The Czech capital is in the grip of rock fever. The legendary Rolling Stones are back in Prague for a long-anticipated concert that is part of their European No Filter tour. The Stones have a special place in Czech hearts –they first performed in Prague in 1990 in what was a symbolic celebration of the country’s new-found freedom.
The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival prides itself on helping films from the former Eastern Bloc reach international audiences. One way the festival achieves this is via its Film Industry Office, which supports projects from around the region in a number of ways. I discussed the office’s work with its head, Hugo Rosák.
Yale Strom, a professor and artist-in-residence in the Jewish studies programme at San Diego State University, is something of a modern-day renaissance man. Steeped in Old World traditions, the violinist-composer delights in bringing all-but-forgotten klezmer music and Yiddish songs from the former Soviet Union, central Europe and Balkans to the stage.
One of the most anticipated Czech documentaries at the 2018 Karlovy Vary international film festival had its world premiere on Monday night. King Skate combines period images and contemporary interviews to map the tiny skateboarding scene in 1980s Czechoslovakia. I asked the film’s director Šimon Šafránek how domestic skaters managed to acquire boards in the late communist era.
The biggest star at the opening of the 53rd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival was Hollywood actor Tim Robbins. On receiving the event’s lifetime achievement award, Robbins, a well-known liberal, took aim at Donald Trump’s presidency – but he also praised the special role that film festival’s play in today’s culture.
David Lawson had never heard of Ostrava when, fifteen years ago, his London synagogue received a Sefer Torah that had belonged to a once vibrant community in that industrial city. Now, it’s fair to say, he is an expert on both the history of Ostrava and the key role Jews played in its development over centuries. I asked Mr. Lawson, co-author of the new book “Ostrava and its Jews: Now no-one sings you lullabies”, how it all came about.
The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival on Friday paid tribute to the work of the late Czech film director Miloš Forman. Forman had a knack for making great movies, be it on a generous Hollywood budget or a skimpy one in communist Czechoslovakia, with censors on his back. And music was an indelible part of the film magic he weaved.
The 53rd edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will kick off with a glitzy opening ceremony on Friday evening. Over the next eight days, the spa town in West Bohemia will be the centre of the domestic arts world, with many tens of thousands of people flocking to the festival from the Czech Republic and further afield.
The Czech Republic’s top film event, the Karlovy Vary festival, gets underway on Friday. As every year, it promises scores of movies from around the world and both Hollywood names and lesser-known but no less interesting guests. Ahead of the opening, I got some tips on what to watch out for during the 53rd Karlovy Vary’s from its artistic director, Karel Och. I first asked Och if there were any festival sections he would particularly like to highlight this year.