Parisian love, design and characters. How is it that Amélie begins her triumphal journey in Vary

Some movies get under your skin. Like Amélie from Montmartre. You will always remember the first time you saw such a movie and what you experienced at the time. Everyone who was lucky enough to see him in Vary took part in an event that went down in the history of the Karlovy Vary festival. After twenty years, Amelia returns to the cinema. And that’s how it all started…

The different years of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival are distinguished by their jingles and visuals or by famous guests. 2002 was the year of Tros Sketos, 2007 I remember according to Renée Zellweger and 2010 was the year Jude Law shone in Vary. What I don’t usually remember are the films in the main competition section. Although this is a prestigious category, which is the showcase of the festival, it is not usually a film that would meet the public. But there is an exception – in the 36th year, when the embarrassing projector jingles were made, Ben Kingsley and Scarlet Johansson were among the guests, and the main competition was dominated by a film that became an instant hit. And everyone was talking about him – Amélie de Montmartre.

Cannes Rejection

A magical film recommended by all those who have seen it and those who have not seen it. Even more than twenty years after its international premiere at the Karlovy Vary festival, Amelia is remembered as a true phenomenon. The spectators and the people who prepare the festival have not forgotten it. His trip to Vary was not direct at all. It would have been different if it hadn’t been for Eva Zaoralová and the director who entered his film in the Karlovy Vary competition.

The film had its international premiere in Karlovy Vary, as it was released in French theaters in the spring, ahead of the Cannes Film Festival, which showed no interest in Jeunet’s film.

Amélie de Montmartre, directed by Jean Pierre Jeunet as the renowned creator of the iconic Delicatessen, the horrific-toned City of Lost Children or the Hollywood feature film Alien: Resurrection, is a distinctive tribute to Paris as a city of dreamers and love. The picturesque characters, the distinctive and magical visual style Audrey Tautou in the title role of a girl who leads a solitary life, continues to yearn for love and petty manipulations, and deliberately interferes in the lives of people who surround, have already captivated premiere audiences in French cinemas. Critics were equally enthusiastic. However, the Cannes Film Festival program department surprisingly rejected Jeunet’s playful romance.

“The film had its international premiere in Karlovy Vary, as it was released in French cinemas in the spring, even before the Cannes Film Festival, which was not interested in Jeunet’s film”, recalls Karel Och, the director artistry of the Karlovy Vary festival. . For him, the 36th year was the first time he worked at the festival. The fact that Amélie had already debuted in home theaters may have played a part in the rejection. Jeunet himself said Cannes Film Festival artistic director Gilles Jacob called the film “uninspiring”.

Have you seen the movie Amélie de Montmartre?

“Of course, this takes nothing away from the exceptional nature of entering the Karlovy Vary competition; other festivals were certainly also interested in Amelia,” recalls Karel Och. And that spectator stunt was ultimately won by Vary. “Without a doubt, the greatest credit goes to the artistic director at the time, Eva Zaoralová, and her outstanding good relations with France and the representatives of the local film community,” thinks Karel Och. Recently deceased Eva Zaoralová was close to French culture, studied French together with Italian, and also received the French Order of Arts and Letters.

“If everyone knew that the film was on the program thanks to her, she never, with her innate modesty, showed it”, recalls Karel Och. “She enjoyed the film immensely and was able to speak about it after years in as engaging and detail-oriented a way as if she had seen it the same day. This outstanding film and its connection to the festival is one of many phenomena that the doctor, as we have all called him for years, will always remind me of.”

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Karel Och worked as jury secretary in 2002, so he was able to follow the reactions of the competition section jury, led by Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Zanussi, which included Macedonian actress Labina Mitevská, known from the film Loners, and Jan Hřebejk .

A clear winner

“Zanussi then uttered a wise sentence. I think we can agree that we have a winner. Because if we don’t choose Amelia, the public will not understand what we have evaluated at all,” Jan Hřebejk recalls. It was a phenomenon. At that time, the competition section was not at all a category that we talked about. But everyone was talking about Amelia.” He also recalls the political dimension of the jury’s debates; fortunately, Amélie’s qualities as an artist and as a spectator were so important that the jurors easily agreed.

“I had a unique opportunity to hear the jury’s evaluation of the film. I saw the film itself after the festival, and to this day the film’s fragile charm, the fairy tale reminiscent of the atmosphere and, of course, the music of Yann Tiersen, clung to my memory”, describes Karel Och.

In addition to the visual stylization and the magical storyline, it was Tiersen’s music that came to the hearts and memories of the audience. It is said that Jeunet heard Tiersen’s record on the way in the car and was so delighted that he without hesitation bought several Tiersen albums, used some songs already completed in the film and then composed others directly for the film Tiersen. His music is an integral part of the cinematic experience. Just hear a few tones and the atmosphere of Parisian cafes and alleys is back.

“Amélie de Montmartre is a kind of phenomenon, a very exceptional and charismatic film. I remember the enthusiasm that even those who saw it in the Grand Hall of the Thermal Hotel on this incredibly large screen at the time”, recalls the current artistic director of the festival. Jeunet’s film that year in Karlovy Vary won the main prize of the Crystal Globe and thus began its successful campaign with worldwide exhibitions and competitions.

He has won four French Césars, two BAFTA awards and five Oscar nominations. It became one of the most successful French films in history. “To date, we are extremely proud of this success, Amélie’s victory is one of the memorable milestones in the modern history of the festival, to which we of course often like to return”, concludes Karel Och.

After twenty years, Amelia returns to the cinema. From April 14, we can see the story of a girl who has fun plunging her hand into the bottom of a bag of legumes or breaking a caramel crust with the end of a spoon on a large canvas.

Héroine is the media partner of the film Amélie de Montmartre.

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