Ovashvili, Nikonova, Lambert and Pálfi in main competition at the 49th Karlovy Vary IFF

June 3, 2014, 11:05 AM

The festival’s seven world and five international premieres include two Czech films and, for the first time ever, an animated movie.

This year’s selection of competing films offers an exciting mixture of outstanding films whose completion has been eagerly anticipated. Many of the filmmakers, who explore less frequently trodden paths of cinematic expression, come from the countries of the former Eastern Bloc, which the KVIFF has long focused on,” said the festival’s artistic director Karel Och.

In the main festival section, renowned Georgian filmmaker George Ovashvili (The Other Bank) will introduce his long-anticipated film Corn Island, an unusual psychological drama that uses captivating imagery and visuals to present a highly topical subject – the intense relationship between man and nature.

Leading Russian director Angelina Nikonova (Twilight Portrait) has chosen the Karlovy Vary festival for the premiere of her bitter comedy Welkome Home, set among the immigrant community in contemporary New York. The film excels with its intelligent humor and excellently written dialogues.

Hungarian director György Pálfi, one of Europe’s most original filmmakers today, comes to Karlovy Vary with Free Fall, a sad and grotesque look at contemporary society. Through seven stories, Pálfi presents an alarming report on the state of humanity using his typical provocativeness and boundless imagination.

The intimate drama with irresistible melodramatic moments All Yours was filmed by Belgian director David Lambert, whose previous film Beyond the Walls was shown two years ago at the Critics’ Week in Cannes. All Yours depicts the difficult road to emotional fulfillment through the story of an Argentine restless young man’s unlikely relationship with an aging Belgian baker.

Miroslav Krobot, theater artist and the only Czech actor to have appeared in films presented in Cannes, Berlin and Venice, will introduce his eagerly anticipated directorial debut Nowhere in Moravia. In this laconic rural drama with elements of dark comedy, Krobot channels Kaurismäki and the Mrštík brothers, with invaluable help from some of the Czech Republic’s best actors, led by Tatiana Vilhelmová, Ivan Trojan and Jaroslav Plesl.

The first animated film to be shown in competition at the Karlovy Vary IFF is the New York based Latvian filmmaker Signe Baumane’s Rocks in My Pockets. This “funny film about depression” describes, with remarkable courage and humor, the mental illness that afflicted her family for decades. The film also offers a captivating look at the history of Latvia during the first half of the 20th century.

The third woman to be represented in the main competition is Czech screenwriter and director Andrea Sedláčková with her film Fair Play. This intimate drama about trying to preserve human dignity in the face of state-organized doping during the totalitarian 1980s focuses on talented young athlete Anna (Judit Bárdos) and her mother (Anna Geislerová).

This year’s strong representation of countries east of the Czech Republic also features renowned Kazakh filmmaker Nariman Turebayev with Adventure, a loose adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s White Nights. The contemporary tale of lonely Marat’s fascination for the complex Mariyam was shot on the streets of Almaty, while its melancholic ambience is enhanced by subtle artistic and acoustic details.

In his subtly humorous new film Paris of the North, talented Icelandic filmmaker Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson (Either Way) is evoking a melancholic mood without emphasizing the dramatic conflict. A teacher who has managed to overcome his problems with alcohol, his frivolous rocker father, and the other inhabitants of an out-of-the-way village think about nothing less than what to do with their lives.

In the melancholic drama Low Down, director Jeff Preiss presents the bizarrely captivating and carefree bohemian scene of 1970s Los Angeles, as well as the talent and self-destructive heroin-addiction of famed jazz pianist Joe Albany (John Hawkes), seen through the eyes of his daughter Amy-Jo (Elle Fanning).

In his second film, the magical and oppressive La Tirisia, talented Mexican director Jorge Pérez Solano presents the story of Cheba and Angeles Miguel, two women who are pregnant by the same man. They live in a small isolated village, and their attempts at leading a modest but dignified life are constantly attacked by a strange illness of the soul, “la tirisia”.

France’s Pascal Rabaté, winner of the Best Director Award at the 2011 KVIFF for Holidays by the Sea, returns to the festival’s competition section with the intriguingly stylized and ironic morality tale Patchwork Family, in which the hardened cynic Christian is punished for the swindles he perpetrated in a manner not unlike the medieval punishment referred to in the film’s original title (Tar and Feathers).


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