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25th 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

Prolegomena to Virtual Framing of a Revolution
A conceptual essay-like look at the origins, symptoms, and principles that stood at the outset of the revolutions in Egypt and Libya. Authoritative regimes come to an end in messages from thousands of mobile telephones. Eisenstein’s mother shot through the eye, Tom and Jerry, Barack Obama, and Slavoj Žižek appear in order to interpret bloody videos showing the chaos of and motivations behind the struggle for liberty and dignity. In Libya, an invitation to the desert of reality takes on sinister dimensions. Muammar Gaddafi utters his final curse.

Prolegomena to Virtual Framing of a Revolution

Petr Hátle
Czech Republic / 2011 / 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

Viva Video, Video Viva

Adéla Komrzý
Czech Republic / 2018 / 85 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Personal Life of a Hole
In the introduction to his atypical philosophical essay, Ondřej Vavrečka asks, “What is the world?” Is it at all possible to discover, understand and describe something that is so random and disconnected, so unanchored in space and time, as is the world of today? Is it not needless to look for sense or meaning where there is none? Therefore, rather than looking for fixed points, the filmmaker focused on holes and gaps, on inconsistency and imperfection – in nature, in culture, in love and in work. Together with scientists and philosophers, from Althusser to Žižek, he uses a lively, stylistically and thematically eclectic collage to explore how emptiness can be pondered.Q&A with Ondřej Vavrečka, Alžběta Janáčková a Andrea Slováková:  
personal program

Personal Life of a Hole

Ondřej Vavrečka
Czech Republic, Finland / 2020 / 62 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
To rule, to work, to earn, to pray, to collapse
This commentary on the collapse of civilization in four acts contains trace elements of Islamophobia, atheism, tabloid media, Mark Zuckerberg, mouldy bread, demonstrators, migrant labourers, Egyptologists and scepticism. An extensive exploration of the transcendental questions of a metastasising civilization, presented through microscopic examples from Czech society. The society of excess and collapse, illustrated through the simplicity of children’s games on a playground.Seen from a voyeur’s vantage point on a balcony, children’s games reveal complicated issues of civilization’s entropy – naive creatures as metaphors for complex and complicated social mechanisms of power, control and subjugation.

To rule, to work, to earn, to pray, to collapse

Andran Abramjan
Czech Republic / 2013 / 40 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
noimage
FilmCOLLECTIVE was realized by the Rafani art group known for their diverse works including photography, video and public events. The film treatise has the structure of a city, following the direction from the periphery to the centre, which is perceived as the centre of power, hegemony and normativity. Each part of the city/film introduces a representative of Czech art or Czech thinking.

31 Endings/31 Beginnings

Rafani
Czech Republic / 2011 / 82 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
A New Shift
This film has a 1000 views limit. The closure of the Paskov mine, 2017; drilling into coal mines in the Ostrava-Karviná district, once a tradition, is now becoming a thing of the past. The Nová šichta retraining program drives a laid-off miner, Tomáš Hisem, away from his pickaxe, jackhammer, football Baník matches and Padlock concerts and into the world of object-oriented programming. New opportunities and horizons lead to changes in his personal life and career. This tender portrait of an ordinary miner navigating his way through the labyrinth of the labour market reveals both the nooks and crannies of a performance-oriented society and the transforming industrial agglomerations. Strong will and determination prevail over the media simulacrum of retraining in an impressive struggle for the soul and the dignity of one working-class man. Q&A with the director and crew:   This film is being screened under the auspices of the Representation of the European Commission in the Czech Republic.
personal program

A New Shift

Jindřich Andrš
Czech Republic / 2020 / 90 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
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

The State Capture

Zuzana Piussi
Slovakia, Czech Republic / 2019 / 79 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
Passengers
The film’s director sees her four protagonists as passengers along for the ride. She started to follow them just before they left the children’s home where they grew up, and spent the next six years following their lives. The return to a non-functioning family environment often also means the return to established patterns, lack of a future, and unstable social relations. The film is an indirect indictment of the country’s institutionalized care system, which manages to look after children as minors but fails to properly prepare them for the transition into adulthood.„What is it like to sit in the back seat of your life?“         

Passengers

Jana Boršková
Czech Republic / 2018 / 78 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
On the Water
This documentary essay, containing certain elements of a road movie, traces the journey of several individuals during their trek through the foothills of the Ore Mountains. Its aim is to capture an image of the unstable terrain of the area, which is the result of decades of mining and the subsequent (un)successful reclamation activities. The title may be considered as the literal designation of their river adventure as well as a reference to the changeable nature of the landscape. This film, balancing on a fine line between documentary and fiction, appeals to the viewer’s imagination and lets the landscape itself tell the story of this devastated and later revitalised area of the Northern Bohemia Region.DETAIL:“It is a landscape in the midst of a transformation of sorts. Everything’s changing. There was a chemical factory over there; now it’s gone. The chemical factory over there used to be a meadow. Things change by the second. It has to be recorded.”

On the Water

Martin Ryšavý
Czech Republic / 2015 / 90 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
Attention Economy: 39 Minutes After the Presidential Election
Petr Salaba’s film is a mosaic of videos that use different perspectives to record the actors and witnesses of the incident widely discussed in the media and related to re-electing Miloš Zeman the President of the Czech Republic at the end of January 2018. The film image, divided into several frames with parallel events, is a voyeuristic view of the exacerbated situation that occurred shortly after Zeman’s press conference at the congress Top Hotel in Prague. The journalists and film documentarists present at the press conference got into conflict with Zeman’s aggressive supporters after a man collapsed in the lounge. “We have to find the positive Nash equilibrium. wikipedia.org/wiki/Nash_equilibrium” P. Salaba

Attention Economy: 39 Minutes After the Presidential Election

Petr Salaba
Czech Republic / 2018 / 8 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Creative Europe
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
Aktuálně.cz
Respekt