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47th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Day 5: 'Army of Shadows,' 'Holy Motors' & 'Trains of Thought'

Festivals
by Meredith Brody
July 11, 2012 1:48 PM
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Jean-Pierre Melville's "Army of Shadows"
Rialto Pictures Jean-Pierre Melville's "Army of Shadows"

It’s taken several days for the mystery of ticketing for press members to be revealed to me. It took two requests at an information counter to turn up a schedule of press screenings, and two visits to the special ticketing booths inside the accreditation room to learn I can request up to four tickets a day, and that tickets are available for both that day and the next.

It’ll be a relief not to spend hours in the rush lines, though they’ve been the source of interesting conversation, and so far I’ve always gotten into whatever screening I was rushing, which is the whole point, anyway.  However, as is often said about the Karlovy Vary festival, it has a very young audience, especially among the all-you-can-eat Fest pass holders, and I sometimes feel like the oldest person at a rock concert, standing among them. (Of course nowadays the oldest people at a rock concert are often onstage.)

First screening, 9:00 a.m., “Alp”, aka “Alpis,” by the Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos. It’s his fourth feature film, none of which I have seen. “Dogtooth,” two years ago, which won the Un Certain Regard award at Cannes and was subsequently nominated for an Oscar, was his breakout film. I have seen last year’s “Attenberg,” which he produced and acted in, which I found fitfully charming.

I don’t connect with “Alpis,” which is described as a black comedy, although I would term it a grey one, both aesthetically – it seems to have been shot with absolutely no thought for lighting – and because of its somewhat lackluster humor.  The main character is a quirky nurse, and I find myself thinking longingly of “Nurse Jackie,” starring the indomitable Edie Falco, which has more wit and pathos in half-an-hour (more like 21 minutes on Showtime, preparing for the syndication run) than “Alps” does in an hour-and-a-half (which feels longer).  I am surprised, later, when I find it cited by my friend Gabe Klinger in the Reviewers Recommend column in “Screen Daily” as one of his four films to watch (alongside “Margaret” by Kenneth Lonergan, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” by Alain Resnais – which Gabe hasn’t seen but is looking forward to – and a program of rare Antonioni shorts.  That’s what makes horse races!)

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