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25th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Traces of a Landscape
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Traces of a Landscape
Traces of a Landscape
Traces of a Landscape
Traces of a Landscape
Traces of a Landscape

Traces of a Landscape

director: Petr Záruba
original title: Jan Jedlička: Stopy krajiny
country: Czech Republic, Italy
year: 2020
running time: 67 min.

synopsis

An immersive watercolour of the life of artist Jan Jedlička. The Czech painter, filmmaker and photographer emigrated to Switzerland in 1968 before making his second home in the desolate landscape of the Tuscan lowlands of Maremma. The empty palette of possibilities of internal exile gradually fills with enchanting paintings woven from a colorful mixture of shades of rocks, sediments, and pigments found in the landscape. The impressions of his new home, transferred ambiently onto canvas, photographs, and raw material of film, capture the inner sight and spiritual bond of an artist released from social structures, devoted only to his own work and life in a landscape of subdued light and shadow.
 
 
“Monitoring change is what interests me. There is no end result here, it evolves over time, it just keeps going.” J. Jedlička
 
Q&A - Petr Záruba, Alice Tabery:
 

biography

Petr Záruba received degrees from the Faculty of Science at Charles University and the Department of Documentary Film at FAMU. He works as a director, cinematographer and film researcher. In his documentary work, he focuses on visual artists (Adriena Šimotová, Jiří John); his film about Jan Jedlička is his feature debut.

more about film

director: Petr Záruba
cast: Jan Jedlička
producer: Alice Tabery
photography: Miroslav Janek
editing: Pavel Kolaja
music: Jaroslav Kořán
sound: Vladimír Chrastil

other films in the section

The Prison of Art
“Most prisoners like boxes.” The constrained nature of prisons opens up an infinitude of fantasies and free artistic expression. Environment determines means of expression. A project of confrontation and dialogue with artists from the outside shows radical diff erences and a conspiratory divergence from social norms. This essay on imaginary and physical freedom introduces us to the extreme thoughts of our own boundaries and limitations.  

The Prison of Art

Radovan Síbrt
Czech Republic / 2012 / 87 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
The Good Driver Smetana
An experiment involving engaged citizen Roman Smetana – the Olomouc bus driver who drew antennae on politicians’ billboards – expanded into an action drama about courage and (Švejk-like) determination. This feature-length film is an expanded version of an episode from the TV documentary series Czech Journal, and an embodiment of exemplary persistence in civic disobedience. In Smetana’s story, his personal convictions, court rulings, and the post-modern era’s media engineering all converge. In the role of an “ordinary citizen” robbed of 15 minutes of his time by two curious filmmakers, former Minister of Interior Ivan Langer responds with dialectical ease to a simple question: Can you tell the camera that you have never engaged in corruption?

The Good Driver Smetana

Filip Remunda, Vít Klusák
Czech Republic / 2013 / 77 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
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
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
noimage
FilmSOLITUDE looks at six men and women living without a partner even though most of them say that they would like one. In order to show the life of single young people over the course of one year, the director uses a restrained style, focusing on important features of the protagonists’ behavior, their habits, and their surroundings.

Generation Singles

Jana Počtová
Czech Republic / 2011 / 77 min.
section: Czech Joy
Dying for Beginners / The Key of Silence
The joint title Dying for beginners brings together two short films that the directors shot together “in hospices, maternity wards, trains, and elsewhere.” They are based on interviews with the same protagonists and about similar subjects, but always as seen from a different angle. The first film, Marek Bouda’s The key of silence explores music and its relationship to old age and death. For instance, it asks what music we can hear in heaven or what music to play after our passing. In Dying for beginners, Bára Kopecká looks at the taboo subject of death in crematoria, among the dying, or in the maternity ward. “I was interested primarily in how music is reflected in the face of the listener when he is moved by it. And silence – the counterpoint to music, a pause in the composition, the end of life... the silence that remains after we are gone...” B. Kopecká

Dying for Beginners / The Key of Silence

Marek Bouda, Bára Kopecká
Czech Republic / 2017 / 58 min.
section: Czech Joy
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: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Life and Death in Tanvald - director’s cut
The town of Tanvald as a symbol for identifying current society-wide attitudes. The death of a young Roma spurs the filmmakers’ investigation into the incident’s true course of events. The mysteries of the country’s creeping xenophobia provide a key to understanding anti-Roma attitudes. Over the course of a year, we witness the transforming landscape of Czech nationalism and the social tectonics of the racial conflict of a twisted society. The self-analytical look at the schism between the two filmmakers provides a welcome debate on the ethical integrity of the documentary filmmaker. The filmmaker’s approach comes close to desecrating the sanctity of childhood innocence.

Life and Death in Tanvald - director’s cut

Filip Remunda, Vít Klusák
Czech Republic / 2013 / 57 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Pilgrimage to the Mountains
Art historian and theorist Jiří Zemánek and his friends set out on a nine-day pilgrimage from Prague to Sněžka, one they’ve done many times before. These modern pilgrims, inspired by the walking journey of the poet Karel Hynek Mácha, who completed the trip with Eduard Hindl in 1833, discover the beauties of the Czech landscape, read excerpts of poems and observations from Mácha's notebook, and observe a world in which untouched nature and modern civilization meet. The lyrical, meditative film, interwoven with humanism, offers an insight into the inner minds of pilgrims longing to merge with the world, highlights poetry as a tool for transforming human perception.     "And then there is no choice but to take one's meager belongings onto one’s back and set off. Jirka might read a poem on the road, perhaps from Mácha, Jeffers or Josef Hora, and our minds are open to the unknown. We already know that there is nothing to be afraid of: the path will set us straight and guide us, connect us with the landscape, with the clouds, with the starry nighttime sky. With ourselves.” K. Čtveráček   Q&A with  Karel Čtveráček and Jiří Zemánek:  
personal program

Pilgrimage to the Mountains

Karel Čtveráček
Czech Republic / 2020 / 82 min.
section: Czech Joy
International Premiere
Skokan
Director Petr Václav calls Skokan a documentary film with fairy-tale aspects, mainly because of its emphasis on authenticity in telling the fictional tale of a Romani recidivist in search of career opportunities at the Cannes film festival. The main character is played a by real ex-con, Julius Oračko, whom the filmmakers got out of prison on parole shortly before the start of filming. The film was shot with just a rough script, which was fine-tuned on the set. The scenes from Cannes were shot during the festival. The ending, which recalls the liberation of an enchanted princess, again feels like a fairy tale.“We improvised most of the scenes during filming – we used the places we were able to get into and the light that was available. Above all, I tried to capture the experiences of the main character,” P. Václav

Skokan

Petr Václav
Czech Republic, France / 2017 / 93 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Byeway
Activism, direct observation, and situational documentary inconspicuously linger about the constantly delayed construction of the D8 motorway. Local residents, a Brno-based activist and the construction chief shatter the clichés of contemporary documentary film – among other things in who we should root for. The local mixes with the global just like economics and the environment. A beautiful shot of the north Bohemian countryside, set to Wagner’s Tannhäuser. But the viewer intuitively senses that these superficial aesthetics hide a no less forceful sense of irony and doubt.

Byeway

Ivo Bystřičan
Czech Republic / 2013 / 72 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Incoming
It’s 4903 km to the Czech town of Aš, but in Logar, Afghanistan, the main distance that the Czech team is trying to overcome is cultural. Talking heads ponder how to pass on know-how in a country wracked by 30 years of war, but more than once a siren tears the filmmakers and main protagonists back to reality, and there follows a far more dynamic spectacle. “Every day, we travel to hell. We put on vests and ballistic eyewear. We look like robots. We step out of those enormous vehicles like aliens.” In such a situation, taking off your helmet is an act of courage and humanity.

Incoming

Radim Špaček
Czech Republic / 2013 / 70 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
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