Year of the Devil wins crystal globe at KVIFF

Czech President Vaclav Havel at closing ceremony of the 37th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, photo: CTK

On Saturday night, the creme de la creme of the Czech Republic's film industry as well as important political figures including Czech President Vaclav Havel came together to attend the closing ceremony of the 37th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. During the festival's ten-day run - from July 4th to July 13th - a total of 139.120 viewers visited the West Bohemian spa town to watch the 292 films that ranged from documentaries to feature films. Dita Asiedu was at the festival and is back to tell us more about the winners of the 2002 Karlovy Vary Film Festival's Crystal Globe:

Czech President Vaclav Havel at closing ceremony of the 37th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, photo: CTK
Just one of the three trailers that preceded each of the 534 film screenings and this year, unlike last year, choosing the winning film was anything but easy and yet, the seven member jury, chaired by actor and director Jean Marc Barr was certain that the holder of the 2002 Grand Prix Crystal Globe should go to: Despite doubts over the film's potential appeal for an international audience, the Czech movie 'Rok ïábla', or the 'Year of The Devil', directed by Petr Zelenka won the crystal globe for best picture - a mock documentary about real musicians in the Czech Republic including Jaromir Nohavica - one of the country's best known singers and songwriters. The best director award, on the other hand went to Canadian Asghar Massombagi for a movie that couldn't be more different. It's called 'Khaled' and portrays the psychological turmoil a ten-year old boy goes through after his seriously ill mother dies in her room one night. In fear of being sent to a foster home, he doesn't tell anyone about it and continues with his life, leaving his mother's dead body in the flat:
Director Petr Zelenka (left), photo: CTK
A very moving story, shot on video with the little boy in almost all the scenes. Another moving film that won an award starred William H Macy as a personnel clerk in 1940's New York who is mistaken for being Jewish and is terrorised by his neighbours who are members of the Union Crusader movement promoting anti-Semitism. Giving a very strong performance right from the beginning to the very end, he was awarded with the Crystal Globe for Best Actor in 'Focus': Moving on to a movie with a much lighter story - 'The Seagull's Laughter' - one of the favourites for the best picture award. Set in Iceland in 1953, it tells the story of a widow who returns home after having been in the United States for several years. Back in the little fishing community that she returns to, she uses all her female tricks and charm to get what she wants, whilst her inquisitive eleven-year old relative, Agga, studies her sceptically. The role of Agga was played by Ugla Egilsdottir, who won the Crystal Globe for her performance.

Besides, best picture, director, actor and actress, other awards included the Special Jury Prize ('Nowhere in Africa' - Germany) and Special Jury Mentions ('Let's not Cry' - Korea, 'Smoking Room' - Spain).

Apart from feature films, some 23 documentaries were also in competition, evaluated by a five-member international jury. The Crystal Globe for Best Documentary above 30 minutes went to the Japanese production 'Daughter from Yan´an' directed by Kaoru Ikeya. The award for Best Documentary lasting 30 minutes or less was given to the Czech production 'Village B' directed by Filip Remunda. The U.S. documentary 'Devil's Playground' (directed by Lucy Walker) and the Russian production 'Hunting Down an Angel or Four Passions of The Soothsayer Poet' (directed by Andrei Osipov) received special mentions.

And for a complete list of the winners and more details about individual films you can visit www.iffkv.cz - the official festival web site.