Film Scouts Diaries

2004 Karlovy Vary Film Festival Diaries
Diary 6: Wrap-Up

by Henri Béhar

KARLOVY VARY, Czech Republic, July 11 - It's wrap up time, therefore, frustration time. Frustration at not being able to see as many films as one might have wanted (but with 235 films shown in 10 days, who could?). Frustration, because it's easier to structure one's filmgoing around the competition, at skipping entire sections: Horizons, Another View, East of the West, the Tribute to Armenian director Sergei Paradjanov (The Colour of Pomegranates), Variety Critics' Choice (a collection of European films chosen by the critics of the premier trade magazine), the Ten Best Turkish Films section, the Focus on Catalan Cinema (five films), the Dance for the Cinema sidebar (six films), as well as the two newly restored films from various European film archives: Black Sky (Spain,1951) and Merry-Go-Round (Hungary,1955).

But that's a song oft heard when it comes to festivals, might as well not dwell on it.

Some short thoughts on the awards that were given this Saturday night during a ceremony whose main guests were actor John Cleese (in town for the closing night film, Shrek 2) and director Roman Polanski (who starts shooting Oliver Twist this Monday at Prague's Barrandov Studios)

Most of those that followed the competition were pretty happy about the awards (see box)- with one minor quibble. Although one cannot fault Karen-Lise Mynster's performance in Paprika Steen's Aftermath (Denmark), her character was far from being the lead, and therefore, it should not have been put in the same category as that of Marta Larralde in León y Olvido. One wishes the main jury had managed to create a Best Supporting Performance special award.

That said, there is no doubt A Children's Story (the Crystal Globe Grand Prix) and Leon and Olvido (Best Director and Best Actress) will have a stronger impact than one suspects on their potential audiences, although neither will be an easy sell. There is also no doubt that Napola's young lead, Max Reimelt (Best Actor) is destined to have a brilliant career - unless Hollywood chews him up (yes, his English is that good) and turns him into the next Heath Ledger (yes, he is that good-looking).

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