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23rd Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

ji-hlava dok cdf

Manouane River Lumberjacks

director: Arthur Lamothe
original title: Bûcherons de la Manouane
country: Canada
year: 1962
running time: 28 min.

synopsis

This film, by one of the most important and most productive Canadian documentary filmmakers, examines the seasonal work of a diverse group of lumberjacks, among whom are members of Canadian Indian tribes. The style combines direct cinema with a lyrical approach to the landscape, which enthralls everyone.  

biography

Arthur Lamothe (1928-2013) was born in France and in the 1950s moved to Canada, where he got into film work through Radio-Canada and ONF.  His entire oeuvre is dominated by the themes of identity and relationships to the land. 

more about film

director: Arthur Lamothe
producer: Fernand Dansereau, Victor Jobin
script: Arthur Lamothe
photography: Guy Borremans, Bernard Gosselin
editing: Jean Dansereau, Arthur Lamothe
sound: Claude Pelletier

other films in the section

The Village Pleasure
Or, how to become a Frenchman in a few lessons. It’s the essence of cinéma vérité, combining an essayistic approach with an effort to capture raw reality in all its truth, but at the same time, we’re watching a documentary version of The Firemen’s Ball in the French countryside. 
personal program

The Village Pleasure

François Reichenbach
France / 1963 / 47 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
The Snowshoers
This key direct cinema film originated without a script and without the usual permits. Originally it was intended to be a short four-minute report about a traditional sport, but it was rejected. The goal was to lead viewers away from traditional reportage documentaries. The film showed how to exempt documentary from the rules.
personal program

The Snowshoers

Michel Brault, Gilles Groulx
Canada / 1958 / 15 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Lomelin
Toreadors call their first entrance into the arena the “moment of truth”. We follow one such moment in the life of a Mexican toreador who is later considered one of the best bullfighters of all time. The camera becomes part of reality, without any additional commentary, only the soundtrack and editing give meaning to Lomelin’s gestures and emotions and those of his family. 
personal program

Lomelin

François Reichenbach
France / 1965 / 22 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
Chronicle of a Summer
This sociological survey began in 1960 as a project by Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin. The film became a manifesto of cinéma vérité and was the first feature-length film in France shot with synchronous sound. Here, cinéma direct approaches combine with the new view of reality as it became established in France.
personal program

Chronicle of a Summer

Edgar Morin, Jean Rouch
France / 1961 / 90 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Hitler – Never Heard of Him
Bertrand Blier’s debut is an original anti-bourgeois lampoon based on interviews with several Frenchmen aged 15 to 22 who don’t recognize Hitler. It’s unique for its form, based on its camera work and editing. For its time it was so provocative that it was banned for viewers under 18 and withdrawn from competition at Cannes.  
personal program

Hitler – Never Heard of Him

Bertrand Blier
France / 1961 / 90 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
The Little Café
Reichenbach was an innovative filmmaker who filmed everything around him using primarily his intuition. Instead of filming portraits of people, he made a portrait of a little café, where people are considered props and a spontaneously filmed telephone conversation between the café owner and a customer becomes the plot.  
personal program

The Little Café

François Reichenbach
France / 1963 / 12 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
CANDID EYE (1958-1960): The Back-breaking Leaf
A short film from the TV documentary series The Candid Eye, which was quite innovative content-wise and intended to show a new way of filming. The goal in this particular case was to visually and aurally capture the numbing drudgery of seasonal tobacco pickers. Despite this, at some moments the direction took on a certain aesthetic aspect. 
personal program

CANDID EYE (1958-1960): The Back-breaking Leaf

Terence Macartney-Filgate, Wolf Koenig, Roman Kroitor
Canada / 1959 / 29 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
Strangers of the Earth
Filmed in the village of Livinière in the Lozère district, locals talk about their work and lives in a time when the area is threatened with depopulation and the extinction of traditional farming methods. The goal was to record the opinions of these people living in relative isolation, thus affecting the truth about the situation. 
personal program

Strangers of the Earth

Mario Ruspoli
France / 1961 / 40 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
For the Ones to Come
Until 1924, one of the ways residents of Île-aux-Coudres supported themselves was by hunting porpoises. In 1962, filmmakers decided to revive this traditional activity that brought a sense of order to lives there. What at first seemed like a crazy idea became a major direct cinema project that perfectly captures the essence of this shooting method. 
personal program

For the Ones to Come

Pierre Perrault, Michel Brault
Canada / 1962 / 105 min.
section: Direct Vérité
On the Pole
This pillar of direct cinema captures the fame and death of race-car driver Eddie Sachs. It combines original with archival footage, black-and-white with colour film, and among other things makes use of sped-up images in order to achieve the same effect as in Primary. Again, the film tries to find the logic of the depicted events and to offer an objective take on them.
personal program

On the Pole

Robert Drew, Richard Leacock
United States / 1960 / 58 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
Salesman
American filmmakers are the furthest from Vertov’s notion of film-truth. The Maysles directing duo is known for reducing the influence of editing. Salesman is based on the concept of living camera: to be as close as possible to the essence of the events and preserve their ambiguity. The film’s subject are the lives of door-to-door Bible salesmen.
personal program

Salesman

Charlotte Zwerin, David Maysles, Albert Maysles
United States / 1968 / 90 min.
section: Direct Vérité
The Shimmering Beast
An example of the late decline of direct cinema. What seems to be a record of a traditional Canadian elk hunt is in reality a journey into the Canadian soul. A masterfully filmed portrait of friends is a waiting for Godot as well as a psychoanalytic dive. The mythical creature becomes a catalyst for interpersonal relationships. 
personal program

The Shimmering Beast

Pierre Perrault
Canada / 1982 / 127 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
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