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25th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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The Forest
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The Forest
The Forest
The Forest

The Forest

director: Siniša Dragin
original title: Padurea
country: Romania, Serbia
year: 2014
running time: 73 min.

synopsis

At the center of this Romanian-Serbian co-production is the amazing story of an art historian in search of a painting that Romania’s prime minister gave to Josip Broz Tito in 1947. The painting of a forest with fallen leaves had been made by a renowned Romanian artist in the 19th century – and the forest is where Tito spent World War II as a partisan fighter. Romanian-Yugoslav relations under the Soviet bloc followed the same absurd path as the search for a reason for this gift. A playful cinematic study dedicated to a detail in the painting while exploring a great and serious historical subject.

DETAIL:
“Over night, the new friendship with comrade Tito fell. Following his disputes with Stalin, all the communist bloc was forced to proclaim Tito the worst enemy of communism. The newspapers were filled with caricatures...”

biography

Siniša Dragin is a member of Romania’s Serbian minority. He studied economics in Subotica, Serbia, and attended film school in Bucharest, after which he worked as a cameraman for Reuters. He is known primarily as a director of fiction films. Czech viewers may have seen The Pharaoh (2004) in Karlovy Vary or If the Seed Doesn’t Die (2010) at Febiofest.

more about film

director: Siniša Dragin
cast: Dalia Bogdan, Mica Rankovic
producer: Siniša Dragin, Predrag Jakovljevic
script: Siniša Dragin
photography: Eugen Oprina, Siniša Dragin
editing: Siniša Dragin
sound: Ioan Iacoban

other films in the section

Extra-Terrestrial Ecologies (Retroflectors: the astronaut, the robot, the alien)
What new things can we learn about ecology from science fiction? According to this video essay by artist Ralo Mayer, quite a lot. A flow of thoughts and analogies inspired not only by such sci-fi films as The Martian, E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Silent Running, but also by Biosphere 2, a project simulating an enclosed ecosystem located far away in outer space, have led the artist to reevaluate the way in which ecology is currently considered.  For his new view of things, which relies more on a cosmic rather than an earthly perspective, the key concepts consist of humans as space travellers, robotic technologies, and extraterrestrials as apparitions whom we suspect exist in distant star systems."Ecology in outer space, far from our home planet, is literally unheimlich–uncanny, or better: unsettling. After years of research about Biosphere 2, I met E. T. & we talked Haraway in a Redwood forest." R. Mayer

Extra-Terrestrial Ecologies (Retroflectors: the astronaut, the robot, the alien)

Ralo Mayer
Austria / 2018 / 43 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
I Am In Space
Space travel again becomes the subject of pure amazement in this compilation documentary consisting of footage from international space flights from the past 30 years. We watch snapshots of the everyday life of astronauts, spontaneous fun in zero gravity, and pictures of the spacecraft as they are serviced by people in spacesuits. The footage is interspersed with short quotations in which the employees of space programmes discuss their relationship to life away from the Earth’s surface.  

I Am In Space

Dana Ranga
Germany / 2012 / 98 min.
section: Between the Seas
Central European Premiere
The Blockade
The 2009 student strike at Zagreb University had several clear objectives – the struggle against the commercialisation of higher education, against tuitions, and for government subsidies. Soon, it spread throughout Croatia. This study of one blockade takes a look at democracy without a vertical hierarchy, its utopian spirit, and its fragile environment. As usual, power objectives and political roles win out over the students’ utopian visions. A film as a manifesto of autonomy, ideals, the seeds of democracy in practice, and history repeating itself.  

The Blockade

Igor Bezinović
Croatia / 2012 / 93 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
The Chimney
In a cluster of houses outside town, in the shadow of an old chimney, there live several light-haired girls. This light portrait of a unique children’s microcosm consists of scenes from daily life, in which most of the time is spent exploring one’s surroundings, playing, and asking curious questions on various subjects. With her extreme sense for detail, the director convincingly captures the poetry of the everyday. The result is a fresh and humorous look at a world surrounded by vegetation, wrecked cars, and puddles that is ruled by spontaneity, playfulness and the immediacy of children’s logic.DETAIL:I will give you something. I will give you a bag, okay? Don’t lose it! There’s nothing in it.

The Chimney

Laila Pakalnina
Latvia / 2013 / 54 min.
section: Between the Seas
Central European Premiere
Bojo Beach
Regular rushes of waves wash the Ghanaian coast, and a group of fishermen pulls their catch from the sea as they do every day. This short film depicts the labours of local fishermen in several chapters. Almost aescetically static cinematography and minimal editing during the fishermen’s work set it off from anything that could happen on the beach that day. Thanks to the slow pace, unintentional abstract compositions of the fishing nets end up in the picture, or a lonely mountain is traced in the background. The film’s atmosphere isn’t determined by people but rather by the rhythm of the sea, the colour of the sky, and the structure of the sand on Bojo Beach."The idea of being sat on the beach is always one of soaking up the atmosphere, breathing in the air, being contemplative, just watching things, just letting them happen. All this in a globalized world" E. Groen

Bojo Beach

Elke Groen
Austria / 2017 / 25 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Guests
Set in a remote Russian village located about hundered and sixty kilometres from Moscow, this observational documentary is focused on a group of loggers – illegal migrants from Tajikistan who came to Russia in the hope of finding work. Hired by Russian businesses, they live thousands of kilometres away from their families to whom they send their earnings. The uncompromising endless shots capture the simplicity of the lives of these seasonal workers, and the overall undisciplined style of the filming corresponds well to the unfriendly environment in which they must survive from day to day.DETAIL:“Yeah, well, life is tough. As they say – it's not a bed of roses. You have to live your life properly... Can you imagine how difficult it must be for our wives?”

Guests

Alexey Sukhovey
Russia, France, Germany / 2014 / 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 

The Irreversible Consequences of Slipping on a Banana Peel

Bogdan Stoica
Canada / 2019 / 76 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
noimage
FilmSNOW bears traces of the style of Alexander Sokurov, whose long, silent shots unite the incongruity of physical and mental reality. This film, which looks at the border villages in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Region, is marked by a similar inner conflict. The Kurds’ history of humiliation and murder has marked entire families, including that of Svetlana, a former citizen of the Soviet Union.

We Need Happiness

Alexander Sokurov, Alexei Jankowski
France / 2010 / 52 min.
section: Between the Seas
Central European Premiere
Butterflies
Young Alexei is openly homosexual. Although his peers have no problem with his sexual orientation, his mother is unable to accept it. This documentary portrait follows Alexei during summer break, as he spends time with his new lover Grisha, whom he met at a Tarkovsky festival. The film takes an unusual observational approach in that the camera is often right up against people’s bodies and faces during impassioned discussions, arguments, or testimony. As a result, the spontaneous and eccentric manner in which Alexei breaks down gender stereotypes are brought to the fore. “Making a movie always goes hand in hand with fear and shame. This is because the film just now learned to dive into the man. Untill now it only described. During the work on the film Butterflies I always thought about it.” Dmitry Kubasov

Butterflies

Dmitry Kubasov
Russia / 2016 / 79 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
noimage
FilmCONTROL turns to Foucault’s book Discipline and Punish, taking personal experiences with various forms of surveillance (presented by a theorist of architecture, a software expert, victims of surveillance, and former secret agents) to present the ideas of surveillance and control characteristic for modern society. One basic metaphor is the idea of a Panopticon, a building enabling maximum surveillance.

In Sight

Andrea Slováková
Czech Republic, Slovakia / 2011 / 42 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
In the Basement
Static, perfectly composed scenes from the private life of various Austrians combine to form a tragicomic basement fresco. A cavalcade of scenes from a shooting range, S&M dungeons, and a private museum of Nazism. With almost scientific engagement, we watch the behavior of several individuals in their natural environment – in semi-darkness or in the glow of artificial lights, they engage in their unusual hobbies. The viewer remains uncertain as to how much the scenes were staged, where fresco ends and farce begins.DETAIL:“I absolutely adore my love slave. And the opposite is also true: He worships me. It doesn’t affect our love – on the contrary. Only with total devotion and love can something like this work.”

In the Basement

Ulrich Seidl
Austria / 2014 / 85 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech 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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