Karlovy Vary International Film Festival begins 44th year

Photo: CTK

Every July, the Czech Republic sees the return of the famous Karlovy Vary International Film Festival - eight days of world-class cinematography and seven nights of world-class parties. Our reporter Christian Falvey begins a week of stories on both.

Photo: CTK
The box offices are open and the red rug is out of the closet, strewn out in front of the Thermal Hotel and awaiting its first famous footsteps – those of Czech-American director Miloš Forman. Earlier I spoke to programme director Julietta Sichel who told me what we can expect from day one of the 44th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival:

“Well we will open with a new US film which is called The Greatest. It’s an international premiere and the director of the film Shana Feste should be coming to introduce the film to the audiences. The festival traditionally opens with the red carpet of course and the arrival of the guests of the festival. Then the opening ceremony will take place and after that then the opening film will start.

And why was this film chosen, can you tell me what it’s about?

“Well it’s kind of a sad story for the opening of the festival but we really liked the film. It includes big names, which of course is interesting and important for an opening film – the film stars Susan Sarandon and Pierce Brosnan, so I think these names are very attractive for the audiences attending the opening. The director is young, and it’s a very interesting film, very well made. It’s the story of a family trying to come to terms with their lives and the things happening around them after one of their sons dies.”

“Well we hope that everything will go well, we hope as many people as last year, maybe more, will come, and that they will like the films that we selected.”

Turnout, indeed, tends not to be a problem at the biggest film event in Central Europe. Of course there’s always the great hope-dashing economic crisis to foil the best-laid plans of any organiser, but then 65 crowns per ticket is unlikely to strain the loyalties of the festival’s devoted student fan base. And 220 films across 25 programme sections leaves little room for audience dissatisfaction. In competition for the Crystal Globe are 14 films from 14 countries, there will be world premieres, including the latest film by Miloš Forman, and presentations of the directorial work of John Malkovich, Paul Schrader, and Patrice Chéreau, all of whom will be on hand during the course of the week.