Film Scouts Diaries

2002 Karlovy Vary Film Festival Diaries
Karlovy Vary Diary #2

by Henri Béhar

Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, July 5th, 2002 -Opening the festival with Petr Zelenka's "Year of the Devil', is one hell of a bold move. A representative of a "young generation" of Czech directors, Zelenka belongs to the Jarmusch-Kaurismaki family. If his debut feature, "Buttoners," a weave of wry, comic shorts, reminded everyone of Jim Jarmusch's "Permanent Stranger" and "Stranger Than Paradise," "Year of the Devil' harks back to Jarmusch's Neil-Young-on-tour movie "Year of the Horse" - even the title is a give-away. A black comedy cum musical cum (semi-) mockumentary, "Year of the Devil" follows a group of Czech musicians confronting, as the Festival daily puts it, "the horrors of alcoholism and spontaneous combustion."

Later, as SOME party in the luxurious salons of the Hotel Imperial (the Kaiser's former week-end residence), the Karlovy Vary audiences are flocking to the screening of Guillermo del Toro's "Blade 2", shot near here at Prague's Barrandov studios, as was the Hughes Brothers' "From Hell", aka "Johnny Depp meets Jack the Ripper". Quite a beehive these days, as earlier this year, Disney and Sony/Revolution had set up shop for the shooting of "XXX" and "Shanghai Nights", and Sean Connery is about to begin production of Fox's 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen."

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