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Play Poland Film Festival, London 20th – 28th November

PLAY POLAND FILM FESTIVAL RETURNS TO LONDON! Play Poland Film Festival is back in London, in its 2015 edition taking place from the 20 to 28 November. For the fifth year running, we’ve come together to bring our audiences the exceptional and exciting new Polish cinema. This year we’re bringing Play Poland to Clapham Picturehouse,…

Robin Ashenden | 06/11/2015
When the Cat Comes

Made in Prague: Hommage to Vojtěch Jasný (7-26 November 2015)

Celebrating Vojtěch Jasný’s 90th birthday and lifetime achievements, the annual Made in Prague Czech film festival pays tribute to this outstanding filmmaker, hailed as “the spiritual father of the Czech New Wave” by his fellow filmmaker Miloš Forman. Starting with a trio of Jasný´s Cannes International Film Festival Winners (Desire, 1958; When the Cat Comes,…

Robin Ashenden | 02/11/2015
UK Jewish Film Festival 2

CEE Films at the UK Jewish Film Festival (7-22 November 2015)

19TH UK JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES EXCITING GLOBAL LINE UP AND LAUNCH OF BEST DEBUT FEATURE AWARD The UK Jewish Film Festival returns 7th-22nd November with a packed 2 week festival programme of powerful, inspiring and moving films, featuring outstanding new talent at home and abroad, aiming to reflect and share a greater understanding of…

Robin Ashenden | 29/10/2015

“Entanglement” by Zygmunt Miłoszewski at BBC Radio 4

“Entanglement” by Zygmunt Miłoszewski at BBC Radio 4 Episode 1/2: Sunday 11 October, 3pm Episode 2/2: Sunday 18 October, 3pm BBC Radio 4 Reading Europe SeriesRELATED EVENT Wednesday 9 October Zygmunt Miłoszewski at Front Row, BBC Radio 4 Radio 4 continues its journey across Europe exploring the best contemporary literature. In this hugely successful Polish…

Robin Ashenden | 06/10/2015
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Free Event: SSEES Centenary Film Festival 12/10-17/12 Bloomsbury Theatre

SSEES CENTENARY FILM FESTIVAL: 100 YEARS OF EAST EUROPEAN CINEMATIC EXCELLENCE To celebrate one hundred years since its founding, the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (University College London) is organizing a season of films to showcase Eastern European cinema during the last 100 years. The twenty-three films have been chosen to reflect the…

Robin Ashenden | 29/09/2015
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Balkan Nightmares: ‘Till Kingdom Come’ (Nikolaidis, Istros Books, 2015) reviewed by Robin Ashenden


Anyone who thinks the Balkans have moved on from the 1990s should read  Andrej Nikolaidis’s Till Kingdom Come, impeccably translated by Will Firth and published now by Istros Books. This short novel, ostensibly about Montenegro today, is awash with paranoia: conspiracy theories, serial killers, natural disasters and the shifting meaning of recent Balkan atrocities. It’s…

Robin Ashenden | 28/09/2015

Extract from Andrej Nikolaidis’s ‘Till Kingdom Come’ (Istros Books, 2015)

I don’t believe those stories about pristine beginnings. True, time spoils everything. And yes, everything gets worse over time. But what is prone to spoil is not necessarily good in the beginning. Everything is bad, even at its inception. Nor do I believe the stories about the wisdom pronounced by children in their alleged innocence. I’m sure there are…

Robin Ashenden | 28/09/2015

Preview: Anglo-Hungarian Jazz Festival (23rd – 25th September)

Continuing its now well-established association with the Hungarian jazz scene, and the Budapest Jazz Club in particular, the 606 Club is excited to present this three-day festival featuring some of Hungary’s finest musicians joining with British stars to perform in an extraordinary Trans-European jazz collaboration. Liliana Chachian (vocals), Steve Fishwick (trumpet), Gareth Williams and Jim Watson (piano) and Winston Clifford and James Maddren (drums) are among the…

Robin Ashenden | 16/09/2015
Jaroslava Pokorná as Libuse Palachová

Made in Prague: ‘The Burning Bush’ (Agnieszka Holland, 2013) reviewed by Robin Ashenden


The 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, putting an end to the fabled ‘Prague Spring’ and  Premier Aleksandr Dubček’s ‘socialism with a human face’, was a landmark in post-war political history: a moment of crisis in which communists the world over tore up or threw away their party cards in disgust. It seemed to echo 1956…

Robin Ashenden | 03/09/2015
Image by Viktor Kolář

1980s Prague: ‘Notes from Underground’ by Roger Scruton, reviewed by Robin Ashenden


In an essay last year on atheism, Roger Scruton, the conservative writer, historian and philosopher, recalled the darkest aspects of late-period communism. ‘Its aim,’ he wrote, ‘ was to replace social life with a cold calculation for survival, so that people would live as competing atoms, in…. absolute enmity and distrust…. where every secret that…

Robin Ashenden | 10/07/2015