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Four Days in Motion, Faces of India, Prague on two wheels

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Spice up your life, says an invitation to the spice and cheese festival occupying the Old Town Square until 16 October. If you can’t find it, follow the sounds of accordion, dulcimer and violin played by old Prague style cabaret and gypsy bands.

Tonight in Žižkov, Germany’s DJ Shantel and his eight-member Bucovina Club Orkestar will play their mix of Balkan gypsy melodies with electronic sounds. The 2006 winner of the BBC Radio 3 Award for World Music will play songs from the latest album Planet Paprika as well as his old pieces. Tickets to the show at Palác Akropolis are available from CZK 410.

The former Federal Parliament building located in the upper part of the Wenceslas Square will be the centre point of the Four Days in Motion festival opening on Friday, 9 October. The one-week event will present innovative contemporary projects from around the world, including a show by the Israeli choreographer Yasmeen Godder and a trippy laser-light show from the Australian dance company Chunky Move. Other festival venues are the Archa and Alfred ve dvoře theatres, the Studio ALT@ and La Fabrica in Holešovice.

A one week festival Nad Prahou půlměsíc will introduce the culture of the Arabic-speaking countries located in the regions of Maghreb and Mashriq in North Africa and the Middle East. Poetry reading, theatre, film, dance and Arabic culinary delights will be on offer at Rock Café, Viola, Minor and other Prague venues from 10 to 17 October.

Another opportunity to explore the Arabic culture comes on 20 October when a four-day retrospective of Arabian cinematography begins at Kino Aero. The selection includes contemporary film from Egypt, Jordan and Syria, documentaries from the Slovak documentary and experimental film festival Far Near East and a reflection of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (Private, 2004).

The Indian embassy and the Světozor cinema in Prague will host the seventh year of the Indian Film Festival from 12 to 18 October. Faces of India will showcase a number of popular Bollywood romance films, including Raj Kapoor’s Bobby, a blockbuster of 1973, as well as documentaries. They include a profile documentary about rediscovering organic farming in India; a film about a Hindu festival Makar Sankranti which every year fills the sky of Ahmedabad with millions of little kites; and a striking film The Great Indian School Show, which chronicles events at a high school which has installed 185 closed-circuit cameras at every corner of the school. Bollywood disco and video screening night will take place at the PM club on Trojická on 17 October. All films have English subtitles.

Here are two more movie tips for the upcoming days. A new documentary by Martin Mareček, the founder of Prague-based iniciative for sustainable transport Auto*Mat, has entered Czech cinemas. Over the course of its 6-year existence, Auto*Mat achieved a number of goals from pushing through the construction of bike paths to promoting cycling in the capital by setting up the regular Critical Mass rides. The city officials and the police, however, do not always want to understand that bikes deserve more space on the car-dominated roads. Mareček and his team are seeking the change and Auto*Mat, an inspiring and witty documentary, could help make it happen. The movie is available with English subtitles at Kino Aero and Světozor.

The other recommendation is a film feature about Miloš Forman, who escaped from the communist Czechoslovakia and achieved fame as a filmmaker in the United States. He is behind such films as Amadeus, Valmont, Hair, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The People vs. Larry Flynt and Hoří, má panenko. Go see Miloš Šmídmajer’s “What doesn’t kill you…” to discover more about Forman’s life and his way of thinking.

Speaking of Czech personalities, Josef Čapek also deserves your attention. Before his tragic death in a German concentration camp, Čapek showed his talents as an illustrator, painter, scenic designer, art critic and writer. A retrospective exhibition featuring almost 1,000 pieces of Čapek’s work opens today at Prague Castle’s Riding School. Admission is free today between 5 and 8pm.

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