A major event for lovers of Czechoslovak cinema at this year’s Karlovy Vary film festival has been the world premiere of a digitally restored version of The Shop on Main Street. A portrait of the Aryanisation process in the wartime Slovak state, the 1965 masterpiece earned Ján Kadár and Elmar Klos the country’s first Oscar. On the delegation for the film was Mehelli Modi of Second Run DVD, who previously brought it out on Blu-ray. I asked him what made The Shop on Main Street a great movie.
The journalist Veronika Bednářová has been closely associated with the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival for many years. Her main job there is as editor-in-chief of the Festival Daily newspaper, but she also is well-known for moderating press conferences with some of the world’s biggest movie stars. When we sat down just before the 52nd edition got underway, I asked Bednářová when she had gone to Karlovy Vary for the first time.
The 52nd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival kicked off with a glitzy opening ceremony at the weekend. Speaking on the red carpet, Hollywood star Uma Thurman reflected on some of her best loved work, while Casey Affleck highlighted the significance of such festivals. Ian Willoughby was at the ceremony and sent this report.
One of the most popular Czech writers of the last two decades has been Irena Dousková. Her short novel Hrdý Budžes has become a classic, with its touching and humorous portrayal of childhood in 1970s communist Czechoslovakia. Now the book is available in English translation, thanks to Melvyn Clarke, who talks to David Vaughan about the book and his work translating and promoting Czech writing today.
One of the Czech Republic’s most significant arts events, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, kicks off in the West Bohemian spa town on Friday evening. This year’s edition will pay tribute to the likes of Uma Thurman, Casey Affleck and Ken Loach, while a freshly restored version of the Czechoslovak classic The Shop on Main Street will receive its world premiere.
As artistic director of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Karel Och has the ultimate say over the programming of the region’s biggest event of its kind. Just ahead of the 52nd edition – which gets underway on Friday – I put a number of questions to Och. The first: Are there any programme sections that he feels merit special attention?
As well as the historic monuments, visitors to Prague might be struck by the busy three and four lane highway in both directions that dissects the city centre and complicates access to many landmarks and cultural sites. The city has called in the studio of a world famous Danish architect to suggest how the so-called Magistrale can be tamed and transformed.
Helena Vondráčková, one of the Czech Republic’s biggest pop stars, is celebrating her 70th birthday. Vondráčková has been popular with Czech audiences since 1964, when she won a national talent contest with a Czech rendering of Red River Valley. In 1965 she was voted the most popular singer in Czechoslovakia, winning the Golden Nightingale Award and in the years to follow, she went on to win another 27 silver and bronze Nightingales. To this day, she has released dozens of albums and is the country’s best-selling ever singer.
The biggest star at this weekend’s Metronome music festival in Prague will without question be the UK musician Sting, who led The Police before embarking on an enormously successful solo career. Ahead of his appearance in the Czech capital, the UK musician shared his thoughts with Czech Radio on Brexit, the refugee crisis and more.
The Prague Proms international music festival gets underway in Prague on Wednesday with a concert at the city’s Municipal House. The concert will feature the US composer, singer and songwriter Dany Elfman, who is known mainly for his collaboration with director Tim Burton. I spoke to Jan Vítek, one of the festival organizers, and I first asked him to tell me more about the opening event: