changed through parenthood (or aspects of it), events both within and outside of their control: childbirth, adoption, abortion or loss. The couples, connected but also “atomized”, all deal differently with their situation to greater or lesser degrees of success – and no solution in the film is ideal. More
Filmy patří lidu (Films Belong to the People) is the title of a series of Socialist Realist pictures that have been released on DVD in the Czech Republic in recent months. These propaganda-filled films are from the 1950s, the harshest decade of the communist era, notorious for its brutal repression, show trials and forced labour camps. More
For all the funny people who have contributed to a century of Czech filmmaking, the title “King of Comics” belongs to only one. Vlasta Burian would be 119 years old next month, and he would be very proud of his reputation indeed, still a star of the Czech television screen today. But his career as a comedian went hand in hand with the tragedies of the 20th century, and in his lifetime he was a pauper, a prince, and a pauper again. More
The Czech Film and Television Academy, or FAMU, has been educating filmmakers for over 60 years. Among its students were such personalities of Czech and international cinema as Miloš Forman, Jiří Menzel, Agneiszka Holland and Jan Svěrák. In this edition of One on One we talk to Pavel Jech, the dean of the famed film school. Pavel Jech was born in Prague but grew up in the United States, where his parents moved after 1968, when he was only two months old. After graduating in history at Columbia University in New York, Pavel Jech returned to Prague in 1990 where his life took a different turn. More
Current AffairsOnly Czech film in main competition at One World captures transformation process in Kyrgyzstan
All that Glitters by Tomáš Kudrna is the only Czech film in the main competition at the One World festival of human rights documentaries in Prague. The film is about what happens when Western investors take over a gold mine in a town in the ex-Soviet state of Kyrgyzstan which is also threatened by environmental disaster. I spoke to the director of All that Glitters ahead of its world premiere on Saturday. More
While all eyes were on the awarding of the Oscars in Los Angeles on Sunday, the main event in cinema in the Czech Republic came a day earlier with the awarding of the Czech Lions. This year ten Czech films competed in 13 categories. The film Protektor by director Marek Najbrt dominated, winning six awards on the night, including Best Picture. More
The film Protector directed by Marek Najbrt triumphed at the 17th annual Czech Lion Awards picking up six trophies: the coveted award for best Czech film as well as the awards for best screenplay, best direction, best music, best editing and best leading actress. The Czech Film and Television Academy has nominated the film to represent the Czech Republic at the Oscars. Three Seasons in Hell directed by Tomas Mašín collected three awards, for best leading actor (Kryštof Hádek) best camera and best sound. The awards for supporting actor and actress went to Ladislav Chudík and Daniela Kolářová who both appeared in Kawasaki’s Rose directed by Jan Hřebejk. The special award for outstanding contribution to Czech film went to actress Jana Brejchová.
Six films are in the running for the 17th annual Czech Lion Awards due to be announced on Saturday evening. Among the nominees selected by the Czech film and Television Academy are Three seasons in Hell directed by Tomas Mašín, Protector directed by Marek Najbrt and Jan Hřebejk’s Kawasaki’s Rose. The film academy has already selected actress Jana Brejchová for the prize given for lifelong-contribution to Czech cinematography. The Czech equivalent of the Oscars will take place at Prague’s Lucerna ballroom.
Cameraman Juraj Šajmovič, born in Czechoslovakia in 1932, will receive a lifetime achievement award on Saturday recognising his contribution to Czech cinema and television production. The cameraman worked on such projects as Return to Paradise Lost by director Vojtěch Jasný, the film Golet v Údolí (for which he received a Czech Lion), and the TV series l13 komnata (13th chamber). The Association of Czech Cinematographers is made up of around 190 members; members of the jury deciding this year’s lifetime achievement honour included film critic Věra Míšková and director David Ondříček.