The hedonism of today’s wealthy young Russians is the focus of an exhibition of photographs by Antonín Kratochvíl which has just opened at Prague’s Mánes gallery. In Moscow Nights, he captures scenes of decadence as the city’s “golden youth” cavort in night clubs and even on Stalin’s old yacht. Just ahead of the show’s opening, I asked the great Czech photographer what had drawn him to that subject.
Prague’s Divadlo na Zábradlí is known mainly for staging former President Havel’s plays but in the last couple of years, it has also focused on producing English-language plays. Thursday will see the premiere of a play acted in English with Czech subtitles on the theatre’s main stage. The play, written by a young Polish author Dorota Maslowska, has a rather complicated title: A Couple of Poor Polish-Speaking Romanians in English with Czech Subtitles.
Not many people have their first book published when they are over 80, but Jaroslava Skleničková is a remarkable exception. Her home village is Lidice, a few miles to the west of Prague, where she and her husband Čestmír, will be celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary next year. But the fact that Jaroslava is alive at all is nothing short of a miracle. Her book, which has just been published in English, tells the moving story of her life, as David Vaughan reports in this week’s Czech Books.
A flower market on a giant paddle boat, a floating cycling path along the Vltava River or a special high-heels lane running across the cobbled centre of Prague – these are just a few projects created within the Urban Interventions initiative, which is currently on display in Prague’s Dox gallery. The organizers have asked architects to find ways of livening up what they see as problematic public spaces in the capital.
After three years of work, a new film by the Oscar-winning director Jan Svěrák called Kooky opened in Czech cinemas on Thursday. It is about a teddy bear lost in a forest inhabited by various fantastic creatures. It is shot using state of the art technology, and features the director’s father and son as voice actors.
After his images of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia flashed around the world in 1968, Josef Koudelka went on to become one of the greatest photo-journalists of our time. Now in his early 70s, he has just received an award for promoting the good name of Czech culture. At the same time, Koudelka has presented some of his most important works to a Prague museum.
In this week’s Spotlight we focus on a small exhibition at the City of Prague museum which aims to cast some light on the centuries old links between Czechs and Vietnamese and the culture of the large Vietnamese community in the capital. The exhibition "Vietnam in Prague" is running at the City of Prague museum until mid-September. Organisers say the number of visits has already exceeded their expectations.
Scores of pre-fabricated apartment blocks know as "paneláky" make Jižní Město one of Prague’s greyest suburbs. Currently, however, a festival called Street for Art is bringing a splash of colour to the concrete jungle. Alongside a temporary gallery called BLOX, it features a range of outdoor events including a farmers’ market and guided bus tour. Jiří Sulženko, one of the organizers of Street for Art, explained what led them establish the festival three years ago.
The Prague Writers’ Festival which begins on June 6 is all about the encounter of ideas. Over the last twenty years this annual event has become a lively forum for writers from many parts of the world, and the diversity of their work and thought has been the festival’s greatest strength. This year it revolves around the theme of Heresy and Rebellion, pointing to the perennial tension between the writer and the society in which he or she lives. A couple of days ago I met the festival director, Michael March, to talk about this year’s event. We began