Karlovy Vary Festival to Honor 'Kolya' Cameraman, Egyptian Cinema Legend

Vladimir Smutny - H 2019
Courtesy of Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

Czech cinematographer Vladimir Smutny will receive the President's Award at the renowned festival, where films of Youssef Chahine also will be in the spotlight.

Czech cinematographer Vladimir Smutny, who lensed Jan Sverak's 1996 Oscar winning-film Kolya, will receive the President's Award at the 54th edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival this summer.

The festival also will screen a tribute to legendary Egyptian director Youssef Chahine, who died in 2008.

Smutny, who shot a host of other Sverak movies, including Dark Blue World and Empties, is a seven-time winner of the Czech Lion award for best cinematography; his latest credit is on Vaclav Marhoul's adaptation of Jerzy Kosinski's The Painted Bird. Kosinski is best known for his novel and screenplay for Hal Ashby's Being There. Marhoul assembled a cast of international A-list actors, including Harvey Keitel, Stellan Skarsgard and Julian Sands, for the first-ever screen adaptation of The Painted Bird.

The retrospective of 11 remastered Chahine films will include lesser-known works as well as established classics. The films include Chahine's debut Daddy Amin (1950), a fantasy comedy about a family patriarch who watches the transformation of his household after his death; My One and Only Love (1957), one of Egypt’s most beloved musical comedies about a man and woman who are forced into a marriage of convenience before they gradually fall in love with each other; and his classic historical epic Saladin (1963).

“A thorough look at the work of Youssef Chahine has long been overdue in Eastern Europe,” said Karel Och, Karlovy Vary's artistic director. “We are delighted to pay this debt as a tribute to an exceptional artist and humanist with strong political views, as well as to Arab cinema."

The festival this year will also have a special section to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution of 1989, the nonviolent transition of power in what was then Czechoslovakia, with rare period films by Jan Nemec and Vera Chytilova, including the latter's 1992 visionary morality tale warning of the dangers of consumerism, The Inheritance or Fuckoffguysgoodday.

In a treat for lovers of the Czech New Wave of the 1960s, the festival will hold a premiere screening of a digitally restored copy of Juraj Herz's 1969 classic The Cremator, a grim tale of a crematorium worker who joins the Nazi party.

Industry buyers will be offered the chance to pick up works in development and works in progress in the festival's Eastern Promises program.

The 54th edition of the KVIFF runs June 28-July 6.