Ten world and two international premieres will compete at this year’s 53rd Karlovy Vary IFF including the latest by leading Romanian filmmaker Radu Jude “I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians”, an original exploration of the subject of nationality and a nation coming to terms with the traumatic moments of its own past. Respected Argentinian director Ana Katz presents a mixture of subtle melancholy with light humor in her family drama Sueño Florianópolis, and we find a no less complex look at the question of male-female relationships in The Fireflies Are Gone, the story of a rebellious yet charismatic teenager directed by Canadian filmmaker Sébastien Pilote.
A harrowing performance by actor Caleb Landry Jones dominates Peter Brunner’s dark Austro-American drama To the Night. Two other filmmakers previously recognized at KVIFF present equally original though noticeably more poetic new films: the Russian director of the popular Zoology, Ivan Tverdovsky, presents Jumpman, while Israeli director Joseph Madmony is presenting his third premiere at KVIFF, the subtly moving drama Redemption, co-directed by cinematographer Boaz Y. Yakov.
Domestic cinema will be represented by Olmo Omerzu’s road movie about the force of boyhood friendship Winter Flies and by debut filmmaker Adam Sedlák’s claustrophobic minimalist study of the slow decline of body and mind, Domestique. Other debuts are from the Dominican Republic and Spain (Natalia Cabral and Oriol Estrada’s nuanced story of an adolescent girl, Miriam Lies), Poland (Paweł Maślona’s dark comedy Panic Attack) and Turkey (Ömür Atay’s moving drama Brothers). The selection, which spans a wide range of styles and genres, is rounded out by talented Slovenian director Sonja Prosenc’s poetic tale of female coming-of-age History of Love.
OFFICIAL SELECTION – COMPETITION
“Îmi este indiferent dacă în istorie vom intra ca barbari” / “I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians” / „Je mi jedno, že se zapíšeme do dějin jako barbaři“
Director: Radu Jude
Romania, Czech Republic, France, Bulgaria, Germany, 2018, 140 min, World premiere
A young artist is planning to reconstruct a historical event from 1941, during which the Romanian Army carried out ethnic cleansing on the Eastern Front. One of contemporary Europe’s most distinctive creators has come out with an ingeniously conceived film that – although the topic unfolds slowly and in detail – hits the viewer with a singular emotional punch.
Atak paniki / Panic Attack / Panický záchvat
Director: Paweł Maślona
Poland, 2017, 100 min, International premiere
In his blackly humorous debut, talented director Paweł Maślona has submitted a consummate answer to the question whether or not a panic attack can be translated into film language. Dramatic moments in the lives of several unfortunates living in contemporary Warsaw are here presented with refreshing playfulness and a singular knack for mixing the tragic and the comic.
La disparition des lucioles / The Fireflies Are Gone / Mizející světlušky
Director: Sébastien Pilote
Canada, 2018, 96 min, World premiere
The sleepy town where Léo lives doesn’t offer her much chance of self-fulfillment. Extricating herself from her mother’s influence and her constricting environment isn’t easy for the frustrated young woman, yet happiness might be close at hand. A stylistically precise, pop-impressionistic film about a girl’s quest to find out who she really is, featuring the captivating Karelle Tremblay in the lead role.
Domestik / Domestique / Domestik
Director: Adam Sedlák
Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, 2018, 116 min, World premiere
Top cyclist Roman has had enough of serving as a domestique, a bicycle racer who sacrifices for the team. And since strenuous training and a strict regimen don’t lead to the type of performance he longs for, he sets up an oxygen tent at home. His obsession with having a sports career, however, renders him oblivious to his wife Šarlota’s desire to have a baby. A claustrophobic drama on the utter breakdown of a marriage almost suffocated by a machine that oxygenates the blood.
Geula / Redemption / Geula
Director: Joseph Madmony, Boaz Yehonatan Yaakov
Israel, 2018, 100 min, World premiere
Being able to care for a gravely ill daughter is of the utmost importance to a loving father. The treatment which is to give the child a new chance at life is something the poorly paid widower simply can’t afford. The idea to start performing again with a rock band from his early days, however, sees the devout man confronting not only those around him but – above all – himself as well.
Kardeşler / Brothers / Bratři
Director: Ömür Atay
Turkey, Germany, Bulgaria, 2017, 103 min, World premiere
Seventeen-year-old Yusuf comes home after spending four years at a detention center. His return to the family circle freshly recalls the act that his loved ones, bound by rigid tradition, forced Yusuf to commit. Directed with an assured hand, this intimate debut concerns guilt and punishment and how difficult it is to choose between blood ties and tradition on the one hand, and what is morally right on the other.
Miriam miente / Miriam Lies / Miriam lže
Director: Oriol Estrada, Natalia Cabral
Dominican Republic, Spain, 2018, 90 min, World premiere
Shy girl Miriam is waiting to celebrate her 15th birthday and she wants to invite her guy. So far they’ve only chatted online, and the anticipated blind date only complicates things. A gentle picture about the uncertainties of growing up, girls’ competitiveness, and the demands of others, which can be confusing when you’re young.
Podbrosy / Jumpman / Skokan
Director: Ivan I. Tverdovskiy
Russia, 2018, 86 min, International premiere
Young Oksana put Denis in a baby box when he was an infant. Sixteen years later she steals him away from a children’s home, intent on making amends for her neglect. Denis, however, has no idea of the heavy price to be paid for his mother’s favour: the fragile boy has one unusual quality which Oksana has no qualms about exploiting.
Sueño Florianópolis / Sueño Florianópolis / Cesta do Florianópolisu
Director: Ana Katz
Argentina, Brazil, France, 2018, 103 min, World premiere
Lucrecia, Pedro, and their teenage kids Julian and Florencia set out from Buenos Aires one sweltering day in a rattletrap Renault to vacation in the Brazilian summer resort of Florianópolis. Renowned Argentinian director Ana Katz draws upon gentle humor and light melancholy to relate a tale of first love, past lovers, fateful encounters, and fleeting joys.
To the Night / To the Night / Do noci
Director: Peter Brunner
Austria, USA, 2018, 102 min, World premiere
As a child Norman survived a fire that took the rest of his family. As an adult he is still struggling with the resulting trauma, and he finds it difficult to start a new life with his girlfriend and little boy. An oppressive atmosphere, subtle hints, and spectacular images playing upon the subconscious – these are the primary attributes of this brutally intimate study of a wounded individual. Captivating Caleb Landry Jones excels in the main role.
Všechno bude / Winter Flies / Všechno bude
Director: Olmo Omerzu
Czech Republic, Slovenia, Poland, Slovak Republic, 2018, 85 min, World premiere
Mischievously self-assured Mára and somewhat eccentric Heduš set out into the frozen wastes in search of adventure – by car, naturally. After all, Mára’s turning fifteen soon. A road movie about the flies that occasionally buzz around even in winter, and a story – before it ends at the police station – that tells of the elusive bond of boyhood friendship and the irrepressible desire to experience something, even if you don’t exactly know what.
Zgodovina ljubezni / History of Love / Příběh lásky
Director: Sonja Prosenc
Slovenia, Italy, Norway, 2018, 105 min, World premiere
Seventeen-year-old Iva is in the process of coming to terms with the death of her mother. Influenced by this deep personal loss and by the discovery that she didn’t know everything about her mom, the girl slowly immerses herself into a strange, almost dreamlike world. Sonja Prosenc’s movie is dominated by a distinctive poetic that attacks the viewer’s senses, as well as by a narratively loose style and an ability to construct a story with the aid of the subtlest of suggestions.