All materials on this page are creative works. Explore films, fiction, and more on this page.

In written fiction

Bliss was it in Bohemia.
 Michal Viewegh ; translated from the Czech by David Short. London : Jantar Publishing, 2015.

Find it in IUCAT.

From the publisher:

“A wildly comic story about the fate of a Czech family from the 1960s onwards. At turns humorous, ironic and sentimental, an engaging portrait of their attempts to flee from history (meaning the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia ) – or at least to ignore it as long as possible…
Light-hearted and sophisticated at once, this is a book that reminds us that comedy can tackle large historical subjects successfully.”

Gargling with Tar. 
Jáchym Topol ; translated from the Czech by David Short. London : Portobello, 2010.

Find it in IUCAT.

From the publisher:

“Czechoslovakia, 1968. The Soviet troops have just invaded and, for the young orphan Ilya, life is suddenly turned on its head. At first there is relief that the mean-spirited nuns who ran his orphanage have been driven out by the Red Army, but as the children are left to fend for themselves, order and routine quickly give way to brutality and chaos, and Ilya finds himself drawn into the violence.”

Love and Garbage. Ivan Klíma ; translated from the Czech by Ewald Osess. London : Chatto & Windus, 1990.

Find it in IUCAT.

From an excerpt of Eva Hoffman’s review for the New York Times:

“At the novel’s outset, the protagonist, an unnamed writer who is out of favor with the state, decides to don a plastic orange apron and take a job as a street sweeper.[…]The narrator perceives himself not mainly as a victim of oppression, but as someone who has reached a state of spiritual exhaustion and stalemate. He feels incapable of genuine human contact[…] Moreover, […]he’s been caught in a paralyzing conflict between two women: his wife, a serene, trustful psychologist to whom he’s deeply attached, and Daria, a vital, idealistic artist with whom he experiences moments of almost perfect closeness.”

Nightwork. Jáchym Topol ; translated from the Czech by Marek Tomin. London : Portobello, 2014.

Find it in IUCAT.

From the publisher:

“One night in 1968, on the eve of the Soviet invasion, 13 year-old Ondra and his younger brother Kamil are bundled into a coach bound for their father’s birthplace, a mountainous, forested village in northern Bohemia. But when they arrive it becomes clear that this escape promises its own perils, and the boys find themselves stranded in a rural community riven with petty suspicion and stained by prejudice, a borderland over which fleeing peoples, victims of genocide, and trigger-happy armies regularly tramp.”

The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Milan Kundera ; translated from the Czech by Michael Henry Heim. New York : Harper & Row, 1984.

Find it in IUCAT.

From Amazon:

“A young woman is in love with a successful surgeon, a man torn between his love for her and his incorrigible womanizing. His mistress, a free-spirited artist, lives her life as a series of betrayals – while her other lover, earnest, faithful, and good, stands to lose everything because of his noble qualities. […Their] lives are shaped by irrevocable choices and fortuitous events, and everything occurs but once,[and] existence seems to lose its substance, its weight.”

Hovno Hoří. Petr Šabach. Praha : Litomyšl : Paseka, 1994.

Find it in IUCAT.

Hovno hoří, or Burning Feces, is a collection of 3 short stories. The title is taken from the prologue describing the difference between the male and female perspective, and above all the difference between their views on life.

On screen

Burning Bush. Etamp Film Production; HBO; Nutprodukce. Directed by Agnieszka Holland; writing by Stepán Hulík; produced by Jan Bílek, Tomas Hruby, Pavla Kubeckova, Tereza Polachova, Antony Root.

This miniseries can be watched via Amazon or Fandor.

From Burning Bush (mini-series) Wikipedia page:

“Burning Bush (Czech: Hořící keř) is a 2013 three-part mini-series created for HBO [Europe] by Polish director Agnieszka Holland. Based on real characters and events, this haunting drama focuses on the personal sacrifice of a Prague history student, Jan Palach, who set himself on fire in 1969 in protest against the Soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia in the previous year.”

The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Metro Goldwyn Mayer ; an Orion Pictures release ; the Saul Zaentz Company. Directed by Philip Kaufman; screenplay by Jean-Claude Carrière & Philip Kaufman ; produced by Saul Zaentz.

Find it in IUCAT


“A Czech doctor, dedicated to promiscuity, is forced to choose between his wife and his lover.
Tomas is a womanizer whose enormous sexual appetite is never fully satisfied. He deeply loves his wife, Tereza; but, he only finds true understanding with his lover Sabina. Sabina shares his desire for sex without the “heavy” commitment of love. Tomas struggles with the decision of whether to give up his freedom and commit to the love of one woman or to remain faithful to his promiscuous ways.”

Cosy Dens or Pelíšky. Directed by Jan Hřebejk; produced by Pavel Borovan and Ondřej Trojan.

Cosy Dens or Pelíšky. Directed by Jan Hřebejk; produced by Pavel Borovan and Ondřej Trojan.

This film can be watched via Amazon

From the “Cosy Dens” Wikipedia page:

“Pelíšky is a bittersweet coming-of-age story set in the months from Christmas 1967 leading up to the ill-fated 1968 Prague Spring.”

In music

Music for Prague 1968 : For Concert Band. Karel Husa. New York : Associated Music, 1969. 1 score (100 p.) ; 31 cm. AMP 6922 Associated Music. Duration: 18 min., 30 sec.

Find it in IUCAT

From Eastman School of Music:

“Karel Husa’s monumental composition [is called] Music for Prague 1968. Husa, recipient of the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for Music and 1993 Grawemeyer Award, was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He studied music at the Prague Conservatory, Academy of Music, Paris National Conservatory, and Ecole Normale de Musique. Husa composed Music for Prague 1968 in response to the tragic events of the ‘Prague Spring’ movement and the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August of 1968.”

A Brief Look at ‘Protest Music’ Plus the Underground Scene in Czechoslovakia from 1968 – 1989. From Radio Praha.

Read more at Radio Praha

From Radio Praha:

“…Music of course played not only a crucial role at the crisis points in Czech history, such as the 1968 Soviet-led invasion and the fall of communism in 1989, but [also] in the long years in between: the stifling period of renewed repression known as ‘Normalisation’, which saw opponents of the regime thrown out of work, persecuted and jailed. Despite repressions, a dedicated, highly versatile, and underground movement continued on from the 60s, staging illegal events including rock concerts and artistic happenings that challenged the status quo.”

1968 in Czechoslavakia. From Europopmusic

Read more at Europopmusic

A short article about how the Prague Spring influenced music in Czechoslovakia during 1968.

Close the Gate, Little Brother by Karel Kryl

Listen and read the lyrics at Get to Know the Czech Republic

From Karel Kryl’s Wikipedia page:

“Kryl moved to Prague in 1968 as an assistant at Czechoslovak Television. In his spare time he performed his songs in numerous small clubs. When the Warsaw Pact armies occupied Czechoslovakia on August 21, 1968, to suppress the Prague Spring reform movement, Kryl released his first album. The title song Bratříčku zavírej vrátka (Keep the Gate Closed, Little Brother) was composed spontaneously on August 22,1968 as an immediate reaction to the occupation. The album described his perception of the inhumanity of the regime and his views on life under communist rule. The album was released in early 1969 and was banned and removed from shelves shortly after.”

Concerto in D performed by Collegium Musicum

Listen on YouTube

An instrumental band from Slovakia, Collegium Musicum reworked traditionally classical pieces for their prog-rock group. By changing the style, they used their music as a protest against the Soviet occupation. In the 1990s, the band experienced a revival and toured.