The film Masaryk by director Julius Ševčík won big at the Czech Lions on
Saturday, taking 12 awards including Best Picture. The win surpassed the
previous record of 11 wins set by Burning Bush (dir. Agnieszka Holland) in
2014. Actor Karel Roden, who portrayed the Czech diplomat Jan Masaryk, won
Best Actor, while the award for Best Actress went to Michalina Olszanská
for her role in I, Olga Hepnarova, (the story of a real-life murderer in
The biggest disappointment of the night was for WWII drama Anthropoid, about the assassination of Nazi reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich: the film had been nominated in nine categories but came away empty-handed in all the major awards. It did take a consolation prize, winning in the Film Fan category. Meanwhile, Czech Lions for outstanding contribution to Czech cinematography went to Eva Zaoralová and JiřÍ Bartoška for their peerless organization and running of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
A new biopic exploring aspects of the life of Jan Masaryk will be the most keenly anticipated Czech-produced film at this year’s Berlinale, which gets underway in the German capital on Thursday. A Prominent Patient depicts the famous politician and diplomat at a low point as the clouds of World War II draw near.
A new Czech biopic of politician Jan Masaryk will be shown in the main programme in the Berlin International Film Festival next month. Masaryk, helmed by director Julius Ševčík and starring well-known actor Karel Rodin, focuses on one period of the life of the politician, who was the son of Czechoslovakia’s founder, served as the country’s minister of foreign affairs and is believed by many to have been killed by the Communists in 1948.
Masaryk is the name of a new Czech, Slovak, and German co-production focusing on dramatic years in the life of Jan Masaryk, the son of Czechoslovakia’s first president, who served as ambassador to Britain. The story, directed by Julius Ševčík, focusses primarily on the years leading up to WWII, most notably the signing of the Munich Agreement in which Czechoslovakia was abandoned by its allies and large parts of the country were ceded to Nazi Germany.
A book issued at the end of last year has more than woken up a rather tired and threadbare debate about the death of former Czechoslovak foreign minister Jan Masaryk in 1948. Jan Masaryk, was found dead in his pyjamas in the street outside the foreign ministry. His death was explained as a suicide with the version given out that he had jumped from his flat at the foreign ministry building. But suspicions of murder were hard for the Communist authorities to quash. The communists had just taken over power a few weeks earlier.
During WWII, the London-based Czechoslovak government in exile had only one method of communicating regularly with its people at home: over the airwaves of the BBC. To discuss the content of these programmes, ministers’ broadcasting skills, coded messages to the resistance and much more, I recently caught up with academic Erica Harrison, who has conducted ground-breaking research into the subject. My first question: How much broadcasting did the exile government actually do?
Prague’s Czernin Palace, the seat of the Czech Republic’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is holding an open day on Friday, which is the anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe and a state holiday in the Czech Republic. Visitors will have an opportunity to view the interior of the palace, including the apartment of former Czechoslovak foreign minister Jan Masaryk, who tragically died there in 1948. The Open Day will also feature an exhibition of WWII photos by Ladislav Sitenský. The palace will be open between 9 AM and 5 PM. The building’s gardens will host a concert by Czech Philharmonic Jazz Band, starting at 3 PM. The Czernin Palace is one of the biggest Baroque buildings in the Czech Republic and has served the Czech Foreign Ministry since 1930s.
“We are a small country with a great tradition of freedom. We shall not give it up.” These are the words of Jan Masaryk, the son of Czechoslovakia’s first President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, addressing American servicemen in Plzeň in a tone of great optimism in November 1945. During the wartime occupation Masaryk had served as Czechoslovak foreign minister in exile in London, and he remained in the post after his return home, deciding to stay on even after the communist coup of February 1948. His immense popularity meant that the communists put up