But there were many other films I didn’t get to write about that deserve mention: Marie Kreutzer’s Vicky Krieps-starring, Empress Elisabeth of Austria-inspired biopic “Corsage,” Park Chan-wook’s narratively and emotionally packed melodramatic noir “Decision to Leave,” and Sophie Linnenbaum’s bonkers, meta anti-fascist musical “The Ordinaries.”
During the closing night ceremony—whereby a screening of George Miller’s “Three Thousand Years of Longing” played—several deserving pictures were honored: Sadaf Foroughi’s Iran-set feature “Summer With Hope” won the Grand Prix award in the main Crystal Globe Competition; Spanish director Jonás Trueba’s “You Have To Come And See It” took home the Special Jury Prize; Czech director Beata Parkanová claimed Best Director, and Martin Finger received Best Actor for “Word.” Taki Mumladze and Mariam Khundadze shared Best Actress for their performances in Georgian director Ioseb “Soso” Bliadze’s “A Room Of My Own.”
In the new Proxima competition, Czech directorial duo Adéla Komrzy and Tomáš Bojar won the top $15,000 Grand Prix. Spanish actor and director Eduardo Casanova won the $10,000 Special Jury Prize for “La Pietà.” Croatian directors David Kapac and Andrija Mardesic’s “The Uncle” gained a Special Jury Mention. Czech director Štěpán FOK Vodrážka’s “PSH Neverending Story” won the Audience Award.
Academy Award-winning actor Benicio del Toro received the Festival President’s Award (he thanked the festival for their support of Ukraine during his acceptance speech) while Geoffrey Rush took home the Crystal Globe For Outstanding Artistic Contribution To World Cinema. Veteran Czech actor Boleslav Polivka accepted the Festival President’s Award For Contribution To Czech Cinematography (cinematography used here as a synonym for cinema rather than the title).
Most of all from Karlovy Vary, I will carry memories of the people with me: Those young, hungry film students who camped out in the forest and woke up early in the morning to devour the platter of international cinema as their breakfast. The rabble of festival goers who walked the winding cobblestone roads through the intimate, colorful canyon of resplendent Renaissance shops. I will remember the kinetic couple on the afterparty dance floor who flung themselves with wild abandon, footloose, to Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” to the point of using a chair as a prop and dropping down to their knees in rapturous glee. I will hold the smell of the fireworks, the sounds of late-night ’80s playlists echoing through the streets, the glistening channel of water coursing through the town, the taste of vanilla-black currant ice cream, and the healing sulfur water spouting from a bronze serpent’s mouth, in my sensory lockbox.