Burning Bush, which explores the aftermath of the 1969 self-immolation of Jan Palach, recently swept the boards at the Czech Lion film awards. The Best Director prize went to Agnieszka Holland, while among those collecting a Lion for Best Film was producer Tomáš Hrubý. Though still students at Prague’s FAMU film school, Hrubý and his business partner have already notched up a string of successes with their company Nutprodukce.
Tim Burton is known for distinctive, stylised movies such as Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Now aficionados can enjoy the director’s art at a new exhibition in Prague simply entitled Tim Burton and His World. Ahead of its opening, the filmmaker recalled a previous trip to the city – and taking inspiration from a Czech filmmaker.
Personalities from the Czech filmmaking world paid a last tribute to director Věra Chytilová on Friday. The funeral of the famous Czech new wave filmmaker was held at Prague’s Strašnice crematorium. Those present included long time Karlovy Vary Film Festival organizer Eva Zaoralová and documentary film maker Olga Sommerová. Chytilová died at the age of 85 on March 12. A native of Ostrava, Chytilová became a leading figure of the new wave of Czech cinema of the 1960s with films such as Daises and Fruit of Paradise; her best-known later movies include Prefab Story, Calamity, The Jester and the Queen, and others.
A record 3,000 films – an increase of 100 percent say organisers – were entered for this year’s Zlín Film Festival focusing on children and youth. A selection of only around one-tenth will be chosen for screening, the festival’s spokesman Martin Pášma said. More films than previously were reportedly sent from countries in South America. The festival takes place from May 30 to June 5 and is in its 54th year; last year some 95,000 people attended.
One of the most popular films at the recent One World festival of human rights documentaries in Prague was Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer. The story of the trial of three members of Pussy Riot for attempting to perform a protest song at a Moscow cathedral, it draws on interviews with their relatives and other members of the collective to create a vivid portrait of the controversial Russian group. Ahead of a screening I asked co-director Mike Lerner what had attracted him to the subject.
Czech film director Věra Chytilová died in Prague on Wednesday at the age of 85, her family said. A native of Ostrava, Chytilová became a leading figure of the new wave of Czech cinema of the 1960s with films such as Daises and Fruit of Paradies; her best-known later movies include Prefab Story, Calamity, The Jester and the Queen, and others. For many years, Věra Chytilová taught filmmaking at Prague’s FAMU film and TV school. In 1992, she was awarded the French Ordre des Artes et des Lettres, and in 1998, she received the Czech Medal of Merit. She made her last feature film, Pleasant Moments, in 1996.
Among the 100-plus films being screened at Prague’s One World festival of human rights documentaries is The Lost Signal of Democracy. It explores what happened last June when, a couple of years after the country’s financial meltdown, the Greek government shut down public broadcaster ERT overnight. A move unprecedented in Europe, the closure shocked many Greeks and led to a nationwide national strike. I spoke to the film’s maker, Yorgos Avgeropolous, and asked him why Greece’s leaders had taken such a radical step.
Among the highlights of this year’s One World festival of human rights documentaries is God Loves Uganda, a gripping film revealing how right-wing Christians – including LGBT opponent Scott Lively – campaigned successfully for anti-gay legislation in the African state. Ian Willoughby spoke to the Oscar-winning director of God Loves Uganda, Roger Ross Williams, and asked him why the Kansas-based International Church of House of Prayer had targeted Uganda in particular.
The Czech-produced Pirating Pirates, which premieres on Friday at Prague’s One World festival of human rights documentaries, looks at why some Somalis began raiding foreign vessels in the mid-1990s. But the film also has a fresh twist, as its makers find themselves struggling to establish the bona fides of locals claiming to be pirates and charging for interviews. I asked Pirating Pirates’ director David Čalek what had attracted him to the subject in the first place.
New flats in Prague increasingly out of reach
Lidice – the tragic fate of a village that became a powerful symbol
Largest protest since 1989 on Prague’s Wenceslas square as battle rages on for the PM’s political future
Czech politicians condemn draft Russian bill as attempt to rewrite history
Embattled Czech PM launches counter-offensive to win over public in Agrofert dispute