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24th 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

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
Western, Family and Communism
The first shots of the film show Parisians demonstrating and protesting, interspersed with shouted political slogans of Iranian activists. While the situation is very heated in Paris, calmness reigns in Iran. A French family is traveling here in a caravan and getting to know the country. The father films footage of their journey including his wife and daughter. The first third of the film suggests that the issue is a national one, namely that of the Iranian citizens, while the remaining two-thirds shows, however, the French on holiday. From a formal point of view, the film comprises interesting shots taken with a handheld camera, as well highly-overexposed, almost white, shots and double exposures. „Perhaps politics is the multiple of experiments and inventions in an equation with two unknowns: ‚I‘ and ‚we‘. Rather than solve it, once and for all, it would be a matter of keeping trying. Once again. (Precarious springs of the peoples, Maria Kakogianni, 2017)“ L. Krief

Western, Family and Communism

Laurent Krief
France / 2018 / 83 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
Missing
Once we begin to consider certain people, items, or memories as our own, we lay ourselves open to the threat that we’ll lose them. Once the loss actually occurs, our mental image of the lost thing doesn’t disappear – on the contrary – it intensifies. This documentary, inspired by the stories of missing people in Iranian newspapers, searches for people who have disappeared for various reasons, but their tracks still resonate. A wide spectrum of archival materials offers a variety of answers to the question of how the absent can remain present, while live images of grieving loved ones then act as an appeal to all those who would brush off this painful ambivalence. „It could be so simple at times. We just leave home and forget to return. Or don’t want to return. Or cannot return...” F. Sharifi

Missing

Farahnaz Sharifi
Iran / 2017 / 60 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
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
Metaphysics and Democracy
On average, our eyes remained fixed on an advertisement for six seconds. Advertisements are probably the most common ideological channel that we encounter in visible form. Director Luis Ortiz has based his documentary film on this contrast à la thèse. The visual aspect of the film is made up of 57 one-minute static views of advertising. The soundtrack features texts that challenge the existence of ideology as such (the Borges story Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius) and draws attention to the fact that we often confuse it with ontology (the critics of neoliberalism, such as Ignacio Ramonet and Noam Chomsky).“In times of political extremism I find it necessary to ask which mechanisms undermine democracy in the so called modern societies, then new progressive answers are needed to confront the simplistic discourses from the right.” 

Metaphysics and Democracy

Luis Ortiz
Germany, Colombia / 2016 / 59 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Kiruna – A Brand New World
Apocalyptic depiction of an area literally engulfed by the mining industry is presented in this documentary that observes the eponymous northern Swedish city, part of which was abandoned due to activities in the nearby iron mine. The mining company’s management decided not to halt profitable mining activities and instead made the decision to move the residents of the threatened district. Using footage shot in the city inside the Arctic Circle and directly in the mines, the director has uncovered subtle film imagery, and using the stories of three protagonists now living in a bizarre inter-time, imaginatively addresses the topics of resettlement, tradition, and respect for a particular location. “The dystopian story of Kiruna is about lost people looking for a home in an uprooted city. It shows the dark side of the advanced society, whether in Sweden or the Czech Republic.” G. Stocklassa
personal program

Kiruna – A Brand New World

Greta Stocklassa
Czech Republic / 2019 / 87 min.
section: Opus Bonum
Czech 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
Katyusha: Rocket Launchers, Folk Songs, and Ethnographic Refrains
What is the effect of an overheard melody, especially when it sounds almost painfully familiar? In a house full of personal photographs and to the sound of a barrel-organ melody, the film’s director explores the history of her family, which was forced to flee from the Soviet Union before the Second World War. This experimental anthropological film is a mediation on the shared experience of song and the phenomenon of memories associated with popular melodies. As if fired from the eponymous rocket launcher, the artificial folk song Katyusha soared through civilizational skies to become the soundtrack of more than a few human tragedies.“Conflating years of research, archival digging, and excerpts from familial, institutional, and other collections, Katyusha is an experimental documentary that ruminates on the circulation and constructions of cultural memory and national(ist) narratives.” 

Katyusha: Rocket Launchers, Folk Songs, and Ethnographic Refrains

Kandis Friesen
Canada / 2016 / 38 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International 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
Entrance to the End
A dark psycho-ethnographic journey of Maria von Hausswolff and Anne Gry F. Kristensen into the depths of the jungle of the human subconsciousness. The footage from the Panama rainforest was shot on 16mm and all sound was recorded on cassette tapes. The film is a subconscious reaction to Ruggero Deodato's Cannibal Holocaust, an ultraviolent Italian film from the 1970s, as well as to all romanticizing depictions of nature as a place of harmony which is in balance with both itself and its inhabitants. Balancing between imagination and reality, this work is on of the most uncompromising films at this year's festival."The film is a mysterious poem-like journey through an eerie jungle where the viewer get to meet all kinds of creatures and spirits, living and dead. It's shot on a 16mm bolex camera accompanied by sounds recorded on analogue tapes.“ M. Von Hausswolff, A. G. Friis Kristensen 

Entrance to the End

Anne Gry Friis Kristensen, Maria Von Hausswolff
Denmark, Sweden / 2018 / 33 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
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

Albâtre

Jacques Perconte
France / 2018 / 41 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
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