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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Love Me If You Can
Love Me If You Can
Love Me If You Can
Love Me If You Can
Love Me If You Can
Love Me If You Can

Love Me If You Can

director: Dagmar Smržová
original title: Miluj mě, jestli to dokážeš
country: Czech Republic
year: 2016
running time: 63 min.

synopsis

In other countries, sexual assistance for disabled people is an established concept, but it is only just getting started in the Czech Republic. Documentarian Dagmar Smržová approaches the subject in a style reminiscent of the films of Erika Hníková. She has chosen three handicapped men and one trained sexual assistant, and follows them in everyday situations, casually asking them various questions. The film explores a subject that, although it is a serious social issue, the public has either ignored or finds controversial. Above all, however, she offers a sensitive look at the intimate lives of people living with disabilities.

“... we cannot choose whether we are born good looking or not so good looking, strong or weak and that’s why we should reach out and help each other with things one can and the other can’t do – including making love…”

biography

Dagmar Smržová (1966) graduated from FAMU in 1992. She has directed episodes of the documentary television series Oko, GEN and 13. komnata. Her documentary War in the Memory of Women (2005) was shown at the 2005 festival in Jihlava. She has explored the life of people with handicaps in several of her past films as well, such as Saving Edwards (2010) about a family raising a child with Edwards syndrome and The Hardest of Choices (2010) about women who choose to give birth to a child knowing that it will have a serious illness.

more about film

director: Dagmar Smržová
cast: Tomáš Pik, Tomáš Baxa, Adam Musil, Vladana Augstenová
producer: Veronika Slámová, Petr Kubica
photography: Ferdinand Mazurek, Prokop Souček, Tomáš Nováček
editing: Adéla Špaljová
music: Eva Javůrková, Jan Čtvrtník
sound: Michal Janoušek

other films in the section

Normal Autistic Film
Children with autism don’t suffer from an incurable disease. They suffer because they are neurodiverse in a world set up for neurotypicals. With that perspective, Miroslav Janek embarks on a series of live meetings with a number of children and young adults who have been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. He gives them the opportunity to express freely their relationship with the world and with themselves, as well as what sets them apart from “normal”. We find that he’s brought us into the company of fun, fascinating people who often suffer because they are labelled as “disabled”. This excursion into the world of autism redefines the seemingly firm boundaries between “otherness” and normality.“Now let’s talk about Asperger syndrome. What Asperger’s knows how to do. The standard form of Asperger’s syndrome, the milder version, which is what I have, is able to find friends. But the more severe version can’t. He has no friends.”

Normal Autistic Film

Miroslav Janek
Czech Republic / 2016 / 90 min.
section: Czech Joy
Two Roads
The Jedlička Institute music class currently known as The Tap Tap band was founded 21 years ago by Šimon Ornest to give people with handicaps an opportunity to succeed outside of their daily institutional care. An observing and attentive camera captured the evolution of the personalities of several of the musicians over the course of several years. The attractive energy of the film which is exceptional in its approach to its theme as it avoids the usual compassionate sentiment stems from the relationships among the musicians and between them and their band leader, the motor of the action, whose work improves the public image of people with handicaps in an unorthodox way. “Even if it was hard for me at first, I was trying to make a film in a similar way that the band members are putting up with their destinies: with no sentiment, pointless pity or political correctness involved, yet with a touch of pitch black humour.” R. Síbrt
personal program

Two Roads

Radovan Síbrt
Czech Republic / 2019 / 80 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Skokan
Director Petr Václav calls Skokan a documentary film with fairy-tale aspects, mainly because of its emphasis on authenticity in telling the fictional tale of a Romani recidivist in search of career opportunities at the Cannes film festival. The main character is played a by real ex-con, Julius Oračko, whom the filmmakers got out of prison on parole shortly before the start of filming. The film was shot with just a rough script, which was fine-tuned on the set. The scenes from Cannes were shot during the festival. The ending, which recalls the liberation of an enchanted princess, again feels like a fairy tale.“We improvised most of the scenes during filming – we used the places we were able to get into and the light that was available. Above all, I tried to capture the experiences of the main character,” P. Václav

Skokan

Petr Václav
Czech Republic, France / 2017 / 93 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Apparatgeist
The concept of Apparatgeist expresses how mankind’s relationship with technology evolves and how it transforms our social contacts. In a similar fashion to the authors of this theory, James E. Katz and Mark Aakhus, the film’s director has also focused on the current phenomenon of mobile phones. It takes us to an allegorical space of the apparatgeist, a barren, inhospitable place where cell phones act as small windows into different worlds of internet mundanity and bizarreness, and as a reflection of our interaction with a digital device. “How much do we hide behind our smartphones and use them to expose ourselves? To what extent is it possible to imprint ourselves into images composed of ones and zeros?” M.-M. Kochová
personal program

Apparatgeist

Marie-Magdalena Kochová
Czech Republic / 2019 / 11 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Sólo
Martín Perano is a young Argentinean piano virtuoso and composer whose life has been turned upside-down by mental illness. He spent the past few years in the largest psychiatric hospital in South America, El Borda in Buenos Aires. After his release he returned to the nearly empty house of his parents, where his biggest concern was to learn to live without walls and to go back to the piano, which he played every day in the institute. The director patiently observes Martín’s return; in interviews with his loved ones, he learns more about Martín’s past, lyrically approaching the inner workings of a person obsessed with creation, capable of taking strength from their own hypersensitivity. “The other patients sat in respectful silence listening to this curious sonata of fingers rapping the table. After a few minutes, Martín finished playing. Strong emotions could be read in the eyes of his audience, as though they had been listening to real music.” A. Benki
personal program

Sólo

Artemio Benki
Czech Republic, France, Argentina, Austria / 2019 / 84 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
Batalives
Tomáš Baťa created unique factory production in the middle of a town that he had built for his employees complete with civic infrastructure. In line with this philosophy, the Baťa brothers set up dozens satellite town reminiscent of Zlín all over the world. Some of them still serve their original purpose, others stand as mere reminders of the famous factories. Poetic episodes take place in standard terrace houses that provide a video clip backdrop for young Croatians or symbolize the life devoted to Baťa in Batadorp, Netherlands. Five protagonists from different continents tell their overlapping stories influenced by the Baťa system. ‘Baťa’s motivational motto “Today a Dream, Tomorrow Reality”, painted in large letters on the wall that divided the factory from the town, has always seemed incredibly sad to me. It would be much better to live according to a motto “Today Reality, But Tomorrow a Dream”.’ K. Zalabáková

Batalives

Petr Babinec, Karolina Zalabáková
Czech Republic / 2017 / 75 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Vote For Kibera
Photographer Don, a resident of Kibera, a giant slum in Nairobi, says that in his photographs he tries to capture the positive side of his home – not suffering, misery, and resignation, but hope, determination, and creativity. And Martin Páv’s documentary has taken a similar approach. Working with the unique photogenic qualities of the slum, the film is structured as a series of interviews with local residents. Besides Don, we also meet local artists, a teacher, and a boxing coach. Nevertheless, in the film’s final part about the presidential elections in Kenya, the frustrations, hopelessness, and violence in Kibera bubble to the surface.“People can co-operate if they have a reason to.“ M. Páv

Vote For Kibera

Martin Páv
Czech Republic / 2018 / 86 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Bo Hai
In his new work of docufiction, Vietnamese-born Czech director Dužan Duong continues to explore the life of the Czech Republic’s Vietnamese community. Bo Hai takes an intimate look at a young man who helps out at his father’s mini-market. By showing everyday situations, the films introduces us to the life of young Vietnamese who have lived most of their life in the Czech Republic and are losing touch with the culture of their parents but at the same time are prevented from becoming fully-fledged members of Czech society. Filmed primarily using longer static shots in real-life settings, Bo Hai recalls the approach of contemporary cinematic realists. At the same time, it is also a personal statement about the director’s generation. “#FilmfromMini-market” D. Duong

Bo Hai

Dužan Duong
Czech Republic / 2017 / 26 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Czech Journal: Children of the State
A great wave of criticism was aroused in 2011, when the Norwegian Child Welfare Services, Barnevernet, took away both of the Micháleks’ sons. The documentary director, who has two children of her own, set out to Norway to discover whether the state is indeed dictating how parents should raise their children. This investigative documentary uses individual stories and interviews with experts to reveal that the issues are much more complex than the way they are presented by the Czech media. Although the defined rules may be restrictive, they are also apparently one of the reasons why Norway is ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world. “Do what degree do we overlook cases in our surroundings, when parents are not able to handle the raising of their children? Are we respecting privacy? Or is it indifference? Are we able to view the state as other than a necessary evil?” I. P. Miloševičová

Czech Journal: Children of the State

Ivana Pauerová Miloševič
Czech Republic / 2017 / 57 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Talks with TGM
Another contribution to the specific subgenre of animated history by the scriptwriter Pavel Kosatík. On 26 September 1928, Karel Čapek and President Masaryk meet in the gardens of Topolčianky castle to decide about the fate of their joint literary work. Their fiction film dialogue is based on quotes from a future book and their mutual correspondence, considerably freeing the original format of literary conversation from binding conventions. Čapek and Masaryk reproach and offend each other, but they also ask key personal questions and questions about the social functions of a writer and politician respectively.“It’s a film about two extraordinary men; it’s about the fact that emotions can be sometimes more powerful than ideas even in such exceptional people.” J. Červenka

Talks with TGM

Jakub Červenka
Czech Republic, Slovakia / 2018 / 80 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Kalado
“There are many teachings in the world – karate, aikido, tai chi, yoga. But none teach you purification. Only kalado,” says the film’s protagonist, the performance artist Sai Kijima. As the viewer listens to his introspective commentary, the camera show him exploring the limits of the body with his strange movements. Kalado is a tool for getting to know oneself, for questioning ingrained ideas about oneself, and for finding one’s hidden identity. The film captures the ritual nature of Kijima’s performances and the manner in which he lets deeply rooted traumas flow forth in a cleansing outburst of creativity. “When I met Sai, I was captivated above all by the fact that he dances and cleans. I was interested in finding Kalado. When we finished filming, he said ‘Life is misunderstanding. Misunderstanding is understanding. This is Kalado.’” T. Tara

Kalado

Tereza Tara
Czech Republic / 2017 / 30 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Moravia, O Fair Land III.
After centuries of oppression, the spirit of Moravian Slovakia (Slovácko) awakens to the rhythm of folk music and speed metal. A folk costumed zombie horror under the supervision of a modern Adam and Eva from a Czech TV quiz show mixes classical tragedy and ethnographic studies, biblical parable and low-brow genres. Petr Šprincl subverts the sacred myths, satirically revealing the dark foundations of social rituals against a background of folklore motifs. After nationalism and fascism, the subjects of the first two parts of this Moravian Epic, the series continues with variations on the Mrštík brothers’ play Maryša, imbued with Satanism.   „The Trilogy Moravia, Beautiful Land starts with belonging to tribe, folk costume and folklore, continues with the birth of the fascist of Slovácko and his defeat of the devil, and pagan inferno breaks out in the final volume.“ P. Šprincl
personal program

Moravia, O Fair Land III.

Petr Šprincl
Czech Republic / 2019 / 65 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
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