Lithuanian sci-fi, Israeli drama among contenders at Karlovy Vary

Lithuanian sci-fi Vesper

The top prizes at this year’s Karlovy Vary film festival will be announced at a glitzy ceremony on Saturday evening. Twelve works are in the running for the Crystal Globe for Best Film, while the all-new Proxima competition will get its first ever winners.

Lithuanian sci-fi Vesper | Photo:  Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary

Among the dozen works in the running for the biggest prizes in Karlovy Vary’s truly diverse Crystal Globe competition are films from Iran, Japan and Georgia.

Lithuania also has a main competition contender, in the dystopian sci-fi Vesper.

The relatively big budget picture, which has been described as a “bio-punk fairytale”, stars the great UK actor Eddie Marsan.

Eddie Marsan | Photo: ČT24

“Vesper’s a film about hope.

“The world is post-apocalyptic. Everything seems dead and there’s no hope, and then this young girl kind of plants a seed, and possibilities arise because of that.

“The message of the film was something that appealed to me.

“I’m not really a great expert on science fiction, but I do love something with a message.

Ofir Raul Graizer | Photo: Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary

“The trick is to work out what the message is, what the function is, and then to hide the function, to hide the message.”

Israeli filmmaker Ofir Raul Graizer was in Karlovy Vary for the world premiere of his latest work, America.

It is the compelling story of three people faced with an extremely intense life situation – but is ultimately optimistic, the director of the main competition film told KVIFF.TV.

“I put them in this terrible situation as a writer, I placed them there.

Israeli drama America | Photo:  Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary

“But I think what I tried to do was first of all not to judge them for the decisions that they make.

“And also to find within this difficulty a lot of light and a lot of hope and a lot of smiles – moments where you see human warmth.

“I felt that when I was writing the film, but also when I was making it and working with the actors.

Israeli drama America | Photo:  Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary

“We shot it in 2020 during the first lockdown, in the summer, before the vaccinations.

“There was a feeling like the world was going to the end, so we said let’s believe in light and let’s push for humanity – and I hope you feel it in the story.”

This year Karlovy Vary also has a brand new second competition, Proxima, which showcases emerging filmmakers and fresh approaches.

Marco Berger | Photo: Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary

One of the directors hoping to take the section’s Best Film gong is Marco Berger, maker of Horseplay.

“Actually, it’s kind of sad, the beginning of the idea.

“Because in 2020 there were these rugby guys in the countryside in Argentina, on the beach, and they killed a guy.

“They were in a disco and they were trying to fight with him, so the guy went outside and they followed him – and they killed him.”

The winners of this year’s Karlovy Vary, the 56th, will be announced on Saturday evening.

Photo:  Czech Radio