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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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The Circle
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The Circle
The Circle
The Circle
The Circle

The Circle

director: Margit Lillak
original title: The Circle
country: Estonia
year: 2019
running time: 93 min.

synopsis

They wanted to create an environmentally friendly and socially sustainable community. Twelve adults and six children began to live beyond traditional social order. However, environmentally conscious behavior and embedded physical work do not result in satisfaction from the social aspect of the community ideal. The need to communicate becomes the theme of the film and it is constantly translated visually into shots of circular interviews that show that mastered interpersonal relationships are an indispensable condition for the sustainability of the community and any functional society. The inevitable implosion is preceded by an archetypal story of a love triangle and the struggle for power.

“My motivation for making this film lay in the interest in human psychology, behaviour that surfaces in a closed group is a big revelation. In order to save the world, we really need to start within.” M. Lillak

biography

Margit Lillak studied screenwriting at Royal Holloway College in the UK. She has directed several short documentaries f.e. , Ars Longa (2008), Babyface(2009), and Pastacas (2010) which was awarded the main prize at Toronto’s EstDocs Film Festival. In 2012 she directed her first feature-length documentary 40+2 weeks as a first-person film about her own pregnancy and home-birth.

more about film

director: Margit Lillak
producer: Johanna Trass
photography: Mihkel Soe, Margit Lillak
editing: Jaak Ollino Jun.
music: Sten Sheripov
sound: Harmo Kallaste

other films in the section

A Two Way Mirror
This poetic documentary presents one woman’s journey towards finding self-confidence, inner peace, and harmony. The filmmaker returns to Croatia’s Lika region, where her family comes from. In the bosom of nature, she tries to come to terms with the losses she has suffered in her life, her illness, and her fear of the future. The film is structured into six parts (prologue, spring, summer, autumn, winter, epilogue), each linked to a different stage of human life. It is a very open and intimate confession, framed in a mosaic of memories and experiences, thoughts and feelings. The film is also therapeutic, helping the filmmaker find the strength to fight. The film received the Croatian Oktavijan Award for Best Documentary Film. “Every fear comes with the reason. To cure my fears I merged secret patterns and knowledge of my family with the cycles of nature. Through this collision I revealed what is the human in beasts and the beastly in humans.” Katarina Zrinka Matijević Veličan

A Two Way Mirror

Katarina Zrinka Matijević
Croatia / 2016 / 42 min.
section: Between the Seas
European Premiere
No Place for Fools
The internet, madness, and old and new Russia - these are the touchpoints of this film standing at the fine line between performance and raw documentary. Sergei Astahov is a mentally disabled man who spends most of his time closed up in his Moscow flat, sending his messages out into the world in the form of videoblogs. For a single man, the camera becomes his sole partner and repetitive speaking a demonstration of life. In his missives, he confesses his homosexuality, his admiration for President Putin, and his belief in the Orthodox faith. Paradoxically, his mind is the meeting point for all the extremes of the Russian world, which has no place for the mentally ill.DETAIL:“I, Astahov, Sergiy, am a Russian’s Russian. I live in the capital, in the city of Moscow, in the capital of our country of Russia, Russ’ and the Russian Federation. I know all the laws and the laws of God.”

No Place for Fools

Oleg Mavromatti
Russia, United States, Bulgaria / 2014 / 87 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
Opera about Poland
A travelogue collage in search of Polish identity in an uncertain world. A carefully composed dream about the unfound unity of nation, old injustices and moments of glory that fade away under the burden of petty thoughts and the fear of non-existent enemies. A selection of period footage, newspaper articles, and bitterly current citations from the internet, mixed with journal entries by the author Andrzej Stasiuk to create a personal reflection of events. The staged portraits of ordinary Poles set to a tension-filled disharmonic operatic soundtrack at first seems like a series of unrelated images and thoughts, but they slowly come together to form a portrait of the soul of the Polish nation."To begin the repair or therapy you need to be diagnosed. You need to see what mistakes have been made in the past. Or check if you are living with untrue myths and beliefs." P. Stasik

Opera about Poland

Piotr Stasik
Poland / 2017 / 41 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
TIMEBOX
Professor Ioan-Matei Agapi, an 80-year-old photographer and cameraman from Iași, Romania, owns a unique collection of 16mm films and photographs documenting almost fifty years of the city’s history. His daughter, also a filmmaker, has decided to make a film about her father's archives. In the unconventional surroundings of his old apartment, he reminisces about the past until one day Ioan is informed that he must leave or be evicted from home where he has spent the past 40 years. Ioan’s years of work suddenly transform into a huge burden, and the film unexpectedly changes into drama in which conflicts with city officials reveal old and hidden conflicts within the family. "The deepest thing I learned whilst doing this film is that we are stronger than we think we are." N. Agapi 

TIMEBOX

Nora Agapi
Romania / 2018 / 69 min.
section: Between the Seas
International 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
Enticing, Sugary, Boundless or Songs and Dances about Death
How can we talk about death and still enjoy the beauty of life? Who can we tell if we have no one? People from all corners of the world deal with the perspective of death and ask similar questions. This documentary collage by Tetiana Khodakivska and Oleksandr Stekolenko (1980) is a patient enterprise, working with intimate portraits of both ordinary people and the brilliant filmmakers, and thoughtfully placing them within a three-part mosaic about the greatest riddle of human existence. Only the motif of death gives life a purpose and links us all – but what must happen in order for us take it seriously? This imaginatively edited work of docufiction is a contemplation of life in relation to our own mortality. "This movie is about awareness of death. The story is built on documentary and fiction narrative techniques blended together. " T. Khodakivska, O. Stekolenko

Enticing, Sugary, Boundless or Songs and Dances about Death

Oleksandr Stekolenko, Tetiana Khodakivska
Ukraine / 2017 / 95 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
TEACH
The personality of a rural Transylvanian math teacher who teaches his students at home and ignores the existing curriculum, tells us not only about the Romanian school system, but also about society there as a whole. The stubborn elder man follows the words of essayist Constantine Noica, who believes that in an ideal school, there should not be any lessons, but rather students should go there to free themselves from the tyranny of learning. The observational portrait documentary monitors the dynamics of the lessons themselves, where, in addition to mathematics, the problem of education itself is addressed and where the teacher acts like a father fi gure.“I think that if you really want to make something matter within 100 years from now, then you have to educate people first.” A. Brendea
personal program

TEACH

Alex Brendea
Romania / 2019 / 82 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Abdul & Hamza
The feelings of rootlessness and life concerns that prey on thousands of African and Middle Eastern refugees migrating to Europe resonate in this minimalist documentary about two young Somali emigrants. On the path to a better future, they have found temporary shelter in an abandoned house in the mountains near the Serbian-Romanian border. The camera simulates the perspective of an inconspicuous impartial observer capturing moments that often lack any action, but are still full of internal tension arising from the feelings of uncertainty that the silently waiting men cannot escape.DETAIL:“My friend, everyone who has kids is a lucky man. And what’s the situation with your family? – My three children and my wife are waiting for me. It’s great that they are together.”

Abdul & Hamza

Marko Grba Singh
Serbia / 2015 / 49 min.
section: Between the Seas
Central European Premiere
Trapped By Law
In 2010, thousands of Kosovo Roma were forcibly repatriated from the European Union to their original home. And this despite the fact that many had spent years living in the EU. They had grown up there, studied there, some had even been born there. This engaged documentary follows the story of brothers Kefaet and Selami, rappers from Essen who, from one day to the next, find themselves in Kosovo, cut off from the rest of the world and from their family in Germany. The director does not remain neutral in recording their many years spent trying to get out of a trap of absurd and unfriendly laws, and to return from their native homeland to their real one.DETAIL:“We also had hard situations, you know, where we were maybe thinking about this, you know, to get separated, go separate ways, but no – In the end it was always just differences here and there, that you have to compromise with.”

Trapped By Law

Sami Mustafa
Kosovo, Germany / 2015 / 90 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
The Makavejev Case or Trial in a Movie Theater
In 1971, the film WR: Mysteries of the Organism, an outstanding example of the Yugoslav Black Wave, was enthusiastically received at the Cannes Film Festival. Back home, however, this radical and ironic exploration of sexuality and communism was banned by the Yugoslav regime, and director Dušan Makavejev subsequently emigrated. The ban was decided during the film’s premiere screening, which turned into an unofficial trial. The Makavejev Case plays a newly discovered audio record of the debate in its entirety, accompanied by images of the incredulous faces of people listening to the audiotape recording: actors from Makavejev’s film, random passers-by on the street, and monkeys in a cage. „Makavejev - is my favorite Serbian director. WR: Mysteries of the Organism became a symbol of Makavejev’s heritage: a film language as a play game and an everlasting experiment in in directing." G. Radovanovic
personal program

The Makavejev Case or Trial in a Movie Theater

Goran Radovanovic
Serbia / 2019 / 73 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
The Haunted
The Turan tiger, a majestic symbol of the Central Asian landscape, has been extinct for several decades, but it lives on as a sacred symbol in the collective imagination of the local population. In her captivating film essay, Ismailova pays homage to this animal as she shows how firmly bound it is, in people’s minds, with the region’s history. The tiger is a spectre that emerges from the darkness and disappears again, the landscape is like a network of ruins buried under layers of the past. The collage of visual and audio fragments, accompanied by the filmmaker’s passionate commentary, shows that “real” history cannot be separated from shared ideas and dreams."The Haunted is an intimate video letter to the spirit of the extinct Turan tiger, which disappeared from Central Asia in the 20th century. Today, the tiger lives on in people’s collective memory." S. Ismailova

The Haunted

Saodat Ismailova
Norway, Uzbekistan / 2017 / 23 min.
section: Between the Seas
Central European Premiere
People Pebble
Stones form the landscape, they crunch underfoot as we walk, and children use them in their games. In this experimental film by the directing duo of Darakchiev and Gamot, the fascination with one particular object reaches its peak. The associative images, brought together by the lens of a 16mm camera, create a loosely related series of stream-of-consciousness ideas: Monumental shots of the cliffs of Dover, stone houses, people walking on a stone beach, and a metronome in the shape of a hammer. Ordinary images accompanied by cacophonous sounds and excerpts from unrelated interviews create new associations among familiar aspects of human existence. International Premiere shared with DocLisboa "People Pebble figuratively associates two disparate patrimonial identities, inciting a new dialogue through and beyond the traces of the human hand, all encompassed by the impermanence of nature." J. Darakchiev, P. Gamot

People Pebble

Perrine Gamot, Jivko Darakchiev
United Kingdom, France / 2017 / 18 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
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