Weird is a winner in Karlovy Vary

Critics make choices in Festival finale.

by Richard Mowe

A scene from Men Don’t Cry: recipient of the Europa Cinemas Label its “non-judgemental stance on the characters' different perspectives.”
A scene from Men Don’t Cry: recipient of the Europa Cinemas Label its “non-judgemental stance on the characters' different perspectives.” Photo: Film Servis KVIFF

As the 52nd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival winds down this weekend (8 July) the first crop of prize winners has been announced with the US title Keep The Change, about a group of colourful New Yorkers, scooping the award of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI).

Directed by Rachel Israel, it was described by critics comprising Peter Kremski, Germany; Karin Svensson, Sweden and Kaan Karsan, Turkey, as having “one of the funniest scripts we have ever come across, with a sense of humour that ranges from the crude jokes of conflicted protagonist David, to the no-nonsense cut-offs by its leading lady Sarah – a female character with a personal brand of vivaciousness never before seen on the cinema screen. We were deeply affected by this heartfelt story of coming of age and finding love, proving there is nothing wrong with being weird.”

Israeli director Ofir Raul Graizer whose The Cakemaker won the Ecumenical
 Prize for its "journey towards acceptance and the pursuit of love.”
Israeli director Ofir Raul Graizer whose The Cakemaker won the Ecumenical Prize for its "journey towards acceptance and the pursuit of love.” Photo: Film Servis KVIFF

Meanwhile The Ecumenical Jury Award was bestowed on The Cakemaker by Israeli director Ofir Raul Graizer, which takes “a gentle approach, portraying a journey towards acceptance and the pursuit of love. The unique bond formed between the characters strengthens a healing process that brings them a new life. It allows the viewer to connect to the most important of human values, something that overcomes all prejudices: love.”

On the jury were Ennio Terrasi Borghesan, Italy; Laura Lots, Switzerland and Petr Vacík, Czech Republic.

Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean FEDEORA for the best film from East of the West – Competition section was won by Mariţa from Rumanian director Cristi Iftime. The jury acclaimed Iftime’s simplicity in directing his debut feature film.”

It focused on the everyday life of a family, whose members, no matter that the family is separated after the divorce of the parents, at their reunion, celebrate the meeting and enjoy it in a spontaneous and friendly way that brings positive energy into their lives.

The FEDEORA jury gave a Special Mention to Blue Silence by Turkey’s Bülent Öztürk for its director's “strong, courageous take both in visuals, sounds and silences on how violence and war eats the soul.”

The jury was made up of Kostas Terzis, Greece; Blagoja Kunovski, Macedonia and Eva af Geijerstam, Sweden.

The award for the best European film in the Official Selection – Competition and in the East of the West – Competition, was won by Men Don’t Cry, a Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Croatia, Germany co-production. The film received the Europa Cinemas Label Award whose jury commended its stance on tackling European history and issues.

Their citation said: “A disparate group of former combatants representing all factions of the Balkan War of the 1990s gather in a deserted hotel. Common ground is found, but hard-gained trust is easily and quickly lost when old resentments come to the surface. The jury was struck by the film's non-judgemental stance on the characters' different perspectives, brought to vivid life by its fine cast, the universality of its theme of the value of forgiveness not just of others, but of ourselves, for past actions, its relevance to Europe's future as a community, and its subtle commentary on the negative aspects of masculinity.”

The members of the Europa Cinemas Label Jury were Marijana Bosnjak, Croatia; Kevin Coyne, Ireland; Zachary Ioannides, Greece and Stein Sorensen, Norway.

The main Karlovy Vary prizes will be announced later today at a closing prize-giving ceremony.

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