Electric Sheep will be returning to the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival this year and the programme of its 53rd edition looks as exciting and promising as ever.
One of the oldest and most renowned film festivals in the world, KVIFF has long established itself as ‘window to the West’ and the platform for new Eastern and Central European cinema. Fittingly, the Official Selection is composed of twelve films led by Romanian master Radu Jude, who is presenting his new film I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians, along with two films by Slovenian directors: Olmo Omerzu’s boyhood friendship road movie Winter Flies and History of Love, an anapestic take on young femininity from Sonja Prosenc. We also look forward to The Fireflies Are Gone, an awkward coming-of-age romance by Canadian filmmaker Sébastien Pilote, the new family drama by Argentinian director Ana Katz, Sueño Florianópolis, Austro-American drama To the Night and Jumpman, the new film by Russian director Ivan Tverdovsky (Zoology). Also included in this year’s competition line-up are four films from debut directors: Adam Sedlák’s psychological drama Domestique, along with the comedy Panic Attack by polish director Paweł Maślona, Brothers by Turkish filmmaker Ömür Atay, and Miriam Lies, a complex tale of adolescence directed by Natalia Cabral and Oriol Estrada.
Worth of note is also the strong female presence in this year’s East of the West competition. All in all, seven of the twelve films are directed by women, opening with Belarusian director Darya Zhuk’s dynamic debut Crystal Swan and including Czech director Beata Parkanová’s debut Moments, Ewa Bukowska’s psychological drama 53 Wars and Via Carpatia, an intimate, independent road movie by Polish director Klara Kochańska and co-directed by Kasper Bajon. The Czech Republic’s Tomas Pavlicek will screen his new comedy Bear with Us, while 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.’ Other highlights in this section include Hungarian director László Csuja’s Blossom Valley and Volcano by Roman Bondarchuk, a portrait of an ill-prepared protagonist who has become lost on the steppe.
However, despite it’s always strong feature film line-up, KVIFF is also a place for discovery when it comes to the latest works in documentary filmmaking. Of the twelve films shown in the documentary competition, eight are world premieres. Among them, previous KVIFF winner Vitaly Mansky weaves together personal memories with the presidential career of the Russian president in Putin’s Witnesses, while director-duo Marouan Omara and Johanna Domke take a look at the depopulated Egyptian resort Sharm El Sheikh in Dream Away, and Kristīne Briede and Audrius Stonys contribute a contemplative documentary essay called Bridges of Time.
With so much to see and discover, we will be spoilt for choice!