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Karlovy Vary 2014

Rocks in My Pockets.The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival offers a special experience. While it is a major 'A' list festival with a long history — dating back to 1946 — it has the friendly intimacy of a small festival, where everybody runs into everybody most of the time. This is the best mix one can wish for, not to mention this spa town's great beauty and touristic appeal.

The 49th edition of the festival presented an impressive selection in the main competition, as well as many other sections — all in all 243 films. This year's winner of the Crystal Globe for best film was the Georgian production Corn Island (Simindis kundzuli), a spare parable about tradition and territory in a changing world, directed by George Ovashvili. However, the FIPRESCI jury, which also looked at the competition films, opted for Signe Baumane's witty and unique animated film Rocks in My Pockets, in which the director excavates the stories of her suicidal grandmother and other relatives back in Latvia, who all, like herself, suffered from mental instability, as German and Soviet occupations of Latvia contributed to their crushing hardships.

Right next to a main competition was the East of the West competition, which presented world or European premieres of first and second films from Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Turkey and the countries of the former Soviet Union. The winner here was the Russian film Corrections Class (Class Korrektsi) — a bleak portrait of special-needs education in Russia, directed by Ivan I. Tverdovsky, Who also wrote and edited. 

Some of the more challenging entries could be found in the section titled "Variety Critics' Choice: Europe Now!" in which, like in previous years, ten directors from Europe (eight men and two women) were chosen by Variety critics to present their latest films. Meanwhile, The Horizons section offered a good opportunity to catch up with outstanding films (such as Richard Linklater's Boyhood, Andrey Zvyagintsev's Leviathan, and Steven Knight's Locke) which premiered in other major festivals.

The retrospectives were dedicated to the great late Italian director Elio Petri, the young Indian director Anurag Kashyap, and the British Ben Rivers, known for blurring the boundary between documentary film work and a highly personal parable. A great mix indeed. (Yael Shuv)

Karlovy Vary ((Czech Republic, July 4-12, 2014). Prize: The animated film Rocks in My Pockets (USA/Latvia, 2014) written and directed by Signe Baumane, a film "which bravely and wittily tells a moving personal and multi-generational story of mental and historical instability in a richly layered style". Jury: Yael Shuv, Israel, president ("Time Out Tel Aviv"), Cerise Howard, Australia ("Senses of Cinema"), Marita Nyrhinen, Finland ("Opettaja"), Viliam Jablonický, Slovak Republic (""), Darina Krivankova, Czech Republic ("Vikend HN"). Print Source: New Europe Film Sales, Slowicza 12/2, 05-075 Warsaw, Poland, T +48 600 173205,


In This Crazy World, How Do You Stay Sane? Cerise Howard reviewed the FIPRESCI prize winner Rocks in My Pocket directed by Signe Baumane.arrow.

Suicide is Painless. An Overview of the Competition Films at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival. Yael Shuv's report. arrow.
A Focus on the Slovak and Czech Films in Karlovy Vary. In addition to major domestic international festivals in Slovakia — Artfilm Trenčianske Teplice and Bratislava Film Festival — and smaller specialized events such as Etnofilm, Mountain Film Festival and animatedBAB, Slovak films find their way onto the international stage through the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and other major film events around the world. Viliam Jablonický's report. arrow.
Low Down — A Rare Jazz Film that Looks and Feels Real. Marita Nyrhinen reviewed Jeff Preiss' Low Down shown in the competition section in Karlovy Vary. arrow.



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Karlovy Vary 2014

bullet. Index
bullet. In This Crazy World
bullet. Suicide is Painless
bullet. Slovak and Czech Films
bullet. A Rare Jazz Film

Language editor:
Yael Shuv