Hungarian film wins top prize at Karlovy Vary

Some 135,000 viewers saw over 500 screenings during the nine-day festival

The 51st Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, which ran from July 1 to July 9, ended with a screening of Woody Allen's new comedy, Cafe Society, after having kicked off with the war film Anthropoid. Both of those films were shown out of competition.

American actor Willem Dafoe picked up a Crystal Globe for Outstanding Contribution to World Cinema at the opening and writer-director Charlie Kaufman got the Festival President's Award at the closing.

In between those two events, there were 200 films including 34 documentaries with 21 world premieres, 25 international premieres and nine European premieres.

In total there were 507 film screenings for 135,105 viewers. Some 159 screenings were personally presented by delegations of filmmakers.

The Hungarian film It's Not the Time of My Life (Ernelláék Farkaséknál) took the top prize of the Crystal Globe at the festival. Szabolcs Hajdu took Best Actor for the his role in the same film.

The film, directed by Hajdu as well, looks at family that returns to Hungary from Scotland after not being able to get established there. Due to finances, they have to live with estranged relatives.

Nightlife, a co-production from Slovenia, Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, earned a Best Director award for Damjan Kozole. His film follows a wealthy couple on a tragic night when the husband winds up in the hospital and the wife is left to sort out what happened.

Best Actress went to Zuzana Mauréry for her role in the Slovak-Czech co-production The Teacher (Učiteľka), directed by Jan Hřebejk. She has the title role in a film mostly set in the communist era. Her abuse of her position as a teacher leads to a school meeting where people have to chose between standing up for what is right or not rocking the boat.

A Special Jury Prize went to Zoology, a Russian film about a woman who works in a local zoo and who suddenly grows a tail, which she manages to hide. Rumors begin to circulate about a tailed demon in the city, while at the same time the woman falls for a younger X-ray technician. The fantasy elements provide a way for insight into contemporary Russian society.

Two films from the main competition got Special Jury Mentions. By the Rails (Dincolo de calea ferata), a Romanian-Swedish co-production finds discord in a marriage when the husband returns home from working abroad. A wedding provides a backdrop for the events.

A highly anticipated Czech film also got a mention. The Wolf from Royal Vineyard Street (Vlk z Královských Vinohrad) is the final film from Jan Němec, who made several classic film the Czechoslovak New Wave of the 1960s. He passed away March 18, 2016, and the film was finished after his death, according to his instructions. The very personal film tells the life story of a director who has a lot in common with Němec, following his ups and downs from the 1960s onward. The film is highly stylized, often revealing the filmmaking technique.

There were other sections to the festival aside from the main competition. In the East of the West competition, which features films from the former socialist bloc, the film House of Others (Skhvisi sakhli) took the top prize. The film, a co-production from Georgia, Russia, Spain, and Croatia, takes place in a nearly empty village after the conflict there has ended. A new family moves in but life is harder than they imagined. Much of the film is through the eyes of the only two children in the village.

A Special Jury Prize went to the Estonian film The Days that Confused (Päevad, mis ajasid segadusse). Young adults in Estonia live an aimless life, getting increasingly into deeper trouble in the 1990s.

In the documentary competition, the American film LoveTrue won. It is the second film from Israeli director Alma Har'el. A Special Jury Mention went to Ama-San, a Portuguese-Swiss-Japanese film about pearl hunters.

The Audience Award went to Captain Fantastic, starring Viggo Mortensen as a man trying to raise his six children in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, but has to return to civilization.

Additional awards went to Jean Reno, who received the Festival President’s Award and Czech actress Jiřina Bohdalová, who received the Festival President’s Award for Contribution to Czech Cinematography.

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