Among Karlovy Vary’s seven world and six international premieres making their way to Czech Republic this Summer, the festival will support up-and-coming as well as veteran European directors in its Official Selection.
Central and Eastern Europe’s flagship festival is one for moviegoers hungry for discoveries, curiosities and breakouts. We’ll see new movies by Dietrich Brüggemann (“Stations of the Cross”) and Romanian filmmakers Anca Damian and Florin Şerban, as well as the feature debut of the rising star of Italian cineaste Ferdinando Cito Filomarino.
Karlovy Vary’s competition sections are the Official Selection, East of the West, Forum of Independents and Documentary, all detailed below.
There are more than a few familiar faces in the Independents section, including Sean Baker and his Sundance darling “Tangerine,” which opens in the US this Summer. Tali Shalom-Ezer’s “Princess,” also at Sundance, is a hard-to-watch adolescent sexual awakening story we will probably never see in the US. Meanwhile, beloved international auteurs João Pedro Rodrigues, Ursula Meier and cine-essayist Mark Cousins bring new documentaries to Karlovy Vary this year.
OFFICIAL SELECTION – COMPETITION
Antonia / Antonia / Antonia
Director: Ferdinando Cito Filomarino
Italy, Greece, 2015, 96 min, World premiere
Distinguished Italian poet Antonia Pozzi (1912–1938) was among those women who were at odds with the times in which they lived. Her poems record her inability to adapt to social norms and her desire to live fully, and in poetry she sought an escape from reality and from her own complex soul and emotional life. An exceptional debut from a talented Italian filmmaker whose short work has been awarded at the festivals in Locarno and Sundance.
Babai / Babai / Babai
Director: Visar Morina
Germany, Denmark, France, Kosovo, Macedonia, 2015, 96 min, International premiere
The story of ten-year-old Nori plays out in Kosovo, Germany, and on the road between the two countries. His father Gezim dominates his entire world, however, one day he leaves for work in the “West” and Nori won’t be placated concerning his sudden disappearance. This feature debut from a talented Kosovan filmmaker is rendered with exceptional intensity and a flair for portraying the emotional complexities of the child’s situation.
Bob and the Trees / Bob and the Trees / Bob a stromy
Director: Diego Ongaro
USA, 2015, 91 min, International premiere
Massachusetts logger Bob Tarasuk, a charismatic workhorse and hard-head with a soft spot for golf and gangsta rap, plays himself in this vérite-style drama – an unpretentiously intense character study of an individual surrounded by a landscape both majestic and inscrutable.
Box / Box / Box
Director: Florin Şerban
France, Germany, Romania, 2015, 96 min, World premiere
The story of this keenly anticipated film by acclaimed Romanian director Florin Șerban (If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle, Berlinale 2010) follows a talented 19-year-old boxer named Anghel, for whom a session in the ring is everything, and Cristina, an attractive, 30-something mother who finds herself at a critical moment in her life. Two characters with their own secrets, two journeys, two outlooks. An intense drama that penetrates to the core.
Le bruit des arbres / The Sound of Trees / Šum stromů
Director: François Péloquin
Canada, 2015, 79 min, World premiere
At 17 Jérémie dreams of a life different from the one that awaits him at the family sawmill in the small Canadian town where he lives. Jérémie is more interested in pimping his car, listening to hip hop, and slacking off with his friends. This impressionistic debut, built upon convincing performances, tells of a summer that completely changed a teenager’s life.
Czerwony Pająk / The Red Spider / Červený pavouk
Director: Marcin Koszałka
Poland, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, 2015, 95 min, World premiere
The feature debut by a leading Polish documentarist and cameraman was inspired by actual mass murders committed in the 1950s. A precisely constructed psychological thriller, the film delves into an intricate story of the fascination with evil that hides in places we would never expect.
Domácí péče / Home Care / Domácí péče
Director: Slávek Horák
Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, 2015, 92 min, World premiere
Everyone knows about the finality of human existence but the realization of life’s actual limits comes to each of us individually and often unexpectedly. Dedicated home care nurse Vlasta (Alena Mihulová) lives for her husband Láďa (Bolek Polívka), her daughter, and her patients. But then one day things change and Vlasta is forced to react. This mature debut portrays deadly serious issues with a gentle humor.
Guldkysten / Gold Coast / Zlaté pobřeží
Director: Daniel Dencik
Denmark, 2015, 100 min, International premiere
Young anti-colonial idealist Wullf Joseph Wullf sets out for Danish Guinea to set up a coffee plantation but not everything goes according to plan. This bold contribution to the historical film genre casts light on a dark chapter of European history, employing the music of Angelo Badalamenti to help shift the experience into a dreamlike trip that partakes in equal measure of lyric poetry and a horrifying nightmare.
Heil / Heil / Heil
Director: Dietrich Brüggemann
Germany, 2015, 103 min, International premiere
Renowned German filmmaker Dietrich Brüggemann (Stations of the Cross) has come out with a radical satirical comedy where, in the carefree spirit of punk, he pitches into the neo-Nazis, the media, police, and the European Union. The acrid commentary on the state of contemporary German society fed to the viewer at an impressive tempo can easily be applied to the countries bordering the director’s homeland.
Jeder der fällt hat Flügel / Those Who Fall Have Wings / Má křídla, kdo končí pádem
Director: Peter Brunner
Austria, 2015, 92 min, World premiere
In the face of death, time seems to stop for those left behind. What can they do to start the clock ticking again? This inward-looking, artistically striking, and exceptionally strong drama from one of Austria’s greatest talents presents its protagonists in moments of sorrow and the occasional joy, but always as fragile, vulnerable people.
Kobry a užovky / The Snake Brothers / Kobry a užovky
Director: Jan Prušinovský
Czech Republic, 2015, 111 min, International premiere
This uncompromising drama tells the story of two brothers, who answer to the nicknames Viper and Cobra, each dealing in his own way with the bleakness, lack of funds, and the alcohol-filled evenings repeated ad nauseam in their small Central Bohemian town. Brothers Matěj and Kryštof Hádek excel in one of the must-see domestic films of the year.
La montagne magique / The Magic Mountain / Kouzelný vrch
Director: Anca Damian
Romania, France, Poland, 2015, 95 min, International premiere
The Magic Mountain investigates the adventures of mountain climber and photographer Adam J. Winkler, who fought in Afghanistan with the mujahedin against the Soviets in the 1980s. The director employs a highly original artistic technique involving animated collage of period materials.
Director: Eva Neymann
Ukraine, 2015, 75 min, World premiere
The acclaimed work by renowned Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem served as inspiration for the Ukrainian filmmaker, whose third picture offers a markedly stylized vision of the lost world of the Jewish shtetl at the beginning of the 20th century. Poetic scenes created using truly magical images are loosely connected via the motif of childhood love, while the film’s imaginative form is imbued with nostalgia.