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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Amerika
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Amerika
Amerika
Amerika
Amerika

Amerika

director: Jan Foukal
original title: Amerika
country: Czech Republic
year: 2015
running time: 70 min.

synopsis

A sophisticated portrait of the Czech custom of “tramping” as seen through a personal lens, the film reconstructs and deconstructs the myth of the Czech dream of freedom. The metaphor of “America” serves as a space for personal projection for the main heroes, as well as a symbol of a lost paradise, whose lack of a time and space anchor gives a skewed impression of an indefinite feeling of absence. Lazily moving between a road movie, a pure romance movie, and an observational musical, questions begin to form: Is it a game? Is this serious? The unclear answer perfectly fits with the utopian world of tramping, where words like “fiction” and “reality” really have no place.

DETAIL:
“Yeah, like, but you have some idea of what America’s like, we don’t....” “But you have country there!” “Yeah, we have country....but your country is different than our country. It’s more romantic, I’m telling you...”

biography

Jan Foukal graduated from the Department of Documentary Films at FAMU and has made a number of short documentaries. His film The Last Lecture of Egon Bondy (2009) and The Making Of (2011) have both been screened at the Jihlava IDFF. In addition to directing, he also acts in films and in the theatre, and under the name Johannes Benz, he released his debut album One Way Road in 2014. His film Amerika is his feature-length debut.

more about film

director: Jan Foukal
cast: Jan Foukal, Barbara Adler
producer: Ondřej Zima
script: Jan Foukal
photography: Jan Baset Střítežský
editing: Josef Krajbich
music: Johannes Benz and Ten Thousand Wolves
sound: Michal Pajdiak

other films in the section

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Czech Journal: Don’t Take My Life

Andrea Culková
Czech Republic / 2016 / 63 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Batalives
Tomáš Baťa created unique factory production in the middle of a town that he had built for his employees complete with civic infrastructure. In line with this philosophy, the Baťa brothers set up dozens satellite town reminiscent of Zlín all over the world. Some of them still serve their original purpose, others stand as mere reminders of the famous factories. Poetic episodes take place in standard terrace houses that provide a video clip backdrop for young Croatians or symbolize the life devoted to Baťa in Batadorp, Netherlands. Five protagonists from different continents tell their overlapping stories influenced by the Baťa system. ‘Baťa’s motivational motto “Today a Dream, Tomorrow Reality”, painted in large letters on the wall that divided the factory from the town, has always seemed incredibly sad to me. It would be much better to live according to a motto “Today Reality, But Tomorrow a Dream”.’ K. Zalabáková

Batalives

Petr Babinec, Karolina Zalabáková
Czech Republic / 2017 / 75 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
To rule, to work, to earn, to pray, to collapse
This commentary on the collapse of civilization in four acts contains trace elements of Islamophobia, atheism, tabloid media, Mark Zuckerberg, mouldy bread, demonstrators, migrant labourers, Egyptologists and scepticism. An extensive exploration of the transcendental questions of a metastasising civilization, presented through microscopic examples from Czech society. The society of excess and collapse, illustrated through the simplicity of children’s games on a playground.Seen from a voyeur’s vantage point on a balcony, children’s games reveal complicated issues of civilization’s entropy – naive creatures as metaphors for complex and complicated social mechanisms of power, control and subjugation.

To rule, to work, to earn, to pray, to collapse

Andran Abramjan
Czech Republic / 2013 / 40 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
The Way the President Departs
The compilation documentary The Way the President Departstakes us back to the events surrounding the presidential elections in Czechoslovakia in 1992 that led to the dissolution of the federal republic. The film, which uses clips from Czechoslovak Television and Original Videojournal, focuses on the first elections, in which the sole candidate was Václav Havel. It is Havel himself who is the focus of the film. We see primarily his immediate reactions to the changing situation around the elections, whether those intended for the public or expressed within his circle of advisors. In addition to observations of an important Czech politician, the film evokes public life in the 1990s.“I am sure that for today’s audiences, this behind-the-scenes look at politics will be interesting and stimulating, and they will be surprised at how dramatically the political scene has changed.”

The Way the President Departs

Pavel Kačírek
Czech Republic / 2016 / 51 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Jaroslav Kučera A Journal
Jaroslav Kučera was the husband of director Věra Chytilová and one of the most original cameramen of the Czechoslovak New Wave. Footage that he captured in his free time for private purposes served a few decades later as the basis for the creation of a fragile, intimate portrait which dispenses with words. In it, the master of the image freely sketches the innermost space of his family. Thanks to the director’s sensitive selection, we observe scenes of spontaneous posing before the lens and moments of repose, compellingly woven together with a soundtrack by producer Aid Kid. “The most important information about Czech literature of the recent decades can be found in literary journals by Jan Zábrana, Ivan Diviš, and Pavel Juráček. With that in mind, we approached the processing of cameraman Jaroslav Kučera’s film diary.” J. Felcman  
personal program

Jaroslav Kučera A Journal

Jakub Felcman
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section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Traces, Fragments, Roots
A museum of rotting apples, a Christmas tree shedding its needles, a splintered tree trunk, maggots crawling over a honeycomb… The sound of a falling apple hitting the ground, speech classes, Christian sermons, the baaing of sheep… Images and sound continuously come into contact with each other in the twenty-minute film Prints, Shards, Roots, presenting creative encounters between the human world and nature. The film could be termed an experiment, but it is more of an evocative lyrical series of images and sounds, which gain power through the effective shots taken with a 16mm camera. The beauty of the decaying natural items that is consistently called is set against a backdrop of human artefacts, which is slightly indifferent but no less mysterious.“‘I really don’t know what’s wrong with it, no matter how much water I add, it’s still too runny.’ I once ran into this sentence somewhere – it’s about mixing mortar – and I like it more and more.”

Traces, Fragments, Roots

Květa Přibylová
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section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Show!
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Show!

Bohdan Bláhovec
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section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
The Sound is Innocent
In this documentary essay, the director personally presents the history of electronic and experimental music from the pre-war years to the present day. The film takes place in an almost dream-like space-time that serves both as a recording studio and as a museum of technological artifacts, which allow the filmmaker to take playful grasp of the concept of talking heads. The sonically and visually layered excursion to the beginnings of the efforts to liberate and conceptualize sound is also a debate about the forms, possibilities, and perspectives of the acoustic relations to the world, in which the voices of the past constantly overlap with the sounds of the future. „Music documentaries usually tend to build a monument to a composer, band or subculture… My aim was to treat this topic in an essay-like style, using all available means that film as an audiovisual medium offers.” J. Ožvold
personal program

The Sound is Innocent

Johana Ožvold
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section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
Two Roads
The Jedlička Institute music class currently known as The Tap Tap band was founded 21 years ago by Šimon Ornest to give people with handicaps an opportunity to succeed outside of their daily institutional care. An observing and attentive camera captured the evolution of the personalities of several of the musicians over the course of several years. The attractive energy of the film which is exceptional in its approach to its theme as it avoids the usual compassionate sentiment stems from the relationships among the musicians and between them and their band leader, the motor of the action, whose work improves the public image of people with handicaps in an unorthodox way. “Even if it was hard for me at first, I was trying to make a film in a similar way that the band members are putting up with their destinies: with no sentiment, pointless pity or political correctness involved, yet with a touch of pitch black humour.” R. Síbrt
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Two Roads

Radovan Síbrt
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section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Incoming
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Incoming

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Milda

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Normal Autistic Film

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