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25th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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A Tall Tale
A Tall Tale
A Tall Tale
A Tall Tale
A Tall Tale

A Tall Tale

director: Lucia Babjaková Nimcová
original title: Bajka
country: Slovakia
year: 2016
running time: 34 min.

synopsis

The magic of folksongs lies in their freedom from the restraints of artificial genres and thematic rules. The creative duo of Lucia Nimcová and Sholto Dobie approach their improvised observational documentary in much the same way. The sequence of images from contemporary western Ukraine brings narrative, sound, and musical elements and nearly photographic detailed static scenes of reality into creative counterpoint. Figures of various ages alternate before the camera; interior and exterior locations change; but the song goes on. A folk opera consisting of bawdy folk songs, storytelling ballads, and pre-modern hip-hop. Old world music.

A Tall Tale seeks to capture private and hidden realities excluded from the main historical narrative of the region. Hard mountain rap, vintage feminism and filthy Carpathian hip hop are still alive and relevant.” Lucia Nimcová

biography

Lucia Nimcová (1977) is a renowned Slovak photographer who divides her time between Brussels and Humenné. In her photography as well as her films, her tendency is to create methodical documentary-style works. She has returned a number of times to the topic of Ukraine (such as in her film Beyond the Wisla, 2011). Sholto Dobie (1991) is a Scottish composer, musician, and curator who focuses on performative forms. He currently lives in London.

more about film

director: Lucia Babjaková Nimcová
producer: Roman Babjak
script: Lucia Babjaková Nimcová
photography: Lucia Babjaková Nimcová
editing: Lucia Babjaková Nimcová
sound: Sholto Dobie

other films in the section

Tristia – A Black Sea Odyssey
A remarkable travelogue from a trip around the Black Sea: along its shores, lined by the boundaries of six states, and through bizarre seaside resorts. More than the tourist industry or political problems, the film focuses on solitary statues, decaying architectural monuments, and the personal stories of the local people. From each stop on their journey, the filmmakers send a series of stylized video postcards with the playfulness of staged scenes, set against the backdrop of the sea. In this cinematic answer to Ovid’s Black Sea lamentations, that ancient text receives new qualities that tell us about a place that is accursedly beautiful but also beautifully cursed.DETAIL:“When the Roman Emperor Trajan came here, his legionnaires quickly went about producing children with the beautiful Dacian women. Thus the Romanian people is a combination of whores and bandits.”

Tristia – A Black Sea Odyssey

Stanislaw Mucha
Germany / 2014 / 98 min.
section: Between the Seas
East European Premiere
Butterflies
Young Alexei is openly homosexual. Although his peers have no problem with his sexual orientation, his mother is unable to accept it. This documentary portrait follows Alexei during summer break, as he spends time with his new lover Grisha, whom he met at a Tarkovsky festival. The film takes an unusual observational approach in that the camera is often right up against people’s bodies and faces during impassioned discussions, arguments, or testimony. As a result, the spontaneous and eccentric manner in which Alexei breaks down gender stereotypes are brought to the fore. “Making a movie always goes hand in hand with fear and shame. This is because the film just now learned to dive into the man. Untill now it only described. During the work on the film Butterflies I always thought about it.” Dmitry Kubasov

Butterflies

Dmitry Kubasov
Russia / 2016 / 79 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
The Forest
At the center of this Romanian-Serbian co-production is the amazing story of an art historian in search of a painting that Romania’s prime minister gave to Josip Broz Tito in 1947. The painting of a forest with fallen leaves had been made by a renowned Romanian artist in the 19th century – and the forest is where Tito spent World War II as a partisan fighter. Romanian-Yugoslav relations under the Soviet bloc followed the same absurd path as the search for a reason for this gift. A playful cinematic study dedicated to a detail in the painting while exploring a great and serious historical subject.DETAIL:“Over night, the new friendship with comrade Tito fell. Following his disputes with Stalin, all the communist bloc was forced to proclaim Tito the worst enemy of communism. The newspapers were filled with caricatures...”

The Forest

Siniša Dragin
Romania, Serbia / 2014 / 73 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
Balaton Method
This documentary journey, which explores the landscape surrounding Hungary’s largest lake and its recreational resorts, includes live concert footage of seventeen local bands – well-established names and newcomers to the music scene alike. Their performances, including the participation of a hundred other musicians, are recorded at various times of day in diverse locations, ranging from harbours and hotel balconies to churches, helping to create a portrait of the distinctive atmosphere at each of the sites. This independent musical road movie shot around Lake Balaton is the first Hungarian feature-length film financed through a crowd-funding campaign.DETAIL:“Balaton! This word has magical power! It makes all eyes kindle, puts a smile on everybody's face. The shining sun and the naughty waves paint all the faces golden brown. The lake is full of tourists.”

Balaton Method

Bálint Szimler
Hungary / 2015 / 85 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
The Last Black Sea Pirates
A documentary film with a dramatic arc illustrating the fairy-tale notion that “true treasure is not made of gold but is found in the human heart”. In his almost carnival-like film, the Bulgarian director shows the lives of a group of outsiders living on the shores of the Black Sea, dreaming of finding a legendary pirate treasure. The beach where most of the film takes place is located in an area known as Karadere – one of the last places in Bulgaria with natural beaches, untouched dunes and saltwater marshes.

The Last Black Sea Pirates

Svetoslav Stoyanov
Bulgaria / 2013 / 72 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
THE GOOD DEATH
Terminally ill Janette wants to die with dignity, but it’s not possible in the UK, where she lives. She therefore decides for assisted suicide. She must plan her journey to Switzerland before her rapidly advancing disease makes it impossible. The question of whether we own our own lives or whether they own us is the primary impetus behind this documentary portrait, which shows that death can be good despite the sadness that always accompanies it. The film, with dramatically suggestive camera work, uses feature film techniques, and engaging characters and stories of her loved ones are interwoven with Janette’s story."Let's talk about death because we will all die someday. The question is: can we choose when and how? I think we should." T. Krupa

THE GOOD DEATH

Tomáš Krupa
Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, France, Switzerland / 2018 / 83 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Among Houses and the Cosmos
In this sensual film essay, the director has assembled her experiences with rituals in various corners of the world, from Europe across Africa to Latin America. The close interaction of the camera with bodies moving in trances encourages active involvement in the frenzied moments in which people lose themselves in Dionysian intoxication. These moments serve the filmmaker to obliterate the distance between the individual and the collective, personal and foreign, internal and external. The film, however, attaches a political meaning to the rituals, or rather shows how uprooted cultures cope with their minority status through rituals, or even turn it to their favor. “I felt the urgency to work with video footage from years of different travels. During editing, I found myself thinking about the human necessity to impose meaningful patterns on life and being.” Koštana Banović

Among Houses and the Cosmos

Kostana Banović
Netherlands, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Portugal, Senegal, Brazil, Angola, Turkey, Gambia, Cuba, Serbia, Aruba, Netherlands Antilles / 2016 / 70 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
The Serbian Lawyer
Five years ago, the whole world watched the trial of Radovan Karadžić. But what is the story of the man who defended the Serbian war criminal and who defended Slobodan Milošević? The filmmaker looks not only at the reasons that led Marko to act as defense counsel, but also explores the often negative reactions from his surroundings and the chilling impact that the study of war-related documents and the search for the truth has had on him. The result is a portrait of a Serbian lawyer who at one point had left his native country because of Milošević and whose professional as well as private life has been significantly shaped by the trials.DETAIL:Ten years was enough. I’ve seen enough bodies, torn off arms, slit throats. It turns you into stone, it kills you off emotionally.

The Serbian Lawyer

Aleksandar Nikolić
Germany, United Kingdom, Serbia, Netherlands / 2014 / 82 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
noimage
FilmSEDUCTION is reminiscent of the characters, subjects, and motifs found in Sex in the City, except that its protagonists are four Bulgarian men in search of women in Helsinki, Finland. This documentary comedy about turning Eastern men into Romeos and partners for Western women presents numerous comic situations, including courses in etiquette, dance lessons, and fitness training.

Rules of Single Life

Tonislav Hristov
Bulgaria, Finland / 2010 / 79 min.
section: Between the Seas
Central European Premiere
Normalization
Nearly 40 years ago, a young woman was murdered in Slovakia. To this day, the group of men who were convicted of this crime have tried in vain to prove that they are the victims of judicial terror. The director, who does not hide the fact that the sympathizes with the convicted, goes beyond their case and indirectly reveals doubts as to the trustworthiness of his country’s judicial system. Only once do most of the convicted appear together before the camera: when their sentences are confirmed in 2006. More than the words, recriminations, anger, and sadness, the viewer remembers their exhausted expressions and the realization that they can never give up.

Normalization

Robert Kirchhoff
Slovakia, Czech Republic / 2013 / 100 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
Sleeping souls
A Russian director puts together a mosaic or his country’s rural mentality deformed by government propaganda. The pre-election season in the Russian town of Achinsk is filled with the voices of the regime’s supporters, drowned out only by the chopping of ice on a Siberian lake. The regime’s skeptical opponents are already predicting the clear outcome. The locals’ passivity and the election commission’s unspoken stance on the clear ballot manipulation culminate in the citizens’ inability to change the situation. Putin’s emotional tears following his victory are a visual metaphor for the artificiality of the entire election process in Russia.

Sleeping souls

Alexander Rastorguev
France / 2013 / 51 min.
section: Between the Seas
East European Premiere
The Blockade
The 2009 student strike at Zagreb University had several clear objectives – the struggle against the commercialisation of higher education, against tuitions, and for government subsidies. Soon, it spread throughout Croatia. This study of one blockade takes a look at democracy without a vertical hierarchy, its utopian spirit, and its fragile environment. As usual, power objectives and political roles win out over the students’ utopian visions. A film as a manifesto of autonomy, ideals, the seeds of democracy in practice, and history repeating itself.  

The Blockade

Igor Bezinović
Croatia / 2012 / 93 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Creative Europe
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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