24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival
Video Day 1989/2018
original title: Den videa 1989/2018
country: Czech Republic
running time: 90 min.
The exhibition Video Day, the first collective presentation of video art in the Czech lands, took place on June 11, 1989 at Julius Fučík Culture and Relaxation Centre (today’s Prague Exhibition Grounds) as part of the annual presentation of the Czech Association of Visual Artists.
The exhibition Video Day 1989/2018 was a reconstruction of the original 1989 exhibition which took place on September 4, 2018. Martin Mazanec as the curator came up with an idea of initiating a debate on historical forms of presentation, but also on potential preservation of moving images. The reasons why video art has been up to now avoided by large numbers of institutions and artists may be illustrated within areas representing the clash between socio-cultural and economic circumstances of the origination and existence of individual works of art.
Discussion with invited guests will be accompanied by fragments of works by artists exhibiting back in 1989: Věra Geislerová & René Slauka, Václav Hodan, Roman Milerský, 5D studio (Tomáš Kepka, Michal Pacina, Marta Karoliová), Radek Pilař, Pavel Scheufler, Petr Skala, Lucie Svobodová, Ivan Tatíček and Jaroslav Vančát.
other films in the section
The aim of a literary essay is to capture the moveable and unstable “ego”, which also involves things and other people. The objective of the workshop is to explore the methods that can (and cannot) be used to convert this loose prosaic form into film. We will also examine how filmmakers themselves perceive the film essay in their own texts, starting with Hans Richter and his reflective manifesto entitled The Film Essay: A New Form of Documentary Film (1940). The workshop will also include commented excerpts from films by Dziga Vertov, Hans Richter, and Terence Davies.---Dílnu vede / The Workshop is led by: Karel Thein
Karel Thein: The Film Essay and the Prose of Images
In honor of Arnošt and Jaroslava Hanibal’s wedding in September 1974, Ivan M. Jirous held the “First Festival of Other Culture” in Postupice, with the passive presence of the police. Performers included Old Teenagers, Sen Noci Svatojánské Band, Goldberg Grass Band, DG 307, Svatopluk Karásek, Charlie Soukup, and the Plastic People. The evening also featured a screening of Jan Ságl’s earlier films. The documentary opens with people gathering by the Rudolfinum in Prague, and also captures a part of the various performances. From the footage, it is evident that there were other cameramen present with 16mm film, making this one of the best-documented underground events.
Czechoslovakia / 1974 / 15 min.
The spoken word plays the main role in this investigative documentary. While the screen remains black, we listen to a conversation between officials and filmmakers who want to shoot a film about lung disease in Sichuan. The audio record exposes the typical strategy of censorship, progressing from false affability to the point of open threats.
China / 2016 / 62 min.
East European Premiere
With almost no commentary, this portrait of a young rural early-grade schoolteacher shows the tenacity of a woman who must battle daily snowdrifts on her skis to reach her job. The filmmaker interweaves shots of mundane tasks in lyrical compositions presenting poetic views of the landscape.“Sýkora’s themes revolve around insignificant people who find themselves in extreme social or psychological situations. In each case, he has grown humanly fond of his protagonists.” Rudolf Urc
Czechoslovakia / 1969 / 16 min.
A private concert by the Plastic People at their practice space in the now-demolished house (no. 1) on the corner of Dělnická and Argentinská Streets in Prague. Because of the cramped conditions, Ságl recorded the events in extreme close-up using his characteristic hand-held lighting. The close-ups are often on the border of being out of focus. This, combined with the bright light source, makes it one of the rawest and most original documentaries of its time.
Studio at Argentinská
Czechoslovakia / 1973 / 13 min.
Using reconstruction methods and the protagonist’s personal commentary, this Flahertyesque documentary takes a look at the life of an 80-year-old man who is raising his three grandchildren, whose mother has died and whose father has abandoned them. It is not, however, merely a lecture about practical activities, but rather about the principles and values he introduces to the children.“In addition to a pure idea, Sýkora inserted immense and pure emotion into his film – love and admiration of a person, honoring his life and his work.” Antonín Navrátil
Vlado, Marienka, Jojo and Grandfather
Czechoslovakia / 1965 / 21 min.
This filmed survey of second-year students of the Documentary Department explores the conflicts that arise when a woman wants to study, possibly even set out along an academic career path, but at the same time longs to properly care for her family and children. The scenes portray the efforts of the female students, and their off-screen statements are interspersed with a contemporary commentary.
Czechoslovakia / 1966 / 7 min.
We most commonly see Normalization era in Czechoslovakia – the time of social and political repression following the country’s invasion by Warsaw Pact troops in 1968 – through documentaries about dissidents or from old television series. But the dilemmas posed by the totalitarian regime affected everybody. The 16-part series Stories of the 20th Century explores various people’s (students, journalists, miners, secret police collaborators, soldiers, rank-and-file Party members, homosexuals, and many others) responses to the pressure they received not only from the government apparatus but also from those around them. ---Three films from the series will be presented by their writers and directors. Tři filmy představí a debatu o nich povedou režiséři a scenáristé cyklu.
Stories of the 20th Century
A concert by the Plastic People and Aktual at the Music F Club on 26 February 1971 – usually called one of the key events of the Czech underground. The film captures pre-concert preparations and the concert itself, including the industrial elements of Milan Knížák’s Aktual (the use of power drill, metal percussion, various objects, and throwing rice into the audience). The second part of the film shows some of the costumes and stage designs that Jan Ságl made for the Plastics’ concerts with his wife Zorka Ságlová.
Music F Club
Czechoslovakia / 1971 / 6 min.
Dramaturge, screenwriter, and director Pavol Sýkora (1931–1970) was a central figure of Slovak documentary film in the 1960s. He worked as a dramaturge on documentary films at Koliba Studios. The selected films represent his most distinctive and original portraits. Besides an inclination for the reconstruction pioneered by Flaherty, Sýkora’s work is characterized by an attempt at achieving a maximum understanding of the subject free of embellishment, academism, and pathos, and without being didactic. The results are deeply felt portraits of man or explorations of inner experience, often without words.---Dílnu vede / The Workshop is led by: Martin Kaňuch
Gertjan Zuilhof is former programmer for the Rotterdam film festival. Although he is not a China, nor does he speak Chinese, he became good friends with numerous independent Chinese filmmakers. Zuilhof has chosen two recent independent productions to illuminate the situation of independent Chinese filmmakers today –Man’s World by artist/filmmaker Han Tao and Welcome by producer/filmmaker Zhu Rikun. Both deal with police brutality, but do so in very different and stylistically distinct ways. Spoken word is very important in both films – lies as well as the truth.---Dílnu vede / The Workshop is led by: Gertjan Zuilhof
Hidden Welcomes. Speaking the truth in Chinese Independent Film
Music programmer and curator Pavel Klusák presents abstract and experimental films as a window onto the radicalization of the term “music video.” Noise, drone, feedback, sound collages, field recordings, deep electronica, improvised interactions, the post-technological world: experimental music as a source of inspiration and provocation for contemporary visual artists. Matthew Revert and Vanessa Rossetto, Franck Vigroux and Mika Vainio, Jon Rafman and Oneohtrix Point Never, and other collaborative efforts.---The Workshop is led by Pavel Klusák
Adult Contemporary: Experimental Music Video 016