It’s lights, camera, action in Karlovy Vary, with the town’s 43rd annual film festival kicking off on Friday. Over the next eight days, festival-goers will be treated to screenings of over 220 films, and around 60 premieres. Each year, the population of the picturesque and otherwise tranquil West Bohemian spa town swells to over three times its normal size - as industry bigwigs, stars, and film-lovers flock to Karlovy Vary from all over the world.
For the next three months visitors will have an unparalleled opportunity to view work by famous 20th century Czech photographer Václav Chochola, at Prague Castle. Part of the Maximum Photography series, the show features large scan prints of some of the late artist’s best known photographs – from moody industrial landscapes to portraits to more experimental work.
Czech Muslims are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the first mosque ever built in the Czech Republic which opened in 1998 in the city of Brno. While ten years ago, the Islamic Foundation in Brno had to face protests and their mosque had to do without a minaret, today the community is thriving and even planning to build a new, greater mosque in the Moravian capital.
Katka Garcia, as her name suggests, is half Czech and half Spanish, with a bit of Russian thrown in. In addition to that she sings traditional music from Ireland and Scotland. She currently lives in Dublin and teaches Spanish at Trinity College and occasionally comes to Prague to perform with her fellow musicians. I caught up with her during her last visit.
The Old Royal Palace at Prague Castle is currently hosting an exhibition of photographs by Jiří Všetečka, a photographer who is best known for his pictures of the Czech capital. The exhibition entitled Pražský chodec or Prague Walker takes place on the occasion of the photographer’s 70th birthday. It looks back at his career, spanning more than 50 years.
Prague has lost one of its best-known and best-loved literary figures. The writer Lenka Reinerová died on Friday at the age of 92. Her novels and stories, which drew richly from her adventurous life, were written in her native German, and she was often described as Prague’s last German writer. Lenka Reinerová was one of few surviving witnesses of the rich German speaking literary world of Prague between the wars, and she knew many of its best known figures, including Max Brod and the famous „roving reporter“, Egon Erwin Kisch. David Vaughan looks
Guitarist David Dorůžka, one of the country’s most promising jazz musicians, has recently released his second album called Silently Dawning. Born in 1980, he started regularly performing at just 14, and later studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston. David Dorůžka wrote all the songs on the new LP. But where does the title Silent Dawning come from?
A corner of Prague Castle's grounds long hidden and possibly forgotten by many has been restored and opened to the public for the first time this month. The Saint Wenceslas' Vineyard and the Villa Richter, a summer house on the same site, were long closed off to the public. But now, after careful reconstruction, visitors will be able to take in a tour of the Villa and Vineyards whilst visiting Prague's world famous castle.
As well as being a poet and novelist, Martin Reiner is one of this country’s most successful publishers. He has been in the business since 1991, first at Brno’s Nakladatelství Petrov, which he took over after a year at the helm, and more recently at Nakladatelství Druhé město (Second City Publishers), which he set up in 2005. He publishes the Czech Republic’s best-selling contemporary writer, Michal Viewegh, as well as Jiří Kratochvil, Ivan Wernisch, and indeed himself. I met him in a café in sunny downtown Brno, which he moved back to in 1991
The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is one of the highlights on the Czech cultural calendar. In this, its 43rd year, the festival promises to be bigger than ever. It all kicks off in two weeks’ time in the pretty Bohemian spa town, but ahead of the grand opening, organizers held a meeting in Prague on Monday, to drop a few hints about what could be expected. I spoke to program director Julietta Sichel about what would be new at the festival this year: