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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Bo Hai
Bo Hai
Bo Hai
Bo Hai

Bo Hai

director: Dužan Duong
original title: Bo Hai
country: Czech Republic
year: 2017
running time: 26 min.

synopsis

In his new work of docufiction, Vietnamese-born Czech director Dužan Duong continues to explore the life of the Czech Republic’s Vietnamese community. Bo Hai takes an intimate look at a young man who helps out at his father’s mini-market. By showing everyday situations, the films introduces us to the life of young Vietnamese who have lived most of their life in the Czech Republic and are losing touch with the culture of their parents but at the same time are prevented from becoming fully-fledged members of Czech society. Filmed primarily using longer static shots in real-life settings, Bo Hai recalls the approach of contemporary cinematic realists. At the same time, it is also a personal statement about the director’s generation.

“#FilmfromMini-market” D. Duong

biography

Dužan Duong (1991) was born in Hanoi but has lived in the Czech Republic since age four. He got into filmmaking when recording his own dance performances. He previously shot the short docufiction Mat Goc (2014, Ji.hlava IDFF 2014) about his relationship to his native Vietnam, and also worked on Lukáš Kokeš’s V.I.P. / Vietnamese Important People (2013, Ji.hlava IDFF 2013). Bo Hai was made through crowdfunding.

more about film

director: Dužan Duong
cast: Viet Anh Duong, Hai Van Duong, Tomáš Lipský, Thi Minh Nguyen, Hana Houbová
producer: Jan Syruček, Petr Kubica
script: Dužan Duong
photography: Adam Mach
editing: MIchal Böhm
sound: Adam Bláha

other films in the section

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
Czech Republic / 2019 / 67 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Good Mr. Benda
A sensitive portrait of grandfather Miroslav Benda, a tried and true Sokol member and an ordinary man with extraordinary vigor and ideals, revealing a story of human resilience and optimism through nostalgia and situational comedy. The film is a kind of observational documentary - it includes family videos and archival film material. We’re drawn into the microcosm of the village of Křenovice u Slavkova by two Japanese women who have decided to visit Benda, thanks to his long friendship with a university professor from Tokyo. Together with Benda, the audience travels to the only Japanese gas station in Europe, to Prague’s Strahov Stadium, and to New York to visit American Sokol members. “Old Mr. Benda fascinates me with his ability to elevate banality to a feast; he is like a Zen master who was asked about the meaning of life and said: ‘When you want to eat, eat; when you want to sleep, sleep.’” P. Jurda

Good Mr. Benda

Pavel Jurda
Czech Republic / 2018 / 76 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Vratislav Effenberger or Black Shark Hunting
In the spirit of this master of poetics, David Jařab approaches his portrait of leading Czech postwar surrealist Vratislav Effenberger as a game. He invited members of the local surrealist group to talk about Effenberger in places where he stages absurd encounters and interrelationships. The main theme is Effenberger’s unrealized (unrealizable) screenplays, which the filmmakers attempt to enact during the film. This surrealistic hunt for Effenberger’s imagination is capped by an interview with his son full of ambivalent personal memories. “Effenberger’s work with absurd humour and the principle of game enabled him to subversively attack the outer and inner realities of everyday life. This vision is close to mine and to the vision of my film.” D. Jařab

Vratislav Effenberger or Black Shark Hunting

David Jařab
Czech Republic / 2018 / 84 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
The End of Light
On a most real stage of all, a director of this hybrid film lets an unreal story flow. While Croatian nationalists stage a protest in front of the Rijeka theatre against its art director Oliver Frljić (a well-known figure to Czechs, among others), on a nearby island of Goli otok, amateur actors rehearse a surrealistic performance. Dilapidated buildings of a former concentration camp, secretly erected by Tito’s régime to hold political prisoners, serve as props of a Lynch-like scene in which smeared-faced actors become objects in the waxworks of their own dreams. The world of imagination and the world of bleak reality start moving away from each other.“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3” A. Suk

The End of Light

Aleš Suk
Croatia / 2018 / 62 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Moravia, Beautiful Land
An experimental western horror film set in Moravian Slovakia brings a new perspective to the legend of St. Wenceslas. Against the shabby backdrop of village merrymaking, the legendary Prince Boleslav, a wine-cellar zombie, fights with his brother over the nature of Czech statehood and a plate of tomato beef stew. This film essay about the mythology of Bohemian and Moravian nationalism is a sarcastic depiction of meaningless tribal rituals that promote national identity but severely restrict “otherness”. The film sabotages the sanctity of folklore through the use of archaic film and video formats containing a number of mistakes and defects, a schmaltzy mix of brass band music, and the contrapuntal nature of the commentary. Detail: “The song Morava, Beautiful Land by the Bojané Band is dedicated to Saint Wenceslas, probably born in Prague, and on his way to visit his brother Boleslav. Wishing him an uneventful journey, a jaunty pace, and spring to his step.”

Moravia, Beautiful Land

Petr Šprincl
Czech Republic / 2015 / 30 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Faces of Meda
This film documenting the coexistence of filmmaker Veronika Janečková and arts patron Meda Mládková can be seen as a film about the making of a portrait documentary that was never made. Much of the footage used was taken without Mládková’s knowledge and captures her everyday meetings with the director, who briefly lived in her home in Washington during the course of filming. The film thus shows two different sides of Mládková – the public face, which she shows during “talking head” interviews, and the private face, which reveals minor everyday generational conflicts between an aging powerful woman and the young documentarian.DETAIL:“She had all the maladies. She was kind of fat, she wasn’t particularly pretty. I also think she had long hair. I told her, ‘You must lose 20 kilos.’ She managed to obtain her PhD in the States in just a year.”

Faces of Meda

Veronika Janečková
Czech Republic / 2015 / 50 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Viva Video, Video Viva
Today, analogue video is attractive primarily thanks to the distinctive aesthetic quality of its pixelated image and raster errors. But for Czech artists who first explored the possibilities offered by video art in the late 1980s, this medium represented a path towards freedom. Through a portrait of her grandfather Radek Pilař, one of the pioneers of Czech video art, the director explores her own legacy of imperative creative fascination. Her film’s main story, i.e., the process of reconstructing the 1989 exhibition Video Day, contrasts this enchantment with life in the final days of the totalitarian regime, which different sharply with the adventures of those who decided to emigrate – whom the filmmaker also visits in order to discover forgotten works, get to know their creators, and re-establish broken ties.  “’The computers, which are here with me, quietly tell me they want me to understand them, to live with them. Because we will live with them. But either they’re devils, or they will be gods.’ Radek Pilař.” A. Komrzý
personal program

Viva Video, Video Viva

Adéla Komrzý
Czech Republic / 2018 / 85 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Czechs against Czechs
This cinematic reportage with elements of a personal journal explores xenophobia in Czech society and anti-Nazi activists, but also the filmmaker’s personal experience from living among in an socially excluded Romani neighborhood. Most of the footage was shot by the director using his own camera, and the immediacy of the images is further accentuated by voiceover observations and commentary. In just a few scenes, he adds music for dramatic affect. With his direct questions, he tries to unmask the racist arguments not only of anti-Roma protestors, but also of many ordinary citizens. DETAIL:“I’d toss a grenade in there.” “In where?” “Among the gypsies. They reproduce like rats.” “They should be killed?” “Yes. You know what Hitler should have done? Leave the Jews and shoot the gypsies. There’s too many of them.”

Czechs against Czechs

Tomáš Kratochvíl
Czech Republic / 2015 / 88 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
Czech Journal: Near Far East
This film about the situation in presentday war-torn Ukraine originated over the course of a year as the director’s travel journal. Ukrainian teacher Tania, who works in Prague as a cleaning lady, takes the fi lmmaker along to visit her family in Transcarpathia. The director also meets with his friends who are local journalists, and with Petr, a revolutionary who gives an atypical tour of the residence of Viktor Yanukovuch. Observational, mostly static shots, in which Remunda appears only occasionally as a witness or moderator, is accompanied by his off-screen commentary offering reflections on his own relationship with Ukraine and with the media in general.DETAIL:“Drug addicts have been eradicated as a social class. So there’s none here.” “And where are they?” “I’d say they’ve gone for treatment. They’re sick people. They should be treated. There are all kinds of ways. They’ll get a shovel and dig trenches.”

Czech Journal: Near Far East

Filip Remunda
Czech Republic / 2015 / 70 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
Czech Journal: Children of the State
A great wave of criticism was aroused in 2011, when the Norwegian Child Welfare Services, Barnevernet, took away both of the Micháleks’ sons. The documentary director, who has two children of her own, set out to Norway to discover whether the state is indeed dictating how parents should raise their children. This investigative documentary uses individual stories and interviews with experts to reveal that the issues are much more complex than the way they are presented by the Czech media. Although the defined rules may be restrictive, they are also apparently one of the reasons why Norway is ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world. “Do what degree do we overlook cases in our surroundings, when parents are not able to handle the raising of their children? Are we respecting privacy? Or is it indifference? Are we able to view the state as other than a necessary evil?” I. P. Miloševičová

Czech Journal: Children of the State

Ivana Pauerová Miloševič
Czech Republic / 2017 / 57 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
The Perpetrator and the Bystander
This half-hour film consists of private video footage shot by theater artist Petr Lébl in 1996 while working on a production of Cyrano de Bergerac as a guest director at the national theatre in Tel Aviv. For most of the film, we see Lébl and costume designer Kateřina Štefková in a hotel room, although on the margins of their banter we encounter Lébl’s more skeptical observations directed at the camera. This seemingly banal home video of two close people breaks down the boundary between the personal and the public, between life and performance. Both continue to act in front of the camera, even though the film was not meant for the public. DETAIL:Mission Impossible – with Kateřina. Beware of Kateřina: Her raw commentaries are meant to drive you mad. Don’t let yourself be fooled: There is no point in repeating to her that I respect her. Better to act with that knowledge in your heart.

The Perpetrator and the Bystander

Jan Kačena, Nikola Krutilová
Czech Republic / 2015 / 34 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
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