The film ‘Little Girl Blue’ by Alice Nellis won ten nominations for the Český lev movie awards on Saturday. The film, known as ‘Tajnosti’ in Czech, was nominated for the best picture, best director, best screenplay, best cinematography, best actor, best actress, best supporting actress, best film editing, best musical score and best sound editing, covering 10 out of 12 categories of the Český lev film awards. ‘Little Girl Blue’ also won the Critics Award for 2007 while another successful Czech movie made last year, Empties, or Vratné láhve, won 9 nominations. The Český lev film awards for 2007 will be presented on March 1.
Last week Prague’s Barrandov studios celebrated 75 years of movie-making. On January 25, 1933, filming started on the thriller ‘Vrazda v Ostrovni ulici’ (Murder on Ostrovni street), a film which dazzled Czech critics and cinemagoers at the time with its state of the art sound effects. Over the years, the studios have played home to the famous Czech new-wave films of the 1960s, and in more recent years Hollywood blockbusters like James Bond and The Chronicles of Narnia. Earlier this week I paid Barrandov a visit to wish it a happy birthday and talk
Citizen Havel, a new fly-on-the-wall documentary about the former Czech president, premiered on Wednesday night in Prague. The film draws on 45 hours of unique behind-the-scenes footage of Václav Havel shot over a period of 13 years. The result is a film that lifts the curtain on the Havel presidency, in a way that no other politician has been captured on screen before.
Tomáš Baldýnský is one of the Czech Republic’s leading film critics and is known for not pulling any punches in his reviews. He is also the unpaid chairman of the government body which supports Czech film-making, though his term in the post ends soon. When we met the other day we discussed how he manages to reconcile those two activities. But that was after I put it to Tomáš Baldýnský that given the fact most movies aren’t particularly good, it must be hard to maintain his enthusiasm for reviewing.
There’s a rather unusual film festival underway at Prague’s Ořechovka cinema at the moment. Called “The Magic Eights”, it examines the strange significance of the number "8" in modern Czech history. The festival features around a dozen films either made in or about the crucial moments in this country’s recent past, most of which occurred in a year ending in "8".
In Business News this week: following panic selling earlier in the week, the Prague Stock Exchange sees its biggest rise in almost 15 years; the number of credit cards issued rises by a whopping 40 percent in one year; Czech Railways begins selling Sky Europe flight tickets at selected train stations; and cinema takings reach record figures, with a third of viewers attending Czech movies.
On Thursday, Prague’s Barrandov film studios celebrated their 75th birthday. Over the past three-quarters of a century, the studios have housed over 2,500 film shoots. It all started with the thriller ‘Vrazda v Ostrovni ulici’ (Murder on Ostrovni Street) – the first Czech film to combine dialogue with music. In more recent years, international blockbusters like the James Bond film Casino Royale have been shot on location in Barrandov’s hallowed halls. To mark its anniversary, I spoke to Norbert Auerbach, former head of Hollywood studio United Artists,
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.
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