28 October – 9 December 2018
This October marks the 100thyear anniversary since the foundation of Czechoslovakia. To inaugurate this momentous occasion the Czech Centre presents CZECH100 – a festival of art, design, fashion, theatre and film celebrating the country’s cultural achievements.
Running from 28 October until 9 December, events are programmed to take place at the Czech Centre in Kensington Gardens and with partner venues across the city, including the Barbican, Design Museum, Regent Street Cinema, Tate Britain, plus others.
Tereza Porybna, Director, Czech Centre London, says: “Czech100 showcases Czech culture which we admire and which we believe has an international impact. There is so much more that we would love to show and our programme is by no means a definite selection but we hope it demonstrates the multiple levels of excellent artistic works, visionary thinking and talent that our small country has produced an abundancy of in the past 100 years. “
Kick-starting the festival, the Barbican launches Czech100 with a gala screening of Jan S. Kolár’s silent epic St Wenceslas. This rarely shown film from 1929 will be accompanied by live music from Cappella Mariana, a Prague-based ensemble specialising in early medieval polyphony.
An exhibition of stunning Bohemian glassware created byRückl- the recipient of last year’s prestigious Czech Grand Design Award – is beautifully captured by the multi-award winning photography studio BoysPlayNice and shown in the Czech Centre’s VitrínkaGallery. Deyan Sudic, Director of the Design Museum, dedicates an evening of talks with leading designers, curators and architects, to the radical futuristic architect Jan Kaplický;which will coincide with their Home Futures exhibition. And fashion is celebrated with an exciting run-way show from the Prague Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design, with a collection designed by the talented students of award-winning Czech fashion designer Liběna Rochová.
The legacy of the Prague Spring and Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia, which happened 50 years ago, is also remembered and will be reflected by academics, artists and activists at a conference organized in partnership with University College of London.
Master of documentary photography Marketa Luskačováwill present her work in a group show at Tate Britain and Anna Hulačová, whose work has been exhibited at the Baltic Trienale, Palais de Tokyo, and the Fondation Louis Vuitton, has her first solo show at Kunstraum Gallery; plus Martin Kohout’s art film Slides (winner of the 2017 Jindřich Chalupecký Award) will be screened.
Further highlights include the 22nd edition of Made in Prague, the UK’s oldest national film showcase. Once again hosted by Regent Street Cinema, this year it boasts no less six UK film premieres, including Barefoot, a beautifully nostalgic coming-of-age story about an eight-year-old boy growing up during WWII, shot entirely from the young boy’s perspective by Jan Svěrák, director of Kolya (which won both the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Film in 1997).
War also creates the backdrop for Martin Šulík’s drama The Interpreter; an odd-couple road trip featuring Peter Simonischek, (of Toni Erdmann fame), as the son of a former SS officer and his translator, performed by Jiří Menzel (the Oscar-winning director of Closely Observed Trains), as a Slovak Jew who believes the officer murdered his family.
Also exploring echoes of Nazi heritage is Vít Klusák’s hilarious and chilling stylised documentary of a hapless Czech neo-Nazi in The White World According to Daliborek. This seemingly uncritical, almost reality TV style inspired work broaches uncomfortable, urgent and complex topics whilst offering a provocative portrait of a lonely middle-aged man; an industrial painter, amateur horror filmmaker and angry song composer, who hates his job, Gypsies, Jews, refugees, dentists, and spiders, who still lives at home with his mother. Another UK premiere is from Olga Sommerová with her documentary Červená, a potent portrait of the vivacious world-famous opera singer Soňa Červená, now aged 92-years-old.
Also included is Olmo Omerzu’s comedy Winter Flies. Winner of the 2018 Best Director at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, this upbeat road moviecrosses the Czech countryside as two teens make a break for it in a stolen Audi.
Three-generations of family dynamics are dissected during a final night of a holiday in Tomáš Pavlíček’sdeadpan comedy Bear with Us. And more close to bone comedy is presented courtesy of President Blaník, a hard-hitting political satire mapping a fictional Czech lobbyist’s candidacy into 2018 presidential election. By popular demand, following its sold-out screening at Tate Modern this year, the Czech Centre is delighted to bring back Jan Švankmajer’s swansong: Insects.
Further screenings and talks include a searing expose of working conditions in some of the worst paid jobs in the Czech Republic presented by journalist Saša Uhlová, who spent six months working undercover, resulting in the 2017 award winning documentary The Limits of Work. In stark contrast, Pavel Seifter, former Czech Ambassador to the UK, will recall the heady days of the Velvet Revolution in 1989 and its significance for paving the country’s way to democracy.
The Czech Centre’s mission is to actively promote the Czech Republic by showcasing Czech culture in the UK. Its programme covers visual and performing arts, film, literature, music, architecture, design and fashion. As well as hosting its own events, the Czech Centre offers support for other groups organising Czech related initiatives in the UK. It is a non-political organisation supported by the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of a worldwide network of 22 Czech Centres. The Czech Centre is a member of EUNIC (European Union National Institutes for Culture). www.czechcentre.org.uk