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25th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Between Us
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Between Us
Between Us
Between Us
Between Us

Between Us

director: Dorota Proba
original title: Między nami
country: Poland
year: 2020
running time: 52 min.

synopsis

Various forms of partnerships, love, and intimacy are examined in a detailed empathic study by a young female director. The film is riddled with themes of a lack of freedom, emotional scars from previous relationships, cheating, and gender fluidity. With the help of structured conversations between three couples, who read each other questions prepared by the director, and archival footage of their everyday family and romantic life, we gradually get a comprehensive picture of a contemporary love life. 

 

"Marcel: What are you most afraid of? 

Carolina: Spiders. And that you’ll end up leaving me.

from Between Us (32:00-32:06)

Q&A with the director of Between us Dorota Proba:


biography

Dorota Proba was born in 1989 in Montreal. She studied scenography at the Warsaw Academy of Arts and completed a documentary film course at the Wajda School. She studied on a scholarship in Turkey and Indonesia. She is the creator of video clips, documentaries, and animated films and has worked as a set designer with a number of Polish theatres. The film Between Us was awarded Best Polish Film at the 2020 Docs Against Gravity film festival in Warsaw.

more about film

director: Dorota Proba
producer: Ewa Jastrzebska, Karolina Mroz, Jerzy Kapuściński, Wojciech Marczewski
script: Dorota Proba
photography: Weronika Bilska
editing: Katarzyna Orzechowska

other films in the section

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
YOU (pl) and ME
The video diary of a young woman involved in a love affair captures the metamorphosis of life and love on the outskirts of the Austrian metropolis. We follow the movements of spirit and body, approaching parenthood and other internal and external changes through the viewfinder of an old camera and the accompanying commentary. Although the film works with only photos and sound, it is full of motion. It creates an intimate atmosphere in which we watch Nica and Ben go through the twists and turns that life brings, which look like the most common and natural life events.DETAIL:“Back then – before you. I had wanted it to stop. I wanted all of these indignities, putdowns, rejections, validity to intimacy, beneath this cloak of hot air called the modern ‘being’ – to stop.”

YOU (pl) and ME

Jasmin Hirtl
Austria / 2015 / 88 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Not my Land
Allotment gardens near an international airport. Their ownership is unclear. Ethnic Russians living in the Baltic republics. Following in the footsteps of a documentary photographer, the filmmakers reveal the complicated modern history of Estonia as a country with a large Russian minority. They do so on a stage measuring several square kilometres in size. The aging gardeners are like squatters in the house of history. Beneath our feet is soil that is not theirs; over our heads, planes fly to countries they cannot visit; on all sides they are surrounded by a nation that doesn’t want them in their house.

Not my Land

Aljona Surzhikova
Estonia / 2013 / 52 min.
section: Between the Seas
Central European Premiere
noimage
FilmSECESSION looks at the anarchists, self-styled dukes, or isolated madmen who have declared war on the state by founding their own, with their own laws, languages, and coins. Led by whimsy, ideology, or visions of alternative ways of living, they delineate their space – which only shows that at the beginning is individual freedom, and at the end is the state.

Empire Me: New Worlds Are Happening!

Paul Poet
Austria, Germany, Luxembourg / 2011 / 100 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Under the Sun
Over the course of one year, this film follows the life of an ordinary Pyongyang family whose daughter was chosen to take part in one of the famous Korean “Spartakiads”. The ritualised explosions of colour and joy contrast sharply with pale everyday reality, which is not particularly terrible, but rather quite surreal, like a typical life as seen “through the looking glass”. The film portrays North Korea in probably the only possible way: as an unintentional situational tragicomedy. Precisely staged film scenes duplicate principles common for life in “the most beautiful country on the eastern side of the globe”: virtually horrifying selfstaging of the residents’ own lives.Detail:“Zin-mi, you have joined Children’s Union, what do you expect from your adult life?” “When joining the Children‘s Union,we enter to the adult life. And begin to think, what else shall you do for the Great Leader Kim Jong Un.”

Under the Sun

Vitaly Mansky
Czech Republic, Russia, Germany, North Korea, Latvia / 2015 / 106 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
Tristia – A Black Sea Odyssey
A remarkable travelogue from a trip around the Black Sea: along its shores, lined by the boundaries of six states, and through bizarre seaside resorts. More than the tourist industry or political problems, the film focuses on solitary statues, decaying architectural monuments, and the personal stories of the local people. From each stop on their journey, the filmmakers send a series of stylized video postcards with the playfulness of staged scenes, set against the backdrop of the sea. In this cinematic answer to Ovid’s Black Sea lamentations, that ancient text receives new qualities that tell us about a place that is accursedly beautiful but also beautifully cursed.DETAIL:“When the Roman Emperor Trajan came here, his legionnaires quickly went about producing children with the beautiful Dacian women. Thus the Romanian people is a combination of whores and bandits.”

Tristia – A Black Sea Odyssey

Stanislaw Mucha
Germany / 2014 / 98 min.
section: Between the Seas
East European 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
My Granny from Mars
Babushka Zina is originally Ukrainian, but because of the current political situation she has remained in Russian-occupied Crimea. Separated from her family, she lives in a forgotten seaside town while trying to decide whether to stay or to leave. The sounds of Russian contemporary music and folk songs add to the atmosphere of her exile town, which is seen through a sensitive lens filled with sentimentality. But the consequences of the unsatisfactory political situation are ever-present in this place, which is like a different planet. The way in which the director records Zina’s relationship to her friends and family betrays a deep respect for this old woman, her life wisdom, and her experiences."After the annexation of Crimea my old Ukranian granny Zina had to face the fact of living on a 'new planet'. For many reasons, the time has come for her to make a crucial decision." A. Mihalkovich

My Granny from Mars

Alexander Mihalkovich
Belarus, Ukraine, Estonia / 2018 / 83 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
The Brussels Business
A focused and thorough look at the lifestyle and way of thinking of lobbyists who make a living promoting their clients’ interests in the European Union. Lobbying is any activity whose goal is to influence decision-making bodies and institutions of political power – it is the flesh and blood of the political process. The filmmakers present something that they themselves have called a “docu-thriller” – a personal dramatic look at the behind-the-scenes functioning of politics in the place where the European consensus is formed.  

The Brussels Business

Matthieu Lietaert, Friedrich Moser
Austria, Belgium / 2012 / 85 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
The Gypsy Vote
Officially, Slovakia’s Roma make up 1.7 % of the population; unofficially, this figure is 10 %. They have zero political representation. In the 2009 elections, the uncrowned leader of the country’s Roma, Vlado Sandrei, decide to run for parliament in order to defend this minority’s rights at the highest political level. A tragicomic look at his electoral adventure contrasts his chaotic family life with pragmatic political coaching and the pre-election tour that was supposed to change the number of Roma in Slovak politics.  

The Gypsy Vote

Jaro Vojtek
Czech Republic, Slovakia / 2012 / 72 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Turn off the Lights
Misogynistic Alex, who was convicted of the murder of his girlfriend, lives with his grandparents; Christian is the favourite son from a rich family; and Papan, the young father of a little girl, comes from a poor background – three Roma men who have left prison make their first contact with their families. The film takes an observational approach to capturing the moments immediately before and after their release, showing three faces of the Roma community in contemporary Romania.  

Turn off the Lights

Ivana Mladenovic
Romania / 2012 / 71 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
The End and the Means
Massage, doing the laundry, grazing water buffalo, snake charmers, street jugglers and dentists, music and dance lessons. Through his humble contemplation on various expressions of people’s devotion to their work, Paweł Wojtasik shows the web of human activities that each have their fixed place within India’s caste society. Work is not a path out of poverty or towards wealth, but a form of Hindu meditation on the roots of human activity and established working techniques and rituals. Man is a machine controlled by a higher power. This observational documentary, filmed primarily in India’s oldest city, Varanasi, focuses on the sacred Ganges River as a source of all human endeavours. „I wanted to investigate the Indian idea that work can lead to liberation rather than alienation. As a film worker myself, I learned from the people I filmed – to be present with the whole body and mind.“ P. Wojtasik

The End and the Means

Pawel Wojtasik
United States, India, France / 2018 / 99 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Creative Europe
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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