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Football Fever Hits Czech Festival


“I’m sorry for you, and I’m sorry for me,” Viggo Mortensen quipped to an Italian journalist Sunday morning before a press conference at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival.

The comment was a reference to the European Football Championships, currently taking place over the Czech border in Germany, and dominating talk on the ground at the festival. 

Mortensen’s Denmark and Italy both crashed out of the tournament on Saturday after bruising 2-0 defeats. The Lord Of The Rings and Green Book actor had promptly exited a dinner hosted in his honor by the fest that evening to catch the game, which had been delayed due to bad weather in Germany. Mortensen had been in town to receive the festival’s Honorary President’s Award and present his latest feature The Dead Don’t Hurt.

On Sunday night a private dinner was held by the contingent of Georgian filmmakers at the festival for journalists and festival VIPs where the broadcast of Georgia’s knockout match against tournament favorites Spain was shown via a wall-mounted TV (See image below).

“Today is a nerve-wracking day,” Georgian filmmaker George Sikharulidze told journalists in the room. Sikharulidze’s debut feature Panoptikoni debuted at the festival just before the match kicked off.  “And tomorrow we have the reviews,” he joked. 

However, interest in the room quickly switched from football back to cinema after Spain ran away with the game, finishing up with a confident 4-1 win. 

Damon Wise/Deadline.

There were no notable public screenings of England’s dramatic knockout game on Sunday. The Three Lions had been playing local Czech rivals Slovakia and clinched a 2-1 win in extra time after a sloppy, unconvincing performance. Local fans no longer have any skin in the game after the Czech Republic failed to make it out of the tournament’s preliminary group stage. 

The European Championships end on July 14. Karlovy Vary runs until July 6.

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