When the Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip assassinated the heir to the Austrian throne in Sarajevo in 1914, he was just short of his twentieth birthday. Under Austrian law, this meant that he was too young to be executed. He was to spend the next four years in the garrison prison in Terezín, north of Prague, and this was where he died just before the end of the war, the result of tuberculosis and mistreatment. The little-known story of his forced stay in what is now the Czech Republic was the inspiration for the latest novel by the British writer, David
A real Czech pig-killing, beef belly with celery puree and black potatoes, summer fettuccine with calamari and marinated carp with horseradish-dill sauce – all of this can be savoured by visitors to the Festival of Taste food fair now on in Brno. In addition, they can enjoy a variety of goodies from cheeses and pâtés to chocolates.
Fans of Czechoslovak cinema, in particular the Czech New Wave, will most likely be familiar with many of the films of director Jiří Menzel. From the Oscar-winning Closely Watched Trains to Larks on a String and Capricious Summer, Menzel changed Czech film forever. This Friday, he celebrates his 80th birthday.
Czech journalist and amateur photographer Petr Kubát bought his first professional camera in 2013 to take pictures of his new-born son. Within weeks he was hooked, moving from family pics to landscape and architecture photos. In 2016 The Guardian picked one his photos for its Best Photographs of the Day collection. Now Kubát has a photo exhibition in his home town České Budějovice.
The exhibition Residence: Prefab Estate presents the history of selected residential complexes in the Czech Republic and the social, political, cultural and economic circumstances that accompanied their construction. It follows the development of housing estates in the Czech lands from their start in the late 1940s up until the first years of the 1990s, when such construction came to an end. A brief summary is also presented of the later attempts at ‘humanising’ prefabricated buildings as well as current reflections by architects and historians
A collection of photos of the RAF’s Czechoslovak 312 squadron by the great photographer Ladislav Sitenský has just been published in Prague. The book was meant to come out in 1948 but was pulped, and the new edition has been timed to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Communist takeover of Czechoslovakia.
A major exhibition of dolls’ houses from the Victoria &Albert Museum of Childhood in London is now on display in Prague. Through the stories of 12 dolls’ houses from the past 300 years, visitors to the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague can follow the history of the home, everyday lives and changing family relationships.
The first major international film festival of the year, the Berlinale, gets underway on Thursday. The Czech Republic is being represented at the prestigious showcase by three films, including one starring veteran director Jiří Menzel and a documentary exploring the life of a young paramilitary leader in Slovakia. Ahead of the festival, I spoke to Markéta Šantrochová of the Czech Film Center, who will be promoting the country’s cinema in Berlin.