Film Scouts Diaries

2005 Karlovy Vary Film Festival Diaries
Day 10: Winding Down to a Close

by Henri Béhar

Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, July 10, 2005 – Just come into town to introduce the closing night film, Robert Rodriguez's Sin City, actor Michael Madsen surprised many of those who considered him as just the quintessential Hollywood's bad boy – remember the tremendous glee with which he cut someone's ear off in Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs? Little did people know that he had written and published several books of poetry, and that his meeting with John Malkovich in the early days of Chicago's Steppenwolf had convinced him to pursue an acting career. "I am a leading man trapped in a bad guy's body", he told the Festival Daily. After more than sixty films, he is still looking for his breakthrough role as a lead –his sister Virginia turned out to be luckier: she got hers in Alexander Payne's Sideways. "I haven't been discovered yet," he continued, "so I guess my best work is yet to come."

The entertainment part of the closing night ceremony was almost a repeat of the opening night, complete with clips from festivals past and draped odalisks carrying fluorescent balloons and lining up as emcee Marek Eben emerged for a huge birthday cake.

The People's Award for the most popular film went to Canadian entry Life with My Father. "Although I am not dressed like one tonight, I am a back-packer at heart," director Sébastien Rose blurted out. "So thank you, thank you, thank you!"

The Best Actor Award was shared by Luca Zingaretti for his role as a priest in Roberto Faenza's Come Into the Light (Italy) and Uri Gavriel for his role as a former cop in Eyal Halfon's What a Wonderful Place (Israel). "I have played so many gangsters in so many movies it's nice to be recognized for NOT playing one", the Israeli actor said at the closing night party. Michael Madsen should soon be so lucky.

Finally, after What a Wonderful Place got a special jury prize, the main jury, presided by British director Michael Radford, gave Poland's My Nikifor the three major awards of the evening: Best Film ("unanimously, for the originality of the story and the execution of the film"), Best Director (Krzysztof Krauze, "for the unity of his cinematic vision") and Best Actress (Krystyna Feldman, "not only for her astonishing transformation, but also for her outstanding performance as an acteur"). For a complete list of the awards, click on link to the Festival's official website.

However, in bestowing three major awards on a single movie, the jury may have triggered a mini-crisis. Not the first such occurrence on the Festival circuit. In 1991, when the Cannes jury presided by Roman Polanski gave Joel Coen's Barton Fink the Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor (John Turturro) Awards, the Cannes organizers promptly rewrote the rules, thereby forbidding more than two of the major awards to go to a single film. It is more than likely, therefore, that the same will happen for next year's Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

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