'Amelie de Montmartre' receives Karlovy Vary Crystal Globe

Karlovy Vary's Film Festival

For the last week and a half the West Bohemian spa town of Karlovy Vary was turned into one big multiplex cinema, as the town played host to the 2001 International Film Festival. There were 514 films on show, and more than 100,000 film buffs queued up to watch them. The festival came to a close on Saturday, and Radio Prague's Dita Asiedu, who was there last week, is back in the studio now to tell us some of the highlights:

Karlovy Vary's Film Festival
An excerpt from the winner of the festival's Crystal Globe - the French movie, "Amelie from Montmartre". Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, it gives the viewer an unusually poetic account of the simple life of a girl in Paris. But Amelie was not the only highlight of the party. The appearance of the famous British actor Ben Kingsley, who was given an award for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema was also greatly appreciated by the Czech crowd:

"I guess when I was a child, I became an actor in order to be seen and heard and to be acknowledged in this way. Thank you for seeing me, thank you for hearing me, it's a real, real, joy to be here."

The Czech director, Otakar Vavra was also given an award for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema. Unlike Mr. Kingsley, however, he had a different explanation for receiving the prize:

"It's means that I'm very old - I'm 90 years old, you know! And that's when you get these sorts of awards. I haven't yet received one from Karlovy Vary and it surely is an honour - I'm glad that I managed to get it."

The Best Director Award was given to the Hungarian director, Ibolya Fekete for "Chico" - a Hungarian, German, Croatian, and Chilean co-production, depicting the life of a half-Hungarian, half-Bolivian journalist who was born a Jew, raised a Communist, and later fought in the recent conflict in the Balkans. The Special Jury prize was given to the Polish film, "Hi Tereska", directed by Robert Glinski who had a rather interesting explanation of what filmmaking was about, comparing it to cooking a carrot from scratch - first you have to get the seed, then you have to find a field, after that, it's time to grow it and then...

"And finally you have your big carrot and it is very beautiful. So you go to the kitchen, you wash it, you cut the carrot into pieces and you cook it and you think it's very tasty and then the carrot is taken to the restaurant and the guests there look at the carrot and say 'uh' and throw it into the garbage. So thank you that I found some people here who like my carrot!"

And finally, moving on to the best actors category... and this year, both awards were given to actors from "A Song for Martin" - a Swedish/Danish co-production, directed by Bille August about a family forced to cope with Alzheimer's disease. The best actress award was given to Viveka Seldahl and Sven Wollter was chosen as best actor.