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Karlovy Vary Prepares to Celebrate 50th Anniversary

PRAGUE — Building on a “you’re the star” theme, the Karlovy Vary Film Festival’s 50th edition will kick off with a massive street party July 3, serenaded by Czech rockers and forgoing the usual formal do at the spa town’s fabulously ornate Grandhotel Pupp.

“It won’t be a festival like we’ve had before,” said Eva Zaoralova, the fest’s former artistic director, noting the spirit of inclusiveness planned for Karlovy Vary’s fans, which will include open-air screenings and images of festgoers on the event poster unveiled in Prague on Tuesday.

Tributes will honor actors John Cazale (1935-1978), who portrayed the luckless Fredo Corleone in “The Godfather” franchise and also starred in “Dog Day Afternoon” and “The Deer Hunter,” and Chris Penn (1965-2006), who appeared in “Rumble Fish,” “Reservoir Dogs” and “Short Cuts.”

There is also a tribute to Ukrainian auteur filmmaker Larisa Shepitko, whose works “Heat,” “Wings” and “Beginning of an Unknown Era” won her both critical acclaim abroad and increasingly unwelcome attention from authorities during the Cold War.

A tribute to Lebanese cinema will also unspool, featuring Maroun Bagdadi’s “Hors la vie,” about an abducted French journalist, Ziad Doueiri’s light-hearted “West Beirut” and Nadine Labaki’s lyrically shot “Where Do We Go Now,” plus Philippe Aractingi’s polemic “Under the Bombs.”

Documentary “Film Spa” by Miroslav Janek, celebrating the history of the Karlovy Vary fest and its sparkling past guest roster, will preem on opening night. A new festival trailer, starring last year’s tribute honoree Mel Gibson, will also screen for the fest, part of an annual tradition of shorts featuring celebs from John Malkovich to Helen Mirren.

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