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42. Mezinárodný filmový festival Karlovy Vary/42nd International Film Festival Karlovy Vary report by Maciej Gil

Czech Republic, Karlovy Vary, 29.06-7.07.2007
Jar- or spa city?

What to write about Karlovy Vary festival? We all know – one of the oldest and most important film festivals in the world. Within the A category festivals probably the one organized in the most impressive place – very old and beautifully renovated spa. And, what is often stated by festival-travelers, the last one with really little movie industry influence. I love it’s nice and intimate atmosphere – despite of world famous guests (this year: Danny DeVito, Renée Zellweger, Siergiej Łoznica, Baltasar Kormákur, Jean Becker, Arsinée Khanjian, Cybill Shepherd, Tom DiCillo, Hal Hartley, Ferzan Ozpetek, Martin Šulík among others), over 12000 accreditations sold, 13 cinemas, over 250 movies, you can find this one and only Czech “klídek” (literally “little peace”) which makes you feel comfortable and happy... Like in a spa;)
I focused on the main competition consisting of world or international premiere movies. Unfortunately there were some really bad movies like American “The Good Night” by Jake Paltrow – invited to the competition only because of invitation for Danny DeVito, I guess. There were some average movies like the French “Dialogue avec mon jardiner” by Jean Becker, Italian „Saturno contro” by Ferzan Ozpetek or Polish “Plac Zbawiciela” by Joanna and Krzysztof Krauze. And there were some leaders: Norwegian „Kunsten ĺ tenke negativt” by Bĺrd Breien, Russian „Prostye veshchi” by Alexey Popogrebsky or Czech “Vratné lahve” by Jan Svěrák.
The movie successfully presents persuasive and visually evocative experiences of Icelandic society through fascinating human drama. Jury was impressed by director’s subtle use of detective story to examine complex social problem, completed by admirable acting and outstanding construction - with these, let’s say, complex words FICC Jury consisting of Steven Daley (Ireland), Kristian Fyllingsnes (Norwegia), Maciej Gil (Poland), Petr Mašata (Czech Rep.), Eva Szuťányiová (Slovakia) reasoned giving the Don Quixote Award to Icelandic “Mýrin” (“Jarcity”) by Baltasar Kormákur. The verdict was unanimous which is very kind for me personally because I’m fan of Icelandic cinema. What’s “Mýrin” about? Festival catalogue: A desperate man employed in a genetic research institute is looking through records which might be able to explain the origin of his little girl’s brain illness. A parallel storyline develops as detective Erlendur begins investigating the murderer of an old man who led a bizarre existence in his murky basement flat. (...) This Icelandic thriller, which addresses issues related to the abuse of genetic information, is persuasive, above all, for the deftly spun dark and mysterious atmosphere which pervades both gradually interlacing lines of the story. What’s important, the Main Jury led by editor-in-chief of “Variety” Peter Bart also decided to award “Mýrin” with the main prize Crystal Globe!
I must add that we considered giving the Special Mention to one film from another competitive section called “East of the West”. It’s Croatian “Armin” by Ognjen Sviličić, a beautiful and moving story about a father, his son and war trauma. But finally we decided to choose only the one from main section. And “Armin” won the main prize in it’s competition! And that’s how things should be;)
I truly recommend visiting Karlovy Vary festival! Because of the great quantity and quality of presented movies (the best of Berlinale and Cannes for example – you can easily omit those two big industry parties;) and it’s unique atmosphere. See you there!