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KARLOVY VARY
49
TH
INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2014

There arent that many well kept secrets left in the World, but for what is worth, this remote, old
fashioned and laid back town hidden behind dense forests, has managed to preserve itself from the
mainstream and stereotype holyday tourist destinations.
Anyway, the film festival is probably one of the few events that for a fortnight compromise the
lifestyle of the locals and attempts to suffocate this idyllic heaven with popular ideas and outside
influence.
What is more interesting is the festival entry competition, and for almost two weeks the whole town
is dedicated and submerged into feature screenings from a well-balanced international programme.
Those of us who are fortunate enough to have access to view films like these, can only regret that
the ordinary high street cinema going audience would only be able to see a very small amount of the
most commercial movies from the selection.
However, I am only hopeful that the ordinary, commercial, shopping mall cinema repertoire would
improve over time to enable others besides film critics to view a much more improved and a better
selection of films for the time to come.
One can only regret that the Hollywood grip on the audience would loosen up to allow other movies
to provide entertainment and amusement for the global film viewing audience.
Unfortunately, the current gap between professional film critic movie access and what is offered as a
mediocre selection for the Mall cinema audience is far too big to breach, and Im only hopeful that
distribution will drastically improve over time to allow both audience and films the attention they
deserve.
I hope that the intellectual snobbery of the professionals would loosen up to finally allow the
merger between both commercial and film critic orientated, besides, Im not that much persuaded
that the film festival selection should be made for film critics and producers only, leaving out the rest
of the audience become a target to Hollywood type entertainment.
After all, so far we have only ourselves to blame as professionals, for not allowing European and
World cinema besides Hollywood to break into the larger mainstream.
It only speaks miles of the unused potential as well as the lack of investment into the rest of the
Global movie production.
Today, much of the commercial Box office success being only a matter of marketing approach, I
finally hope well be able to break this barrier, and bring Festival cinema into the mainstream.
There is so much more we could all bring to a much larger grateful- to- be movie audience.
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In the end, after the main annual event, Im sure the whole town would be much pleased to go back
into its hibernation, sleeping the reminder of the year away, providing thermal bath treatment for
the elderly.
Solely on subjective merits, I would pay tribute to the films that made the best personal impression
on me
Italian cinema has had its Renaissance, and has resurrected from years of post-Fellini spiritual
decline and depression, finally catching up on its heritage and tradition to bring a new generation of
actors and directors, in touch with contemporary audiences.
Much of Italian cinema has always been much too elitist and star orientated, reserved for only a
handful of film makers, but today despite of the recession, it seems as if centre stage in Italy is given
to the young and inspiring who are determined to bring new ideas.
Past influences, and a relationship as well as consistency with previous Film makers is obvious,
however, Italy has finally broken away from its star struck approach to cinema and film making, and
contemporary Italian film does not live in the shadow of Sergio Leone, Passolinni and De Sica,
despite of obvious hints and references to Italian cinema tradition.
Anyway, continuity is not a sign of lack of new ideas, and new Italian distribution has reinvented
itself on the back of its rich heritage without constantly repeating itself and spinning around its own
axis.
Il Capitale Humano as well as the LArbitro are both among my favourite films presented at this
years festival competition.
Italy is a country of many passions, but the biggest one of them has always been football.
Such is the obsession with the sport; Italian society has elevated it on a level with religion.
The cult of personality of famous football players, their charm and charisma, as well as their status
of religious saints and the cult of football star warship is impregnated into the Italian folklore.
LArbitro dedicates and commits to paying tribute to the Italian fanaticism of football warship and
observance, elevating it to a status of the State religion in Italy.
This is a phenomenal comedy noir, shot in black and white that makes a parody of Italian football
obsession
In Italy it seems, there is no division between football and politics, it leaves the whole country under
the impression of being externally secular and democratic.
Much of the football criticism for that matter is direct comment on the Italian society model, its
inefficiency and the inherently destructive social institutions as well as the power vacuum left by
incompetence in the country.
Add corruption and mafia involvement as well as bribes, and this does pretty much give a picture of
the state of football and politics in Italy
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Each character has been well researched and studied; all sequences have been well shot and
executed with utmost professionalism.
I absolutely admire the level of professionalism with which the entire movie has been executed, its
ingenious authenticity as well as the element of surprise which makes it even more original.
The plot is carefully choreographed around a small Sardinian village and its football club, and
element of reality is added by the role of Judges and their ability to influence the football match to a
very large extend.
This is just as well used as constructive criticism of overall Italian society which is identified with the
game of football.
Not to slag off the entire American film making distribution on the back of the commercial output
that offers no imagination, independent cinema seems to thrive despite of the big budget setbacks.
There are many young invigorating film makers, who just like the author of Asthma, are in position
to deliver on the Jack Kerouac, Drugstore Cowboy and Requiem for a Dream Beatnik Legacy.
The proven and well tested formula of a desperate young and self-destructive Hippie, who is
wandering On the Road along the American Highway in order to reinvent or perhaps discover
himself, or maybe just find a new meaning of life
Despite of the obvious auto destruct creative tool of choice being the abuse of drugs and heroin
addiction, and much of dj vu from past Jim Jarmoush environmental settings, this subject of a
Junkie on the road to Hell seems to always give a new perspective on much the same habitat of
the good old Wild West.
Asthma observes a much researched subject that brings back images of Dennis Hoppers Easy
Rider, and only proves that theJunkie on the Road film is the New Western, and the subject does
not seem to be able to exhaust itself
As soon as I close my eyes and remember in retrospect, I get reminders from the Bad Lieutenant
as well as a tone of other American Bohemian independent past film projects that were mesmerised
and obsessed to research the depressed and self-destructive aspect of Heroin addiction.
Drugs always seem to shock the audiences, perhaps because much of us see it as the Ultimate
rejection to obey the Lord, viewing the drugs as the Forbidden Fruit, regularly projecting a
metaphor for committing the Ultimate Sin
Is Drug abuse seen by the larger society as the ultimate demonstration of Free Will, maybe a short
cut road to Hell, bypassing directly the Purgatory?
To cut a long story short, the Grass is always greener on the other side, and many of us will
warship and obsess to observe the other, until they finally cross over
The more forbidden and illegal, the more tempting and obsessive it will become, regardless of what
it may be.
This is a sure choice for all the Trainspotting and the like fans, particularly for the die-hard Iggy Pop
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Star guest appearance as a deranged Native American lunatic, as well as the lone werewolf
borrowing the voice of Nick Nolte who is supposed to be the main characters alter ego, who always
appears in his dreams
Opposite attraction and compatibility with extremes has always attracted and challenged people of
most diverse and polar backgrounds.
This maybe the usual way to flirt with audiences, but this is exactly the reason why extreme subjects
and research of the unknown has always been given much feedback and attention from viewers.
One way to produce the ultimate catch is to always challenge the audience.
Perhaps this is why this much redone subject always does well with viewers, giving extra leg room to
research a much explored subject over and again
After all, is this not the ultimate aim of social media, to engage with success and provide a channel
for communication with audiences?
Maybe, this is what gives commercial success to past such projects, much of them still being fresh in
our memory, giving us a reminder of a hard to supress in the background topic.
As the Junkie becomes the new icon of an Anti-Hero, will this subject become a new sub-genre in
independent filmmaking?
I believe it already is
Please excuse my deliberate abstract reviewing of the program selection, but I do not wish to kill
your enthusiasm to look for a way to find an opportunity to view these films
I will on purpose attempt to give as little information as possible so you could provide your own
opinion, perhaps write your own synopsis and short topic description of the films, without giving you
much lead into the stories and the movie subjects
The less I tell you the more youll have to discover yourselves
Boyhood, on the other hand is probably the biggest surprise over all this year, given the fact that it is
a remarkably successful commercial big budget project that delivers and gives outstanding results on
every level.
Shot over a period of twelve years, allowing time for the main character to grow in order to be able
to develop the plot, it is a unbelievably consistent story that provides continuity by the passing of
time, evolving into a wonderful story of an American middle class family and its challenges along the
way between childhood and growing fully into adulthood and its own special way of dealing with the
tests of time
The most beautiful thing of all is the spontaneity and the natural and down to earth approach to
their roles and characters, which are played in the most realistic way allowing the audience to
identify with events as well as situations from the story in a most remarkable way.
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Boyhood is a portrait of a young American family, in no way different from any other one that deals
with the life obstructions along the path by growing and maturing with experience.
Both Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawk, being the divorced parents of two teenagers, deliver
outstanding performances, to be outdone by the first time debut actors playing the sister and her
little baby brother respectively
Given the A list cast one would suspect the movie potential as well as its quality and value, but
everyone in doubt is in for a sincere surprise.
The whole story is phenomenal and the fact that its totally unpretentious only adds to its
authenticity and overall value.
Despite of its commercial appeal, I have absolutely no regrets; neither do I have any negative
objections regardless of the fact that the movie has been aimed at a big target audience from the
start.
Last but not least Il Capitalle Humano or Human Capital is a book inspired new release that has
substantially refreshed contemporary Italian cinema.
The plot is a Rashomoniade style take on a young man being run over by a car on his way back home
that gives each actor a chance to reinterpret what has happened on the way leading up to the main
event.
As every person gets to tell his own story, we discover much about the characters, their relationship
and the way in which they are involved in the social life of the Milanese suburb they all live in
One by one, each character gives its own perspective on the past six months, with a very slim
survival chance prior to the car accident, which leaves one man in deep coma,
This is a hugely watchable film with outstanding entertainment value, it has an enormously beautiful
cast and its highly recommendable
I am enormously anxious to see the award winning movies to compare and see how my personal
taste has been along the jury verdict.
This years Karlovy Vary repertoire has been extremely good and competitive, providing much food
for thought and once again raising the bar and the overall level of the festival offer






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