Karlovy Vary is best-known for its health-giving waters. I’m right now inside the Sprudl Colonnade, or Vridelni kolonada, where people are filling up their special spa water mugs with all types of the hot, sulphurous stuff. But, for eight days a year, the attention shifts elsewhere, and a different crowd comes to Karlovy Vary for the biggest film festival in Central and Eastern Europe. This year, the festival has been bigger, busier and better than ever, here are just a few of the highlights…
The New Hollywood section at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is back due to popular demand. This year, director Paul Mazursky and cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond are just two of the big names presenting the festival’s retrospective of 1970s American films. The period, which spawned movies such as ‘Easy Rider’, ‘Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice’ and ‘McCabe and Mrs Miller’, is often thought of as one of Tinseltown’s finest. Variety magazine’s Steven Gaydos helped bring some of these classic Hollywood films to the Karlovy Vary film
The president of this year’s jury at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival is legendary Czech new wave director Ivan Passer. The man who made his name working with Miloš Forman, and then solo with films like ‘Intimate Lighting’ and ‘A Boring Afternoon’, has accepted the prestigious post and returned to the Czech Republic some 40 years after emigrating to the United States.
Monday at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival saw the world premiere of ‘Night Owls’ – one of the two Czech films in this year’s competition. The movie was directed by Oscar-nominated animator, Michaela Pavlátová, and stars the young Czech talents Martha Issová and Jiří Mádl. In the run up to the big screening, Rosie Johnston caught up with Michaela Pavlátová on the terrace at the spa town’s Hotel Thermal.
One of the most anticipated stars to appear at this year’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival was Robert De Niro. Thousands turned out on Friday to catch a glimpse of the actor as he walked up the red carpet at a downtown hotel. De Niro’s star turn marked the opening of the film festival and, as Rosie Johnston reports, there’s more on its way.
Peter Sís was born in Brno in 1949 but has been living in the US for over a quarter of a century. He won a Golden Bear for best animated film at the West Berlin Film Festival in 1980, before later launching an extremely successful career as a children’s author and illustrator. Indeed, he is a seven-time winner of the New York Times Book Review award for best illustrated work of the year. His most recent book is The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain. We spoke at his studio in Soho in New York.
It’s lights, camera, action in Karlovy Vary, with the town’s 43rd annual film festival kicking off on Friday. Over the next eight days, festival-goers will be treated to screenings of over 220 films, and around 60 premieres. Each year, the population of the picturesque and otherwise tranquil West Bohemian spa town swells to over three times its normal size - as industry bigwigs, stars, and film-lovers flock to Karlovy Vary from all over the world.
For the next three months visitors will have an unparalleled opportunity to view work by famous 20th century Czech photographer Václav Chochola, at Prague Castle. Part of the Maximum Photography series, the show features large scan prints of some of the late artist’s best known photographs – from moody industrial landscapes to portraits to more experimental work.
Czech Muslims are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the first mosque ever built in the Czech Republic which opened in 1998 in the city of Brno. While ten years ago, the Islamic Foundation in Brno had to face protests and their mosque had to do without a minaret, today the community is thriving and even planning to build a new, greater mosque in the Moravian capital.