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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Birthday
Birthday
Birthday

Birthday

director: Hilal Baydarov
original title: Ad Günü
country: Azerbaijan
year: 2018
running time: 63 min.

synopsis

A lonely life made up of daily routine tasks is depicted in this documentary made by the director about his own mother. It’s her birthday – her husband has been dead for years and her children have forgotten her, with the exception of her son, who remains behind the camera. Despite this, the ageing woman cleans, cooks, and makes ready for a possible celebration. Cursory inspections of her mobile phone screen show that she would have been happy with just a phone message. Birthdays give new meaning to loneliness, just as the director cuts away various natural barriers of the camera image and amplifies the sound effects track to allow silence to emerge and envelop the main character.

"One day of any person is the summary of his life. What we feel in one day is the same for all our life. Nothing changes. Repetitions, Repetitions and Repetitions. Just like my mother on her birthday." H. Baydarov

biography

Hilal Bajdarov (1987) received his degree in informatics in Turkey, then studied directing at the film school in Sarajevo under Hungarian director Béla Tarr. His debut feature-length film was Hills Without Names; in August 2018 his documentary Birthday (2018) received the Docu Talent Award 2018. 

more about film

director: Hilal Baydarov
producer: Hilal Baydarov
script: Hilal Baydarov
photography: Hilal Baydarov
editing: Hilal Baydarov
sound: Hilal Baydarov

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
365 days, also known as a Year
Day after day, images of film life in the author's collage glued together from fragments of feature films flow at a frame rate in which the date of the day appears in various forms. The original jigsaw puzzle shows what one year of diverse film footage might look like. The selection of scenes by calendar key is an interesting probe into the history of cinematography in different countries, a showcase of moods and diverse styles of film narration. The link between the selected scenes is a certain urgency connected with the realization of a specific date, whether such a date denotes a historical milestone or a simple act of brushing one’s teeth. „365 Days' can be perceived simply as a recycled fiction story. As a video essay it discovers meaning of calendar dates for cinema and invites to think about life, memory and time.“ D. Bondarchuk 
personal program

365 days, also known as a Year

Dmytro Bondarchuk
Ukraine / 2019 / 99 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
PhoeniXXX
Two young Romanian women make money as models on an erotic video chat site. All while they try to lead normal family lives, get along with their parents, and raise children. This observational documentary captures exactly this - their private space. The filmmakers let them speak freely about not only their jobs, but also how they themselves see their lives. At the same time, they show how a publicly condemned profession influences people’s behavior and their view of the world. The film also presents dramatic generational differences in contemporary Romanian society in which the older generation, working in agriculture, wants their children to remain at home while the younger one seems to be moving coninously to the bigger cities, leaving behind their past. "For a good documentary you have to go out and live among your characters." M. G. Dragolea

PhoeniXXX

Mihai Gavril Dragolea
Romania / 2017 / 53 min.
section: Between the Seas
International 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
Guests
Set in a remote Russian village located about hundered and sixty kilometres from Moscow, this observational documentary is focused on a group of loggers – illegal migrants from Tajikistan who came to Russia in the hope of finding work. Hired by Russian businesses, they live thousands of kilometres away from their families to whom they send their earnings. The uncompromising endless shots capture the simplicity of the lives of these seasonal workers, and the overall undisciplined style of the filming corresponds well to the unfriendly environment in which they must survive from day to day.DETAIL:“Yeah, well, life is tough. As they say – it's not a bed of roses. You have to live your life properly... Can you imagine how difficult it must be for our wives?”

Guests

Alexey Sukhovey
Russia, France, Germany / 2014 / 62 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
Our Daily Water
Drinking water deliveries by boat to remote Croatian islands is a great opportunity to observe often humorous daily life. Especially when the ship’s captain has a tendency to make coarse comments, regaling his young nephew, the newest member of the crew, with his choleric outbursts. Our Daily Water is an observational film, but it gives inner energy and humor to its protagonists. The film’s creators successfully convey the atmosphere of lazy days along the hot Croatian coast and the explosive temperament of the locals."Through this Mediterranean comedy about a Captain and his crew I wanted to tell a story of invisible people who work honestly in order to prevent our country from becoming an "accidental state"." V. Vorkapić

Our Daily Water

Vlatka Vorkapic
Croatia / 2018 / 57 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
My Friend Boris Nemtsov
Until his violent death in February 2015, Boris Nemtsov was know as the face of the anti-Putin opposition movement. This intimate portrait brings us closer to his activities during his final years, when voices of protest became stronger in Russian society. The film does not portray grand speeches and gestures, but rather the daily activities of a politician, which included long business trips in addition to appearances in the media or at demonstrations, the everyday office routine, and discussions with people on the street. Nemstov’s close contact with social actors and the director are evidence of his courage and spontaneity, without needless pathos. “It is a film début, a documental tragedy. It took three years to make this portrait of Boris Nemtsov. Murdered in February 2015, the outstanding leader of Russian opposition is shown sympathetically, with humane warmth and irony.” Zosya Rodkevich

My Friend Boris Nemtsov

Zosya Rodkevich
Estonia / 2016 / 70 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
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
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
The Makavejev Case or Trial in a Movie Theater
In 1971, the film WR: Mysteries of the Organism, an outstanding example of the Yugoslav Black Wave, was enthusiastically received at the Cannes Film Festival. Back home, however, this radical and ironic exploration of sexuality and communism was banned by the Yugoslav regime, and director Dušan Makavejev subsequently emigrated. The ban was decided during the film’s premiere screening, which turned into an unofficial trial. The Makavejev Case plays a newly discovered audio record of the debate in its entirety, accompanied by images of the incredulous faces of people listening to the audiotape recording: actors from Makavejev’s film, random passers-by on the street, and monkeys in a cage. „Makavejev - is my favorite Serbian director. WR: Mysteries of the Organism became a symbol of Makavejev’s heritage: a film language as a play game and an everlasting experiment in in directing." G. Radovanovic
personal program

The Makavejev Case or Trial in a Movie Theater

Goran Radovanovic
Serbia / 2019 / 73 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
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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