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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

ji-hlavadok-revuecdfEmerging producersInspiration Forum
The End and the Means
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The End and the Means
The End and the Means
The End and the Means
The End and the Means

The End and the Means

director: Pawel Wojtasik
original title: The End and the Means
country: United States, India, France
year: 2018
running time: 99 min.

synopsis

Massage, doing the laundry, grazing water buffalo, snake charmers, street jugglers and dentists, music and dance lessons. Through his humble contemplation on various expressions of people’s devotion to their work, Paweł Wojtasik shows the web of human activities that each have their fixed place within India’s caste society. Work is not a path out of poverty or towards wealth, but a form of Hindu meditation on the roots of human activity and established working techniques and rituals. Man is a machine controlled by a higher power. This observational documentary, filmed primarily in India’s oldest city, Varanasi, focuses on the sacred Ganges River as a source of all human endeavours.

 „I wanted to investigate the Indian idea that work can lead to liberation rather than alienation. As a film worker myself, I learned from the people I filmed – to be present with the whole body and mind.“ P. Wojtasik

biography

Polish-born video artist and documentarian Paweł Wojtasik (1952) studied painting at Yale, and today lives and works in New York. He has created numerous award-winning films and installations (Berlinale, Locarno), and spent two years in a Buddhist monastery. The End and the Means was created in collaboration with editor Narimane Mari and sound engineer Ernst Karel.

more about film

director: Pawel Wojtasik
producer: Narimane Mari
photography: Paweł Wojtasik
editing: Paweł Wojtasik
sound: Ernst Karel

other films in the section

Call Me Marianna
At the center of this film stands an attractive forty-year-old woman who has decided to fulfill a lifelong dream at the cost of great sacrifice - to be herself. She alienated her parents and lost loved ones when she underwent a long-desired sex change. The film attempts to explain to viewers and help them understand the difficult decision that Marianna had to face. While in the first, staged, part of the film the woman comes to terms with her own past through autobiographical theater performance, in the second, documentary part of the film, she is, however, confronted with unexpected twists and precarious situations that fate has set before her.DETAIL:“I’ll finally be able to look at myself in the mirror naked and not feel disgusted by my own body. – There are men and women. There’s male and female. The world doesn’t really allow any third options.”

Call Me Marianna

Karolina Bielawska
Poland / 2015 / 75 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
Birthday
A lonely life made up of daily routine tasks is depicted in this documentary made by the director about his own mother. It’s her birthday – her husband has been dead for years and her children have forgotten her, with the exception of her son, who remains behind the camera. Despite this, the ageing woman cleans, cooks, and makes ready for a possible celebration. Cursory inspections of her mobile phone screen show that she would have been happy with just a phone message. Birthdays give new meaning to loneliness, just as the director cuts away various natural barriers of the camera image and amplifies the sound effects track to allow silence to emerge and envelop the main character."One day of any person is the summary of his life. What we feel in one day is the same for all our life. Nothing changes. Repetitions, Repetitions and Repetitions. Just like my mother on her birthday." H. Baydarov

Birthday

Hilal Baydarov
Azerbaijan / 2018 / 63 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Sea Tomorrow
This observational documentary examines the disappearance of the Aral Sea and attempts at its restoration. At the location where the majority of maps and atlases show a large, majestic body of water, Katerina Suvorova finds only a largish pond and an arid wasteland, filled with the rusting remnants of wrecks waiting for scrap metal collectors. Shots of the enigmatic landscape, consisting of endless expanses of sand and dust, are alternated with captivating details. Just as fascinating is the strong will and faith of the people who have stayed in this inhospitable environment, such as old gardener, fishermen, and a hydrobiologist. They hope that the sea will return, they are fighting to save it, and they all hope for a better tomorrow. “I see people of the Aral region as a collective image of the last survivors on Earth. Their stories prove that even when the last shuttle abandons our racked planet, there will be people who stay and prefer correction of errors of the past to uncertainty of the future.” Katerina Suvorova

Sea Tomorrow

Yekaterina Suvorova
Kazakhstan, Germany / 2015 / 88 min.
section: Between the Seas
East European Premiere
Lecedra
Lecedra is a small village in Bulgaria. It is also the director’ home, to which he returns after a long absence, camera in hand. A documentary about the impossibility of being an impartial observer in a place to which one is bound by emotions. Into the sometimes highly descriptive observations, there suddenly intrudes the director’s emotionally animated commentary. A small, snow-shrouded village in a post-communist country. The Eisenstein-like conflict between the old and the new (relicts of totalitarianism contrast with the achievements of capitalism) takes on sleepy contours in the wintry timelessness, far from the budding spring.

Lecedra

Jivko Darakchiev
France, Bulgaria / 2012 / 29 min.
section: Between the Seas
Central European Premiere
Anthill
Although the traditional traffic in this gargantuan garage complex in the middle of an urban neighborhood in Tallinn ceased long ago, the place still lives its own alternative life. Seven hundred parking spaces are used by their owners for various purposes, creating a distinctive “man cave” atmosphere. While some repair their vehicles in their spaces, others have transformed theirs into warehouses, apartments, private saunas, disco bars, and restaurants. The director observes the offbeat life in this pulsating anthill with the necessary dose of humorous exaggeration and sense of the absurd, drawing comparisons to Ulrich Seidel’s In the Basement (2014).Detail:“I don't know if it’s true or not. I read it in a scientific magazine. Many years ago. I guess 15 years ago. The Japanese produced a video camera. It was banned later. Some confusion.”

Anthill

Vladimir Loginov
Estonia / 2015 / 83 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
Us Against Us
The director and her father take a camera in hand and film each other during interviews in which they discuss schizophrenia, their own pasts, and their personal conceptions of happiness. The film is a personal statement of two people affected by or marked by a mental disorder - a father forced to live with it and a daughter who had to grow up with a sick and often absent father. During filming, they try to find understanding for each other while revealing their inner traumas. One of the secondary topics is what it is like to undergo treatment for a mental disorder in Romania, as the father expresses frustration with the way he and his condition are viewed by the local healthcare system.
personal program

Us Against Us

Andra Tarara
Romania / 2020 / 74 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Paradise on Earth
Andrej Bán is a journalist and photographer who reports from areas in crises around the world, the likes of which include Kosovo, Georgia, Afghanistan, Ukraine and Haiti, where he constantly travels back and forth. A director of his decided to accompany him with a camera, and their intimate conversations intertwine throughout the film, revealing the reporter's internal professional and personal struggles. The documentary follows Andrej in cities destroyed by war or in refugee camps, during which it becomes clear that he's interested in a deeper look inside the causes of the confl icts as well as the oppressive situations their victims find themselves in.“People forgotten by people. With photographer, publicist, and friend Andrej Bán we discover stories of people, who were forced to leave their homes.” J. Vojtek

Paradise on Earth

Jaro Vojtek
Slovakia / 2019 / 78 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
The Winter Garden's Tale
Valentina Voronina, gardener and tenacious manager of a large conservatory, is fired after forty-five years on the job. Time is winning in its unequal battle with a lack of financing, a decaying building, and the approach of retirement age. The dilapidated conservatory reflects the weakening strength of its distinctive manager and visionary. The conviction that the plants will die if nobody looks after them, is intertwined with the appearance of esoterics and a shaman with a divining rod who discovers a spring of positive energy in front of the building’s entrance. Palm fronds rustle like a silent witness to the melancholic struggle against time and the relentlessness of decay. Another cruel winter is on the horizon. "It is built on its own internal rhythm without the author’s direct speech. Just rethought reality, placed in ironical and a little magic conditions with the main conflict between dreams and reality. " S. Mozgovyi

The Winter Garden's Tale

Simon Mozgovyi
Ukraine / 2018 / 75 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Bojo Beach
Regular rushes of waves wash the Ghanaian coast, and a group of fishermen pulls their catch from the sea as they do every day. This short film depicts the labours of local fishermen in several chapters. Almost aescetically static cinematography and minimal editing during the fishermen’s work set it off from anything that could happen on the beach that day. Thanks to the slow pace, unintentional abstract compositions of the fishing nets end up in the picture, or a lonely mountain is traced in the background. The film’s atmosphere isn’t determined by people but rather by the rhythm of the sea, the colour of the sky, and the structure of the sand on Bojo Beach."The idea of being sat on the beach is always one of soaking up the atmosphere, breathing in the air, being contemplative, just watching things, just letting them happen. All this in a globalized world" E. Groen

Bojo Beach

Elke Groen
Austria / 2017 / 25 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Journey around the home in 60 Days
The sheer range of Romanian films created as a result of this spring's lockdown has shown us how we can cope with the crisis. A lyrical montage of old footage set within the context of isolation alongside a video art compilation from public cameras around the world evokes feelings of melancholia, whilst a puppet fairytale criticises the establishment and the capitalist machine in a time of crisis. The film is comprised of personal archives reminiscent of a deceased grandmother and functions as both an impressible testimony and an excursion into Romanian history. This mix of genres is accompanied with playful animation and a sci-fi film about an alien’s visit to Earth during the coronavirus crisis.   „The deserted streets look alike one evening in Sokhumi, in Abkhazia, and one afternoon in Buchurest, during the lockdown.“ from Journey Around the Home in 60 Days 
personal program

Journey around the home in 60 Days

David Schwartz, Vlad Petri, Teona Galgotiu, Laura Pop, Andra Tarara, Alina Manolache, Alexandru Solomon
Romania / 2020 / 83 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Winter / Miracle
This allegorical docufiction provides the viewer with a lightly meditative and at the same time modern impression of the Christian holiday while paying witness to the transformation of the sacral space and the holiday’s religious message. The film’s anonymous protagonists from opposite sides of the world discuss the paths of their faith in this visually stylised and stylistically edited film. Czech viewers will be entranced by the final church crossover: The wild beach scene is underscored by the song Crazy for You, Jesus, which can be heard at gathering of the Czech sect known as the Triumphal Centre of Faith. The film itself concludes at just such a gathering. 

Winter / Miracle

Gustavo Beck, Željka Suková
Croatia, Denmark, Brazil / 2012 / 60 min.
section: Between the Seas
Central European Premiere
Normalization
Nearly 40 years ago, a young woman was murdered in Slovakia. To this day, the group of men who were convicted of this crime have tried in vain to prove that they are the victims of judicial terror. The director, who does not hide the fact that the sympathizes with the convicted, goes beyond their case and indirectly reveals doubts as to the trustworthiness of his country’s judicial system. Only once do most of the convicted appear together before the camera: when their sentences are confirmed in 2006. More than the words, recriminations, anger, and sadness, the viewer remembers their exhausted expressions and the realization that they can never give up.

Normalization

Robert Kirchhoff
Slovakia, Czech Republic / 2013 / 100 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Creative Europe
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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