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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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The Cave
The Cave

The Cave

director: Feras Fayyad
original title: The Cave
country: Denmark, Syria, Germany, United States, Qatar
year: 2019
running time: 95 min.

synopsis

Since 2013, when the Syrian regime and its allies first led the chemical war against Syrian civilians, many millions have fled in a desperate bid for survival. Those who remained are trapped. All borders are closed. There is no way out. In an underground hospital in the besieged town of Ghouta, a team of dedicated doctors works tirelessly to treat bombing victims and are constantly forced to battle systemic sexism. The film primarily follows the daily activities of pediatrician and hospital manager Dr. Amani Ballor, who attempts to improve her small patients’ lot in life. In an observational manner, it creates a snapshot portrait of an unlikely heroine.

“I wanted people to see that an ordinary woman can do amazing things. Maybe that can change the world. She can remind us that we’re all human and that we have a shared humanity that is more powerful than violence.” F. Fayyad

biography

Feras Fayyad (1984) is originally from Syria. He studied audio-visual arts and filmmaking at the Paris International Film and Television School. His previous film Last Men in Aleppo received an award at the 2017 Jihlava IDFF. He has also won a number of other awards, including an Oscar nomination for best documentary feature film.

more about film

director: Feras Fayyad
producer: Kirstine Barfod, Sigrid Dyekjær
editing: Per K. Kirkegaard, Denniz Göl Bertelsen
sound: Peter Albrechtsen

other films in the section

The Brink
From autumn 2017 until the 2018 American congressional elections a year later, the director spent time filming with Stephen Kevin Bannon, considered one of the primary architects of Donald Trump’s winning presidential campaign. We observe the former presidential adviser in particular during working meetings with journalists and American and European politicians and businessmen, which he used to spread right-wing views and to consolidate Republican positions of power. Although the controversial strategist apparently attempts to use the presence of the camera to promote himself, the occasional falling out of character reveals that his success is due primarily to prejudices, hypocrisy, and lies that help spread malice and hatred. “I felt he was being given so much power by the image constructed by media. I thought that if we could follow him for an extended period of time we could demystify him, and that would be valuable.” A. Klayman   
personal program

The Brink

Alison Klayman
United States / 2019 / 90 min.
section: A Testimony on Politics
Czech Premiere
Ghost Hunting
A group of former Palestinian prisoners from Israel’s Al Moskobiya detention centre enter a large hall. Watched closely by the cameras, they re-enact scenes from their captivity. The re-enactments are both memory and interaction. The resulting reflection on the everyday routine of life in an interrogation facility helps only some of the participants chase away their personal demons.

Ghost Hunting

Raed Andoni
France, Palestine, Switzerland, Qatar / 2017 / 94 min.
section: A Testimony on Politics
Czech Premiere
Path of Blood
The documentary captures terrorism like never before. Using rare footage from people who belong to Al-Qaeda and forces trying to fight terrorism, it shows an incredibly cruel and raw testimony on the network of one of the largest terrorist organizations in the world.

Path of Blood

Jonathan Hacker
United Kingdom / 2018 / 92 min.
section: A Testimony on Politics
East European Premiere
The Waldheim Waltz
A cinematic memoir of a time when the Austrian nation underwent a deep crisis of identity. The 1986 presidential elections were marked by the revelation that one of the candidates, former UN general secretary Kurt Waldheim, had lied about his activities during the Second World War. A cinematic exploration of the relationship between memory and the past as a sign of the times.

The Waldheim Waltz

Ruth Beckermann
Austria / 2018 / 93 min.
section: A Testimony on Politics
Czech Premiere
Last Men in Aleppo
The never-ending war in Syria has destroyed everything. Although Aleppo is in ruins, some of its residents have remained. Candid camera shots record the daily routine of the members of the White Helmets, who try to rescue people trapped beneath the rubble. But for how long can a dead city be kept alive?

Last Men in Aleppo

Feras Fayyad
Denmark, Syria, Germany / 2017 / 104 min.
section: A Testimony on Politics
Czech Premiere
The Venerable W.
Wirathu, an influential and much-respected monk, is the embodiment of a shocking form of Buddhist nationalism in Myanmar, as he openly calls for the oppression and liquidation of the Muslim minority. This film provides an intimate insight of the background of an ethnic conflict, stirred up by proven propaganda methods, which chillingly parallels the current Islamophobia in Europe.

The Venerable W.

Barbet Schroeder
France, Switzerland / 2017 / 100 min.
section: A Testimony on Politics
Czech Premiere
Still Recording
A unique documentary study takes us into Syria where, for a period of over four years, we observe the lasting friendship of art students Saeed and Milada. They moved to the rebel town of Douma and record everything they see around them. We experience not only their struggle with hunger, but also the desire for art and so much wanted freedom.

Still Recording

Saeed Al Batal, Ghiath Ayoub
Syria, France, Lebanon, Qatar, Germany / 2018 / 128 min.
section: A Testimony on Politics
Czech Premiere
Untouchable
This social documentary imitates the process of the investigative journalists who uncovered a whole mesh of intrigue, blackmail, bribery, and cover ups of sexual violence committed by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. The film goes from showing the testimonies of the individual victims of the assaults to recognizing and analysing the patterns of compulsive behaviour based on years of long-lived illusions of "untouchability." Accusing an individual in reference to the #MeToo movement becomes an unflattering result of society as a whole. Weinstein's predatory behaviour would not have been possible without looking away from impending evil, self-bought cooperation, and coercion of forced silence. “The pain experienced by Weinstein’s accusers is palpable in the film, but there’s also a sense that private anguish can be transformed into collective strength.” U. Macfarlane  
personal program

Untouchable

Ursula Macfarlane
United Kingdom / 2019 / 98 min.
section: A Testimony on Politics
Czech Premiere
Another Planet
This animated documentary tracks the making of a freeform compilation of computer models of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. The state prosecutor, architect, graphic designer, and others explain their motives for creating them. The resulting mosaic links two themes of how virtual reality can be used: to preserve memory and as a tool to cope with trauma.

Another Planet

Amir Yatziv
Israel, Germany, Poland / 2017 / 48 min.
section: A Testimony on Politics
East European Premiere
Little Germans
The film searches for the root cause of extremist thinking of some contemporary Germans. The dark tones of an early indoctrination of children's souls is illustrated by watercolor animation of idealized memories. Nostalgic sequences frame the testimonials of today's representatives of the German middle class. The psychoanalytic study of (neo)Nazi ideology as a lifestyle reveals the four fundamentals of revived Germanic mythology and mentality ─ xenophobia, eugenics, exalted rhetoric and Christian kitsch. The closed enclave of right-wing extremism of the Pegida movement is slowly revealed by open talks in which the renegade patriotic orthodoxy unmask the movement's demagogy. “Children represent our future. They reflect our wish for security, family and happiness. At the same time, a child is the weakest link of our society and therefore it needs a special protection.” M. Farokhmanesh, F. Geiger    
personal program

Little Germans

Frank Geiger, Mohammad Farokhmanesh
Germany, Austria / 2019 / 90 min.
section: A Testimony on Politics
East European Premiere
Free Lunch Society – Come Come Basic Income
The greatest ever change in economic order is within reach! All that remains to be done is to overcome conventional thinking and accept the concept of unconditional basic income. In his montage documentary, the Austrian director simulates the history of the efforts to implement this reform, and, with futuristic playfulness, extrapolates its possible future development.

Free Lunch Society – Come Come Basic Income

Christian Tod
Austria, Germany / 2017 / 95 min.
section: A Testimony on Politics
Czech Premiere
XY Chelsea
In 2017, the transgender woman Chelsea Manning was released from prison after serving seven of the thirty-five years she had been sentenced to for publishing, while still the soldier Bradley Manning, secret American videos and documents about the wars in Afghanistan and  Iraq. The film clarifies what led to her actions and her transformation, and also looks at the position of transgender people in the American prison system. It follows Manning from her first steps after her release to meetings with the friends who supported her during her time in prison and her entry into the world of politics, which changes significantly with the presidency of Donald Trump. “My vision for this film was then, and has remained, a character-driven film in which the personal and political are woven and collide in the most spectacular contemporary style.” T. Travers Hawkins     
personal program

XY Chelsea

Tim Travers Hawkins
United Kingdom / 2019 / 92 min.
section: A Testimony on Politics
Czech Premiere
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