Dol Dauber was the central figure in one of the leading Czech dance or jazz band groups of the interwar years. Between Europe wide appearances, Dauber often headed the bill during the summer season at Mariánské Lázně’s plush hotels with the spa providing inspiration for many of his compositions. Dauber’s band also featured in several Czech film hits.
Among the small number of Czech directors in competition at the Karlovy Vary festival, which gets underway next weekend, will be documentarian Martin Dušek, with his latest work Into the Clouds We Gaze. The witty filmmaker, who comes from the North Bohemian town of Česká Lípa, suggests as the starting point for our tour of “his Prague” the place where he works. One of the city’s most distinctive Functionalist structures, it’s a large building by Vltavská metro station owned by developer Orco and currently home to rather rough and ready office
One of the Czech Republic’s iconic landmarks will be handed back to the Roman Catholic Church following a decision by the country’s custodian of historic buildings and sites, the National Heritage Institute. The decision forms part of the settlement with religious institutions following the confiscation of most of their property by the former Communist regime. Decisions about other significant sites are also pending.
Preparations are well underway for the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, which gets underway in the Western Bohemian spa town at the end of next week. On Tuesday the organisers revealed this year’s star guests, including Oscar winning actor-director Mel Gibson – who will receive a Crystal Globe for lifetime achievement – and actresses Laura Dern and Fanny Ardant. Soon after the announcement I discussed this year’s visitors with artistic director Karel Och. But I began by asking him to characterise the main competition at the 49th Karlovy
The new documentary Toman Brod: Praha – Terezín – Birkenau – Märzbachtal – Praha is the portrait of a Holocaust survivor who is today in his mid 80s. But what’s different about this feature-length film is that it was made by a schoolboy. Indeed, director Matouš Bičák was only 15 when he and his classmates – inspired by a school project – set off with Toman Brod to record his remarkable stories of survival in Nazi concentration camps.
This week’s Sunday Music show profiles a respected name on the Czech music scene -Dagmar Andrtova Vonkova. A self-taught guitarist, singer and song writer Vonkova seeks inspiration in folk music and draws on her own experiences, for a truly unique style that has captivated audiences at home and abroad.
In this week’s Arts Radio Prague talks to artist Allesandra Svátek the co-founder of the successful Ukradená Galerie (Stolen Gallery). The project, which uses abandoned outdoor display cases to show works by both famous and lesser-known artists, was launched more or less by accident, when Allesandra and fellow artist Artur Magrot (nicknamed Áčka or the “A’s” in the street art scene) placed their own work in one such box.
In the last two decades, Prague’s Archa Theatre has firmly established itself as the country’s foremost space for alternative drama, dance and music, hosting such luminaries as Philip Glass, Robert Wilson, John Cale and Patti Smith. This month the venue is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its opening, so I caught up with the man who created Archa and is still its director, Ondřej Hrab. He told me in his youth he had hated watching plays – but chance encounters opened his eyes to a new kind of theatre.
At a grand ceremony at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Prague on Friday, 14 individuals and one group received the annual Gratias Agit award, which goes to those who have promoted the good name of the Czech Republic internationally. Recipients included several figures from the world of culture, including acclaimed Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland, the speaker of the Seychelles’ Parliament and representatives of Czech expatriate organisations.