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Karlovy Vary to Honor Russell Crowe

The 57th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (KVIFF), which takes place from June 30 through July 8, is already shaping up to be a strong edition. While the full slate of films hasn’t been announced, that doesn’t mean there isn’t already major news in the form of prestigious awards, a rich cinematic celebration, and a gleaming series of retrospectives.   

The hits begin with this year’s recipient of the coveted Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema: Oscar winner Russell Crowe. The "Gladiator" star joins a long list of past Crystal Globe winners, which include Michael Caine, Julianne Moore, Willem Dafoe, Jude Law, Robert DeNiro, and more. For Crowe, this honor is another achievement in a stellar career filled with tremendous accomplishments. 

The New Zealand-born actor began as a film and television performer in Australia at the age of 6, honing his craft until transitioning to movies in his 20s with films such as “The Crossing” and “Romper Stomper.” In 1995, he made his American film debut in Sam Raimi’s “The Quick and the Dead.” While Crowe later garnered an Oscar nomination for his performance in “The Inside,” he would truly launch himself into movie stardom as general-turned-swordsman Maximus Decimus Meridius in Ridley Scott’s historical epic “Gladiator.” The role would net the rugged actor with a cerebral pulse the Academy Award for Best Actor, setting off an incredible run that would include another Oscar nomination, this time for “A Beautiful Mind,” and further starring in “Cinderella Man,” “3:10 to Yuma,” “American Gangster,” and “State of Play.” He has recently succeeded in sharp character-driven roles that test his range, from “True History of the Kelly Gang” to “The Pope’s Exorcist.” 

To celebrate his Crystal Globe win, Crowe will perform with his band Indoor Garden Party at Karlovy Vary’s opening night concert. The festival will also present a special screening of Peter Weir’s historical seafaring epic “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.”

At the festival, one of the most celebrated Czech actors of the past decades, Daniela Kolářová, will also receive the KVIFF President’s Award

Other items of interest for this year’s festival include a celebration of contemporary Iranian cinema (showings of Nader Saeivar’s “No End,” Faeze Azizkhani’s “The Locust,” Danesh Eqbashav’s “Zapata,” Negin Ahmad’s “Dream’s Gate,” and more) and a retrospective of celebrated Japanese filmmaker Yasuzo Masumura, which will include films like “The Blue Sky Maiden,” “A Wife’s Confession,” “All Mixed Up,” “Blind Beast,” etc. 

KVIFF will also return with its traditional festival trailer that entails a short bit filmed with a past Crystal Globe recipient. This year, they have chosen controversial actor Johnny Depp, who will be directed by Ivan Zachariáš.

Robert Daniels

Robert Daniels is an Associate Editor at RogerEbert.com. Based in Chicago, he is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA) and Critics Choice Association (CCA) and regularly contributes to the New York TimesIndieWire, and Screen Daily. He has covered film festivals ranging from Cannes to Sundance to Toronto. He has also written for the Criterion Collection, the Los Angeles Times, and Rolling Stone about Black American pop culture and issues of representation.

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