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KVIFF 2018: Ewa Bukowska's '53 Wars' is Intimate & Intense Hysteria

53 Wars Review

War is good for absolutely nothing, right? But what if your significant other is a war correspondent, whose job it is to go to these dangerous places and report the truth? That's what this film is about - 53 Wars, the feature directorial debut of Polish actress Ewa Bukowska. Bukowska adapts an autobiographical novel by Grażyna Jagielska, telling the story of a Polish woman (played by Magdalena Popławska) whose husband is a war correspondent, spending most of each year away on assignment. The story focuses on Anka, who slowly becomes more and more hysterical and paranoid, experiencing the weight of war herself through her own anxiety and concern over the safety of her husband. This film is a remarkably intense, mature, complex portrait of a woman who goes through hell out of a love for her husband and loses her mind in the process.

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 Posted on July 3 in Karlovy Vary, Review | 1 Comment

KVIFF 2018: Ulrich Köhler's 'In My Room' is Brilliant Life Commentary

In My Room Review

There's nothing better than that feeling you get when you're watching a really great film, nay a phenomenal film, that is brilliant in so many ways. It's a deeply visceral feeling of joy and excitement and invigoration and enthusiasm. Ulrich Köhler's latest film In My Room premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard category, but I only recently caught up with it at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in Czechia. And it's brilliant. One of my favorite films of the year so far, for many different reasons. I'll try to get into a few of the reasons here, but it's hard to explain everything, because some of it is just an indescribable feeling – how it connects deep down within me, not only as stellar cinema but as commentary about relationships and humanity and life on this planet. And how intelligently it handles storytelling to inspire us with wisdom.

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 Posted on July 1 in Karlovy Vary, Review | 2 Comments

Feed Me Cinema - Back for More Karlovy Vary Film Festival Goodness

Karlovy Vary Film Festival

I'm back! Back in the Karlovy Vary groove..! Kicking off this weekend is the 53rd Karlovy Vary Film Festival, a wonderful festival that takes place in a lovely little spa town (also known as Carlsbad) in Czechia - just a few hours drive west of Prague. This is my second year back to the festival, as I stopped by last year for my very first time. And I am so happy to be back. I think I'm falling in love with this festival! The town, the people, it's wonderful. There's an undeniable cinephile vibe, campsites for those who can't afford hotels, the venues are vintage cinemas or old theater halls converted into temporary cinemas. Best of all, Karlovy Vary has a stellar line-up and that's why I'm here - to catch up with and see lots of films over the next week.

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 Posted on June 29 in Editorial, Karlovy Vary | 1 Comment

Recap of My Experience at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in Czechia

Karlovy Vary Film Festival

There are film festivals that take place in big cities, with screenings at huge performance venues, and lines that go down the block. Then there's festivals that take place in tiny towns, where dedicated cinephiles go to discover amazing films big and small. The Karlovy Vary Film Festival is one of these outstanding little festivals that takes place in a small spa town in the Czech Republic Czechia. This was my first year attending Karlovy Vary, which I had heard great things about from many colleagues for years, and it lives up to the hype. It's an excellent festival in a beautiful town nestled in the hills, and they show tons of stellar films. Coincidentally, I'd already seen many of their big centerpieces (A Ghost Story, Wind River, The Big Sick, Columbus) at other festivals but was still happy to stop by for a week of catching up with other great films.

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 Posted on July 12 in Indies, Karlovy Vary, Review | 5 Comments

KVIFF Review: 'The White World According to Daliborek' Doc is Daring

The White World According to Daliborek Review

Meet Dalibor. He's an industrial painter from the Czech Republic, still living with his mom even though he's almost 40 years old. Dalibor is a neo-Nazi, who doesn't believe that concentration camps were used to kill anyone. He spends his free time drinking with a friend, playing video games, and making weird YouTube videos with cheesy voice distortion and cheap video filters. The White World According to Daliborek is a documentary that follows Dalibor (he's called Daliborek in the English title) as he shows us around his world. While at first it seems like no one is challenging him, slowly but surely he is confronted by the truth. I've never come across anything like this documentary before, it's utterly fascinating and impressively calm.

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 Posted on July 7 in Documentaries, Karlovy Vary, Review | Comments Closed

KVIFF Review: 'Axolotl Overkill' is Youthful Berlin Craziness at its Best

Axolotl Overkill Review

What is like to grow up as a teen without any limits in modern Berlin? Axolotl Overkill shows us exactly what that life is like, and it's as wild and crazy and totally nonchalant as you might expect. Adapted from a book by Helene Hegemann, Axolotl Overkill follows 16-year-old Mifti around Berlin, as she goes to clubs and parties, drinking and smoking and doing drugs, sleeping wherever, and whenever, with whomever she wants. The film is written and directed by Helene Hegemann, adapting her own novel, and stars German native Jasna Fritzi Bauer as the carefree teen. As aimless as the film is, I couldn't help find it thoroughly engaging and impressively entertaining. Not all of it makes sense, but then again, neither does life anyway.

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 Posted on July 7 in Karlovy Vary, Review | 3 Comments

KVIFF Review: 'Freak Show' is an Optimistic Story About Being Yourself

Freak Show Review

There are plenty of great films in recent years about finding yourself and staying true to who you are deep down. Freak Show is another one of these films, but it has a refreshingly optimistic feel to it that makes it stand out. I'm not sure how this film got lost in the mix - it first premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, but hasn't played at any other festivals in America yet. I caught it at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival and it's an entertaining, enjoyable, optimistic story about personal identity and fighting back against bullies (not with violence, but with pride and courage). Alex Lawther stars a young, gay high school student named Billy Bloom who dresses up lavishly every day (think: Lady Gaga) yet the film isn't so much about homosexuality as it is about being totally yourself, and finding a way to survive even if you don't fit in with everyone else.

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 Posted on July 6 in Karlovy Vary, Review | 1 Comment

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