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Hungarian Indie ‘It’s Not the Time of My Life’ Wins Top Prize at Karlovy Vary Film Festival

Szabolcs Hajdu’s sharply observed portrait of dysfunctional Hungarian couples “It’s Not the Time of My Life” scored the Grand Prix in Karlovy Vary Saturday — plus best actor nod for Hajdu’s perf — at a glitzy gala in the western Czech Republic town marked by dancers swimming through zoetrope-inspired images in the Thermal Hotel.

The Crystal Globe, along with a $25,000 check, was doled out for pic’s expert handling of complex and bittersweet character interactions.

“Zoology,” an ironic look at nonconformity in Russia, took special jury prize and a $15,000 kitty for writer-director Ivan I. Tverdovskiy.

The jury tapped Damjan Kozole for the intrigue “Nightlife,” a Slovenia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina co-production, for best director, while Zuzana Mauréry won actress honors for “The Teacher,” a Czech-Slovak look at insidious corruption by Jan Hřebejk.

“By the Rails,” a tense Romanian-Swedish relationship study by Catalin Mitulescu, won special jury mention, as did “The Wolf from Royal Vineyard Street,” based on the life of Czech master filmmaker Jan Nemec, who died before he could complete the film, a job taken up by Tomas Klein.

“House of Others” by Rusudan Glurjidze, a Georgia-Russia-Spain-Croatia pic that weighs the social aftermath of war, won the East of the West section, which celebrates work from the former East bloc, while Estonia’s “The Days That Confused” by Triin Ruumet scored section’s jury prize.

“LoveTrue,” an American exploration of emotion by Israel’s Alma Har’el, scored best docu kudo while “Ama-San,” an atmospheric meditation on tradition from Portugal-Switzerland-Japan by Cláudia Varejão, won special docu mention.

Viggo Mortensen-starrer “Captain Fantastic” by Matt Ross won the Karlovy Vary aud prize, topping off nine days of balmy screenings and crowds of over 13,000 who descended on the picturesque spa town hoping for glimpses of guests and honorees Willem Dafoe, Jean Reno and Czech diva Jirina Bohdalova, along with Oscar-winning US screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, who stunned the auds by thanking them — and saying, “I hope you understand me” — in Czech.

In non-statutory categories, FIPRESCI winner “Original Bliss,” a look at the fallout of dead relationships by Sven Taddicken of Germany also took the Europa Cinemas Label best European film award.
Roberto Andò’s “The Confessions” an Italian-Franch send-up of world financial moguls, won Ecumenical Jury honors while Alexei Krasovskiy’s “Collector” from Russia won the Fedeora jury prize.

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