John Mucha is the grandson of the great Czech Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist Alphonse Mucha. His parents are also noteworthy; his late father Jiří was a journalist and writer, while his Scottish mother Geraldine, who is 92, still composes music. John himself heads the Mucha Foundation, which conserves the family’s collection and promotes the artist’s work internationally. His home in the Czech capital, situated opposite the gates of Prague Castle, contains a breathtaking array of Alphonse Mucha memorabilia and artworks and is described
The National Museum has opened a major new exhibit on St. Wenceslas, the patron saint of the Czech lands, who was also one of their earliest and most important rulers. What is particularly significant about this exhibit is that it brings together a collection of the most precious manuscripts and items relating to Saint Wenceslas over the course of roughly 700 years.
Sunday night was the opening night for the top three submissions to this year’s Prague Playwriting Contest at the city’s Divadlo Ponec. The winner of the contest, who will take home a cash prize, will be announced at the closing night next Tuesday. One of the playwrights in the race for the award is Josh Kaston. His submission “The Great Indoors” is set in the rural Southern United States, where a Czech-British couple gets stranded. Sarah Borufka talked to Josh Kaston about the process of seeing his play produced and why he decided to participate
My Neighbor, My Killer, which is being screened at the One World festival of human rights documentaries in Prague, focuses on local tribunals called Gacaca set up following the horrific 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Under the Gacaca system, the victims give testimony in front of their communities against the perpetrators, who in many cases live alongside them. I asked the film’s Anne Aghion what had drawn her to the subject.
The National Library is currently holding a special exhibit of the work of the first printing press in Bohemia. The seven original works made by anonymous printers in Plzeň in the late 15th century have been out of the public eye for 34 years. Foremost among them is the Trojan Chronicle, which for more than a hundred years has been at the centre of debate over when Czechs first began printing.
Enemies of the People, one of over 100 films being screened at the One World festival of human rights documentaries in Prague, follows the journalist Thet Sambath as he tracks down and speaks to former members of the Khmer Rouge in his native Cambodia. The result is a series of groundbreaking interviews, including one with Pol Pot’s one-time right-hand man, Nuon Chea. The film’s co-director Rob Lemkin told me about Thet Sambath and his remarkable journey.
War and Love in Kabul, which is being screened at the One World festival of human rights documentaries in Prague, tells the Romeo and Juliet-like story of a couple who have loved one another since childhood but are prevented from living together because of social and religious conventions. Hossein has been left crippled after being recruited by the Taliban, while Shaima was sold into marriage to a man 40 years her senior. I spoke to the director of War and Love in Kabul, Helga Reidemeister, and first asked how she had ever found the subjects of
Mugabe and the White African, which is being shown at the One World festival of human rights documentaries in Prague, follows Michael Campbell, one of the few white farmers left in Zimbabwe after years of land seizures, as he takes the brutal regime of Robert Mugabe to court at the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Campbell wins his legal battle against the dictator, but at great cost to himself and his family. I spoke to one of the directors of Mugabe and the White African, Lucy Bailey.