May 27, 2014 7:00 PM
US release of Mariusz Szczygieł newly published book Gottland in English dealing with the Czech history from the Polish perspective and World premiere of screening of excerpts from the film based on the same book.
Discussion with Gottland author Mariusz Szczygieł and the book's translator, Antonia Lloyd-Jones, moderated by Alex Zucker.
Reception afterwards featuring Staropramen beer.
Mostly True Stories from Half of Czechoslovakia
– a book by Mariusz Szczygiel
Winner of the Europe Book Prize
One of Europe’s most preeminent investigative journalists travels to the Czech Republic—the Czech half of the former Czechoslovakia, the land that brought us Kafka—to explore the surreal fictions and the extraordinary reality of its twentieth century.
For example, there’s the story of the small businessman who adopted Henry Ford’s ideas on productivity to create the world’s largest shoe company—and hired modernist giants such as Le Corbusier to design his company towns (which were also the birthplaces of Ivana Trump and Tom Stoppard).
Or the story of Kafka’s niece, who loaned her name to writers blacklisted under the Communist regime so they could keep publishing.
Or the story of the singer Karel Gott, winner of the country’s Best Male Vocalist Award thirty-six years in a row, whose summer home, Gottland, is the Czech Dollywood.
Based on meticulous research and hundreds of interviews with everyone from filmmakers to writers to pop stars to ordinary citizens, Gottland is a kaleidoscopic portrait of a resilient people living through difficult and often bizarre times—equally funny, disturbing, stirring and absurd . . . in a word, Kafkaesque.
Directors: Bohdan Blahovec, Viera Cakanyova, Petr Hatle, Rozalie Kohoutova, Lukas Kokes, Radovan Sibrt, Klara Tasovska
Gottland is a cross-genre film based on selected parts of the international bestseller Gottland (European book of the year 2009) by Mariusz Szczygiel. 7 documentarists – students of Prague famous film school FAMU – observe the Czech history from the losers’ point of view and examine the neuralgic points of Czech and European history and so called “heroes” of the Czech nation. The name Gottland refers to a famous Czech singer Karel Gott, one of the most popular pop-music singers in the central Europe. Karel Gott himself became a symbol for the succesful, and hardworking citizen of the Czech lands, who has stayed perfectly neutral for last 60 years. He is the only real hero for the Czech nation, sometimes even reaching up to the god status.
Organized in collaboration with the Polish Cultural Institute, Melville House and Polish Book Institute.
321 East 73rd Street
NY 10021 New York
May 27, 2014 7:00 PM
Czech Center is a coorganizer of the event