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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Central Bus Station
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Central Bus Station
Central Bus Station
Central Bus Station
Central Bus Station

Central Bus Station

director: Tomáš Elšík
original title: Central Bus Station
country: Czech Republic
year: 2018
running time: 75 min.

synopsis

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

biography

Tomáš Elšík (1986) originally graduated from FAMO in Písek and then studied editing at FAMU. His medium-length documentary Message from Dement (2012) about the punk and anti-fascist scene in São Paulo won an award at FAMUfest. He has also worked as an editor on several film and television projects, including director Kristina Nedvědová’s upcoming film Snowing!

more about film

director: Tomáš Elšík
producer: Jitka Kotrlová, Ondřej Šejnoha, Petr Novák, Michal Mocňák
script: Tomáš Elšík
photography: Ondřej Belica, Tomáš Elšík
editing: Mariana Kozáková
sound: Dominik Dolejší

other films in the section

Czech Journal: The Limits of Work
Journalist Saša Uhlová spent six months exploring working conditions at the worst-paid jobs in the Czech Republic. She spent several weeks in a hospital washroom, at a poultry plant, behind a cash register and at a waste sorting facility. Her experience formed the basis for a very personal series of reports about people working invisible jobs under shocking conditions, published on the A2larm.cz website. Apolena Rychlíková has turned these articles into a documentary film consisting of scenes shot at Uhlová’s home and of video footage taken at her places of work, accompanied by Uhlová’s read commentary.“I spent several months close to my protagonist, who never once placed herself above those whose lives she has tried to show us. Perhaps this film of our era will, with time, reach even those whom it affects.” A. Rychlíková

Czech Journal: The Limits of Work

Apolena Rychlíková
Czech Republic / 2017 / 70 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Non-Parent
With her documentary study of the current form of the family, the director follows up on her earlier film Generation Singles. By looking at six different stories, she presents various views and opinions regarding partnership and parenthood – what does shared custody look like, how does a single parent raise children and how do lesbians? How do patchwork families function, how is it with adopted kids and how is it with people who have decided to never have any at all? In intimate on-camera interviews, the participants explain their decisions, however voluntary, and reflect on the causes and consequences of their (non-)functioning families or partnerships. “Changes in the concept of family are a sign of the times. Today there are many different forms of cohabitation. I am not judging whether the fact that the family is changing is good or bad. I am merely recording this trend because it affects us all.” J. Počtová

Non-Parent

Jana Počtová
Czech Republic / 2017 / 83 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Kings of Šumava
Josef Hasil, nicknamed King of the Bohemian Forest, was a cross-border smuggler between communist Czechoslovakia and the West, and later an agent for the CIC news service. His actions are the central theme of a film created using narrative animation resembling modern film noir, conversations with witnesses, and shots of the beauty of the mysterious Bohemian forests. In places, the documentary also takes on the qualities of a Hollywood action film, which contrasts with the burden of moral decisions of an individual and the relentless power of the totalitarian regime. Almost detective-like investigation is framed by the Bohemian myths and legends that are still told of the man today. "Kings of Šumava poetically explores the duality of hero, villain and reunites former Czech immigrant Vlasta Bukovsky and infamous Czech people smuggler Josef Hasil." K. Kelly
personal program

Kings of Šumava

Kris Kelly
Czech Republic, Ireland / 2019 / 70 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech 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
Enclosed World
This four-hour documentary – a compilation of Czech Television’s eponymous series – systematically charts life in prison and the associated societal circumstances. Through looking at human fates, on both sides of the bars, it explores imprisonment as something that, although often addressed in the media, is something with which most of us have no personal experience. Using the powerful stories of several individuals who are at different stages of their incarceration, the film presents not only a cross-sectional view of the current correctional system but also contemplations about guilt, punishment, justice, and whether an individual caught in the gears of a repressive system can actually remedy their behavior and change.“Enclosed world has undoubtedly been the longest, most demanding and most exhausting project I have worked on. I don’t know how many such things you can do in your life if you don’t slow down to survive. Maybe just one…” K. Žalud

Enclosed World

Karel Žalud
Czech Republic / 2018 / 229 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Talks with TGM
Another contribution to the specific subgenre of animated history by the scriptwriter Pavel Kosatík. On 26 September 1928, Karel Čapek and President Masaryk meet in the gardens of Topolčianky castle to decide about the fate of their joint literary work. Their fiction film dialogue is based on quotes from a future book and their mutual correspondence, considerably freeing the original format of literary conversation from binding conventions. Čapek and Masaryk reproach and offend each other, but they also ask key personal questions and questions about the social functions of a writer and politician respectively.“It’s a film about two extraordinary men; it’s about the fact that emotions can be sometimes more powerful than ideas even in such exceptional people.” J. Červenka

Talks with TGM

Jakub Červenka
Czech Republic, Slovakia / 2018 / 80 min.
section: Czech Joy
World 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
personal program

Two Roads

Radovan Síbrt
Czech Republic / 2019 / 80 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Moravia, O Fair Land III.
After centuries of oppression, the spirit of Moravian Slovakia (Slovácko) awakens to the rhythm of folk music and speed metal. A folk costumed zombie horror under the supervision of a modern Adam and Eva from a Czech TV quiz show mixes classical tragedy and ethnographic studies, biblical parable and low-brow genres. Petr Šprincl subverts the sacred myths, satirically revealing the dark foundations of social rituals against a background of folklore motifs. After nationalism and fascism, the subjects of the first two parts of this Moravian Epic, the series continues with variations on the Mrštík brothers’ play Maryša, imbued with Satanism.   „The Trilogy Moravia, Beautiful Land starts with belonging to tribe, folk costume and folklore, continues with the birth of the fascist of Slovácko and his defeat of the devil, and pagan inferno breaks out in the final volume.“ P. Šprincl
personal program

Moravia, O Fair Land III.

Petr Šprincl
Czech Republic / 2019 / 65 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Hate out of Love 3: Story of Domestic Violence
Abuse against seniors affects up to twenty percent of older Czechs. This vulnerable group often struggles for years with mental and physical abuse from their loved ones. Through focused, confidential, and harrowing interviews with three women and one man, the documentary recounts the situations in which these people find themselves as they near the end of their lives. Terror hidden behind the walls of their home gradually escalates into physical injury, litigation, and loss of property. In the film, they talk about how they coped with their children’s betrayal as well as their helplessness, knowing that society will not adequately defend them. “Our protagonists are disappointed by those they raised and for whom they cherished love – their children. It is difficult to experience it, and even more to admit such feelings to oneself and others. This is a more common trend than we would assume, though.” I. Pauerová Miloševićová
personal program

Hate out of Love 3: Story of Domestic Violence

Ivana Pauerová Miloševićová
Czech Republic / 2019 / 52 min.
section: Czech Joy
Heidegger in Auschwitz
Czech Joy - Out of competitionThe German philosopher Martin Heidegger, one of the most important thinkers of the 20th century, goes on a tour of Auschwitz forty years after his death. He takes 2,500 photographs during his visit. On his way back, he visits Prague and his attention is caught by the tail end of a marathon, which conspicuously reminds him of a funeral. The following winter, his Jewish lover and another of the most important thinkers of the 20th century, Hannah Arendt, rises from the grave as well. With a 16mm camera in hand, she aimlessly wanders the area surrounding Heidegger’s chalet in Todtnauberg. She has visions of various motifs from the great philosopher’s central work, Being and Time. All is arranged in a strictly structural shape. Static in movement, kinetic in stillness. “Oh, Germany! People laugh when they hear the talk that comes from your house. But anyone who sees you reaches for a knife.” M. Ježek

Heidegger in Auschwitz

Martin Ježek
Czech Republic / 2016 / 50 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
Apparatgeist
The concept of Apparatgeist expresses how mankind’s relationship with technology evolves and how it transforms our social contacts. In a similar fashion to the authors of this theory, James E. Katz and Mark Aakhus, the film’s director has also focused on the current phenomenon of mobile phones. It takes us to an allegorical space of the apparatgeist, a barren, inhospitable place where cell phones act as small windows into different worlds of internet mundanity and bizarreness, and as a reflection of our interaction with a digital device. “How much do we hide behind our smartphones and use them to expose ourselves? To what extent is it possible to imprint ourselves into images composed of ones and zeros?” M.-M. Kochová
personal program

Apparatgeist

Marie-Magdalena Kochová
Czech Republic / 2019 / 11 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Czech Journal: Don’t Take My Life
One day, documentary filmmaker Andrea Culková learned that she faced attachment of assets because of a minor error that she learned about too late. She thus became one of the many people to find themselves caught in a debt trap. In her contribution to the Czech Journalseries, Culková delves into an examination of the phenomenon of debt, debt recovery, and debt payments in Czech society from a personal as well as investigative viewpoint. She interviews various actors in the field, from debtors to the Minister of Justice, attends conferences of debt collectors, and explores how the issue is addressed in other countries."You can’t just take my film from me!!!!"

Czech Journal: Don’t Take My Life

Andrea Culková
Czech Republic / 2016 / 63 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
Aktuálně.cz
Respekt