Michael Caine’s emotion upon receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival

With the massive public waiting in light rain for the arrival of their artists, all references to the pandemic seem to have disappeared from the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, in the Czech Republic, which celebrated the inauguration of its 55th edition on Friday afternoon. Michael Caine, 88, was the great protagonist of the first day, receiving an award for his career.

It was not possible to see a mask, distancing measures or any sign that indicates the permanence of the virus, unlike other similar encounters that have taken place so far around the world. And it is that the festival implemented a rigid protocol for everyone who arrived at the iconic city of the hot springs, for which all spectators or guests had to complete their swab upon arrival in the city. The negative result, the vaccination card or a negative PCR allow to obtain a bracelet that enables to participate in the activities and the entrance to the rooms, which also observe the use of the chinstrap.

With this protocol, the Karlovy Vary festival dressed up once again to honor Caine on its opening night, who received the Crystal Globe for Lifetime Achievement from the Festival president Jiří Bartoška. The also famous Czech actor arrived on the red carpet accompanied by the music of The Pink Panther by Henri Mancini, and aroused the first ovation from the public, the same that Marek Eben received, the traditional conductor of the ceremony. Also on the carpet were local credits such as Karlovy Vary-born top model Hana Soukupová in a luxurious Victoria Beckham dress; and the director David Ondříček together with the actors Martha Issová, Václav Neužil, James Frecheville, Robert Mikluš from the cast of Zátopek, the opening film of this edition and a biopic about Emil Zátopek, the four-time Olympic champion Czech runner.

Karlovy Vary International Film FestivalGabriel Kuchta – Getty Images Europe

Not without effort, and with a cane, Caine got out of the car to greet the public and slowly enter the Thermal Hotel, where the opening ceremony took place. “It’s surprising, because it’s receiving an award for a lifetime,” the 88-year-old British actor told Czech television, moments before receiving the Crystal Globe. In the event broadcast on local television, the traditional compilation video exhibited the great works of Sir Michael Caine, from Alfie, The Battle of Britain, The Man Who Would Be King The Hannah and her sisters, for which he won his first Oscar, until batman the big trick The Tenet, confirming its validity of more than half a century in the world of cinema.

Michael Caine at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
Michael Caine at the Karlovy Vary International Film FestivalMICHAL CIZEK – AFP

Caine expanded on stage the feelings previously expressed to the press when he received the award from Bartoška: “It’s the most difficult award I’ve ever known,” the actor joked to add: “I was very lucky and I was always very happy to do what I do. What you have done for me is amazing, because you have given me an award for what I have loved all my life”, said the actor who returns to the Czech Republic after having filmed Jan Zizka, which will hit theaters in 2022.

For his part, the president of the Festival in his welcome said: “Moscow did not stop us, the Golden Golem did not stop us, the Covid will not stop us.” The reference to the Golden Golem indicates a division of the festival that existed in the mid-nineties, when it was intended to transfer the meeting to the city of Prague, that of Moscow to direct Soviet domination until 1989, and that of the Covid to which so many Czechs like the world wants to leave behind.

In continuous and open air, the representation of Jesus Christ Superstar with the Karlovy Vary Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Ota Balage. The festival will culminate next Saturday with the awards ceremony for the Official Competition and the Oscar winner’s career for Kolja, Jan Svěrák, and two Hollywood stars with different paths: Ethan Hawke and Johnny Depp, whose presence on European soil arouses different protests from feminist organizations given the accusations of gender violence against the actor.