Ten world premieres are among the 12 films competing for the Crystal Globe at Central and Eastern Europe’s premier film festival, Karlovy Vary, which runs June 29-July 7. The competition titles include leading Romanian filmmaker Radu Jude’s “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians,” an exploration of nationality and national trauma; Argentine Ana Katz’s family drama “Sueno Florianopolis”; and Canadian filmmaker Sebastien Pilote’s “The Fireflies Are Gone,” the story of a rebellious teen relationship.
A standout performance by Caleb Landry Jones dominates Peter Brunner’s dark Austro-American drama “To the Night,” while two filmmakers returning to Karlovy Vary present “noticeably more poetic new films”: Russia’s Ivan Tverdovsky (“Zoology”) will screen “Jumpman,” while Israeli director Joseph Madmony brings his third premiere to West Bohemia, the drama “Redemption,” co-directed by cinematographer Boaz Y. Yakov.
Czech Republic-based filmmaker Olmo Omerzu will screen a road movie centered on boyhood friendship, “Winter Flies,” while debut filmmaker Adam Sedlak will compete with “Domestique,” a “claustrophobic minimalist study of the slow decline of body and mind.”
Slovenia’s Sonja Prosenc will screen “History of Love,” a “poetic tale of female coming-of-age.”
Debut works include Natalia Cabral and Oriol Estrada entry from the Dominican Republic and Spain, “Miriam Lies,” focusing on an adolescent girl’s quest for love; Pawel Maslona’s dark comedy “Panic Attack” from Poland; and Omur Atay’s drama “Brothers” from Turkey.
East of the West, the festival’s showcase of competition films from emerging filmmakers from the former Soviet bloc countries, Greece and the Middle East, has eight world premieres among its 12 entries.
Two entries represent Poland: Ewa Bukowska’s “53 Wars,” a psychological drama adapted from the autobiographical novel by Grazyna Jagielska; and “Via Carpatia” by Klara Kochanska and Kasper Bajon, “an intimate, independent road movie” chronicling a challenging trek to a refugee camp.
The Czech Republic’s Tomas Pavlicek will screen “Bear With Us,” a study of the local phenomenon of weekending in the country. Czech-Slovak “Moments” by Beata Parkanova explores family tensions. Hungary’s Laszlo Csuja takes on young lovers on the run in “Blossom Valley.”
Iran’s Nima Eghlima is bringing “Amir,” about “a generation whose private lives are determined more by the rules of society than by their own will,” while Kyrgyz-Russian entry “Suleiman Mountain” by Elizaveta Stishova is a road-movie comedy-drama weighing in on healing fractured family bonds.
“Crystal Swan” by Darya Zhuk is a Belarussian-German-U.S.-Russian tale of a Minsk law student with dreams of DJ-ing in America. “Breathing Into Marble,” by Giedre Beinoriute, is a Lithuanian-Latvian-Croatian look at the impact on a family of their withdrawn adopted boy.
Russia’s “Deep Rivers” by Vladimir Bitokov is a “searingly vivid and visually remarkable debut” about life among a hardscrabble lumberjack family, and “Volcano” by Roman Bondarchuk is a visually striking Ukrainian-German story centered on the struggles of an ill-prepared protagonist who has become lost on the steppe.
“Pause” by Tonia Mishiali is a Greek-Cypriot study of the dilemmas facing women in a patriarchal society.
In the fest’s documentary competition, eight of the 12 entries, representing 16 countries, are world premieres, with films from Chile to China, via Egypt, the Baltics and Nepal.
Among them is the latest by past Karlovy Vary winner Vitaly Mansky, “Putin’s Witnesses,” which takes on the presidential career of the Russian strongman. “Bridges of Time” is a “contemplative documentary essay” by Kristine Briede and Lithuanian director Audrius Stonys.
Marouan Omara and Johanna Domke’s “Dream Away” explores the depopulated Egyptian resort Sharm El Sheikh, and Cyril Aris’ “The Swing,” from Lebanon, is a tender portrait of determination to shield a loved one from pain and loss.
Pictured: Ivan Tverdovsky’s “Jumpman”