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23rd Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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director: Arnaud Gerber
original title: Carousel
country: France, Germany
year: 2018
running time: 35 min.

synopsis

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

biography

Experimental filmmaker Arnaud Gerber (1971) works primarily with Super 8 and 16mm film. His philosophically-inclined conceptual projects are derived for example from Kierkegaardian appropriations of the phenomenon of repetition in the film Berlin Berlin (2009), or experiences of the working class mediated by the French philosopher Simone Weil in The Real Life (2013).

more about film

director: Arnaud Gerber
producer: Arnaud Gerber
sound: Frédéric Commault

other films in the section

Albâtre
Liquid landscapes, each one absorbed into the next, transform the screen into a painter’s canvas. The digital decomposition of images in live interaction with Carlos Grätzer’s music draw attention to the permeability between traditional and abstract painting as well as to the harmony between the fine arts, film, and music. Shots evoking Monet’s Impression, Sunrise, or Renoir’s secluded forest corners, break apart into a raster pattern and are transformed into a shapeless mass of colors that then grow into a new composition. While the impressionists depicted a static moment, Perconte captures a moment that is in constant motion."Albâtre reflects the desire I had to express the energy of this very special part of France where everywhere the wind carries the sea, where nothing is stable, and where I love so much to film: the coast of Upper Normandy between Le Havre and Dieppe." J. Perconte
personal program

Albâtre

Jacques Perconte
France / 2018 / 41 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World 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
Smiling on the Phone
This observational documentary investigates the phenomenon of the call centre as a contemporary labor issue. “A”, employed in a Nike customer service centre, decides to document her last weeks prior to her return to Spain. A casually placed camera captures her loneliness, her colleagues, or aimless shots of a room with strange voices and sounds. It reveals the discrepancy between the image, as presented by the media and as it is promoted among employees, and its perception, which we come to know from text messages sent between “A” and “K” that flash onto the screen. The feelings of alienation and demotivation conflict with the requirement to behave more positively and enthusiastically.“Smiling on the Phone explores issues of contemporary labor and highlights the political relevance of documenting the workspace while exploring forms of response and resistance to those work-related images created by the powers.”

Smiling on the Phone

Aitziber Olaskoaga
Netherlands, Spain, United States / 2016 / 38 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International 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
Talks with TGM
Another contribution to the specific subgenre of animated history by the scriptwriter Pavel Kosatík. On 26 September 1928, Karel Čapek and President Masaryk meet in the gardens of Topolčianky castle to decide about the fate of their joint literary work. Their fiction film dialogue is based on quotes from a future book and their mutual correspondence, considerably freeing the original format of literary conversation from binding conventions. Čapek and Masaryk reproach and offend each other, but they also ask key personal questions and questions about the social functions of a writer and politician respectively.“It’s a film about two extraordinary men; it’s about the fact that emotions can be sometimes more powerful than ideas even in such exceptional people.” J. Červenka
personal program

Talks with TGM

Jakub Červenka
Slovakia, Czech Republic / 2018 / 80 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
The Lust for Power
In recent Slovak history, there’s hardly a more significant figure than Vladimír Mečiar. Director Tereza Nvotová approaches him from several different directions. One is an interview that she conducted with him directly, another is his narrative monologue that presents Slovak history against the backdrop of his own family history, and finally through archival images of Mečiar’s public appearances in the media. Her film, accompanied by aerial images of the Slovak landscape as it appears today, poses the question of what Mečiar meant for the her generation, for society at the time, and for Slovakia in general. “When I was 10-years-old, we´d make believe that we were E. T., Winnetou or Mečiar. Now I want to find out who he really was and what he has done to us and to our country because now I see the same story playing out all over the world.“ T. NvotováThe film is being screened in cooperation with the Representation of the European Commission in the Czech Republic.

The Lust for Power

Tereza Nvotova
Czech Republic, Slovakia / 2017 / 89 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Vacancy
The camera observes an American motel along the main highway – just the way many of us imagine the United States. We follow four people inside the room at night, where they have been living in a kind of private purgatory for several years. Their sins are drugs, crime, and bad decisions. The slow flow of scenes and the occasionally blurred image create an atmosphere of being out of time and out of place – which probably just where these four people, incapable of breaking free from the vicious circle of apathy, feel themselves to be. The four documentary portraits combine to form a picture of the depressing life of people nurturing a tiny flame of hope. „,I have been to hell and / back. / And let me / tell you / It was / wonderful‘ (from Louise Bourgeois work)“ A. Kandy Longuet
personal program

Vacancy

Alexandra Kandy Longuet
Belgium / 2018 / 80 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Day 32
Face to face with the possible end of the world, the filmmaker collects cinematic records of human existence as a message to someone or something that will come after us. This documentary essay erects a monument to the inventiveness and destructiveness of man, and its collection of images from the history of culture, war and sports forms a kind of ark, ready to survive the deluge. The natural elements assault the screen with all their might. The almost poetic voiceover offers a testament of life: at once generic and deeply personal. The director’s awareness of the inevitable end compels him to engage on an enigmatic journey in search of the places, people and phenomena of our civilization. “Two things always moved me: the end of the world and the end of images. I didn’t know they could come together, and was far from imagining they would be related. That’s how Day 32 was born.” A. V. Almeida

Day 32

Andre Valentim Almeida
Portugal / 2017 / 85 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
Expectant
If we look up the word "expectante" in a Spanish-English dictionary, we learn it is an adjective which can be translated as “expecting” or “biding one's time”. It is no accident this single-word title belongs to an disconcerting Peruvian film which takes its audience to a darkened city where a group of friends is spending an evening of leisure. Even though the neighborhood they live in is a relatively safe one, their locked doors and gates provide no more than an illusion of safety, which is a thought applicable world wide. The distant black-and-white camera through which the audience observes the plot seems to be biding its time for a chance to attack."I think cinema is about creating sensations and reaching out to a personal language as a way to manifest our vision as individuals." F. Rodriguez Rivero
personal program

Expectant

Farid Rodriguez Rivero
Portugal, Peru / 2018 / 77 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
The New Day
A mixture of documentary and fiction as seen through the eyes of a non-participant observer, this drama presents the life of the fisherman Maldonado. After his wife Celia leaves him, we watch his lonely life in a series of cyclical everyday activities as we listen to Celia’s voiceover. Although it tends to repeat itself, it reveals something new every day. We always observe a different part of the daily work of a fisherman, or see it from a different angle. This sense of conflict is heightened by contradictory motifs on-screen and in the voiceover. Words clash with images, the everyday with the extraordinary, space with time. “Maldonado is a fisherman of the Paraná River. Modern times leave him on a threshold: a way of inhabiting that no longer finds its possibilities. That frailty that cracks into his world is what we intent to film.”

The New Day

Gustavo Fontán
Argentina / 2016 / 62 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Spectres are haunting Europe
The Idomeni refugee camp housed people from the Middle East who were trying to cross the border into Europe. When the Greek police closed the camp, the refugees resisted and blocked a railway line used to deliver goods. Maria Kourkouta’s minimalist documentary not only observes these events but also presents carefully modeled static images that open up the space within and without the frame of view, and in the closing black-and-white sequence offers a poetic commentary. The result is a bleak portrait of a place where endless lines of refugees try to preserve the final remnants of their individual freedoms. “This film is a call to welcome the refugees that cross the European borders, as well as the ghosts that return with them.”

Spectres are haunting Europe

Maria Kourkouta, Niki Giannari
France, Greece / 2016 / 99 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
De Sancto Ambrosio
The opening ten-minute sequence of the film raises a question whether something is about to happen or not. Nothing much is going to happen, though. Workers are working at a building site, kids are playing, tourists are sightseeing, a wedding and a funeral are in progress, followed by images of empty streets and perspectives of building rooftops – in brief, a microcosm. The film shows the town from a totally different perspective, laying out fragments of life of seemingly totally uninteresting people who simply go about their existence. The camera is set in motion without the passersby even noticing since it has been put in a strategic elevated spot. The whole movie consists purely of bird’s-eye view shots."I always had a fascination to go up the building's rooftops to contemplate the city. Spending one year on a medieval bell tower was like being in a time machine which made time into something tangible." A. Di Bias
personal program

De Sancto Ambrosio

Antonio Di Biase
Italy / 2018 / 50 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
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