Lamis Khalilová is half Czech and half Palestinian. She is the head of the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at the Metropolitan University in Prague and is a member of the board of directors of Amnesty International for the Czech Republic. The battle for human rights is something that she cares about passionately and she has taken a particular interest in the complex problems faced by women in many parts of the Middle East. Lamis Khalilová also writes poetry and took part in the Poetry Festival that was held in the Czech Republic last November.
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.
After months of anticipation, and several unauthorized versions finding their way onto the internet, the Czech translation of the seventh and final Harry Potter book has been released. On Wednesday night, hundreds queued for a copy of Harry Potter a Relikvie Smrti – the Czech version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The official launch was held at Kanzelsberger bookshop, and organized by Klára Honzíková, to whom I spoke earlier today. She said she was happy with attendance at the launch:
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 this edition of Music Profile we take a brief look back at the long career of the undisputed king of Czech pop music, Karel Gott. The multi-million selling singer released his first single, a jazzy duet, in 1962. Just twelve months later Gott was voted Czechoslovakia's best singer; by the end of the decade he had become an international star.
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.
It’s Monday evening and the ballroom in Prague’s Lucerna is slowly filling up with teenagers in evening dresses. Girls are rushing to the dressing room to take off their trainers and slip into high-heeled shoes while boys are instructed to tuck in their shirts and spit out their chewing gums before they are allowed onto the dance floor. A lot has changed since 15 years ago, when I used to come here, but the tradition of Czech dancing lessons or “taneční”, as they are called, appears to enjoy the same popularity.