Superheroes directed by Paolo Genovese
Superheroes directed by Paolo Genovese

The 56th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will open with Superheroes directed by Paolo Genovese and close with Three Thousand Years of Longing directed by George Miller. This year’s edition of Karlovy Vary IFF will pay tribute to Jérôme Paillard, the long-time executive director of Marché du Film. and a 1993 film The Flood produced by Paillard will be screened as a part of the tribute.

Superheroes is described as a romantic film that briefly introduces us to the carousel of joys and fears of a couple brought together by chance. Or was it fate? Comic book illustrator Anna and theoretical physicist Marco are a pair of congenial Superheroes who, like so many other people, have decided to live together. After all, dealing with shared problems sometimes requires truly superhuman strength. Every relationship has its crises and its idyllic moments – from a random encounter in the rain to serious conversations a decade later. The film’s structure presents the history of their relationship by following two timelines: the very beginning and ten years later. The carefully constructed episodes systematically take aim at viewers’ hearts and minds.

In Three Thousand Years of Longing, Tilda Swinton stars as professor of narratology Alithea Binnie who arrives in Istanbul to give a lecture at a conference. But she slowly begins to question her identity as a rational academic when an antique lamp that she bought at a bazaar releases a Djinn (Idris Elba) who, in the fashion of Oriental fairy tales, offers her three wishes… George Miller followed up the adrenaline-laden, post-apocalyptic ride of Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) with this eccentric fantasy featuring two stellar leads. Three Thousand Years of Longing, which premiered at Cannes, is a timeless story of love that, like One Thousand and One Nights, reflects the joy of storytelling.

Added screenings

Moonage Daydream
director: Brett Morgen, USA, 2022, 140 min.

Over the course of several decades, David Bowie amassed some five million diverse pieces of audiovisual material relating to his artistic career. It took director Brett Morgen (The Kid Stays in the Picture, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck) two years to go through it all. He then spent another year coming up with the conception for his film, and five years creating the sound design for this highly unconventional look at the career of an original musician and fascinating prophet. This unique cinematic experience – one of the key events at the recent festival in Cannes – will ride through you like a wave. Brett Morgen’s testament to David Bowie is as elusive and captivating as the artist himself.

War Pony
director: Riley Keough, Gina Gammell, USA, 2022, 114 min.

The jury at this year’s Cannes Film Festival decided to give the award for best debut film to the extraordinarily convincing look at the life of today’s members of the Oglala Lakota subtribe of the Sioux nation. The directorial duo masterfully guides the viewer through two interconnected storylines set in the inhospitable reality of the Pine Ridge Reservation. While the enterprising twentysomething Bill has no trouble stretching the law on his journey towards the “American dream,” preteen Matho is forced to grow up fast. An evocative film about the search for one’s place in a world in which the descendants of America’s first people still cannot shake the stigma of discrimination.

director: Lukas Dhont, Belgium, France, Netherlands, 2022, 105 min.

Thirteen-year-old Rémi and Léo are inseparable friends. They spend all their free time together, fight imaginary battles, try to outdo each other on their bikes in the fields, and sleep over at each other’s houses. Their intense friendship also involves an unusual physical closeness, which after the summer break becomes the target of sneering remarks from their adolescent classmates, the poisonous tone of which slowly begins to erode their friendship. This intimately tender and oppressively painful film about growing up is built around the immensely powerful debut performances by Eden Dambrine and Gustav De Waele. Lukas Dhont’s film was considered by many to be the emotional pinnacle of this year’s festival in Cannes, where it earned the Grand Prix (ex aequo).

Films from the People Next Door section

Level 34
Director: Zach Breder, USA, 2022, 25min, International Premiere

Sometimes the story that led to a film being made is as important as the film itself. The director of Level 34, sixteen-year-old Zach Breder from the U. S. state of Georgia, has managed to fulfil a life’s dream at a young age to write and direct a movie. This in and of itself is an extraordinary feat. But when we add one inexorable fact of Zach’s life – the fact that he has a serious heart conditions that means he must make every day count – we understand why he refused to wait to realize his dream.

Zach was born with Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome, which means that he was born without a right ventricle, for which there is no cure. By age sixteen, he had undergone more than ten operations thanks to which he is still alive. The cardiologist who has been treating Zach and who knows all his dreams, including his dream of being a filmmaker, found a way for Zach to make his film a reality – thanks to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, which provided financial support for the film’s realization. When the Pinewood Film Group came on board as producer, nothing stood in the way of the film’s creation.

The film crew were students from a local film school, and post-production was done by the Czech Republic’s UPP company. In the beginning there was a dream; at the end is an international premiere at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Level 34 is the adventure-filled tale of a young boy who gathers all his courage in order to prove that his uncle is not the crazy drunk everybody says he is.

The Karlovy Vary film festival is showing Level 34 as part of its People Next Door Section. Zach Breder is personally traveling to the festival with his mother in order to introduce the film in person.

My Sister Liv
režie: Alan Hicks, USA, 2022, 70 min., World Premiere

When eight-year-old Tess learned that her mother was pregnant, she was not excited at the prospect of a sibling. But when little Liv was born with the same fiery red hair as her older sister, an unbreakable bond was formed that, sadly, was torn apart too soon. Liv grew into a young woman full of energy and with incredible musical talent, but even as a child she suffered from anxiety and depression until she was driven to a radical solution. Tess was left with a void in her life that she decided to fill by working with teenagers who have the same difficulties as Liv did. Grammy Award-winning director Alan Hicks has shot a touching and important documentary about pain transformed into hope.

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