Unable to get permission to film there, the young Czech documentary maker Linda Jablonská took a different approach after learning that tourists are allowed to bring video cameras below a certain size into North Korea. She and her team joined an officially sanctioned Czech tour group, recording the reactions of members of the party to conditions in the tightly controlled country. Welcome to North Korea! is one of a number of Czech films being shown at One World – and indeed was directly inspired by an encounter at the festival of human rights
The One World festival was launched in Prague on Wednesday night with a powerful documentary called Burma VJ, highlighting the work of brave journalists who secretly film human rights abuses in the country. With foreign media banned, theirs was the only footage of the turmoil in Burma during the huge protests of 2007 that became known as the Saffron Revolution.
A decade after it was launched, the One World (Jeden Svět) festival of human rights documentaries has become one of the most exciting events in Czech culture. Organisers say it has also become the biggest and most important event of its kind in Europe. One World 2009 turns the spotlight on the two decades since the fall of communism, with Václav Havel no less appearing in the festival trailer.
The sci-fi action thriller Wanted, starring Angelina Jolie, and shot largely in the Czech Republic, received a nomination for Best Sound Mixing at this year’s Academy Awards. Czech soundman Petr Forejt - a veteran on numerous international projects – was part of the team, and although the film didn’t take the Oscar in the end, even a nomination is considered a major success. This Friday Jan Velinger spoke to Petr Forejt in Radio Prague’s studio, asking what it was like to work on Wanted as well as his first reaction when he learned he was an Oscar
The Committee of the Regions of Europe is meeting in Prague this Friday for what is the largest-scale event of the Czech Republic’s EU presidency. To accompany the conference, a festival promoting the food and drink of various European regions is taking place on Prague’s Wenceslas Square. ‘Ochutnejte Evropu’ offers passers-by tasters of French wine, Belgian beer and a musical programme as well. Rosie Johnston was at the opening:
Recent statistics revealed that every tenth inhabitant in the Czech capital is a foreigner. Ever since the fall of communism, the English-speaking community has been one of the strongest parts of the city’s cosmopolitan culture. This week, Christian Falvey visited the Prague Playwriting Contest, which has become a staple event of that community’s cultural calendar.
Karel Kryl is considered by many to be the greatest Czech folk singer ever to have lived. He was the voice of a generation, with this song - ‘Bratříčku, zavírej vrátka’ - becoming an anthem of protest against the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Kryl, who died 15 years ago this week, continues to enjoy a massive popularity in this country. One of the first people to spot his talent was DJ and music critic Jiří Černý:
My guest for today’s One on One is violin virtuoso Václav Hudeček. Originally a child prodigy, Hudeček played London’s Royal Albert Hall when just fifteen years of age. In the 1960s, Hudeček became something of a violin-playing sex-symbol, selling out stadiums all over Czechoslovakia. In more recent years, he has set up a summer violin academy to encourage young talent in Luhačovice. He is currently touring the world as part of the Czech EU presidency, presenting Czech music and culture abroad. When I met him recently, I asked him how he got involved
This week Czech Books talks to a popular bookman about town, Miroslav Peraica. Miroslav is originally from Croatia but has worked in the book trade in Prague for well over a decade and is now involved in running three of the city's English language bookshops. Over the years his interest in literature has led him to become involved in a variety, or as he puts it, a "mosaic", of cultural ventures, from organising film shows, hosting lectures, editing a literary magazine, and, most recently, setting up a publishing house to translate contemporary