For weeks now ads on billboards, the metro, and Prague trams have advertised one of the biggest exhibitions of this artistic season – work by the internationally-acclaimed artist Jiří Georg Dokoupil at Prague Castle’s Riding School gallery. Lasting until May, the exhibition ‘Dokoupil 100’ should absolutely not be missed.
The documentary Oko nad Prahou (The Eye Above Prague), which premiered in the city on Wednesday night, is about Jan Kaplický winning the contract to build a new National Library building in the Czech Republic’s first ever international architecture tender. However, his futuristic design – nicknamed the Blob – soon met opposition from the president and others and the plan was abandoned. Tragically, the Czech-born architect died last year on the day his wife gave birth to their first child. I spoke to Kaplický’s widow Eliška Kaplický Fuchsová, who
The legendary Big Band of Czech Radio is celebrating 50 years of its existence. The history of the band goes back to the 1960s, when it was called the Czechoslovak Radio Orchestra. Over the years, the band cooperated with most of the country’s best known jazz and pop musicians. On Wednesday it will celebrate its anniversary with a concert at Národní Dům in Prague.
Joe Karafiát is a songwriter and guitarist with the legendary Czech underground rock band the Plastic People of the Universe. Karafiát, who has also played with groups like Garage and his own Joe Carnation Band, had first met the Plastic People’s Vratislav Brabenec in the 1980s when the two were living in exile in Canada, but didn’t become a member himself until 1997. When I met Joe Karafiát (53) in Prague last week, we first discussed his beginnings as a musician.
Alice Nellis, the writer and director of the awarding-winning feature Tajnosti (Little Girl Blue) will next week see the release of her highly-anticipated new film called Mamas & Papas, a story of four couples whose lives, intertwined, are changed through parenthood (or aspects of it), events both within and outside of their control: childbirth, adoption, abortion or loss. The couples, connected but also “atomized”, all deal differently with their situation to greater or lesser degrees of success – and no solution in the film is ideal.
A few weeks ago, the world celebrated the 200th birthday of one of the great composers of all time, Frederic Chopin, who was born just outside Warsaw in 1810. As elsewhere, Chopin’s anniversary year is being celebrated in the Czech Republic – and with good reason. Although in the course of his short life Chopin spent just a few weeks in Bohemia, his links to the Czechs are far from superficial. When he was a child, his first piano teacher was the Czech, Vojtěch Živný; many years later Chopin spent some of the happiest days of his life in the West
Filmy patří lidu (Films Belong to the People) is the title of a series of Socialist Realist pictures that have been released on DVD in the Czech Republic in recent months. These propaganda-filled films are from the 1950s, the harshest decade of the communist era, notorious for its brutal repression, show trials and forced labour camps.
After two years of reconstruction, Prague’s famed marionette theatre “Divadlo Spejbla a Hurvínka” is reopening its doors on Thursday. The newly renovated location is the home of the Czech Republic’s most famous puppets, the father-son pair of Spejbl and Hurvínek, and will also feature a puppet museum. Sarah Borufka reports.
For all the funny people who have contributed to a century of Czech filmmaking, the title “King of Comics” belongs to only one. Vlasta Burian would be 119 years old next month, and he would be very proud of his reputation indeed, still a star of the Czech television screen today. But his career as a comedian went hand in hand with the tragedies of the 20th century, and in his lifetime he was a pauper, a prince, and a pauper again.
The Czech Film and Television Academy, or FAMU, has been educating filmmakers for over 60 years. Among its students were such personalities of Czech and international cinema as Miloš Forman, Jiří Menzel, Agneiszka Holland and Jan Svěrák. In this edition of One on One we talk to Pavel Jech, the dean of the famed film school. Pavel Jech was born in Prague but grew up in the United States, where his parents moved after 1968, when he was only two months old. After graduating in history at Columbia University in New York, Pavel Jech returned to Prague