2005 best film director Krauze in competition again at this year's Karlovy Vary festival

Photo: CTK

The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will reach a conclusion on Saturday night, with the presentation of the festival's Crystal Globe awards at the grand finale at the town's Thermal hotel. So, what films in competition at the 42nd Karlovy Vary look like the most likely contenders to take the prizes this year? Ian Willoughby has been there all week, and has the answer...

It's quite hard to say, Daniela, but I can give you a couple of examples. One film in competition is by the Polish director Krzysztof Krauze and it's called Savior's Square. This guy, two years ago, won the Crystal Globe here for the best film, for My Nikifor, and he also won Best Director in 2005. And his new film here, Saviour's Square, is co-directed I believe what's his wife, Joanna Koz-Krauze. And it's rather a bleak film, this Saviour's Square, by contrast to a rather more positive movie, a French film called Conversation with My Gardener. And that tells the story of two childhood friends who were reunited in middle age and their lives have taken different paths but they hit it off again. That's by a director called Jean Becker. But there are fourteen films in total and there is certainly no 'vibe' here, so to speak, that any one film is a big hit with the viewers or with the jurors.

Right. Well we will have to wait to see obviously. Now, every year one Czech film is in competition. Which one is it this year?

'Vratne lahve'
This year it's Empties - Vratne lahve - which I think on Radio Prague we previously wrongly translated literally as Returnable Bottles but the real title in English is Empties. That's by Jan Sverak and starring his dad, who also wrote the film, Zdenek Sverak.
David Ondricek
And many listeners will know this team - a father and son team - for Kolya, which they made over a decade ago. It will be interesting to see how Empties does in the competition because apparently it's a very Czech film and I believe it's the biggest Czech box office success of all time. So it will be interesting to see if the international jury takes to it. By the way, every year one member of the Jury is Czech. This year it's David Ondricek, who is perhaps best known for the film Samotari, or Loners in English, and he of course is the son of the cameraman Miroslav Ondricek, who everybody probably knows worked with Milos Forman on many of his great films.

Right. And there is more than one competition, isn't there?

Yes, there are three competitions here. One is a Documentary competition, the other is called East of the West, which, as the name suggests, features films from eastern Europe. One thing you often hear at Karlovy Vary is that it's a real meeting place for the western and eastern film worlds. But I must say that the main competition is the big one and success here can, it's not guaranteed, but it can be the first step to international success.

'The Counterfeiters'
Finally Ian, have you yourself seen any interesting films at Karlovy Vary this year?

'Death Proof'
Well I have caught quite a few in the section called New Hollywood, which features lot of great American films from the 70s, which is one of my favorite eras. And you rarely get to see these films on the big screen. Also what I really want to see is The Counterfeiters. Some listeners may remember we had a feature about a man called Adolf Burger, who lives in Prague. And The Counterfeiters is based on his story. It's about Jewish printers who were forced to forge banknotes for the Nazis and apparently it's really brilliant. And tonight there is the first Czech showing of the new Quentin Tarantino film called Death Proof. That's on at midnight, so if I am still awake I'll go to that.