Variety's int'l critics expanded to 2 days of screenings

PRAGUE — With just two weeks to put on its finishing touches, the Karlovy Vary Film Festival has locked up its schedule of films.

South African competish entry “A Reasonable Man” by actor-director Gavin Hood opens the fest July 2. Opening night follow-up is “Tea With Mussolini,” with director Franco Zeffirelli in attendance. Debut helmer Jake Scott will present his Brit period actioner “Plunkett and Macleane,” which was filmed in the Czech Republic, as fest closer on July 10.

Final film to get a competition slot is another world premiere, U.S. helmer Michael Patrick Jann’s debut, “Drop Dead Gorgeous.” The satire on small town beauty pageants (formerly titled “Dairy Queens”) features Kirstie Alley, Ellen Barkin, Kirsten Dunst and Amanda Plummer. Jann was a founder and director of the comedy company the State, which spawned an Off Broadway show and an MTV series.

Other last-minute additions include Cannes-prized films “All About My Mother” by Pedro Almodovar and “Moloch” by Alexander Sokhurov. The Polish delegation is poised to make a big splash with its B.O. record-breaking costumer, Jerzy Hoffman’s “With Fire and Sword.”

The Forum of Independents section sees the return of regulars Hal Hartley, with “Book of Life,” and Aki Kaurismaki, with “Juha,” as well as Todd Solondz’s “Happiness” and a focus on Iranian filmmaker Abolfazl Jalili.

Last year’s Variety Critics’ Choice sidebar of films selected by Variety’s international critics will be expanded to two days of screenings, hosted by Variety special reports managing editor Steven Gaydos. This year’s lineup, called Europe Now, is presented in conjunction with European Film Promotion and features 10 films from eight members of the 18-country organization.

This year’s Variety Critics’ Choice: Europe Now selections are Catherine Corsini’s “The New Eve” (France); Peter Kahane’s “To the Horizon and Beyond” (Germany); Julio Medem’s “Lovers of the Arctic Circle” (Spain); Simon Shore’s “Get Real” (U.K.); Genevieve Jolliffe’s “Urban Ghost Story” (U.K.); Yesim Ustaoglu’s “Journey to the Sun” (Germany-Netherlands-Turkey); Alex van Warmerdam’s “Little Tony” (Netherlands); Torben Skjodt Jensen’s “The Man Who Would Live Forever” (Denmark); Benoit Mariage’s “The Carriers Are Waiting” (Belgium) and Claude Miller’s “Class Trip” (France).

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