REMEMBERING BOSNIA: ‘Zlata’s Diary’ – Q & A with Zlata Filipović, by Jo Varney

Zlata Filipović is a writer and documentary film maker living and working in Dublin, Ireland. Besides writing ‘Zlata’s Diary’ (1995, Puffin), an internationally best-selling account of the Siege of Sarajevo through the day-to-day reflections of a child, Zlata has co-edited with Melanie Challenger ‘Stolen Voices. Young People’s War Diaries, from World War 1 to Iraq’ (2006,…

Jo Varney | 12/12/2015
chuck norris

‘Chuck Norris vs. Communism’ (Calugareanu, 2015) reviewed by Jo Varney


In 1985 Nicolae Ceaușescu, the Romanian dictator, was in his twentieth year of Communist rule. The country was culturally isolated, all forms of external media choked off, and in a cost and energy-saving exercise Ceaușescu cut state TV from two channels to one, limiting broadcasting to two or three hours a day. As in other Eastern Bloc…

Jo Varney | 20/08/2015
buzoianu (2)

Diana Buzoianu’s ‘Urban Indispensable’ at 54 the Gallery, reviewed by Jo Varney


Since its commercial introduction in 1839, photography has been a medium caught between the two poles of ‘art’ and ‘science’. While the images created with objects, people or scenes placed before a lens were once spoken of as imprinted by nature itself  – and thus  free from the frail human hand prone to error –…

Jo Varney | 23/07/2015
diaries and communities

‘Diaries and Communities’ – Czech Underground Cinema of the 1980s, reviewed by Jo Varney


Since the Velvet Revolution of 1989, Czechoslovakia’s underground movements have been slowly rediscovered and the numerous communities of musicians, poets and fine artists accorded their proper place in history. Meanwhile, underground films from the 1980s – and the stories of the men and women who made and watched them  – have languished undiscovered for nearly…

Jo Varney | 25/06/2015
GRAD 2 (4)

Documenting Ukraine: Theatre – George Genoux and Natalia Vorozhbit at GRAD, reviewed by Jo Varney


A four-day festival Documenting Ukraine was held last weekend in London bringing together Ukraine’s leading names in documentary cinema and theatre. The theatre section, hosted at GRAD in Central London, comprised two live performances in their main gallery space: acclaimed German theatre director Georg Genoux performed his solo multimedia piece, Anyone Can Be Saint Nikolai,…

Jo Varney | 23/05/2015
pink innocent

Kinoteka 2015: ‘Innocent Sorcerers’ (Wajda, 1960), reviewed by Jo Varney


Released in 1960, Wajda’s Innocent Sorcerers is a provocative and even beautiful film about contemporary youth in Poland. It has a bohemian charm and depicts the lives of a group of insouciant young men and women in late 1950s Warsaw as an endless round of drinking, smoking and flirtation,  in mouldering jazz dens. The eternal…

Jo Varney | 03/05/2015

‘The Lilpop Sisters and their Passions’ (Garus-Hockuba, 2005) reviewed by Jo Varney


On the third Tuesday of every month Ognisko Polskie hosts a film club for members and guests to watch classic and contemporary Polish cinema; this week they screened acclaimed director Bożena Garus-Hockuba’s hour-long documentary The Lilpop Sisters and Their Passions,  a portrait of the lives and loves of four beautiful sisters who grew up in…

Jo Varney | 22/03/2015
PP featured

Contemporary Ukrainian Art at the Darren Baker Gallery, reviewed by Jo Varney

Since the revolutionary Maidan events in Kiev from November 2013 to February 2014, there’s been unprecedented interest in Ukrainian contemporary art, both in London and worldwide. Perhaps no comparable event in the recent past has seen artists playing such a central role: from the start, they were at the centre of the protests – painting…

Jo Varney | 05/03/2015

Jan Kaplický: Drawings, reviewed by Jo Varney

Drawings by the Czech architect Jan Kaplický (1937–2009) hang in the sumptuous front room at the Architectural Association  for the first time since he exhibited there as a teacher in the 1970s. The exhibition embodies Kaplický’s belief in the power of drawing as a way of problem-solving and working through ideas, and there are 23…

Jo Varney | 03/03/2015