Steen Agro made a big impact with his first full length feature film, the British-Czech black comedy ‘Shut up and shoot me’ (Sklapni a zastřel mě) in which Czech actors Karel Roden and Anna Geislerová had star roles. Five years on, he has moved to Prague and is seeking to build on his debut success. …..I asked him how tight were the purse strings for that first feature film.
If you want to find out more about the long history of Czechs and Slovaks in the United States, the place to start is The National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The museum was devastated by floods in 2008 and some 6,000 flood-damaged volumes from the library are still being painstakingly restored. But the pace of recovery has been remarkably fast, and within the next couple of years, an ambitious project to rebuild and expand the museum should be complete. With it the library will also be up and running once again.
Just a few days ago the Czech Republic’s Cirk Putyka performed for the 65th time its acclaimed La Putyka, a show which combines the setting of a Czech pub with dance, music, acrobatics and puppetry. In short, elements typical of New Circus. Authored by performer Rosťa Novák, La Putyka (which is slang for pub or run-down dive), was featured in a slimmed-down version this year at the Czech Expo in Shanghai, and this weekend will premiere for the first time in English in the Czech capital.
The first German speakers settled in the Czech lands in the 13th century, and in the interwar period there were around three million ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia. That changed completely after World War II, when almost all of them were forcibly expelled from the country. Now, however, their history is being reclaimed – with plans to open the first museum in the Czech Republic dedicated to the country’s former German minority.
The charming and historic West Bohemian town of Bečov nad Teplou has just hosted its third international symposium showcasing the blacksmith’s craft. The two-day event gave the public the chance to get up close and feel the heat of the braziers as a series of top smiths showed that this is very much a craft making a comeback.
The long-awaited video game Mafia II, produced by the Brno-based 2K Czech studio, came out last month and has since become a huge success with gamers around the world, acclaimed for its mature and realistic story line and top-notch graphics. In this week’s Talking Point, we explore the world of Vitto Scaletta and his adventures in the American underworld of the 1950s.
Once the shining stars of the 1960s Czechoslovak pop scene, singers Helena Vondráčková and Marta Kubišová have turned into bitter foes over thwarted plans for a comeback of their former band, the Golden Kids. Ms Vondráčková accused her colleague of breaking a contract, and demanded more than a million crowns in compensation. A Prague court has dismissed the claim, but the war may not be over.
It is not often that school plays get to be performed at international theatre festivals, still less so when it involves taking performers, props and scenery hundreds of miles half way across a continent. But this is just what happened when a group of teenagers from Britain brought a brand new play to Prague’s Fringe Festival in 2008. And it was not by chance that this play was brought to Prague. In this week’s Czech Books, David Vaughan finds out more from the play’s author.