The Czech film I, Olga Hepnarová – which opened the prestigious Panorama section at this year’s Berlinale – has now premiered in London as part of the Made in Prague Festival, and is being offered in the UK by the global video-on-demand website MUBI. The film, which tells the story of a brutal mass murderer in the former Czechoslovakia, is also being shown on the big screen.
Two years ago there were international headlines about the Czech amateur soccer club that other teams were opting to forfeit three points to rather than play – because their players were members of the Roma minority. Staff from a number of Prague embassies formed a side to take on Roma Děčín in a friendly as a gesture of support. Now the club, and in particular two of its organisers, are the focus of the subtle, often amusing documentary FC Roma, which recently shared top prize at Jihlava. In the wake of that success, I asked the film’s co-director
In today’s Sunday Music Show we’ll be listening to the most recent album by the Czech alternative rock band Priessnitz. The group, established in 1990 by Jaromír Švejdík and Petr Kružík, has always been closely tied to the north Moravian town of Jeseník, and their new album is no exception. Zero Gravity was released after a ten-year pause and despite critical acclaim, the band has said it will be their last.
Ondřej Hrab is the founder and director of Archa Theatre, Prague’s leading contemporary arts venue. Since Hrab took the space over in 1991, Archa (Ark in English) has played host to many of the world’s top names in cutting-edge theatre and dance, as well as musicians of the calibre of Patti Smith, Randy Newman and Philip Glass. And given his deep, quarter-century association with the venue, it’s a natural starting point for our tour of “Ondřej Hrab’s Prague”.
A major retrospective of the works of the great 20th century Czech photographer Josef Sudek was launched recently by the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa – offering a new and extensive opportunity for visitors there to get acquainted with Sudek’s immense contribution and body of work. These include famous works from series like From the Window of My Studio to Night Walks. Called The Intimate World of Josef Sudek, the show should not be missed.
A documentary screened on Czech Television earlier this week included unprecedented candid interviews with members of Prague’s criminal underground. But while it focuses on the notorious Berdych gang, Helena’s Law also explores the unlikely friendship that developed between the group’s leader and the policewoman who put them in jail.
In the world of advanced information technology there are still remnants of an era when all human knowledge was painstakingly collected in libraries that reflected the social status of their owners. Deep in the bowels of Kinski Palace, on Prague’s Old Town Square, the Kinski family library is preserved as it served the family for generations. Its administrator for the National Museum Richard Sipek took me around one of the two remaining palace libraries in the city.
Michal Horáček has had something of a storied career, from author and journalist to businessman and music producer, and prior to that, in 1989, acting as a representative of Civic Forum. As of this week he is also a presidential hopeful. Arguably, his greatest accomplishment to date, though, has been his work as a lyricist. In today’s programme, we play some of his very best hits.
In recent years the annual Prague Writers’ Festival has done much to promote writing from North Africa and the Middle East in the Czech Republic. This year was no exception, with the award-winning Algerian novelist Kamel Daoud and the Egyptian poet Mohamed Metwalli prominent among the writers taking part. David Vaughan caught up with Mohamed Metwalli to talk about his poetry, the complexities of writing in Egypt today and the pleasures of Prague beer.