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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Sapphire Crystal
Sapphire Crystal
Sapphire Crystal

Sapphire Crystal

director: Virgil Vernier
original title: Sapphire Crystal
country: France, Switzerland
year: 2019
running time: 31 min.

synopsis

Three places and three moments spent with the Geneva Golden Youth. For his documentary, the director organized a workshop with students from the prestigious HEAD School of Art and Design in Geneva to get to know the young men and women who are well-accustomed to a life of luxury and who like to kill time having long discussions in the nightclub, snorting cocaine and sipping champagne. The director sees the film as a highly subjective vision, a kind of pseudo-ethnological work in which some formal elements show hints of irony. Here he acts as an amused moralist and observer trying to break into a world riddled with lavish parties, drugs and all-pervasive vanity.

biography

French director and actor Virgil Verniere (1976) combines fiction, documentary and mythology in his films. From the films: Karine (2001), Chroniques de 2005 (2007), Autoproduction (2009), Pandore (2010), Mercuriales (2014), Sophia Antipolis (2018).

more about film

director: Virgil Vernier
cast: Edward Klein, Inès Thurre, Lou Cohen , Matteo Scarpino , Maxime Brueggler, Medhi Faris , Mélissa Homsi, Olivia De la Baume, Sarah Maria , Thibault Rosseti , Doroteja Gajic
producer: Jean Des Forets, Marie Dubas
script: Virgil Vernier
editing: Charlotte Cherici
music: Nicolas Mollard
sound: Simon Apostolou

other films in the section

Searching Eva
Liberal-minded twenty-five-year-old Eva lives in Berlin, and none of the words used to describe her alternative life are entirely accurate. She is a wanderer, poet, lesbian, prostitute, virgin, housewife, drug addict, and model who decided at age fourteen that privacy was an outdated concept. Thanks to social networks, which she uses to permanently present herself to the public, we see primarily those characteristics by which she defines herself in opposition to majority society: an absolute openness in terms of showing physicality, sexuality, and drug use. Searching Eva is not just about the search for a woman whose body (and soul) have become a public spectacle; it is a multilayered film essay that explores female identity as such.
personal program

Searching Eva

Pia Hellenthal
Germany / 2019 / 84 min.
section: Constellations
East European Premiere
Honeyland
An ageing beekeeper in the rural Macedonian mountains strives to maintain the tradition of honest, environmentally friendly beekeeping. Her quiet everyday life – caring for the colony and selling honey in a nearby town, the untiring care of her mother, living off their farm without electricity – is interrupted by the arrival of nomadic beekeepers, who perceive nature primarily as an opportunity for profit, a way to break free from their poverty. The filmmakers spent three years with the heroine of the film, shooting over four hundred hours of material which became the basis of this melancholy environmental appeal, lyrically depicting the immaculate beauty of nature.
personal program

Honeyland

Ljubomir Stefanov, Tamara Kotevska
Macedonia / 2019 / 85 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
L' ULTIMU SOGNU
Deep inside the wild nature of Corsica, a woman leads her lonesome life, with menacing forebodings of the future passing through her dreams. She keeps entering the forest, hunting after wildlife and in the eyes of her dead pray, she can see faces of people doomed to pass away soon. The locals think about her as an insane beldam, turning away from her except for a shepherd who had already found out for himself that her gift of telling fortunes is real. A dark film filled with mysterious atmosphere lets the audience into the world of island legends, folk tales and rural superstitions. The film also makes observations on the everyday work of shepherds in the open nature, meanwhile involuntarily contemplating topics posed beyond the horizons of human understanding.
personal program

L' ULTIMU SOGNU

Lisa Reboulleau
France / 2019 / 33 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
This Movie is a Gift
A sensitive portrait of Daniel Spoerri that takes viewers not only to the workroom of this versatile artist, but also to his childhood spent in Romania where his father fell victim to the Jewish pogrom. In addition to Spoerri himself, his assemblages speak to them, breathing new life into various objects. They enhance the theme of rebirth around which the director constructed her own personal, fine-tuned film. - Daniel Spoerri (1930) is a Swiss visual artist and writer born in Romania. He is famous for his snare-pictures (tableau pièges), in which he places groups of objects found in chance positions onto a plane surface so that the resulting object can be hung up like a painting.
personal program

This Movie is a Gift

Anja Salomonowitz
Austria / 2019 / 72 min.
section: Constellations
East European Premiere
Movements of a Nearby Mountain
In an abandoned industrial zone at the foot of the Austrian Alps, a Nigerian mechanic lives and works by dismantling old cars and selling their individual parts, mainly to Eastern Europe and Africa. The documentary captures him during his work and while taking meditative breaks with a cigarette overlooking Erzberg Mountain, where iron ore has been mined since ancient Rome. The hero's isolated microcosm is observed at the very edge of economic activity, yet it is inextricably linked to global economic relations in Europe and Africa, the mining of resources, and the exploitation of profits.
personal program

Movements of a Nearby Mountain

Sebastian Brameshuber
Austria, France / 2019 / 85 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
Dark Suns
The murders, which have steadily been on the rise since the 1990s, form the subject matter of this epic documentary depicting the horrific scale of violence in a crime-stricken, Mexican society riddled with corruption. The ghost-like appearance of the overall picture is reinforced by the chosen black-and-white material and the division of the film into chapters, capturing with almost anthropological consistency a series of testimonies from the bloody history of the country. The sun shines on the horror: the search for the kidnapped, raped, and murdered women and missing students, the murder of a photojournalist who pointed out the links between politicians and criminal cartels, the uncovering of mass graves on private sites.
personal program

Dark Suns

Julien Elie
Canada / 2018 / 154 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
Sacavém
A documentary portrait of the Portuguese filmmaker Pedro Costa is a contemporary audiovisual reflection on the meanings that objects, locations and sounds in films carry. The filmography of the director of films such as House of Lava, Bones, In Vanda’s Room, and Colossal Youth is explored using not only his own words and clips from his movie trailers, but also a melancholic atmosphere and experiments with image and sound. Despite occasional glimpses into Costa’s office, he remains an enigmatic personality, which we know only through his work and creative processes. How he thinks, what he feels, and how he lives must be derived from his work.
personal program

Sacavém

Júlio Alves
Portugal / 2019 / 65 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
The Good Terrorist
“A good terrorist is a dead terrorist,” a well-known saying goes. The same kind of ambivalence present in the title applies to this film telling the story of Jason Walters, a convicted and later redeemed member of the Dutch terrorist group Hofstad. They were responsible for manslaughter, planning of terrorist attacks and threatening with killings. Walters gave up only after two weeks of his flat being continuously besieged. Nevertheless, out of the testimonies of representatives of justice, prison wardens and other men charged with terrorist acts, a stereotypical image of a radical Muslim man embodying all the world’s evil suddenly melts away. A scarred Europe has displaced possibilities of redemption and repentance into toxically politicized causes outside all tolerable social criteria, as in the cases of most imprisoned terrorists.
personal program

The Good Terrorist

Robert Oey
Netherlands / 2019 / 80 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
Four Seasons and Autumn
Multi-talented artist and Czech native Jiří Synek (1921-2017), known to readers as František Listopad, spent most of his life in Portugal, where he performed under the name Jorge. He was a poet, translator, theater and film director, organizer, and teacher, and as such had a large influence on Portuguese cultural life. He had a significant role in building the Portuguese television and film school. He also wrote continuously, and his poems and prose are an exceptional testimony to the melancholy of exile. The documentary contains revealing archival recordings and poetic sequences, presenting Listopad through his ideas and life philosophy.
personal program

Four Seasons and Autumn

Pedro Sena Nunes
Portugal / 2018 / 90 min.
section: Constellations
Central European Premiere
Irving Park
Irving Park is a neighborhood in Chicago where the film's four lead characters live together under one roof. But their cohabitation has a rather unusual arrangement – they are all aging gay men practicing dominant-submissive relationships. This time-lapse film gets right in the middle of the action of this abnormal household, and through a seemingly primordial provocation that seems only natural and commonplace, such as long conversations from the Lord and his naked slaves, the film enables a sense of family reciprocity, unsolvable crises and daily inhabitation. As one of the cast members admits: we all live in acceptable relationships of domination and submission.
personal program

Irving Park

Panagiotis Evangelidis
Greece / 2019 / 117 min.
section: Constellations
Central European Premiere
Un film dramatique
For four years, the director has been meeting up with students of a film club at Dora Maar high school in the ethnically colourful city of Saint Denis near Paris, observing how the protagonists and filmmakers-to-be were growing up, looking for their roots and identity, finding a common form of their film in making that had supposed to be really about anything in the beginning. Through showing everyday banalities, the participants were learning to work with the language of film, constantly coming back with reflections on changing formats and contents of their intended work that was meant to become a metaphor of their own place in the world.
personal program

Un film dramatique

Eric Baudelaire
France / 2019 / 114 min.
section: Constellations
Central European Premiere
A Moon for My Father
The body as a material sculpting object and abstract unity of functions. The body as a part of early traumas, ideological rejection, political censorship, persistence and ephemerality. The body as a concept of organization of extensive natural communities. The body as an empty shrine for further artistic use. This audiovisual essay in letters by Iranian filmmaker and British sculptor is a dreamful, intimate dialogue, discourse on the country’s fate following the Islamic revolution, on family and a desire to perfect the female body devastated by malignant disease. A film conversation on the artistic reflection of beauty, memory, experience, fulfilment and inception of new life.
personal program

A Moon for My Father

Douglas White, Mania Akbari
United Kingdom, Iran / 2019 / 73 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
Aktuálně.cz
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