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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

ji-hlavadok-revuecdfEmerging producersInspiration Forum
Extra-Terrestrial Ecologies (Retroflectors: the astronaut, the robot, the alien)
Extra-Terrestrial Ecologies (Retroflectors: the astronaut, the robot, the alien)
Extra-Terrestrial Ecologies (Retroflectors: the astronaut, the robot, the alien)
Extra-Terrestrial Ecologies (Retroflectors: the astronaut, the robot, the alien)

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

director: Ralo Mayer
original title: Extra-Terrestrial Ecologies (Retroflectors: the astronaut, the robot, the alien)
country: Austria
year: 2018
running time: 43 min.

synopsis

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

biography

Multimedia artist Ralo Mayer (1976) expresses his interest in science fiction and ecology in a number of his projects that lie on the boundary of video, installation, text, and performance. He has long been working on the project The Ninth Biospherian, which reflects the artificial Biosphere 2 ecosystem. His exhibition, including the video Space Post Colonialism (2013–2015), is based on cosmic designs from the 1970s.

more about film

director: Ralo Mayer
producer: Ralo Mayer
photography: Ralo Mayer, Ben Pointeker

other films in the section

Steam on the River
Like the steam that silently appears and then disappears over a flowing river, the life of every human is just as fleeting, and this particularly applies in the case of artists. The transience of their fame is the main topic of this documentary, which provides a glimpse into the lives of three ageing jazzmen: trumpeter Laco Deczi, saxophonist Ľubomír Tamaškovič, and contrabass player Ján Jankeje, who fled from the Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia to the West, where their stars shone alongside those of the world’s famous musicians. The reflective melancholy mood of the film, capturing the mist of fame just before it dissipates, is reflected in the overall relaxed, contemplative rhythm of the narrative.DETAIL:“Worldly fame – empty name... When the mist rises off the water, it exists only briefly and then disappears. The same applies to us humans. Each one of us spends some time here... and it is a bad idea to be in a hurry.”

Steam on the River

Filip Remunda, Robert Kirchhoff
Slovakia, Czech Republic / 2015 / 90 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Flotel Europa
In an emotionally gripping, deeply personal story about the loss of one’s childhood and a difficult adolescence in a politically unstable time, the director brings to life twenty-year-old memories from the time spent at the side of his mother, older brother, and hundreds of other refugees from war-torn Bosnia and Herzegovina. Together they awaited asylum in temporary housing on the Flotel Europa, which docked on the shores of Denmark in the early 1990s. The director incorporated archival video footage that the refugees themselves shot directly on the boat.DETAIL:“There were many good people, but the divisions caused by the war in Bosnia had slowly but surely settled in between us, refugees on Flotel Europa.”

Flotel Europa

Vladimir Tomić
Serbia, Denmark / 2015 / 71 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech 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
The Circle
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
personal program

The Circle

Margit Lillak
Estonia / 2019 / 93 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Cinema Futures
A multi-genre collage consisting of variations on educational films, interviews with famous people (film theorist David Bordwell, director Christopher Nolan), and free-association poetry, Cinema Futures makes humorous use of a subversive and almost conspiratorial commentary. A meditation on the future of film in a world of digital platforms, this wild cinematic “ride” through a labyrinth of museums and archives to bring life classic cinematic and archival methods and contrast them with today’s ubiquitous virtuality. Does the death of celluloid also mean the death of film? Are we losing our audiovisual memory?"A few years before a digitally presented film was exclusive. I disliked it. Scratches, dust and the noise of the silver belong to my formative movie experiences. But nostalgia is not an option."

Cinema Futures

Michael Palm
Austria / 2016 / 125 min.
section: Between the Seas
East European Premiere
Empty Horses
Mihály Kertész (1886-1962) made more than 150 films, most of them as Michael Curtiz in the United States. He remains known thanks to one of them - the melodrama Casablanca (1942). Gábor Bódy (1946-1985), on the other hand, devoted his short life spent in Hungary creating experimental films, and his filmography is little known to the general public. In this untraditional documentary, we listen in on a conversation between these two directors as they discuss their experience with film work and its sense from somewhere beyond the imaginary cinematic afterlife. An associative collage of excerpts from classic Hollywood movies and the filmmakers’ own avant-garde works evokes not only questions connected with the history and theory of film, but also opens the personal dramas and inner conflicts of their creators.  “Our aim was to imagine a fictional conversation between two film directors, both classical masters but from very different cinematic worlds, all brought to life with rich images of poetic associations.” P. Lichter 
personal program

Empty Horses

Péter Lichter
Hungary / 2019 / 67 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
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
Christ Lives in Siberia
After the breakup of the Soviet Union, a Siberian policeman claimed to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, and together with his followers set up Sun City in remote Siberia as an outpost of Christian life. Over a decade later, a mother of four children decides to leave her husband and life in Saint Petersburg behind and heads east with her offspring. The expected classic denouement of this tale does not, however, come to pass. To the contrary - this purely observational documentary shows that the coexistence of the breakaway religious group is problematic in some aspects, but despite that, it is a functional way of life in today’s complicated world.DETAIL:“We have to work for the children, for the future. That’s the right way, then everything will turn out right. They won’t have to live through the convulsions, the tough times which we had. It can all be different for them.”

Christ Lives in Siberia

Arbo Tammiksaar, Jaak Kilmi
Estonia, Finland / 2015 / 85 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Blind Cinema
An unusual group sets sail from St. Petersburg to Finland. The crew, which consists of vision-impaired people and people with normal eyesight, learns to work together in order to successfully complete their undertaking. The observational documentary shows the crew’s first contact with the boat, which is done by touch, and then follows their daily routine while at sea. The disinterested camera records a reality that overcomes our prejudices regarding the helplessness of blind people. The problem-free journey gives the sailors space for new sensations. Excerpts from the ship’s log show us aspects of the mission – i.e., the transformation of oneself that can change the world. „What do you see when you cannot see? How do you interact with a world with fewer visual elements to distract you? Blind Cinema explores the realm of sightless people who sail the sea and expand the boundaries of self.” G. Glyants

Blind Cinema

Grigory Glyants
Russia / 2017 / 50 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Paradise on Earth
Andrej Bán is a journalist and photographer who reports from areas in crises around the world, the likes of which include Kosovo, Georgia, Afghanistan, Ukraine and Haiti, where he constantly travels back and forth. A director of his decided to accompany him with a camera, and their intimate conversations intertwine throughout the film, revealing the reporter's internal professional and personal struggles. The documentary follows Andrej in cities destroyed by war or in refugee camps, during which it becomes clear that he's interested in a deeper look inside the causes of the confl icts as well as the oppressive situations their victims find themselves in.“People forgotten by people. With photographer, publicist, and friend Andrej Bán we discover stories of people, who were forced to leave their homes.” J. Vojtek
personal program

Paradise on Earth

Jaro Vojtek
Slovakia / 2019 / 78 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
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
Aktuálně.cz
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