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25th 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

Of Land and Bread
The nonprofit B´Tselem organization documents the violation of human rights in Jordan’s West Bank. Thanks to the efforts of volunteers, it has collected thousands of hours of video records capturing the everyday hardships of Palestinians who are tormented by the Israeli army, the police, and even ordinary civilians. Amateurly filmed night raids and daily hardships provide a vivid narrative about injustice, helplessness and violence in the Israeli-occupied territories. The hand-held camera, which is the only weapon the volunteers use, creates a raw, aesthetically unadorned image of a world where people are deprived of their land, their privacy, a carefree childhood, and even a dignified death.   “It is a story of a vulnerable life, with no political rights or the right to protest, a life on the receiving end of the project of dispossession of land and resources which is the Israeli occupation.” E. Tarabien     
personal program

Of Land and Bread

Ehab Tarabieh
Israel, Palestine / 2019 / 88 min.
section: Constellations
Czech 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.

Movements of a Nearby Mountain

Sebastian Brameshuber
Austria, France / 2019 / 85 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
Irradiated
An archival memento of the horrors of war in the 20th century that delves into philosophical reflections on the nature of evil and the meaning of suffering. Raw images of prisoners in concentration and labor camps and victims of nuclear attacks are a chronicle of global human tragedy. The sensory and emotional experience is multiplied by a vertically divided image, which triples each shot. The dramatic content and Pahn’s stylistic quirkiness, however, are not an outright attempt to rattle the viewers’ cages. His philosophical essay, dedicated to documentary filmmaker and concentration camp survivor Marceline Loridan-Ivens, fights back against the contagion of oblivion that is spreading through the current infinitely changing and accelerated audiovisual landscape.     “Big media changes images every ten seconds. The next day, no one cares what happened yesterday. No one thinks about the consequences of what happened in the past.” R. Panh
personal program

Irradiated

Rithy Panh
France, Cambodia / 2020 / 88 min.
section: Constellations
East European Premiere
There will be no more night
Small silhouettes appear in the middle of the sights, observed from afar. They move quickly but they cannot escape the quick all-seeing eye. They are monitored all the time. Despite the apparent absence of the human element we are not watching an animated film or a computer game but authentic videos from Afghan, Iraqi and Syrian missions of American and French soldiers. The silhouettes belong to real people who are only a trigger pull away from death. This is the 21st-century warfare. Everyone who can be seen is under threat. Eléonore Weber used dehumanized images of dying for her chilling reflection of the modern form of war.Q&A with the director Eléonore Weber:  
personal program

There will be no more night

Eléonore Weber
France / 2020 / 75 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
The Dog's Eye
A grandmother, a granddaughter and a dog. A path leading up to dying. Several timeless moments from the life of a sick woman enriched by the presence of a filmmaker granddaughter who captures the transient quality of life events and the gentleness of giving farewells through film. Behind closed doors, simple conversations, routine actions (a dinner) and handing over of experience (gutting the pig’s head) unwind. The acuteness of fleeting moments is augmented by the dog’s view. The projection of final moments in life captured by the eyes of the camera that of a devoted pet. An intimate balance of losses in one’s life laid out on a ground plan of a family tri-portrait.

The Dog's Eye

Laure Portier
France, Belgium / 2019 / 37 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
A Stranger
Mikel, director of the film, along with the protagonist Mathias, are childhood friends, nevertheless due to the time that has elapsed, the former finds that he knows hardly anything about the latter. The mad circumstances leading up to a fatal twist in their lives makes them shoot a documentary reconstruction about the process that turns into a very personal portrayal of a man who was made to live a double life against his will, the border between each one of them being as thin as a line drawn between victim and perpetrator in a ruthless criminal underworld. More than to the criminal plot though, attention is turned to stubborn attempts of a person dragged down by a spiral of serious problems while being able to wear a mask of seemingly happy and steady life.

A Stranger

Mikel Cee Karlsson
Sweden, Finland / 2019 / 99 min.
section: Constellations
East European 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.

L' ULTIMU SOGNU

Lisa Reboulleau
France / 2019 / 33 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
I Walk
This autobiographical film shot in the form of a diary captures the everyday life and woes of an old man with many successes under his belt and a richly lived past, but whose zest for life is slowly beginning to fade away. Jørgen Leth survived a devastating earthquake in Haiti, but his legs have not served him well since and every step he takes is an arduous task. He travels to Laos with a team of filmmakers and his adult children where he plans a project with help from the local people to capture the pristine nature of the country. During the project’s pre-production phase, he revisits the past to speak about his own life story, taking a poetic approach as he answers the burning question: is it still possible to find beauty and happiness if one is barely able to put on his own shoes?   “I think that happiness, or what appears to be happiness, exists in the simple life. What some might view as cheating.” I Walk (00:58:50–00:59:01)
personal program

I Walk

Jørgen Leth
Denmark / 2019 / 90 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
Me and the Cult Leader  - A Modern Report on the Banality of Evil
On March 20, 1995, members of the Japanese Aum Shinrikyo religious cult released deadly sarin gas in five Tokyo subway stations. Twelve people died. Among the hundreds of others who suffered long-term complications was the film's director Atsushi Sakahara. After more than twenty years, he decided to find out who was behind the attacks. He managed to convince a man who is still associated with the active movement to appear in a film. Through inconsequential conversation, the filmmaker slowly gains his trust so that he can confront him about the trauma that he has caused him. An intimate debate about the banality and inconspicuousness of evil shows how long the road to truth and redemption can be.     “I promised my high school classmate that I would become a respected director. But he committed suicide, and I blamed myself for not being able to stop him. For the next thirty years, I tried to keep my promise. After the sarin attack, my determination grew even stronger.” A. SakaharaQ&A with the director Atsushi Sakahara:
personal program

Me and the Cult Leader - A Modern Report on the Banality of Evil

Atsushi Sakahara
Japan / 2020 / 114 min.
section: Constellations
East European Premiere
Bulletproof
The film opens up the topic of safety in public American high schools in response to the country’s frequent school shootings committed by armed students. While sports games, homecoming, and prom remain traditional high school rituals as always, a new set rituals have become commonplace: school lockdown drills, bag checks when entering the school, and even firearm training for teachers. The film approaches the deep, systemic problem of mass murders caused by racial and economic inequality among adolescents in American society, while also exploring the unimaginable fear for many European viewers that you can actually get shot in math class. “We’re doing everything we can to harden the infrastructure to keep people from getting in, but what keeps me up at night is that the wolf is in the henhouse. The threat always comes from inside.“ Bulletproof, (15:30–15:50)
personal program

Bulletproof

Todd Chandler
United States / 2020 / 83 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
Martin Margiela: In His Own Words
The narrator of the film is Belgian fashion designer Martin Margiela. The film portrait captures his career from the 1980s to the present day using the footage of fashion shows and comments by Margiela’s close collaborators. The most important part of the film, however, is the designer, his voice and participation in the film. Margiela is known for his introversion; he does not let anyone photograph or interview him. When he does speak, he never speaks for himself but always on behalf of a collective. The film respects his approach and gives him a voice, not a face; we can see only his hands – the instruments of his imagination. “My documentary work is very personal and intimate in many ways, and what I want to achieve is to discreetly communicate these elements to the audience.” R. Holzemer
personal program

Martin Margiela: In His Own Words

Reiner Holzemer
Germany, Belgium / 2019 / 90 min.
section: Constellations
East European Premiere
The Metamorphosis of Birds
Catarina’s mother died when Catarina was 17 years old. Jacinto lost his mother prematurely as well. Catarina is the director of the film, Jacinto is her father, and together, they tell their family history, marked by the resistance against the fleetingness of time, in a poetic dialogue. The film combines documentary and fiction – the story of Beatriz and Henrique and how they fell in love, had a wedding and six children together. As a sailor, Henrique spent a lot of time away from home, so his wife took care of the children mostly herself. Ttheir eldest son Jacinto has been dreaming of becoming a bird since his childhood...“The question of metamorphosis is linked to the idea of how the character portraying my father in the film, transforms into me.” C. Vasconcelos
personal program

The Metamorphosis of Birds

Catarina Vasconcelos
Portugal / 2020 / 101 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Creative Europe
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
Aktuálně.cz
Respekt