The annual international music festival Colours of Ostrava, one of the biggest events of its kind in Central Europe, kicks off in the North Moravian city on Wednesday night. Among the biggest highlights of this year’s edition is the US rock band Imagine Dragons or the nine Grammy awards winner Norah Jones.
The Czechoslovak music scene in the 1960s, 70s and 80s was swept by world-famous hits, which were taken over by local musicians, such as Karel Gott or Helena Vondráčková. In many cases, the audiences didn’t even know they were listening to cover versions, not being acquainted with what was going on Beyond the Iron Curtain. Here is a selection of some of the best-known Czech covers of world hits, such as those by the Beatles, Abba and Lou Reed.
Prague’s Barrandov Studios have been the centre of the local film industry for over eight decades and in recent years have hosted shooting on major Hollywood hits like Mission Impossible and Casino Royale. In this report we speak to the head of Barrandov’s set construction unit, a team that has been a key element in the studios’ success.
One of the most memorable images of the wartime ghetto in Terezín is of a young girl standing in the middle of a flock of sheep. Taking photographs was strictly forbidden, and it is remarkable that this image and a number of others showing the same incongruously pastoral scene have been preserved. Miraculously, the girl in the pictures also survived, unlike the great majority of the tens of thousands of European Jews who passed through the ghetto between 1942 and 1945. Doris Grozdanovičová went on to have a successful career as a literary editor
It has been years in the making and the subject of protracted discussions, but this week one of the ministry of culture’s main flagship legislative proposals hit the buffers with a blunt rejection in the lower house of parliament. The ministry was aghast but some conservation groups welcomed the demise of the proposed new law aimed at protecting historic buildings.
Little Crusader by Václav Kadrnka has become the first Czech competitor in a decade and a half to win the Crystal Globe for best film at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. A host of other prizes were also handed out during Saturday’s gala closing, at which actor Jeremy Renner provided Hollywood glamour and also picked up an award.
Yvonne Přenosilová is a singer and radio personality whose successful music career was cut off by the 1968 Russian-led invasion of Czechoslovakia, but who remains a well-known name on the Czech music scene to this day. Whenever she appears on stage the public demands its favourite hits – Ron slzy – Shed tears and Boty proti lásce – Shoes against love. Přenosilová herself says her own favourite is Noční modlitba – Night Prayer.
The 52nd Karlovy Vary international film festival comes to an end on Saturday night with the traditional glitzy awards ceremony. Alongside the announcement of this year’s prize winners, Hollywood star Jeremy Renner and veteran Czech director Václav Vorlíček will be honoured at the close of the biggest film event in Central and Eastern Europe.
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.