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23rd Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

ji-hlava dok cdf
de fac-to
de fac-to
de fac-to
de fac-to

de fac-to

director: Alexandra Wachter, Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermair
original title: de fac-to
country: Russia, Austria
year: 2018
running time: 32 min.

synopsis

How do we deal with our history? Is it possible that history becomes rather a tool made to justify our current interests and views? Such questions are posed in the observation documentary called de fac-to. The filmmakers visited several public events commemorating World War II in the Ukrainian town of Lviv. Moving recitations of poems are followed by anti-alcoholism propagandist bashings, allegations claiming that decommunization process in Ukraine had been started by Hitler or comparing numbers of victims during the Nazi and Communist eras. This diverse, often absurd kaleidoscope is structured as a stream of footage of events in chronological order with no commentary.

„With our film we want to give an insight into specific situations and atmospheres, documenting the various protagonists as they find a relationship to the present through rituals celebrating the past.“ E. Shapiro-Obermair

biography

De fac-to is a collaboration between the artist Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermair and the historian Alexandra Wachter (1972), an expert on modern history of Eastern European countries. Shapiro-Obermair was born in Russia, but currently lives in Vienna. In her film Narrated (2015), she shows a guided tour through the house where Vladimir Lenin spent the last years of his life, while her film With you, it will be all right (2017) features interviews with students of a Jewish secondary school.

more about film

director: Alexandra Wachter, Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermair
producer: Alexandra Wachter, Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermair
photography: Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermair, Alexandra Wachter
editing: Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermair
sound: Masha Dabelka

other films in the section

Notorious Deeds
October 1989. A high school student in Bucharest is apprehended for pasting up anti-regime posters and is interred in a secret police building for a number of days. As a result, his family, loved ones, friends, and schoolmates are affected by restrictions. Twenty years later at their class reunion, an excursion begins into memories of that moment of shock etched forever into memory, but for each somewhat differently. Director Gabriel Tempea is more interested in exploring the subjective interpretation from the point of view of “talking heads” than the actual facts. A postmodern form of oral history based on the testimonies of those who have most of their lives ahead of them.“Based on personal, subjective and painstakingly detailed recollections of an exceptional occurrence, I attempted to provide a glimpse at the bigger picture of  atroubled historical period.” Gabriel Tempea

Notorious Deeds

Gabriel Tempea
Romania, Austria / 2015 / 68 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
A Tall Tale
The magic of folksongs lies in their freedom from the restraints of artificial genres and thematic rules. The creative duo of Lucia Nimcová and Sholto Dobie approach their improvised observational documentary in much the same way. The sequence of images from contemporary western Ukraine brings narrative, sound, and musical elements and nearly photographic detailed static scenes of reality into creative counterpoint. Figures of various ages alternate before the camera; interior and exterior locations change; but the song goes on. A folk opera consisting of bawdy folk songs, storytelling ballads, and pre-modern hip-hop. Old world music.“A Tall Tale seeks to capture private and hidden realities excluded from the main historical narrative of the region. Hard mountain rap, vintage feminism and filthy Carpathian hip hop are still alive and relevant.” Lucia Nimcová

A Tall Tale

Lucia Babjaková Nimcová
Slovakia / 2016 / 34 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Among Houses and the Cosmos
In this sensual film essay, the director has assembled her experiences with rituals in various corners of the world, from Europe across Africa to Latin America. The close interaction of the camera with bodies moving in trances encourages active involvement in the frenzied moments in which people lose themselves in Dionysian intoxication. These moments serve the filmmaker to obliterate the distance between the individual and the collective, personal and foreign, internal and external. The film, however, attaches a political meaning to the rituals, or rather shows how uprooted cultures cope with their minority status through rituals, or even turn it to their favor. “I felt the urgency to work with video footage from years of different travels. During editing, I found myself thinking about the human necessity to impose meaningful patterns on life and being.” Koštana Banović

Among Houses and the Cosmos

Kostana Banović
Netherlands, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Portugal, Senegal, Brazil, Angola, Turkey, Gambia, Cuba, Serbia, Aruba, Netherlands Antilles / 2016 / 70 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
People Pebble
Stones form the landscape, they crunch underfoot as we walk, and children use them in their games. In this experimental film by the directing duo of Darakchiev and Gamot, the fascination with one particular object reaches its peak. The associative images, brought together by the lens of a 16mm camera, create a loosely related series of stream-of-consciousness ideas: Monumental shots of the cliffs of Dover, stone houses, people walking on a stone beach, and a metronome in the shape of a hammer. Ordinary images accompanied by cacophonous sounds and excerpts from unrelated interviews create new associations among familiar aspects of human existence. International Premiere shared with DocLisboa "People Pebble figuratively associates two disparate patrimonial identities, inciting a new dialogue through and beyond the traces of the human hand, all encompassed by the impermanence of nature." J. Darakchiev, P. Gamot

People Pebble

Perrine Gamot, Jivko Darakchiev
France, United Kingdom / 2017 / 18 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
The End and the Means
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
personal program

The End and the Means

Pawel Wojtasik
France, India, United States / 2018 / 99 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
A Two Way Mirror
This poetic documentary presents one woman’s journey towards finding self-confidence, inner peace, and harmony. The filmmaker returns to Croatia’s Lika region, where her family comes from. In the bosom of nature, she tries to come to terms with the losses she has suffered in her life, her illness, and her fear of the future. The film is structured into six parts (prologue, spring, summer, autumn, winter, epilogue), each linked to a different stage of human life. It is a very open and intimate confession, framed in a mosaic of memories and experiences, thoughts and feelings. The film is also therapeutic, helping the filmmaker find the strength to fight. The film received the Croatian Oktavijan Award for Best Documentary Film. “Every fear comes with the reason. To cure my fears I merged secret patterns and knowledge of my family with the cycles of nature. Through this collision I revealed what is the human in beasts and the beastly in humans.” Katarina Zrinka Matijević Veličan

A Two Way Mirror

Katarina Zrinka Matijević
Croatia / 2016 / 42 min.
section: Between the Seas
European Premiere
The Betrayed Square
The Arab Spring of 2011. Day after day, thousands of young Egyptian protesters flooded Tahrir Square in Cairo. Poet and sound artist Stéphane Montavon assembled a psychedelic collage composed of freely accessible images of the revolution, adding an acoustic probe full of tension, rebellion and aggression of the repressive forces. The revolutionary turmoil is expanded into a sonic dimension of auteur installation. It is an impressive story of symbolic moments of ecstatic struggles for democracy and a new Constitution. It exposes mottos, protesters’ slogans and dialogues of the massacred victims. The images of repressive government forces are confronted with everyday life. On a cold morning, the betrayed revolution melts into a day-to-day routine."Rebuilding the revolution with found footage reminds us not only of the past fight, but most importantly of the Egyptian’s revolutionary will still awaiting to be accomplished." Maciej Madracki, Michał Mądracki, MML collective
personal program

The Betrayed Square

Michał Mądracki, MML collective
Poland, Switzerland / 2018 / 45 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Cinema Futures
A multi-genre collage consisting of variations on educational films, interviews with famous people (film theorist David Bordwell, director Christopher Nolan), and free-association poetry, Cinema Futures makes humorous use of a subversive and almost conspiratorial commentary. A meditation on the future of film in a world of digital platforms, this wild cinematic “ride” through a labyrinth of museums and archives to bring life classic cinematic and archival methods and contrast them with today’s ubiquitous virtuality. Does the death of celluloid also mean the death of film? Are we losing our audiovisual memory?"A few years before a digitally presented film was exclusive. I disliked it. Scratches, dust and the noise of the silver belong to my formative movie experiences. But nostalgia is not an option."

Cinema Futures

Michael Palm
Austria / 2016 / 125 min.
section: Between the Seas
East European 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
personal program

Bojo Beach

Elke Groen
Austria / 2017 / 25 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
The Last Self-portrait
Slovak director Marek Kuboš has not shot a film in 13 years. His first film ever – a student exercise at film school – was a self-portrait. The circle is closed, the source of creativity has seemingly dried up. All that is left to do in the last self-portrait is to clean up after oneself, to recapitulate one’s successes and failures, and to bid farewell to one’s protagonists. This introspective meta-documentary is not so much a study of a creative crisis as it is a self-therapeutic process and an attempt at offering a comprehensive profile of the filmmaker at a time of unstable certainties. Appearing in the role of Kuboš’s consultants are essentially all leading Slovak documentary filmmakers."I’ve long felt that through documentary filmmaking I can’t say what I want to, what calls out to me. I’ve butted against internal and external boundaries that have paralyzed me as a documentarian. " M. Kuboš
personal program

The Last Self-portrait

Marek Kuboš
Slovakia / 2018 / 72 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
My Friend Boris Nemtsov
Until his violent death in February 2015, Boris Nemtsov was know as the face of the anti-Putin opposition movement. This intimate portrait brings us closer to his activities during his final years, when voices of protest became stronger in Russian society. The film does not portray grand speeches and gestures, but rather the daily activities of a politician, which included long business trips in addition to appearances in the media or at demonstrations, the everyday office routine, and discussions with people on the street. Nemstov’s close contact with social actors and the director are evidence of his courage and spontaneity, without needless pathos. “It is a film début, a documental tragedy. It took three years to make this portrait of Boris Nemtsov. Murdered in February 2015, the outstanding leader of Russian opposition is shown sympathetically, with humane warmth and irony.” Zosya Rodkevich

My Friend Boris Nemtsov

Zosya Rodkevich
Estonia / 2016 / 70 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
Picturesque Epochs
The main focus of the new series A Private Hungary consists of 8mm footage from the private archives of the painter Mária Gánóczy (1927), whose rhythm is accentuated by the director’s syntactic additions. Gánóczy’s melancholic narration contrasts with the ideological rhetoric of the era’s news weeklies and police reports. The portraits of her family and friends and contemporary images from her canvas-filled studio, accompanied by the poetry of Dezső Tandori, are condensed into a sense of open possibilities for how to depict the past. At the same time, the fragile and unique nature of human experience appear especially vulnerable when we touch on eternity."A time travel through 200 years of Hungarian art & history through the eye and lenses of painters. This weaved art-and-film grand patchwork streams like the currents of the river of times, ripples and floats." P.  Forgács

Picturesque Epochs

Péter Forgács
Hungary / 2016 / 133 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
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