Karlovy Vary Film Festival: Day 3 Update

Three days into the festival and the audience were already in for some real treats presented on silver screens

Three days into the festival and the audience were already in for some real treats presented on silver screens all around the spa town and were able to meet up with the first arriving celebrities and have a drink with them in the numerous tents when hiding from the monsoon-like rain on Saturday night.

Hellen Mirren came to introduce her film The Door depicting a story of a writer and her older maid with a hidden secret to the packed Grand Hall directed by István Szabó based on an authobiographical novel by Magda Szabó (no relation), a reknown Hungarian novelist.

Apart from the smiling actress, delegations of filmmakers behind films in the competition section are already enjoying the attention of crowds and press on the red carpet.

In this section, perhaps the most innovative film in style that captured my attention was the lightly ironic western Hay Road (Estrada de Palha) full of quotations from Henry David Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience. Combining classic western scenes such as horse rider heading towards the sunset or macho gunfights together with philosophical intertitles quoting passages from the book, the director Rodrigo Areias made the audience both – laugh and think.

However, I had yet the strongest emotional experience from the almost hypnotic film by the Japanese director Tatsuya Yamamoto – Kahimato Store. The film’s slow pace fits the perfectly the story describing a remote shop near a cliff where people commit suicide but buy milk and bread there just before they end their lives. Despite the film’s a bit too long, it’s honest effort to depict the helpless feeling of the shop’s “customers” is depicted with intensity and slows your pace long after the credits roll.

If you are planning to come in the upcoming days, there are several discussion panels you should attend such as Todd Solondz’s master class (5 July, 2pm) where the director will not only talk about his new film the Dark Horse but also about American independent film in general; and Luis Minarro’s portrayal of the most acclaimed and one of the oldest working directors in the world Manoel de Oliveira (6 July, 15:30).

As for films, I have several tips for you: If you’re an early bird and interested in learning more about film theory and history, grab a coffee and be at 8:30 at the Small Hall every morning to enjoy the journey through over hundred years of film narrated by Marc Cousins.

If you’re a night owl and a fan of horror, you might as well stay up for midnight screenings that include everything from Dario Argento’s Dracula in 3D (6 July) to another horror from the author of The Blair Witch project Eduardo Sánchez’s Lovely Molly (4 July).

Apart from the films I recommended in my preview, there is much more to satisfy your appetite for “something different” in this year’s Variety's Ten Euro Directors to Watch section ranging from a “post-apocalyptic” film called Hell from the works of Swiss director Tim Fehlbaum; a sci-fi having Nazis from the Moon invade the Earth full of special effects called Iron Sky; to a film that I liked in particular: Come As You Are (Hasta la Vista) by Geoffrey Enthoven, following a three handicaped friends‘ journey to a Spanish brothel in order to lose their virginity. The story actually reminded me of the audience hit Four Lions (2010) a bit as it is structured in a similar way and even has a similar effect on the audience, which is allowed to look behind the curtain of jokes and mockery between the characters to look a bit deeper into their personalities.

Also, if you get a chance, don’t miss a second screening of Matteo Garrone’s new work Reality Show. While his last picture Gomorrah followed the mafia clans in Naples and Caserta, Reality Show tackles another issue affecting people in the region – Reality TV show Big Brother. By choosing one family of five, Garrone shows step by step the addiction to the show and how it can destroy people’s lives shifting their perception of what real reality is.

And one restaurant tip to close. If you’re into Indian food or just looking to vary up the baguette and halušky cousine – try to stop at an Indian restaurant at Moskevská street. The food is excellent delivered with a speed that won’t make you miss any of the important events on your busy schedule and the staff is smiling and helpful.

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