Karlovy Vary to honour Smutný and Chahine

Festival will also commemorate Velvet Revolution

by Amber Wilkinson

Cinematographer Vladimír Smutný
Cinematographer Vladimír Smutný Photo: Courtesy of KVIFF/Ludek Hudec
Karlovy Vary Film Festival has made its first programme announcements this week - including tributes to Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine and Czech cinematographer Vladimír Smutný.

The Czech festival - which runs from June 28 to July 6 - will also commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution by screening a selection of films shot between 1989 and 1992. It will also hold a premiere screening of restored Czech classic The Cremator, directed by Czechoslovak New Wave filmmaker Juraj Herz, which describes the transformation of an ordinary man into a psychopathic killer.

Smutný will receive the President's Award for his contribution to cinema, with his work on films including Encounter With The Shadows (1982), End Of The Lonely Farm Berghof (1983) and Kolya (1996) as well as more recent work Dark Blue World (2001), Barefoot (2017) and Golden Sting (2018).

The retrospective dedicated to Chahine, who died in 2008, will feature 11 remastered films, including early studio works and award winners like Berlin Silver Bear winner Alexandria Why? (1978).

Artistic director Karel Och said: “A thorough look at the work of Youssef Chahine has long been overdue in Eastern Europe. We are delighted to pay this debt as a tribute to an exceptional artist and humanist with strong political views, as well as to Arab cinema, which has recently found a home in Karlovy Vary.”

Joseph Fahim, who curated the retrospective, added: “The recent restorations provide us with a golden opportunity to introduce the world to Chahine’s lesser-known early works and to shed light on the evolution of his filmmaking.

“Action epics, musicals, romantic melodramas and political allegories – the diversity and unpredictability of his 1950s output contain the seeds for the psychological complexity of Cairo Station (1958), the sweeping imagery of Saladin (1963), and the genre mashing of The Return of the Prodigal Son (1976), all of which are being shown in the program. Western audiences mostly know Chahine for the neo-realist Cairo Station, but there is so much more to his cinematic oeuvre. That’s what we are trying to show in this programme.”

Filmmakers Vera Chytilova and Jan Nemec will be among those featured in the seven films commemorating the Velvet Revolution - with The Inheritance Fuckoffguysgoodday (1992) and The Flames of Royal Love (1990).

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