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25th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Good Mr. Benda
Good Mr. Benda
Good Mr. Benda
Good Mr. Benda

Good Mr. Benda

director: Pavel Jurda
original title: Dobrý život sokola Bendy
country: Czech Republic
year: 2018
running time: 76 min.

synopsis

A sensitive portrait of grandfather Miroslav Benda, a tried and true Sokol member and an ordinary man with extraordinary vigor and ideals, revealing a story of human resilience and optimism through nostalgia and situational comedy. The film is a kind of observational documentary - it includes family videos and archival film material. We’re drawn into the microcosm of the village of Křenovice u Slavkova by two Japanese women who have decided to visit Benda, thanks to his long friendship with a university professor from Tokyo. Together with Benda, the audience travels to the only Japanese gas station in Europe, to Prague’s Strahov Stadium, and to New York to visit American Sokol members. 

“Old Mr. Benda fascinates me with his ability to elevate banality to a feast; he is like a Zen master who was asked about the meaning of life and said: ‘When you want to eat, eat; when you want to sleep, sleep.’” P. Jurda

biography

Pavel Jurda (1970) graduated from Mendel University in Brno and studied dramaturgy at JAMU. He focuses on directing, screenwriting, dramaturgy, and dramatics. He worked at the National Theater in Brno as a dramaturge and worked long-term with Czech Television on a series of scientific documentaries for children and films with historical and social themes. His feature-length debut film was My Name is Hungry Buffalo (Ji.hlava IDFF 2016). 

more about film

director: Pavel Jurda
cast: Miroslav Benda
producer: Jiří Konečný
script: Pavel Jurda, Roman Franc
editing: Pavel Kolaja
sound: Jiří Kubík

other films in the section

The End of Light
On a most real stage of all, a director of this hybrid film lets an unreal story flow. While Croatian nationalists stage a protest in front of the Rijeka theatre against its art director Oliver Frljić (a well-known figure to Czechs, among others), on a nearby island of Goli otok, amateur actors rehearse a surrealistic performance. Dilapidated buildings of a former concentration camp, secretly erected by Tito’s régime to hold political prisoners, serve as props of a Lynch-like scene in which smeared-faced actors become objects in the waxworks of their own dreams. The world of imagination and the world of bleak reality start moving away from each other.“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3” A. Suk

The End of Light

Aleš Suk
Croatia / 2018 / 62 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Everything Has Its Own Time
Viola Ježková’s experimentally conceived film presents real time and cinematic time as something woven into one image. The image layers are often layered over one another, and the audio tracks are intermixed. This very personal documentary is a poetic exploration of memory, consciousness and future expectations as inexorably joined by reality. Filing by before our eyes (before the cinematographic gaze) are scenes from the past and images of everyday life; in the voiceover, inner voices recite fragments of long-ago dialogues between those who have left us but have not left us alone. “How to come to terms with loss? How to treat the remains? How to understand the meaning of memories? When we enter a picture, we leave the frame. We meet ideas of images. And through this encounter we gain a new image – an image for the future.” V. Ježková

Everything Has Its Own Time

Viola Ježková
Czech Republic / 2017 / 29 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
FREM
The film is a reaction to the current wave of post-humanist thinking caused by the development of technology and artifi cial intelligence as well as the climate crisis. The human species is beginning to realize its insignifi cance and transience, and human identity has found itself in a crisis. The fi lm FREM attempts to refl ect this feeling and creates a dehumanized and alienated view of landscape and nature beyond human perception of reality. Incomplete thoughts and fragments of dialogue, diverse music interrupted by rushes and glitches, and the seemingly confused, unanchored camera, create a disturbing, philosophical refl ection on the limits of anthropocentric thinking. "Making this film was an extreme experience, in every aspect, not only physical, since we shot in Antarctica. I had to think un-thinkable. Leave the prison of anthropomorphism behind. Stop being human." V. Čákanyová

FREM

Viera Čákanyová
Czech Republic, Slovakia / 2019 / 73 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Pavel Wonka Commits to Cooperate
Pavel Wonka is known in the Czech historical context as a dissident, an anti-Communist, and the last political prisoner to die in a communist prison. Libuše Rudinská searches for long-archived reports and interviews people who came into contact with him – both from his circle of friends and from the ranks of the the Czechoslovak secret police. Thanks to her efforts, she discovered his possible cooperation with the secret police. She uses an austere reporting tone, and appears in front of the camera herself in the position of reporter. The film is supplemented with narrative commentary reading the allegations of the responsible officer Zdeňek Špulák. In its entirety, the film leads to reflections on the need for the revision of historical approaches to the recent past.      DETAIL: “Pavel was once a symbol of the revolution, an example of how they could destroy a person who stood up to them. That was the main reason why he died. It was a crime, but it was not heroism.”

Pavel Wonka Commits to Cooperate

Libuše Rudinská
Czech Republic / 2014 / 73 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
White on White
White on White is director Viera Čákanyová’s video diary that she kept while staying at the Polish Antarctic station, where in 2017 she shot the film FREM (2019), whose main character was an artificial neural network. During her stay, the author chats with various artificial intelligences, leading conversations that touch on the nature of film, art, and the meaning of life while also revealing a way of thinking that’s free from humanity and from an emotionality that forces deep introspection. Footage from her routine, everyday life at the station contrasts with lyrical images of the immaculate Antarctic nature, which the author complements with her own commentary and thoughts provoked by the loneliness of the ice-covered landscape.   „How can you think something fundamentally inhuman? I'm making a film about artificial intelligence, but it's getting harder, more absurd. The Antarctic landscape works like a drug. Am I walking in the white darkness, looking for a sense of relief? I am matter with consciousness, far from thermodynamic equilibrium. That’s is the only thing I can report on.“ V. ČákanyováQ&A with the director Viera Čákanyová:
personal program

White on White

Viera Čákanyová
Slovakia, Czech Republic / 2020 / 74 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Pripyat Piano
This film has a 1000 views limitAn audiovisual elegy to a place abandoned by people, where all that remains are sounds trapped in crumbling pianos. The Chernobyl tragedy left behind a unique, tragic space, a long-forbidden zone. Traces of recent settlement are ubiquitous, released at the mercy of time and the effects of nature. Outside the realm of mere visual and haptic experiences, a documentary is released calling for the return of man as a creator and performer to continue their fatally cut-off work. In poems and songs composed by the original inhabitants of Pripyat, we can hear that a strong connection between people and their home persists.Q&A with the filmmakers Eliška Cílková (director) and Jindřich Andrš (producer):
personal program

Pripyat Piano

Eliška Cílková
Czech Republic / 2020 / 18 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
Central Bus Station
Only recently, Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station was still the largest in the world. But this oversized space only serves more than its original purpose to bring in masses of people who, confused by its complicated interior design, succumb to shopping fever. Over time this concrete monster, which won’t be easy to tear down, has become a temporary refuge for people on the margins of society – refugees, criminals, prostitutes. Like its main protagonist, the tourist guide Yonatan, the film’s director is fascinated by one of the wonders of the world of redundancy and the microcosm of the people who live here.“To me, the Central Bus Station is not only a strange place, but also a place where everyone can find a kind of home.” T. Elšík

Central Bus Station

Tomáš Elšík
Czech Republic / 2018 / 75 min.
section: Czech Joy
East European Premiere
noimage
FilmCONSTRUCTION visits the site of an unfinished railway in the inhospitable Russian taiga. Sixty years ago, thousands lost their lives here, but work was halted soon after Stalin’s death and today all that remains are rusting remains in the swamps. Eyewitness testimony is combined with a meditative boat trip and traces of asocial utopia.

Into Oblivion

Šimon Špidla
Czech Republic / 2011 / 52 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
King Does Nothing
“I don’t do anything on Sundays”, improvises Petr Král on the winners’ platform of a deserted velodrome. A fluid portrait of a poet in motion between dreaming and presence, between Paris and Prague, between a velodrome and eternity. This situational documentary offers a sketch of an active and inspirational person who continues to base his art on wonder as the core of a philosophical debate with the world, man, and dreams. Doing nothing: the ability to stop, wonder, and enjoy; elitism as the ability to talk with people and inspire them.

King Does Nothing

Jan Gogola ml.
Czech Republic / 2012 / 52 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
noimage
FilmCONFLICT is divided into seven chapters made by first-year FAMU students and their teacher Vít Klusák. Each segment reports on one group involved in a neo-Nazi march (and its blockade) in Brno: right-wing radicals, blockaders, Roma, policemen, attendees of political rallies, journalists, and the uninterested but all-knowing animals at the zoo.

Big as Brno

Kristýna Bartošová, Robin Kvapil, Lukáš Senft, Jan Strejcovský, Vít Klusák, Natálie Císařovská, Andran Abramjan
Czech Republic / 2011 / 72 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
noimage
FilmRUSSIA started right after the director received a phone call from a country teacher Mr. Tříska who found a journal of his grandfather who was captured in Russia almost a hundred years ago and later fought there as a legionary. The film follows his journey on the Trans-Siberian railway while the musician and amateur filmmaker enjoys random encounters. He travels as a cine eye-explorer, disguised as a cosmonaut with a video camera fastened on his helmet.

The Epochal Trip of Mr. Tříska to Russia

Filip Remunda
Czech Republic / 2010 / 57 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Will the World Remember Your Name?
Fetal ultrasound screening. Tourists pointing their mobiles at themselves using selfie sticks. Mannequins in store windows. People walking down the street examining their reflections in glass storefronts. Photographing models for 3D printers. A series of commonplace scenes shows us the various forms of images and depiction with which we surround ourselves, which we use to observe ourselves, understand ourselves, and also form and archive ourselves. At the same time, the question asked in the film title points out how our attention is shifting from words to images. The issue is no longer whether the world will remember our name, but whether we can imprint our image into its memory. “In the main role: The ego.” M.-M. Kochová

Will the World Remember Your Name?

Marie-Magdalena Kochová
Czech Republic / 2017 / 17 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
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