At the start of The Invisible Men, which is being shown at the One World festival of human rights documentaries in Prague, a gay Palestinian named Louie describes how his father – on discovering his sexual orientation – brutally attacked him, slashing his face open with a knife. Louie has moved to Israel where he is relatively safe (and even wears a Star of David to blend in), but he faces great uncertainty every day. Prior to a screening, the film’s Israeli director Yariv Mozer outlined the predicament of such “invisible men”.
The award-winning film Sofia’s Last Ambulance, which is now screening at the One World festival of human rights documentaries, records the experiences of an ambulance crew in the Bulgarian capital over two years, capturing moments of high human drama against the backdrop of a barely functioning system. Travelling with the medics were two filmmakers, director Ilian Melev and soundman Tom Kirk. The latter, who is a guest at the festival, told me it had often been an intense experience.
Bravehearts, which opened the One World festival of human rights documentaries in Prague on Monday night, follows politically engaged Norwegian students preparing for student elections. However, midway through filming Norway suffered a terrible tragedy, when Anders Behring Breivik shot dead 69 people at a Labour Party youth camp after setting off a bomb in Oslo. One of the film’s protagonists was there.
The film Ve stínu (In the Shadow) has swept the boards at the Czech Lions, the country’s annual movie awards ceremony. After being nominated in 11 categories, Ve stínu picked up prizes in nine – including Best Film, Best Actor, Best Director and Best Screenplay – at a ceremony at Prague’s Lucerna on Saturday night. A lifetime’s achievement award was presented to veteran art director Karel Černý, who won an Academy Award for his work on the 1984 Miloš Forman movie Amadeus.
The 2013 One World festival of human rights documentaries kicks off in Prague on Monday. Over a week and a half, this year’s festival, the 15th, will present more than 100 films on subjects ranging from the international hackers group Anonymous to acid attacks on women in Pakistan to a homeless New Yorker who’s become friends with top film stars. The theme of this year’s One World is tolerance and intolerance; festival director Hana Kulhánková told me why.
The Czech cinematographers’ association handed out their annual awards in Prague on Saturday. The prize for best camera in feature film went to Marek Jícha for the movie Love is Love while Petr Koblovský won the award for best camera in TV film for the film Applause. Petr Polách, who died last year, was recognized for his life-time contribution to cinematography.
The comedy Babovřesky has set a new Czech box-office record after selling 140,000 tickets in its opening week. The film stars the likes of Lucie Vondráčková and Lucie Bílá and is directed by Zdeněk Troška, who says its huge success is down to the fact it allows viewers to enjoy a laugh and escape from their daily concerns. Critics have received the film coolly. Mr. Troška, who has a string of successful movies to his name, has also directed operas.
Many small-town cinema houses in the Czech Republic may have to close down this year because they lack the finances to go digital. Only 36 percent of Czech cinemas have met this requirement so far, with 155 cinema houses of an overall 426 having started digital projection. The country’s 27 multiplexes all meet the required standard. The Czech Republic currently has the densest network of cinema houses in Europe.
Tereza Porybná took over as director of the Czech Centre in London earlier this month. Her professional and academic experience have been quite varied – for many years she worked on humanitarian and development projects in Ethiopia, ran the biggest documentary film festival in the Czech Republic and had completed a doctorate in visual anthropology, receiving a Fulbright grant to do research in the United States.
The maker of a miniseries on the 1969 death of Jan Palach and its aftermath has hit back at statements made about him by a former head of the Communist Party. Polish director Agnieska Holland told the new website iDnes.cz that making Palach out to be a Communist represented an abuse of his legacy. On Friday, hard-line Communist Miroslav Grebeníček said Palach had acted out of sympathy for the reform Communists defeated by the Soviet-led invasion of August 1968, adding that claiming he had become a symbol of the struggle against totalitarian Communism was completely misleading. He made the comments during a debate prior to a vote that made January 16, the anniversary of Palach’s self-immolation, a day honouring his memory. Ms. Holland – whose three-part Burning Bush is currently being screened – said the student’s actual aim had been to spark resistance to Communist rule. The Oscar-nominated director, who is 64, studied at Prague’s FAMU film school and was herself involved in anti-regime activities around the time of Palach’s death.
Remnants of medieval wall dating back to 1041 unearthed in Břeclav
Prague flats most expensive in Central Europe, in terms of average earnings
Measures taken as over 60 percent of Czech Republic hit by extreme drought
Beer, schnitzel and mushroom picking – unique set of emojis captures Czech soul
Barbora Strýcová, 33, in “best form” ahead of Wimbledon semi-final against Serena Williams