Christmas Fairytales

One of the more endearing and unique aspects of Czech Christmas celebrations is how big a role fairytales play in the celebration. While Americans have half-hour specials like “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” or films that have become a holiday tradition like “It’s A Wonderful Life” or “The Sound of Music,” Czechs have fairytale movies.

Czechs are passionate about fairytales, and have a grand history of full-length fairytale films, most of which are shown over the Christmas holiday. Even I’ve been hooked by the fairytale bug.

So here is my list of recommended movies to watch out for, or to set the VCR for:

Tři oříšky pro popelku (Three Wishes for Cinderella) [TV Markiza, Dec. 26, 17:15] – In my own opinion one of the best filmed fairytales ever. There will probably never be a better fairytale princess than LibuÅ¡e Å afránková.

Byl jednou jeden kral (Once Upon A Time There Was a King) [TV Nova, Dec. 24, 19:25] – A lush Technicolor fairytale about a king who decides that salt is more important than gold. Andrew James Horton at Central Europe Review has a pretty good article not only describing the film but also putting it in historical perspective.

ObuÅ¡ku, z pytle ven! (Take the Club From the Sack) [Prima, Dec. 25, 16:00], which is another lush Technicolor fairytale about a poor musician who is given a tablecloth that serves food, and a donkey that shakes money. For me, the feast scenes in this movie are totally worth seeing, as it gives you a good idea what Czechs think about when they think “feast.”

There are so many more fairytales going on that I’ll run out of bits if I describe them all. But also of note are Pekařův cisař [Nova, Dec. 25, 10:00], Babička [Part 1: Czech TV 1, Dec. 25 16:25 and Part 2: Czech TV 1, Dec. 26, 16:30].

Another unrelated TV note: The Marx Brothers are the subject of Czech TV 2’s Film Club for the next few weeks. Tomorrow (Monday) night it’s “At The Circus” at 21:30. I, of course, won’t be able to watch it because I’ll be DJing at the Palac Akropolis with Tony Ozuna.

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