UK star Jude Law among special guests at 45th Karlovy Vary film festival

Jude Law, photo:

The 45th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival begins in the west Bohemian spa town next Friday. As an event, this year’s festival will no doubt be as big and colourful as ever. But the programme will be slightly smaller with “only” 180 films, around 30 fewer than usual. At the final pre-festival news conference in Prague, Karlovy Vary’s programme director Karel Och told me why.

'3 Seasons in Hell'
“We think it’s more, say, user friendly to have a few fewer films and to have more screenings of each film. So if someone comes for two or three days, this person will have a bigger chance to see the films that he actually wants to see.”

There are two Czech films in the main competition, 3 Seasons in Hell and Kooky. Otherwise there are many Czech films being screened this year?

“Yes, besides these two films that you just mentioned, we have a new documentary by Helena Třeštíková in the competition of documentaries, called Katka. There is a film in the East of the West competition called Dreamers by Jitka Rudolfová, and there is a film even in the Forum of Independents called Twosome by Jaroslav Fuit - his independent debut.

“There is also a film in the Variety Critics’ Choice which we are very happy about. It’s Man in Rut by Robert Sedláček. This section doesn’t feature Czech films very year.

“Besides that there is a section of Czech films, which is a selection of some 10 films from throughout the whole year which we liked and thought were worth showing the foreign audience. And there is a section of Czech documentaries, out of competition.”

Jude Law,  photo:
Jude Law is coming this year. How important is it for the Karlovy Vary festival to bag a big Hollywood star like him?

“It’s not easy. People like Jude Law obviously are very busy. He’s been on our wish-list for several years and this year it has worked with his schedule and we’re really happy about that.

“We discussed with Jude Law which film we should show, and he asked that we show The Talented Mr Ripley. So he will introduce it and he will get the President’s Award, and it’ll be one of the highlights of the festival.”

Otherwise who are your special guests this year? I’m thinking in particular of people from the English speaking world.

“We are going to welcome three wonderful people for the retrospective of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Among them is Thelma Schoonmaker, the late Michael Powell’s wife. She’s a long-time collaborator of Martin Scorcese and has won three Oscars for her work on his films. She’s going to introduce The Red Shoes, the restored print that featured at Cannes last year.

“She will come together with Emeric Pressburger’s grandsons, very famous filmmakers themselves. Kevin Macdonald is the director of The Last King of Scotland, and Touching the Void, and State of Play. And his producer Andrew Macdonald is the producer of Danny Boyle’s films like Shallow Grave, The Beach, and Trainspotting.”

The organisers of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival are also going to present the Slovak-born director Juraj Herz and the Russian filmmaker Nikita Michalkov with awards for outstanding contribution to world cinema. The president of the main jury will be Ron Yerxa, who has produced such movies as Cold Mountain and Little Miss Sunshine.