Romanian Director Radu Jude’s examination of a country coming to terms with its traumatic history, I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians, and Canadian helmer Sebastien Pilote’s story of teenage rebellion, The Fireflies Are Gone, are among the dozen films — including 10 world premieres and two international premieres — in the main competition section of the 53rd edition of the Karlovy Vary international film festival.
The festival, which opens June 29 in the Czech spa town of the same name, will also showcase Argentine director Ana Katz’s subtly melancholic family drama Sueno Florianopolis, celebrated Russian filmmaker Ivan Tverdovsky’s poetic new film Jumpman and actor Caleb Landry Jones (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) in Peter Brunner’s dark Austrian-American drama To the Night.
Other titles competing for the festival’s Crystal Globe include Redemption (Joseph Madmony, Israel); Winter Flies (Olmo Omerzu, Czech Republic); Domestique (Adam Sedlak, Czech Republic); Miriam Lies (Natalia Cabral, Oriol Estrada, Dominican Republic/Spain); Panic Attack (Pawel Maslona, Poland); Brothers (Omur Atay, Turkey); and History of Love (Sonja Prosenc, Slovenia.)
The festival’s popular and influential East of the West competition section — which features new films from Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia — opens with Belarusian director Darya Zhuk’s energetic debut Crystal Swan, about a young woman who dreams of going to American to work as a DJ. Other films in a selection of a dozen movies featuring 11 debuts and seven films by female directors include Iranian director Nima Eghlima’s social drama Amir and Elizaveta Stishova’s Kyrgyz comic family drama Suleiman Mountain.
Highlights of the 12 films in the documentary competition program include the world premiere of Russian director Vitaly Mansky’s new look at the presidential career of Vladimir Putin, Putin’s Witnesses. Drawing on archive material that has rarely, if ever, been seen before, Mansky — who now lives in self-imposed exile in Latvia after years of harassment in Russia — brings a timely new portrait of the controversial Kremlin boss. There is also Bridges of Time, a contemplative essay by Lithuanian directors Kristine Briede and Audrius Stonys, and Egypt’s look at the depopulated resort of Sharm El Sheikh, Dream Away, directed by Marouan Omara and Johanna Domke.
The festival, which runs from June 29 to July 7, will also screen, out of competition, the European premiere of Andrew Bujalski’s Support the Girls, a portrait of the American middle class seen through the lens of one wild day in a traditional U.S. sports bar.