Anthropoid set to steal show at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, photo: Eva Turečková

The 51st edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival gets underway in the West Bohemian spa town on Friday evening. As every year, the country’s biggest movie event promises Hollywood stars, several world premieres and a unique atmosphere generated by thousands of enthusiastic young film fans. Radio Prague’s Ian Willoughby is in Karlovy Vary and we asked him what is coming up tonight as well as throughout the festival:

Anthropoid,  photo: Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary
“Well, this edition of the festival is starting with an unusually big event, and that is the much anticipated world premiere of the film Anthropoid, which is about the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich by Czech and Slovak parachutists in 1942. Obviously it’s a very important story for many Czechs as it concerns such a big moment in the history of WWII for the nation.

“There is a lot of interest in that movie, and actually it is being shown at four cinemas at the same time, which is very unusual also here, I have never seen that happen before. The main screening will be at the Grand Hall of the Hotel Thermal at the festival opening ceremony.

Willem Dafoe,  photo: Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary
"That will be attended by stars from the movie, both Czech and foreign, and among the foreign ones will be the Northern Ireland actor Jamie Dornan from ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and Toby Jones, who is also a British actor.”

And apart from those names that you mention, what stars can visitors expect to see in Karlovy Vary this year?

The biggest names include the US actor Willem Dafoe, who is going to receive Karlovy Vary’s Crystal Globe Award for outstanding contribution to world cinema and he should get that on Friday night. He is known for movies like ‘Platoon’, ‘Wild at Heart’, ‘Last Temptation of Christ’ and a lot of others, including a couple of Spiderman movies and even voicing some Disney films, like ‘Finding Nemo’ and ‘Finding Dory’.

Jean Reno,  photo: Georges Biard,  CC BY-SA 3.0
"Another star coming is Jean Reno from France. He has been in films like Leon and Nikita, both of those by Luc Besson, also he was in the first Mission Impossible movie and again he has a very long filmography.

"And many film buffs will be very excited to see Charlie Kaufman here. He is a screenwriter who wrote quirky, kind of cerebral films, like ‘Being John Malkovich’, ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’, and he’s here with his latest work, ‘Anomalisa’. It is an animated film but in many ways it’s very human and very good I think.”

And there’s always interest in what Czech films have been selected for Karlovy Vary – what locally made films can audiences look forward to?

“That’s true, every year there is a lot of interest in the Czech films being shown here. This year the biggest buzz probably is about the film ‘The Wolf from Royal Vineyard Street’. It’s the final film by the great Czech new wave director Jan Němec.

Jan Němec,  photo: ČT
“Němec partly made the film last year here at Karlovy Vary but he sadly died earlier this year at the age of 79. It’s said to be a quite autobiographical film and it has its world premiere here tomorrow night. It’s one of 12 movies in the main competition in Karlovy Vary.

“There is one other Czech entrant in the main competition, ‘The Teacher’ by Jan Hřebejk, who is probably still best known for one of his earlier films, ‘Cosy Dens’ or ‘Pelíšky’. The teacher is set in Slovakia in 1980s and it looks like to be a return to form for Jan Hřebejk.

‘Intimate Lighting’,  photo: Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary
“There are also Czech films in the documentary competition including Roma FC, which is about a football team made up of members of the Roma minority.

“Finally I would like to mention the world premiere on Saturday of the restored version of ‘Intimate Lighting’, one of the all-time greatest Czech films by director Ivan Passer. He lives in the States but he is coming to Karlovy Vary tomorrow for that screening and the world premiere of the restored version.”