Karlovy Vary kicks off

York, Gitai, Klaus in attendance

KARLOVY VARY — The 37th Karlovy Vary film festival kicked off with a spirited opening ceremony July 4, including fireworks and dancing girls.

The festival’s opening ceremony is the Czech Republic’s biggest party. Guests included Michael York, Israeli director Amos Gitai, and Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech parliament.

The evening’s only sober moment was struck when festival president Jiri Bartoska presented a posthumous lifetime contributiion award in honor of actor Vlastimil Brodsky, who died last spring. The award was accepted by his daughter, actress Tereza Brodska.

The festival opened with a screening of Czech competition entry “The Year of the Devil” by Velvet generation helmer Petr Zelenka (“Buttoners”). The evening’s second screening was another Czech-made pic, “Blade 2,” filmed entirely in the country last year.

The festival continues through July 13.

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