“It’s quite an amazing year”: Robin Wright latest star name for Karlovy Vary

Robin Wright

The organisers of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival have just revealed that actress Robin Wright will appear this year. She joins other star names, including Russell Crowe, whose band will perform for the public on the opening night. But the festival will also have numerous other notable guests, as I found out from artistic director, Karel Och.  

Karel Och - the artistic director of Karlovy Vary International Film Festival | Photo: Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary

This year’s stars are Russell Crowe, Alicia Vikander, Ewan McGregor and you’ve just announced Robin Wright. Which of them will create the greatest excitement among the public in Karlovy Vary, do you think?

“It’s hard to know. But I’m sure Russell Crowe will cause amazing excitement.

“Not just because he’s an amazing actor, but because he’s a musician.

John Malkovich in Karlovy Vary in 2009 | Photo: Štěpánka Budková,  Radio Prague International

“I think if a famous actor plays music and sings, it’s that added value that is rather exotic for many people.

“It reminds me maybe of the visit of John Malkovich, when he presented his fashion show, or Tim Robbins, who also performed as a musician.

“So to be presented in a different light – that’s twice as exciting.

“But I wouldn’t like to underplay Ewan McGregor’s fame and importance, and of course Alicia Vikander.

“And Robin Wright, too – it’s quite an amazing year, I would say.”

You’re also honouring Christine Vachon. Who is she?

Christine Vachon | Photo: Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary

“Christine Vachon counts among the most important contemporary producers of independent films.

“Whenever you mention her name, you mention often Todd Haynes, this extraordinary filmmaker from the United States.

“She produced Far From Heaven, she produced Carol and other masterpieces.

“She was crucial for the career of Todd Solondz; I could mention, for example, Happiness.

“She worked with Paul Schrader, Robert Altman or John Waters.

Celine Song | Photo: Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary

“Christine Vachon will have two films in the programme of Karlovy Vary.

“You Sing Loud, I Sing Louder is the movie that we are presenting on the occasion of the mentioned visit of Ewan McGregor and his daughter.

“She also has a movie which for me belongs to the standouts of the year, called Past Lives.

“It’s a debut by Celine Song, a Korean-Canadian filmmaker, which was presented both at Sundance and the Berlinale main competition, which is rather rare and confirms that it’s a particularly strong film.”

Past Lives | Official Trailer HD | A24

Your Programme Department also invites many guests who would be less known to the public. Who are you personally excited to have coming to the festival this year?

“I’m very excited that we will be able to welcome at Karlovy Vary the director of The Ghost of Richard Harris, Adrian Sibley.

“Not just because the documentary about this iconic actor is outstanding, but because I know that Adrian is an avid cinephile and I hope he will appreciate our programmes focused on classic films, such as the Masumura retrospective or others.”

Did I read in your catalogue notes online that there is a Slovak filmmaker coming for the first time in 75 years?

Book about Eduard Grečner and his films | Photo: Casablanca

“Exactly. It might be for many people the event of the festival.

“I’m talking about Eduard Grečner, a gentleman who is 91 years old nowadays.

“When he was a young student, when he was 16, he came to Mariánské Lázně.

“I would like to remind everyone that between 1946 and 1948 the Karlovy Vary film festival took place both in Karlovy Vary and Mariánské Lázně.

“So this young fella visited Mariánské Lázně, meaning the Karlovy Vary film festival, and he saw a Mexican film called Rio Escondido.

Río escondido de Emilio Fernández (1947)

“Until then he was considering maybe a literary career, as a writer or poet, but the experience of having watched this movie made him decide otherwise – he decided to be a filmmaker.

“He became quite well-known in the 1960s and then he strongly opposed the invasion of the Soviet tanks in 1968 and the consequences were cruel; he could no longer direct films.

“There’s a documentary about him called Truth Is All There Is and we will present the world premiere in Karlovy Vary.

“Eduard Grečner is the protagonist and he will come back after no less than 75 years.”

You’re also showing Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, dubbed. Why are you showing it, and why dubbed? That’s so unusual for the festival.

“I know. I think it was Ingmar Berman who said, It’s a crime to dub movies.

“That’s how we perceive it, but every now and then exceptions should be made, and we have to consider the fact that the Czechoslovak dubbing school was quite famous, especially in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

“We are going to celebrate 100 years of the Walt Disney Studios this year by presenting, exactly, the very first animation feature-length film ever made, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, from 1937, with the famous dubbing from the 1950s.”

Sněhurka a sedm trpaslíků

The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival begins on Friday June 30 and runs until Saturday July 8.