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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Czech Journal: The Limits of Work
Czech Journal: The Limits of Work

Czech Journal: The Limits of Work

director: Apolena Rychlíková
original title: Český žurnál: Hranice práce
country: Czech Republic
year: 2017
running time: 70 min.

synopsis

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

biography

Apolena Rychlíková (1989) takes an intensive interest in the public space, and this is reflected in her film work as well. The Ji.hlava IDFF previously screened her films Hájek at the Castle, Petr in the House (2011), Make Some Wish When Government Falls (2012), Family (2013), Ex-Premiers (2013), If Adolf Hitler Lived There Would Be No Rights for Gypsies (2014), Don’t Let Yourself Be Bowed! (2014), Don’t Give Up: The City’s Clinic (2015) and Intolerance: The Chill (2015).

more about film

director: Apolena Rychlíková
producer: Petr Kubica
script: Apolena Rychlíková, Saša Uhlová
photography: Jan Šípek
editing: Kateřina Krutská - Vrbová
sound: František Šec

other films in the section

Czech Journal: Matrix AB
A portrait of Andrej Babiš – on one hand drawn to Vít Klusák’s camera, on the other hand fleeing from it – changes in its paradoxical attempt to capture this elusive personality who lacks an anchor. The riddle that is Babiš is unwittingly revealed to the audience during the general election when “the politician against his own convictions” heads out among the voters with doughnuts to convince them of his good intentions and his will to perform good for the people. This observational documentary takes a look at the mechanics of Babiš’ power politics through details of handshakes, briefly swapped words, and stacked Kostelec sausages.DETAIL:“The main thing that was missing in the party was a program. Because in my opinion, a program can’t stand on just the word ‘just because’. And then I realized that my fellow party members are just a bunch of arrivistes, people lacking political ideals...”

Czech Journal: Matrix AB

Vít Klusák
Czech Republic / 2015 / 74 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 Invisible Hand of the Market: Privatization of Barrandov
The documentary looks at the post-Velvet Revolution transition to a market economy using the privatisation of Barrandov Studios as a case study. Important actors during these events (V. Marhoul, L. Helge, J. Knoflíček, M. Ondříček, J. Šustr, P. Pithart, T. Ježek) describe the story of de-nationalisation against the backdrop of the demands of the post-revolutionary period (among other things, we are reminded of Milton Friedman’s visit to Prague). The film opens with a quote by Karl Jaspers on the purpose of guilt in self-examination, and closes with a mediation upon ownership as the art of administrating.  

The Invisible Hand of the Market: Privatization of Barrandov

Martin Kohout
Czech Republic / 2012 / 60 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
The Dangerous World of Doctor Doleček (Czech version)
Kristýna Bartošová has approached the genre of documentary film portraits as a battlefield. This director, who has Bosnian roots, chose to film the story of the Czech doctor Rajko Doleček, who is a very enthusiastic defender of Ratko Mladić, the Serbian general accused of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia. In this undeniably moving work, shot with a hand-held camera with no attempt to conceal the presence of the film’s creators, the director, at first cautiously, but with increasing intensity, confronts Doleček about his controversial stance. At the same time, she must come to terms with the doctor’s unshakeable opinion.DETAIL:“I wanted to present a portrait of someone who denies genocide. When I first met Doleček, I thought it would be easy to condemn him. But is it not always easier to judge someone you do not know personally?”

The Dangerous World of Doctor Doleček (Czech version)

Kristýna Bartošová
Czech Republic / 2015 / 72 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
The State Capture
After the murders of the journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová, the shooting of the documentary about a new kind of social establishment in which the traditional state structures become replaced with Mafia and oligarchy took a huge turn. By interviewing various persons - lawyers, bloggers, journalist, security experts, and former secret service agents -, the author tries to uncover the complex network of those influencing the Slovakian public space. The investigative film about a country in which the communist regime fell thirty years ago offers overwhelming facts about the unclear relationships among former secret service agents and interest groups, and shows the issues and threats faced by both journalists and the public. “The murder of a journalist raised more questions than just who the killer was. The tragedy illuminated the real picture of social institutions and created a short window when it was possible to capture it with a camera.” Z. Piussi
personal program

The State Capture

Zuzana Piussi
Slovakia, Czech Republic / 2019 / 79 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
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
Sólo
Martín Perano is a young Argentinean piano virtuoso and composer whose life has been turned upside-down by mental illness. He spent the past few years in the largest psychiatric hospital in South America, El Borda in Buenos Aires. After his release he returned to the nearly empty house of his parents, where his biggest concern was to learn to live without walls and to go back to the piano, which he played every day in the institute. The director patiently observes Martín’s return; in interviews with his loved ones, he learns more about Martín’s past, lyrically approaching the inner workings of a person obsessed with creation, capable of taking strength from their own hypersensitivity. “The other patients sat in respectful silence listening to this curious sonata of fingers rapping the table. After a few minutes, Martín finished playing. Strong emotions could be read in the eyes of his audience, as though they had been listening to real music.” A. Benki
personal program

Sólo

Artemio Benki
Czech Republic, France, Argentina, Austria / 2019 / 84 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
Illusion
In her original concept of a film as a computer game, the author presents her personal report from Budapest where she was spent a year as a student. The viewers take part in a game, going through several levels that put them into everyday situations related to the issues of the contemporary Hungarian society: they see the capital with the eyes of tourists, but they are mostly forced to use the subjective perspective of the Hungarians to think about the freedom of art, the right to education, medical care, and the questionable Hungarian political situation in general where the name of the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, is often heard again and again.“The most demanding part of this film was to fight my own paranoia and the standardized thinking constantly produced by my characters and the system I made the film about.” K. Turečková

Illusion

Kateřina Turečková
Czech Republic / 2018 / 52 min.
section: Czech Joy
World 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
I Want You If You Dare
Single mother Martina raised twin girls, one of whom was born blind and the other with polio, leaving her disabled. Both children are now adults, and disabled Jana would love to leave her mother and live on her own in institutional living. And she would also like to experience sex, perhaps with a paid assistant. The documentary offers a brutally unsentimental view into the life of an impoverished rural family with two permanently disabled members. It delicately captures both everyday and exceptional situations, focusing mainly on the personal, emotional and relationship problems between the protagonists.  „The harder the fates I make films about, the more I appreciate when my heroes can laugh at them. And when I can make the audience laugh well, I am happy.” D. Smržová
personal program

I Want You If You Dare

Dagmar Smržová
Czech Republic / 2019 / 84 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Incoming
It’s 4903 km to the Czech town of Aš, but in Logar, Afghanistan, the main distance that the Czech team is trying to overcome is cultural. Talking heads ponder how to pass on know-how in a country wracked by 30 years of war, but more than once a siren tears the filmmakers and main protagonists back to reality, and there follows a far more dynamic spectacle. “Every day, we travel to hell. We put on vests and ballistic eyewear. We look like robots. We step out of those enormous vehicles like aliens.” In such a situation, taking off your helmet is an act of courage and humanity.

Incoming

Radim Špaček
Czech Republic / 2013 / 70 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Is Everyone Right? Karel Floss and the Others.
A multi-portrait of the history of post-1989 Czech ideas and sensibilities, centered around left-wing Christian philosopher Karel Floss. Circling his ideas on God, truth, and politics like satellites are statements by strongly antithetical individuals including Milan Knížák, Ondřej Slačálek, Noam Chomsky, and Czech nationalist thinkers. Working with a subtle sense of irony, the film is openly inspired by the style of Karel Vachek as it makes use of semantic counterpoints, situational humor and aloof formal elements. The result is a kind of audiovisual riverbed for channeling the fury of a nation that recalls a child that is just learning to think and does not know what to relate to first, because in a certain sense, basically “everyone is right”.DETAIL:“That means that truth unifies, but it unifies without asking us to give up on differences. And so we fling ourselves into the trap of dogmatism – any position is dogmatic if it claims that if there exist truths, then these truths will not accept any differences.”

Is Everyone Right? Karel Floss and the Others.

Helena Všetečková
Czech Republic / 2015 / 124 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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