Romanian Film ‘Barbarians’ Wins Top Prize at Karlovy Vary

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Radu Jude’s warning of the threat of fascism took the Czech festival’s Grand Prix.

“I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians,” Romanian director Radu Jude’s powerful story of a 1941 atrocity carried about by the country’s military, on Saturday won the grand prix at the conclusion of the 53rd edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

A prescient warning of the dangers of fascism in Europe — a continent where anti-immigrant extremist populist governments in Hungary, Poland and Italy are already causing controversy — the film also won the non-statutory Europa Cinemas Label Award for best European film.

The festival’s Crystal Globe for the pic came with a $25,000 prize purse.

The main competition jury also awarded a $15,000 special prize to Ana Katz’s Argentine/Brazil/France co-production Sueno Florianopolis, a tale about a dysfunctional family’s summer beach holiday. The film’s Mercedes Moran picked up best actress honors.

Olmo Omerzu was tapped as best director for the Czech co-production Winter Flies.

Moshe Folkenflik won best actor honors for his role in the Israeli film Redemption.

Russian director Ivan Tverdovskiy’s Jumpman and Slovenian helmer Sonja Prosenc’s History of Love received special jury mentions.

In the festival’s Eastern Europe-focused East of the West competition, the $15,000 grand prix went to Suleiman Mountain, Kyrgyz filmmaker Elizaveta Stishova’s vivid portrayal of a fractured family trying to learn to live together. A special jury prize of $10,000 also was awarded to Hungarian director Laszlo Csuja’s coming-of-age road story, Blossom Valley.

Best documentary honors were given to Putin’s Witnesses, Russian director Vitaly Mansky’s chilling story of how Vladimir Putin secured power in Russia, while Daniel Zimmermann’s Swiss-Austrian co-production Walden about an Austrian forest picked up a special jury prize.

The festival’s popular Pravo Audience Award, voted on by members of the viewing public, went to a special screening of Barry Levinson’s 1988 Oscar-winning movie Rain Man starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman.

During the event’s conclusion on Saturday night, British actor Robert Pattinson was honored with the prestigious Festival President’s Award, which was presented by Karlovy Vary topper and Czech actor Jiri Bartoska.

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