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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

My Name is Hungry Buffalo
Jan calls himself Buffalo. He loves cowboys, he’s blind, and may lose his hearing. Pavel Jurda’s documentary follows his journey to America to visit the chief of the Navajo tribe, who wants to perform a ritual to help his hearing. The film is full of unpretentious humor thanks to Jan’s charisma. In the USA, he’s like the Don Quixote of the Wild West - a naive adventurer in a world that is much more ordinary than his imagination. This observational, but not standoffish, film is also an example of how the medium of film can relate to blind people by constantly showing the difference between what Jan perceives and what we actually see.“The film is not about blindness, even if the main character is blind. It is about yearning for life. ‘We are all handicapped in some way,’ says a guy during a journey that starts with an accident and ends in triumph.”

My Name is Hungry Buffalo

Pavel Jurda
Czech Republic / 2016 / 83 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Dunaj of Consciousness
Members of the Brno alternative rock legend Dunaj (Danube) meet after several years, determined to forget their grievances and disagreements of the past to perform a concert in the Romanian city of Banat, where they still have a strong fan base. On the way there, they take a boat down the Danube River, whose waves and mysterious nature evokes memories of the past among the band members and reflections on their careers, helped out by a meeting with former member Iva Bittová. The poetically infused film reveals the backstage of the band and, accompanied by the captivating tones of Dunaj’s songs, paints a complex portrait of the legendary music group. “Former members of the Dunaj band, now twenty years older, meet to find out they don’t have to do anything. They just want to let something special flourish, something created mainly by their being together. All the original pieces come together to create something compellingly impressive again.” D. Butula
personal program

Dunaj of Consciousness

David Butula
Czech Republic / 2019 / 83 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Kalado
“There are many teachings in the world – karate, aikido, tai chi, yoga. But none teach you purification. Only kalado,” says the film’s protagonist, the performance artist Sai Kijima. As the viewer listens to his introspective commentary, the camera show him exploring the limits of the body with his strange movements. Kalado is a tool for getting to know oneself, for questioning ingrained ideas about oneself, and for finding one’s hidden identity. The film captures the ritual nature of Kijima’s performances and the manner in which he lets deeply rooted traumas flow forth in a cleansing outburst of creativity. “When I met Sai, I was captivated above all by the fact that he dances and cleans. I was interested in finding Kalado. When we finished filming, he said ‘Life is misunderstanding. Misunderstanding is understanding. This is Kalado.’” T. Tara

Kalado

Tereza Tara
Czech Republic / 2017 / 30 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
llllllIIIIl
The film’s title can be seen as an anti-captcha, a text that is easily machine-read but difficult for people to understand. Working in the style of a documentary essay, the film considers the problem of the autocracy of machines. Apocalyptic visions inspired by the film The Terminator are projected onto the reality of destructive protests against the G20 Summit, whose catalyst, means and outcome are statistical analyses of behavioural models realized using the computers and telephones in our pockets. A collage of original images, commented graphs and internet garbage. For the full viewing experience, please have your smartphone ready. “This text can’t be longer than 200 characters. That’s 60 more than a tweet by Donald Trump.” P. Salaba

llllllIIIIl

Petr Salaba
Czech Republic / 2017 / 27 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
#sandrainuganda
A Czech NGO invited Sandra Kisić, a twenty-six-year old influencer of Bosnian origin, to come to Uganda. She spent ten days in and about the town of Kabala. Besides the local citizens, she was accompanied by a Dutch volunteer who already was on her umpteenth mission. Sandra, on the other hand, saw poverty and technological backwardness for the first time in reality, not just on her cell phone that she practically did not put down. The director captures the clash of seemingly remote, yet equivalent worlds facing up global challenges as an impartial observer to emphasize numerous tragicomic paradoxes. “Instant soup can warm you up, but it won’t give you strength. We can look at Instagram in a similar way, or we can use it as a medium that can present the ‘old school documentary film’ to the younger audience.” F. Remunda
personal program

#sandrainuganda

Filip Remunda
Czech Republic / 2019 / 70 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Helena's Law
Documentary filmmaker Petra Nesvačilová’s study of the famous “Berdych Gang” focuses on police officer Helena Kahnová, but she also interviews other actors in the case, including the accused and the convicted. The resulting film is a mosaic that says less about the case or its background than it does about the people who exist on the edge of the law, and about their thoughts and motivations. Nesvačilová herself comes into contact with the criminal underworld and becomes an actor in her own film. She must decide whether it is safe to meet certain people, which leads her to consider questions related to the essence of crime and of good and evil in general.“I thought I was shooting a portrait of a brave police woman, but in the end I found myself in places that I had always been afraid of and that I only knew from the movies. The underworld. And now I see that this underworld is all around us – sometimes very, very close.”

Helena's Law

Petra Nesvačilová
Czech Republic / 2016 / 80 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
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
Feral
Charlie Soukup is a Czech underground songwriter and Charter 77 signatory. He emigrated in the early 1980s, and has spent the last several decades living on his own in the Australian outback as a hermit and Buddhist. Documentary filmmaker Jiří Holba sought Soukup out on his large property in the bush, where he builds secret shelters and lives away from civilization. The film, which Holba shot entirely alone on location, presents spontaneous conversations and situations that fully capture Soukup’s distinctive charisma. The film’s series of monologues are a kind of stream of thoughts that are part mad rambling and part insightful observations on life. “I’m interested in a film as a poem, a touch of life, a wave of a magic wand, a sudden burst of a spark in the infinite darkness, a solution of a puzzle. No beginning, no end, everything in a compact space. And love.” J. Holba

Feral

Jiří Holba
Czech Republic / 2018 / 72 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
Vote For Kibera
Photographer Don, a resident of Kibera, a giant slum in Nairobi, says that in his photographs he tries to capture the positive side of his home – not suffering, misery, and resignation, but hope, determination, and creativity. And Martin Páv’s documentary has taken a similar approach. Working with the unique photogenic qualities of the slum, the film is structured as a series of interviews with local residents. Besides Don, we also meet local artists, a teacher, and a boxing coach. Nevertheless, in the film’s final part about the presidential elections in Kenya, the frustrations, hopelessness, and violence in Kibera bubble to the surface.“People can co-operate if they have a reason to.“ M. Páv

Vote For Kibera

Martin Páv
Czech Republic / 2018 / 86 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
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
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