Karlovy Vary IFF Honours Two Jubilee Celebrants

January 8, 2008, 4:19 PM

In its 43rd year, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will be conferring the Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema to two legends of Czechoslovak cinematography, both of whom by coincidence will be celebrating their 70th birthdays a few days apart in April of 2008.
The holders of the prestigious award will be two natives of Slovakia, directors Dušan Hanák and Juraj Jakubisko, outstanding cinematic personalities who have helped in a distinctive way to create the character of Czechoslovak filmmaking from the 1960’s until today.

The Dušan Hanák´s films Ružové sny / Rose Tinted Dreams (1976) and Obrazy starého sveta / Pictures of the Old World (1972) and Juraj Jakubisko´s new film Bathory will be screened at the 43rd Karlovy Vary IFF.

Dušan Hanák was born on April 27, 1938, in Bratislava. One of the very most significant Slovak directors, he earned a degree in directing under Bořivoj Zeman at Prague’s FAMU. He made a number of acclaimed documentary films (the most important of them being Obrazy starého sveta / Pictures of the Old World (1972), which was honoured for example by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association). He debuted in 1969 with the drama 322, about a man dying of cancer, which was followed by the unconventional romance Ružové sny / Rose Tinted Dreams (1976). With its emphasis on moral values, Hanák’s sociologically attuned and effectively authentic work frequently crossed swords with the communist establishment. The tragicomic Ja milujem, ty miluješ / I Love, You Love (1980), for example, could only be released in cinemas nine years after its making. In 1989 the film was awarded a Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlinale. Quiet Happiness (1985) won the Grand Prize at the IFF in San Remo, and Súkromné životy / Private Lives (1990) received a Special Jury Prize at the IFF in Strasburg. His last feature film to date, the documentary Papierové hlavy / Paper Heads (1995), is a chilling testimony of the modern history of the last fifty years of the Czechoslovak state. Dušan Hanák has also been teaching film since 1991.

Juraj Jakubisko was born on April 30, 1938, in Kojšov in eastern Slovakia. He earned a degree in direction at FAMU in Prague. His very first feature film, Kristove roky / The Crucial Years (1967), was acclaimed by domestic critics as the best film of the year and won a number of awards abroad. The films Zbehovia a pútnici / The Deserters and Pilgrims (1968, awarded at the Venice IFF), Vtáčkovia, siroty a blázni / Birds, Orphans and Fools (1969) and Dovidenia v pekle, priatelia / See You in Hell, Friends (1970, released in 1990) were a pretext for the communist regime at the beginning of the 1970’s to instigate a ten-year period in which dramatic film could not be made. In 1983 however he triumphed with the film Tisícročná včela / A Thousand-Year-Old Bee, which is considered both his masterpiece and one of the best films of both Slovak and Czechoslovak cinematography. He applied the principle of seeking out freedom and happiness in his films Sedím na konári a je mi dobre / Sitting on a Branch I Am Fine (1989) and Lepšie byť bohatý a zdravý ako chudobný a chorý / It´s Better to Be Wealthy and Healthy Than Poor and Ill (1992). His thirteenth feature film, Nejasná zpráva o konci světa / An Ambiguous Report about the End of the World (1997), was shown at more than 60 international film festivals and among other things was awarded at the IFF in Montreal. Jakubisko’s films have received scores of awards. He has received a wide range of personal honours, including a Czech Lion for his many years of artistic contribution to Czech film. This year he is preparing the premiere of his latest film, Bathory.


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