KARLOVY VARY 2023 Awards Stephan Komandarev's Blaga's Lessons wins the Crystal Globe at Karlovy Vary
by Martin Kudláè, Cineuropa July 10, 2023
Among the winners of the festival's 57th edition are also Behrooz Karamizade's German-Iranian co-production Empty Nets and Ernst De Geer's Nordic title The Hypnosis
The 57th edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival has drawn to a close, culminating in an awards ceremony that underscored the festival's reputation for championing modern and socially-engaged cinema. Topping the honours was Bulgarian director Stephan Komandarev's social thriller Blaga's Lessons. The film, which centres on a retired literature teacher who refuses to become a victim of systemic corruption after falling prey to scammers, sparked considerable conversation. Anchored by an outstanding performance from Eli Skorcheva, who won the Best Actress Award, the film also claimed the Grand Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, underlining its broader appeal.
Another standout was Ernst De Geer's The Hypnosis, a sharp satire on societal norms.Herbert Nordrum won Best Actor for his role, and the film itself secured both the Europa Cinemas Label Award and the FIPRESCI award for the best film in the Crystal Globe Competition. Within this same section, the Special Jury Prize was awarded to Behrooz Karamizade's Empty Nets, while Babak Jalali was recognised as Best Director for his American feature Fremont.
In the Proxima competition, a platform for emerging talent and discoveries, the main prize — the Proxima Grand Prix — went to South Korean director Yoo Ji-young's intense drama Birth, an exploration of relationships, social and gender norms, and life's dilemmas.Saurav Rai's Darjeeling-set coming-of-age story, Guras, clinched the Proxima Special Jury Prize. Meanwhile, the FIPRESCI award for the best film in the Proxima category was awarded to Imago, a riveting punk drama by Polish director Olga Chajdas.
Special Jury Mentions were given to Cyril Aris's meta-cinematic post-Beirut blast chronicleDancing on the Edge of a Volcano, and Albert Hospodáøský's slightly surreal coming-of-age road movie Brutal Heat. Vincent Perez's period drama Edge of the Blade charmed the festival attendees enough to earn the Právo Audience Award.
In total, the festival showcased 445 screenings of 185 films, including 116 fiction features, 28 documentary features, and 41 short films. This diverse array of films saw 36 world premieres, 11 international debuts, and five European premieres taking place in the picturesque Czech spa town.
Blaga's Lessons ; first trailer for Karlovy Vary premiere The 58th edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is slated for 28 June to 6 July, 2024.