Tři oříšky pro Popelku, which literally translates as Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella, is the most popular Czech movie fairytale, watched every Christmas by all generations. Now Václav Vorlíček’s 1973 film has got a new international release, coming out as Three Wishes for Cinderella in a restored version with new subtitles and expert essays on the Second Run DVD imprint. The London company has reissued many modern Czech classics, including Marketa Lazarová by František Vláčil and Ivan Passer’s Intimate Lighting. On the phone from the UK, Second
Sunday was the fifth anniversary of the death of Václav Havel, the Czech dissident who led the Velvet Revolution and went on to spend nearly 13 years as president. But before he became a politician, Havel was, of course, a playwright, and it is just his literary work that is the focus of the book Reading Václav Havel by David S. Danaher, a Slavic Studies expert at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. When he visited our studios recently, we discussed, among other things, Havel’s legacy and relevance today. But I first asked Danaher what had led
Dné is the alias of Ondřej Holý, a keyboard and laptop wizard who last month released his atmospheric debut long player These Semi Feelings, They are Everywhere on a German indie label. A live rendition of one track, the haunting Asos Model Crush, has had over 250,000 views on YouTube. Other titles accompanying the mostly instrumental material – including Driving A Car While Listening To Bill Burr’s Podcast – also show off Holý’s immersion in Western pop culture.
This week would have been the 90th birthday of Arnošt Lustig, one of the great voices of contemporary Czech fiction, who died in 2011. As a child he survived Auschwitz and the experience was to define his career as a writer. For all the horrors they describe, Lustig’s books are characterized by an overriding humanity, as humour, passion and compassion endure in the most brutalizing of circumstances. Several of his novels, including Night and Hope and A Prayer for Kateřina Horovitzová, have become international bestsellers, and Lustig continued to
The Belda family are famous Prague jewellers who are the only ones certified to oversee the upkeep of the Czech crown jewels; recently, the youngest designer in the family, Viktorie Beldová, made headlines for a crown completed as part of her Masters thesis at Prague’s Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. She was inspired by the story of Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni, who grew up in Prague in the 1960s. Her initial aim was to eventually gift the monarch with the crown, which proved more difficult than expected.
A tapestry bound for a new Václav Havel building in Strasbourg has just been placed on display at the DOX art centre in Prague. A smaller version of the French-made artwork – based on a pictorial tribute to the late Czech president by artist Petr Sís – hangs at Václav Havel Airport. The man behind both is Art for Amnesty founder Bill Shipsey, who has raised funds for numerous memorials linked to Havel over the years. The Irishman explained that the tapestry is currently half-way through an international “tour”.
The world-renowned Czech mezzo soprano Magdalena Kožená has been nominated for this year’s Grammy Awards, along with such stars as Beyonce or Rihanna. Kožená received the nomination in the Best Classical Vocal Album category for her album of works by Claudio Monteverdi, which was released this spring under the label Deutsche Grammophon.
In 2007 Genevieve Anderson brought out a short animated film based on Too Loud a Solitude, a novella by the great Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal. Now the US director has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a feature-length version of the magical story, which centres on Haňťa, a reclusive paper crusher who over the years has absorbed a great deal from the books that have crossed his path. Like the short, the new movie will be puppet-based – and voiced by the charismatic US actor Paul Giammati, known for the Oscar-winning Sideways and
After over a quarter of a century in the city, curator Richard Drury is a well-known face in Prague’s art world. The Englishman – who studied Czech at Cambridge – works at the Gallery of Central Bohemia and is also the head of the Fine Arts Section of Umělecká beseda, a cultural association with a history stretching back to the days of the Czech National Revival. Our tour of “Richard Drury’s Prague” begins by Bílá Hora in Prague 6 at the Hvězda game reserve, which gets its name from the star-shaped summer palace at its heart.