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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Looking for North Koreans
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Looking for North Koreans

Looking for North Koreans

director: Jero Yun
original title: Looking for North Koreans
country: France
year: 2012
running time: 73 min.

synopsis

The dual nature of North and South Korea, forcibly divided by the Soviet Union’s power plays, continues to aff ect the lives of both countries’ inhabitants to this day. Every year, more and more people leave the totalitarian north; every year, more families and lives are torn apart. Kidnappings, extortion, human trafficking, threats of extermination, and hundreds of missing are the order of the day. A dark shadow looms over neighbouring China as well, where the trail of most traffickers and their victims comes to an end. The film goes searching for North Koreans who have disappeared, interviews victims and traffickers, and explores the grey zone of these political twins.  

more about film

director: Jero Yun
producer: Guillaume de la Boulaye
script: Jero Yun

other films in the section

Time Goes by Like a Roaring Lion
76.5 years – the average lifespan of a German man. 76.5 minutes – the length of this filmic essay on the nature of time. The filmmaker suffers from chronophobia, and he comes to terms with the painful passing of the years with the help of a collage of images and stories emphasizing concrete things. The film possesses an almost obsessive order: one minute, one year of life.An arcane metal apparatus with a flash disappears in the stream of time like the famous DeLorean. In this “back to the future”, however, it is not cinematic magic. The private becomes the fantastic, and memories become sci-fi.

Time Goes by Like a Roaring Lion

Philipp Hartmann
Germany / 2013 / 80 min.
section: Opus Bonum
East European Premiere
Taego Ãwa
Tutawa Tuagaek, the ageing leader of the Ãwa, a Brazilian indigenous tribe, is one of the last survivors of the 1973 massacre of Indians in the Amazon jungle. This team of filmmaker-ethnographers records his everyday life in the company of young followers, to whom he is trying to pass on his experiences. The Indian community’s everyday rituals are contrasted with found photographs and video clips that offer rare evidence of the atrocities that Tutawa recounts. Different epochs and visual formats create a continuum that reveals the traumatic history of an oppressed people who have managed to survive despite all odds."The imagination is not only mediator between understanding and sensibility, it has its own dynamism, scheme free, organized bodies, constituted individuals, fixed identities, consolidated psyches."

Taego Ãwa

Henrique Borela, Marcela Borela
Brazil / 2016 / 75 min.
section: Opus Bonum
East European Premiere
Buenos Aires Free Party
Banal scenes from the preparations for and during the course of a freetechno party regularly alternate with a frenetic sequences of events from Argentine history to produce a hypnotic and frightening trip. On the one hand is the aesthetic of the music video and its ability to capture the state of entropy across time by using audiovisual repetition and playing with pacing, color and brightness. On the other hand is an effect-free record of real life, specifically the freetechno subculture, whose non-aggressive nature contrasts with the destruction and chaos that rule the surrounding world.  DETAIL: The monotonous rhythm of flying over Buenos Aires is broken by a flash of fear: one frame of an attacking monster.

Buenos Aires Free Party

Homero Cirelli
Argentina / 2014 / 74 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
Misericordia: The Last Mystery of Kristo Vampiro
Experimental filmmaker Khavn de la Cruz claims that Misericordia was shot on a four-day trip in the Philippines, during which he recorded his family through a blood-red filter and accompanied violent images of cockfights or flagellant rituals with no less bloodthirsty hallucinatory voiceovers. Khavn presents a blood-filled point of view of the Filipino culture of pain and suffering. Even if most of the film had not been shot through a red filter, this colour would still dominate.

Misericordia: The Last Mystery of Kristo Vampiro

Khavn De La Cruz
Philippines / 2013 / 70 min.
section: Opus Bonum
East European Premiere
The Beijing Ants
In 2013, Beijing became the city with the most expensive rents in the world. The rising prices also affected the film’s director, Ryuji Otsuka, his wife and their small child. With the help of a handheld video camera and casual and hidden cameras, he has created a personal diary that begins at the moment when he must search for a new flat after his rent was suddenly and significantly raised. From this has emerged an immediate, spontaneous testimony about everyday situations that can change easily into acute conflicts – not only due to financial pressure, but also because of the ruthless approach of landlords and indifferent police. DETAIL:“We’ll handle things according to the contract. Spoken words have no clout, only black on white counts. You say it was promised, I disagree, where’s the proof? Show us a written document.”

The Beijing Ants

Ryuji Otsuka
China / 2014 / 88 min.
section: Opus Bonum
European Premiere
Ettrick
This visually captivating observational documentary of Scotland offers not only images of the rugged landscape, meadows, extensive forests and windmills, but also a detailed study of the meticulous handiwork completed at the local textile mill. Through exploring the nature of the digital record that captures the shape of the landscape, the film identifies images that reflect local everyday life. The physical movement through the area is also a journey into the imagery, which gradually disintegrates into particles of colour and shifting surfaces, subsequently reassembling back into the contours that change as a result of weather and time. Through the emphasis placed on colours and flow in calm compositions, the symbols of the traditional life in the region are revealed.DETAIL:“I shot the film three years long in Scotland. The path we drive leads to the heart of the Ettrick Forest, a dive into a textile world. A land where man, machinery and nature deal with a complex relationship that draws their future.” Jacques Perconte

Ettrick

Jacques Perconte
France / 2015 / 57 min.
section: Opus Bonum
Central European Premiere
The Sound of Old Rooms
Calcutta, 2011. A birthday party. Amidst the restless mood of the family celebration, we are thrown back to the student years of the ambitious and promising communist poet Sarthak. As a young idealist and bon vivant, he works to refine his empathy for the social problems of his nation, his altruistic concern for living beings, and his revolutionary consciousness. The past is woven together from memories, dilemmas, and basic human fears, concerns and joys. The echoes of old rooms resonate with a revolutionary ethos, artistic elitism, and the inability to take care of oneself.  

The Sound of Old Rooms

Sandeep Ray
India, South Korea, United States / 2011 / 74 min.
section: Opus Bonum
European Premiere
We Went to War
In 1970, the documentary I Was a Soldier about American soldiers who had recently returned from the war in Vietnam explored an open wound. Its continuation, We Went to War, shows how that wound is healing after more than 40 years. It follows the same three men from Texas as the first film, except that the young men with recent traumatic experiences are now old men who have been shaped by those experiences.  

We Went to War

Michael Grigsby
United Kingdom, Ireland / 2012 / 77 min.
section: Opus Bonum
Central European Premiere
Time Splits in the River
Four artists decide to make a film where apolitical parents play parts of dissidents from the 1980s. Later, they show them the footage, unfolding discussions about art and politics. A  fascinating conceptual therapy revolving around traumatic  events of the history of Taiwan combines a highly artistic style with the informal, echoing, in the best possible sense, the saying ‘the personal is political’. Idiosyncratic, half-improvised ‘performances’ of the protagonists, who embody a story fromthe life and work of writer Shi Mingzheng, and the visual side of the film, just as poetic as it is funny, make this film a highly personal experience that is difficult to categorize.“Through re-enacting the social minority’s experiences , the filmsheds light on new negotiations between the social majority and other dissidents, while exposing the impossibility of family communication.”

Time Splits in the River

Yu-Ping Wang, Chia-Hung Lee, I-Chieh Huang, Xuan-Zhen Liao
Taiwan / 2016 / 89 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
Things
In this crystalline ambient minimalist film, scenes of an unmade bed slowly alternate with windshield wipers in the rain and a glass of water with sunlight streaming through it. The camera gently touches objects and phenomena of everyday reality. The images are not accompanied by commentary – only in places can we hear the recorded “voice” of things and their surroundings. The viewer’s attention is unavoidably drawn to the texture of image and sound. Shapes, colours, light, background noise, and tones of the environment are fundamental elements that build the atmosphere of the moments from which the film is woven.

Things

Thomas A. Østbye
Norway / 2015 / 48 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Carousel
A chrono-photographic visit to the museum in the age of its digital reproducibility. This is the director’s characterization of Carousel, a film that skirts the boundary between documentary and visual art. Using un-commented images, the film correlates the museum space, its visitors, and digital recording technology. Using changing film speeds, visitors become ghosts, their movement becoming the most fundamental element, dictated more by a need to document everything with the camera than a desire to actually view the exhibited objects. The film’s conclusion shows that the most remarkable exhibits at museums today are their visitors."You don't have to see. You don't have to feel. You don't have to share. You just have to follow the guide, turn around and admire." A.Gerber

Carousel

Arnaud Gerber
France, Germany / 2018 / 35 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Aftermath
A heterogeneous tetralogy of personal profiles brings together four individuals from different corners of the world of art – pianist and entertainer Fats Waller, painter Jackson Pollock, photographer Janieta Eyre, and painter Frida Kahlo. The ambient collage of turbulent social conditions is infused with intimate moments of artistic immersion. Hypnotic images vibrate with a captivating approach to the subjects’ individual lives. Hoolboom combines documentary footage and re-enactments with experimental collage. Sped-up footage, weightlessly floating cameras, VR, found footage, the patina of 16mm films – all of them tools for redefining the genre of cinematic portrait.„The movie poses this question: how to survive in the aftermath, of the state, of the state of your family, of your body. Artist examples are offered. Perhaps only in the act of doubling, in a crowd scene, can I find this thing I call myself.“ M. Hoolboom

Aftermath

Mike Hoolboom
Canada / 2018 / 75 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
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