The Irish independent film Once has been a surprise success in the United States this year. Shot in just two and a half weeks for USD 160,000, it has taken in over 10 million at the box office since making a big splash at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Once tells the story of an Irish busker who gradually starts to fall for a struggling Czech immigrant as they begin writing music together. We spoke to the movie's stars Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova ahead of the recent Czech premiere.
Now, are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin... Once upon a time, in a land far, far, away, a group of celebrities met to read their favourite fairytales to children who had gathered to listen. On Tuesday night, former President Vaclav Havel was joined by musicians, sportspeople, and filmmakers at an event called 'From My Favourite Children's Book...' The evening included readings from well-known Czech children's classics, as well as songs, and stories written by Mr. Havel himself. This mix of music and fairytale seemed to go down a treat
The second annual KomiksFEST, which claims to be one of the biggest festivals of its kind in Central Europe, is currently in full swing here in Prague. Cinemas, theatres and galleries all over the Czech capital are running posters, comics and cartoon exhibitions, while there are also film and theatre performances inspired by comics. R.F. spoke with the programme director and one of the founders of the festival, Tomas Matejicek, and started by asking what led him to establish the festival in the first place.
Surrounded by railway sidings and industrial estates, it's easy to get the impression that Kolin is simply a town travellers pass through on the way from the Czech capital to the nearby tourist-friendly Kutna Hora. Nevertheless, anyone who gets off the train in Kolin and takes the trouble to walk the short distance past the factories and business parks to the city centre will find that it is a place worth visiting.
Bands like Mig 21 and Chinaski may be pretty famous here in the Czech Republic, but might well leave you asking 'who?' That might not be the situation for that much longer, however, with the Czech Republic discussing plans for a Music Export Office - to raise the profile of Czech pop abroad. If it goes ahead with the plans, the Czech Republic will join the ranks of Finland, Denmark, Sweden and France, who all already have such government-funded offices to promote their musicians in other markets. Who better to fill me in on the situation than the
Zapomenute obrazy Praha 19. stoleti ( Forgotten Pictures, 19th Century Prague) is the name of an exhibition currently running at the Museum of the City of Prague. Of the 180 paintings on show, almost half have never been exhibited before, while a number are by unknown artists. What's more, many of the works on display document parts of the Czech capital which today no longer exist. Zdenek Mika is the curator of the exhibition - he told us all about it.
Last week the best-known living Czech author, Milan Kundera, was awarded the State Prize for Literature. The award sparked plenty of debate about the 78-year-old writer, who's lived in France since the 1970s and rarely returns to his homeland; he was not present to collect the award, citing ill health. It was given for the Czech edition of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, which was published in French in 1984 but not published in Czech - officially - until last year. Kundera's three most recent novels - published in French and translated into
In this edition of Czech Books we introduce a completely new piece of Czech writing. A couple of years ago in this programme we featured the Romany writer Ilona Ferkova, one of a handful of authors in this country writing in the Romani language, traditionally spoken by Roma across Europe. When I first met Ilona and her family at their home in the West Bohemian town of Rokycany, they had recently returned from Britain. At the end of the 1990s they had been among the many Czech Romany families, who had gone there to seek asylum. They spent four years
Since the 1990s a number of imported holidays - like St Valentine's or St Patrick's - have made something of an inroad in Prague and perhaps other Czech cities, not least because they make fairly decent commercial sense: Valentine's actually a good deal of customers to the florists every February 14th, while St Paddy's helps fill up the city's already heavily visited Irish pubs. But one "holiday" which has made less of an impact, perhaps surprisingly, is Halloween. After many years in the Czech Republic, I must admit that I feel a tinge, just a