Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Karlovy Vary International Film Festival gets underway

By Raymond Johnston | Prague Daily Monitor |
28 June 2019

Several films will be shown out of competition or as special events. The festival will host the world premiere of the US-based Czech filmmaker Martin Krejčí’s long-anticipated The True Adventures of Wolfboy, starring Jaeden Martel, Eve Hewson and John Turturro.

Following its successful premiere at Cannes, Helena Třeštíková and Jakub Hejna present the Czech premiere of their biographical documentary Forman vs. Forman, about the famed Czech filmmaker.

Ivan Zachariáš will present an exclusive preview of the first two episodes of HBO Europe’s six-part spy drama The Sleepers, starring Táňa Pauhofová, Hattie Morahan (Beauty and the Beast), and David Nykl (Stargate Atlantis).

Ondřej Provazník and Martin Dušek make their feature-film debut in Karlovy Vary with the world premiere of Old-Timers, a road movie with two aging former political prisoners who set out to find and kill a communist-era prosecutor.

The Australian film Mystify: Michael Hutchence, a documentary look at the late lead singer of Australian rock band INXS, has its European premiere.

The festival’s main competition includes 10 world and two international premieres. Chinese director Zhai Yixiang’s Mosaic Portrait shows a 14-year-old girl at a critical moment of her life. Cambodia-born British writer and director Hong Khaou will introduce Monsoon, a drama about rediscovering one’s identity.

Germany’s Jan-Ole Gerster returns to Karlovy Vary after seven years with the psychological study Lara, starring Corinna Harfouch. The Philippines’ Dwein Baltazar also returns with her drama Ode to Nothing. Turkey’s Kıvanç Sezer is back in the competition section after three years with a humorous look at life crisis called La Belle Indifference.

Distinctive Spanish filmmaker Jonás Trueba explores intense emotions in August Virgin. Meanwhile, American director Martha Stephens takes us to the 1960s in her black-and-white drama To the Stars.

Belgian debut filmmaker Tim Mielants presents a journey toward self-understanding in Patrick. Chilean director Felipe Ríos offers up the psychological road movie The Man from the Future.

Eastern and Southeastern Europe are represented by a trio of films. Half-Sister by Slovenian director Damjan Kozole, who won Best Director at the 2016 KVIFF, is reminiscent of the Czechoslovak New Wave. Bulgarian directorial duo Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov bring an intimate family drama The Father. Marko Škop’s Let There Be Light is a Czech-Slovak co-production.

The East of the West competition offers eight world, three international, and one European premiere. The opening film is Aga’s House by Kosovo-based director Lendita Zeqiraj. The Czech Republic is represented in the completion by Michal Hogenauer’s drama A Certain Kind of Silence. This section also includes films from Ukraine, Slovakia, Serbia and Turkey.

The documentary competition has eight world and three European premieres. Award-winning Czech director Martin Mareček returns with the road movie Over the Hills. Another highlight is Todd Douglas Miller’s Apollo 11, compiled from archival footage from the first lunar landing mission.

Previously announced events announced include a commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution with seven movies shot in 1989–92. The “wild nineties” gave filmmakers’ new artistic freedom.

The festival continues its tradition of premiere screenings of digitally restored Czech classics with director Juraj Herz’s The Cremator.

The festival is also honoring the late Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine (1926-2008) with a retrospective of 11 remastered films spanning from 1950 to 1986.

The KVIFF President’s Award will go to cinematographer Vladimír Smutný. He worked with director Jiří Svoboda’s on the 1983 period drama The Downfall of the Secluded Berhof, which will also be shown.