Romania’s “Barbarians” takes top prize at Karlovy Vary

'I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians', photo: Film Service Festival Karlovy Vary

The Romanian film “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians” took the top prize at this year’s Karlovy Vary film festival. Hollywood star Robert Pattinson brought lots of glamour to Saturday’s closing ceremony, while Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson was also among those honoured.

Radu Jude, photo: ČTK / Kateřina Šulová
The Crystal Globe for Best Film at the 53rd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival went to “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians”. The Romanian film explores a WWII atrocity committed by Romanian soldiers through a staged reenactment of those events.

Its director Radu Jude explained the relevance of the subject matter today in an interview for festival TV.

“The film deals with the lack of memory, or the possibilities of representation of ethnic cleansing by the Romanian army, and the administration in 1941. Of course, if you look at today’s world, and today’s Europe, and you see – not the same things, because I don’t believe that history repeats itself – but you see racism and anti-Semitism and negationism and a lot of these things. So a story from that time is relevant – and that is why I put together these two moments: the present and the past.”

Olmo Omerzu, photo: ČTK / Slavomír Kubeš
The Best Director gong at Karlovy Vary 2018 went to Olmo Omerzu for the Czech film Winter Flies, which centres on a road trip involving a couple of teenage tearaways. Omerzu credited the film’s success to the screenplay by Petr Pýcha.

“Usually when we watch coming of age films we can find a big presence of adults, remembering the past or thinking about this topic. I had a feeling with this script that he wasn’t using that, that he’s totally in a documentary way exploring the topic of youth.”

The Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson received Karlovy Vary’s Crystal Globe for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema. The Rain Man maker had this to say on stage at the Grand Hall of Hotel Thermal.

Robert Pattinson, photo: ČTK / Kateřina Šulová
“This is really a special honour for a kid growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, to be here in the Czech Republic, to be accepting an award for contribution to world cinema. It’s absolutely thrilling to me. It’s not something I would have ever imagined in my lifetime. For that I am very, very grateful. Thank you very much.”

The most glamourous guest on Saturday was without doubt the UK actor Robert Pattinson. Speaking to festival TV, the one-time Twilight star explained why these days he mainly does relatively low-budget movies.

“I just think there’s a little more freedom. The lower the budget is, there are not so many investors who panic when you do something crazy on set. Also I can’t really tell the different with having a really massive budget. I’ve never done something that’s huge, like one of the Marvel movies or something, so I don’t really know the feel of it.”