Hugo Haas was one of the stars of Czechoslovak cinema's golden age of the 1930s. This versatile actor and director was hugely popular in the First Republic and he appeared in a number of classic films from that era. Despite his success, however, Haas's life and career - like that of so many other Czechs who lived during this period - was blighted by the tide of history that swept through Czechoslovakia in the 20th century.
Vladimir Simek and Kamila Broulova-Simkova are a well-known husband & wife team that has been making TV documentaries in different parts of the world - from Baikal, Russia, to South America, for years. Their films air as part of the "Ceske stopy" documentary series that follows in the footsteps of famous Czech adventurers or explorers from the past.
This week sees the grand opening of the 13th annual Febiofest film festival, a regular date in the diaries of the nation's film buffs. It starts in the capital Prague, before moving on to Moravia, stopping off in Brno, Olomouc and Ostrava, before returning to Bohemia for shows in Liberec, Jihlava and Pardubice. There are 284 films being shown in this year's festival in various categories, from an Andy Warhol retrospective to a panorama of Young European Cinema. I've been finding out more from festival spokesman Pavel Sladky.
Czech cinema is experiencing a new trend. In the last two months, three teenage comedies hit the theatres, which is more than in the past decade. Inspired by the unexpected success of the 2004 smash-hit "Snowboardaci" or "Snowboarders", Czech filmmakers started churning out comedies targeted at teenage viewers - an estimated two thirds of all cinema audiences in the Czech Republic.
On Thursday evening, the closing ceremonies of Prague's One World documentary film festival honoured Swiss director Eric Bergkraut's film, "Coca: The Dove from Chechnya" with the Rudolf Vrba Award, for the best film in the category of Right to Know. Now in its 8th year, this year the One World festival screened 118 films from 40 different countries. During the festival Eric Bergkraut spoke to me about his film, and why he chose to feature Chechnya in his latest documentary.
Exactly a month ago the American documentary "Super Size Me" opened in Prague. On the same day, a volunteer started a similar experiment to the one the film's director, Morgan Spurlock, went through. Instead of eating McDonald's food for a month like Morgan Spurlock did, the Czech "human guinea pig" volunteered to eat typical Czech pub food for thirty days to see what effect it was going to have on his health. On Wednesday night he presented the results of his experiment in a Prague cinema - and they were quite surprising.
Featuring the lives of a group of young friends who live in a shabby housing development in a poor industrial region in Bohemia, Bohdan Slama's film "Stesti" or "Something Like Happiness" has received broad critical acclaim both at home and abroad. On Saturday, it clinched seven prizes at the Czech Lion Awards (Cesky Lev) - the country's own national version of the Oscars.
It is not in the nature of Miroslav Janek to make plans. The film director and editor believes in coincidence. Things happen, days go by and bring along the subjects of his documentaries. The very last 'coincidence' happened, when he was invited to take a look at the lives of Czech orphans. It led to the short movie Chacipe. This meaningless word was made up by children from a Czech orphanage, who are the film's stars, and also co-directors.
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