The Jihlava festival, which came to a close on Tuesday, is the biggest event of the year in Czech documentary film. In this report, we speak to some of the most interesting guests at the 2014 edition, including Godfrey Reggio, maker of the ground-breaking 1980s film Koyaanisqatsi, main prize winner Martin Dušek and young Czech-Vietnamese filmmaker Dužan Duong.
Mandrage is a Czech band which is not easy to place: its music has been described as soft-rock, pop-rock, punk-rock and it has recently been experimenting with electronics. Some critics find it hard to digest but since its formation in 2004 it has been gathering momentum and has built-up a dedicated fan-base.
Punk as an artistic style is usually associated with music and fashion but Prague’s Jaroslav Fragner Gallery now explores punk elements in architecture. The exhibition, featuring structures built over the span of five centuries, looks as what elements of the punk movement can be identified in historic and contemporary architecture in the Czech Republic and abroad.
The world-renowned Chinese writer Yan Lianke arrived in Prague this week to collect the annual Franz Kafka prize. The 55-year old writer has become the fourteenth recipient of the international literary award, which is given to authors whose work appeals to readers across different cultures. Among the previous winners were Austria’s Elfriede Jelinek and British playwright Harold Pinter, both of whom went on to win the Nobel Prize in literature the same year.
This Wednesday, the annual Bollywood festival of Indian film gets underway in Prague. Now in its 12th year, the festival offers a selection of classical as well as contemporary movies from India and Pakistan, along with a rich accompanying programme. The subtitle of this year’s event is “Children of Bollywood.” I spoke to Radim Špaček, one of the festival’s organizers, and first asked him about the choice of the main theme:
Countless Hollywood movies and TV series have been shot in the Czech Republic in the last two decades. Casting director Nancy Bishop, who moved to Prague in 1994, has worked on many of those projects, from The Bourne Identity to Mission Impossible IV to the as yet unreleased Child 44. We began our tour of “her Prague” at Náměstí Míru, a square close to where she lives. As Bishop and I spoke, a passer-by tinkled the ivories on a free piano metres from our bench.
Czech writer Jan Němec is among 13 young European authors who have won the 2014 European Union Prize for Literature. Němec was recognized for his unusual debut novel about the renowned Czech photographer František Drtikol. Entitled A History of Light, the novel captures Drtikol’s complex personality, and follows his path from photography to eastern spirituality and Buddhism.