One of the Czech Republic’s most significant arts events, the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, kicks off in the West Bohemian spa town on Friday evening. This year’s edition will pay tribute to the likes of Uma Thurman, Casey Affleck and Ken Loach, while a freshly restored version of the Czechoslovak classic The Shop on Main Street will receive its world premiere.
The big stars on Karlovy Vary’s red carpet on Friday evening will be actress Uma Thurman, perhaps best known for Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill movies, and Casey Affleck, who won the Oscar for Best Actor this year for Manchester by the Sea. Both are set to receive the President’s Award at the 52nd KVIFF.
The other big Hollywood name this year will be Jeremy Renner, star of The Hurt Locker, Arrival and several action movies. He is due towards the end of next week.
The festival’s top gong, the Crystal Globe for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema, will be received on Friday evening by the leading Hollywood composer James Newton Howard.
Howard will also help launch the festival, conducting the Czech National Symphony Orchestra in a free concert featuring music from his score for next year’s planned sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
The Crystal Globe will also be presented to Ken Loach and Paul Laverty, the UK directorial and writing team whose many films together include two Cannes Palme d’Or winners, including the impactful I, Daniel Blake.
It won’t be the first time in Karlovy Vary for Loach, who recently turned 81. His Kes, considered one of the greatest UK pictures, won Best Film at the festival back in 1970 and he picked up the prize in person.
Among the 12 films in KVIFF’s main competition in 2017 is one Czech contender, The Little Crusader by Václav Kadrnka. It is based on a poem by Jaroslav Vrchlický and has been described as a medieval road movie.
Also of great interest to the local film community will be Vít Klusák’s The White World According to Daliborek, a portrait of a Czech small-town neo-Nazi which is in the documentary competition.
Since 2011 Karlovy Vary has been giving world premieres at the festival’s Grand Hall to newly digitally restored classics of Czechoslovak cinema.
This year it is the turn of The Shop on Main Street, a masterpiece by Jan Kadar and Elmar Klos that explores the subject of the Aryanisation programme in the Slovak State during WWII. It became the country’s first winner of the Academy Award for best foreign language film in 1966.
Away from the screening halls, the always worthwhile KVIFF Talks – at which members of the public get to put questions to the movie makers – will this year feature the likes of Loach and Laverty, as well as Casey Affleck and David Lowery, the director of his new film A Ghost Story.