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Festival celebrates best in eastern and central European film

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Festival celebrates best in eastern and central European film

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The American actor Michael Shannon was among the guest stars attending the closing ceremony of the 51st Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The event prides itself on being a gateway to international markets for the best films from the former Soviet Bloc.

Held in the spa town that gave it it’s name in western Bohemia, Czech Republic, the festival is one of the oldest in the world and has become one of Central and Eastern Europe’s leading film events.

“It’s Not the Time of My Life”

The Hungarian family-drama “It’s Not the Time of My Life” by director Szabolcs Hajdu has won the top prize – The Crystal Globe – for best feature film and Hajdu himself was also awarded best actor.

He told reporters,
“I always direct movies like this (from the inside, not from the outside). So far I’ve directed six movies and I always had the feeling that I was acting in those movies, because I lived what happened in front of the camera. So now as I was actually acting in this movie, the fact that I received the Best Actor award was a great surprise for me, because I don’t consider myself to be an actor.”

Szabolcs Hajdu shot the intimate film in his own home with family-members and friends.

“It’s Not the Time of My Life” is a confrontation between two, small families set in one flat over a single day. As discussions unfold, they begin to grasp the essence of the damaging dysfunctionality that is at the heart of their family relationships. The small ensemble cast portray the characters with visceral precision.

Nightlife

The Best Director award went to Slovenian filmmaker Damjan Kozole for “Nightlife”. This gripping thriller explores what happens when a wealthy couple’s lives are utterly changed in one tragic night.

While the husband is in critical condition after an accident in unsettling circumstances, his wife tries to come to terms with the situation and grapples to hold on to what remains of her life.

House of others

This year the flagship “East of the West” award went to Georgian director Rusudan Glurjidze for “House of Others”.

Inspired by the director’s own experiences, the film tells the story of two families who survived a devastating civil war.
They are given the derelict houses of their defeated enemies but seem incapable of building a new life in peace because the war
still rages on within them.

“House of others” has been praised by international critics as “an exquisite, evocative and elusive tale of abandonment and the psychological scars of war.”

Rusudan Glurjidze explained, “It’s our biography, our childhood. We should tell a story which is inside of us to be free and start speaking about love, about freedom, about nowadays, etc, etc.”

The Teacher

The Best Actress award was taken by actress Zuzana Mauréry. The relatively unknown Slovakian Actress received the prize for her commanding performance in “The Teacher”, a Slovak-Czech co-production. She plays a manipulative low-level Communist Party official in the early 1980s.

The principal of an primary school calls a special parents meeting after it is alleged that the seemingly compassionate and kindly-looking teacher Mrs. Drazděchová has been using her students to manipulate their parents.

The 51st KVIFF showed more than 180 films; 12 of which were in the main competition.

Next year’s festival will be held from 30 June 2017 to 8 July 2017.

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