wed 22/05/2019

Czech

Blu-ray: Ikarie XB 1

This Blu-ray reissue brings sci-fi masterpiece Ikarie XB 1 back to its original visual glory, with the 1963 film presented here in the 4K restoration first shown at the Cannes festival in 2016 (distributor Second Run had previously released an...

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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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Thomas Adès, Wigmore Hall review - playful and erratic Janáček

Janáček has been an abiding passion for Thomas Adès. As both composer and performer, Adès revels in the whimsical and the absurd, and he finds both in Janáček’s piano works. This recital presented the complete surviving piano music of Janáček (...

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theartsdesk in Brno: Czech 100th feted through Janáček and Smetana

Five of Leoš Janáček's 10 operas are staples of the worldwide repertoire. Two I'd never seen on stage, so the slice I chose of the19-day festival devoted to all of them for the second time in the history of Brno, the cultured Moravian capital...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Invention for Destruction

Karel Zeman’s Invention for Destruction (Vynález zkázy) was, for many years, his best-known film in the West, dubbed into English three years after its 1958 premiere as The Fabulous World of Jules Verne by an enterprising Hollywood producer. Both...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Beethoven, Cage, Janáček

 Beethoven: Symphonies 2 and 7 Wiener Symphoniker/Philippe Jordan (WS/Sony)Philippe Jordan’s cheery face adorns this third volume of Beethoven symphonies from Vienna’s other orchestra, setting the tone fairly well. These are overwhelmingly...

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Olga Tokarczuk: Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead review - on vengeful nature

In a small town on the Polish-Czech border where the mobile signal wanders between countries’ operators and only three inhabitants stick it out through the winter, animals are wreaking a terrible revenge. The bodies of murdered men, united in their...

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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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DVD/Blu-ray: Black Peter

Fifty years after the 1968 Soviet invasion that so brutally interrupted it, the Czech New Wave really is a gift that keeps on giving. It still astounds that such a sheer variety of cinema was created in so short a time – really just six or seven...

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Edinburgh Festival 2018 review: Zimerman, LSO, Rattle - fizzing chemistry

It was Simon Rattle’s first visit to the Edinburgh International Festival for – well, really quite a few years. And the first of his two concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra drew, perhaps predictably, a capacity crowd in the Usher Hall, for...

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Blu-ray: Intimate Lighting

From the way that Czech director Ivan Passer remembers the genesis of this, his 1965 debut feature, in the 2006 interview that comes with this Second Run rerelease, Intimate Lighting happened practically by accident. A scriptwriter friend had put an...

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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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