Ghosts of the past in frame at Karlovy Vary

Official selection includes ten world premieres

by Richard Mowe

Sueño Florianópolis
Sueño Florianópolis Photo: Courtesy of Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
A total of 10 world premieres and two international premieres feature in the line-up at the 53rd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, announced today.

Headlining the Official Selection in Competition is the latest by leading Romanian filmmaker Radu Jude "I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians", an exploration of nationality and a nation coming to terms with the traumatic moments of its own past.

Argentinian director Ana Katz presents a mixture of subtle melancholy with light humour in her family drama Sueño Florianópolis, while Male-female relationships come under scrutiny in The Fireflies Are Gone, the story of a rebellious yet charismatic teenager directed by Canadian filmmaker Sébastien Pilote.

A performance described as “harrowing" by actor Caleb Landry Jones dominates Peter Brunner’s dark Austro-American drama To The Night.

"I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians" takes top prize in Karlovy Vary
"I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians" takes top prize in Karlovy Vary Photo: Courtesy of KVIFF
Two other filmmakers previously recognised at the Festival present equally original though noticeably more poetic new films: Russian director Ivan (Zoology) Tverdovsky presents Jumpman, while Israeli director Joseph Madmony is presenting his third premiere at KVIFF, the moving drama Redemption, co-directed by cinematographer Boaz Y Yakov.

Home-grown cinema will be represented by Olmo Omerzu’s road movie about the force of boyhood friendship Winter Flies and by debut filmmaker Adam Sedlák’s claustrophobic minimalist study of the slow decline of body and mind, Domestique.

Other debuts are from the Dominican Republic and Spain (Natalia Cabral and Oriol Estrada’s story of an adolescent girl, Miriam Lies), Poland (Paweł Maślona’s dark comedy Panic Attack) and Turkey (Ömür Atay’s moving drama Brothers).

The selection, which spans a wide range of styles and genres, is bookended by Slovenian director Sonja Prosenc’s tale of female coming-of-age History of Love.

In the Out of Competition strand of the Official Selection, Andrew Bujalski’s Support The Girls presents a portrait of America’s middle class and all its trials and tribulations through the wild story of one day at a traditional American sports bar.

Other films in this section include the Japanese crime-tinged drama My Friend “A”, in which Takahisa Zeze explores the extent of individual responsibility, and Ben Tuček’s science-fiction comedy Trash on Mars, filmed under unusual circumstances at the station of the American non-profit Mars Society.

Of the 12 films in Documentary Competition, eight are being shown as world premieres. The latest work by previous Karlovy Vary winner Vitaly Mansky, Putin's Witnesses takes a fascinating look at the presidential career of Vladimir Putin.

Also in the selection are Bridges Of Time, the contemplative documentary essay by Kristīne Briede and Lithuanian director Audrius Stonys (which is also a part of the retrospective section Reflections of Time: Baltic Poetic Documentary), Marouan Omara and Johanna Domke’s look at the depopulated Egyptian resort Sharm El Sheikh Dream Away, and Cyril Aris’s sad and lyrical The Swing.

This year’s East of the West competition is dominated by a strong female element, with seven of the 12 films directed by women. One of them is Czech director Beata Parkanová with her debut Moments – depicting the pitfalls of family life. The second Czech film in this section is Tomáš Pavlíček’s comedy Bear With Us. The 11 debut films include Hungarian director László Csuja’s Blossom Valley – an ironic punk road movie about an odd couple on the run, the Iranian film Amir about life in contemporary Iran, and Via Carpatia, the debut film by Polish director Klara Kochańska, winner of a student Oscar, co-directed by Kasper Bajon.

The Festival in the Czech spa town opens on 29 June and continues until 7 July.

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