Opposed, later persecuted – and finally forgotten. That was the fate of many Czech Catholic writers, who stood outside the literary mainstream. In one of Europe’s most atheist nations, the impact of these authors gradually diminished throughout the 20th century although in their heyday, in the interwar period, they managed to convey many original ideas and intriguing artistic expressions.
“The Great Lady of Chanson”, “Edith Piaf from Prague” or a “Chanteuse with a Slavic Soul” – that’s how critics have described Hana Hegerová, the Czechoslovak singer who turns eighty on Wednesday. After a career spanning almost half a century, Hana Hegerová saddened her fans a couple of months ago by announcing her retirement from the stage and cancelling all her scheduled concerts.
In this week’s Arts, I talk to David Peimer, professor of theatre at University College in the UK, also involved with the Pinter Centre for Performance and Creative Writing in London. In our interview Mr Peimer discusses In Other Rooms - a production in English of lesser-known short plays by the late Nobel Prize laureate Harold Pinter. While not as widely-known as Pinter’s most famous work, the short plays are highly recommended – and Czech audiences will have a chance to see them this weekend when the production, co-directed by Mr Peimer, comes
In this edition of the Sunday Music Show we profile Slovak pop star Miro Žbirka. The Prague-based singer, widely known by his nickname Meky, released his first album in Czechoslovakia in 1979 with the pop group Modus, a band with which he recorded now classic hits like Dievčatá, Drahá and others, before moving on to a successful solo career. Žbirka, whose mother was from Great Britain, also sings in English so we’ll be hearing a variety of material, including one song off from remastered material recorded in English in West Germany in the
In this week’s Arts, I speak to Jaroslav Rudiš, the author of an influential graphic novel (trilogy, actually) that delves into the fog of history and troubled Central European past. The story of Alois Nebel – a slightly mad railwayman working in a remote border region – it has been made into a new film that premiered last week in the Czech Republic after being featured in festivals in Venice and Toronto.
A new documentary that will premiere in Czech cinemas next week depicts the lesser known part of the life of the Czech-born actor Jiří (or George) Voskovec. In his homeland, he is best known as the co-founder and co-star of Prague’s pre-war avant-garde theatre troupe, the Liberated Theatre. Having spent the war in exile in New York, Jiří Voskovec again moved to the US after the 1948 communist takeover of Czechoslovakia. The new film, entitled My Father George Voskovec, follows his daughter Gigi retracing her father’s life, from the difficult beginnings
Radio Prague is introducing Screen Czech - a monthly show devoted to film and TV production here in the Czech Republic. Over the next few months Peter Smith will be bringing you news about the industry and interviews with the people most closely involved, both Czech and foreigners coming here to work. There will also be a run down of all the latest Czech movie news coming up. The first edition of Screen Czech deals with a controversial issue that threatens to derail foreign investment in the movie and TV industry here in the Czech Republic.