A Syrian Love Story on Monday was awarded the main prize at the One World festival of human rights documentaries in the Czech Republic. The film, directed by British filmmaker Sean McAllister, tells the story of a family which the regime of Bashar Assad. Once in Paris, they look for a new home but the marriage between the two main protagonists eventually falls apart.
Perhaps best known from his powerful images from the streets of Prague during the Soviet-led invasion of 1968, Josef Koudelka – who emigrated soon after those events – must rank as the greatest living Czech photographer. A treat for photography buffs at this year’s One World festival of human rights documentaries has been Koudelka Shooting Holy Land, in which we follow the protagonist, now in his late 70s, as he captures the building of the wall between Israel and Palestine as well as the region’s stunning landscape. The documentary is the work
“I’m always a potential killer,” says “Lauri”, the unseen narrator of the Finnish film White Rage, one of the highlights of this year’s One World festival of human rights documentaries. The term white rage refers to the mind-set behind the cold planning of atrocities and the narrator recounts how he himself plotted a massacre at his school after being bullied for many years. Fortunately Lauri – who wrote an anonymous article about his experiences in a top Finnish magazine – didn’t carry through his bloody plans. From his narration it appears he
In communist days, writing inspired by love and passion between people of the same sex was largely taboo, and even today lesbian and gay writing in the Czech Republic tends to be ignored, despite having a long and rich tradition. Things are no better when it comes to translations of lesbian and gay poets and novelists into Czech. But the translator Sylva Ficová is trying to put things right, translating both into Czech and from Czech to English. She tells us more in this week’s Czech Books with David Vaughan.
The Russian woodpecker was the nickname given to a rapid-fire shortwave signal emitted during the cold war from the Duga radar in what is today’s Ukraine. But was there a connection between Duga and 1986 disaster at the nearby Chernobyl nuclear power station? That question is explored in a film entitled The Russian Woodpecker currently being screened at the One World festival of human rights documentaries in Prague. I discussed the subject with producer Mike Lerner, a guest of East Doc Platform, which is organised by the Institute of Documentary
The Shockproof Festival is on at Prague’s arthouse cinema Aero. The festival, known for its focus on B-movie action films, gore, exploitation horror and more, this year is focusing largely on the theme of epidemiology and outbreaks (don’t be surprised if a zombie apocalypse is just around the corner).
The Belgian film No Man is an Island opened the One World festival of human rights documentaries in Prague earlier this week. The film maps the fates of two young migrants – one from Ghana, the other from Tunisia – who have been taken in by locals on the Italian island of Lampedusa, which for a long time was at the forefront of the migration crisis in Europe. I discussed the theme of No Man is an Island – and the limbo-like existence of its protagonists – with director Tim De Keersmaecker.
Charlotte Fairman – nicknamed Charlie One – is an English vocalist who has been living here in Prague for the last two decades. The singer moved to the city after appearing on Petal, a classic UK house track by mid-1990s dance outfit Wubble-U. But here she is best known as the front-woman of Ohm Square, who have been a fixture on the local dance scene for many years. When Charlie came into our studios recently, I asked what had first brought her to the city she now calls home.
This edition of Sunday Music Show is devoted to Czech opera singer, bass-baritone Adam Plachetka, who is currently at home at the Vienna State opera. One of the bright lights on the Czech opera scene Plachetka can boast of being the first Czech to perform on leading opera stages in New York, Vienna, London and Milan before having reached the age of 30.
Members of the Czech Technical University in Prague’s Faculty of Cybernetics, focusing on multi-robotic systems, have been cooperating with experts from the National Heritage Institute in Olomouc. They ran a first test using autonomous drones at a church in Sternberk in the Olomouc region to map the state of the building. Drones, unlike people, need little lighting and no scaffolding at all to get to otherwise hard-to-reach areas.