From folklore to the wild ‘90s: Project explaining Czech culture via movies is back

Some Like it Czech, a project introducing foreigners to local culture via movies, returns to Prague next week. The organisers say many of their visitors are mixed Czech-foreign couples – and plan to launch their second season with the 1990s classic Samotáři, or Loners. I spoke to the event’s co-founder Šarka Bekrová.

“We are screening Czech cult films which in some way or another define Czech culture.

“For example with the movie Wild Flowers [Kytice], which we screened back in November, we were showing our foreign visitors something about Czech folklore, we were teaching them about our national writer Karel Jaromír Erben.

“For example with the movie Kolya we were talking about Czech and Russian relations.

“With the movie Cutting it Short [Postřižiny] we talked about brewing in the Czech Republic and about the writer Bohumil Hrabal.

“We also brought beer in for our viewers, right from the Cutting it Short brewery itself.”

You also showed other films including Lidice and Zelary. How did the first season go in general, in terms of the response from the audience?

Photo: Some like it Czech

“I think it went amazing.

“We often see that a large proportion of our visitors are ethnically mixed couples.

“So it’s not just expats all alone and it’s not just Erasmus students:  Czech people are also coming.

“That kind of helps with the cultural mish-mash and understanding more about Czech culture.

“When there are Czech people around you I think it’s great – a better atmosphere than if it would be just foreign visitors.”

You also showed in your first season the movie Slunce, Seno, Jahody, or Sun, Hay and Strawberries. That is, I would say, very broad Czech humour and you guys even call it a “supreme guilty pleasure”. What did the foreigners in the audience make of that movie?

“I think it went pretty well. The audience laughed.

“We were kind of scared, because it’s not your typical humour.

“But I would say it went very well. We had quite a huge attendance and we talked till midnight with some of our visitors.”

Your new season begins next Wednesday with Samotáři, or Loners. Why have you chosen that film in particular to kick things off?

“The reason that we showed that is because we wanted to show what the new era was like here in the Czech Republic.

“In the 1990s we were called the ‘Wild East’.

“That’s the side of the Czech Republic that we want to show. We want to show the wild ‘90s, basically.”