thu 14/11/2019

Prague

The Cunning Little Vixen, Welsh National Opera review - family night in the forest

Considering that Janáček’s Vixen is, among other things, an allegory of the passing and returning years, it’s appropriate that WNO continue to recycle David Pountney’s now nearly 40-year-old production, and that it comes up each time refreshed, with...

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Blu-ray: The Ear

Karel Kachyňa’s The Ear (Ucho) begins innocently enough with an affluent couple’s petty squabbles after a boozy night out. He can’t find the house keys and she’s desperate for the toilet. He’s distracted, and she accuses him of having neglected her...

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DVD/Blu-ray: A Case for a Rookie Hangman

The excellent booklet essay by Michael Brooke that accompanies this Second Run release of Pavel Juráček’s second, and final feature (it’s presented in a fine 4K restoration) tells us much about the director’s importance for the Czech New Wave, that...

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Blu-ray: Diamonds of the Night

The opening shot of Jan Němec’s 1964 debut feature, Diamonds of the Night, recalls the start of Orson Welles’s Touch of Evil. Němec’s camera also ducks and dives, here following a pair of teenagers fleeing from a moving train and escaping into a...

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Blu-ray: Daisies

Věra Chytilová’s 1966 film Daisies almost defies description, though what initially seems like 75 minutes of plot-free silliness does coalesce into something bordering on the coherent. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, to quote Seinfeld....

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P.E.Caquet: The Bell of Treason review - the sacrifice of Czechoslovakia

It was 80 years ago next month that Neville Chamberlain returned with the good news of peace in our time. The Munich Agreement was greeted as a triumph for the appeasers. The price Britain had to pay was a minor stain on its conscience: the...

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Milos Forman: 'The less you know about yourself, the happier you are'

The second thing I noticed about Miloš Forman, who has died at the age of 86, was the spectacular imperfection of his English. All those decades in America could not muffle his foghorn of a Bohemian accent, nor assimilate the refugees from Czech...

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McMafia, BBC One review - James Norton looks promising in a murky le Carré world

It’s not the first time that James Norton has kicked off BBC One’s New Year primetime celebrations in Russian style. Two years ago, he was costumed up as the courageous Prince Andrei, in illustrious ensemble company for Andrew Davies and Tom Harper’...

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Proms at... & Prom 56 reviews: Multi-Story Orchestra / BBCSO, Hrůša - the best of all possible worlds

There we had it, in one extraordinary Proms day: the brave new world of contemporary classical music for all in a repurposed Peckham car park followed by the consolidation of the old order in all-Czech programming of remarkable originality and...

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DVD/Blu-ray: The Fabulous Baron Munchausen

Baron Munchausen’s exploits have been filmed before. Terry Gilliam’s star-studded 1988 version floundered thanks to a sub-par script, and there’s an infamous 1943 German adaptation, commissioned by Goebbels. This one, Karel Zeman’s The Fabulous...

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'You are my hero, dear Jiří': Karita Mattila and others remember Jiří Bělohlávek

The first of Jiří Bělohlávek’s final three appearances in London, conducting his Czech Philharmonic in a concert performance of Janáček’s Jenůfa, came as a shock. The trademark grey curly hair had vanished. Clearly he had undergone chemotherapy, but...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Conductor Jakub Hrůša

Only four flutes were on stage at the start of Jakub Hrůša’s latest concert with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the reins of which he took over from Jonathan Nott last September. Charles Ives would have been amazed to hear his “Voices of Druids” on...

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