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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Arms ready
Arms ready
Arms ready
Arms ready

Arms ready

director: Barbora Chalupová
original title: Do zbraně
country: Czech Republic
year: 2016
running time: 39 min.

synopsis

Firearms are a multifaceted phenomenon in contemporary society. For some they are a symbol of power, for others they represent certainty, and for others still they are a source of danger. Barbora Chalupová interviews gun owners and people interested in a gun permit, and explores the availability (both legally and illegally) of firearms in the Czech Republic. Her film makes partial use of the internet as an unconventional narrative tool, but is otherwise a typical interview-style documentary. The filmmaker also explores legal gray areas related to homemade weapons.

“You see, it’s more about finding out why to have one or not have one. A gun, I mean. Legal… Illegal… But maybe I am just protecting myself with this pilfered political manifesto, or creating an alibi for myself.“

biography

To Arms is a student film by second-year FAMU student Barbora Chalupová (1993). During her first year, she shot the reportage Thank You, Melónik (2014) about a man who practices an exotic breatharian diet. The film was nominated for the Magnesia Award for best student film.

more about film

director: Barbora Chalupová
producer: Ondřej Šejnoha
photography: Šimon Havel
editing: Zuzana Walter
music: Petr Zábrodský
sound: Adam Bláha

other films in the section

Dying for Beginners / The Key of Silence
The joint title Dying for beginners brings together two short films that the directors shot together “in hospices, maternity wards, trains, and elsewhere.” They are based on interviews with the same protagonists and about similar subjects, but always as seen from a different angle. The first film, Marek Bouda’s The key of silence explores music and its relationship to old age and death. For instance, it asks what music we can hear in heaven or what music to play after our passing. In Dying for beginners, Bára Kopecká looks at the taboo subject of death in crematoria, among the dying, or in the maternity ward. “I was interested primarily in how music is reflected in the face of the listener when he is moved by it. And silence – the counterpoint to music, a pause in the composition, the end of life... the silence that remains after we are gone...” B. Kopecká

Dying for Beginners / The Key of Silence

Marek Bouda, Bára Kopecká
Czech Republic / 2017 / 58 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Hate out of Love 3: Story of Domestic Violence
Abuse against seniors affects up to twenty percent of older Czechs. This vulnerable group often struggles for years with mental and physical abuse from their loved ones. Through focused, confidential, and harrowing interviews with three women and one man, the documentary recounts the situations in which these people find themselves as they near the end of their lives. Terror hidden behind the walls of their home gradually escalates into physical injury, litigation, and loss of property. In the film, they talk about how they coped with their children’s betrayal as well as their helplessness, knowing that society will not adequately defend them. “Our protagonists are disappointed by those they raised and for whom they cherished love – their children. It is difficult to experience it, and even more to admit such feelings to oneself and others. This is a more common trend than we would assume, though.” I. Pauerová Miloševićová
personal program

Hate out of Love 3: Story of Domestic Violence

Ivana Pauerová Miloševićová
Czech Republic / 2019 / 52 min.
section: Czech Joy
The Czech Way
In this film on Czechoslovakia’s post-communist “coupon privatization”, the central them among the many opinions and reminiscences heard in interviews with historians and participants is the conflict between the predatory capitalistic order and the more socially conceived alternative, which remains alive and well in Czech politics today. Precisely because of this emphasis on the older debate regarding social aspects of society, this look back at the early days of Czech capitalism is relevant today. Using the blunt, timeless method of “talking heads”, the film reveals that just after the revolution a significant percent of the population was in favor of some type of socialism. The film this searches for reasons why the country turned towards capitalism. DETAIL:“And that’s why I’m a libertarian, and that’s why I’m all for a free market - tens of thousands just have to try it so that one of them can succeed, and most of the time it’s purely chance that it works out for them.”

The Czech Way

Martin Kohout
Czech Republic, Slovakia / 2015 / 92 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Vratislav Effenberger or Black Shark Hunting
In the spirit of this master of poetics, David Jařab approaches his portrait of leading Czech postwar surrealist Vratislav Effenberger as a game. He invited members of the local surrealist group to talk about Effenberger in places where he stages absurd encounters and interrelationships. The main theme is Effenberger’s unrealized (unrealizable) screenplays, which the filmmakers attempt to enact during the film. This surrealistic hunt for Effenberger’s imagination is capped by an interview with his son full of ambivalent personal memories. “Effenberger’s work with absurd humour and the principle of game enabled him to subversively attack the outer and inner realities of everyday life. This vision is close to mine and to the vision of my film.” D. Jařab

Vratislav Effenberger or Black Shark Hunting

David Jařab
Czech Republic / 2018 / 84 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Kings of Šumava
Josef Hasil, nicknamed King of the Bohemian Forest, was a cross-border smuggler between communist Czechoslovakia and the West, and later an agent for the CIC news service. His actions are the central theme of a film created using narrative animation resembling modern film noir, conversations with witnesses, and shots of the beauty of the mysterious Bohemian forests. In places, the documentary also takes on the qualities of a Hollywood action film, which contrasts with the burden of moral decisions of an individual and the relentless power of the totalitarian regime. Almost detective-like investigation is framed by the Bohemian myths and legends that are still told of the man today. "Kings of Šumava poetically explores the duality of hero, villain and reunites former Czech immigrant Vlasta Bukovsky and infamous Czech people smuggler Josef Hasil." K. Kelly
personal program

Kings of Šumava

Kris Kelly
Czech Republic, Ireland / 2019 / 70 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech 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
Everything´s Gonna Be Fine
Producer Čestmír Kopecký had originally wanted to make a film about the changing face of Brno, but in the end director Robin Kvapil and co-writer Pavel Šplíchal created something more closely resembling Šplíchal’s ironic blog Prigl. In their “lovingly anarchistic” film, Brno forms the epicentre of a sarcastic look at Czech society. The naive and vacuous communist-era documentary with which Kvapil’s film opens gives way to the reporter’s bitter monologues right in front of the camera. These are intercut with acted sequences featuring Brno’s political elites, artists, and outcasts.“People say that Brno is the only joke that is inhabitable. The entire film follows this logic.” R. Kvapil

Everything´s Gonna Be Fine

Robin Kvapil
Czech Republic / 2017 / 71 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Excursion or History of the Present (English version)
The creators of the documentary essay Excursions visit several typical tourist attractions – the Aurora battleship, the monumental buildings of the Third Reich, the Berlin Wall, and the world’s first museum in Rome. Their interest is not so much in these places as it is in different ways of encountering history. With a subtle sense of irony, they explore how historical monuments influence guidebooks and visitors. We hear guides’ explanations, interviews, memories, and reenactments with tourists playing various roles. The film uses their interactions with these stages of history to engage in a sophisticated exploration of the relationship between contemporary man and the past.DETAIL:“In the Jewish cemetery in Berlin there is a grave with an inscription: ‘Now you are here, watching silently. When you leave, go and talk.’ We behave like this in front of the monuments – we are silent.”

Excursion or History of the Present (English version)

Jan Gogola ml.
Czech Republic / 2015 / 82 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Is Everyone Right? Karel Floss and the Others.
A multi-portrait of the history of post-1989 Czech ideas and sensibilities, centered around left-wing Christian philosopher Karel Floss. Circling his ideas on God, truth, and politics like satellites are statements by strongly antithetical individuals including Milan Knížák, Ondřej Slačálek, Noam Chomsky, and Czech nationalist thinkers. Working with a subtle sense of irony, the film is openly inspired by the style of Karel Vachek as it makes use of semantic counterpoints, situational humor and aloof formal elements. The result is a kind of audiovisual riverbed for channeling the fury of a nation that recalls a child that is just learning to think and does not know what to relate to first, because in a certain sense, basically “everyone is right”.DETAIL:“That means that truth unifies, but it unifies without asking us to give up on differences. And so we fling ourselves into the trap of dogmatism – any position is dogmatic if it claims that if there exist truths, then these truths will not accept any differences.”

Is Everyone Right? Karel Floss and the Others.

Helena Všetečková
Czech Republic / 2015 / 124 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Helena's Law
Documentary filmmaker Petra Nesvačilová’s study of the famous “Berdych Gang” focuses on police officer Helena Kahnová, but she also interviews other actors in the case, including the accused and the convicted. The resulting film is a mosaic that says less about the case or its background than it does about the people who exist on the edge of the law, and about their thoughts and motivations. Nesvačilová herself comes into contact with the criminal underworld and becomes an actor in her own film. She must decide whether it is safe to meet certain people, which leads her to consider questions related to the essence of crime and of good and evil in general.“I thought I was shooting a portrait of a brave police woman, but in the end I found myself in places that I had always been afraid of and that I only knew from the movies. The underworld. And now I see that this underworld is all around us – sometimes very, very close.”

Helena's Law

Petra Nesvačilová
Czech Republic / 2016 / 80 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Solos for Members of Parliament
Twenty-one politicians reply to the question of how they view the Czech Republic’s future. The survey, built on the democratic principles of equality and freedom of speech, provides the same conditions for all of the interviewees and presents their uncensored and complete responses. However, this raw materials provides more testimony regarding the present than the future, as it unmasks the faces MPs and senators present to the public and demonstrates the rhetorical means they use to expand political power. Freedom is a double-edged sword depending on whose hands hold it. The same applies to media as a tool used for disseminating propaganda as well as for undermining it.“The film shows the people behind mandates, trying to approach them on the condition that they have to approach us.  To what extent is a different form of public meetings with politicians possible? To what extent are other worlds possible?” T. Bernátková

Solos for Members of Parliament

Tereza Bernátková
Czech Republic / 2018 / 34 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Never Happened
“The deed did not occur,” proclaimed Vladimir Mečiar in 1996 on the murder of businessman Róbert Remiáš, which likely had a political motive and with which the Prime Minister himself was likely involved. His infamous dictum is an attempt to negate a documentary that combines an investigative approach with original filmmaking. The director builds her film on interviews with key players in the Remiáš case but does not limit herself to an austere presentation of facts. Alternating different film formats, from black and white film to VHS, she evokes a period of crime and highlights the central theme of confrontation with the past. “I wanted to make a poetic political film. Engagé art should not give up on the style.” B. Berezňáková  
personal program

Never Happened

Barbora Berezňáková
Slovakia, Czech Republic / 2019 / 82 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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