Thermal springs, brilliant architecture and lots of fresh air… But when the time comes to the mid-summer, the unique nature of this little Czech town presents one of the most prestigious film events in the whole of Europe: The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The Festival’s 52nd edition took place from 30th June to 8th July and screened around 200 films (144 full-length and 35 short and 28 documentary films) in 14 different venues.
As a matter of course, the center of attraction of the 52nd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival was its main competition. Including directors like Joanna & Krzysztof Krauze, George Ovashvili, Václav Kadrnka, and Boris Khlebnikov’s latest features, the selection also introduced six debut directors, who mostly have the capacity to make an impact on the future of world cinema in the following years. Besides this, the festival’s side-competition “East of the West”, again, became a remarkable showcase to observe the latest trends in the Eastern European cinema.
Among the guests of the Karlovy Vary this year, three big Hollywood stars attracted the main attention: Casey Affleck, Jeremy Renner and Uma Thurman. Casey Affleck presented the European Premiere of this year’s Sundance hit A Ghost Story with the acclaimed director of the film David Lowery and his film crew; while Jeremy Renner introduced his latest film The Wind River. As one of the most venerable musicians in the industry, James Newton Howard was also present in Karlovy Vary and was honored by the festival.
This year’s tribute section of the festival was dedicated to one of the most honorable directors of Japan, Kenji Mizoguchi. The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival screened ten films by the Japanese master and also a documentary on him, Kenji Mizoguchi: The Life of a Film Director, which was directed Kaneto Shindo in 1975. More than that, the festival also asked six film critics about their favorite films for the section “Six Close Encounters”. The Critics were also present to introduce the films they chose, such as The Mirror, The Searchers, WR: Mysteries of the Organism and (as, perhaps, a witty choice) the glorious The Blue Lagoon.
Once again, our FIPRESCI Jury was in Karlovy Vary to evaluate the main competition. Among the 12 films in this selection, our jury decided to award an independent American film, Keep the Chance, directed by Rachel Israel. (Kaan Karsan, edited by Steven Yates)