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Karlovy Vary 40. international film festival 2005 by Johannes Horstmann

Reflecting Contempory History

The heads of the statesmen and of the culture pay reverence for the sucsessful A-Festival, e.g. President Váslav Havel, Prime Minister Jiri Parobek, the Minister for Culture Pavel Dostal, Váslav Havel (since the late 1950th often a visitor), Madeleine Albright, Thomas Winterberg, who as a studend visited the festival in 1962. The main congratulator has been the audience, fewer the professional participants, first of all the young fans of cinema and movies. This year about 8,000. “It’s good, that the festival doesn’t carry out not only for the filmsnobs and buissenes men, but also for people, who loves movies. A lot of so called ‘Batuskari’ (rucksack tourists) are comming. No doubt, they don’t have money for hotels, but they are intrested in movies.” (Jiri Menzel). And the ‘batuskari’ contribute about 80 % of the participiants. Miklos Fikejz, the festival’s photographer of many years, estimate so.
The management take care of a cheap spendig the night. € 3.50 each spending the night. Vacant places in the cinemas have been deblocked for the ‘batuskari’ and ohters: free of charge! The members of the FICC should reference to this special of Karlovy Vary!
On the other side, Karlovy Vary procurses ‘VIP’s’ in order to honor itselfs. It should been noticed e. g., the ‘guest’ Sharon Stone has proved herself as a blattersike by talking about peace, love and truth.

In the spheres in the start of the Czechoslovakia Republic after the Second World War the festival entries as a festival without competiton in 1946 and 1947. After the communist’s assumption of power in 1948 Karlovy Vary had been repressed to a socialistic festival with a competion. Karlovy Vary has become to an instrument of the Czeschololvakia Socialist Republic (CSSR) in the cold war.
Karlovy Vary had obtained the status of an A-Festival in 1956. But the FIAPF accepted only one A-Festival in the authority of the expension of the Socialist States. The Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)carried through, Karlovy Vary and Moscov had to change their festivals in an rhythmus of two years. For all that, Karlovy Vary was able to hold it’s own.
The decade 1960 was a time of a circumspection uprising in policy and culture of the CSSR.The film festival of Carlovy Vary was supported by movies stars from all quartes last but not least from Hollywood. At that time there was a close contact with the fans. Of that timeCzecholovakia movies become more importance. On the culminate of the Prague Spring the Grand Prix was awarded to Jiri Menzel’s ROZMARNE LETO. “At that time it was rather conciderable award – there only was three awards in that year, and one of them we got for our movie. Of that time the Czech movies were on the culmenating point, and therefore a lot of
picture-goers come to the festival that year.” (Jiri Menzel) Two years later, meantime’s the troops of the Warszawa Pact had marching in, the so called
‘normalization’ started. The movies in competition
were screened more or less aside the public. All successful movies in competition come from USSR for the most part. The additional series, last but not least from the countries of the Africa and Asia. informed the audience on the other side of the Iron Curtain.
The spectators interest seems to turn to the Prague Festival in the 1980th . But after the peaceful revolution in 1989, in 1990 the festival presents shot off czeschololvakia feature films, documentary films and short films and productions of czeschololvakia directors in exile. For example Milos Forman and Vojtech Jasný did given the festival the honour. But the years of the so called “normalization” pressed upon the festival. Not before 1996 Karlovy Vary carried through the “Golden Golem” in Prague finally.

In 1994 the actor Jiri Bartoska and the reviewer Eva Zaoralová reorganized the festival with success und they managed it as President of the festival respectively as an Artistic Director with fortune.

Question to Eva Zaoralová, Artistic Director:
Does the history of the International Film Festival of Karlovy Vary reflect the history of Czechoslovakia respectively of the Czech Republic?
Answer: “Naturally, the history of the Karlovy Vary IFF reflects the history of our nation. The Festival was established in 1946 as a platform for international cultural exchange. The communistic plot in 1948 and the iron curtain presence made the festival a puppet in control of the new government. However, after Stalin's death and mainly in the 60s called as "melting period" the reputation of the festival increased. In 1958 the Festival was awarded an A category status by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations (FIAPF). Nevertheless, the next year the Moscow IFF was established and awarded the same A category. Since then the two festivals had to take turns. The biggest catastrophe for the Festival happened to be the repression of the Prague Spring in August 1968. In the following years, an immense ideological and political pressure was set on the Festival from the communistic party, which took away all the remnants of tendencies to democratize socialism. That was also reflected in a quite uninteresting program offer of the Festival. The audience slowly lost interest in the Festival and therefore the voices to move the venue to Prague arose. Only after the accession of democracy by the end of 1989 when the organization of the festival was moved from the state body on an independent organization, the reputation and credit of the Karlovy Vary IFF subsequently increased. The high number of visitors the Festival attracts approves it is right to keep the Karlovy Vary as venue for such event.”
Since 1994 the festival behelds every year. The picures-goers returned: in 1994 36,000 tickets were sold, this year 114,000.

What is the unique of Karlovy Vary in the midst of the A-Film-Festivals? The rubric “East of the West”, established in 1994, since this year an official competition section giving awards. In the matter of the relationships between western Europe and the former ‘Peoples Republic’ states from Poland in the west to Georgien and Armenien in the east the festival takes charge of to be a location of meeting. All this nations intend to become a part of an undivided Europe! The buying agents estimate this rubric. The concept
“East of the West” , completed with Czech productions, should be adopted by the cine clubs. It would be a valuable enrichment in our work.

Question to Eva Zaoralová: The rubric „East of the West“ is very singular in comparision to the others film festivals. What has been the reasion to establish these rubric? Do you intend to continue“East of the West”?
Answer: “We created the East of the West section in 1994 to introduce our audience to the latest film production from the former socialist region (except of the Czech film production to which an extra section is dedicated at the Festival). It used to be an up to date subject mainly at the time when cinamatographies of these counties experienced enormous structural changes, which indeed was seen in aims and intentions of filmmakers. In view of the fact that this section has been very attractive since its beginnings, we have decided to upgrade the section into competitive part of the festival program alongside to the main Official Selection - Competition and Documentary Films in Competition. The fact that establishing this section makes us different from the other festivals we consider as very positive and undeniably we want to continue with programming the East of the West section in the future.”

The other competions are the ‘Chrystal Globe’ for feature films with its subcategories and the ‘Documantary Films in Competion’. Both of them with its own jury.

Under the aspect of protocoll the three categories are on the same level, but not in the way of presentation. The “Chrystal Globe” was screened in the main domicil “Hotel Themal”, the others in sub-office cinemas.

The results of the competions. At first ‘Official Selection – Competion”: second rate with summits. The most innovate movie was NORIKO NO SHOKUTAKU (Noriko’s Dinner Table). Japan 2005, directed by Sion Sono: Disintegration of individual and social ties, illustrated by a story of a Japanese family. The film points extremistly the story and composes pictures equilant to brutalicy of action. - MÓJ NIKIFOR (My Nikifor), Poland 2004, directed by Krzystof Krauze, got divers awards. The movie is a biography of the naive painter Epifan Drowniak, stage name Nikifor. Its sucess based fundamenaly upon the performence of the actrice Krzystyna Feldman in the ròle of Nikifor. She gaves a marked present tense the egocentric and together inspired self- taught artist – The impression of EIZE MAKOM NIFLA (What a Wonderful Place), Israel 2005, director Eyal Halfon, is last but not least dued to the leading actor. The viewer will be become familiar to illigal immigration, crime and extort prostitution in Israel. The movie tells its story with tension and concerns the pictions-goers. – How to mange the every day? With cleverness and inviolable solidarity; that’s resumé of SLUNECNI STAT (The City of the Sun), CZ 2005, director Martin Sulik. In cace of difficulties, don’t run away!; that’s the quintessence formulated by LADENI (Tuning), Slovakia 2005. Igor Sterk tells the story of a married couple suffrering from estrangement, but both dont break off their communication. The tragicomedy KINAMAND (Chinaman), DK/China 2005, directed by Henrik Ruben Grenz, advices: you do not pass away the love’s kairos. Viewing LA VIE AVEC MON PERE, Canada 2005, directed by Sébastien Rose, the pictuer-goers will rember LES INVASION BARBARES (Denys Arcard). Never the less a self-reliant movie about ars vivendi and ars moriendi: Your life is now and live it in the company of your friends, then the death do not frightened you. Márta Mészáros’ A TEMETETLEN HALOTT (The Unburried Man), H 2004, does not get the deserved attention. Anxious pictures of Imre Nagy’s imprisonment! Although the historiens do agree Márta Mészáros’ biography of the formerly Hungarian Prime Minster in 1956 leave undiceded. But the post-socialist countries need persons of idenfication, who refer to liberal traditons already during the communist era. This Hungarian/Polnish/Slovakian coproduction has the political function of an nessesary self-reliance.

The award of the best short documentary film recieved BOZE MUJ (My God), Belarus 2004, director Galina Adamovich. A portrait of Julite Karmaza, a well-known sculptor, living in the border area to
Lithuania. ESTAMIRA, Brazil 2004, achieves the award in the category ‘over 30 minutes’. The first documentary film of Marcos Prado is an infor-mative portrait of the schizophrenic Estamaria. Its makes known to her world of ideas and the cir-cumstances of her life in a very impressly way.

“East of the West” reflects the problems of the west’s new contries. What about us in the time of radical change in the civil community? RAGIN, Russia/Austria 2004, directed by Kirill Serebrennikov get the award of the best film in competion in this categorie. The movie ist a psychological essay about the Russian intelligentia of today, told by a story placed in the beginning of the 20th century. A Honorary Mention to SVATBA, Poland 2004, direction Wojtjek Smarzowski. The mikrokosmos of the wedding party reflects the Polnish society. A powerful comedy, earnest but in a comedian way.

There was protocol problem which touch the self-conscious of the FICC. The FIPRESCI-Jury; the Ecumenical-Jury, the Yong Czech Critics’ Jury und the FICC-Jury were susumed as Non-Statuary-Juries. The festival-direction pushed off anmouncement of their awards out of the public at large.There cineastic competence of all those juries should be beyound doubt. Does the festival feel ashamed of the Non-Statuary-Juries, that it does allowed them to announce their awards in the Closing?

Question: The announcement of the awards of the non statuary juries happened apart from the publicity. The members of these juries have a high authority concerning cinema and movies. Why they are not allowed to proclaim their honour in the Closing? The newspaper “Pravo” was allowed to pronounce its public awarding in the Closing.
Answer: The announcement of the non-statutory prices is alongside with the official prices a standard on many festivals. It does not mean we do not respect the work of professionals who take part in the non-statutory juries. If we combined both awarding ceremonies - statutory and non-statutory - the closing ceremony would be extremely long and the audience and media might got confused in the amount of prizes. The Award of the Pravo daily is an official audience award given by the Festival's media partner. At the non-statutory award ceremony, which took place on July 9th in Karlovy Vary was indeed international and Czech press presented.

The announcement of the awards ot the Non-Statuary-Juries lastet 30 minutes. If the festival would be so polite, to start the Closing at the right time, then would be time enough for all juries and the Closing would not take so long time as it lasted this year. In this matter the FICC should make the contact.

Johannes Horstmann
Katholische Akademie Schwerte (Mitglied der Arbeitsgemeinschaft kommunale Filmarbeit)