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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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The Brink
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The Brink
The Brink
The Brink
The Brink

The Brink

director: Alison Klayman
original title: The Brink
country: United States
year: 2019
running time: 90 min.

synopsis

From autumn 2017 until the 2018 American congressional elections a year later, the director spent time filming with Stephen Kevin Bannon, considered one of the primary architects of Donald Trump’s winning presidential campaign. We observe the former presidential adviser in particular during working meetings with journalists and American and European politicians and businessmen, which he used to spread right-wing views and to consolidate Republican positions of power. Although the controversial strategist apparently attempts to use the presence of the camera to promote himself, the occasional falling out of character reveals that his success is due primarily to prejudices, hypocrisy, and lies that help spread malice and hatred.

“I felt he was being given so much power by the image constructed by media. I thought that if we could follow him for an extended period of time we could demystify him, and that would be valuable.” A. Klayman   

biography

American director Alison Klayman (1984) made her debut with the film Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, which closed the 2012 Ji.hlava IDFF. For Netflix last year, she made the documentary Take Your Pills, about American drug dependency.

more about film

director: Alison Klayman
producer: Alison Klayman, Marie Therese Guirgis
photography: Alison Klayman

other films in the section

Little Germans
The film searches for the root cause of extremist thinking of some contemporary Germans. The dark tones of an early indoctrination of children's souls is illustrated by watercolor animation of idealized memories. Nostalgic sequences frame the testimonials of today's representatives of the German middle class. The psychoanalytic study of (neo)Nazi ideology as a lifestyle reveals the four fundamentals of revived Germanic mythology and mentality ─ xenophobia, eugenics, exalted rhetoric and Christian kitsch. The closed enclave of right-wing extremism of the Pegida movement is slowly revealed by open talks in which the renegade patriotic orthodoxy unmask the movement's demagogy. “Children represent our future. They reflect our wish for security, family and happiness. At the same time, a child is the weakest link of our society and therefore it needs a special protection.” M. Farokhmanesh, F. Geiger    
personal program

Little Germans

Frank Geiger, Mohammad Farokhmanesh
Germany, Austria / 2019 / 90 min.
section: A Testimony on Politics
East European Premiere
XY Chelsea
In 2017, the transgender woman Chelsea Manning was released from prison after serving seven of the thirty-five years she had been sentenced to for publishing, while still the soldier Bradley Manning, secret American videos and documents about the wars in Afghanistan and  Iraq. The film clarifies what led to her actions and her transformation, and also looks at the position of transgender people in the American prison system. It follows Manning from her first steps after her release to meetings with the friends who supported her during her time in prison and her entry into the world of politics, which changes significantly with the presidency of Donald Trump. “My vision for this film was then, and has remained, a character-driven film in which the personal and political are woven and collide in the most spectacular contemporary style.” T. Travers Hawkins     
personal program

XY Chelsea

Tim Travers Hawkins
United Kingdom / 2019 / 92 min.
section: A Testimony on Politics
Czech Premiere
Untouchable
This social documentary imitates the process of the investigative journalists who uncovered a whole mesh of intrigue, blackmail, bribery, and cover ups of sexual violence committed by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. The film goes from showing the testimonies of the individual victims of the assaults to recognizing and analysing the patterns of compulsive behaviour based on years of long-lived illusions of "untouchability." Accusing an individual in reference to the #MeToo movement becomes an unflattering result of society as a whole. Weinstein's predatory behaviour would not have been possible without looking away from impending evil, self-bought cooperation, and coercion of forced silence. “The pain experienced by Weinstein’s accusers is palpable in the film, but there’s also a sense that private anguish can be transformed into collective strength.” U. Macfarlane  
personal program

Untouchable

Ursula Macfarlane
United Kingdom / 2019 / 98 min.
section: A Testimony on Politics
Czech Premiere
Free Lunch Society – Come Come Basic Income
The greatest ever change in economic order is within reach! All that remains to be done is to overcome conventional thinking and accept the concept of unconditional basic income. In his montage documentary, the Austrian director simulates the history of the efforts to implement this reform, and, with futuristic playfulness, extrapolates its possible future development.

Free Lunch Society – Come Come Basic Income

Christian Tod
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section: A Testimony on Politics
Czech Premiere
The Waldheim Waltz
A cinematic memoir of a time when the Austrian nation underwent a deep crisis of identity. The 1986 presidential elections were marked by the revelation that one of the candidates, former UN general secretary Kurt Waldheim, had lied about his activities during the Second World War. A cinematic exploration of the relationship between memory and the past as a sign of the times.

The Waldheim Waltz

Ruth Beckermann
Austria / 2018 / 93 min.
section: A Testimony on Politics
Czech Premiere
Alt-Right: Age of Rage
In the first year of Donald J. Trump's presidency, Daryle Lamont Jenkins, an Antifa activist, combats the rise of the alt-right movement, while Richard Spencer, an alt-right leader, fights to gain ground, culminating in a tragic showdown in Charlottesville.

Alt-Right: Age of Rage

Adam Bhala Lough
United States / 2018 / 105 min.
section: A Testimony on Politics
East European Premiere
DisAstro
“The economy is sick. It is time for it to die,” reads one piece of graffiti in this film – an unusual exploration of Athens during a time of crisis. The entire film consists of shots of abandoned industrial and urban sites representing the ruins of the collapsed capitalist system.

DisAstro

Leo Metcalf
United Kingdom, Greece / 2017 / 24 min.
section: A Testimony on Politics
World Premiere
The Cave
Since 2013, when the Syrian regime and its allies first led the chemical war against Syrian civilians, many millions have fled in a desperate bid for survival. Those who remained are trapped. All borders are closed. There is no way out. In an underground hospital in the besieged town of Ghouta, a team of dedicated doctors works tirelessly to treat bombing victims and are constantly forced to battle systemic sexism. The film primarily follows the daily activities of pediatrician and hospital manager Dr. Amani Ballor, who attempts to improve her small patients’ lot in life. In an observational manner, it creates a snapshot portrait of an unlikely heroine. “I wanted people to see that an ordinary woman can do amazing things. Maybe that can change the world. She can remind us that we’re all human and that we have a shared humanity that is more powerful than violence.” F. Fayyad
personal program

The Cave

Feras Fayyad
Denmark, Syria, Germany, United States, Qatar / 2019 / 95 min.
section: A Testimony on Politics
Czech Premiere
Weapon of Choice
The Glock handgun is popular among black rappers, Austrian soldiers, and Middle Eastern tyrants. But the person who loves it most is its inventor, Gaston Glock. In this short reportage on the controversial arms industry, Austrian director Fritz Ofner’s clear objective is to demystify the story of a weapon, supposedly invented in a garage, that never fails.

Weapon of Choice

Fritz Ofner
Austria / 2017 / 89 min.
section: A Testimony on Politics
East European Premiere
Accidental Anarchist
Disillusioned by the foreign policy of the West, high-ranking diplomat Carne Ross begins to take an interest in anarchist theory and practice. The film captures the unexpected transformation of a supporter of the status quo into a seeker of social alternatives by working with the motif of a journey, which we see from Ross’s passionate perspective.

Accidental Anarchist

Clara Glynn, John Archer
United Kingdom / 2017 / 83 min.
section: A Testimony on Politics
East European Premiere
Last Men in Aleppo
The never-ending war in Syria has destroyed everything. Although Aleppo is in ruins, some of its residents have remained. Candid camera shots record the daily routine of the members of the White Helmets, who try to rescue people trapped beneath the rubble. But for how long can a dead city be kept alive?

Last Men in Aleppo

Feras Fayyad
Denmark, Syria, Germany / 2017 / 104 min.
section: A Testimony on Politics
Czech Premiere
Another Planet
This animated documentary tracks the making of a freeform compilation of computer models of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. The state prosecutor, architect, graphic designer, and others explain their motives for creating them. The resulting mosaic links two themes of how virtual reality can be used: to preserve memory and as a tool to cope with trauma.

Another Planet

Amir Yatziv
Israel, Germany, Poland / 2017 / 48 min.
section: A Testimony on Politics
East European Premiere
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