The 51st edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival gets underway in the West Bohemian spa town on Friday evening. As every year, the country’s biggest movie event promises Hollywood stars, several world premieres and a unique atmosphere generated by thousands of enthusiastic young film fans. Radio Prague’s Ian Willoughby is in Karlovy Vary and we asked him what is coming up tonight as well as throughout the festival:
Who better to ask for tips about this year’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival than its artistic director Karel Och? On the eve of the biggest movie event of the year in the Czech Republic, I caught up with its head of programming – and began by asking him if there were any particularly noteworthy special sections this year.
Last year, the guerrilla art group Ztohoven made headlines all over the world after they took down the presidential standard on top of Prague Castle and replaced it with a giant pair of red underpants in protest against the president’s policies. Now, more than six months later, there is follow-up to the prank. The art activists have cut up the presidential flag into 1152 pieces and handed them out at random to people in cities and towns across the Czech Republic.
This week’s edition of Sunday Music Show is dedicated to the legendary country and folk music festival Porta, which celebrates its 50th edition this weekend. Established in 1967 by a group of music enthusiasts, the festival gradually evolved into one of the largest events of its kind in Europe and many of the country’s most respected folk musicians launched their careers there. Today we are going to listen to some of the greatest hits that were played at Porta over the past 50 years.
In this week’s Sunday Music show we present the outstanding Czech pianist Lukáš Vondráček who recently won the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Competition for young musicians in Brussels with a breath-taking performance of Sergei Rachmaninov. A child prodigy, Vondráček gave his first concert at the age of four, went on his first international tour at the age of 10 and performed in Carnegie Hall at sixteen. Today he is a recognized musician who has given over a thousand concerts in 27 countries around the world.
The London Czech Centre was instrumental in a recent project highlighting the industrial and cultural heritage of Ostrava in the east of the country. Entitled Stories from Ostrava – From Industry to Culture, it includes a short film called D.O.V by two students of architecture and an exhibition of photographs by photographer Viktor Kolář. Together, the present a unique glimpse for British audiences into another side of the Czech Republic – one beyond the medieval bridge and castle of the Czech capital.
The Dancing House Gallery in Prague has just opened an exhibition called Retro of the 70s and 80s, depicting the way of life of the common people and the communist elite in the last two decades of communism. The exhibition is extremely realistic – giving visitors a powerful throwback as they walk into the typical 70’s living room, shop or holiday scene. I went along and was given a tour by one of the organizers, Nikola Lörinczová.