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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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The Good Driver Smetana
The Good Driver Smetana
The Good Driver Smetana

The Good Driver Smetana

director: Vít Klusák, Filip Remunda
original title: Dobrý řidič Smetana
country: Czech Republic
year: 2013
running time: 77 min.

synopsis

An experiment involving engaged citizen Roman Smetana – the Olomouc bus driver who drew antennae on politicians’ billboards – expanded into an action drama about courage and (Švejk-like) determination. This feature-length film is an expanded version of an episode from the TV documentary series Czech Journal, and an embodiment of exemplary persistence in civic disobedience. In Smetana’s story, his personal convictions, court rulings, and the post-modern era’s media engineering all converge.

In the role of an “ordinary citizen” robbed of 15 minutes of his time by two curious filmmakers, former Minister of Interior Ivan Langer responds with dialectical ease to a simple question: Can you tell the camera that you have never engaged in corruption?

more about film

director: Vít Klusák, Filip Remunda
producer: Vít Klusák, Filip Remunda, Petr Kubica
editing: Vit Klusak

other films in the section

The Invisible Hand of the Market: Privatization of Barrandov
The documentary looks at the post-Velvet Revolution transition to a market economy using the privatisation of Barrandov Studios as a case study. Important actors during these events (V. Marhoul, L. Helge, J. Knoflíček, M. Ondříček, J. Šustr, P. Pithart, T. Ježek) describe the story of de-nationalisation against the backdrop of the demands of the post-revolutionary period (among other things, we are reminded of Milton Friedman’s visit to Prague). The film opens with a quote by Karl Jaspers on the purpose of guilt in self-examination, and closes with a mediation upon ownership as the art of administrating.  

The Invisible Hand of the Market: Privatization of Barrandov

Martin Kohout
Czech Republic / 2012 / 60 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
My Body's Body
A presentation of a particular mental space of timelessness. An epiphany of the body in the sense in which motherhood has no language of its own. The images and sounds of the first months after the birthof my children bring us closer to a diff erent quality of time. An epiphany of the body – a sounding board for the audience’s presence. A tale of something profoundly fundamental.  

My Body's Body

Viola Ježková
Czech Republic / 2012 / 24 min.
section: Czech Joy
Vana - The Biggest Race Is the Life Itself
The Great Pardubice Steeplechase, broken bones, clinical death. The extreme life of the mercurial jockey, trainer, and steeplechase cyborg Josef Váňa is marked by an obstinate devotion to horses, racing, and a determination to take on any challenge. His rough personality and often choleric behaviour resonate with passion and business strategy. After a 15-year hiatus, the iron will of this legend of socialist racing tracks managed a comeback (even without the mythical Železník) and again took first place.  

Vana - The Biggest Race Is the Life Itself

Jakub Wagner
Czech Republic / 2012 / 86 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Peasant Common Sense
Originally, this film – which made waves in Czech society – was supposed to be about Czech agriculture and about the factors that have the greatest impact on it. But one of the most important factors turned out to be the entrepreneurial and political activities of Andrej Babiš. A documentary with elements of investigative journalism, the film follows journalists Zuzana Vlasatá and Jakub Patočka as they uncover Babiš’s business style and its impact on society and the environment. Through inventive editing, framing and the use of animation, the film goes beyond a mere presentation of facts to create an original report, made using various tools of the cinematic medium. “The government must by guided by peasant common sense!” Z. Piussi

Peasant Common Sense

Zuzana Piussi, Vít Janeček
Czech Republic / 2017 / 73 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Arms ready
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.“

Arms ready

Barbora Chalupová
Czech Republic / 2016 / 39 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Show!
A surprisingly intimate portrait of how the dream of running one’s own business can take on monstrous contours. Managed by the father of one of the singers, over the course of five years the girl band 5Angels had reached the gates of pop fame. But it is a path paved not only with the songs of Michal David, but also with the dogged determination of a man who loses any notion of where his role as manager ends and his role as parent begins. An emotionally moved Karel Gott, five angelic girls, and one overly involved father, thanks to whom the behind-the-scenes pre-Christmas atmosphere melts away just as rapidly as the fat should disappear from the belly. “A singer can’t be a lard bucket!”

Show!

Bohdan Bláhovec
Czech Republic / 2013 / 69 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
We Can Do Better
As the personal advisor to presidential candidate Michal Horáček, documentary filmmaker Robin Kvapil recorded from behind the scenes of the campaign from autumn 2016. He filmed using anything he could get his hands on - camera, mobile phone, notebook computer. The film, co-directed by Radim Procházka, was an attempt to capture an authentic portrait of Horáček’s election campaign, presenting his team’s tactics, interactions with both supporters and opponents, with journalists, and with opposing candidates. With an awareness that they had most likely lost the election, but that there was still a long path ahead of them, Kvapil presented a reflection of their teamwork, commenting on their individual steps.„Documentarist as a presidential campaign adviser. ‚Nothing‘ and ‚I don‘t know‘ can not win over lies and hatred. The truth scares.“ R. Kvapil „Hustler, Trasher, Zjeman and Troll in the film about the backstage of democracy.“ R. Procházka

We Can Do Better

Radim Procházka, Robin Kvapil
Czech Republic / 2018 / 74 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
The Sound is Innocent
In this documentary essay, the director personally presents the history of electronic and experimental music from the pre-war years to the present day. The film takes place in an almost dream-like space-time that serves both as a recording studio and as a museum of technological artifacts, which allow the filmmaker to take playful grasp of the concept of talking heads. The sonically and visually layered excursion to the beginnings of the efforts to liberate and conceptualize sound is also a debate about the forms, possibilities, and perspectives of the acoustic relations to the world, in which the voices of the past constantly overlap with the sounds of the future. „Music documentaries usually tend to build a monument to a composer, band or subculture… My aim was to treat this topic in an essay-like style, using all available means that film as an audiovisual medium offers.” J. Ožvold
personal program

The Sound is Innocent

Johana Ožvold
Czech Republic, France, Slovakia / 2019 / 68 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
Mythmaking
Bringing people together through what divides them – this is how internationally known Czech artist Kateřina Šedá describes two projects aimed at bringing together the inhabitants of two villages. For one, she creates a new holiday; for the other, a new mascot. Jan Gogola documents her work while trying to influence her work as little as possible. Documentary film is perhaps the best way to capture Šedá’s “work”. And yet, the viewer finds himself inside her art – her projects are designed to have only participants, not viewers.

Mythmaking

Jan Gogola ml.
Czech Republic / 2013 / 90 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
llllllIIIIl
The film’s title can be seen as an anti-captcha, a text that is easily machine-read but difficult for people to understand. Working in the style of a documentary essay, the film considers the problem of the autocracy of machines. Apocalyptic visions inspired by the film The Terminator are projected onto the reality of destructive protests against the G20 Summit, whose catalyst, means and outcome are statistical analyses of behavioural models realized using the computers and telephones in our pockets. A collage of original images, commented graphs and internet garbage. For the full viewing experience, please have your smartphone ready. “This text can’t be longer than 200 characters. That’s 60 more than a tweet by Donald Trump.” P. Salaba

llllllIIIIl

Petr Salaba
Czech Republic / 2017 / 27 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Apparatgeist
The concept of Apparatgeist expresses how mankind’s relationship with technology evolves and how it transforms our social contacts. In a similar fashion to the authors of this theory, James E. Katz and Mark Aakhus, the film’s director has also focused on the current phenomenon of mobile phones. It takes us to an allegorical space of the apparatgeist, a barren, inhospitable place where cell phones act as small windows into different worlds of internet mundanity and bizarreness, and as a reflection of our interaction with a digital device. “How much do we hide behind our smartphones and use them to expose ourselves? To what extent is it possible to imprint ourselves into images composed of ones and zeros?” M.-M. Kochová
personal program

Apparatgeist

Marie-Magdalena Kochová
Czech Republic / 2019 / 11 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
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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