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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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The Visit
The Visit
The Visit
The Visit
The Visit

The Visit

director: Nadia Mounier, Marouan Omara
original title: Azziara
country: Egypt, Germany
year: 2015
running time: 43 min.

synopsis

An inspection team from the World Bank arrives in an Egyptian village a few years after the revolution to assess how the transformation of agricultural management has progressed since the political upheaval. All of the activities are, as required, recorded by a television crew. We watch a drainage channel being built and visit the local museum. Everything seems to be as it should. However, the documentary’s authors leave the camera switched on even after the television crew has finished their work. As a result, the official record includes behind-the-scenes views and the members of the television crew become just additional actors in the film. The carefully arranged scene becomes an absurdly active image with advertising overtones.

DETAIL:
A reporter, wearing clothing that conceals all of her body except her face, interviews one of the local women. One detail is particularly worthy of attention: the front of her robe is embroidered with images of Western women wearing revealing clothes.

biography

In his work, the Egyptian photographer and filmmaker Marouan Omara focuses on capturing the events accompanying the transformations in his native country since the overthrow of the government in 2011. He initially received acclaim for his documentary Crop (2012), about the operations of the Al Ahram daily newspaper. The work of Nadia Mounier, a young Egyptian photographer who has received several awards, consists primarily of documentary photographs in relation to the issue of how an image and its meaning are represented.

more about film

director: Nadia Mounier, Marouan Omara
cast: Abeer Salah El-Din, Beshay Abdo
producer: Mark Lotfy
script: Marouan Omara, Nadia Mounier
photography: Islam Kamal
sound: Michael Fawzy

other films in the section

The Room You Take
The world is a theatre. And in every theatre, there are usually backstage spaces that remain hidden from the run-of-the-mill spectator. In this stylized observational documentary, director Marques provides us with a glimpse behind the scenes of smaller Portuguese theatre groups. At a time when metallic monsters in the form of giant demolition bulldozers are razing a traditional theatre building, the marginal position of most theatre outsiders becomes even more depressing. Excerpts of conversations held in front of dressing room mirrors, poetic commentaries, and natural motifs are brought together to create an allegory filled with reflections, both those in the mirror, as well as their equivalents from the theatre that is the world. “I wonder if the proletarian artist isn't already an endangered species. From observational to essayistic, I build this atlas-like film to capture the mirrors of those who take this adventurous survival.”

The Room You Take

Pedro Filipe Marques
Portugal / 2016 / 165 min.
section: Opus Bonum
European Premiere
Western, Family and Communism
The first shots of the film show Parisians demonstrating and protesting, interspersed with shouted political slogans of Iranian activists. While the situation is very heated in Paris, calmness reigns in Iran. A French family is traveling here in a caravan and getting to know the country. The father films footage of their journey including his wife and daughter. The first third of the film suggests that the issue is a national one, namely that of the Iranian citizens, while the remaining two-thirds shows, however, the French on holiday. From a formal point of view, the film comprises interesting shots taken with a handheld camera, as well highly-overexposed, almost white, shots and double exposures. „Perhaps politics is the multiple of experiments and inventions in an equation with two unknowns: ‚I‘ and ‚we‘. Rather than solve it, once and for all, it would be a matter of keeping trying. Once again. (Precarious springs of the peoples, Maria Kakogianni, 2017)“ L. Krief

Western, Family and Communism

Laurent Krief
France / 2018 / 83 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
The Lake
A hand with a camera emerges from a lake. This surreal scene is like a period in the personal correspondence between two Japanese filmmakers. In the director’s mind, the faded 8mm footage depicts artifacts that evoke phantoms of the past. But besides aimless wanderings through the streets of his hometown, a collection of photographs of a women’s wrestling team, or the handmade mask of Mexican superhero El Santa, the camera also shows its own image. In this experimental correspondence written with a camera instead of a pen, the central theme is one of mirrors and reflections representing the connection between subject and object, life and film.DETAIL:“Now 8mm film is going out of existence. I waste valuable film stock by shooting long takes. I shoot long because a bird will fly across the frame. Isn’t this just a way I live my life?”

The Lake

Shin'ichi Miyakawa
Japan / 2013 / 43 min.
section: Opus Bonum
East European Premiere
NU
“A terrible winter came. Snow was falling in endless flurry. The wind cooled down the air and the earth. The sun stopped shining. Three winters came without a summer that would follow them.” These words open the documentary dystopia conceived as personal correspondence between a woman/the nature and the last surviving man. On the background of images of natural scenery and desolate achievements of the civilization, a poetic confession of feelings is followed by descriptions of banal experiences and symbolic situations, all presented with a declamatory diction. In the last moments of humanity, the severed bond between the loving mother and her lost and rediscovered son is restored again.„You loved me as a male loves a woman, with his worst defects. You wanted to possess me, to dominate me, to control me, you wanted to strip me. You choked me, you devoured me. You loved me for you only, you took all I had. And you did not know you were going to die.“ F. Cousseau

NU

Frédéric Cousseau, Blandine Huk
France / 2018 / 54 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
There Is No Sexual Rapport
The filming of pornographic movies results in hours of digital ballast and unused footage. This condensed visual collage of unused footage discovers the non-sexual dimension of convulsive physical choreography, emptied to the utmost of the scenes we would like to see. The film captures the frighteningly uncoordinated functioning of the porn industry, which violates the erotic principles of sexual coupling. The Lacanian impossibility of relations, the inability of natural arousal and climax, the absence of mystery in porn-stereo.  

There Is No Sexual Rapport

Raphaël Siboni
France / 2011 / 79 min.
section: Opus Bonum
Czech Premiere
Wind Shaped Rocks
What starts out as a calm, observational record from an excursion boat filled with Taiwanese tourists admiring glaciers, soon turns into a frenzied – in places almost hallucinogenic – series of bizarre events after a black hole appears in the sky. Shots of the tourists alternate with views of horses grazing in a snowy landscape, a couple in a hotel room, and a group of young people digging film strips out of a garbage can. From the start, the viewer searches for the key to this random sequence of wordless scenes, trying to keep pace with the rapid, sometimes even stroboscopic montage of juxtaposed shots, which is slowed down with contemplative views of monstrous icebergs. "Glaciers exist before/after human time-space. History is obsolete since self-representation democratized. This is a love story between users of a cybernetic system. Life is nonlinear inside a rhizome." E. Makoszay

Wind Shaped Rocks

Eduardo Makoszay Mayén
Mexico / 2017 / 44 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Disappear One
The Nature Theatre of Oklahoma embarks on a trans-Atlantic sea voyage. Their main objective is to make a film about a former member of the theatre company who has mysteriously disappeared. Their creative experiment installs a regime of control that permeates every single part of the ship and which is much more ambiguous and even less sensible than traditional hierarchical forms of power. This film essay, building on Kafka’s Amerika and Guattari’s Project for a Film by Kafka, breaks film language down to the point where it decomposes into interwoven gestures, emotions, glances, voices, sounds and fragments of the story, and hints at the possibility of escape from the system of power into a world of uncertainty, openness, and change.DETAIL:“I came upon a room full of screens, monitored by officials from the Theatre…There were recordings of things happening at that moment, or that had already happened, or that hadn’t yet. They say they can’t know which is which.”

Disappear One

Silvia Maglioni, Graeme Thomson
France, United Kingdom, Italy / 2015 / 117 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Chasing after the Wind
In recent years, the Getsemaní neighborhood in the Colombian town of Cartagena has evolved from a dangerous and crime-filled area to an attractive tourist center. The film nevertheless attempts to capture the neighborhood’s old spirit, as embodied by the 60-something Gustav, whom the camera follows on his nighttime wandering through the town and his occasional musings (sometimes drug-influenced) on God, death, drugs, and the natural order. For the most part, the camera keeps close to Gustav’s body, following him through long shots while exploring the play of the nighttime lights on his skin.DETAIL:“Religion for me... the best exercise it has. But the best thing religion has to offer for me is confession. By doing this they can clean up their rubble. One of the things that make people feel most relieved is when they throw out their rubble.”

Chasing after the Wind

Juan Camilo Olmos Feris
Colombia / 2014 / 61 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
Spring yes yes yes
Originally a sound woman by trade, Audrey Ginestet has created an intimate reportage and purely personal experiment: She decided to spend a winter in Japan with a past lover, a man with whom she had a relationship ten years before in France and whom she has not seen since. The cramped little house becomes a stage for monologues on intercultural differences and the possibility of relationships across cultures and between individual beings, combined with the observation of details inside the house and in nature.

Spring yes yes yes

Audrey Ginestet
France, Japan / 2012 / 38 min.
section: Opus Bonum
Central European Premiere
Once More unto the Breach
Because of his Russian origins, Italian soldier Romano Isman is called to the front to act as a military interrogator and translator for the fascist bigwigs and the local population. Isman’s narrative mixes a detailed description of the horrors of war and historical testimony with a lyrical disillusioned contemplation on the insignifi cance of the individual in the midst of war. The filmmaker creates a contrast between historicized illustrative images accompanying the narration of the protagonist and images of modern Ukraine and Russia, which to this day are still dealing with the despair and frustration caused by the events of the twentieth century. “Il varco combines found footage of different origins. it's a fictional story populated by presences: ghosts wandering in the Ukrainian steppe, echoes of bloody pasts, and wars still being fought today.” M. Manzolini, F. Ferrone
personal program

Once More unto the Breach

Michele Manzolini, Federico Ferrone
Italy / 2019 / 70 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
Aged
Self-appointed family chronicler Philip Hoffman documents his father’s aging process. Images of this once-vital man as captured in the director’s amateur images are confronted by scenes of a sick old man slowly awaiting death at the family cottage by the lake. This experimental film combines intimate home videos (ranging from the director’s childhood all the way to the present as he cares for his incapacitated father) with unique impressions from the surrounding countryside that describe the transience of human life. Sounds of nature, such as water splashing on the lake’s surface or birdcalls, underscore the grainy wordless images.DETAIL:“Hi Daddy, good morning!” (daughter on the phone, enthusiastically) – I just woke up. (mumbling) – That’s good. Did you have a good sleep? – ugh, yes...  (indistinct mumbling) Yes... (hoarsely, losing his voice).

Aged

Philip Hoffman
Canada / 2014 / 45 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Memories from Gehenna
Grande-Synthe is a suburb of the French port town of Dunkerque. In 2002, its residents were shocked by a racially motivated murder committed by a longtime resident looking to release his inner frustrations through ethnic violence. More than 10 years after the tragic events, the filmmakers have come to record how this place has changed. Their various stops in this agglomeration retrace the murderer’s journey as he drove around town looking for his future victim. Recited excerpts from his interrogation mix with current reflections by local residents and a piano soundtrack to give the film a sense of desolation.DETAIL:“When I was 16, I wanted to die too. I also wanted to shoot myself because a girl dumped me. But my dog would have been alone. I’m sure people will say it’s my fault. It’s always like that.”

Memories from Gehenna

Jenkoe Thomas
France / 2015 / 56 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
Aktuálně.cz
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