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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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The Snowshoers
The Snowshoers

The Snowshoers

director: Michel Brault, Gilles Groulx
original title: Les raquetteurs
country: Canada
year: 1958
running time: 15 min.

synopsis

This key direct cinema film originated without a script and without the usual permits. Originally it was intended to be a short four-minute report about a traditional sport, but it was rejected. The goal was to lead viewers away from traditional reportage documentaries. The film showed how to exempt documentary from the rules.

biography

Michel Brault (1928-2013) began filming for the ONF and later gained renown as a cameraman and pioneer of shooting with a handheld camera while walking. In his work, Gilles Groulx (1931-1994) explores the relationship between American and Québec culture.

more about film

director: Michel Brault, Gilles Groulx
producer: National Film Board of Canada
photography: Gilles Groulx, Michel Brault
editing: Gilles Groulx, Michel Brault
sound: Marcel Carrière

other films in the section

An Insight into Madness, The Prisoner Party
The film is made up of the eponymous medium-length film and the short film The Prisoner Party. The director’s goal was for the viewers to better comprehend the everyday life of patients and doctors at the psychiatric hospital in Saint-Alban, where the first experiments with psychotherapy took place. The commentary uses Artaud’s texts on madness.

An Insight into Madness, The Prisoner Party

Mario Ruspoli
France / 1961 / 53 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
Chronicle of a Summer
This sociological survey began in 1960 as a project by Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin. The film became a manifesto of cinéma vérité and was the first feature-length film in France shot with synchronous sound. Here, cinéma direct approaches combine with the new view of reality as it became established in France.

Chronicle of a Summer

Edgar Morin, Jean Rouch
France / 1961 / 90 min.
section: Direct Vérité
The Village Pleasure
Or, how to become a Frenchman in a few lessons. It’s the essence of cinéma vérité, combining an essayistic approach with an effort to capture raw reality in all its truth, but at the same time, we’re watching a documentary version of The Firemen’s Ball in the French countryside. 

The Village Pleasure

François Reichenbach
France / 1963 / 47 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
The Human Pyramid
Rouch doesn’t pursue reality - he provokes it. The camera isn’t hidden but stands in the forefront. This sociological documentary about the clash of white and black cultures is based on improvisation. This simulation of the coexistence of dozens of boys and girls is an attempt to capture the essence of real existing facts and Rouch’s concept of cinéma vérité. 

The Human Pyramid

Jean Rouch
France / 1961 / 88 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
Strangers of the Earth
Filmed in the village of Livinière in the Lozère district, locals talk about their work and lives in a time when the area is threatened with depopulation and the extinction of traditional farming methods. The goal was to record the opinions of these people living in relative isolation, thus affecting the truth about the situation. 

Strangers of the Earth

Mario Ruspoli
France / 1961 / 40 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
The Little Café
Reichenbach was an innovative filmmaker who filmed everything around him using primarily his intuition. Instead of filming portraits of people, he made a portrait of a little café, where people are considered props and a spontaneously filmed telephone conversation between the café owner and a customer becomes the plot.  

The Little Café

François Reichenbach
France / 1963 / 12 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
Les marines
A harsh depiction of US Navy volunteer training is the sixth work in Reichenbach’s series America Through the Eyes of the French. A magnificent poetic reflection on the mental and physical exhaustion that these adepts are forced to endure. The film’s impact was so significant the Stanley Kubrick lifted nearly the entire opening scene in Full Metal Jacket. 

Les marines

François Reichenbach
France / 1957 / 22 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
Manouane River Lumberjacks
This film, by one of the most important and most productive Canadian documentary filmmakers, examines the seasonal work of a diverse group of lumberjacks, among whom are members of Canadian Indian tribes. The style combines direct cinema with a lyrical approach to the landscape, which enthralls everyone.  

Manouane River Lumberjacks

Arthur Lamothe
Canada / 1962 / 28 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
Hitler – Never Heard of Him
Bertrand Blier’s debut is an original anti-bourgeois lampoon based on interviews with several Frenchmen aged 15 to 22 who don’t recognize Hitler. It’s unique for its form, based on its camera work and editing. For its time it was so provocative that it was banned for viewers under 18 and withdrawn from competition at Cannes.  

Hitler – Never Heard of Him

Bertrand Blier
France / 1961 / 90 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
Artifices
A group of French pupils asks their American peers – what is the Far West? The young Americans answer with their teacher’s help. The director transforms the children’s statements into images, and shows how the state instills an official opinion on the Far West. Are we watching a visual rhapsody or is it a politically engaged cinéma direct documentary? 

Artifices

François Reichenbach
France / 1963 / 10 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
Such a Simple Game
Although the director has created an ode to the national symbol of Canada – hockey –capturing a fascinating ballet creation, he also expresses the sport’s brutality and subjugation to media manipulation. The masterful editing and meaningful transitions between colour and monochrome earned the film an award in Locarno, but the content caused the National Film Office to distance itself from the film.

Such a Simple Game

Gilles Groulx
Canada / 1964 / 30 min.
section: Direct Vérité
European Premiere
CANDID EYE (1958-1960): The Back-breaking Leaf
A short film from the TV documentary series The Candid Eye, which was quite innovative content-wise and intended to show a new way of filming. The goal in this particular case was to visually and aurally capture the numbing drudgery of seasonal tobacco pickers. Despite this, at some moments the direction took on a certain aesthetic aspect. 

CANDID EYE (1958-1960): The Back-breaking Leaf

Terence Macartney-Filgate
Canada / 1959 / 29 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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