From orgies to family-owned strip-joints via a documentary about a 20th century Roma poet – the films in the official selection at the Karlovy Vary film festival in the Czech Republic are wildly varied.
‘XL’ by Icelanic director Marteinn Thorssen is a portrait of debauched senator Leifur Sigurdarson, an unstoppable ladies man and alcoholic who is forced into rehab by his friend and boss, the prime minister of Iceland.
Thorssen said: “I think its an universal issue, its a problem definitely when its not talked about in the news or in the media, you know, for instant when alcoholism isn’t talked about , when Gerard Depardieu is drunk… or when Berlusconi is having his parties you know all this kind of behaviour, Dominique Strauss Kahn, all these people in power, and nobody mentions it.”
Documentary ‘The Manor’ is about Canadian Jewish director Shawney Cohen’s extravagant family, which owns a strip club.
He explained his philosophy: “I think its OK to be dysfunctional and have problems and still try to be a family. I think a lot of families that I know that have similar businesses fall apart: I think what’s amazing about our family in ‘The Manor’, for 30 years we have been going through a very tricky business, a business a lot of people think is something that’s morally not correct and that we were able to survive through and have Passover dinner and argue like a normal family – I think that surprises people.”
And the black-and-white film ‘Papusza’ follows the story of a female Roma poet. The film also gives a wide-angle look at the Roma community, including its experiences during the Second World War.