49th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

Czech Republic, July 4 - July 12 2014

The jury

Yael Shuv (Israel), Cerise Howard (Australia), Viliam Jablonický (Slovakia), Darina Krivankova (Czech Republik)

Awarded films

The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival offers a special experience. While it is a major ‘A’ list festival with a long history — dating back to 1946 — it has the friendly intimacy of a small festival, where everybody runs into everybody most of the time. This is the best mix one can wish for, not to mention this spa town’s great beauty and touristic appeal.

The 49th edition of the festival presented an impressive selection in the main competition, as well as many other sections — all in all 243 films. This year’s winner of the Crystal Globe for best film was the Georgian production Corn Island (Simindis kundzuli), a spare parable about tradition and territory in a changing world, directed by George Ovashvili. However, the FIPRESCI jury, which also looked at the competition films, opted for Signe Baumane’s witty and unique animated film Rocks in My Pockets, in which the director excavates the stories of her suicidal grandmother and other relatives back in Latvia, who all, like herself, suffered from mental instability, as German and Soviet occupations of Latvia contributed to their crushing hardships.

Right next to a main competition was the East of the West competition, which presented world or European premieres of first and second films from Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Turkey and the countries of the former Soviet Union. The winner here was the Russian film Corrections Class (Class Korrektsi) — a bleak portrait of special-needs education in Russia, directed by Ivan I. Tverdovsky, Who also wrote and edited.

Some of the more challenging entries could be found in the section titled “Variety Critics’ Choice: Europe Now!” in which, like in previous years, ten directors from Europe (eight men and two women) were chosen by Variety critics to present their latest films. Meanwhile, The Horizons section offered a good opportunity to catch up with outstanding films (such as Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan, and Steven Knight’s Locke) which premiered in other major festivals.

The retrospectives were dedicated to the great late Italian director Elio Petri, the young Indian director Anurag Kashyap, and the British Ben Rivers, known for blurring the boundary between documentary film work and a highly personal parable. A great mix indeed. (Yael Shuv)

Karlovy Vary International Film Festival: www.kviff.com/en/news