This week marks exactly 100 years since the death of Josef Hlávka, an architect, builder and the biggest Czech philanthropists of all time. This year, it has been 104 years since Hlávka established a foundation in support of education, science and art. When he died, he bequeathed all his property to the foundation. It was probably the only case in Czech history that someone left his entire fortune to charity. Yet, nowadays, many people don’t even know who Josef Hlávka was.
One of the legends of Czech theatre, the actor Radovan Lukavský, died on Monday at the age of 88. Lukavský’s renown was largely built on such performances as his 1960s Hamlet at the National Theatre, though many Czechs will remember him for his part in a 1970s TV adaptation of a novel by Alois Jirásek. Ruth Fraňková looks back at the life of one of the all-time great Czech actors.
This week in Mailbox: the beneficial properties of sea water once again, the Barrandov film studios in Prague, an Oscar for Czech musician Markéta Irglová, the 30th anniversary of Czech cosmonaut Vladimír Remek’s flight into space. Listeners quoted: Robert Fraser, Howard Barnett, Stephen Hrebenach, Thomas Kuca.
It’s Wednesday night and Kino Aero in Prague’s Žižkov district is swarming with people. Despite it’s slightly run down interior and uncomfortable creaky chairs this small cinema has become a legendary venue here in Prague and people don’t mind spending the extra twenty minutes or so that it takes to get here from the city centre. Kino Aero has just recently celebrated ten years of its existence and I went to meet its manager Ivo Andrle to find out what exactly it is that makes the place so special:
A new indy rock band called Airfare has been making headlines in the Czech Republic in the weeks following the release of the group’s first album, Hotel Moscow. The catchy first single off the CD “Sorry Baby” has made its way up the charts and has attracted the attention of many new listeners. Led by Czech-American frontman Thomas Lichtag, the band is clearly making an impact.
The 10th Jeden Svět (One World) festival of human rights documentary films begins in Prague on Wednesday night. The focus of the 2008 festival is on dictatorships, while other highlights will include rare Czechoslovak documentaries from the 1960s hidden away for decades. And this year’s One World is – for the first time – also set to visit a number of world cities.
When they give a bagful of Academy Awards to some load of epic rubbish, as they seem to so often do, it merely confirms my belief that the Academy is made up of sentimental Hollywood insiders lobbied to within an inch of their lives. But when they give an Oscar to a director/actor/film I admire I instantly (and stupidly) attach value to the award and am really pleased. At least you got it right this time, I think.
In this edition of Czechs Today, we talk to Ondřej Kohout, a painter and stage designer who left Czechoslovakia with his family in the early 1980s after signing the Charter 77 manifesto. He went to live in Vienna where he reunited with his father, the poet and playwright Pavel Kohout, who had been forced out of his country by communist authorities. In the Austrian capital Ondřej Kohout established himself as an independent artist, and since 1983 he has had more than 60 exhibitions in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany and other European countries.
The young Czech musician Markéta Irglová charmed many around the world with her winning appearance at Sunday night’s Oscars ceremony, where she and her Irish partner Glen Hansard took the award for best original song for Falling Slowly. Markéta, who only graduated from secondary school last summer, is from the quiet south Moravian town of Valašské Meziříčí. However, perhaps it isn’t so quiet at the moment: local people have been celebrating her wonderful success – and are now considering how they should honour the 19-year-old. Irena Brauwerová works