The Karlovy Vary Film Festival, which is Central and Eastern Europe’s leading sprocket opera, opened Friday with a tribute to John Travolta, who received the fest’s Crystal Globe for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema, and a screening of Michel Gondry’s whimsical fantasy “Mood Indigo.”
In acknowledging the career tribute, Travolta spoke about the craft of acting.
“Being an actor is such an interesting journey, because we are asked to reflect humanity. We are asked to reflect mankind. It is our own personal interpretation of that, and it doesn’t mean you are going to agree with that interpretation, or even like it, but I’m so trilled that you agree with my interpretations,” he said.
“I’ve said this before, but the truth is to be or not to be, and I’m glad that you allow me to be.”
Gondry began his introduction to “Mood Indigo” by saying he considered himself lucky for many things in his career, for example working with Icelandic singer Bjork, and having been asked to adapt Boris Vian’s novel “Froth on a Daydream,” but he said he was unlucky that Audrey Tautou, who stars in “Mood Indigo” alongside Romain Duris, had to cancel her appearance at the fest opening.
He claimed that Tautou, whose career break-through was playing the well-meaning innocent in “Amelie,” had fallen off her bike and cut her chin.
“She has a huge scab on her chin. She actually has a double chin now, and her voice can hardly work. And she lost a lot of blood. It is really horrible,” he claimed.
“She was biking along the curve and trying to go to the right, and the bicycle didn’t follow, so she fell on her side. The chin hit the ground … You could see the bone,” he said.
Gondry said he was proud to present “Mood Indigo” in Karlovy Vary.
“It was the result of a lot of work, and I was very lucky that Audrey was shot before her bicycle accident. She is very pretty in the movie,” he said.
The evening had opened with a “wheelchair ballet” — a dance perf by those confined to wheelchairs. The host for the TV broadcast at the ceremony, Marek Eben, whose wife uses a wheel-chair, said that this perf epitomized the fest’s emphasis on equal access to those with disabilities, but also its openness to everyone in society.
“Karlovy Vary is a place without barriers, also on the social level,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you arrive in a limo or if you hitchhiked.”