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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Czech Journal: The Little Mole & Laozi
Czech Journal: The Little Mole & Laozi

Czech Journal: The Little Mole & Laozi

director: Filip Remunda
original title: Český žurnál: Krtek a Lao-c'
country: Czech Republic
year: 2016
running time: 85 min.

synopsis

In one episode of Czech Journal, Filip Remunda focuses on the Chinese president’s visit to the Czech Republic and launches into confrontational discussions with the citizens of a country that violates human rights and where people are imprisoned for their opinions, but whose population proudly voices their allegiance to their prospering country. Footage of the protests held by the Czech public, and in the opposite situation, when the Chinese greet the president with joy, as well as interviews with a Chinese dissident and with a Czech teacher, are interspersed with the saying of Laozi and footage of Leonid Brezhnev’s visit to Prague in 1978. The film thus opens the question as to with whom the Czech president is fostering warm international relations.

“More than the protests, I was interested in the fact that the Chinese find us ridiculous for allowing people to protest. I went to China to get at the roots of this attitude.”

biography

Director Filip Remunda (1973), in collaboration with director Vít Klusák started the Hypermarket Film Production Company, and together they made the ironic confrontational documentaries Czech Dream (2004, Jihlava IDFF 2007) and Czech Peace (2010, Jihlava IDFF 2010). Independently Remunda has filmed such documentaries as The Tadpole, the Rabbit, and the Holy Ghost (2007, Jihlava IDFF 2007), about a radical Orthodox priest. Since 2016, he has been working on the television series Czech Journal.

more about film

director: Filip Remunda
producer: Petr Kubica, Vít Klusák, Filip Remunda
script: Filip Remunda
photography: Jakub Halousek
editing: Marek Šulík
sound: Michal Gábor

other films in the section

Skokan
Director Petr Václav calls Skokan a documentary film with fairy-tale aspects, mainly because of its emphasis on authenticity in telling the fictional tale of a Romani recidivist in search of career opportunities at the Cannes film festival. The main character is played a by real ex-con, Julius Oračko, whom the filmmakers got out of prison on parole shortly before the start of filming. The film was shot with just a rough script, which was fine-tuned on the set. The scenes from Cannes were shot during the festival. The ending, which recalls the liberation of an enchanted princess, again feels like a fairy tale.“We improvised most of the scenes during filming – we used the places we were able to get into and the light that was available. Above all, I tried to capture the experiences of the main character,” P. Václav

Skokan

Petr Václav
Czech Republic, France / 2017 / 93 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
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
Czech Journal: Children of the State
A great wave of criticism was aroused in 2011, when the Norwegian Child Welfare Services, Barnevernet, took away both of the Micháleks’ sons. The documentary director, who has two children of her own, set out to Norway to discover whether the state is indeed dictating how parents should raise their children. This investigative documentary uses individual stories and interviews with experts to reveal that the issues are much more complex than the way they are presented by the Czech media. Although the defined rules may be restrictive, they are also apparently one of the reasons why Norway is ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world. “Do what degree do we overlook cases in our surroundings, when parents are not able to handle the raising of their children? Are we respecting privacy? Or is it indifference? Are we able to view the state as other than a necessary evil?” I. P. Miloševičová

Czech Journal: Children of the State

Ivana Pauerová Miloševič
Czech Republic / 2017 / 57 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
Dying for Beginners / The Key of Silence
The joint title Dying for beginners brings together two short films that the directors shot together “in hospices, maternity wards, trains, and elsewhere.” They are based on interviews with the same protagonists and about similar subjects, but always as seen from a different angle. The first film, Marek Bouda’s The key of silence explores music and its relationship to old age and death. For instance, it asks what music we can hear in heaven or what music to play after our passing. In Dying for beginners, Bára Kopecká looks at the taboo subject of death in crematoria, among the dying, or in the maternity ward. “I was interested primarily in how music is reflected in the face of the listener when he is moved by it. And silence – the counterpoint to music, a pause in the composition, the end of life... the silence that remains after we are gone...” B. Kopecká

Dying for Beginners / The Key of Silence

Marek Bouda, Bára Kopecká
Czech Republic / 2017 / 58 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
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
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
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
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
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
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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