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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Sea Tomorrow
Sea Tomorrow
Sea Tomorrow
Sea Tomorrow

Sea Tomorrow

director: Yekaterina Suvorova
original title: Zavtra more
country: Kazakhstan, Germany
year: 2015
running time: 88 min.

synopsis

This observational documentary examines the disappearance of the Aral Sea and attempts at its restoration. At the location where the majority of maps and atlases show a large, majestic body of water, Katerina Suvorova finds only a largish pond and an arid wasteland, filled with the rusting remnants of wrecks waiting for scrap metal collectors. Shots of the enigmatic landscape, consisting of endless expanses of sand and dust, are alternated with captivating details. Just as fascinating is the strong will and faith of the people who have stayed in this inhospitable environment, such as old gardener, fishermen, and a hydrobiologist. They hope that the sea will return, they are fighting to save it, and they all hope for a better tomorrow.

“I see people of the Aral region as a collective image of the last survivors on Earth. Their stories prove that even when the last shuttle abandons our racked planet, there will be people who stay and prefer correction of errors of the past to uncertainty of the future.” Katerina Suvorova

biography

Katerina Suvorova (1983) is a Kazakh director and screenwriter who also works in Moscow and Stockholm. She likes to combine documentary elements with animation, and also experiments with sound and noises. She has made several short documentaries that have been successfully presented at international festivals. As a screenwriter, she worked on the Mediastan (2014). Sea Tomorrow is her feature-length film debut.

more about film

director: Yekaterina Suvorova
producer: Sain Gadbullin
script: Yekaterina Suvorova
photography: Eugen Schlegel
editing: Azamat Altybasov
sound: Igor Gladkiy

other films in the section

The Halves
The film’s main protagonist, Alexandr Zarchikov, works on a cargo ship transporting Japanese cars that have been cut in half to the Russian port city Vladivostok. There, the cars are reassembled and transporters take them away to their final destinations. Zarchikov decides to try working on the mainland, and joins one car on its journey through Siberia. His experience morphs into a meditative film essay, symbolically divided into two halves (sea and land), where he ponders his relationship with his motherland, religion, and nature, and tries to overcome his feelings of rootlessness.DETAIL:“When I worked on a ship like this, we always got home quickly, safe and sound. Now, I don’t feel at home on a boat, nor on the island I was born, Sakhalin. Maybe by making this film, I’ll find my place.”

The Halves

Alexandr Zarchikov
France, Russia / 2015 / 95 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
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 

Empty Horses

Péter Lichter
Hungary / 2019 / 67 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Dialogue with Joseph
Yosef Yosade, a Lithuanian landscape artist, has worked for many years in Israel. His daughter Elżbieta has set the camera on him to capture the nuances of his creative process. Artfully framed static scenes of the master at work, in contemplation, or absorbed in discussions reveal the painter’s distinctive approach based on searching for the visual structure of a landscape. The director also presents visual depictions of landscapes in mutual conflict with their filmed versions, thereby linking the “abstract” and “concrete” perspectives. The film therefore reflects not only individual creation, but also examines the relationship between two specific media. “The film relates the structure of a landscape to that of a human being. Unstable, arid, peopled by other creatures, by footprints from the past; those are features which Joseph shares with the desert he paints.” Elżbieta Josadė

Dialogue with Joseph

Elžbieta Josadė
Lithuania, France / 2016 / 42 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
My Unknown Soldier
Documentarian Anna Kryvenko offers an unusual perspective on the 1968 occupation of Czechoslovakia. She conceived My Unknown Soldier as an audio-visual diary, through which she revisits the events of the time with rare archive material and her own commentary. Her great-uncle was a soldier in the occupying forces; he committed suicide shortly after his return from Czechoslovakia. Kryvenko’s own Ukrainian origin earns her first-hand experience of the Czechs’ deep-seated hatred of Russian-speaking people. The film therefore casts light on another unfortunate legacy of the August 1968 events in contemporary Czech, but also Ukrainian and Russian society."I don’t want to speak about general justice or truth. I would like to show that no truth can be definite. This is a story about how one becomes an “occupier” without intending to." A. Kryvenko

My Unknown Soldier

Anna Kryvenko
Czech Republic, Latvia, Slovakia / 2018 / 79 min.
section: First Lights
International Premiere
27 Times Time
Documentary filmmaker Annick Ghijzelings used her visit to Polynesia to shoot a personal meditation on the phenomenon of time. She slowed down the smooth flow of time in order to consider, in 27 short fragments, the various ways time can be represented. She does so by combining poetic narrative with images of the past and slow-motion shots of nature and local life. Gradually, she puts together a multilayered image of time that questions the boundaries between art, science, and philosophy, between advanced civilization and native cultures, and between the past, present, and future."The stories never subscribe to explanations or expert digressions. They are off-camera, barely pronounced, they are whispered in our ear like a secret between friends that beckons sharing."

27 Times Time

Annick Ghijzelings
Belgium / 2016 / 73 min.
section: First Lights
International Premiere
Connatural
This documentary, shot on black and white film, is an excruciating meditation on living close to death, which is nonetheless an inseparable part of life. Three generations of women live in one home, away from other people: an ageing mother, her two daughters, and her granddaughter. In long, slow shots, we see ordinary, regular actions that make up their day: braiding hair in the morning, cleaning the mother’s feet, reading the evening prayers. Lyrically stylized scenes depict their lives as an endless succession of moments of solitude, but which in their sequence and repetition gain strength, approaching analogy in the surrounding beautiful but inert nature.“Connatural stems from a need to express a series of emotions and thoughts related to the human condition. It delves into universal issues that are not usually represented as the experience of old age, everyday life and closeness to death.” J. Bellido

Connatural

Javier Bellido Valdivia
Peru / 2018 / 83 min.
section: First Lights
World Premiere
In Praise of Nothing
“A whistleblowing documentary parody about Nothing.” That is how the filmmakers describe In Praise of Nothing. In fact, Nothing is the only protagonist of this essay-like film. An ironic and unflinchingly critical monologue, delivered in simple rhymes and with the voice of Iggy Pop, accompanied by captivating and succinctly expressive footage shot by several dozen people all over the world with the assignment to “shoot nothing.” „A cinematic equivalent to Erasmus’s humanistic classic In Praise of Folly, in which Folly goes around the world arguing it is smarter to be mad than smart. 500 years later, it is Nothing who gets the main role.“ B. Mitić

In Praise of Nothing

Boris Mitic
Serbia, Croatia, France / 2017 / 78 min.
section: First Lights
Central European 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
Opera about Poland
A travelogue collage in search of Polish identity in an uncertain world. A carefully composed dream about the unfound unity of nation, old injustices and moments of glory that fade away under the burden of petty thoughts and the fear of non-existent enemies. A selection of period footage, newspaper articles, and bitterly current citations from the internet, mixed with journal entries by the author Andrzej Stasiuk to create a personal reflection of events. The staged portraits of ordinary Poles set to a tension-filled disharmonic operatic soundtrack at first seems like a series of unrelated images and thoughts, but they slowly come together to form a portrait of the soul of the Polish nation."To begin the repair or therapy you need to be diagnosed. You need to see what mistakes have been made in the past. Or check if you are living with untrue myths and beliefs." P. Stasik

Opera about Poland

Piotr Stasik
Poland / 2017 / 41 min.
section: Between the Seas
International 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
Boy of War
Artiom is 18 years old and has just one wish: to go to war and fight for his homeland, Ukraine. Everything else comes second. He dresses in camouflage, watches war videos online, and in his free time practices battle scenes with his friends. Or at least they think they are battle scenes. As a child, he only sees the surface of the war. And he has the bad luck that the fighting rages so tantalizingly close. This observational documentary is a fascinating study of the cult of war in a post-Soviet setting where those who succumb to the allure of battle are the least suitable and least predisposed to fighting – a fact perfectly illustrated by Artiom’s final struggle with the reality of war."War is not about weapons, tanks or bombs. War is in the mind of the soldiers, the leaders and the crowd. It excites theirs souls, captivate their lives, strikes their imagination…before destroying them. War is a state of mind." C. Clément-Delmas

Boy of War

Cyprien Clément-Delmas, Igor Kosenko
Germany, Czech Republic / 2018 / 79 min.
section: First Lights
World Premiere
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