film KOLYA

Today's topics: new summer schedule. ICE co-production. Brno. Czechs on political situation. Czech films on DVD. Quotes from: Dimitri Martin, Uri Mason, Bernard Harris, Michael Fanderys.

Thanks for writing to us with all the praise, comments and suggestion but not many questions, I'm afraid.

And talking about questions, we must remind you that we are a radio station and with the hundreds of letters and e-mails that we get every week, we cannot possibly help you in areas such as locating a lost friend, which require detailed research.

We get tens of e-mails a week from listeners asking us for valid telephone numbers from friends in the Czech Republic. We suggest you try the country's yellow pages. You can access their web site at

But now, let's move on to a question that almost all of you will be interested in. Dimitri Martin sent us an e-mail from somewhere in the UK asking:

"I noticed in the Radio Prague programme schedule that you sent to me at the end of last year that it is only valid until the end of March. Will you be introducing a new schedule and what will the changes be. Will they only affect the times of broadcast or also the various features?"

Yes, it's true. From March 31st, Radio Prague will have a new schedule of broadcasts and will also introduce a few changes to the features.

As far as the schedules are concerned, those of you on our mailing list will automatically be sent new ones. You can also access it on our website at Those of you who do not have Internet access and are not on our mailing list can contact us and we'll be happy to send you our new brochures.

But for our change in programmes, here's the head of the English department Vladimir Tax with more information:

"Talking Point will be broadcast on Mondays and One on One on Tuesdays. That's the only change in the week-days but there are more changes on the week-end. On Saturdays, we begin with Magazine, followed by a Letter from Prague and a repeat of the week's edition of One on One. On Sundays, we start with Mailbox, followed by our Czech language series (a repeat from Wednesday) and alternatively our music shows Encore (devoted to classical music) and Magic Carpet (devoted to Czech world music). These will alternative with a new Czech literature show called Czech Books. So, it's something to look forward to."

And on a similar note, Mr Martin had another question, this time on Insight Central Europe, which will continue to alternate with the traditional programme on short-wave on Saturdays:

"I really enjoy the ICE programme. Could you tell me a little more about how it all started and how it's produced?"

Rob Cameron was the first to contribute to the Insight Central Europe programme, so we asked him to answer your questions:

"It's produced every week by Radio Austria International, all the production is done there. They take the individual contributions that we send and mix them together in Vienna. It started off as five countries - Radio Austria, Radio Prague, Radio Slovakia International, Radio Polonia and Radio Budapest. Now, Radio Slovenia is also on board. Usually, we try to give a picture of what's going on in Central Europe with the backdrop of EU enlargement. We deal with a lot of issues that are relevant to the EU expansion process but also human interest stories such as economics and sport."

Uri Mason who listens to us in Germany wrote to us asking:

Brno - Petrov
"I had the opportunity to travel to Prague last year and I loved it. But what about the Czech Republic's second largest city, Brno? I haven't heard much about this city, is there any reason why?"

Many travelers who come to the Czech Republic often stay just in Prague, perhaps a few travel to the Southern Bohemian towns of Cesky Krumlov and Ceske Budejovice or the Eastern spa town Karlovy Vary but you are right, not too many people make it to the Czech Republic's second largest city Brno, and what a shame! Although Brno is only about a third of the size of Prague is a lot to offer. The majestic Petrov church is located on a large hill which over looks the town, it is also the same church on the 10 crown coin. There is also the Spilberk Castle which is surrounded by a densely wooded park which is great for a walks on those warm spring days.

For sports enthusiasts, Brno is the home to the automotodrome where the Czech Grand Prix in motorcycle racing is held every year. I personally like Brno for its slower approach to daily life, its much more of a relaxed city than Prague. So the next time you're in the Czech Republic why not check it out.

We have a question from Bernard Harris who started listened to Radio Prague by chance in Nigeria. He now lives in Spain and often listens in over the Internet.

"The political situation in your country seems quite tense recently. Over the past few weeks you've elected a new president, after three attempts, the government could have collapsed this week, and the influence of the communists is often talked about in your reports. What does the average Czech think about all this?"

Well, of course Czech's would prefer a more stable political situation in their country. The presidential elections became more a matter of when he or she will be elected rather than who will be elected. Of course there are people who disapprove with the election of Vaclav Klaus but I think the majority of people are happy that it is settled and done with.

All and all people take the political situation in stride, as long as it does not harm national interests. If anything, Czechs enjoy discussing and arguing about politics so its more fodder for those interested.

Michael Fanderys, from Ohio in the USA writes:

"Hearing about the Czech Lion awards, brought to mind the film- "KOLYA", which also won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, I believe in the late 1990s. May I recommend this film to fellow listeners, as it is endearing, heart-felt and humorous to see and experience. My wife and I have seen it 4 times since its release on video. Are there plans to have a DVD version with more specific details on the actors, production, etc?"

Yes, Kolya is available on DVD and I think you can even obtain it in the United States.

I must confess that I saw it only two weeks ago. While I thought it was a cute movie, a friend from Venezuela did not enjoy it that much.

Many say that the English subtitles fail to bring the Czech humour across and that, of course, is very important.

Yes, most Czech movies are popular because of their unique humour.

Well, that's all from today's Mailbox. But before saying good-bye for today, here's our contact information. Send your letters to the Radio Prague English Section, 12099 Prague 2, Czech Republic...

... or e-mail us to [email protected].