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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

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
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
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
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
Bo Hai
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

Bo Hai

Dužan Duong
Czech Republic / 2017 / 26 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
Never Happened
“The deed did not occur,” proclaimed Vladimir Mečiar in 1996 on the murder of businessman Róbert Remiáš, which likely had a political motive and with which the Prime Minister himself was likely involved. His infamous dictum is an attempt to negate a documentary that combines an investigative approach with original filmmaking. The director builds her film on interviews with key players in the Remiáš case but does not limit herself to an austere presentation of facts. Alternating different film formats, from black and white film to VHS, she evokes a period of crime and highlights the central theme of confrontation with the past. “I wanted to make a poetic political film. Engagé art should not give up on the style.” B. Berezňáková  
personal program

Never Happened

Barbora Berezňáková
Slovakia, Czech Republic / 2019 / 82 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
One Last Time in the Fields
A filmed explication and a discovered script, composed of melodies and images for a film that was once supposed to be made. In the beginning was Bohuslav Martinů’s cantata Kytice – or rather, its part titled “Man and Death”, a musical adaptation of Sušil’s collection of folk poetry. Inspired by it, writer and painter Ivan Matoušek created an eschatological still-life that then influenced his novel The Ego. This path is followed not just by the story of the film’s creation but by the film itself, a brief depiction of man on the road towards death, moving slowly amidst a waving field. Images become a parable of our own mortality. “You can only quote yourself in your own work.” P. Havlík

One Last Time in the Fields

Přemysl Havlík
Czech Republic / 2017 / 54 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
The Last Shift of Thomas Hisem
“I hope that all is okay and that you’ll get something out of this,” proclaims miner Tomáš Hisem at the start of his shift at Ostrava’s Paskov Mine, which he decided to document. Although we don’t see his face (the camera that he has smuggled into the mine is attached to his helmet), we hear his distinct local dialect as he inspects the dark and dusty tunnels and claustrophobic underground spaces that we walk and crawl through on all fours. With a sense of immediacy and in his own distinctive manner, he captures a particular place at a particular time – one day before the Paskov Mine is closed and 1,300 of his colleagues lose their jobs. “I’m shooting this so those city slickers in Prague can see the hard-ass work we do!” J. Andrš

The Last Shift of Thomas Hisem

Jindřich Andrš
Czech Republic / 2017 / 29 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
ALONE
Luba Skořepová has spent the past several years in solitude, struggling to stay an active theatre actress as long as she can. She invited the film crew into her home in order to shoot her daily life. Although the resulting film contains archival footage from her youth, it is definitely not a biographical film. The filmmakers focus on the present day, capturing scenes from the life of an old and solitary woman who possesses the will to live an active life but who is no longer important for others. Skořepová herself was behind the making of the film, through which she hopes to call attention to the subject of loneliness among old people.“Luba wanted to film Alone in order to call attention to the subject of loneliness among old people. I am convinced that we have succeeded.” O. Faifr

ALONE

Otakar Faifr
Czech Republic / 2017 / 63 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
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
Aktuálně.cz
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