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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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My Unknown Soldier
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My Unknown Soldier
My Unknown Soldier
My Unknown Soldier
My Unknown Soldier
My Unknown Soldier
My Unknown Soldier
My Unknown Soldier
My Unknown Soldier
My Unknown Soldier
My Unknown Soldier

My Unknown Soldier

director: Anna Kryvenko
original title: Můj neznámý vojín
country: Czech Republic, Latvia, Slovakia
year: 2018
running time: 79 min.

synopsis

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

biography

Ukrainian director Anna Kryvenko (1986) studies at the Center for Audiovisual Studies at Prague’s FAMU film school. She has made short experimental films with source material from film archives and explored their relationship to history. They include Language but No Words (2012, Ji.hlava IDFF 2012), Silently Like a Comet (2014, Ji.hlava IDFF 2014) and Listen to the Horizon (2015, Ji.hlava IDFF 2015).

more about film

director: Anna Kryvenko
cast: Anna Kryvenko
producer: Michal Kráčmer, Sergei Serpuhov, Wanda Adamik Hrycova
script: Anna Kryvenko
sound: Viktor Krivosudský

other films in the section

Meteors
People are transformed from hunters into victims and the city is hit by rockets and meteors on the same day. Through the eyes of actress Ebru Ojen, this strange docu-fiction captures the historical memory of one Kurdish town in eastern Turkey, which is stricken by armed conflict and where martial law throws daily life into a frozen timelessness. The director’s original combination of various cinematic styles with recycled video material joins the film’s many fragments into visually and musically interrelated chapters that mix political commentary with a documentary essay about a disappearing world. “Our behaviours relate to a certain geographic location and its history. It shapes our memories, how we remember them. What happened back then is a faded memory now, and Meteors is my re-imagining of how we remember everything.” G. Keltek

Meteors

Gürcan Keltek
Turkey, Netherlands / 2017 / 85 min.
section: First Lights
East European Premiere
Through Foreign Eyes
Mykaela Plotkinova thought of making this poetic, mosaic documentary in a bookshop, when she came across the words of poet Manoel de Barros about “the accent of the place of our origin we carry in our eyes”. She never found the quote again, but in the course of the next few years, she carried out the project with the help of other contributors, mainly the editor C. A. Saquieres. She created a film essay combining reflections on the identity and ethnic roots of several natives of the Brazilian city of Recife, who live abroad, and the images of the places where they live.„I’ve never not felt like a foreigner, but neither did I really know where I came from. Through Foreign Eyes searches for a story that no-one has ever really told me. This film is a must for me. A film that is made to understand life.“ M. Plotkin

Through Foreign Eyes

Mykaela Plotkin
Brazil, Argentina / 2018 / 74 min.
section: First Lights
World Premiere
Helena's Law
Documentary filmmaker Petra Nesvačilová’s study of the famous “Berdych Gang” focuses on police officer Helena Kahnová, but she also interviews other actors in the case, including the accused and the convicted. The resulting film is a mosaic that says less about the case or its background than it does about the people who exist on the edge of the law, and about their thoughts and motivations. Nesvačilová herself comes into contact with the criminal underworld and becomes an actor in her own film. She must decide whether it is safe to meet certain people, which leads her to consider questions related to the essence of crime and of good and evil in general.“I thought I was shooting a portrait of a brave police woman, but in the end I found myself in places that I had always been afraid of and that I only knew from the movies. The underworld. And now I see that this underworld is all around us – sometimes very, very close.”

Helena's Law

Petra Nesvačilová
Czech Republic / 2016 / 80 min.
section: First Lights
World Premiere
Like an Abortion, for the Very First Time
The Umbrella Movement was a wave of street protests that took place in Hong Kong from September to December 2014 as a reaction to oppressive practices of the Chinese government against the citizens of Hong Kong dissatisfied with planned changes in the electoral system. In her feature film debut, To Liu captured the citizens of the western part of Kowloon, Mong Kok, whose protests might not have been as visible as those of the leading activists, but were no less important. The documentary rhythmized by opening entries and darkening of the scene, much like the director’s first film, follows two characters, a master and an apprentice.„'We are the fucking losers. But at least we fought', Mongkok people." T. Liu

Like an Abortion, for the Very First Time

To Liu
Hong Kong SAR China / 2018 / 102 min.
section: First Lights
World Premiere
I Remember Nothing
As Tunisia experiences revolutionary unrest, Diane tries to come to terms with manic-depressive symptoms so intense that she nearly loses her memory. Five years later, she comes across the diverse records – photographs, diaries and home videos – that she kept during thi time of crisis. She then transforms these documentary materials into a tool by which she captures the seemingly lost fragments of memory. Nevertheless, her goal is not to weave these fragments into a holistic narrative, but to preserve their fluidity in order to present the chaotic events that made the chasm between the public and the private unimaginable."This is the story of a broken memory locked on a harddrive. I wanted to look at the pieces of the puzzle - footage, sounds. To face the black holes. Remember. Show the violence of this inner storm." D. S. Bouzgarrou

I Remember Nothing

Diane Sara Bouzgarrou
France / 2017 / 59 min.
section: First Lights
International Premiere
The Dazzling Light of Sunset
On dilapidated theater stages, the secular rituals of contemporary Georgian society play out: weddings, fashion shows, beauty pageants, political elections. The static camera, which captures this emotionless choreography of ceremonies in wide-angle shots, contrasts with the dynamic pans of the small camera held by a television reporter whose energetic activities keep a local television station going. A series of carefully framed scenes from the events that Dariko chooses to present to her viewers is juxtaposed with images from inside the run-down television studio, which survives thanks to fees earned from reading obituaries.“It fascinated me how small stories from small towns were so much more important than the big politics. And I wondered what these small stories were.” Salomé Jashi

The Dazzling Light of Sunset

Salomé Jashi
Georgia, Germany / 2016 / 74 min.
section: First Lights
Central European Premiere
Everything´s Gonna Be Fine
Producer Čestmír Kopecký had originally wanted to make a film about the changing face of Brno, but in the end director Robin Kvapil and co-writer Pavel Šplíchal created something more closely resembling Šplíchal’s ironic blog Prigl. In their “lovingly anarchistic” film, Brno forms the epicentre of a sarcastic look at Czech society. The naive and vacuous communist-era documentary with which Kvapil’s film opens gives way to the reporter’s bitter monologues right in front of the camera. These are intercut with acted sequences featuring Brno’s political elites, artists, and outcasts.“People say that Brno is the only joke that is inhabitable. The entire film follows this logic.” R. Kvapil

Everything´s Gonna Be Fine

Robin Kvapil
Czech Republic / 2017 / 71 min.
section: First Lights
World Premiere
Czech Journal: Teaching War
This episode from the Czech Journal series examines how a military spirit is slowly returning to our society. Attempts to renew military training or compulsory military service and in general to prepare the nation for the next big war go hand in hand with society’s fear of the Russians, the Muslims, or whatever other “enemies”. This observational flight over the machine gun nest of Czech militarism becomes a grotesque, unsettling military parade. It can be considered not only to be a message about how easily people allow themselves to be manipulated into a state of paranoia by the media, but also a warning against the possibility that extremism will become a part of the regular school curriculum.“In order to identify the reason for which people prepare for war in the name of peace, I have started to portray the rising military spirit in a kaleidoscopic image.”

Czech Journal: Teaching War

Adéla Komrzý
Czech Republic / 2016 / 69 min.
section: First Lights
World 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
Where the Land Ends
Québec is the largest Canadian province and the only one with the official language being only French. Modern struggles for Québec’s independence have resulted in two referendum polls which both acknowledged its being a part of Canada. The film explores Québec identity through the perspective of young people who haven’t had the chance to vote in the referendums. It comes up with questions about their relationship to their ancestors, whose traditions had been captured on camera by the documentary filmmaker Pierre Perrault, or whether their previously clear identification has begun losing ground now. In the course of a contemplative journey through the province’s cities and nature, seventeen young people provide their questions and ideas.“Where the Land Ends is a voice and a space. A voice that I realized I no longer heard, yet that I needed to hear. A space that still lived through some, but which we could no longer inhabit ourselves.” L. Darses     
personal program

Where the Land Ends

Loïc Darses
Canada / 2019 / 90 min.
section: First Lights
International Premiere
God Straightens Legs
At the center of this observational documentary stands the director's mother, Renée, bedridden with an insidious disease. With respect for her mother’s devotional faith, the atheistic-minded filmmaker captures a woman who for religious reasons refused to undergo traditional chemotherapy and waits for a miracle between the walls of her bedroom . While outside the window of the woman's room life goes on day after day, the camera patiently follows the protagonist during her normal activities with which she whiles away the hours - watching TV, talking with friends, praying with a friend, meeting with nurses, as well as routinely cleaning the house."Dealing not only with the trauma of her diagnosis but also with societal reproach for her decision, I wanted to make a portrait of my mother without judgement, instead with empathy, curiosity and patience." J. Walinga

God Straightens Legs

Joële Walinga
Canada / 2018 / 67 min.
section: First Lights
International Premiere
Aphasia
The brutal Belgian colonial policy, the Austrian oppression of the Balkans, and ethnic conflicts after the breakup of Yugoslavia – these seemingly unrelated historical episodes create one line of the documentary. In the film, history becomes a kind of speech, which often leads to the inability to formulate a complete sentence in the statements of a person suffering from loss of speech or speech disorder. In three acts, the film looks for words to describe and understand the existence of the museum of the Belgian colonial history, the hovering of Kurt Waldheim before the commission investigating his involvement in SS, and the infamous photograph of the Belgrade’s most popular DJ kicking the head of a dead woman. “Slavenka Drakulic once wrote that if we believe that the perpetrators are monsters it is because we would like to separate ‘us’ from ‘them’. Aphasia came as a result of questioning that distance.” J. Juresa
personal program

Aphasia

Jelena Jureša
Belgium / 2019 / 80 min.
section: First Lights
International Premiere
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Evropská unie
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Kraj Vysočina
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