Film Scouts Diaries

2004 Karlovy Vary Film Festival Diaries
Diary 1

by Henri Béhar

KARLOVY VARY, Czech Republic, July 1. -- It's always wise to arrive at a film festival a day before it starts. Gives you time to unpack, find out where the various offices, theatres, restaurants and bars are, get your accreditation, catalog, and program ahead of time, e.g. check out the lay of the land (pun intended). Whatever can make your festival experience a happy one.

Although, sometimes, you find yourself in the midst of a petite drama. As my plane landed in Prague, an hour and a half away by car, the semi-finals of the soccer Euro Cup 2004 were just about to start in Portugal, pitching the Czech Republic against Greece. The odds were heavily in favor of the Czech team. ''If all goes well,'' the Festival driver said, ''we'll play the finals against the Portuguese on Sunday night.'' Which means the organizers of the 39th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will have to completely reshuffle their line up for their first weekend. Some things, you just don't fool around with, and no film can compete against soccer. Not in the ''nouvelle'' Europe.

Well, the Greeks won and part of our car trip was ominously silent. ''Well,'' our driver finally muttered as we reached Karlovy Vary, ''at least, we gave good game. They just gave better.''

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