The life and work of Jiří Sequens, a Czech film director who died in Prague on Monday at the age of 85, could well be the subject of a movie. A skilled filmmaker with a special gift for action adventures and detective stories, Sequens created one of the most popular and best received crime series in the history of Czech Television. But he also put his talent in the service of communist propaganda, filming the infamous '30 Cases of Major Zeman' which distorted modern Czech history in an unparalleled way.
Cinemas in the Czech Republic received 1.2 billion crowns, or more than 66 million US dollars, in revenues last year, the highest amount in history. 12.8 million people went to see at least one movie in 2007, which was 1.3 million moviegoers more as compared to the previous year. The two films with top box office ratings in 2007 were both Czech – Vratné láhve, or Empties, and I Served the King of England.
Former dissident/playwright turned president Václav Havel remains one of the country’s most well-known and most respected figures, both at home and abroad, whose rise to office had the making of both fairy tale and absurdist drama. In the early ‘90s, Vanity Fair published a famous piece about Mr Havel as a president unlike any other: a man with a scooter to zip through the corridors of Prague Castle, a president who invited Frank Zappa to the capital, in short, a kind of head of state no one had seen before.
Feature films and series shoots dominated at Prague’s well-known Barrandov Studio in 2007, the firm’s Anna Hanzalková told the Czech news agency ČTK on Friday. According to the representative, demand outnumbered capacity last year, with much of Barrandov being blocked for the second instalment of the blockbuster fantasy film Prince Caspian - part of the Narnia series. Larger TV commercial shoots also dominated. As a result, several dozen smaller commercials and projects reportedly had to be turned away. In recent years Barrandov has been even more high-profile projects, including 2006’s Casino Royale, with actor Daniel Craig in the role of famous British spy James Bond.
The club of modelers in the Moravian town of Vsetín goes back many years. Its members are exclusively men – in fact some of them claim that a woman would never have the patience to spend hundreds of hours gluing together tiny components in order to make a perfect replica of a plane, train or boat. Recently they had been producing and selling battery-powered airplane models that attracted kids from far and wide but they never dreamed that one day their hobby would lead them to make bigger and better things for Hollywood filmmakers.
Jan Saudek is one of the Czech Republic’s best-known photographers, whose work is instantly recognizable for his trademark use of coloration and scarred backdrops, his subjects sometimes intimate, sometimes provocative, nudes. Not long ago, Adolf Zika, a world-class fashion and artistic photographer in his own right, completed a feature film about Mr Saudek which has now hit Czech cinemas. Titled “Jan Saudek – Trapped by his Passions, No Hope for Rescue”, the film is an attempt to take a closer look at the man behind a very public persona: that
Attendance at Czech cinemas was evidently at its highest in 13 years in 2007, the Union of Czech Film Distributors said. Between the start of January and the end of November last year, just over 11.75 million viewers had watched movies in Czech cinemas, a rise of around a quarter of a million on the same period in 2006. Industry figures say the number for the whole of 2007 should reach 12.5 million. Receipts were also up, with the popularity of Czech-made films given as the reason for both increases.
“…A Bude Hůř” (It’s Gonna Get Worse), published in 1985 by author Jan Pelc, based in Paris at the time, has long enjoyed cult status, arguably remaining one of the rawest testimonies of the Normalisation period which followed the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. The novel maps main character Olin and his acquaintances’ descent into booze and drugs in the ‘70s in a working class area in north Bohemia, a hard-hitting cocktail of abuse and destruction underlined by daily clashes with authority and a desire for escape.
The Czech Republic paid a memorable visit to a highly regarded culture venue in Brooklyn, New York, recently, when the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Cinematheque played host to the 'New Czech Films' festival. Leading representatives of Czech cinema such as director Jiri Menzel and actress Klara Issova came to Brooklyn for the event, which has now been running for eight years.
Some time ago, several Czech newspapers and magazines started including film DVDs in their editions, following the example of various foreign publications.Earlier this year, the daily Lidove Noviny released ‘The Shop on the Main Street’, the first Czechoslovak Academy Award winning movie that I have since seen many times over. A brilliant psychological study, shot in 1965, the film is set in a small Slovak town during the Second World War and offers a thrilling yet chillingly calm view of the Holocaust. Another Czech newspaper, Mlada Fronta Dnes,
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