10-06-2010

Karlovy Vary presents the winners from Cannes

Didn't make it to Cannes? So Cannes is coming to you. The Karlovy Vary IFF will present an impressive collection of the awarded films from the Cannes festival in its traditional Open Eyes section. These include the winners of the Grand Prix and Best Screenplay, the Jury Prize and Best Actress. And many of their creators are no strangers to Karlovy Vary audiences because the KVIFF has already presented their previous work.

Moviegoers in Karlovy Vary will see the French film Of Gods and Men (Des hommes et des dieux) from director Xavier Beauvois, which took the Grand Prix, i.e. the festival's "silver medal." Focusing on a clash between Christian monks and Islamic radicals, this powerful, unsentimental film portrays the true story of seven Trappist monks that were abducted in Algeria in 1996. The picture stars Lambert Wilson, well-known from the films of Alain Resnais.

One of the most sought-after actresses at this year's Cannes fest was star Juliette Binoche, whose face graced the official festival poster. She walked away from the Croisette with the award for Best Actress, which she earned for her role in the razor-sharp conversation drama Certified Copy (Copie conforme), involving an encounter between a French gallery owner and a British writer. The film represents the first non-Iranian work from Iranian legend Abbas Kiarostami, a director familiar to Karlovy Vary audiences.

Best Screenplay at Cannes was snapped up by the no-less-famous South Korean director Lee Chang-dong whose Peppermint Candy competed at Karlovy Vary in 2000. This year Karlovy Vary viewers will enjoy his Cannes-awarded film Poetry (Shi), about a woman who cures her joyless life through verse. Lee Chang-dong will be a member of this year's international jury.

This year's winner of the Jury Prize comes out of a lesser-known film industry: A Screaming Man (Un homme qui crie) from Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun. His film was discussed at Cannes as not only the first ever entry from Chad in the Cannes competition, but also as a very powerful film about a relationship between a father and son that takes place against the backdrop of a brutal military conflict between insurgents and the army. Haroun presented two of his previous films, Dry Season and Our Father, at Karlovy Vary.

From the Cannes competition, Karlovy Vary will also screen the eagerly awaited sequel, Burnt by the Sun 2: Exodus (Utomlyonnye solntsem 2: Predstoyanie), by Russian filmmaking legend Nikita Mikhalkov, as well as another representative from Eastern Europe, a bewitching movie treating the paradoxes of the Russian soul, My Joy (Schastye moye), from Ukrainian director Sergey Loznitsa (the KVIFF screened three of his past documentaries).

Viewers can also look forward to three choice morsels from the Un certain regard section - the Jury Prize-winning Peruvian picture October (Octubre), the gripping Romanian drama Aurora from Cristi Puiu, the creator of The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, and the enchanting romantic comedy Heartbeats (Les amours imaginaires) by young Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan.