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Day nine: Banderas and a goodbye

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The biggest star to walk the red carpet on Friday arrived in Karlovy Vary in good humour and gave smiles all around to the crowds that were waiting for him for more than two hours in the rain, all just to catch a glimpse of the famous actor: Antonio Banderas.

Earlier that day, replying to a question about one of the roles that brought him his current fame, Zoro, he smiled and said, “I knew it would be a pretty big thing when Stephen Spielberg asked me whether I know the character during an Oscar night back in 1994. I said yes. Than he asked me if I wanted to play the part. I said yes. It was as simple as that,” he said smiling.

Starting as a theatre actor, he acted in many Pedro Almodóvar’s films. He says the director is a genius, but hard to work with.

He also recalled his stay in Prague in 1992 where he was shooting here for seven months. He remembered the Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, Malá Strana asked everyone “Jak se máš?”, wished “Dobré odpoledne” and said “díky”.

Banderas introduced his film El camino de los ingleses (Summer Rain), which is a coming-of-age story inspired by a Antonio Soler’s novel and his own reflections on growing up in Malaga. When asked about the not-so-good reviews it received, Banderas said he just wanted to shoot the story his way and did not think about the critics or how well it did in the box office.

On Friday, as John Malkovich asked how many people saw his The Dancer Upstairs, following a question how many saw the Transformers, making the packed Grand Hall burst out in laughter. Jan Švankmajer received the Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema in the stunning atmosphere of the Municipal Theatre from the hands of the festival’s president, Jiří Bartoška.

As the festival ends, all that will be left of the fame and glory and the glitter of the stars that walked the red carpet this year will be packed, dismantled, stuffed into boxes and vans, hauled back to Prague and stored for next year.

Nearly 123,000 tickets were sold, tonnes of beer drunk at the Hotel Thermal terrace and the accompanying concerts. Crowds burst out in an uncontrollable laughter during a screening of Black Dynamite and screamed with fear and disgust during Antikrist.

Yet again, it rained, but the weather did not discourage the patient independent film lovers, who used their Festival Daily to shield themselves from the elements.

This might be the last entry of our blog, but look out for our special festival report coming up in the Prague Monitor Magazine.

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