Pandemic Bodies

Das 55. Internationale Filmfestival Karlovy Vary, 20-28. August 2021




Stefan Arsenijević, Michael Caine, Věra Čáslavská, Ethan Hawke, Levan Koguashvili, Adéla Komrzý, Sergej Loznica, Jiří Menzel, Karel Poláček, Jan Šikl, Emil Zátopek, Czech Republic, film festival, Sokol, Karlovy Vary, Sakha, trailer, sports, mask, family, biopic, FEDEORA, COVID-19


This report from the 55th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (August 2021) concerns outstanding productions from Central and Eastern Europe that were shown in Karlovy Vary as well as the era of COVID-19 in the Czech Republic as manifested in the A festival's handling of the pandemic and the dramaturgy of the programme. Critically examined is the question of how film art, the media and society have responded to the high mortality rate in this Central European country. Special focus is therefore placed on the analysis of Czech film productions, which were particularly numerous in Karlovy Vary in 2021 after the festival's hiatus in 2020, directed by Václav Kadrnka, Adéla Komrzý, Olmo Omerzu, David Ondříček, and Jan Šikl. One chapter is devoted to the political, social and cultural significance of sport in the country's history in connection with the biopic Zátopek. Furthermore, two daring documentary film projects using historical sources (Sergei Loznitsa and Jan Šikl) are presented. Two Georgian films shown at the festival are analysed, as well as works from North Macedonia (Dina Duma) and Romania (Radu Jude). Although the films covered in this article do not deal with the pandemic, they all focus on family and death as their master themes: the films by Kadrnka, Jaroszuk, Koguashvili, Komrzý, Munkuev deal with death in the family, while those by Bliadze, Jaroszuk, Omerzu demonstrate the consequences of the death of the family. The films to which this Review Article is devoted have a commonality in their emphasis on the body – its strength as well as its mortality. Therefore, the body in extreme situations should be considered the pandemic theme of this festival edition of 2021 in a world still in the grips of COVID-19.



How to Cite

Drubek, Natascha. 2021. “Pandemic Bodies: Das 55. Internationale Filmfestival Karlovy Vary, 20-28. August 2021”. Apparatus. Film, Media and Digital Cultures of Central and Eastern Europe, no. 12 (November).

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