Swimming with glory at Karlovy Vary

Top award for Iran’s Summer Of Hope amid plethora of prizes

by Richard Mowe

Summer of Hope team: (from left) director Sadaf Foroughi, Saman Majd (film crew), Kiarash Anvari (producer) and actress Leili Rashidi
Summer of Hope team: (from left) director Sadaf Foroughi, Saman Majd (film crew), Kiarash Anvari (producer) and actress Leili Rashidi Photo: Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

The 56th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival roared back to full throttle after an interrupted two years with an awards ceremony which saw star turns Benicio Del Toro and Geoffrey Rush receive special lifetime achievement Crystal Globes while the event’s top prize was bestowed on Summer Of Hope, directed and written by Iranian-Canadian Sadaf Foroughi and set in Iran.

The film deals with a competitive swimmer as he struggles to train for an ocean-going competition.

Scene from Karlovy Vary top prizewinner Summer Of Love
Scene from Karlovy Vary top prizewinner Summer Of Love Photo: Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

Other awards which spread the prizes glory around Europe and elsewhere, included a Spanish study of interactions between friends in Madrid and directed by Jonás Trueba which received the special jury prize.

Local talents were not neglected with Czech filmmaker Beata Parkanová scooping the director prize for The Word, a Czech/Slovak/Polish co-production. It's based on the director’s own original story of a small-town lawyer standing up to political pressure in 1989. Martin Finger plays the lawyer and took best actor prize.

Shared best actress awards went to Georgians Taki Mumladze and Mariam Khundadze as young women coping with claustrophobia and sexual frustration in A Room Of My Own by Joseb Bliadze.

The Právo audience award went to Czech rockumentary PSH Neverending Story, while the Festival’s new Proxima competition also stayed local with a prize for the Czech documentary Art Talent Show, directed by Adéla Komrzý and Tomáš Bojar. The international film critics’ jury, FIPRESCI, also gave the film an award along with Borders Of Love, an examination of open relationships directed by Tomasz Wiński.

A Spanish / Argentinian production, La Pietà, directed by Eduardo Casanova, received the Proxima special jury prize, while a special jury mention was bestowed on Croatian/Serbian family story The Uncle, from directors David Kapac and Andrija Mardešić.

The Ecumenical Jury chose the documentary A Provincial Hospital for their prize. The film is a Bulgarian/German production directed by Ilian Metev, Ivan Chertov and Zlatina Teneva. The Europa Cinemas Label Award found favour with the Polish holiday from hell drama Fucking Bornholm, directed by Anna Kazejak.

Almost 200 films were screened at the Festival over just nine days, drawing crowds estimated by the organisers at more than 10,000 with many sell-out shows.

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