Karlovy Vary International Film Festival Heats Up With Opening Gala And Paolo Genovese’s Relationship Drama ‘Superheroes’

As Covid cases begin to rise again in Hollywood, it’s a different story nearly 6,000 miles away as the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival kicked off with a bang on Friday night. The important Central European festival showed no signs that the pandemic would spoil another edition of the much-loved event as delegates crowded into the Grand Hall of the Thermal hotel for its opening ceremony and its opening film. Super heroby Italian director Paolo Genovese.

The 56th edition of the event opened with an unexpected announcement, asking members of the public to turn off their phones and start recording as a huge QR code saying ‘Scan Me’ was unveiled on screen . Delegates were able to watch the festival dancers online on their mobile devices via QR code before taking to the stage with an energetic and well-choreographed dance number featuring dramatic flames of fire exploding upwards at the front of the scene.

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It was a fitting opening for the beloved boutique festival, echoing sentiments felt earlier this year at Cannes that international film festivals are poised to rise from the ashes of the pandemic.

Festival President Jirí Bartoška opened the nine-day event by saying, “We live in strange times, and by that I mean the senseless and cruel war in Ukraine.”

He compared the filmmakers to modern-day Hamlets trying to put things right in a world that seems so out of place. Bartoška made it clear that this year’s Karlovy Vary festival would express “full support for Ukrainian filmmakers” and highlighted his Works-In-Progress platform for the Odessa Film Festival in Ukraine, which he is organizing in the city for his Ukrainian friends.

He also spoke about the legacy of his legendary former artistic director Eva Zaoralová, who died in March at the age of 89, before releasing a touching memorial video to the public. The Czech film journalist and scholar who spearheaded the 1994 KVIFF reboot will be celebrated this year with an exhibition of photographs documenting her work.

A host of big names will descend on the 13th century spa town over the next week, including Geoffrey Rush, Benicio Del Toro and Liev Schreiber. Rush will be the recipient of the Crystal Globe for Lifetime Achievement while Del Toro will receive the Festival President’s Award.

Schreiber, who has Ukrainian roots from his maternal grandfather, will be in town tomorrow to discuss BlueCheck Ukraine, a network he co-founded that monitors humanitarian aid organizations for Ukraine and acts as a financial channel. to send donations. He will also do a career retrospective in a panel on Sunday.

The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival runs from July 1-9.

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Gerald R. Schneider