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23rd Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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De Sancto Ambrosio
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De Sancto Ambrosio
De Sancto Ambrosio
De Sancto Ambrosio

De Sancto Ambrosio

director: Antonio Di Biase
original title: De Sancto Ambrosio
country: Italy
year: 2018
running time: 50 min.

synopsis

The opening ten-minute sequence of the film raises a question whether something is about to happen or not. Nothing much is going to happen, though. Workers are working at a building site, kids are playing, tourists are sightseeing, a wedding and a funeral are in progress, followed by images of empty streets and perspectives of building rooftops – in brief, a microcosm. The film shows the town from a totally different perspective, laying out fragments of life of seemingly totally uninteresting people who simply go about their existence. The camera is set in motion without the passersby even noticing since it has been put in a strategic elevated spot. The whole movie consists purely of bird’s-eye view shots.

"I always had a fascination to go up the building's rooftops to contemplate the city. Spending one year on a medieval bell tower was like being in a time machine which made time into something tangible." A. Di Bias

biography

Antonio Di Biase (1994) was born in Pescara and in 2012, he moved to Milan where he began studies in painting at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera. He is currently a second-year student at ZeLIG in Bolzano, focusing on documentary filmmaking. He has taken part in many festivals with his films, e.g. Collecchio Video Film Festival in Parma, International Melzo File Festival or Torino Film Festival. He is the author of films Cibus Trittico (2015) or Nuova Zita (2016). 

more about film

director: Antonio Di Biase
producer: Riccardo Annoni
script: Antonio Di Biase
photography: Antonio Di Biase
editing: Maria Giovanna Cicciari, Antonio Di Biase
sound: Massimo Mariani

other films in the section

Smiling on the Phone
This observational documentary investigates the phenomenon of the call centre as a contemporary labor issue. “A”, employed in a Nike customer service centre, decides to document her last weeks prior to her return to Spain. A casually placed camera captures her loneliness, her colleagues, or aimless shots of a room with strange voices and sounds. It reveals the discrepancy between the image, as presented by the media and as it is promoted among employees, and its perception, which we come to know from text messages sent between “A” and “K” that flash onto the screen. The feelings of alienation and demotivation conflict with the requirement to behave more positively and enthusiastically.“Smiling on the Phone explores issues of contemporary labor and highlights the political relevance of documenting the workspace while exploring forms of response and resistance to those work-related images created by the powers.”

Smiling on the Phone

Aitziber Olaskoaga
Netherlands, Spain, United States / 2016 / 38 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
A Volatile Tale
The unexpected birth of young birds frames this daily observation of a bird colony from the window of a flat in Rome. A poetic juxtaposition of human and bird life, of the search for god and a yearning for perfection, plays out on a minimalist stage of a few slanting rooftops. The footage of urban gulls, taken with a shaky handheld camera and intercut with shots of nuns from the neighbouring monastery, are mixed with poems, excerpts from novels and classical music. Only now and then – in a reflection in a window or from a seemingly banal conversation – do we learn anything about the people behind the camera.„Is life linear? Why should narration be. Our attentive eyes excite our thoughts. Let's follow them. A Volatile Tale proceeds through associations describing not the existing but the experience." C. Vestroni

A Volatile Tale

Carla Vestroni
Italy / 2017 / 44 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
China, 87. The Others
We follow the film journey of director Viollaine de Villers and traveller Jean-Pierre Outers around the Chinese interior during the late 1980s. In a fragmented sequence of archival shots, vignettes of local culture gradually emerge, including everyday work, leisure time moments, and reflections of ancient myths. But it’s not just another of the countless travel documentaries or urban symphonies, but rather a suggestive video essay. The VHS camera becomes a fully-fledged historiographical medium through which foreign culture is revealed in all its myriad facets without crystallizing it into a comfortably consumable image„Welcome to China, freed from any historical or political perspective, we are confronted with the Otherness of Chinese culture. We see in this film the opposite of the picturesque – a slice of quotidian life that may be banal, but still fascinates us.” V. de Villers

China, 87. The Others

Violaine de Villers, Jean-Pierre Outers
Belgium / 2017 / 60 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Missing
Once we begin to consider certain people, items, or memories as our own, we lay ourselves open to the threat that we’ll lose them. Once the loss actually occurs, our mental image of the lost thing doesn’t disappear – on the contrary – it intensifies. This documentary, inspired by the stories of missing people in Iranian newspapers, searches for people who have disappeared for various reasons, but their tracks still resonate. A wide spectrum of archival materials offers a variety of answers to the question of how the absent can remain present, while live images of grieving loved ones then act as an appeal to all those who would brush off this painful ambivalence. „It could be so simple at times. We just leave home and forget to return. Or don’t want to return. Or cannot return...” F. Sharifi

Missing

Farahnaz Sharifi
Iran / 2017 / 60 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Taego Ãwa
Tutawa Tuagaek, the ageing leader of the Ãwa, a Brazilian indigenous tribe, is one of the last survivors of the 1973 massacre of Indians in the Amazon jungle. This team of filmmaker-ethnographers records his everyday life in the company of young followers, to whom he is trying to pass on his experiences. The Indian community’s everyday rituals are contrasted with found photographs and video clips that offer rare evidence of the atrocities that Tutawa recounts. Different epochs and visual formats create a continuum that reveals the traumatic history of an oppressed people who have managed to survive despite all odds."The imagination is not only mediator between understanding and sensibility, it has its own dynamism, scheme free, organized bodies, constituted individuals, fixed identities, consolidated psyches."

Taego Ãwa

Henrique Borela, Marcela Borela
Brazil / 2016 / 75 min.
section: Opus Bonum
East European Premiere
Acts and Intermissions
This experimental documentary essay about American anarchist and political activist Emma Goldman (1869–1940), known as the “most dangerous living woman” of her time, is the second part of her directorial trilogy about women and ideology, in which she poses the fundamental question: what do women have to give up in order to more than “just women”? The filmmaker presents a rich collage of archival footage, reconstructed scenes, and observed moments from the present with the goal of exploring the resurgence of protests in the 21st century. Over several timelines, we see fragments of Goldman’s diary entries intertwined with moments from her life and prophetic speeches. “The 2nd in my explores Emma Goldman & Anarchism in a series of non-hierarchical fragmented ‘memory’ chapters. Each part asks what we give up to be more than merely female?” A. Child

Acts and Intermissions

Abigail Child
United States / 2017 / 57 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
Until Porn Do Us Part
Eulália, a religious and conservative sixty-something woman, must come to terms with a difficult period in her life. Her son has emigrated to Germany, where is a gay porn star. Eulália spends ever more time on Facebook scanning his profile and writing long, mostly unread messages. This dramatically structured observational documentary touches on a number of contemporary issues, including the crisis of the traditional family, how social networks are changing interpersonal relationships, and society’s views of homosexuality and pornography. An unobtrusive look at the LGBT community, humility, and the strength of motherly love."God heard my prayers / He gave me a lovely son / I'll never trade him for anything / Not even for the biggest treasures / Even if I have to spend / My whole life suffering..." J. Pelicano

Until Porn Do Us Part

Jorge Pelicano
Portugal / 2018 / 90 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
One Night Stand
The film is based on the filmmakers’ real encounter with an unknown European one night in a bar in Beirut in 2017. It was a man on the road to join the Kurdish militia fighting in the war against the Islamic state on the territory of Syria. The conversation was secretly recorded on a cellphone and serves as the script for animated modeled situations and reconstructions of that night. In addition to a fascinating probe into the thinking of a man who is willing to sacrifice his life for the struggle for  freedom, the film is also a formal polemic on the apparent authenticity of the documentary and the possibilities of representation of reality by means of simulations and modeled situations. “War today is a constant state of preparation for absolute destruction beyond the frontline. We no longer have the means of recognising it, nor distinguishing between a soldier and a citizen.” M. Lotfy, N. Abed     
personal program

One Night Stand

Noor Abed, Mark Lotfy
Egypt, Palestine / 2019 / 24 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Entrance to the End
A dark psycho-ethnographic journey of Maria von Hausswolff and Anne Gry F. Kristensen into the depths of the jungle of the human subconsciousness. The footage from the Panama rainforest was shot on 16mm and all sound was recorded on cassette tapes. The film is a subconscious reaction to Ruggero Deodato's Cannibal Holocaust, an ultraviolent Italian film from the 1970s, as well as to all romanticizing depictions of nature as a place of harmony which is in balance with both itself and its inhabitants. Balancing between imagination and reality, this work is on of the most uncompromising films at this year's festival."The film is a mysterious poem-like journey through an eerie jungle where the viewer get to meet all kinds of creatures and spirits, living and dead. It's shot on a 16mm bolex camera accompanied by sounds recorded on analogue tapes.“ M. Von Hausswolff, A. G. Friis Kristensen 

Entrance to the End

Anne Gry Friis Kristensen, Maria Von Hausswolff
Sweden, Denmark / 2018 / 33 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Wishing you the same
The iconic book Europeana: A Brief History of the Twentieth Century by Patrik Ouředník, first published in 2001, has transformed the imagination of the French film-maker into an apocalyptic chronicle of the last century. A straightforward testimony of scientific rationality, which led the society to a spiritual crisis and resulted in six genocides, is accompanied with melancholic Mahlerian echoes of La Belle Époque when the world was just getting ready for the century that negated all humanity. The film raises the question whether Europe in post-history and post-humanity, sweetly anaesthetized to collective unconsciousness, will pretend as if nothing had happened. “I wanted to breathe life into Ourednik's amazing text and to present its visions on the screen. The purpose of the resulting film play is to make the viewer reflect on different aspects of humanity.” A. de Mezamat
personal program

Wishing you the same

Arnaud de Mezamat
France / 2019 / 95 min.
section: Opus Bonum
European Premiere
La Perla, about the Camp
Many ask themselves if it is at all possible to give an account of the horrors of concentration camps. Director Pablo Baur reached the conclusion that this type of representation is possible, however only if there is a radical departure from the dominant form of film language. He divided his film essay about the former Argentinian concentration camp La Perla into 19 sections, each of which treats the formal resources in its own distinct way. We encounter various views of the location in question, ranging from 180° panoramic shots of the surrounding landscape, to black-and-white figures providing absurdly detailed information about the institution’s daily operations. Taken together, they do not form one comprehensive portrait, but rather a network of mutually interwoven discourses.“My city harbored a concentration camp and I am not indifferent to that. I seek to offer my viewpoint, a viewpoint committed to the real.”

La Perla, about the Camp

Pablo Baur
Argentina / 2016 / 60 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Also Known as Jihadi
This conceptual documentary, inspired by Masao Adachi’s famous 1969 film Ryakushô renzoku shasatsuma (A.K.A. Serial Killer), is based on landscape theory, whose proponents strive to capture in art the environmental influences that help to form ones’ personality, and the effect that specific locations have on an individual’s life. The film’s director uses this approach to dissect the path followed by a young Frenchman of Algerian descent from his native country to Syria and back again – a path from a secure social position to radicalism and ruin. Without even once showing us the protagonist, he builds an overall picture of him using a series of shots consisting of streets, beaches, buildings, and text from written records made during investigations and interrogations. „Fûkei means landscape in Japanese. Fûkeiron is a proposition: turn the camera 180 degrees to film not the subject of the film, but rather the landscapes that he has seen.” E. Baudelaire

Also Known as Jihadi

Eric Baudelaire
France / 2017 / 101 min.
section: Opus Bonum
East European Premiere
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Evropská unie
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