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Karlovy Vary 2012, echoes and encores, with a Certain Geriatric Regard!
Besides the customary unveiling of new and upcoming talent from far and wide which is the hallmark of this festival, Karlovy 2012 provided such an extensive look at film history that these selections alone could have constituted an entire festival on their own. Among digitally restored new prints of landmark old films were Fellini's "La Strada, 1954, which among other things made burly actor Anthony Quinn into an arthouse icon, and Miloš Forman's "Fireman's Ball" (1967) the last film he made in Czechoslovakia before giving Communism the final finger. Hard to believe that this forward looking Czech director who later made prize winning crowd pleasers in Hollywood such as "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975) and "Amadeus"(1984) is now eighty and still going strong. His next project concerning a new view of the Munich pact that sold Czechoslovakia down the river to Hitler in WWI is now in the works.
The first unveiling of a digitalic-restoration of David Lean's1962 masterpiece "Lawrence of Arabia" was also screened here as was the very rarely revived "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp" made at the height of the war in 1943 by the dauntless duo Pressburger and Powel. Blimp was a epic making sendup of the the stuffy British military class based on a lovingly satirical comic strip which so enraged British prime Minister Winston Churchil that he tried to have it banned. One of those films that is as timeless as Gone With the Wind. In terms of film history what is arguably the film even of the year is the fifteen hour love letter to the seventh art put together with encycopedic dedication by Englishman Mark Cousins. Hitting all the high spots and many of the hidden gems as well this amazing documentary was shown here in three easily digestible five hour istallments --with never a dull moment in any of them -- according to those who took time out to take in this special treat.
Now if we' are really talking about the advancing years, Manoel Oliveira of Portugal, 101 (!) is the oldest, still active (sic) film director in the world and a poster prominently displayed all over the festival premises with the large letters "101" announced a new interview on film with the centenarian helmer from the edge of the continent. Made by Spanish producer and longtime admirer Luis Minarro who worked with Oliveira on his last two films and spoke with viewers here about his experience with the incerdibly forward looking Mr.Century. Young fellow countryman Rodrigo Areias, 31, whose slow-paced meditative zen western "Estrada de Palha" was shown in competition, was proud to report that when he showed his new film to Oliveira the elder statesman not only sat through it attentively but gave it his glowing praise.
Manoel de Oliveira
As for older artists still working, and how --we have French director Alain Resnais who will turn ninety in June, and French actor Jean-Louis Trintigmant (81) in this lineup. Resnais whose dazzling "Last year at Marienbad" changed time scrambling in film forever, checked in with "Vous n'avez encore rien vu" ('You ain't seen nothing yet') wherein a renowned dramatist arranges to have friends who appeared in his play Euridice come together at his funeral where the play is put on. Full of references to earlier works this could be the famed directors swan song -- or could it?
Finally if the subject is elderly artist still active a word about Woody allen is certainly in order.
The Bulletin Board
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