Karlovy Vary Film Fest Hosts Variety Critics’ Choice at 50th Anniversary Edition

Summer of Sangaile Sundance
Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival

Czech fest to screen program of 10 European films championed by Variety critics.

The Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival will host the Czech premieres of 10 films selected by Variety critics during its upcoming 50th anniversary edition this summer, taking place July 3-11.

Variety’s Critics’ Choice program extends a long-standing partnership between Variety and the Czech Republic-based category A festival that dates back to 1998, during which time the magazine has curated a diverse range of each year’s best-reviewed European films to screen in the spa town.

This year’s selection again represents fresh voices from virtually every corner of the continent, including five first features. Half of the films in the program were either directed or co-directed by women.

Overall, the lineup represents a wide range of styles and genres. French director Thomas Salvador’s “Vincent” offers an alternative take on the superhero story, while Bulgarian duo Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov’s debut “The Lesson” represents a tense, neorealist interpretation of a true story, in which a cash-strapped schoolteacher is pushed to extremes.

The full selection includes:

Above and Below,” Nicolas Steiner (Switzerland-Italy)
“A Blast,” Syllas Tzoumerkas (Greece-Germany-Netherlands)
“The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson,” Julien Temple (U.K.)
“Fidelio: Alice’s Journey,” Lucie Borleteau (France)
“Goodnight Mommy,” Veronika Franz & Severin Fiala (Austria)
“The Lesson,” Kristina Grozeva & Petar Valchanov (Bulgaria-Greece)
“The Reaper,” Zvonimir Juric (Croatia)
“The Summer of Sangaile,” Alante Kavaite (Lithuania-France-Netherlands)
Sworn Virgin,” Laura Bispuri (Italy-Switzerland-Germany)
“Vincent,” Thomas Salvador (France)

Several of the directors will attend the festival to introduce their work, participating in post-screening conversations moderated by Variety critics. A rare repeat honoree, Lithuanian-born, Paris-based helmer Alante Kavaite, whose “The Summer of Sangaile” won World Dramatic Competition directing honors at the Sundance film festival, will be one of the helmers in attendance. (Kavaite’s previous film, “Fissures,” was selected in 2007.)

This year, Karlovy Vary introduces a partnership with the film festival in sister city Locarno, Switzerland, by which each event will host classic films suggested by the other. By coincidence, the Variety Critics’ Choice selection includes two pics that premiered at Locarno last summer, “A Blast” and “Fidelio: Alice’s Journey,” which offer contrasting views of life at sea.

In the past, Variety Critics’ Choice was supported by European Film Promotion. This year, EFP introduces a new initiative in partnership with Variety, entitled “Future Frames,” designed to draw attention to the finest work by young film school students around Europe.

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