Film reviews and more

Karlovy Vary 2019: Our festival highlights

The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival returned to Bohemia this year with another feast of cinema from Europe and beyond. Running from 29 June to 7 July, this year’s festival was particularly notable for two excellent retrospective strands to complement their competitive programmes, including the always interesting East of West Competition. As ever there were highlights from Cannes, including […]

Karlovy Vary 2018: Our festival highlights

“I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians” Radu Jude’s film claimed the top prize at this year’s festival and it’s easy to understand why. It embraces the kind of boldly political stance of classic Polish cinema from the Communist era like a riff on both Wajda and Zanussi. The result is a formally loose, […]

Karlovy Vary 2018: Winter Flies review

★★★★☆ Olmo Omerzu’s follow-up to the stinging satire of 2015’s Family Film is another tale of children left to their own devices by negligent parents, but this time takes the form of an unsentimental but winning road movie caper Winter Flies. The title presumably refers to resolute dipterans that have refused to be cowed by seasonal colder weather and are […]

Karlovy Vary 2018: Profile review

★★★☆☆ Unfolding entirely on a laptop screen, Timur Bekmambetov’s new thriller Profile seeks to explore the murky world of how social media is used to recruit vulnerable young women to ISIS. The results are as compelling as they are silly. Back when the entirely desktop-based Unfriended was released in 2014, Bekmambetov (who produced the film) was candid about wanting […]

Karlovy Vary 2018: “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians” review

★★★★☆ Following 2015’s Aferim!, Radu Jude returns to the topic of historical Romanian anti-Semitism in his furious new satire “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians” which picked up the top prize at the 53rd edition of Karlovy Vary. Where Aferim! was a shaggy-dog road trip through 19th century Wallachia, Barbarians turns its scalpel to […]

Karlovy Vary 2017: Our picks of the festival

The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival returned for its 52nd year from 30 June-8 July. The beautiful spa town on the edge of the Slavkov forest in Western Bohemia played host to A-list stars and directors from around the world.As ever, showcased were some titles from this year’s Cannes Film Festival as well as the latest delights from Eastern […]

Karlovy Vary 2017: City of the Sun review

★★★★☆ Georgian director Rati Oneli’s City of the Sun is in a constant dialogue with philosophical treatise and epic poetry, but the humanity shines through in his meditative exploration of a half-abandoned mining town.The title of City of the Sun is taken from a 1602 utopian text of the same name by Dominican philosopher Tommaso Campanella. The word ‘utopia’ […]

Karlovy Vary 2017: A Ghost Story review

★★★★☆ Ain’t Them Bodies Saints director David Lowery channels slow cinema maestros Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Tsai Ming-liang in A Ghost Story, a beautiful meditation on grief, time, and place which screened at Karlovy Vary.It doesn’t start out that way, though. Initially, A Ghost Story looks and feels like a stereotypical low-key US indie with subtle horror tropes. Andrew Droz […]

Karlovy Vary 2016: The Noonday Witch review

★★★☆☆ Shimmering corn fields and the blazing midday sun may not seem like natural environs for spooky supernatural horror, but Jiří Sádek’s The Noonday Witch employs them to suitably disconcerting effect. With a tinge of Philip Ridley’s The Reflecting Skin, it re-purposes a traditional Slavonic folktale – popularised both as a poem by Karel Erben and a symphonic ballad […]

Karlovy Vary 2016: 5 October review

★★★☆☆ “I don’t know where I’m going,” writes Ján Kollár in his diary. He’s recently been booked in for surgery, his chances of surviving it are 50/50, and he has now set off on a literal and philosophical wander in the time he knows he has left. All of this is learned from his diary and without a single […]

Karlovy Vary 2016: We Are Never Alone review

★★☆☆☆ For those with prior knowledge of his work, Petr Václav’s latest film We Are Never Alone may represent his career thus far in microcosm. It folds in the Roma subject matter of his lauded debut Marian; Karel Roden and Lenka Vlasáková star as a despairing couple, much like in Parallel Worlds; and Klaudia Dudová, the lead actress from […]

Karlovy Vary 2016: Family Film review

★★★★☆ Don’t be fooled by the banal title – there’s a great deal of interest beneath the pastel hues and fine furnishings of Slovenian director Olmo Omerzu’s Family Film. Indeed, the title itself is the first of many sardonic misdirections in a piece whose screenplay delights in about-turns and ratcheting melodrama while elegant camerawork and committed performances lend even […]