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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Byeway

Byeway

director: Ivo Bystřičan
original title: Dál nic
country: Czech Republic
year: 2013
running time: 72 min.

synopsis

Activism, direct observation, and situational documentary inconspicuously linger about the constantly delayed construction of the D8 motorway. Local residents, a Brno-based activist and the construction chief shatter the clichés of contemporary documentary film – among other things in who we should root for. The local mixes with the global just like economics and the environment.

A beautiful shot of the north Bohemian countryside, set to Wagner’s Tannhäuser. But the viewer intuitively senses that these superficial aesthetics hide a no less forceful sense of irony and doubt.

more about film

director: Ivo Bystřičan
producer: Radovan Síbrt
editing: Adam Patyk
music: Richard Wagner
sound: Jan Kalužný

other films in the section

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
Moravia, Beautiful Land
An experimental western horror film set in Moravian Slovakia brings a new perspective to the legend of St. Wenceslas. Against the shabby backdrop of village merrymaking, the legendary Prince Boleslav, a wine-cellar zombie, fights with his brother over the nature of Czech statehood and a plate of tomato beef stew. This film essay about the mythology of Bohemian and Moravian nationalism is a sarcastic depiction of meaningless tribal rituals that promote national identity but severely restrict “otherness”. The film sabotages the sanctity of folklore through the use of archaic film and video formats containing a number of mistakes and defects, a schmaltzy mix of brass band music, and the contrapuntal nature of the commentary. Detail: “The song Morava, Beautiful Land by the Bojané Band is dedicated to Saint Wenceslas, probably born in Prague, and on his way to visit his brother Boleslav. Wishing him an uneventful journey, a jaunty pace, and spring to his step.”

Moravia, Beautiful Land

Petr Šprincl
Czech Republic / 2015 / 30 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
DK
This intimate portrait of uncompromising architect David Kopecký – who died of cancer – goes straight to the bone, mixing the extreme personality of a maximalist visionary with the no less intense vision of the director... Kopecký's wife. Archival footage, interviews with friends, and the unbridle energy of a person who lived in a world consisting of light and matter. "A large village shop was being auctioned off, and David was sick with the desire to acquire it... Me and the children's room would be in the meat section, while he would take up everything from the bread aisle to the dairy products."

DK

Bára Kopecká
Czech Republic / 2013 / 75 min.
section: Czech Joy
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
Talking About Adultery
In open testimonies by husbands, wives, and lovers, this highly stylized introspective fi m presents different forms of marriage and searches for the meaning of this institution in our post-consumerist society. Through a visually dominant text conversation between the central couple R. and B., the viewer gradually begins to identify with the stories of anonymous heroes who balance fulfillment of love and sexuality in relationships, cope with their frustration, or describe the rediscovered value of marriage. Metaphors and collages reflect the filmmaker’s perspective, and ultimately a surprising twist of life connected to the filming. “Infidelity is actually a boring topic, yet it can be quite telling about one.” B. Jíchová Tyson
personal program

Talking About Adultery

Bára Jíchová Tyson
Czech Republic, United States / 2019 / 72 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
Treating History
A Jesuit, an anarchist, a doctor, and a banking expert showed such civic courage that they were awarded a prize named after one of the most courageous men of 20th-century Czechoslovak politics – František Kriegel. Where lies the line beyond which human dignity is at risk? A meditation on human rights and the legacy of ideas, from unexpected points of view and in unexpected contexts. Anarchist Polák stands against loggers towards the end of the Šumava blockade. Except for a few important details, they agree on almost everything.

Treating History

Vít Janeček
Czech Republic / 2013 / 84 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Vote For Kibera
Photographer Don, a resident of Kibera, a giant slum in Nairobi, says that in his photographs he tries to capture the positive side of his home – not suffering, misery, and resignation, but hope, determination, and creativity. And Martin Páv’s documentary has taken a similar approach. Working with the unique photogenic qualities of the slum, the film is structured as a series of interviews with local residents. Besides Don, we also meet local artists, a teacher, and a boxing coach. Nevertheless, in the film’s final part about the presidential elections in Kenya, the frustrations, hopelessness, and violence in Kibera bubble to the surface.“People can co-operate if they have a reason to.“ M. Páv

Vote For Kibera

Martin Páv
Czech Republic / 2018 / 86 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
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
Tears of Steel: Vladimír Stehlík Meets Lubomír Krystlík
The privatization and bankruptcy of the famous Poldi Kladno steel mill in the 1990s long left its mark on Czech society and the media. The FAMU graduate film returns to the affair many years later from the point of view of its main actors: Poldi Kladno’s CEO Vladimír Stehlík and his personal advisor Lubomír Krystlík. By juxtaposing their remarks with archival television videos, the film provides a humorous look at the ups and downs of two men who contributed extensively to building capitalism in post-1989 Bohemia and who are now learning the art of aging on their meager pensions. DETAIL:“You have to turn it into a show. Otherwise nobody will find it interesting. Also, there is no point in returning to the past. Document it and enough.” “And how should we turn it into a show?” “For instance by taking a picture of Stehlík’s teeth.”

Tears of Steel: Vladimír Stehlík Meets Lubomír Krystlík

Tomáš Potočný
Czech Republic / 2015 / 52 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
Batalives
Tomáš Baťa created unique factory production in the middle of a town that he had built for his employees complete with civic infrastructure. In line with this philosophy, the Baťa brothers set up dozens satellite town reminiscent of Zlín all over the world. Some of them still serve their original purpose, others stand as mere reminders of the famous factories. Poetic episodes take place in standard terrace houses that provide a video clip backdrop for young Croatians or symbolize the life devoted to Baťa in Batadorp, Netherlands. Five protagonists from different continents tell their overlapping stories influenced by the Baťa system. ‘Baťa’s motivational motto “Today a Dream, Tomorrow Reality”, painted in large letters on the wall that divided the factory from the town, has always seemed incredibly sad to me. It would be much better to live according to a motto “Today Reality, But Tomorrow a Dream”.’ K. Zalabáková

Batalives

Petr Babinec, Karolina Zalabáková
Czech Republic / 2017 / 75 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Eugenic Minds
The history of one idea with monstrous consequences, presented in the style of old newsreels and interspersed with quotes from Patrik Ouředník’s Europeana. Archival footage is combined with animation as a kindly narrator takes us on a journey from the idea of cultivating a “better human race” all the way to the gas chambers. “Some historians say that the 20th century began when people learned they were descended from apes. And some people claimed that they are less descended from apes than others...” – Patrik Ouředník, Europeana

Eugenic Minds

Pavel Štingl
Czech Republic, Slovakia / 2013 / 75 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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