Karlovy Vary Film Festival 2022 Includes Jake Paltrow's June Zero

The summer festival season is off and running and this morning the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival announced their premiere selections for this July’s 2022 edition. Outside of it’s long running Crystal Globe competition, KVIFF revealed a new section, the Proxima Competition, for younger and first-time filmmakers. Eastern European films always dominate KVIFF, but, intriguingly, this year will feature Jake Paltrow’s latest endeavor, “June Zero.” His last narrative directorial effort was “Young Ones” in 2014.

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Karel Oct, artistic director of the festival, noted, “From the 1,500 films that have been submitted this year, we have chosen 33 brand new works of cinema that offer the accurate reflection of our taste – a taste derived from a belief in a meaningful edginess and the championing of new means of cinematic expression that nonetheless do not stand in opposition to the audience’s receptiveness and inclinations.”

The complete list of Crystal Globe competition, Proxima competition and special screenings selections are as follows:

Crystal Globe Competition

America / America / Amerika
Director: Ofir Raul Graizer
Israel, Germany, Czech Republic, 2022, 127 min, World premiere 

Eli works as a swimming coach in Chicago but news of his father’s death necessitates his return to his native Israel. His decision to contact a friend from his childhood sets in motion a series of events that have a lasting impact on everyone’s lives. An affectionate tribute to 60s and 70s cinema and an enchanting tale of love and friendship – that’s the essence of America.

Chemi otakhi / A Room Of My Own / Vlastní pokoj
Director: Ioseb “Soso” Bliadze
Georgia, Germany, 2022, 107 min, World premiere 

Tina, a young woman who has lost her way in life, rents a room from the vibrant Megi, thanks to whom she gradually starts to discover what it’s like to be free and to be able to make her own decisions without being reliant on men… Self-assured in its directorial style, this authentic film portrays millennials in contemporary Tbilisi and points to the influence of patriarchal thinking on Georgian society.

Edna provintsialna bolnitsa / A Provincial Hospital / Okresní nemocnice
Director: Ilian Metev, Ivan Chertov, Zlatina Teneva
Bulgaria, Germany, 2022, 105 min, World premiere 

A provincial hospital in Bulgaria, Covid ward. This observational documentary draws our attention to the country’s antiquated healthcare system and reminds us of our attitudes at the time when faced with an unknown threatA skilfully constructed survey of the bleak goings-on in an underfunded facility where, even when looking death in the face, people still manage to find their sense of humour.

Fucking Bornholm 
Director: Anna Kazejak
Poland, 2022, 96 min, International premiere 

Two families who have known each other for years spend the long May weekend camping together as usual on the idyllic Danish island of Bornholm. However, instead of the relaxation they had anticipated, the holiday turns into purgatory… An acerbic Polish comedy on the pitfalls of raising children, midlife crisis and partnership discord.

Hranice lásky / Borders of Love / Hranice lásky
Director: Tomasz Wiński
Czech Republic, Poland, 2022, 95 min, World premiere 

After years together, Petr and Hana share their unspoken erotic fantasies. What begins as an innocent conversation gradually turns into curious experimentation with a non-monogamous approach to their relationship. This debut by Tomasz Wiński boldly explores various forms of intimacy and the possibilities of its depiction on the big screen.

Isihia 6-9 / Silence 6-9 / Ticho 6-9
Director: Christos Passalis
Greece, 2022, 81 min, World premiere 

Aris and Anna meet one evening in a half-abandoned town surrounded by antennas. In this strange, dreamlike world the two solitary souls gradually start to develop feelings for one another… A melancholic love story with a mesmeric atmosphere and striking visuals that proves Greek cinema has lost nothing of its originality.

The Ordinaries / The Ordinaries / Druhořadí
Director: Sophie Linnenbaum
Germany, 2021, 120 min, International premiere 

Paula is a supporting role aspiring to become a main character. Yet, just before her final exams, her emotive music generator suddenly starts playing up, which presents a major problem for her. No starring role can survive without a heartrending accompaniment from the strings. The Ordinaries is a film about what it’s like to live in a film. An enchanting ode to cinema, a whirl of ideas, and playfulness in every take.

Slovo / The Word / Slovo
Director: Beata Parkanová
Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Poland, 2022, 104 min, World premiere 

Beata Parkanová, the filmmaker behind Moments, returns to Karlovy Vary with an exceptionally vivid portrait of the family of notary Václav Vojíř, a small-town moral authority, and his selfless wife Věra. This masterfully told and highly original intimate drama, whose protagonists undergo a difficult ordeal in the summer of 1968, is reinforced by finely wrought, exquisite performances from Martin Finger and Gabriela Mikulková.

Tabestan Ba Omid / Summer with Hope / Nadějné léto
Director: Sadaf Foroughi
Canada, 2022, 99 min, World premiere 

A young swimmer is training for the national championships with his new coach. But the alliance between the two young men elicits disapproval from the people around them. This social drama, set in northern Iran, is the second film by Sadaf Foroughi who, since her successful feature debut Ava, has continued to develop her distinctive visual narrative style.

Tenéis que venir a verla / You Have to Come and See It / Musíte se přijet podívat
Director: Jonás Trueba
Spain, 2022, 64 min, International premiere 

Two couples in their thirties, heated discussions on the essentials of life unfolding between Madrid and the neighbouring countryside. Directorial star of Spanish film Jonas Trueba (The August Virgin, KVIFF 2019) is a master of soulful cinematic miniatures which don’t require long hours to convey profound, existential feelings infused with enchanting melancholy and gentle humour.

Tooi tokoro / A Far Shore / Vzdáleni
Director: Masaaki Kudo
Japan, 2022, 128 min, World premiere 

An unadorned perspective on impoverished life in Okinawa. 17-year-old Aoi works as a nightclub hostess in order to earn rent money and to provide for her little boy and his lazy father, who has no qualms about hitting his wife. Yet how dark does reality have to get before it stifles the rays of hope that filter through?

Director: Kristina Buožytė, Bruno Samper
Lithuania, France, Belgium, 2022, 114 min, World premiere 

At some point in the future the Earth’s ecosystem collapses. A tough 13-year-old called Vesper, whose father is paralysed, tries to get food for them wherever she can. When she finds a mysterious woman in the forest one day she starts to hope that things will change… Thanks to a combination of a unique artistic concept, strong performances from the cast, and an imaginative score, this dystopian sci-fi offers viewers a comprehensive audiovisual experience.

Proxima Competition

A pak přišla láska… / And Then There Was Love… / A pak přišla láska…
Director: Šimon Holý
Czech Republic, 2022, 85 min, World premiere 

What do you do when love simply isn’t on the cards and keeps passing you by? 60-year-old Kristýna has lost her last ray of hope, so she goes off with her daughter Sára to talk to a fortune-teller about her sorry lot in life. One year on from Mirrors in the Dark, Šimon Holý brings us another wholly independent film about life’s traumas as seen from a female perspective, this time with a liberal dose of esoterica on top.

Los Agitadores / Horseplay / Přes čáru
Director: Marco Berger
Argentina, 2022, 102 min, World premiere 

It’s the Christmas holidays, and Andy leaves the city in order to spend some time at a luxury villa with his best friends. As they goof around, their initial consensual horseplay reveals that they each have different personal boundaries. Marco Berger’s new film takes a subversive look at masculinity in its dangerously toxic form.

Au grand jour / In Broad Daylight / Za bílého dne
Director: Emmanuel Tardif
Canada, 2022, 151 min, World premiere 

A wealthy family withdraws from society after something unforeseen happens. When one of its members leaves the house on the pretext of paying an innocent visit to someone outside, the family’s fragile equilibrium is disturbed. In Broad Daylight presents an inscrutable, tantalisingly elusive fictional world enhanced by a colourful array of absurd characters.

Balaye aseman zire ab / Like a Fish on the Moon / Žena, muž a dítě
Director: Dornaz Hajiha
Iran, 2022, 78 min, World premiere 

Haleh and her husband Amir are having to cope with a tough situation: their four-year-old son Ilya has suddenly stopped talking. There is evidently no physiological cause, so they go to see a psychotherapist who comes up with a radical solution. Ilya’s mother, who has cared for him until now, is to take a back seat while the father assumes her role looking after the child. This change in the established order sends the family into a downward spiral of tension and aggression, and it’s extremely difficult to see a way out.

Głupcy / Fools / Pošetilí
Director: Tomasz Wasilewski
Poland, Romania, Germany, 2022, 109 min, World premiere 

Marlena (62) and Tomasz (42) are living contentedly in a house on the coast, wrapped up in their own little world. But their cosy existence is turned upside down by Marlena’s decision to bring home her sick son… In his unsettling family drama Tomasz Wasilewski concentrates on compelling visual stylisation and a detached narrative form, while the carefully composed images well illustrate the protagonists’ inner struggle.

Još jedno proleće / Another Spring / Ještě jedno jaro
Director: Mladen Kovačević
Serbia, Qatar, 2022, 90 min, World premiere 

In 1972 Yugoslavia became the site of Europe’s last smallpox epidemic. This gripping archival documentary, aptly described by its creators as a medical thriller, reconstructs the dramatic events of those spring months, and viewers will find it difficult not to draw comparisons with the worldwide events of the past two years.

La pietà / Piety / Pieta
Director: Eduardo Casanova
Spain, Argentina, 2022, 80 min, World premiere 

Mateo lives with his mother Libertad in a rose-tinted world: a microcosm which has precisely two inhabitants, mother and son. One day Mateo is diagnosed with cancer… There are few films which defy all the rules in order to tell an utterly realistic story, and Piety is one of them. We find ourselves in a reality where the mother exercises the same kind of power as the dictator governing North Korea. Just as toxic, just as absolute, and just as deadly.

Director: Andrea Bagney
Spain, 2022, 80 min, World premiere 

When Ramona meets the charismatic Bruno on one of her strolls through the city, it never occurs to her that she might encounter him again the following day. Will an innocent flirtation get in the way of her career dreams and the perfectly good relationship she has with her boyfriend? A refreshing romantic comedy that sets the scene for the immortal feud between sense and sensibility.

Stric / The Uncle / Strýček
Director: David Kapac, Andrija Mardešić
Croatia, Serbia, 2022, 104 min, World premiere 

Yugoslavia, late 1980s. Parents and son are hastily making the final preparations for Christmas Eve dinner. Their beloved uncle will be turning up from Germany any minute now. But, hang on, are things really as they seem? An unnerving debut à la Haneke that cleverly balances on the edge of farce and oppressive thriller while ingeniously toying with narrative structure.

Director: Gregorio Graziosi
Brazil, 2022, 105 min, World premiere 

If film geometry were a field of study, then this supremely aesthetic “figure” from Brazil would deserve special attention. A sports drama and fanciful “body thriller” in one, the film tells the story of Marina, who competes in synchronised diving events. However, an attack of tinnitus – an unbearable ringing sound in the ears – drags her from the top of her game to the edge of madness.

Zkouška umění / ART talent show / Zkouška umění
Director: Tomáš Bojar, Adéla Komrzý
Czech Republic, 2022, 102 min, World premiere 

Artistic endeavour isn’t about competing; even so, applicants still have to be placed in order of merit at the academy’s entrance exams. But how do you assess artistic talent? And what role can art play in today’s world? A layered, observational documentary which presents a portrait of an institution and a light generational statement in one.

Zoo Lock Down / Zoo Lock Down / Lockdown v zoo
Director: Andreas Horvath
Austria, 2022, 67 min, World premiere 

The pandemic brought society to a standstill, but from an animal’s perspective the world didn’t change that much. Unless, of course, you live in a zoo. What was life like in the Salzburg zoo when no visitors were allowed? Microstories from the pavilions, enclosures, and terraria, told with Horvath’s typical sense of humor.

Special Screenings

Director: Adam Sedlák
Czech Republic, 2022, 105 min, World premiere 

“Dude, do you have any idea how hard it is to get yourself among the top players?” says Láďa to his best friend Alex, who is determined to record a hit with an established rapper. When it finally looks like he might get his chance, a small problem presents itself: it costs a ton of money and Alex just gave up dealing. And so begins an adrenaline ride filled with rap and drugs.

June Zero / June Zero / Nultého června
Director: Jake Paltrow
USA, Israel, 2022, 105 min, World premiere 

This thrilling yet, at its core, empathetic and humanist film looks at the infamous trial of Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the mass extermination of Jews during the Second World War. Depicting the events preceding Eichmann’s execution, it approaches the important and much publicized Nazi criminal through the eyes of three participants in these events.

The Killing of a Journalist / The Killing of a Journalist / Kuciak: Vražda novináře
Director: Matt Sarnecki
Denmark, USA, Czech Republic, 2022, 102 min, European premiere 

In February 2018 Slovakia was shaken by the cold-blooded murder of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée. This Danish documentary coproduction unravels the tentacles of the Slovak mafia and much else besides, and this from a valuable foreign perspective. The appalling story is reminiscent of the plot from a sophisticated thriller, although the sad fact remains that the reality itself was and still is just as barbaric.

Mein Vater, der Fürst / My Father, The Prince / Můj otec, kníže
Director: Lukas Sturm, Lila Schwarzenberg
Austria, Czech Republic, 2022, 79 min, World premiere 

An intimate portrait of the relationship between Karel Schwarzenberg, a key figure of the post-November 1989 era, and his daughter Lila Schwarzenberg. The fascinating discussions, filmed over a period of five years, also open up uncomfortable, controversial themes, such as the complex process of growing up in the shadow of a charismatic father, moreover, under the weight of aristocratic traditions and customs.  

PSH: Zpátky do dnů / PSH: Back to the Days / PSH: Zpátky do dnů
Director: Štěpán FOK Vodrážka
Czech Republic, 2022, 70 min, World premiere 

Orion, Vladimír 518 and Mike Trafik are Peneři strýčka Homeboye (Uncle Homeboy’s Hoboes). Three lads from Prague, legendary rappers on the cusp of middle age, friends. Graffiti, the first attempts at rap, parties, fame, booze and drugs. Sky-rocketing popularity (but well-earned), downfalls, crises and comebacks. A cleverly shot, incisive triple portrait that flouts all the taboos.

Director: Magdalena Lauritsch
Austria, 2022, 110 min, European premiere 

It’s the year 2096 and oxygen is running out on a devastated Earth. One possible solution is a project being developed on the space station Rubikon under the supervision of the idiosyncratic geneticist Dimitri. A work of pure science fiction, Rubikon is unusual within the context of European cinema. Despite its genre identification, it tries to answer questions related to the climate crisis and individual responsibility for the good of mankind.

Velká premiéra / Big Opening / Velká premiéra
Director: Miroslav Krobot
Czech Republic, 2022, 90 min, World premiere 

An actor called Šnajdr is given an opportunity to make his debut as a director. He doesn’t think twice about leaving Prague and dashing off to Olomouc, where he is met by the grumpy director of the town’s cultural centre and his eccentric grandma, who is to be the star of his production and who’s perfectly attuned to his sense of humour and mystification… A bittersweet comedy directed by Miroslav Krobot and starring Pavel Šimčík and Iva Janžurová.

You Won’t Be Alone / You Won’t Be Alone / Nikdy nebudeš sama
Director: Goran Stolevski
Australia, United Kingdom, Serbia, 2021, 109 min, European premiere 

A remote mountain village is under threat from a bloodthirsty witch named Marie, whose spirit is capable of entering the bodies of murder victims and slain animals. One day the witch leaves her mark on the newborn Nevena, and the girl’s fate is sealed forever… Stolevski delivers a highly original, atmospheric horror flick, working with Macedonian mythology as he deftly interweaves folkloric motifs with existential questions, while also examining the position of women.

L’ îlot / Like an Island / Ostrůvek
Director: Tizian Büchi
Switzerland, 2022, 107 min, International premiere 

A view of a microcosm reflecting the nuances of human coexistence in Europe, or a playful mystery full of amusing, open-ended plot lines? Perhaps it’s both. An observational documentary and also a magical realist visit to the Lausanne suburbs where, for some unknown reason, two watchmen are guarding a small river in a nearby park.