Monthly Archives: February 2012
The past week has been thrilling. We saw the first copies of Mrcha Hollywood at the warehouse, and it started to appear in shops on Friday (24th). We embarked on some publicity; a TV interview for Central Live and a newspaper article for Nitrianske Noviny.
Our Facebook page Team Bryndza Books had a boost from the release of the book and we now have close to 60 likes - most of whom we are proud to say we don’t know – of course likes from our friends and family are great too!
We’ve just heard from March 1st our publisher has bought advertising on a huge screen outside the Mlyny shopping centre in Nitra. For the next six months a ten second ad for Mrcha Hollywood will run throughout the day. A big deal, the footfall will be huge.
I thought seeing our novel in shops would be a huge moment for me. For years I have dreamed of the day I walk in to a bookshop and see a novel, with my name on it, sat on shelves.
So last Friday we leapt out of bed and headed straight to our local Panta Rhei. In my pocket I had a new pack of Slovak equivalent Handy Andies, because I honestly thought I would be overcome with emotion…
How wrong I was… Stupidly we took our DSL camera with us, (why? a phone camera is just as good and far more discreet) and were taking some excited shots of us with our book, when we were promptly asked to leave by a sales assistant. Taking photos is banned in all Panta Rhei book shops. I made the cardinal error of telling the sales assistant we were the authors of the book we were photographing. It held no sway with her and we mooched out, red faced, and went for a coffee to drown our sorrows.
On the bright side, we’ve got a book signing there in a couple of weeks – should be interesting!
Since my first post on this subject I’ve been asked about Czech cinema and Slovak cinema. When I talked to my friends everyone uses the term Czech Cinema. It seems that when the Czech Republic and Slovakia filed for their velvet divorce in 1993 the Czechs got custody of cinema and the term ‘Czech cinema‘ has now stuck , excluding the involvement of the Slovaks, who, unified at the time, made an equal contribution to these great films.
Don’t let the Exorcist style cover image fool you, this is a warm, beautiful film with real heart.
Jakub is a daydreamer in his mid- thirties and still lives with his father. Fed up with his idleness Jakub’s father throws him out, telling him to go and sell his grandfathers overgrown piece of land with an old house on it, and buy a new flat with the proceeds.
Jakub moves into the house and finds a diary written by his grandfather in reverse writing, and a map leading to a bottle of wine buried years ago. Mysetrious events and miracles begin to happen and Jakub retreats into a life cut off from the real world. He meets a mysterious young girl, Helena who knew his grandfather. Helena can levitate and often vanishes at whim which begs the question, is she real or a figment of Jakub’s imagination?
I stumbled across this film on Youtube during a hot day when we lived in Los Angeles. We had planned to go out to the beach but ended up closing the blinds, cranking up the aircon and watching the whole film. Zahrada won the special prize of the jury of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in 1995 and several Czech Lions in 1996.
Perinbaba, translated as ‘Lady Winter’ is what Mary Poppins is to the West. A christmas classic shown every year without fail. Whereas Mary Poppins is a saccharine tale. Perinbaba is deliciously dark, due in part to the story based on the Grimm’s fairytale ‘Mother Hulda.’ Perinbaba is a magical woman who lives in the clouds and looks on over mankind. She conjures up winter weather jumping on a huge duvet to make snow from the feathers, she has an evil sister who is the grim reaper.
Perinbaba saved a young boy, Jakub from the Grim reaper and he now lives with her in the clouds, never ageing, helping make the snow and spying on the world in a huge crystal ball. One day through the crystal ball Jakub sees a young girl Alžbetka and falls in love with her. When Perinbaba is asleep he escapes and flies to earth using the huge duvet, ageing into a young man in the process. Jakub finds Alžbetka, living a cinderella existence with her father and step mother, and they fall in love. The jealous wicked stepmother pushes Alžbetka into a well (as Wicked stepmothers often did before running water and guns) and frames Jakub for murder
Perinbaba saves Alžbetka from death and she is reunited with Jakub. Perinbaba is directed by Juraj Jakubisko, a giant of Czechoslovakian cinema. Perinbaba is played by Frederico Fellini‘s wife Giulietta Masina. The film was shown in HD over christmas and the fantasy sets and cinematography rival anything made in the west. The film is also famous for its award winning score by Petr Hapka.
Zítra To Roztočíme, Drahoušku (1976)
‘Payback time tomorrow darling” is a film with which anyone who has ever had a noisy neighbour can identify. Two sets of couples live side by side in an old apartment block in the centre of Prague. One young (pictured on left) and one old. Jealousy and hatred is rife between the couples and they devise elaborate ways to torment one another.
During Communism, foreign electronics and luxuries such as meat where scarce. So one couple torments the other by buying an empty cardboard box to pretend they have bought a new washing machine from America. (even though with a communal tap outside the apartments there is nowhere to plumb it in.) The wife of the younger couple continually makes the sound of banging, as if she is pounding pork schnitzel into to shape, which the older couple hear through the party wall. They are driven mad with jealously as they eat salad- again.
After years of conflict, told through some wonderful comic acting from the cast, they think their prayers are answered when it is announced the crumbling apartment block is to be demolished and they are to be rehoused in sparkling new apartments.
To their horror they are re- housed next to one another and once again they are neighbours.
Sequels are notoriously hard to get right, but Slunce, Seno A Par Facek is a rarity (it being the sequel to Slunce, Seno, Jahody featured in the first part of my post on Czechosolavkian cinema.)
Set shortly after the first film, this deals with the daughter of Škopkopa (pictured, the wonderful Helena Ruzizcova) who falls pregnant by the boy next door. This scandal and gossip is quickly averted by the planning of a quickie wedding. However, a young jealous girl in the village spreads rumours that the boy is the father of another pregnant woman in the village.
The finale of the film is an awesome spectacle at the wedding, and a fight breaks out spreading until the whole village is scrapping outside the farm.
A third film was made, Slunce, Seno Erotika which is still very entertaining. A script was written for a fourth film; Slunce, Seno and Aliens, but never made as many of the cast had passed away. I would have loved to have seen the villagers meet extra terrestrials!