All you need to know about the 52nd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

Posted on 29 June, 2017 by Team Wishberry

The 52nd edition of Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is all set to commence on June 30, 2017. It will close curtains on July 8.

This year, the festival will screen close to 150 films. It will also organize a film market for titles to find prospective buyers in the Czech Republic, and panel discussions with renowned names from the world of European and world cinema. The list includes Canadian Director Denis Côté , Director Ken Loach and Director David Lowery to name a few.

This year, the festival will honour actors Uma Thurman and Jeremy Renner with the Festival’s President’s Award.

Opening film at Karlovy

The opening film at the festival is Michael Showalter’s The Big Sick. The film is a romantic comedy and it follows the journey of an interracial couple as the discovery of their romance turns their lives topsy-turvy. Right from its screening at Sundance this year, the film has been on an awards’ winning spree — it won the Audience Award at the SXSW Film Festival and also won the Best Narrative Feature Award at Nantucket Film Festival. The film has been written by comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon and is about their courtship. Nanjiani also stars in the film along with Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter and Anupam Kher.

Closing film at Karlovy

This year’s closing film at Karlovy Vary is the much-appreciated 2016 sci-fi drama Arrival. Directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker, Arrival won many accolades including an Academy Award for Sound Editing (Sylvain Bellemare) and the Future Film Festival Digital Award at Venice Film Festival. In a nutshell, Arrival is the story of linguistics professor Louise Banks tasked with interpreting alien language when 12 spacecraft mysteriously appear on earth.

We reviewed Arrival when it released in India. You can read it here.

Categories at Karlovy

The film festival has a variety of sections when it comes to the screenings. Some of the notable ones include Official Selection – Competition, Official Selection – Out of Competition, East of the West – Competition, and Documentary Films – Competition. This year, the festival has also tied up with Variety magazine to organize the Variety Critics Choice Award.

Official Selection – Competition

Following is the list of films competing for the prestigious Crystal Globe Award at Karlovy.

Ralang Road

Ralang Road is India’s official entry to Karlovy after a long gap of 13 years. Directed by Karma Takapa, Ralang Road has been nominated for the Crystal Globe Award along with 11 other films. Set in the misty town of Rabong in Sikkim, the film follows four characters as they cross paths after a robbery. The film will hold its world premiere at the festival on July 6.

We reviewed the trailer of Ralang Road. You can read it here.



Russia | Finland | Germany – 116 minutes


Directed by Boris Khlebnikov, the melodrama traces the trajectory that the lives of Oleg and Katya, two medical professionals, takes, after Katya announces her decision to divorce him.


Birds Are Singing in Kigali

Poland – 113minutes


This heart-wrenching tale is set in the era of the Rwandan genocide that was unleashed on the minority Tutsis by the majority Hutus. Anna, a Polish ornithologist saves a young girl from the onslaught of violence and flees back to her homeland Poland. However, the young girl goes back to Rwanda in search of her roots. The film was begun as a collaboration between Krzysztof Krauze (Karlovy Crystal Glove winner, 2014) and his wife Joanna Kos-Krauze. However, she finished the mammoth project alone after his unfortunate death.


Breaking News

Romania – 81minutes

Serving as commentary on the way in which corporate media infiltrates the lives of one and all, directed by Iulia Rugină, this film follows TV reporter Alex as he comes to terms with the death of his cameraman.


The Cakemaker

Israel | Germany – 104minutes


Capturing myriad human emotions, and directed by Ofir Raul Graizer, this film throws light on Thomas’s journey to the birthplace of his lover Oran. Thomas, a German connects with Oran’s widow and becomes a pastry chef at her cafe. Unknown yet known sorrow connects the two.



Directed by:

France | 95minutes


Directed by Nicolas Silhol, Corporate looks at the rat-race that most of us are part of. Emilie, a hard working, uncompromising HR employee is faced with the moral test of a lifetime upon witnessing the suicide of one of the staff at her place of work.


Keep the Change

USA | 94minutes

What happens when two uncommonly common people meet? This is the question that Rachel Israel answers in her romantic comedy about David and Sarah who meet at a support group somewhere in Europe.


Directed by:

Georgia | Germany | France – 98minutes

George Ovashvili tells the biographical tale of Georgia’s first democratically elected president, his ascent to power, his ousting by a military coup and subsequent fight to regain power. As the magnificent Caucasus serves as a backdrop for this imposing tale, we witness all those traits that make for an epic tale.


The Line | Čiara

Slovak Republic | Ukraine – 108minutes

Adam Krajňák runs a successful illegal trade of smuggling cigarettes across the Slovak-Ukranian border along with his gangs of criminals. He is also head of his family and takes care of all its affairs. What happens when one illegal deal goes off the rails? Directed by Peter Bebjak, this film looks at human connections deeply.


Little Crusader | Křižáček

Czech Republic | Slovak Republic | Italy 90minutes


The promise of redemption and the price we pay for it is the premise for this period drama directed by Václav Kadrnka. A knight’s only descendent, his young son, runs away from home in search of the Holy Land. As the boy encounters adventures, his father tries and tries to find him.


Men Don’t Cry | Muškarci ne plaču

Bosnia and Herzegovina | Slovenia | Croatia | Germany 98 minutes

The armed conflict in Yugoslavia of the 1990s and its aftermath serves as the base for this film directed by Alen Drljević. What happens when a diverse group of veterans gathers for therapy at a remote mountain motel?


More | Daha

Turkey – 115minutes

On the coast of the Aegean Sea is a small town where 14-year-old Gaza lives with his father Ahad. Gaza wants to study further but his father has a dark future planned for him that involves smuggling in refugees. Directed by Onur Saylak, this film charts the psychological development of a teenager in times of strife.


Special mentions

Some of the interesting titles screening at Karlovy apart from those competing for the Crystal Globe include the Indian feature film Juze by directed Miransha Naik (Official Selection – Out of Competition), an exclusive pre-premiere of Sophia Coppola’s The Beguiled, The Other Side of Hope by Aki Kaurismäki (Horizons section), the Casey Affleck and Roony Mara starrer A Ghost Story (Special Events), and Derik Murray and Adrian Buitenhuis’s I am Heath Ledger (Special Events).


Special events at Karlovy

Apart from an exciting line-up of world cinema, this year, in its efforts to honour the powerhouse of acting that is Uma Thurman, on July 2, the festival will also hold a special screening of Kill Bill, which will be introduced by Thurman herself.

Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is the melting pot of world cinema with special focus on Eastern European cinema. The line-up of films alone is worth making this festival an anticipated event for cinema lovers worldwide.    

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