Roman Zuzuk is a Ukrainian born artist who runs a gallery with his brother Miroslav in Prague's Mala Strana. Roman studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kiev, and came to Prague in 1991 to begin painting professionally. His work features colourful dreamscapes and illogical scenarios, musical themes and interaction between humans and animals. Roman lived in Prague until January 2000 and now resides in Toronto, Canada. He comes back here every year to visit the city, and his gallery. That's where I caught up with him a few days ago.
Petr Zelenka has long been recognised as one of the most talented filmmakers of his generation, whose quirky films including a mockumentary about a famous Czech folk singer have been well received by both critics and wider audiences. This summer, the director completed filming on The Karamazovs, a film - as the title makes explicit - which takes inspiration from Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky's greatest novel, The Brothers Karamazov. Zelenka is now in post-production, but already the film is being viewed with great anticipation, a story which
Vaclav Havel was back in his original role as playwright on Wednesday, when, at a theatre in Prague, the former Czech president presented the book form of "Odchazeni", or "Leaving". The long awaited and widely discussed play will appear in the bookshops in less than a two week's time. However, Mr Havel's first new play in 18 years will not be premiered until the end of May or the beginning of June.
If you were to enter the Salesianske theatre in Kobylisy this week, this is the kind of sound that would greet you. The event is the first annual 'Krajanske Folklorni Festival', or 'Compatriot Folklore Festival' a unique gathering of Czechs and their descendants outside the Czech Republic who practice the traditions of their ancestors, and for whom the Czech lands continue to play a large role in determining their identity.
It would be hard to meet a Czech whose childhood was not touched (perhaps unconsciously) by the art of Jiri Trnka, a painter, puppeteer, illustrator and above all, the founding father of Czech animated film. His poetic drawings brought immortality to books that would otherwise be long forgotten. And his animated films bestowed dozens of puppets and drawings with life.
The 11th Czech Film Festival begins in London on Thursday with a screening of Grandhotel by David Ondricek and a Q+A session with the director. But this year viewers around the UK will have the chance to enjoy movies from this part of the world, as the showcase Made in Prague: New Czech Cinema visits 13 cities in England and Scotland. As final preparations were being made for the touring festival, I spoke to organiser Renata Clark of the Czech Centre in London.
Reading has friends in some very high places here in the Czech Republic. Last week, former president Vaclav Havel and a group of other famous names besides got together to encourage parents to read to their children for at least twenty minutes a day. To support the cause, Mr. Havel and friends chose their own favourite children's book, and read from it, to an audience of young Czechs, up way past their bed time.
Representatives of Czech communities from all over the world are gathering in Prague this week for a new festival celebrating Czech culture outside the Czech Republic. The first annual folklore festival for krajane, or Czechs living abroad, has the support of members of the Senate, where the festival had its inaugural ceremony on Monday. The highlights of the festival include an exhibit of traditional handicrafts, projections of documentary films concerning Czech culture outside the Czech Republic, as well as presentations of traditional folk singing