Organisers “over the moon” to secure Julianne Moore for Karlovy Vary

Julianne Moore, photo: ČTK/APInvision/Joel C Ryan

The biggest stars at this year’s Karlovy Vary film festival will be Julianne Moore, Casey Affleck and Patricia Clarkson, with Moore’s latest feature After the Wedding set to be screened at the opening ceremony on June 28. I discussed the main guests, his own personal recommendations and a special section this year devoted to early ‘90s Czechoslovak cinema with Karel Och, KVIFF’s artistic director.

Julianne Moore,  photo: ČTK/APInvision/Joel C Ryan
You have several interesting names this year, but Julianne Moore really stands out as a big name – a great actress AND a big star. What does it mean for the festival to have someone like her coming?

“It’s huge. It’s huge. And you have to know we have been working on Julianne Moore for a good four or five years.

“Because obviously she’s an actress that is working a lot and despite the fact that she and her family have always wanted to join the festival, of course it was not always possible.

“We’re just over the moon that it is possible now. She’s a huge star, a very intelligent actress, an amazing actress.

“So everybody should be happy, including all types of media. And we – in the crew, in the staff – are just really, really delighted.”

What about lesser known names that you will be focused on in the Program Department? Who are you excited to see this year?

“Naturally, we have another star from the United States who will cover, let’s say, the end of the festival, and she is Patricia Clarkson, again an amazing actress.

Patricia Clarkson,  photo: Maarten de Boer / Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary
“We’re so happy to have these two towering actresses coming to Karlovy Vary and beginning and wrapping up the festival.

“We started to adore Patricia Clarkson in The Station Agent and, of course, Sharp Objects recently, and many, many other outstanding movies.

“Billy Crudup is coming to introduce the opening film of the festival, called After the Wedding.

“And also we’ll be very happy that there will be more and more filmmakers coming with films that they will introduce in competition or in a sidebar, because they’ve come from Berlin or Cannes.”

I ask you this every year, but is there any one film that’s a really unusual experience, or that people should look out for?

“And again, as every year, I will not avoid a classic film…

“Of course, in the programme of new films there are plenty of outstanding films, one of them being A White, White Day, a film from Iceland.

“It’s the second film by Hlynur Palmason, who made his name with Winter Brothers, which was a huge festival hit a few years ago.

“A White, White Day, which we acquired for distribution, under KVIFF Distribution, is just one of those films that have touched me profoundly.

“But going back to the classic films, there is cinema and there is John Cassavetes. He’s an island, he’s a lighthouse – he’s the whole of cinema for me.

Photo: Columbia Pictures
“One of his masterpieces is called Husbands and we’re going to show the brand new restored version of this film, with the amazing Cassavetes as an actor, Peter Falk and Ben Gazzara.

“So that is something that I look forward to very much.”

Tell us also about the special section this year focused on Czechoslovak films made around the time of the Velvet Revolution.

“It’s our, let’s say, special way to remind the world of the 30th anniversary since we got rid of the Communists – not entirely, but at least formally.

“Basically we decided to include seven films shot in the first three years after the fall of communism.

“Just to bring back the very particular atmosphere of those years, with sudden freedom and how it reflected in art an in cinema in particular.

“There are seven of these films made by then beginners or, at the same time, big filmmakers, such as Jan Neměc or Věra Chtyilová, and they’re very stylized.

“The filmmakers were not afraid of going very far in caricaturing certain characters, certain aspects of society and politics, etcetera.

“So they are very courageous in a way and this is also our, let’s say, message to young Czech filmmakers: Don’t be afraid, go all the way, be punk, be rock’n’roll and do it.

“Because that’s what these films brought.

“I’m sure many people will be happy to see these films again, like us, who were 15 back then.

“But in the meantime we have a whole generation of visitors to Karlovy Vary film festival who were not born yet.

“So they will see those films for the first time and I’m particularly curious about their reaction.”