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No film lovers on their underwear: our verdict of the 58th edition of Karlovy Vary

For the first time, DMovies' editor Victor Fraga attends the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, the last one of the large European festivals on his list; these are the winners, our dirty picks, and impressions

Karlovy Vary is a popular spa town in the Western Bohemian region of the Czech Republic, roughly 90 minutes by car from the nation’s capital Prague. A destination popular with elderly people seeking relaxation and young people wanting to party late into the night alike. For nine days every year, it welcomes the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, one of the oldest and most prestigious film festivals in Europe and indeed the world, and one of the few to hold a-list Fiapf accreditation. This year the event was held between June 28th and July 7th.

The Festival boasts a fabulous movie selection, top-class organisation, and a vibrant industry atmosphere. I only wonder why it took me so long to come here. This was the only one one the largest European film festival missing on my list, the others being Cannes, Venice, Berlin, San Sebastian, Tallinn, Locarno and Rotterdam. It feels great. A sentiment of mission accomplished.

In total, the Festival showcases approximately 200 films every year to an audience of 150,000 film lovers and professionals from every corner of the world. The screenings are remarkably popular. A 12:0o projection on a Thursday afternoon of meditative arthouse drama The Human Hibernation (Anna Cornudella) in a secondary cinema outside the main circuit boasted a house at full capacity. Sadly, I did not come across any members of the audience watching films on their underwear, at least not this time.

Congratulations to the super intelligent, politically committed and pleasant Mark Cousins for winning the Crystal Globe, the event’s top prize. I had the privilege of engaging on a very insightful 20-minute chat with the Scotland-based, Irish filmmaker. We talked about the relationship between painting and the moving image, playing films backwards, neurodiversity as a catalyst for creativity, tattoos, the new UK PM, Palestine, and much more. Just click here in order to read it.

Significantly, I just survived a three-week film marathon without a break. I look forward to a quiet few weeks!


The winners

Below are the award winners from the two biggest competitive strands (the Crystal Globe and Proxima) of this year’s Festival. Click on the film title in order to accede to our exclusive dirty review (where available):


Our dirty picks

Our favourite movies this year (the most thought-provoking, subversive and downright filthy films) belong to films from various sections: Runar Runarsson’s cinematic dissertation of grief When The Lights Breaks, Rungano Nyoni’s dazzlingly inventive On Becoming a Guinea Fowl, and Ana Cornudella’s rumination on the bond of animals and human beings The Human Hibernation.

In total, we published 29 reviews (14 brand new ones, and 15 republications from films that we viewed earlier this years across various festivals. Check out the full list here.


The two images above are property of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

By Victor Fraga - 08-07-2024

Victor Fraga is a Brazilian born and London-based journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years of involvement in the cinema industry and beyond. He is an LGBT writer, and describes himself as a di...

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