Tilda Swinton Doc, ‘Loveable,’ ‘Stranger’ 5

A Sudden Glimpse to Deeper Things, Mark Cousins‘ documentary essay about Scottish artist Wilhelmina Barns-Graham and her neurodiversity, including diary passages narrated by Tilda Swinton, won the Grand Prix – Crystal Globe, the top award at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival on Saturday.

The movie is “exploring the pivotal 1949 experience atop Switzerland’s Grindelwald glacier that reshaped British modernist painter Wilhelmina Barns-Graham’s artistic perspective for decades to come.” The Crystal Globe comes with a $25,000 prize. “I did not expect this in a million years,” Cousins said in accepting the honor.

The 58th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival‘s closing ceremony also honored the Norwegian marital drama Loveable, directed by Lilja Ingolfsdottir, with its special jury prize, which comes with a $15,000 check. “This film was made deeply from my heart,” the director said in accepting the honor. “I had to be vulnerable.” She also thanked her husband who was the cinematographer on the film, who was taking care of their kids Saturday night and who went through the crisis with her a few years ago that the movie is based on.

Meanwhile, the top Czech festival’s audience award went to Waves, Jirí Mádl’s drama about the role of the international news office of Czechoslovak Radio before and after the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops.

Nelicia Low was honored as the best director for Pierce, which focuses on Han, who is released from juvenile prison, where he served seven years for killing an opponent in a fencing match, to meet his younger brother and insisting on his innocence. “I’m sorry I’m such a rebel,” but I wanted to be a filmmaker, Low said to her parents who were in the audience.

The KVIFF best acting awards were bestowed upon Helga Guren for her role in Loveable and Ton Kas and Guido Pollemans for their roles in the father-son drama Three Days of Fish.

“It punched me in the stomach,” but she also immediately fell in love with the script when she read it, Guren shared. Pollemans received both actor awards as Kas couldn’t attend the ceremony. Pollemans joked that he won this honor for what has likely been his darkest and most challenging role.

The jury consisted of Christine Vachon, Geoffrey Rush, Hungarian director Gábor Reisz, Icelandic poet, novelist, and screenwriter Sjón, and Czech actress Eliška Křenková. Rush was in for a special surprise when the ceremony’s host mentioned that it was the star’s birthday before leading the audience in singing “Happy Birthday.”

Last year, Stephan Komandarev’s Bulgarian/German co-production Blaga’s Lessons won the top prize at KVIFF.

‘Stranger’ still

Courtesy of Film Servis Festival Karlovy Vary

The third edition of Karlovy Vary’s Proxima competition, which focuses on bold works by young filmmakers and renowned auteurs alike, revealed Zhengfan Yang’s Stranger, an exploration of loneliness, isolation, and identity in episodes taking place in different hotel rooms, as the winner of its Grand Prix, which comes with a $15,000 reward. Yang charmed the audience and drew much applause when he said: “The title of the film is Stranger, but here I feel at home.”

Paolo Tizón’s documentary Night Has Come, about elite Peruvian military recruits, was picked for the Proxima special jury prize, worth $10,000.

Special jury mentions highlighted Noaz Deshe’s Xoftex and Adam Martinec’s Our Lovely Pig Slaughter in the main competition, as well as Martin Pavol Repka’s March to May in the Proxima section.

Loveable cleaned up among the non-statutory awards, earning the Europa Cinemas Label honor as best European film at KVIFF 2024, the Fipresci Award, as well as the Grand Prize of the Ecumenical Jury. THR‘s review called it “incisive and nuanced” and described it as “a penetrating look at the female psyche.” The Ecumenical Jury also gave a commendation to George Sikharulidze’s Panopticon.

A big highlight of Saturday’s closing ceremony was British star Clive Owen receiving the KVIFF President’s Award. “The best career move is to be good,” meaning that if you are passionate about smaller projects, go for them as they may surprise you and others. “I’ve sometimes resisted going into the big mainstream, big-budget commercial movies, because I’ve always found a [desire] to look for more interesting and provocative, delicate, sensitive material.”

Owen also touted the need for film fests like KVIFF. “Film festivals are more important and needed than ever,” he said.

Czech veteran Ivan Trojan was the other actor to receive a President’s Award. “Based on the reel [screened] you may say I am good,” he quipped, before highlighting, to laughs, that it only showed good scenes. Trojan also joked that it was good that he received the statuette before Owen given the British star is six months younger. He also drew laughs when he mentioned that the score of the Euro 2024 soccer match between England and Switzerland, taking place at the same time, was tied at 0:0 at half time.

Host Marek Eben lauded the 30 years of the management team, led by president Jirí Bartoska, that reinvigorated KVIFF amid talk about its potential cancellation. “It has managed to create an international community,” with 90 percent of people returning, he shared.

The 58th edition of the Karlovy Vary fest, which has a reputation as Central Europe’s largest cinema party, had opened with the presentation of an honor to Viggo Mortensen, who formally kicked off the fest with his feminist Western The Dead Don’t Hurt, one of KVIFF’s popular action-packed opening ceremonies, devised by the Caban brothers, and a concert by electronic music band Kosheen.

Following the award presentation to Owen, the Saturday evening festivities continued with the screening of the 2024 KVIFF closing film, Fingernails, the Christos Nikou drama starring Jessie Buckley and Riz Ahmed, followed by the closing party at the Grandhotel Pupp.

‘Loveable’

Courtesy of Karlovy Film Festival

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