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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Christ Lives in Siberia
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Christ Lives in Siberia
Christ Lives in Siberia
Christ Lives in Siberia
Christ Lives in Siberia
Christ Lives in Siberia

Christ Lives in Siberia

director: Arbo Tammiksaar, Jaak Kilmi
original title: Kristus elab Siberis
country: Estonia, Finland
year: 2015
running time: 85 min.

synopsis

After the breakup of the Soviet Union, a Siberian policeman claimed to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, and together with his followers set up Sun City in remote Siberia as an outpost of Christian life. Over a decade later, a mother of four children decides to leave her husband and life in Saint Petersburg behind and heads east with her offspring. The expected classic denouement of this tale does not, however, come to pass. To the contrary - this purely observational documentary shows that the coexistence of the breakaway religious group is problematic in some aspects, but despite that, it is a functional way of life in today’s complicated world.

DETAIL:
“We have to work for the children, for the future. That’s the right way, then everything will turn out right. They won’t have to live through the convulsions, the tough times which we had. It can all be different for them.”

biography

Arbo Tammiksaar is an artist and designer whose work has been exhibited in New York, Berlin, and Helsinki. He also makes films; of particular note is his documentary Nazis and Blondes (2008). Jaak Kilmi is an award-winning Estonian director of advertising spots, documentaries, and feature-length films. His film Disco & Atomic War (2009) received the Silver Eye Prize, awarded annually at the East Silver Market for Eastern European documentary films that runs concurrently with the Jihlava IDFF.

more about film

director: Arbo Tammiksaar, Jaak Kilmi
producer: Margus Õunapuu, Kaarle Aho
script: Arbo Tammiksaar, Jaak Kilmi
photography: Arbo Tammiksaar, Jaak Kilmi
editing: Mirjam Jegorov
music: Andre Pichen
sound: Kaur Kask, Markku Tiidumaa

other films in the section

Waiting room
Waiting, as a condition in which people spend a large part of their lives, is the central theme of this narrative film. The lives of seven women of various ages, who do not know each other, intersect for a brief period of time. They are linked by one place – the waiting room at the main railway station – where each one of them, in deep contemplation, is looking for something or someone different. The slow non-dramatic narration, with stiff stylised camera movements places the viewer in the role of stalker. In this film, in which the director admittedly combines elements from both fictional film and documentary practice, he worked with non-professional actresses.DETAIL:“Believe it or not, for me otherness is what is real, what is normal. I love those who are different. They are my people. My life is in God’s hands. That is how I received it, just like everyone else.”

Waiting room

Palo Korec
Slovakia / 2015 / 72 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Pretty girl, why have you come, do you want to do my job?
A look at the Armenian people’s campaign to preserve the forest of Teghut, which is threatened by mining. The loosely organized Occupy Teghut movement finds inspiration in Occupy Wall Street while trying to launch an apolitically motivated movement to fight the country’s social ills. This documentary record of an activist march through Teghut forest, and of the bureaucracy involved in entering the area, paints a broader picture of a deplorable societal situation. For the young Armenians, environmental protection begins with redemption from poverty.

Pretty girl, why have you come, do you want to do my job?

Davit Stepanyan
Armenia / 2013 / 62 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
The Irreversible Consequences of Slipping on a Banana Peel
A foggy morning in a small Romanian town. Alexandrina returns from Canadian exile from Canada to her withering mother Mary, a former teacher who is being taken over by advancing old-people's dementia. The intimate moments of broken relationships oscillating between acceptance, compassion and helplessness creep into the fate of a nation disrupted by communism, progressing illness, and the increased feeling of loneliness of an aging woman surrounded by her childhood dolls. In a documentary approximation interlaced by internal monologues with her own (imaginary) daughter, we follow the complicated and anxious path to family reconciliation and towards the place of no return. “I believe in a documentary that endorses questioning, anguish, and uncertainty.“ B. Stoica 
personal program

The Irreversible Consequences of Slipping on a Banana Peel

Bogdan Stoica
Canada / 2019 / 76 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
The Halves
The film’s main protagonist, Alexandr Zarchikov, works on a cargo ship transporting Japanese cars that have been cut in half to the Russian port city Vladivostok. There, the cars are reassembled and transporters take them away to their final destinations. Zarchikov decides to try working on the mainland, and joins one car on its journey through Siberia. His experience morphs into a meditative film essay, symbolically divided into two halves (sea and land), where he ponders his relationship with his motherland, religion, and nature, and tries to overcome his feelings of rootlessness.DETAIL:“When I worked on a ship like this, we always got home quickly, safe and sound. Now, I don’t feel at home on a boat, nor on the island I was born, Sakhalin. Maybe by making this film, I’ll find my place.”

The Halves

Alexandr Zarchikov
France, Russia / 2015 / 95 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Depth Two
A history of the armed conflict in Kosovo, in which NATO forces also eventually took part, includes many heretofore unexamined events, including mass murders of civilians which the Serbian police attempted to cover up. Ognjen Glavonić’s poetic documentary presents shocking witness testimony and leaves it to the viewer to piece together the events of the time. Unsettlingly stunning visuals give the events a current dimension - long shots of the locations in which the atrocities took place create a symbol of surviving the past in the present that the inexorable forward passage of time usually softens.“By using light and sound, a combination of spoken testimonies and images of the places where the crimes happened, the film speaks directly to the sensations, imagination and emotions of the viewer.” Ognjen Glavonić

Depth Two

Ognjen Glavonić
Serbia, France / 2016 / 80 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
Monk of the Sea
Even today, seventy percent of the men in Thailand follow the old custom of spending at least a short part of their life as a Buddhist monk in a monastery. For Ball, the film’s protagonist, his two-week career as a monk is intended to serve as a symbolic steppingstone between his wild student life and more moderate adulthood. However, the reality of things is by far not so simple. Rafał Skalski’s staged documentary uses the example of Ball’s marginal experience to demonstrate the degree to which modern-day Thai society is based on the incompatibility between ascetic and hedonistic lifestyles, which the one-time transformation of the unrestrained young man into a monk cannot really conceal."To me, this is an instant kind of spirituality. We want to get a lot of things done in one go – quickly fall in love, make a career, be successful."

Monk of the Sea

Rafal Skalski
Poland, Germany / 2016 / 68 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
Steam on the River
Like the steam that silently appears and then disappears over a flowing river, the life of every human is just as fleeting, and this particularly applies in the case of artists. The transience of their fame is the main topic of this documentary, which provides a glimpse into the lives of three ageing jazzmen: trumpeter Laco Deczi, saxophonist Ľubomír Tamaškovič, and contrabass player Ján Jankeje, who fled from the Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia to the West, where their stars shone alongside those of the world’s famous musicians. The reflective melancholy mood of the film, capturing the mist of fame just before it dissipates, is reflected in the overall relaxed, contemplative rhythm of the narrative.DETAIL:“Worldly fame – empty name... When the mist rises off the water, it exists only briefly and then disappears. The same applies to us humans. Each one of us spends some time here... and it is a bad idea to be in a hurry.”

Steam on the River

Filip Remunda, Robert Kirchhoff
Slovakia, Czech Republic / 2015 / 90 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
THE GOOD DEATH
Terminally ill Janette wants to die with dignity, but it’s not possible in the UK, where she lives. She therefore decides for assisted suicide. She must plan her journey to Switzerland before her rapidly advancing disease makes it impossible. The question of whether we own our own lives or whether they own us is the primary impetus behind this documentary portrait, which shows that death can be good despite the sadness that always accompanies it. The film, with dramatically suggestive camera work, uses feature film techniques, and engaging characters and stories of her loved ones are interwoven with Janette’s story."Let's talk about death because we will all die someday. The question is: can we choose when and how? I think we should." T. Krupa

THE GOOD DEATH

Tomáš Krupa
Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, France, Switzerland / 2018 / 83 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
The Things
Nearly 10 years after the conflict in Georgia, Georgian inhabitants of the Russian-occupied territory are still living in temporary camps, waiting to return home. Their dwellings are cookie-cutter houses. They brought only the few items that they managed to grab from their homes when fleeing from the occupation army. Equally austere, almost as empty as their provisional housing, they live their lives at the mercy of waiting for what is to come. In this meditative documentary, real relics of their past lives, everyday things brought from their original homes, are the most tangible manifestations of the irreversibility of time as measured by losses. “We attempted to reflect about war experience from particular perspective, to meet persons rather than statistics, to observe rather than inquire, to contemplate about something we all share - the attachments.” Nino Gogua

The Things

Nino Gogua
Georgia / 2016 / 62 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
One Day in Selimpasha
One man and an apartment, about which we know nothing. This is the premise of a conceptual documentary based on the concept of providing a deliberately limited amount of information to the viewer. We look into the intimate space behind the closed front door, where the most ordinary activities are carried out: cooking lunch, preparing tea, eating lunch, starting a fire in the fireplace. In this residential monodrama, a second living actor is desperately lacking, one that would bring to life the plot embodied in speech. It becomes a study of a person’s existence in their most personal space - a dwelling that can be just as much a preserve of peace and security as a golden cage of solitude."What are the feelings of a person who does nothing while everyone expects him to do something? What should he do? In general, is there any difference between the emotions of two humans? What does portrait mean? A human face or something else?" H. Baydarov

One Day in Selimpasha

Hilal Baydarov
Azerbaijan / 2018 / 64 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Flotel Europa
In an emotionally gripping, deeply personal story about the loss of one’s childhood and a difficult adolescence in a politically unstable time, the director brings to life twenty-year-old memories from the time spent at the side of his mother, older brother, and hundreds of other refugees from war-torn Bosnia and Herzegovina. Together they awaited asylum in temporary housing on the Flotel Europa, which docked on the shores of Denmark in the early 1990s. The director incorporated archival video footage that the refugees themselves shot directly on the boat.DETAIL:“There were many good people, but the divisions caused by the war in Bosnia had slowly but surely settled in between us, refugees on Flotel Europa.”

Flotel Europa

Vladimir Tomić
Serbia, Denmark / 2015 / 71 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
Blind Cinema
An unusual group sets sail from St. Petersburg to Finland. The crew, which consists of vision-impaired people and people with normal eyesight, learns to work together in order to successfully complete their undertaking. The observational documentary shows the crew’s first contact with the boat, which is done by touch, and then follows their daily routine while at sea. The disinterested camera records a reality that overcomes our prejudices regarding the helplessness of blind people. The problem-free journey gives the sailors space for new sensations. Excerpts from the ship’s log show us aspects of the mission – i.e., the transformation of oneself that can change the world. „What do you see when you cannot see? How do you interact with a world with fewer visual elements to distract you? Blind Cinema explores the realm of sightless people who sail the sea and expand the boundaries of self.” G. Glyants

Blind Cinema

Grigory Glyants
Russia / 2017 / 50 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
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