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25th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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A house
A house
A house
A house

A house

director: Judith Auffray
original title: Une maison
country: France, Switzerland
year: 2019
running time: 81 min.

synopsis

An observational documentary that focuses on the Tentative Association, which helps young people with autism develop independence and socialization skills. Seven autistic people live in a big house and, together with their helpers, they fill their days with household tasks. Community coexistence offers a way for the inhabitants of the house to achieve their desired goals and the sharing of everyday work becomes the primary source of narrative. The film is a careful observation of life in this house. Actions and behaviors speak for themselves, giving space to the primary figures, not to those who make decisions about their lives.

 

"Thanks to the camera, I was able to get close to the inhabitants of the house. It acted as a kind of a screen between us, a way to avoid direct contact - which is problematic for some autistic people. When I looked at the LCD screen or directly into the optical viewfinder, I was able to really get close to them, which would be impossible with a direct gaze.” J. Auffray, FID interview

biography

French director Judith Auffray studied film at HEAD Géneve. Between 2016 and 2019, she shot several films in the area of the Cevenny Mountains, where A House takes place. The film is her feature debut.

more about film

director: Judith Auffray
producer: Delphine Jeanneret, Judith Auffray
photography: Judith Auffray
editing: Judith Auffray
sound: Judith Auffray

other films in the section

The Dazzling Light of Sunset
On dilapidated theater stages, the secular rituals of contemporary Georgian society play out: weddings, fashion shows, beauty pageants, political elections. The static camera, which captures this emotionless choreography of ceremonies in wide-angle shots, contrasts with the dynamic pans of the small camera held by a television reporter whose energetic activities keep a local television station going. A series of carefully framed scenes from the events that Dariko chooses to present to her viewers is juxtaposed with images from inside the run-down television studio, which survives thanks to fees earned from reading obituaries.“It fascinated me how small stories from small towns were so much more important than the big politics. And I wondered what these small stories were.” Salomé Jashi

The Dazzling Light of Sunset

Salomé Jashi
Georgia, Germany / 2016 / 74 min.
section: First Lights
Central European Premiere
Flotel Europa
In an emotionally gripping, deeply personal story about the loss of one’s childhood and a difficult adolescence in a politically unstable time, the director brings to life twenty-year-old memories from the time spent at the side of his mother, older brother, and hundreds of other refugees from war-torn Bosnia and Herzegovina. Together they awaited asylum in temporary housing on the Flotel Europa, which docked on the shores of Denmark in the early 1990s. The director incorporated archival video footage that the refugees themselves shot directly on the boat.DETAIL:“There were many good people, but the divisions caused by the war in Bosnia had slowly but surely settled in between us, refugees on Flotel Europa.”

Flotel Europa

Vladimir Tomić
Serbia, Denmark / 2015 / 71 min.
section: First Lights
Czech Premiere
Trapped By Law
In 2010, thousands of Kosovo Roma were forcibly repatriated from the European Union to their original home. And this despite the fact that many had spent years living in the EU. They had grown up there, studied there, some had even been born there. This engaged documentary follows the story of brothers Kefaet and Selami, rappers from Essen who, from one day to the next, find themselves in Kosovo, cut off from the rest of the world and from their family in Germany. The director does not remain neutral in recording their many years spent trying to get out of a trap of absurd and unfriendly laws, and to return from their native homeland to their real one.DETAIL:“We also had hard situations, you know, where we were maybe thinking about this, you know, to get separated, go separate ways, but no – In the end it was always just differences here and there, that you have to compromise with.”

Trapped By Law

Sami Mustafa
Kosovo, Germany / 2015 / 90 min.
section: First Lights
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: First Lights
World Premiere
Balaton Method
This documentary journey, which explores the landscape surrounding Hungary’s largest lake and its recreational resorts, includes live concert footage of seventeen local bands – well-established names and newcomers to the music scene alike. Their performances, including the participation of a hundred other musicians, are recorded at various times of day in diverse locations, ranging from harbours and hotel balconies to churches, helping to create a portrait of the distinctive atmosphere at each of the sites. This independent musical road movie shot around Lake Balaton is the first Hungarian feature-length film financed through a crowd-funding campaign.DETAIL:“Balaton! This word has magical power! It makes all eyes kindle, puts a smile on everybody's face. The shining sun and the naughty waves paint all the faces golden brown. The lake is full of tourists.”

Balaton Method

Bálint Szimler
Hungary / 2015 / 85 min.
section: First Lights
International Premiere
ZAHO ZAY
Endless cane fields on the "red island" of Madagascar. This disturbing comment from a female guard at an overcrowded prison serves as the basis for a psychoanalytic search for a missing father. Hypnotising fragments of images of Malagasy society torn apart by war, poverty, corruption, and crime. Mobilised crowds of submissive yardbirds, female prisoners forced into hard domestic labour, shamanic rituals of impoverished villagers. A roll of dice - an obsessive ritual of a suspecting father, a serial killer - inspires the mystery of a young woman's desire. A literary journey with elements of an alienated detective story accompanies us alongside real and symbolic prisoners throughout the history of a decimated island.     "Here‘s My Baby, Oh Beautiful Foreign Bird (Malagasy Lullaby) White bird from afar, take my baby away Fly with her high up in the sky, and if she hushes, bring her back to me. O o o o o, ooooooo." G. Tiller, M. Ranaivojaona     Q&A with Maéva Ranaïvojaona and Georg Tiller:  
personal program

ZAHO ZAY

Maéva Ranaivojaona, Georg Tiller
Austria, France, Madagascar / 2020 / 78 min.
section: First Lights
International Premiere
Among Houses and the Cosmos
In this sensual film essay, the director has assembled her experiences with rituals in various corners of the world, from Europe across Africa to Latin America. The close interaction of the camera with bodies moving in trances encourages active involvement in the frenzied moments in which people lose themselves in Dionysian intoxication. These moments serve the filmmaker to obliterate the distance between the individual and the collective, personal and foreign, internal and external. The film, however, attaches a political meaning to the rituals, or rather shows how uprooted cultures cope with their minority status through rituals, or even turn it to their favor. “I felt the urgency to work with video footage from years of different travels. During editing, I found myself thinking about the human necessity to impose meaningful patterns on life and being.” Koštana Banović

Among Houses and the Cosmos

Kostana Banović
Netherlands, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Portugal, Senegal, Brazil, Angola, Turkey, Gambia, Cuba, Serbia, Aruba, Netherlands Antilles / 2016 / 70 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
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
Metaphysics and Democracy
On average, our eyes remained fixed on an advertisement for six seconds. Advertisements are probably the most common ideological channel that we encounter in visible form. Director Luis Ortiz has based his documentary film on this contrast à la thèse. The visual aspect of the film is made up of 57 one-minute static views of advertising. The soundtrack features texts that challenge the existence of ideology as such (the Borges story Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius) and draws attention to the fact that we often confuse it with ontology (the critics of neoliberalism, such as Ignacio Ramonet and Noam Chomsky).“In times of political extremism I find it necessary to ask which mechanisms undermine democracy in the so called modern societies, then new progressive answers are needed to confront the simplistic discourses from the right.” 

Metaphysics and Democracy

Luis Ortiz
Germany, Colombia / 2016 / 59 min.
section: First Lights
World Premiere
Ming of Harlem: Twenty One Storeys in the Air
Despite the outrage and indignation of his fellow New Yorkers, Antoine Yates and his animal friends – a 250-kilo Bengal tiger and a two-meter-long alligator – spent several years living together in his Harlem flat. Warnell’s investigative film essay on the relationship between humanity and animality takes Yates’s statements from the time when the public learned of his cohabiting with dangerous animals, and juxtaposes them with poetic footage of the predators moving freely around his flat. The director is less interested in the sensational case from 2003 than in exploring more universal and intimate aspects of people’s communication with animals, and their behavior in a domesticated setting.DETAIL:“People really don’t understand, like, when they took him away is, like is almost, like, taken a part of me away. It’s like cut to a piece your soul. Part of me is just gone.”

Ming of Harlem: Twenty One Storeys in the Air

Phillip Warnell
United Kingdom, United States, Belgium / 2014 / 71 min.
section: First Lights
East European Premiere
I Remember Nothing
As Tunisia experiences revolutionary unrest, Diane tries to come to terms with manic-depressive symptoms so intense that she nearly loses her memory. Five years later, she comes across the diverse records – photographs, diaries and home videos – that she kept during thi time of crisis. She then transforms these documentary materials into a tool by which she captures the seemingly lost fragments of memory. Nevertheless, her goal is not to weave these fragments into a holistic narrative, but to preserve their fluidity in order to present the chaotic events that made the chasm between the public and the private unimaginable."This is the story of a broken memory locked on a harddrive. I wanted to look at the pieces of the puzzle - footage, sounds. To face the black holes. Remember. Show the violence of this inner storm." D. S. Bouzgarrou

I Remember Nothing

Diane Sara Bouzgarrou
France / 2017 / 59 min.
section: First Lights
International Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
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Creative Europe
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