In its 47th year, KVIFF remains the major festival for debut films from Central and Eastern Europe, as well as providing a fresh look at formerly controversial works from the region. This year the festival continues its project of screening Czech New Wave films censored during the Communist regime, including Miloš Forman's The Firemen's Ball (Horí, má panenko, 1967) and Jaromil Jireš' The Joke (Zert, 1969). The former was banned in its native country for 20 years; it was Forman's final film before heading to the US.
There were also several major retrospectives including a complete program of Michelangelo Antonioni's documentary works and a tribute to Turkish director Reha Erdem, who attended to discuss his six features. The most feted guest was the distinguished British actress referred to as "Helen Mirrenová" (her father is Russian, after all), who was on hand to present The Door, her collaboration with another Eastern European veteran, the Hungarian filmmaker István Szabó.
From the official competition selection, the FIPRESCI prize was awarded to Iranian director Ali Mosaffa's The Last Step (Peleh akhar), a modernist nouveau roman which recalls early Alain Resnais in its constant, obsessive re-takes on memory. (Lesley Chow)
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival: www.kviff.com