Karlovy Vary prepares to launch

Judi Dench to present opening pic, 'Jane Eyre'

The Karlovy Vary fest kicks off its 46th edition today with Judi Dench presenting Cary Fukunaga’s spirited adaptation of “Jane Eyre” in the main hall of the communist-era Hotel Thermal.

Dench, this year’s lifetime achievement Crystal Globe winner, headlines the curtain-raising gala amid Czech dignitaries in the tallest building in the spa town. Some 179 feature-length pics will screen through July 9, including 54 debuts and a strong showing of new talents from Central and Eastern Europe.

Meanwhile, the guest list has been amped up, with a handful of helmers including South Korea’s Kim Ki-duk, along with thesps David Morse, Burt Young, Israeli star Sasson Gabai and Italo TV figure Remo Girone.

Morse will present, along with helmer-scribe Martin Donovan, the latter’s debut suspenser, “Collaborator.” The U.S.-Canadian co-production, which plays in competish, is a taut hostage story in which the two bandy remarks about opposing viewpoints on war, women and beer.

Gabai and Girone are presenting competish pics “Restoration” and “The Jewel,” based on Italian food giant Parmalat’s real-world scandal, respectively.

Young, known to Europeans mainly for his paternal role in the “Rocky” franchise pics, will present a different side in “Win Win,” a high school wrestling comedy helmed by Tom McCarthy.

Polish helmer-thesp Jerzy Stuhr will present Nanni Moretti’s “We Have a Pope,” while Ki-duk will present his confessional pic “Arirang,” which shared this year’s Cannes prize for Un Certain Regard.

Interest in pics is already keen: Danish sales shingle LevelK has picked up competition entry “Room 304.”

Birgitte Staermose’s ensemble drama is set in a Copenhagen hotel where, LevelK said, “disparate lives intersect through accident or fate.”

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