Czech Film Křižáček (Little Crusader) Wins Karlovy Vary’s Crystal Globe

Czech Film Křižáček (Little Crusader) Wins Karlovy Vary’s Crystal Globe

A surprise winner was announced as the recipient of this year’s Crystal Globe as the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival drew to a close yesterday afternoon.

Křižáček (Little Crusader), a Czech production starring Karel Roden as a father in search of his son during the midst of the Crusades in medieval Europe, took home top honors at a gala celebration in the spa town’s Hotel Thermal on Saturday.

Directed by Václav Kadrnka and based on the classic (if little-known) poem by Jaroslav Vrchlický, Křižáček beat out some tough competition at this year’s festival that included Khibula, the latest film from Georgian director George Ovashvili, who won the Crystal Globe for Corn Island in 2014.

Křižáček’s win marks the first time in 15 years that a local movie has been awarded the top prize at the Karlovy Vary festival, though there is often at least one in competition. 

The last Czech movie to win the Crystal Globe was Petr Zelenka’s Rok ďábla (Year of the Devil) in 2002, and the only other submission to win since the country split from Slovakia was Jan Svěrák’s Jízda (The Ride) in 1995.

In the festival’s 70+ year history, only three other local films won the top prize when the country was part of Czechoslovakia: František Vláčil’s Stíny horkého léta (Shadows of a Hot Summer) in 1978, Jiří Menzel’s Rozmarné léto (Capricious Summer) in 1968, and Obžalovaný (Accused) from directors Ján Kadár and Elmar Klos in 1964. 

The following year, Kadár and Klos would win Czechoslovakia’s first Academy Award for Foreign Film for The Shop on Main Street, which premiered in a newly restored version at this year’s Karlovy Vary festival. 

If, like me, you managed to miss Křižáček in Karlovy Vary, you still have a chance to catch it in Prague this week, where it will play at cinemas Aero and Světozor as part of the Echoes of Karlovy Vary Festival

Křižáček will see release throughout the Czech Republic on August 3. 

Besides the Czech winner, other films were awarded at Saturday’s closing ceremony in Karlovy Vary, where Hollywood star Jeremy Renner was also on hand to receive the Festival President’s Award. 

His film Wind River, directed by Taylor Sheridan, was the recipient of the Právo Audience Award, based on votes from all audience members collected at the end of each film.

In main competition, a Special Jury Prize was awarded to Men Don't Cry from director Alen Drljević. Slovak Director Peter Bebjak was awarded Best Director for his movie, The Line. Best Actress was awarded to both Jowita Budnik and Eliane Umuhire for Birds Are Singing in Kigali, while Alexander Yatsenko won Best Actor for the Russian drama Arrythmia.

The East of the West competition was won by the Russian road movie How Viktor "the Garlic" took Alexey "the Stud" to the Nursing Home from director Alexander Hant, while a Jury Prize was awarded to the Georgian film Dede from Mariam Khatchvani. 

In Documentary competition, top honors were won by the Spanish production Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle by Gustavo Salmerón, while Austria’s Atelier de conversation from director Bernhard Braunstein took home the Jury Prize.

The 2017 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival saw 13,734 accredited visitors and sold 140,067 tickets to 207 films - all numbers slightly up over 2016.

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