Karlovy Vary International Film Festival recommendations 2017

By Ryan Keating-Lambert

Now in its 52nd year, the Czech Republic’s A-list film festival will run from June 30 – July 8 and boasts another impressive selection of international films competing for the prestigious Grand Prix Globe, and a host of other awards.

This year, the picturesque spa town will also host a number of well known actors and industry professionals including Uma Thurman, who will open the festival with a special outdoor screening of Kill Bill, and receive the KVIFF President’s Prize for outstanding contribution to the film industry.

As usual, the festival is sure to attract both film goers and party people so be sure to book all of your tickets well in advance as some of the screenings are likely to sell out. Check out some of our film programme recommendations below and go to the KVIFF website for more details.

All recommended films are English friendly.
Baby Driver
Edgar Wright’s (Shawn of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim vs The World) new car heist movie is dripping with the British director’s impeccable style and wit, and is being hailed as one of the most original action movies in a long time. With a cast including Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Eiza Gonzalez, Lily James, Jon Bernthal and Ansel Elgort as ‘Baby’, this film is bound to be one of the major highlights of the festival this year. Check it out at one of the festival’s midnight screenings.
3/7 – 23:59 – Cas Cinema
5/7 – 22:30 – Grand Hall
8/7 – 23:59 – Cas Cinema


The Beguiled
Based on the novel by Thomas Cullinan novel and the 1971 Clint Eastwood film, director Sofia Coppola’s (Lost in Translation, The Virgin Suicides) latest spectacle sees a wounded American civil war soldier take refuge in a girls school in Virginia. Starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell and Coppola regulars Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning, The Beguiled is a haunting thriller fuelled by a cast and crew of truly powerful and talented women.
3/7 – 23:00 – Grand Hall
5/7 – 22:00 – Pupp Cinema
6/7 – 10:00 – Narodni dum Cinema


The Big Sick
The Big Sick is the most original romantic comedy since 500 Days of Summer. Comedian Kumail Nanjiani, with the help of comedy veteran and producer Judd Apatow, writes and stars in a movie that’s more or less about the ups and downs of his real life relationship to wife Emily (Zoe Kazan). A fiercely original story about realistic and relatable relationship problems set around Nanjiani’s trademark stand-up comedy. The Big Sick is also littered with brilliant supporting performances, especially from Ray Romano and Holly Hunter, who play Emily’s parents. Check it out on opening night.
30/6 – 19:45 – Small Hall
30/6 – 20:00 – Congress Hall
7/7 – 19:00 – Grand Hall


The Cakemaker
After the death of his lover Oren, German born Thomas travels to Israel in search of Oran’s estranged wife and son. Things become complicated when Thomas gets a job as a pastry chef for Oren’s grieving wife. The Cakemaker is in the Official Selection Competition of the festival, and directed by Ofir Raul Graizer (La Discotheque, Dor).
4/7- 17:00 – Grand Hall
5/7 – 10:00 – Pupp Cinema
7/7 – 09:00 – Drahomira Cinema



Based around the horse myths of Kyrgyzstan, Centaur follows a simple and well respected village man of the same name whose life changes dramatically after he takes his obsession to the next level and steals a racehorse. Directed by Aktan Arym Kubat (The Chimp, The Light Thief), Centaur is an emotional tour-de-force and spares no expense when it comes to pressing visuals.
30/6 – 15:30 – Small Hall
1/7 – 17:00 – Cinema B
4/7 – 19:30 – Husovka Theatre
7/7 – 21:30 – Cas Cinema



The latest documentary by Czech filmmaker Olga Sommerová (The Magic Voice of a Rebel) focuses on the legendary Czech opera singer Soňa Červená, who fled Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia to start a new life singing in the Berlin State Opera in the west. After her limitless talent was unveiled, she made a name for herself by singing in a number of world class events, before finally returning to Czechoslovakia…
30/6 – 14:00 – Cinema B
2/7 – 16:30 – Husovka Theatre
5/7 – 15:30 – Small Hall


David Lynch: The Art Life
A documentary about the controversial artist and director David Lynch (Twin Peaks, Mulholland Drive) and how his small town upbringing and Philadelphia days has influenced his distinctive artistic style. It’s a fascinating insight into the director’s personal life, and family. An absolute essential for fans of his work.
30/6 – 10:30 – Husovka Theatre
4/7 – 10:00 – Cas Cinema
7/7 – 10:30 – Lazne III Cinema


A Ghost Story
Starring recent Oscar winner Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) and Oscar nominee Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), A Ghost Story sees a recently dead husband attempt to reconnect with his grieving wife in the form of a ghost with a white sheet. This Sundance favourite is directed by David Lowery (Pete’s Dragon, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints) and puts an ethereal and truly mesmerising perspective on death. Casey Affleck will also be present at the festival to promote the film.
2/7 – 14:00 – Grand Hall
4/7 – 19:00 – Pupp Cinema
7/7 – 19:00 – Narodni dum Cinema


God’s Own Country
Currently dubbed as the Brokeback Mountain of Yorkshire, God’s Own Country is a highly original story that puts a new take on the gay ‘coming out’ drama. The romance between Romanian migrant worker Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu) and English farmer Johnny (Josh O’Connor) couldn’t be more timely with Britain’s Brexit debarkle now underway.
30/6 – 21:30 – Cas Cinema
1/7 – 17:00 – Drahomira Cinema
3/7 – 22:30 – Drahomira Cinema
7/7 – 13:00 – Narodni dum Cinema


Happy End
The latest from the critically-acclaimed two-time Palme d’Or winning director Michael Haneke (Amour, The Piano Teacher). Happy End stars Oscar nominated Isabelle Huppert (Elle) and focuses on the demise of a middle-class family in France, with the current refugee crisis in the background. A poetic piece of cinema sure to garner political attention.
4/7 – 20:00 – Drahomira Cinema
5/7 – 11:30 – Grand Hall
6/7 – 15:30 – Cas Cinema
8/7 – 22:00 – Congress Hall



Hounds of Love
A vicious Australian crime thriller about a turbulent couple who kidnap teenage girls and torture them for their sexual pleasure. Directed by Ben Young, Hounds of Love is a disturbing, yet stylish and superbly crafted film. An intense battle of wits with fantastic performances from lead trio Ashleigh Cummings, Emma Booth and Stephen Curry.
30/6 – 22:30 – Lazne III Cinema
3/7 – 22:30 – Husovka Theatre
6/7 – 22:00 – Narodni dum Cinema


How To Talk to Girls At Parties
Directed by John Cameron-Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), How To Talk To Girls At Parties was an Official Selection at Cannes this year and is the second film at the festival which stars both Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning. Based on the Neil Gaiman short story about an alien girl who gets caught up in the London punk scene, How To Talk to Girls is a festival must.
1/7 – 22:00 – Congress Hall
3/7 – 22:30 – Cinema B
5/7 – 09:00 – Grand Hall
8/7 – 19:00 – Congress Hall



I Am Heath Ledger
This heartbreaking but inspiring documentary follows the acting journey of Heath Ledger according to those closest to him. I Am Heath Ledger is an intimate look into the life of the late actor through fellow actors, friends, and family, but also through the home video footage recorded by Ledger himself.
1/7 – 11:30 – Grand Hall
6/7 – 11:30 – Grand Hall


The Last Of Us
A film that takes a step back from conventional narrative and focuses on social and existential issues through one man’s journey from Tunisia to Europe. Beautifully filmed, and no dialogue whatsoever. Directed by Ala Eddine Slim, this is one of the more thought-provoking and art orientated films of the festival.
30/6 – 19:00 – Narodni dum Cinema
2/7 – 11:30 – Cinema B
6/7 – 16:00 – Congress Hall


The Line
This Slovak / Ukrainian gangster film sees Adam Krajňák (Tomáš Maštalír), both family man and smuggler, get into some serious strife after a transport failure on an important job. Director Peter Bebjak manages to achieve a crime thriller that breaks all of the cliches here. Do not expect your standard shoot-em-up gangster film. The Line is a part of the festival’s Official Selection Competition.
3/7 – 20:00 – Grand Hall
4/7 – 13:00 – Pupp Cinema
6/7 – 11:30 – Drahomira Cinema

Terminator 2: Judgement Day 3D
Relive the classic action sci-fi film that put James Cameron well and truly on the map of great Hollywood auteurs. Terminator 2: Judgement Day has now been digitally remastered and is screening in 3D. Do not miss this unique opportunity to see it on the big screen at KVIFF’s midnight screenings.
2/7 – 23:59 – Small Hall
5/7 – 23:59 – Small Hall
8/7 – 23:59 – Small Hall


Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
The classic candy coloured Spanish film about sex, drugs, and gazpacho is showing in the festival’s ’30 Years of European Film’ section and promises to reach quite a crowd. The cult film is probably one of director Pedro Almodovar’s most famous works, and is packed to the brim with camp giggles from lead actress Carmen Maura.
3/7 – 10:00 – Narodni dum Cinema
7/7 – 16:00 – Narodni dum Cinema


Wind River
An exciting new detective thriller set in the snowy mountains of Wyoming written by Taylor Sheridan (Sicario). Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) stars as game tracker Cory Lambert and teams up with rookie FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) to solve a mysterious murder. Wind River is highly recommended and will also close the festival with a special appearance from Jeremy Renner.
7/7 – 15:00 – Grand Hall
8/7 – 19:00  – Narodni dum Cinema

For more information, check out the website.

Photos: KVIFF 

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