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Karlovy Vary Film Fest to Celebrate The Film Foundation

As part of its celebration of the return of cinema following last year’s temporary halt, the 55th KVIFF is delighted to celebrate the work of The Film Foundation (TFF) with a retrospective of movies restored by the renowned organization. Established in 1990 by Martin Scorsese, the non-profit is dedicated to protecting and preserving motion picture history, restoring to date over 900 classic works of cinema and hidden masterpieces from around the world.

This retrospective – the central program of the 2021 edition – is closely connected to KVIFF’s long-standing support of the preservation of Czechoslovak film patrimony; an impassioned journey that began a decade ago with the restoration of František Vláčil’s masterwork, Marketa Lazarová.

Ten carefully selected films produced between 1932 and 1991 and traversing the U.S., Côte d’Ivoire, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Taiwan and Morocco comprise our retrospective – a wide-ranging program that offers a glimpse of the scope and breadth of TFF’s exemplary work, which includes films preserved through TFF’s World Cinema Project (WCP) and African Film Heritage Project (created in partnership with UNESCO, the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI) and the Cineteca di Bologna).

The retrospective ranges from the groundbreaking American independent film A Woman Under the Influence (1974, d. John Cassavetes); to the long-unavailable Asian masterwork A Brighter Summer Day (1991, d. Edward Yang); to a rare gem from Côte d’Ivoire The Woman with the Knife (1969, d. Timité Bassori), and many more.

“After being unable to gather together in theaters for over a year, I’m thrilled that The Film Foundation is partnering with the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival to present 10 restorations to audiences on the big screen,” said TFF founder and chair Martin Scorsese. “This is an incredible selection that encapsulates the diversity of the films that have been restored through our support, spanning every era, genre and region. My sincere thanks to the Karlovy Vary team for making this program possible and for highlighting the work of The Film Foundation.”

Collectively, the films in this program show the impact TFF has had on global film culture over the past three decades by presenting classic cinema to new generations, while also illustrating its dedication to discovering and promoting lesser-known works to film lovers the world over. Through this program, KVIFF and The Film Foundation aim to celebrate the richness of film history and world cinema, and what better way to celebrate TFF’s work than sharing this remarkable group of films with our returning audience this summer.

“The passion Martin Scorsese has tirelessly exhibited in his work with The Film Foundation is a passion that informs our work at Karlovy Vary; a passion we’re honored to share with the American master; and a passion we're now thrilled to share with our audience,” stated KVIFF’s artistic director Karel Och and executive director Kryštof Mucha.


  • 211 21/8 08:30 Grand Hall
    5D2 24/8 10:00 Karlovy Vary Municipal Theatre
    824 27/8 15:00 Small Hall
    The Breaking Point Mít a nemít / The Breaking Point
    Directed by: Michael Curtiz
    USA, 1950, 97 min

    Michael Curtiz’s somber, restrained rendition of Ernest Hemingway’s To Have and Have Not conjures up the true spirit of the novel. John Garfield plays a former wartime naval officer who gets entangled in illicit trafficking. The noir cloak barely conceals what is essentially an affecting character study of a man coming to terms with the fact that his life didn’t turn out as he imagined.

  • 124 20/8 15:00 Small Hall
    3K5 22/8 20:00 Drahomíra Cinema
    8K5 27/8 20:00 Drahomíra Cinema
    A Brighter Summer Day Jasný letní den / Gŭ lĭng jiē shàonián shārén shìjiàn
    Directed by: Edward Yang
    Taiwan, 1991, 237 min

    The late Taiwanese’s masterwork is an epic tale charting the descent of a head-strong teenage boy from his seemingly orderly, middle-class life to juvenile delinquency. Set in Taipei in 1959, A Brighter Summer Day is an incessive study of displacement and loss of identity; a scorching coming-of-age story set against colossal political events, all laced with the director’s signature empathy.

  • 3K4 22/8 18:00 Drahomíra Cinema
    553 24/8 14:00 Cinema B
    754 26/8 17:00 Cinema B
    8D2 27/8 10:00 Karlovy Vary Municipal Theatre
    Oh the Days! Ach, ty dny! / Alyam, alyam
    Directed by: Ahmed El-Maanouni
    Morocco, 1978, 88 min

    Celebrated Moroccan filmmaker El-Maanouni’s first feature is a searing portrait of an heir of a rural family torn between his domestic duties and his dreams of leaving for the city for a better, different future. Raw and uncompromising, El-Maanouni’s trailblazing documentary paved the way for the subsequent wave of realism that would shake up Arab cinema.

  • 3K3 22/8 15:00 Drahomíra Cinema
    527 24/8 21:00 Small Hall
    7D2 26/8 10:00 Karlovy Vary Municipal Theatre
    The Phantom of the Convent Duch kláštera / El fantasma del convento
    Directed by: Fernando de Fuentes
    Mexico, 1934, 85 min

    Widely considered the first great Mexican horror, this spine-chilling gothic tale revolves around a married couple and their best friend who get lost in the woods before taking shelter in a mysterious monastery. Habitually compared to Carl Theodor Dreyer and his Vampyr, Fernando de Fuentes induces a protracted sense of dread in this dream-like fable of guilt and dark desires.

  • 2L3 21/8 16:00 Lazne III Cinema
    454 23/8 17:00 Cinema B
    6D2 25/8 10:00 Karlovy Vary Municipal Theatre
    727 26/8 21:00 Small Hall
    Putney Swope Putney Swope / Putney Swope
    Directed by: Robert Downey Sr.
    USA, 1969, 84 min

    The most popular film by the rabble-rouser American cult filmmaker is an acerbic satire about a black man in an advertising agency who accidently gets elected as chairman by its white board. Made at the height of the Black Power movement, Putney Swope is a scathing attack on mainstream media’s racist treatment of African-Americans.

  • 2K4 21/8 18:00 Drahomíra Cinema
    4K3 23/8 15:00 Drahomíra Cinema
    635 25/8 19:00 Congress Hall
    8C5 27/8 18:00 Čas Cinema
    Queen of Diamonds Kárová dáma / Queen of Diamonds
    Directed by: Nina Menkes
    USA, 1991, 77 min

    Frequently dubbed as the “American Jeanne Dielman”, Menkes’ long-forgotten radical sophomore feature is now widely recognized as an unparalleled masterpiece of the 1990s. Comprised mostly of striking motionless shots enveloped in a plotless, fragmented narrative, Queen of Diamonds was unlike anything produced by American indie cinema at the time.

  • 2K6 21/8 21:00 Drahomíra Cinema
    554 24/8 17:00 Cinema B
    8H5 27/8 22:30 Husovka Theatre
    The Treasure Poklad / Nidhanaya
    Directed by: Lester James Peries
    Sri Lanka, 1973, 108 min

    Based on a short story by renowned Sinhala writer G. B. Senanayake, The Treasure tells the story of an idle, wealthy middle-aged man who stumbles upon a map for a treasure that can only be attained by sacrificing a virgin woman. The crowning achievement of the late Lester James Peries – Sri Lanka’s most influential filmmaker – The Treasure is also the master’s most controversial and darkest picture.

  • 2D4 21/8 13:00 Karlovy Vary Municipal Theatre
    4D2 23/8 10:00 Karlovy Vary Municipal Theatre
    724 26/8 15:00 Small Hall
    9K6 28/8 21:00 Drahomíra Cinema
    What Price Hollywood? Cena za slávu / What Price Hollywood?
    Directed by: George Cukor
    USA, 1932, 88 min

    Often misjudged as a dress rehearsal for his famed 1954 adaptation of A Star Is Born, What Price Hollywood? is a drastically different beast. Neither an outright condemnation of movie culture nor a romanticization of Tinseltown, it offers a rare, clinical look at Hollywood, rendering it as an industrial machine, a corporate juggernaut, rather than a factory of dreams.

  • 3D1 22/8 09:30 Karlovy Vary Municipal Theatre
    6K6 25/8 21:00 Drahomíra Cinema
    922 28/8 11:30 Small Hall
    A Woman Under the Influence Žena pod vlivem / A Woman Under the Influence
    Directed by: John Cassavetes
    USA, 1974, 155 min

    Cassavetes’ most storied film tells the tale of an oddball, volatile romance between a high-tempered construction worker and his fragile, mentally unstable wife. A Woman Under the Influence is Cassavetes at his most emotionally naked. A brave, challenging picture of two unique souls failing to meet the oppressive demands of their class.

  • 3K2 22/8 12:00 Drahomíra Cinema
    455 23/8 20:00 Cinema B
    6K3 25/8 15:00 Drahomíra Cinema
    921 28/8 09:00 Small Hall
    The Woman with the Knife Žena s nožem / La femme au couteau
    Directed by: Timité Bassori
    Ivory Coast, 1969, 80 min

    Timité Bassori is one of the fathers of Ivorian cinema. The Woman with the Knife is his best known film – a complex account of a young unnamed intellectual returning home after a lengthy spell in Europe. Providing an incessive commentary on evolving sexual politics and the wide chasm between the Western form of modernity and African traditionalism, Bassori’s daring coup is one of the pioneering works of black African cinema. 

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