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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Koudelka Shooting Holy Land
Koudelka Shooting Holy Land

Koudelka Shooting Holy Land

director: Gilad Baram
original title: Koudelka Shooting Holy Land
country: Czech Republic, Germany
year: 2015
running time: 72 min.

synopsis

Photographing armed conflict is a huge opportunity for artists, but at the same time it carries a risk of bias or emotional manipulation. Czech photographer Josef Koudelka plunged into this difficult task for the second time: the first time was during the Warsaw Pact invasion in 1968. This time he headed for the hotbed of contention between Israel and Palestine. Director Gilad Baram observed him at his creative work for five years – a solitary artist maintaining a discreet distance while physically experiencing the act of photographing. Austere images of landscape divided by concrete walls and barbed wire reveal the horrifying absurdity of the gulf between two nationalities.

DETAIL:
I’ve never photographed any armed conflict, because none has upset me as much as the events in my own country – Czechoslovakia. They affected me directly and in that exceptional situation I felt I should get out the best of what’s in me.

biography

Gilad Baram is an Israeli photographer, visual artists, and documentary filmmaker who divides his time between Berlin and Jerusalem. His work focuses primarily on how photography has changed in the era of digital media. Since 2009, he has been working as an assistant to photographer Josef Koudelka. In the past he worked in Israeli film and TV production. His film Koudelka: Shooting the Holy Land is his directorial debut.

more about film

director: Gilad Baram
producer: Radim Procházka, Helena Uldrichová, Gilad Baram
script: Gilad Baram, Elisa Purfürst
photography: Gilad Baram
editing: Elisa Purfürst

other films in the section

Cain´s Children
Three men, each from a different corner of Hungary. Their fates, their worldviews, and their living conditions differ, but they nonetheless have something in common: when they were very young, each of them killed someone and then suffered for years in prison. How do people who spent critical moments of their adolescence in the difficult conditions of a detention center come to terms with committing a crime and living their lives afterwards? As an answer, this film offers a chilling, visually compelling treatment of beings on the edge of society, whose crippled lives are cracked like the linoleum that one of their mothers futilely attempts to piece together in her crumbling home. DETAIL:People thought I was a psychopathic animal. But they didn’t laugh anymore.

Cain´s Children

Marcell Gerő
Hungary, France / 2014 / 104 min.
section: First Lights
East European Premiere
A Long Farewell
After years of negotiations, a complex of apartment buildings on the edge of Seoul is heading inexorably for destruction. With the demolition impending, the residents of the buildings slated for destruction try to express what this place means to them. Raya Kim’s minimalist documentary is not built on an apocalyptic mood or kitschy sentiment, but is rather precisely presented in the contrasts between image and sound. Static shots of homes and the surrounding landscape present a portrait of a quiet, seemingly undisturbed everyday life, while detached voices of observers recount their often-dramatic personal experiences, not hiding the uncertainty of what comes next. „What do the actual residents think about the houses scheduled for reconstruction? As with all homes, there are many different forms of time and love.” R. Kim

A Long Farewell

Raya Kim
South Korea / 2017 / 72 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
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
Pill Junkies
In the 1980s, they fled from Poland to Sweden to find independence, but instead discovered the exact opposite. Tadeusz and Krystyna are addicted to legally distributed drugs. They form an ageing couple who are drawn together more by their common weaknesses and withdrawal symptoms than a mutual attraction. The safety net of the Swedish social system meanwhile dangerously tightens in around them in proportion to their increasing need for the drugs. This observational documentary filmed by Tadeusz’s son reveals, with an unusual intensity, a type of addiction that with bitter irony can be called legal. DETAIL:“For some people happiness is winning a million bucks or two. This ain’t happiness. Happiness is when someone can live an ordinary life.”

Pill Junkies

Bartosz Staszewski
Poland / 2014 / 76 min.
section: First Lights
World Premiere
La Perla, about the Camp
Many ask themselves if it is at all possible to give an account of the horrors of concentration camps. Director Pablo Baur reached the conclusion that this type of representation is possible, however only if there is a radical departure from the dominant form of film language. He divided his film essay about the former Argentinian concentration camp La Perla into 19 sections, each of which treats the formal resources in its own distinct way. We encounter various views of the location in question, ranging from 180° panoramic shots of the surrounding landscape, to black-and-white figures providing absurdly detailed information about the institution’s daily operations. Taken together, they do not form one comprehensive portrait, but rather a network of mutually interwoven discourses.“My city harbored a concentration camp and I am not indifferent to that. I seek to offer my viewpoint, a viewpoint committed to the real.”

La Perla, about the Camp

Pablo Baur
Argentina / 2016 / 60 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
29 26
 The film 29 26 is an audiovisual recording of the thoughts and feelings of two sixteen-year-old and two nineteen-year-old girls, who in monologues reveal their concerns and ideas about the life they’ll lead in ten years. The director underscores their speech with stylized and realistic images of themselves, acquired under varying circumstances and on different materials, thus creating an original work of art connecting elements of multiple artistic areas that are close to the author. Long shots of the protagonists’ faces, captured in great detail, are highlighted with expressive illumination and interleaved with poetic, experimentally conceived passages.„‘The world grows with fear next to us‘“ - 29 26, tries to be an intimate and honest tribute/portrait about growing up. Together we create a new space, between performance and film hoping to remember who we were one day.“ P. Velho

29 26

Pedro Velho
Portugal / 2018 / 40 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Chasing after the Wind
In recent years, the Getsemaní neighborhood in the Colombian town of Cartagena has evolved from a dangerous and crime-filled area to an attractive tourist center. The film nevertheless attempts to capture the neighborhood’s old spirit, as embodied by the 60-something Gustav, whom the camera follows on his nighttime wandering through the town and his occasional musings (sometimes drug-influenced) on God, death, drugs, and the natural order. For the most part, the camera keeps close to Gustav’s body, following him through long shots while exploring the play of the nighttime lights on his skin.DETAIL:“Religion for me... the best exercise it has. But the best thing religion has to offer for me is confession. By doing this they can clean up their rubble. One of the things that make people feel most relieved is when they throw out their rubble.”

Chasing after the Wind

Juan Camilo Olmos Feris
Colombia / 2014 / 61 min.
section: First Lights, Opus Bonum
International Premiere
The Visit
An inspection team from the World Bank arrives in an Egyptian village a few years after the revolution to assess how the transformation of agricultural management has progressed since the political upheaval. All of the activities are, as required, recorded by a television crew. We watch a drainage channel being built and visit the local museum. Everything seems to be as it should. However, the documentary’s authors leave the camera switched on even after the television crew has finished their work. As a result, the official record includes behind-the-scenes views and the members of the television crew become just additional actors in the film. The carefully arranged scene becomes an absurdly active image with advertising overtones.DETAIL:A reporter, wearing clothing that conceals all of her body except her face, interviews one of the local women. One detail is particularly worthy of attention: the front of her robe is embroidered with images of Western women wearing revealing clothes.

The Visit

Nadia Mounier, Marouan Omara
Egypt, Germany / 2015 / 43 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
China, 87. The Others
We follow the film journey of director Viollaine de Villers and traveller Jean-Pierre Outers around the Chinese interior during the late 1980s. In a fragmented sequence of archival shots, vignettes of local culture gradually emerge, including everyday work, leisure time moments, and reflections of ancient myths. But it’s not just another of the countless travel documentaries or urban symphonies, but rather a suggestive video essay. The VHS camera becomes a fully-fledged historiographical medium through which foreign culture is revealed in all its myriad facets without crystallizing it into a comfortably consumable image„Welcome to China, freed from any historical or political perspective, we are confronted with the Otherness of Chinese culture. We see in this film the opposite of the picturesque – a slice of quotidian life that may be banal, but still fascinates us.” V. de Villers

China, 87. The Others

Violaine de Villers, Jean-Pierre Outers
Belgium / 2017 / 60 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
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
Ministerstvo kultury
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Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
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