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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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My Granny from Mars
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My Granny from Mars
My Granny from Mars
My Granny from Mars

My Granny from Mars

director: Alexander Mihalkovich
original title: Moya Babushka S Marsa
country: Belarus, Ukraine, Estonia
year: 2018
running time: 83 min.

synopsis

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

biography

Alexander Mihalkovich (1984) hails from Minsk, Belarus. In 2016, he graduated from the DocNomads international study programme. His focus as a filmmaker is on long-term projects towards which he feels a close personal relationship. After creating several short documentary films, he is making his feature film debut with My Granny from Mars, which won the Docu Talent Award in 2018.

more about film

director: Alexander Mihalkovich
producer: Volia Chajkouskaya, Igor Savychenko
photography: Siarhei Kanaplianik

other films in the section

A Hole in the Head
Everyone knows about the Roma holocaust, but no one talks about it. The process of eliminating memories of it began more or less at the end of the Second World War, when many mass graves in work and detention camps remained intact. Even for the winners, the Roma were “second class” victims. In a number of European countries (France, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Germany, Croatia, Serbia), the director confronts a forgetful present with memories of the last surviving witnesses of these horrific events. The result is a partially scripted and staged documentary - an elegy to the victims of a monstrous regime and human indifference. “I think that what helped the Roma and Sinti survive persecution is their non-material relationship with the world, with being, with time. This was my main starting point for the film. The memory they carry with them, and the memory we perceive – our collective consciousness.” Robert Kirchhoff  

A Hole in the Head

Robert Kirchhoff
Slovakia, Czech Republic / 2016 / 90 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
António and Catarina
In one of the gloomy rooms in his flat, seventy-year-old Augusto casts shy glances at the camera behind which stands twenty-five year old Cristina, the film’s director. For three years she repeatedly visited him to record their interviews, during which they used the assumed names of António and Catarina. This game with identity, and mainly with the nature of their mutual relationship, is reflected in small talk, where the topics turn to diverse themes, including masturbation and gender stereotypes. Augusto/António is usually the one talking as well as the one in front of the camera, which records his image in dark details. Cristina/Catarina stands behind the camera and asks questions. “Drawn by the vigour of an old enchanting man, I made this film without knowing where it would take me.” C. Hanes

António and Catarina

Cristina Hanes
Portugal / 2017 / 40 min.
section: Between the Seas
East European Premiere
The Sun Sets in the East
The film depicts the year 1984/85 through the diary entries by the director’s grandfather, a Soviet peasant from Lithuania, which reflect contemporary values associated with faith in God, as well as details about daily routines and political change. Despite its historicizing base, the film is still relevant today. The formal side is made up of live images taken with static cameras that contemplate the depopulated state of the Lithuanian rural areas. The poetic documentary essay about the irreparable impact of man examines the transformation of society from rural to urban and forces the viewer to question the hectic lifestyles we lead today."The Sun Sets in the East is a sincere film that can be watched and felt by anyone, and we hope that everyone will be able to find a reflection of themselves or their family's past in it." A. Dovydaityte, A. Belinski

The Sun Sets in the East

Alexander Belinski, Agne Dovydaityte
Lithuania / 2018 / 83 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Among Houses and the Cosmos
In this sensual film essay, the director has assembled her experiences with rituals in various corners of the world, from Europe across Africa to Latin America. The close interaction of the camera with bodies moving in trances encourages active involvement in the frenzied moments in which people lose themselves in Dionysian intoxication. These moments serve the filmmaker to obliterate the distance between the individual and the collective, personal and foreign, internal and external. The film, however, attaches a political meaning to the rituals, or rather shows how uprooted cultures cope with their minority status through rituals, or even turn it to their favor. “I felt the urgency to work with video footage from years of different travels. During editing, I found myself thinking about the human necessity to impose meaningful patterns on life and being.” Koštana Banović

Among Houses and the Cosmos

Kostana Banović
Netherlands, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Portugal, Senegal, Brazil, Angola, Turkey, Gambia, Cuba, Serbia, Aruba, Netherlands Antilles / 2016 / 70 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Looking for Mr. Dice
Many years ago, the film’s director and the man nicknamed Mr. Dice were best friends. In a whirlwind of parties, the famous musician and the influential banker were carried on a wave of the euphoria of wild capitalism after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The bank, however, led by Mr. Dice, went bankrupt and he disappeared without a trace with the money that his friends and clients had entrusted to him. Here begins the documentary search that leads us on an adventure from Latvia to the heat of Africa and far beyond the crime, guilt, and betrayal. It is also a search for the sense of deep friendship and the struggle with common sense and conventional moral categories. "I hope the film makes the audience to think what it really means "a true friendship” when money gets involved, as well as shows an ordinary man’s struggle through the abstract glory of diamonds." K. Roga
personal program

Looking for Mr. Dice

Kaspars Roga
Latvia / 2019 / 79 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Waiting room
Waiting, as a condition in which people spend a large part of their lives, is the central theme of this narrative film. The lives of seven women of various ages, who do not know each other, intersect for a brief period of time. They are linked by one place – the waiting room at the main railway station – where each one of them, in deep contemplation, is looking for something or someone different. The slow non-dramatic narration, with stiff stylised camera movements places the viewer in the role of stalker. In this film, in which the director admittedly combines elements from both fictional film and documentary practice, he worked with non-professional actresses.DETAIL:“Believe it or not, for me otherness is what is real, what is normal. I love those who are different. They are my people. My life is in God’s hands. That is how I received it, just like everyone else.”

Waiting room

Palo Korec
Slovakia / 2015 / 72 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
THE GOOD DEATH
Terminally ill Janette wants to die with dignity, but it’s not possible in the UK, where she lives. She therefore decides for assisted suicide. She must plan her journey to Switzerland before her rapidly advancing disease makes it impossible. The question of whether we own our own lives or whether they own us is the primary impetus behind this documentary portrait, which shows that death can be good despite the sadness that always accompanies it. The film, with dramatically suggestive camera work, uses feature film techniques, and engaging characters and stories of her loved ones are interwoven with Janette’s story."Let's talk about death because we will all die someday. The question is: can we choose when and how? I think we should." T. Krupa

THE GOOD DEATH

Tomáš Krupa
Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, France, Switzerland / 2018 / 83 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Balaton Method
This documentary journey, which explores the landscape surrounding Hungary’s largest lake and its recreational resorts, includes live concert footage of seventeen local bands – well-established names and newcomers to the music scene alike. Their performances, including the participation of a hundred other musicians, are recorded at various times of day in diverse locations, ranging from harbours and hotel balconies to churches, helping to create a portrait of the distinctive atmosphere at each of the sites. This independent musical road movie shot around Lake Balaton is the first Hungarian feature-length film financed through a crowd-funding campaign.DETAIL:“Balaton! This word has magical power! It makes all eyes kindle, puts a smile on everybody's face. The shining sun and the naughty waves paint all the faces golden brown. The lake is full of tourists.”

Balaton Method

Bálint Szimler
Hungary / 2015 / 85 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Call Me Marianna
At the center of this film stands an attractive forty-year-old woman who has decided to fulfill a lifelong dream at the cost of great sacrifice - to be herself. She alienated her parents and lost loved ones when she underwent a long-desired sex change. The film attempts to explain to viewers and help them understand the difficult decision that Marianna had to face. While in the first, staged, part of the film the woman comes to terms with her own past through autobiographical theater performance, in the second, documentary part of the film, she is, however, confronted with unexpected twists and precarious situations that fate has set before her.DETAIL:“I’ll finally be able to look at myself in the mirror naked and not feel disgusted by my own body. – There are men and women. There’s male and female. The world doesn’t really allow any third options.”

Call Me Marianna

Karolina Bielawska
Poland / 2015 / 75 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
A Two Way Mirror
This poetic documentary presents one woman’s journey towards finding self-confidence, inner peace, and harmony. The filmmaker returns to Croatia’s Lika region, where her family comes from. In the bosom of nature, she tries to come to terms with the losses she has suffered in her life, her illness, and her fear of the future. The film is structured into six parts (prologue, spring, summer, autumn, winter, epilogue), each linked to a different stage of human life. It is a very open and intimate confession, framed in a mosaic of memories and experiences, thoughts and feelings. The film is also therapeutic, helping the filmmaker find the strength to fight. The film received the Croatian Oktavijan Award for Best Documentary Film. “Every fear comes with the reason. To cure my fears I merged secret patterns and knowledge of my family with the cycles of nature. Through this collision I revealed what is the human in beasts and the beastly in humans.” Katarina Zrinka Matijević Veličan

A Two Way Mirror

Katarina Zrinka Matijević
Croatia / 2016 / 42 min.
section: Between the Seas
European Premiere
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
Picturesque Epochs
The main focus of the new series A Private Hungary consists of 8mm footage from the private archives of the painter Mária Gánóczy (1927), whose rhythm is accentuated by the director’s syntactic additions. Gánóczy’s melancholic narration contrasts with the ideological rhetoric of the era’s news weeklies and police reports. The portraits of her family and friends and contemporary images from her canvas-filled studio, accompanied by the poetry of Dezső Tandori, are condensed into a sense of open possibilities for how to depict the past. At the same time, the fragile and unique nature of human experience appear especially vulnerable when we touch on eternity."A time travel through 200 years of Hungarian art & history through the eye and lenses of painters. This weaved art-and-film grand patchwork streams like the currents of the river of times, ripples and floats." P.  Forgács

Picturesque Epochs

Péter Forgács
Hungary / 2016 / 133 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
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