The Czech Cultural Centre in London is gearing up for a big event this weekend – an exhibition of visual art by the Czech-born artist Kateřina Šedá called from Morning till Night. I asked the head of the centre, Ladislav Pflimpfl, who was on a brief visit to Prague this week, what it is all about and what else is in the pipeline for fans of Czech art this autumn.
Alois Nebel, the first Czech film that was produced with the rotoscoping technique – a process that renders images shot with actors in a unique black-and-white cartoon style – will be premiering at the prestigious International Film Festival in Venice this weekend. The movie, based on a cartoon novel by Jaroslav Rudiš that has garnered a cult following, is highly anticipated by Czech cinema lovers. Ahead of its premiere abroad, I caught up with Alois Nebel producer Pavel Strnad and asked him about the special technique it was made with, the film’s
Jaroslav Marvan was one of the most prolific Czech actors of all times with more than 150 film roles and many more theatre acts. He appeared in his first – silent – movie in 1926, and he made his last film in 1973, a year before he died. In this edition of Czechs in History we look at the extraordinary career of Jaroslav Marvan, a theatre and film star before the war as well as in communist Czechoslovakia.
In the last few weeks Veronika Hyks has been reading from the memoirs of Jaroslava Skleničková, an extraordinary story of survival in war. We have now reached May 1945. After nearly three years in Ravensbrück, the women of Lidice are now free, although they still face the trauma of returning home to find that the village has been wiped off the map and that all their menfolk and nearly all their children are dead. David Vaughan introduces the eighth episode.
In this edition of Czechs in History, we look back at the life and work of Ester Krumbachová, an artist, costume designer, screenwriter, and one of the most important personalities of the Czech New Wave. Although her name is somewhat forgotten today, she was a major inspiration to the leading filmmakers of the 1960s, such as Věra Chytilová, Jan Němec or Vojtěch Jasný.
In today’s Sunday Music Show we bid farewell to a fixed star of the Czech music firmament – Psí Vojáci is no more. Last weekend the band announced that it was wrapping up more than 30 years on the stage and in the studio – no long farewells – personal and health problems had got the better of them they said.
In this week’s Arts, my guest is Welsh writer James Stafford, the author of a wonderfully irreverent new webcomic The Sorrowful Putto of Prague. The comic tells the story of a 400-year-old putto (or cherub) named Xavier living in the city and it has captured the attention of both Czech and English-language readers. After looking up the site myself, I was curious to learn more about Xavier and his world. Luckily James Stafford – who is not usually based in Prague – was able to come to the studio to discuss the project.
It’s that time of year again – the Czech Republic’s premiere open air music festival in Trutnov is back on the Battlefield, as the traditional venue is called. A red letter event on the calendars of underground music lovers (the likes of regular attendee Václav Havel), Trutnov has been celebrating counter-culture since 1987, when it was attempted, but stopped by the State Police. This year, as ever, the festival offers four days of a “cultic meeting” beginning Thursday, “dedicated to Amnesty International, Jim Morrison and the warriors from Tippecanoe”.
Family, friends and dozens of fans gathered in Brno on Tuesday for the funeral of Simona Monyová, the Czech Republic’s best-selling author of women’s literature. The prolific writer, who published close to 30 books during her 14-year career, died tragically at the age of 44. She was murdered in her home in early August, with her husband the main suspect.