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25th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Ghosts: Long Way Home
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Ghosts: Long Way Home
Ghosts: Long Way Home
Ghosts: Long Way Home
Ghosts: Long Way Home

Ghosts: Long Way Home

director: Tiago Siopa
original title: Fantasmas: Caminho Longo para Casa
country: Portugal
year: 2019
running time: 119 min.

synopsis

Picturesque Portuguese countryside is rich in legends about supernatural creatures, souls and witches who guide the locals through their everyday lives, helping them resist the hectic pace of modernity. The author meets the ghost of his late grandmother Marie, who tells him about his family history and mysterious stories imbued with rural superstitions and spirituality. Vivid, sunny images of rural idyll and seemingly real-life dialogues blur the line between a documentary ethnographic study, a family archive and a live-action film about unexplored Portuguese mythology and its thriving tradition.


“I wanted to create a fantastic world. I enjoy creating such a world removed from reality, because I feel that my grandmother's beliefs and myths are part of a fantastic world.” T. Siopa

biography

Tiago Siopa is a Portuguese director and a documentary filmmaker. He studied physics and documentary filmmaking in Lisbon. In his films, he draws on his family history and local stories. His graduation feature Setil (2015) was awarded the Special Mention of the jury at the 2015 DocLisboa.

more about film

director: Tiago Siopa
producer: Pedro Duarte, Tiago Siopa
photography: Tiago Siopa
editing: Tiago Siopa
sound: Tiago Siopa

other films in the section

My Unknown Soldier
Documentarian Anna Kryvenko offers an unusual perspective on the 1968 occupation of Czechoslovakia. She conceived My Unknown Soldier as an audio-visual diary, through which she revisits the events of the time with rare archive material and her own commentary. Her great-uncle was a soldier in the occupying forces; he committed suicide shortly after his return from Czechoslovakia. Kryvenko’s own Ukrainian origin earns her first-hand experience of the Czechs’ deep-seated hatred of Russian-speaking people. The film therefore casts light on another unfortunate legacy of the August 1968 events in contemporary Czech, but also Ukrainian and Russian society."I don’t want to speak about general justice or truth. I would like to show that no truth can be definite. This is a story about how one becomes an “occupier” without intending to." A. Kryvenko

My Unknown Soldier

Anna Kryvenko
Czech Republic, Latvia, Slovakia / 2018 / 79 min.
section: First Lights
International Premiere
Set Off
The city of Kobani lies in Syria on the border of the sphere of influence of the Islamic State, Turkey and the Kurds. Representatives of these three opposing parties battled it out between the years 2014 and 2016 during a war conflict that claimed the lives of many civilians, including thirty-three Turkish citizens who had come there beforehand for various reasons. Conceptualized as a film in their memory, the filmmakers use symbolism to follow their fateful journey as they set off for a city in ruins. The footage is complemented by double exposures of the survivors' faces, who tell of the untimely deaths of their friends and relatives. “Set Off was an exercise about how and what to tell, after an unmourned disaster; a journey parallel to theirs, daydreaming in the middle of a conflict zone, where landscape deconstructs power regimes.“ M. E. Büyükcoskun

Set Off

Mustafa Emin Büyükcoskun
Germany, Turkey / 2019 / 63 min.
section: First Lights
World Premiere
Connatural
This documentary, shot on black and white film, is an excruciating meditation on living close to death, which is nonetheless an inseparable part of life. Three generations of women live in one home, away from other people: an ageing mother, her two daughters, and her granddaughter. In long, slow shots, we see ordinary, regular actions that make up their day: braiding hair in the morning, cleaning the mother’s feet, reading the evening prayers. Lyrically stylized scenes depict their lives as an endless succession of moments of solitude, but which in their sequence and repetition gain strength, approaching analogy in the surrounding beautiful but inert nature.“Connatural stems from a need to express a series of emotions and thoughts related to the human condition. It delves into universal issues that are not usually represented as the experience of old age, everyday life and closeness to death.” J. Bellido

Connatural

Javier Bellido Valdivia
Peru / 2018 / 83 min.
section: First Lights
World Premiere
My Name is Hungry Buffalo
Jan calls himself Buffalo. He loves cowboys, he’s blind, and may lose his hearing. Pavel Jurda’s documentary follows his journey to America to visit the chief of the Navajo tribe, who wants to perform a ritual to help his hearing. The film is full of unpretentious humor thanks to Jan’s charisma. In the USA, he’s like the Don Quixote of the Wild West - a naive adventurer in a world that is much more ordinary than his imagination. This observational, but not standoffish, film is also an example of how the medium of film can relate to blind people by constantly showing the difference between what Jan perceives and what we actually see.“The film is not about blindness, even if the main character is blind. It is about yearning for life. ‘We are all handicapped in some way,’ says a guy during a journey that starts with an accident and ends in triumph.”

My Name is Hungry Buffalo

Pavel Jurda
Czech Republic / 2016 / 83 min.
section: First Lights
World Premiere
Savagery
Just forty years ago, the Brazilian state of Pará was covered by rainforest. Today, it is an area where the wilderness comes into harsh conflict with the savagery of the urban population. Using several segments, a team of two French documentarians compose an especially brutal poetical mythology of a place where poachers hunt snakes that are many meters long, crowds of people look on during police murder investigations, and a mother must apologize because her adolescent rapper son insulted the local police. Using a handheld camera, the filmmakers take spontaneous shots, sensitive to both the genius loci and the unaffected interviews with local inhabitants. "We went to Pará, Brazil, at the pursuit of some sort of vision of savagery. Crossing tales, ecological themes and fantastic apparitions, we try to undo this arbitrary separation between the fascination with nature and the fear of violence." J. Le Fourn

Savagery

Jonathan Le Fourn, Rèmi De Gaalon
France / 2017 / 94 min.
section: First Lights
International Premiere
The Room of Bones
A poorly equipped and underpaid team of forensic anthropologists is sent to study the countless mass graves in El Salvador, trying to identify the victims using fragments of bodies. Desperate mothers go for DNA tests in the hope of being able to bury the bones of their sons and daughters. Shot in muted colors and with muted emotions, this film on the search for physical and metaphysical remains uncovers the unprecedentedly brutal history of this small Central American country. The impossibility of resolving the local situation is illustrated by the film’s central metaphor hidden in its title: El Salvador is like a closet overflowing with bones, too small for this much death.DETAIL:“How many go into each grave?” “If they’re fat, four. Otherwise, five. If they’re smaller, we fit in six to eight.”

The Room of Bones

Marcela Zamora
El Salvador, Mexico / 2015 / 61 min.
section: First Lights
European 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: First Lights
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: First Lights
World Premiere
Gevar's Land
This portrait follows the daily life of Syrian Gevar, who left for France with his family and wants to apply for asylum in Reims, in the northeast of the country. Back in his homeland, Gevar’s passion was tending his garden and he is determined to pursue this hobby in a new place. He rents a small plot of land in the suburbs to spend time with his family. The film is not just about Gevar's passion for gardening, but it also shows from a completely different perspective the reality of war refugees’ lives in a new country and the hardships associated with applying for asylum, language barriers, and the difficulties with finding a job and supporting a family. "Gevar’s land explores the question: how do the land - by working it, by farming it - forge an organic tie between a man and a space ?" Q. Barhamji
personal program

Gevar's Land

Qutaiba Barhamji
France, Qatar / 2020 / 78 min.
section: First Lights
International Premiere
Pill Junkies
In the 1980s, they fled from Poland to Sweden to find independence, but instead discovered the exact opposite. Tadeusz and Krystyna are addicted to legally distributed drugs. They form an ageing couple who are drawn together more by their common weaknesses and withdrawal symptoms than a mutual attraction. The safety net of the Swedish social system meanwhile dangerously tightens in around them in proportion to their increasing need for the drugs. This observational documentary filmed by Tadeusz’s son reveals, with an unusual intensity, a type of addiction that with bitter irony can be called legal. DETAIL:“For some people happiness is winning a million bucks or two. This ain’t happiness. Happiness is when someone can live an ordinary life.”

Pill Junkies

Bartosz Staszewski
Poland / 2014 / 76 min.
section: First Lights
World Premiere
Buttons of Consciousness
A meditative film explores the effects that examining consciousness and a microscopic view of one’s inner self have on the rationalism that scientists are expected to have. Even though each has a different approach, a physicist and an economist have similar, indescribable experiences, which they can only show through ‘reflections’. Efforts to change a flat map into an actual landscape lead to an unaffected re-examination of the foundations of our society, in which the myth of objectivity often covers up the manipulation of the powers-that-be, and the desire for deeper knowledge may be the driving force for the military industrial complex just as much as for getting a degree.DETAIL:“The science can’t describe the way a person who cools off in this water at the end of a hot day feels or the paradox of the icicle, but it can describe the chemical composition of the icicle, the water temperature, the humidity, and so forth.” “And is that good for anything?” “But certainly… ”

Buttons of Consciousness

Jan Šípek
Czech Republic / 2015 / 87 min.
section: First Lights
World Premiere
Panoptic
Lebanese filmmaker Rana Eid’s documentary essay premiered in the Signs of Life section at the Locarno Film Festival, a film in which she captured her journey through Beirut while mourning the death of her father. In an attempt to understand her hometown, she decided to explore its very core – its underground. Because that was exactly how she de facto lived – in hiding, just as everyone else did during the 17-year-long civil war. The director’s personal journey, filled with atmospheric, auditory sensations (she doesn’t deny her years of sound work), reflects Lebanon’s troubled past, as well as its present and future prospects, on a whole different level. “Drawing into my own memories, Panoptic is both a historical document and the memoir of an ordinary citizen trying to understand the injustices we lived through in Lebanon over the past 40 years.” R. Eid

Panoptic

Rana Eid
Lebanon, United Arab Emirates / 2017 / 69 min.
section: First Lights
East European Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Creative Europe
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
Aktuálně.cz
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