“I can’t wait to share them with the audience”: Parts of Karlovy Vary programme revealed

Two months before it kicks off, the organisers of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival have just revealed the first details of this year’s programme, including a retrospective of Japanese director Yasuzo Masamura and a restored version of a neglected Czechoslovak New Wave drama.

Photo: Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary

A swarm of photographers captured the unveiling of the poster for the 57th edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival at a news conference on Tuesday.

The image presents the numbers five and seven as colourful, retro-style lines against a black background and is the work, as every year, of Studio Najbrt.

It was specifically created by studio founder Aleš Najbrt and his colleague Jakub Spurný, who said the poster itself was just the beginning.

“It’s like an experimental game with legibility and also movement, because on social media and in the cinema you will see an animated version of this poster, where the number will transform into other forms and so on.

“So we not only have this version of this number – we’ve also got many others, which you will also see in print and so on.”

Just prior to the reveal of the look of the 2023 Karlovy Vary, the Czech minister of culture, Martin Baxa, signed a memorandum with the festival’s long-time president Jiří Bartoška. It commits the state to continued support for the region’s biggest cinema showcase.

Minister of Culture Martin Baxa and Jiří Bartoška the IFFKV president  | Photo: René Volfík,  iROZHLAS.cz

Mr. Baxa explained why.

“The Karlovy Vary festival is a key event for the presentation of the best films.

“For the Ministry of Culture it’s also a major event where film professionals can meet, and the development of the country’s film industry is very important to us.

“That’s why the Ministry of Culture has increased support for the festival for the next three years by CZK 5 million to CZK 35 million.”

The organisers also said on Tuesday that veteran actress Daniela Kolářová will receive the festival’s President’s Award in recognition of her stellar career.

Also coming to Karlovy Vary is the world premiere of a restored version of Courage For Every Day, a by Czech director Evald Schorm.

Karel Och, the festival’s artistic director, said the 1965 film – not as well-known as other restored Czech classics showcased at the festival – deserved to find a wider audience.

“Evald Schorm was a filmmaker who was as interesting as his peers – Miloš Forman, Věra Chytilová, Pavel Juráček – but he was a very shy and very humble person.

“We’re just happy that we can give him more space and shed more light on his work. It’s a work that I think the adjective ‘thought-provoking’ works for. It’s also touching, in a very humble way.

“It shows the existential crisis of a young worker who believed in the Communist ideals after 1948.

“Obviously, as we all know, the 1950s brought some awakenings. And the early ‘60s was the time of reflection – and I think this film offers a very amazing reflection.”

The star of Courage For Every Day, Jan Kačer, who is today 86, has been invited to the 57th edition.

The contenders for Karlovy Vary’s Crystal Globe will be revealed next month, but for now the organisers have announced a treat for festival-goers: a retrospective of Japanese director Yasuzo Masamura.

Karel Och said he too merited wider attention.

“He is known, for the moment, more in the circles of cinephiles and film buffs.

“And we hope that after the tribute that we’re organising this year he will become more popular, because he deserves it and everybody who watches at least one of his films in Karlovy Vary will understand why.

“Yasuzo Masamura was the very first Japanese filmmaker who ever studied at the prestigious Italian film school Centro sperimentale and I believe you can see in his work a very intriguing of the West and the Far East, not just in choice of genres but also in the formal approach.

“The films are one better than the other and I just can’t wait to share them with the Karlovy Vary audience.”

Mr. Och also said this year’s festival would include a section entitled "Another Birth. Iranian Cinema, Here And Now", featuring nine films made in the last four years.

The 57th edition of the Karlovy Vary IFF runs from June 30 to July 8.