For the first time in 25 years, a majority Czech feature is in the main completion at Venice, one the world’s most prestigious film festivals. Director Václav Marhoul is vying for a Golden Lion award with his adaptation of The Painted Bird, a controversial novel set during WWII about a boy subject to all manner of abuse by eastern European villagers.
Barrel organ players and street artists from the Czech Republic and beyond gathered in Prague earlier this month for the annual festival Flašinet žije! (The barrel organ is alive!), organised by the National Museum. I went along to talk to some of the organ grinders to learn more about the history of the mechanical instrument and their passion for it.
Whether it is through the Entry of the Gladiators or the Florentine March, the music of 19th century composer Julius Fučík is known across the world. Although a prolific composer, with over 400 marches, polkas, and waltzes to his name, Fučík is relatively little known in his home country today. Perhaps partly, because of the fame of his nephew and namesake, who became a communist resistance icon during World War Two. In this Sunday Music Show we explore some of his most popular tracks.
The Australian broadcaster and writer Richard Fidler is author of two bestsellers Ghost Empire, a fascinating reconstruction of the history of ancient Byzantium, and Saga Land, a very personal journey into Icelandic history. His writing is lively and engaged, but he is also meticulous in his research. Earlier this year Richard spent two months in Prague on a residency made possible through the UNESCO City of Literature programme. He is writing a book that will look at a thousand years of Prague history, each episode told through the story of an
This Friday marks the 600 year anniversary since the death of King Wenceslas IV., who was simultaneously the king of Bohemia and of the Romans. His rule was marked by political miscalculation and excessive drinking. However, he was also an important patron of the arts. On the occasion of the anniversary, Prague Castle has opened an exhibition depicting some of the most accomplished gothic craftsmanship produced during his era.
A unique festival dedicated to Gustav Mahler and later Jewish composers interned by Nazi Germany in a north Bohemian ghetto gets underway this Sunday. Organised by the Eternal Hope foundation and the Terezín Composers’ Institute, the aim is to celebrate the work of brilliant composers whose lives were cut tragically short.
Jan Špidlen is the fourth generation of his family to work as a master violin maker. What are some of the secrets to crafting top class violins? And how has the industry changed in the last few decades? I discussed those questions with Špidlen surrounded by an array of traditional tools at his Prague centre workshop. But I began by asking him about the first violin he ever produced?
The annual Letní Letná festival returns to Prague next week with some of the world’s best contemporary circus acts, from puppet shows and cabaret to breath-taking acrobatic performances. The 16th edition of the event kicks off on Wednesday night with a sky walk over the Vltava. I asked to Letní Letná manager Ivana Pěkná to tell me more about the opening night.