The 49th edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival opens tonight with the premiere of Mike Cahill’s (Another Earth) sci-fi mystery I Origins. With the festival’s location, it is no wonder that a large part of the programme is dominated by films made in Central and Eastern Europe, but Karlovy Vary has proven in the past that it is a place where discovery and surprise are almost guaranteed, and this year seems no exception.
We are particularly looking forward to the uniquely comprehensive Tribute to Elio Petri, showing 10 films by the seminal and vigorous Italian filmmaker, including The 10th Victim (1965), Investigation of a Citizen above Suspicion (1969), his early Kafkaesque detective thriller The Assassin (1961), the murder mystery (and one of the first Italian films about the Mafia) We Still Kill the Old Way (1967) and the dazzlingly experimental A Quiet Place in the Country (1968), alongside two documentaries: Elio Petri: Notes on a Filmmaker, based on the reminiscences of friends and colleagues, including Paola Petri, Ennio Morricone, Franco Nero and Vanessa Redgrave; and Only One Name in the Headlines, a documentary portrait of screenwriter and author Ugo Pirro, one of Elio Petri’s consistent collaborators.
Another exciting festival highlight is the appearance of special guest William Friedkin, who will receive the Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema and present a restored version of one of the central films of his career, Sorcerer.
Peter Strickland (Katalin Varga, The Berberian Sound Studio) and Nick Fenton will be on hand for the gala presentation of Biophilia Live, a documentary of Björk’s concert at London’s Alexandra Palace, which completed her 2011 Biophilia tour and multimedia project.
Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer screens as part of the Horizons strand alongside some of the best films from this year’s Berlin and Cannes selections, including David Michôd’s The Rover and Xavier Dolan’s Mommy.
The Midnight Screenings equally offer a delirious choice of recent festival favourites such as Andreas Prochaska’s Austrian take on the Western genre, The Dark Valley, Cannes surprise hit It Follows and Sion Sono’s Why Don’t You Play in Hell. Also screening in this section are Gareth Huw Evans’s The Raid 2: Berandal alongside Tobe Hooper’s newly restored slasher classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and the promising What We Do in the Shadows, directed by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement.