The Karlovy Vary film festival attracts thousands of young film enthusiasts, as getting tickets for screenings of its 200-plus films is relatively easy and affordable.
Artistic director Karel Och said there is a lot of young talent contributing to this year’s main competition, which includes 12 feature films:
“I would characterise the selection in this year’s main competition as slightly more radical than last year. We have a couple of films made by esteemed European directors such as Marco Tullio Giordana from Italy or Jan Jakub Kolski from Poland, but next to them we have a bunch of exciting first-time filmmakers such as Ektoras Lygizos from Greece or Hüseyin Tabak from Austria, and they really brought into the competition a completely new and, as I said, radical spirit of revolt and politics,” he said.
Among the pictures competing for Karlovy Vary’s Crystal Globe is “Hay Road” by Portuguese director Rodrigo Areias, a fresh new approach to the Western genre.
Areias hitched the timeless philosophy of American moralist Henry D. Thoreau’s essay ‘Civil Disobedience’ to a traditional Western wagon, immersing his cast in the Western environment. While the story is set 100 years ago, the movie is powerful not only for its bewitching style, but also for its extremely tangible parallels with the present.
“What I wanted to do in this story is that the main character which is influenced by the West more the than film itself , so the main character would be somebody bringing American culture into his own country’s culture and it would bring it from this philosophical and from this fight for Human Rights’ point of view into Portugal of the beginning of the 20th Century,” says Areias.
The Slovak-Czech debut “Made In Ash” by Slovak female director Iveta Grófová opened the ‘East of the West’ competition, a flagship section of the festival that this year pays special attention to brand-new first and second films by new filmmakers from Central and Eastern Europe.
“Made in Ash” tells the story of a Romany girl who leaves her native Slovakia for a job in the Western Bohemian town of Aš. Using non-actors, the director obtains a rawness and maximum punch.
“I started working on this film as a documentary. I met real people from the Czech town of Ash and gathered material. But I started to realise that finding a protagonist could be a problem, partly because real women’s stories are played out so quickly and I wouldn’t be able to record them. Another reason was that it could be perverse to film real women in such intimate situations. Maybe it wouldn’t have worked out, making the result paradoxically less truthful than a feature film,” says Grófová.
The winners of the 47th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will be announced at a gala ceremony on Saturday July 7th.