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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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The Way the President Departs
The Way the President Departs
The Way the President Departs
The Way the President Departs
The Way the President Departs
The Way the President Departs
The Way the President Departs

The Way the President Departs

director: Pavel Kačírek
original title: Jak odchází prezident
country: Czech Republic
year: 2016
running time: 51 min.

synopsis

The compilation documentary The Way the President Departstakes us back to the events surrounding the presidential elections in Czechoslovakia in 1992 that led to the dissolution of the federal republic. The film, which uses clips from Czechoslovak Television and Original Videojournal, focuses on the first elections, in which the sole candidate was Václav Havel. It is Havel himself who is the focus of the film. We see primarily his immediate reactions to the changing situation around the elections, whether those intended for the public or expressed within his circle of advisors. In addition to observations of an important Czech politician, the film evokes public life in the 1990s.

I am sure that for today’s audiences, this behind-the-scenes look at politics will be interesting and stimulating, and they will be surprised at how dramatically the political scene has changed.

biography

Pavel Kačírek’s (1947) filmography includes primarily films created for television. He made the short portrait film Sen – Fragmenty ze života Záviše Kalandry (1994), the three-part film Preaching At The Fish (1998) about Gustav Mahler, Akta Vladimír Krajina (2011) about resistance fighters from the second World War, and Oskar Nedbal: vzestupy a pády (2014). He also worked on the series Ateliéry (1999) and Pokračování příště (2003).

more about film

director: Pavel Kačírek
producer: Alena Müllerová
photography: Petr Hykš
editing: Martin Steklý
sound: Milan Ujčík

other films in the section

Czech Journal: Don’t Take My Life
One day, documentary filmmaker Andrea Culková learned that she faced attachment of assets because of a minor error that she learned about too late. She thus became one of the many people to find themselves caught in a debt trap. In her contribution to the Czech Journalseries, Culková delves into an examination of the phenomenon of debt, debt recovery, and debt payments in Czech society from a personal as well as investigative viewpoint. She interviews various actors in the field, from debtors to the Minister of Justice, attends conferences of debt collectors, and explores how the issue is addressed in other countries."You can’t just take my film from me!!!!"

Czech Journal: Don’t Take My Life

Andrea Culková
Czech Republic / 2016 / 63 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Everything´s Gonna Be Fine
Producer Čestmír Kopecký had originally wanted to make a film about the changing face of Brno, but in the end director Robin Kvapil and co-writer Pavel Šplíchal created something more closely resembling Šplíchal’s ironic blog Prigl. In their “lovingly anarchistic” film, Brno forms the epicentre of a sarcastic look at Czech society. The naive and vacuous communist-era documentary with which Kvapil’s film opens gives way to the reporter’s bitter monologues right in front of the camera. These are intercut with acted sequences featuring Brno’s political elites, artists, and outcasts.“People say that Brno is the only joke that is inhabitable. The entire film follows this logic.” R. Kvapil

Everything´s Gonna Be Fine

Robin Kvapil
Czech Republic / 2017 / 71 min.
section: Czech Joy
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: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Jaroslav Kučera A Journal
Jaroslav Kučera was the husband of director Věra Chytilová and one of the most original cameramen of the Czechoslovak New Wave. Footage that he captured in his free time for private purposes served a few decades later as the basis for the creation of a fragile, intimate portrait which dispenses with words. In it, the master of the image freely sketches the innermost space of his family. Thanks to the director’s sensitive selection, we observe scenes of spontaneous posing before the lens and moments of repose, compellingly woven together with a soundtrack by producer Aid Kid. “The most important information about Czech literature of the recent decades can be found in literary journals by Jan Zábrana, Ivan Diviš, and Pavel Juráček. With that in mind, we approached the processing of cameraman Jaroslav Kučera’s film diary.” J. Felcman  
personal program

Jaroslav Kučera A Journal

Jakub Felcman
Czech Republic / 2019 / 67 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Dunaj of Consciousness
Members of the Brno alternative rock legend Dunaj (Danube) meet after several years, determined to forget their grievances and disagreements of the past to perform a concert in the Romanian city of Banat, where they still have a strong fan base. On the way there, they take a boat down the Danube River, whose waves and mysterious nature evokes memories of the past among the band members and reflections on their careers, helped out by a meeting with former member Iva Bittová. The poetically infused film reveals the backstage of the band and, accompanied by the captivating tones of Dunaj’s songs, paints a complex portrait of the legendary music group. “Former members of the Dunaj band, now twenty years older, meet to find out they don’t have to do anything. They just want to let something special flourish, something created mainly by their being together. All the original pieces come together to create something compellingly impressive again.” D. Butula
personal program

Dunaj of Consciousness

David Butula
Czech Republic / 2019 / 83 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
The State Capture
After the murders of the journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová, the shooting of the documentary about a new kind of social establishment in which the traditional state structures become replaced with Mafia and oligarchy took a huge turn. By interviewing various persons - lawyers, bloggers, journalist, security experts, and former secret service agents -, the author tries to uncover the complex network of those influencing the Slovakian public space. The investigative film about a country in which the communist regime fell thirty years ago offers overwhelming facts about the unclear relationships among former secret service agents and interest groups, and shows the issues and threats faced by both journalists and the public. “The murder of a journalist raised more questions than just who the killer was. The tragedy illuminated the real picture of social institutions and created a short window when it was possible to capture it with a camera.” Z. Piussi
personal program

The State Capture

Zuzana Piussi
Slovakia, Czech Republic / 2019 / 79 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
Never Happened
“The deed did not occur,” proclaimed Vladimir Mečiar in 1996 on the murder of businessman Róbert Remiáš, which likely had a political motive and with which the Prime Minister himself was likely involved. His infamous dictum is an attempt to negate a documentary that combines an investigative approach with original filmmaking. The director builds her film on interviews with key players in the Remiáš case but does not limit herself to an austere presentation of facts. Alternating different film formats, from black and white film to VHS, she evokes a period of crime and highlights the central theme of confrontation with the past. “I wanted to make a poetic political film. Engagé art should not give up on the style.” B. Berezňáková  
personal program

Never Happened

Barbora Berezňáková
Slovakia, Czech Republic / 2019 / 82 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
RINO
Karel Köcher is supposedly the most important communist agent to infiltrate the CIA. There are few reliable sources as to his activities, and so the filmmakers aim their camera primarily at the main protagonist. The result is an unconventional portrait that tells us more about a man living a double life than about any sensationalized spy activities. The mystery surrounding his actions also envelopes Köcher the individual: it is difficult to figure out what is going through the mind of someone so perfectly in control and capable of beating a lie detector. DETAIL:“People will say, ‘Oh well, you learned to lie so how can we believe you?’ But it’s not like that, you see? When you lie for a reason, that doesn’t mean that you are a liar by nature. It’s a technical matter.”

RINO

Jakub Wagner
Czech Republic / 2015 / 95 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
ALONE
Luba Skořepová has spent the past several years in solitude, struggling to stay an active theatre actress as long as she can. She invited the film crew into her home in order to shoot her daily life. Although the resulting film contains archival footage from her youth, it is definitely not a biographical film. The filmmakers focus on the present day, capturing scenes from the life of an old and solitary woman who possesses the will to live an active life but who is no longer important for others. Skořepová herself was behind the making of the film, through which she hopes to call attention to the subject of loneliness among old people.“Luba wanted to film Alone in order to call attention to the subject of loneliness among old people. I am convinced that we have succeeded.” O. Faifr

ALONE

Otakar Faifr
Czech Republic / 2017 / 63 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
The Perpetrator and the Bystander
This half-hour film consists of private video footage shot by theater artist Petr Lébl in 1996 while working on a production of Cyrano de Bergerac as a guest director at the national theatre in Tel Aviv. For most of the film, we see Lébl and costume designer Kateřina Štefková in a hotel room, although on the margins of their banter we encounter Lébl’s more skeptical observations directed at the camera. This seemingly banal home video of two close people breaks down the boundary between the personal and the public, between life and performance. Both continue to act in front of the camera, even though the film was not meant for the public. DETAIL:Mission Impossible – with Kateřina. Beware of Kateřina: Her raw commentaries are meant to drive you mad. Don’t let yourself be fooled: There is no point in repeating to her that I respect her. Better to act with that knowledge in your heart.

The Perpetrator and the Bystander

Jan Kačena, Nikola Krutilová
Czech Republic / 2015 / 34 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Heidegger in Auschwitz
Czech Joy - Out of competitionThe German philosopher Martin Heidegger, one of the most important thinkers of the 20th century, goes on a tour of Auschwitz forty years after his death. He takes 2,500 photographs during his visit. On his way back, he visits Prague and his attention is caught by the tail end of a marathon, which conspicuously reminds him of a funeral. The following winter, his Jewish lover and another of the most important thinkers of the 20th century, Hannah Arendt, rises from the grave as well. With a 16mm camera in hand, she aimlessly wanders the area surrounding Heidegger’s chalet in Todtnauberg. She has visions of various motifs from the great philosopher’s central work, Being and Time. All is arranged in a strictly structural shape. Static in movement, kinetic in stillness. “Oh, Germany! People laugh when they hear the talk that comes from your house. But anyone who sees you reaches for a knife.” M. Ježek

Heidegger in Auschwitz

Martin Ježek
Czech Republic / 2016 / 50 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
Passengers
The film’s director sees her four protagonists as passengers along for the ride. She started to follow them just before they left the children’s home where they grew up, and spent the next six years following their lives. The return to a non-functioning family environment often also means the return to established patterns, lack of a future, and unstable social relations. The film is an indirect indictment of the country’s institutionalized care system, which manages to look after children as minors but fails to properly prepare them for the transition into adulthood.„What is it like to sit in the back seat of your life?“         

Passengers

Jana Boršková
Czech Republic / 2018 / 78 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
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