Czech fest slates competition pix

Australian films focusing on Aborigines get spotlight

PRAGUE — Oscar-nommed helmer Jan Hrebejk’s “Pupendo” and “Cruel Joys” by Slovak legit director Juraj Nvota are the first two competition selections at the 38th Karlovy Vary festival, to be held July 4-12.

Karlovy Vary’s batting average as a launching pad for foreign lingo Oscar nominees is being emphasized, with fest organizers crowing that this year’s winner “Nowhere in Africa” won the Special Jury Prize last summer.

‘Hours’ in Horizons

Awarded films from other festivals, which screen in the Horizons section, will include “The Hours,” “Good Bye, Lenin!” and Senegalese film “Madame Brouette” from Berlin, Venice winners “House of Fools” from Andrei Konchalovsky and U.S. film “Roger Dodger.”

Australian films spotlighting Aborigines will receive special attention. They include “Beneath the Clouds” by Ivan Sen, “Rabbit-Proof Fence” from Philip Noyce, Craig Lahiff’s “Black and White” and “The Tracker” by Rolf De Heer.

The second part of the omnibus film “Ten Minutes Older: The Cello” features a segment from Czech New Wave director Jiri Menzel, who will also receive one of the festival’s Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema award.

Euro focus

Fest continues its recent Euro focus, with Variety Critic’s Choice presented with the support of European Film Promotion. French cinema verite director Maurice Pialat receives a tribute, and this year sees a focus on Baltic cinema. Additional European selections include “Distant Lights” from German director Hans-Christian Schmid, Danish films “Open Hearts” by Suzanne Biere and “Fear X” by Nicolas Winding Refn, “Lilya 4-ever” from Sweden’s Lukas Moodyson, “I’m Not Scared” from Italian director Gabriele Salvatores, Iceland’s “Noi albinoi” by Dagur Kari, and from France “The Swimming Pool” and “Under the Sand” by Francois Ozon and Eric Rohmer’s “The Green Ray.”

U.S. films by independent directors feature heavily in the Forum of Independents. Also screening: “Hysterical Blindness” by Mira Nair.

Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu, marking the centennial anniversary of his birth, and Joseph Strick, in honor of his 80th birthday, receive tributes.

Farther afield, Israeli films get stronger play, with Nir Birman’s “Broken Wings” and Amos Gitai’s “Golem” trilogy. Iraqi film “Life” by Jan Rosebiani and “Edi” by Polish helmer Piotr Trzaskalski round out the list of films already chosen.

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