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25th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Fonja
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Fonja

Fonja

director: Ravo Henintsoa Andrianatoandro, Lovatiana Desire Santatra, Sitraka Hermann Ramanamokatra, Jean Chrisostome Rakotondrabe, Erick Edwin Andrianamelona, Elani Eric Rakotondrasoa, Todisoa Niaina Sylvano Randrialalaina, Sitrakaniaina Raharisoa, Adriano Raharison Nantenaina, Alpha Adrimamy Fenotoky, Lina Zacher
original title: Fonja
country: Madagascar, Germany
year: 2019
running time: 80 min.

synopsis

Ten juvenile delinquents from the largest detention institution in Madagascar have joined a four-month workshop to learn working with a film camera, editing, creating simple cinematic tricks, and telling their own stories. The camera became a tool for them to grasp the new reality, allowing them to express themselves freely despite the isolation they live in. The film presents a sincere testimony about life in a strictly hierarchical, closed community as perceived by the young film-makers who were given the opportunity not only to discover and develop their creative potential, but also make new friends.

“I want to reach out and spread the great spirit and creativity of this strong group, the emerging young filmmakers of the Antanimora prison in Madagascar, to inspire and create wonder amongst others.” L. Zacher

biography

The documentary was made by a collective of young film-makers from Madagascar under the direction of Lina Zacher. After studying industrial and gaming design, Lina Zacher founded the MIO intercultural multimedia programme together with Delphine Bishop, providing facilities for young talents. Under Lina’s guidance, children from refugee camps in the Philippines prepared an art exhibition “Batang Lumad” (2016), including a short film of the same name.

more about film

director: Ravo Henintsoa Andrianatoandro, Lovatiana Desire Santatra, Sitraka Hermann Ramanamokatra, Jean Chrisostome Rakotondrabe, Erick Edwin Andrianamelona, Elani Eric Rakotondrasoa, Todisoa Niaina Sylvano Randrialalaina, Sitrakaniaina Raharisoa, Adriano Raharison Nantenaina, Alpha Adrimamy Fenotoky, Lina Zacher
producer: Lina Zacher, Jairus Nouvel
editing: Lina Zacher

other films in the section

Until Porn Do Us Part
Eulália, a religious and conservative sixty-something woman, must come to terms with a difficult period in her life. Her son has emigrated to Germany, where is a gay porn star. Eulália spends ever more time on Facebook scanning his profile and writing long, mostly unread messages. This dramatically structured observational documentary touches on a number of contemporary issues, including the crisis of the traditional family, how social networks are changing interpersonal relationships, and society’s views of homosexuality and pornography. An unobtrusive look at the LGBT community, humility, and the strength of motherly love."God heard my prayers / He gave me a lovely son / I'll never trade him for anything / Not even for the biggest treasures / Even if I have to spend / My whole life suffering..." J. Pelicano

Until Porn Do Us Part

Jorge Pelicano
Portugal / 2018 / 90 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
noimage
FilmVHS makes use of footage shot by a Galician sailor on a ship in the North Sea, whose video camera kept him company during his dull life on a freighter. The film’s unusual patina of recorded memories comes from the fact that the original material was shot entirely on VHS, with all its technical deficiencies.

Vikingland

Xurxo Chirro
Spain / 2011 / 99 min.
section: Opus Bonum
East European Premiere
differently, Molussia
Industriální kolosy, louky a moře, práce strojů a lidí. Statické pohledy na krajinu více či méně poznamenanou člověkem doprovází zpěv ptáků, ruch dálnice, štěkot psů, bouře a déšť. Osm alegorických příběhů předčítaných z románové fikce Guntera Anderse na pozadí krajiny, měnící se v kontrastu tónů základních barev a černé, spoluvytváří snový obraz totalitárního státu Molussie – dobové reakce na sílící nacismus, která neztratila nic na své aktuálnosti.  

differently, Molussia

Nicolas Rey
France / 2011 / 78 min.
section: Opus Bonum
Night's Drifters
Afghan immigrants Sobhan and Hamid fall asleep together underneath a bridge in the big city. Their difficult months-long journey from home has not been rewarded by a better life, but has been shattered by fears of the coming day. They live outside of time, hope extinguished in the French suburbs. Afghan defiance and enthusiasm are fractured within blurry images from mobile telephones and in endless dark nights spent by a makeshift fire. The fate of young immigrants, seen from a distance, offers a topical picture of more than one Middle Eastern country.  

Night's Drifters

Bijan Anquetil
France / 2012 / 45 min.
section: Opus Bonum
Central European Premiere
noimage
FilmBOTANY establishes an analogy between botany and film, comparing the preservation and description of plants to the preservation of human memory on film. The film’s poetic structure and meditation on spiritual and material heritage results in a unique multi-layered mixture of essay, documentary, and experiment.

Eden's Ark

Marcelo Félix
Brazil, Italy, Portugal / 2011 / 80 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
China, 87. The Others
We follow the film journey of director Viollaine de Villers and traveller Jean-Pierre Outers around the Chinese interior during the late 1980s. In a fragmented sequence of archival shots, vignettes of local culture gradually emerge, including everyday work, leisure time moments, and reflections of ancient myths. But it’s not just another of the countless travel documentaries or urban symphonies, but rather a suggestive video essay. The VHS camera becomes a fully-fledged historiographical medium through which foreign culture is revealed in all its myriad facets without crystallizing it into a comfortably consumable image„Welcome to China, freed from any historical or political perspective, we are confronted with the Otherness of Chinese culture. We see in this film the opposite of the picturesque – a slice of quotidian life that may be banal, but still fascinates us.” V. de Villers

China, 87. The Others

Violaine de Villers, Jean-Pierre Outers
Belgium / 2017 / 60 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Machine Gun or Typewriter
A solitary man broadcasts a programme intended for a single listener on a pirate radio station. He is searching for his lost love, who disappeared without a trace. Images of the city, disappearing buildings and crumbling social structure all reflect his growing sense of loss. His anger intensifies; it threatens to explode. The ambient nature of the duel between recitation and static images crystallises into a radical exercise in meditation, in which intimacy decomposes into fundamental societal elements. A collage presenting the guilty conscience of one American and all of America charts the topography of memory of place and relationship. Wilkerson artfully blends fact with fiction, and intimate autobiographical details with ostentatious exaggeration in a genre he calls “punk-agit-noir”.DETAIL:I’m just sitting in the living room, watching the tv, trying to calm down… You walk out of the bedroom and you’re holding book I gave you… And you start to read: ‘Adapting a position in theory implies putting it into practice.’ ‘Fuck you,’ you say. And you slam the door and leave.

Machine Gun or Typewriter

Travis Wilkerson
United States / 2015 / 71 min.
section: Opus Bonum
Central European Premiere
Lost Paradise
The life of the filmmaker, also the film’s main character, is determined by a double fear. On one side, her world collapses under the weight of personal and historical tragedies, on the other she is threatened by the loss of the memories of everything that is dear to her. In this documentary, which blurs the lines between personal and public, she attempts to preserve all traces of memories, whether they’re images of her deceased husband or the ruins of local Beirut monuments. Slowly flowing images, virtually free of musical accompaniment, give memory fragments emerging from the surfaces of material things, including the heroine’s body, space to have spontaneous effect. "This film evolves around the notions of disappearance and loss: individual death and disappearance of places, loss of personal memory and collective memory. " R. Mitri

Lost Paradise

Reine Mitri
Lebanon / 2017 / 61 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
The Lake
A hand with a camera emerges from a lake. This surreal scene is like a period in the personal correspondence between two Japanese filmmakers. In the director’s mind, the faded 8mm footage depicts artifacts that evoke phantoms of the past. But besides aimless wanderings through the streets of his hometown, a collection of photographs of a women’s wrestling team, or the handmade mask of Mexican superhero El Santa, the camera also shows its own image. In this experimental correspondence written with a camera instead of a pen, the central theme is one of mirrors and reflections representing the connection between subject and object, life and film.DETAIL:“Now 8mm film is going out of existence. I waste valuable film stock by shooting long takes. I shoot long because a bird will fly across the frame. Isn’t this just a way I live my life?”

The Lake

Shin'ichi Miyakawa
Japan / 2013 / 43 min.
section: Opus Bonum
East European Premiere
A Man Leaning
A film based on a diary written by Thierry Metz (1956–1997), a renowned French poet, in an alcohol rehab clinic a year before he committed suicide. A melancholic portrayal drawing on the writer's tragic private life and intimate poetry. Metz's lines are underscored by a slow train of images of construction workers building houses, treetops swaying in the wind, patients smoking behind the walls of the clinic. The film leads us through Thierry's private history, including the death of his son and the agony of his addiction – through the pain that results in desire to end it all. “I look forward to the days to come in peace, from a distance, but with care. I have to kill someone deep inside myself, even though I do not know how to go about it. The most important thing is not to lose the thread.” T. Metz
personal program

A Man Leaning

Marie-Violaine Brincard, Olivier Dury
France / 2020 / 94 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
Chasing after the Wind
In recent years, the Getsemaní neighborhood in the Colombian town of Cartagena has evolved from a dangerous and crime-filled area to an attractive tourist center. The film nevertheless attempts to capture the neighborhood’s old spirit, as embodied by the 60-something Gustav, whom the camera follows on his nighttime wandering through the town and his occasional musings (sometimes drug-influenced) on God, death, drugs, and the natural order. For the most part, the camera keeps close to Gustav’s body, following him through long shots while exploring the play of the nighttime lights on his skin.DETAIL:“Religion for me... the best exercise it has. But the best thing religion has to offer for me is confession. By doing this they can clean up their rubble. One of the things that make people feel most relieved is when they throw out their rubble.”

Chasing after the Wind

Juan Camilo Olmos Feris
Colombia / 2014 / 61 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
The Visit
An inspection team from the World Bank arrives in an Egyptian village a few years after the revolution to assess how the transformation of agricultural management has progressed since the political upheaval. All of the activities are, as required, recorded by a television crew. We watch a drainage channel being built and visit the local museum. Everything seems to be as it should. However, the documentary’s authors leave the camera switched on even after the television crew has finished their work. As a result, the official record includes behind-the-scenes views and the members of the television crew become just additional actors in the film. The carefully arranged scene becomes an absurdly active image with advertising overtones.DETAIL:A reporter, wearing clothing that conceals all of her body except her face, interviews one of the local women. One detail is particularly worthy of attention: the front of her robe is embroidered with images of Western women wearing revealing clothes.

The Visit

Nadia Mounier, Marouan Omara
Egypt, Germany / 2015 / 43 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
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