Originally shared between Karlovy Vary and Moscow, the festival fell entirely to the care of the Czech Republic after the fall of communism in 1989. Since then, the small town has blossomed into a lovely resort/spa town of sorts. Of course, that's not the reason to go, at least not for July 1-9. With a truly impressive array of films, both in an out of competition (ie: most Cannes titles), KVIFF should prove to be a memorable experience, seeing as this is my first time at a legitimate film festival. Having finished my first day (and only being able to make one screenings; boo), I can only wish that I was staying longer, because I'm starting to develop kid-in-a-candy-shop syndrome.
Anyway, the point (thought I'd never get there, didn't you?) is that I'll be able to give reviews of something other than what's out in theaters or available on Netflix, which makes for a nice change of pace. I plan to wrap up each day with simple impressions, on which I will fully expand in the first few days of next week. So, without further delay, here's a quick glimpse at my one screening, which turned out to be a lovely surprise.
First Impressions: Day 1Tyrannosaur dir. Paddy Considine: A sturdy kitchen sink style drama that is at times slightly amateurish and blunt, but none the less effective. Considine navigates the limited story (which is more a series of encounters) with a deft hand, despite the heavy subject matter on display (spousal abuse; fun!). What could have been slow, turgid misery porn is actually a nicely effective character piece. The main problem is that one of the film's main characters, played by Peter Mullan, is handled with an odd mix of distance. We see his rage, but even when we understand it, the effect is somehow muted. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the film's leading lady, Olivia Colman, who completely owns the role of a timid store owner stuck in an abusive marriage. We see both her timid desperation (enhanced by Colman's small, pixie-ish face), and those tiny flares of a desire for independence. It's marvelous work, the best I've seen this year since Juliette Binoche in Certified Copy (and that's saying a lot).
Grade: The movie: B/Olivia Colman: A
Tomorrow's schedule (fingers crossed): The Skin I Live In, Hanezu, and Once Upon a Time in Anatolia