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June 24, 2004 2:00 AM
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Karlovy Vary To Screen 230+ Films at 39th Festival

Karlovy Vary To Screen 230+ Films at 39th Festival

by Wendy Mitchell



Martin Compston and Gary Lewis in Fridrik Thor Fridriksson's "Niceland," one of the films in competition at the 39th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Photo © ZikZak Filmworks Ltd.


More than 230 films will screen at the 39th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, which kicks off the Czech Republic on July 2. Playing in Karlovy's lucrative competition (which carries a $20,000 prize in addition to prestige) are 16 films that haven't yet played in competition at other international festivals. The competitors are Attila Janisch's "After the Day Before" (Hungary), Paprika Steen's "Aftermath" (Denmark), Metod Pevec's "Beneath Her Window" (Slovenia), Lisa Cholodenko's "Cavedweller" (U.S.), Zrinko Ogresta's "Here" (Croatia/Bosnia/Herzegovina), Marek Najbrt's "Champions" (Czech Republic), Andrea & Antonio Frazzi's "A Children's Story" (Italy), Christophe Barratier's "Chorists" (France/Switzerland), Xavier Sanchéz Bermúdez's "León and Olvido" (Spain), Valery Todorovsky's "My Step-Brother Frankenstein" (Russia), Dennis Gansel's "Napola" (Germany), Fridrik Thór Fridriksson's "Niceland" (Iceland/Germany/U.K./Denmark), Sakamoto Junji's "Out of This World" (Japan), Rituparno Ghosh's "Raincoat" (India), Ali-Reza Amini's "The Riverside" (Iran), and Konrad Niewolski's "Symmetry" (Poland).

Highlights from the doc competition (which is split between docs over and under 30 minutes) include Peter Liechti's "Lucky Jack - Three Attempts to Stop Smoking," about his fight to kick the nicotine habit; Salomón Shang's "Madre Cuba," a stream of images from Havana's streets; Kim Dong-won's "Repatriation," about two former North Korean spies confronting their past; Didier Nion's "Seventeen," about a troubled French boy going through adolescence; Ewa Borzecka's "83 Zlota Street," examining the changes on one block in Warsaw; Kim Hye-jee's "Gaze," about an amateur mime.

The Horizons section includes films that have already fared well at other festivals, including many Cannes highlights. Among the dozens of Horizons films are Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," Pedro Almodóvar's "Bad Education," Richard Linklater's "Before Sunset," Michael Winterbottom's "Code 46," Pjer Zalica's "Fuse," Mika Kaurismáki's "Honey Baby," Brad Anderson's "The Machinist," Lee Kang-Sheng's "The Missing," Park Chan-wook's "Old Boy," Christine Jeffs' "Sylvia," and Nadir Mokneche's "Viva Algeria."

Karlovy Vary's Forum of Independents section, now in its 11th year, will show indie films from across the world. For the first time, an Independent Camera prize will be awarded to a film in this category. Some selections are: several films by Samira Makhmalbaf and Al Maysles, Jim Jarmusch's "Coffee & Cigarettes," Andrew Jarecki's "Capturing the Friedmans," Thomas Draschan's "Encounter in Space," Curtiss Clayton's "Rick," Michael Schorr's "Schultze Gets the Blues," Khyentse Norbu's "Travellers and Magicians," and Gabriela Monroy's "The Trip."

Special screenings out of competition include the opening-night screening of John Irvin's "The Boys of County Clare," about Irish brothers reunited for a music competition, the animated hit "Shrek 2," Xan Cassavetes' IFC doc "Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession," and Hans Weingartner's "The Edukators."

The "East of the West" section will include Central and Eastern European productions, while the popular Czech film section will screen 14 recent Czech productions, including "Zelary," "Bored in Brno," "The Farm Keeper," "Bitter Coffee," and "Choking Hazard."

Other programs planned in Karlovy Vary include a section devoted to Turkish film, John Cassavetes and Sergio Leone retrospectives, a tribute to Sergei Paradjanov, experimental works, student films, the Variety Critics' Choice of "ten to watch" among European productions, a selection of new musical films, dance films, and Catalan cinema.

Guests expected to attend Karlovy Vary include actors Javier Camara, Seymour Cassel, John Cleese, Ben Gazzara, Harvey Keitel (a Crystal Globe honoree), Colm Meaney, Liev Schreiber, Elijah Wood, directors Xan Cassavetes, John Irvin, Vadim Perelman, screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, and Czech cameraman Miroslav Ondricek, who will also be presented with a Crystal Globe award.

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