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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Batalives

Batalives

director: Petr Babinec, Karolina Zalabáková
original title: Batalives
country: Czech Republic
year: 2017
running time: 75 min.

synopsis

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

biography

Besides working as a dramaturge and director for Czech Television, Karolina Zalabáková (1983) is active with the Cinebonbon production studio and with Telepunk, which she founded in collaboration with Kamila Zlatušková. Director Petr Babinec (1985) is in charge of production at Kouzelná Animace and along with Zalabáková is currently studying for his doctorate at the Audiovisual Studio at Tomáě Baťa University in Zlín.

more about film

director: Petr Babinec, Karolina Zalabáková
producer: Karolina Zalabáková, Lukáš Gargulák, Martina Šantavá, Univerzita Tomáše Bati ve Zlíně
script: Karolina Zalabáková
photography: Lukáš Gargulák
editing: Libor Nemeškal, Jiří Fiala
music: Tomáš Háček
sound: Jan Hála

other films in the section

Normal Autistic Film
Children with autism don’t suffer from an incurable disease. They suffer because they are neurodiverse in a world set up for neurotypicals. With that perspective, Miroslav Janek embarks on a series of live meetings with a number of children and young adults who have been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. He gives them the opportunity to express freely their relationship with the world and with themselves, as well as what sets them apart from “normal”. We find that he’s brought us into the company of fun, fascinating people who often suffer because they are labelled as “disabled”. This excursion into the world of autism redefines the seemingly firm boundaries between “otherness” and normality.“Now let’s talk about Asperger syndrome. What Asperger’s knows how to do. The standard form of Asperger’s syndrome, the milder version, which is what I have, is able to find friends. But the more severe version can’t. He has no friends.”

Normal Autistic Film

Miroslav Janek
Czech Republic / 2016 / 90 min.
section: Czech Joy
Peasant Common Sense
Originally, this film – which made waves in Czech society – was supposed to be about Czech agriculture and about the factors that have the greatest impact on it. But one of the most important factors turned out to be the entrepreneurial and political activities of Andrej Babiš. A documentary with elements of investigative journalism, the film follows journalists Zuzana Vlasatá and Jakub Patočka as they uncover Babiš’s business style and its impact on society and the environment. Through inventive editing, framing and the use of animation, the film goes beyond a mere presentation of facts to create an original report, made using various tools of the cinematic medium. “The government must by guided by peasant common sense!” Z. Piussi

Peasant Common Sense

Zuzana Piussi, Vít Janeček
Czech Republic / 2017 / 73 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Amerika
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...”

Amerika

Jan Foukal
Czech Republic / 2015 / 70 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Journal: The Little Mole & Laozi
In one episode of Czech Journal, Filip Remunda focuses on the Chinese president’s visit to the Czech Republic and launches into confrontational discussions with the citizens of a country that violates human rights and where people are imprisoned for their opinions, but whose population proudly voices their allegiance to their prospering country. Footage of the protests held by the Czech public, and in the opposite situation, when the Chinese greet the president with joy, as well as interviews with a Chinese dissident and with a Czech teacher, are interspersed with the saying of Laozi and footage of Leonid Brezhnev’s visit to Prague in 1978. The film thus opens the question as to with whom the Czech president is fostering warm international relations.“More than the protests, I was interested in the fact that the Chinese find us ridiculous for allowing people to protest. I went to China to get at the roots of this attitude.”

Czech Journal: The Little Mole & Laozi

Filip Remunda
Czech Republic / 2016 / 85 min.
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
Czech Republic / 2016 / 20 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Czech Journal: Teaching War
This episode from the Czech Journal series examines how a military spirit is slowly returning to our society. Attempts to renew military training or compulsory military service and in general to prepare the nation for the next big war go hand in hand with society’s fear of the Russians, the Muslims, or whatever other “enemies”. This observational flight over the machine gun nest of Czech militarism becomes a grotesque, unsettling military parade. It can be considered not only to be a message about how easily people allow themselves to be manipulated into a state of paranoia by the media, but also a warning against the possibility that extremism will become a part of the regular school curriculum.“In order to identify the reason for which people prepare for war in the name of peace, I have started to portray the rising military spirit in a kaleidoscopic image.”

Czech Journal: Teaching War

Adéla Komrzý
Czech Republic / 2016 / 69 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Tears of Steel: Vladimír Stehlík Meets Lubomír Krystlík
The privatization and bankruptcy of the famous Poldi Kladno steel mill in the 1990s long left its mark on Czech society and the media. The FAMU graduate film returns to the affair many years later from the point of view of its main actors: Poldi Kladno’s CEO Vladimír Stehlík and his personal advisor Lubomír Krystlík. By juxtaposing their remarks with archival television videos, the film provides a humorous look at the ups and downs of two men who contributed extensively to building capitalism in post-1989 Bohemia and who are now learning the art of aging on their meager pensions. DETAIL:“You have to turn it into a show. Otherwise nobody will find it interesting. Also, there is no point in returning to the past. Document it and enough.” “And how should we turn it into a show?” “For instance by taking a picture of Stehlík’s teeth.”

Tears of Steel: Vladimír Stehlík Meets Lubomír Krystlík

Tomáš Potočný
Czech Republic / 2015 / 52 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Solos for Members of Parliament
Twenty-one politicians reply to the question of how they view the Czech Republic’s future. The survey, built on the democratic principles of equality and freedom of speech, provides the same conditions for all of the interviewees and presents their uncensored and complete responses. However, this raw materials provides more testimony regarding the present than the future, as it unmasks the faces MPs and senators present to the public and demonstrates the rhetorical means they use to expand political power. Freedom is a double-edged sword depending on whose hands hold it. The same applies to media as a tool used for disseminating propaganda as well as for undermining it.“The film shows the people behind mandates, trying to approach them on the condition that they have to approach us.  To what extent is a different form of public meetings with politicians possible? To what extent are other worlds possible?” T. Bernátková

Solos for Members of Parliament

Tereza Bernátková
Czech Republic / 2018 / 34 min.
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
Czech Republic, France, Slovakia / 2019 / 68 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
Central Bus Station
Only recently, Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station was still the largest in the world. But this oversized space only serves more than its original purpose to bring in masses of people who, confused by its complicated interior design, succumb to shopping fever. Over time this concrete monster, which won’t be easy to tear down, has become a temporary refuge for people on the margins of society – refugees, criminals, prostitutes. Like its main protagonist, the tourist guide Yonatan, the film’s director is fascinated by one of the wonders of the world of redundancy and the microcosm of the people who live here.“To me, the Central Bus Station is not only a strange place, but also a place where everyone can find a kind of home.” T. Elšík

Central Bus Station

Tomáš Elšík
Czech Republic / 2018 / 75 min.
section: Czech Joy
East European Premiere
Attention Economy: 39 Minutes After the Presidential Election
Petr Salaba’s film is a mosaic of videos that use different perspectives to record the actors and witnesses of the incident widely discussed in the media and related to re-electing Miloš Zeman the President of the Czech Republic at the end of January 2018. The film image, divided into several frames with parallel events, is a voyeuristic view of the exacerbated situation that occurred shortly after Zeman’s press conference at the congress Top Hotel in Prague. The journalists and film documentarists present at the press conference got into conflict with Zeman’s aggressive supporters after a man collapsed in the lounge. “We have to find the positive Nash equilibrium. wikipedia.org/wiki/Nash_equilibrium” P. Salaba

Attention Economy: 39 Minutes After the Presidential Election

Petr Salaba
Czech Republic / 2018 / 8 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Excursion or History of the Present (English version)
The creators of the documentary essay Excursions visit several typical tourist attractions – the Aurora battleship, the monumental buildings of the Third Reich, the Berlin Wall, and the world’s first museum in Rome. Their interest is not so much in these places as it is in different ways of encountering history. With a subtle sense of irony, they explore how historical monuments influence guidebooks and visitors. We hear guides’ explanations, interviews, memories, and reenactments with tourists playing various roles. The film uses their interactions with these stages of history to engage in a sophisticated exploration of the relationship between contemporary man and the past.DETAIL:“In the Jewish cemetery in Berlin there is a grave with an inscription: ‘Now you are here, watching silently. When you leave, go and talk.’ We behave like this in front of the monuments – we are silent.”

Excursion or History of the Present (English version)

Jan Gogola ml.
Czech Republic / 2015 / 82 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
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Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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