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25th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Bulletproof

Bulletproof

director: Todd Chandler
original title: Bulletproof
country: United States
year: 2020
running time: 83 min.

synopsis

The film opens up the topic of safety in public American high schools in response to the country’s frequent school shootings committed by armed students. While sports games, homecoming, and prom remain traditional high school rituals as always, a new set rituals have become commonplace: school lockdown drills, bag checks when entering the school, and even firearm training for teachers. The film approaches the deep, systemic problem of mass murders caused by racial and economic inequality among adolescents in American society, while also exploring the unimaginable fear for many European viewers that you can actually get shot in math class.


“We’re doing everything we can to harden the infrastructure to keep people from getting in, but what keeps me up at night is that the wolf is in the henhouse. The threat always comes from inside.“ Bulletproof, (15:30–15:50)

biography

Todd Chandler is an American filmmaker and artist and works as a teacher at the Film Department of Brooklyn College in New York. In his documentaries and gallery installations, he tackles socio-political issues in the USA. He won the Award for Emerging International Filmmaker for his film Bulletproof (2020) at the Hot Docs Festival in Canada.

more about film

director: Todd Chandler
producer: Danielle Varga
photography: Emily Topper
editing: Shannon Kennedy, Todd Chandler

other films in the section

Drama Girl
A genre hybrid film by Vincent Boy Kars is a docu-dramatic experiment – the main character, Leyla, is supposed to play key scenes from her life. The acted parts of the film explore Leyla’s relationships with her parents and boyfriend – played by hired actors – and the art of dance she has been studying. More emphasis, however, is placed on the parts between the scenes when Boy Kars and Leyla discuss her life and the ways to present it. Not only does Leyla relive her memories but she also has re-enact them again and again, always in another way, following the director’s instructions. The documentary highlights the constructive nature of documentary films and begs the question how drama helps us understand our own lives. “To me, this film is about developing your own way of filming. Sometimes I seem to create a new genre. I combine interesting elements of fiction and documentary, trying to develop an approach where acting and being come together.” V. Boy Kars
personal program

Drama Girl

Vincent Boy Kars
Netherlands / 2020 / 90 min.
section: Constellations
Central European Premiere
Irradiated
An archival memento of the horrors of war in the 20th century that delves into philosophical reflections on the nature of evil and the meaning of suffering. Raw images of prisoners in concentration and labor camps and victims of nuclear attacks are a chronicle of global human tragedy. The sensory and emotional experience is multiplied by a vertically divided image, which triples each shot. The dramatic content and Pahn’s stylistic quirkiness, however, are not an outright attempt to rattle the viewers’ cages. His philosophical essay, dedicated to documentary filmmaker and concentration camp survivor Marceline Loridan-Ivens, fights back against the contagion of oblivion that is spreading through the current infinitely changing and accelerated audiovisual landscape.     “Big media changes images every ten seconds. The next day, no one cares what happened yesterday. No one thinks about the consequences of what happened in the past.” R. Panh
personal program

Irradiated

Rithy Panh
France, Cambodia / 2020 / 88 min.
section: Constellations
East European Premiere
Un film dramatique
For four years, the director has been meeting up with students of a film club at Dora Maar high school in the ethnically colourful city of Saint Denis near Paris, observing how the protagonists and filmmakers-to-be were growing up, looking for their roots and identity, finding a common form of their film in making that had supposed to be really about anything in the beginning. Through showing everyday banalities, the participants were learning to work with the language of film, constantly coming back with reflections on changing formats and contents of their intended work that was meant to become a metaphor of their own place in the world.

Un film dramatique

Eric Baudelaire
France / 2019 / 114 min.
section: Constellations
Central European Premiere
Four Seasons and Autumn
Multi-talented artist and Czech native Jiří Synek (1921-2017), known to readers as František Listopad, spent most of his life in Portugal, where he performed under the name Jorge. He was a poet, translator, theater and film director, organizer, and teacher, and as such had a large influence on Portuguese cultural life. He had a significant role in building the Portuguese television and film school. He also wrote continuously, and his poems and prose are an exceptional testimony to the melancholy of exile. The documentary contains revealing archival recordings and poetic sequences, presenting Listopad through his ideas and life philosophy.

Four Seasons and Autumn

Pedro Sena Nunes
Portugal / 2018 / 90 min.
section: Constellations
Central European Premiere
Movements of a Nearby Mountain
In an abandoned industrial zone at the foot of the Austrian Alps, a Nigerian mechanic lives and works by dismantling old cars and selling their individual parts, mainly to Eastern Europe and Africa. The documentary captures him during his work and while taking meditative breaks with a cigarette overlooking Erzberg Mountain, where iron ore has been mined since ancient Rome. The hero's isolated microcosm is observed at the very edge of economic activity, yet it is inextricably linked to global economic relations in Europe and Africa, the mining of resources, and the exploitation of profits.

Movements of a Nearby Mountain

Sebastian Brameshuber
Austria, France / 2019 / 85 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
Corporate Accountability
The Argentine Ministry of Justice encouraged research resulting in a thousand-page report on crimes against humanity committed during the military dictatorship in 1976–1983. The generally not very well-known content of the report can be heard from the mouth of the director who reads it in his car parked in front of twenty-five, mostly still functioning companies that used to denounce trade unionists and left-wing workers in exchange for their own profit. Illustratively brings evidence of thousands of missing people, hundreds of murders and countless cases of torture caused and links between dictatorship and capitalism.    „The ruling paradigm in Argentine justice focused within the State itself, and not outside of it.“ J. Perel  
personal program

Corporate Accountability

Jonathan Perel
Argentina / 2020 / 68 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
The Good Terrorist
“A good terrorist is a dead terrorist,” a well-known saying goes. The same kind of ambivalence present in the title applies to this film telling the story of Jason Walters, a convicted and later redeemed member of the Dutch terrorist group Hofstad. They were responsible for manslaughter, planning of terrorist attacks and threatening with killings. Walters gave up only after two weeks of his flat being continuously besieged. Nevertheless, out of the testimonies of representatives of justice, prison wardens and other men charged with terrorist acts, a stereotypical image of a radical Muslim man embodying all the world’s evil suddenly melts away. A scarred Europe has displaced possibilities of redemption and repentance into toxically politicized causes outside all tolerable social criteria, as in the cases of most imprisoned terrorists.

The Good Terrorist

Robert Oey
Netherlands / 2019 / 80 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
A Moon for My Father
The body as a material sculpting object and abstract unity of functions. The body as a part of early traumas, ideological rejection, political censorship, persistence and ephemerality. The body as a concept of organization of extensive natural communities. The body as an empty shrine for further artistic use. This audiovisual essay in letters by Iranian filmmaker and British sculptor is a dreamful, intimate dialogue, discourse on the country’s fate following the Islamic revolution, on family and a desire to perfect the female body devastated by malignant disease. A film conversation on the artistic reflection of beauty, memory, experience, fulfilment and inception of new life.

A Moon for My Father

Douglas White, Mania Akbari
United Kingdom, Iran / 2019 / 73 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
Martin Margiela: In His Own Words
The narrator of the film is Belgian fashion designer Martin Margiela. The film portrait captures his career from the 1980s to the present day using the footage of fashion shows and comments by Margiela’s close collaborators. The most important part of the film, however, is the designer, his voice and participation in the film. Margiela is known for his introversion; he does not let anyone photograph or interview him. When he does speak, he never speaks for himself but always on behalf of a collective. The film respects his approach and gives him a voice, not a face; we can see only his hands – the instruments of his imagination. “My documentary work is very personal and intimate in many ways, and what I want to achieve is to discreetly communicate these elements to the audience.” R. Holzemer
personal program

Martin Margiela: In His Own Words

Reiner Holzemer
Germany, Belgium / 2019 / 90 min.
section: Constellations
East European Premiere
Of Land and Bread
The nonprofit B´Tselem organization documents the violation of human rights in Jordan’s West Bank. Thanks to the efforts of volunteers, it has collected thousands of hours of video records capturing the everyday hardships of Palestinians who are tormented by the Israeli army, the police, and even ordinary civilians. Amateurly filmed night raids and daily hardships provide a vivid narrative about injustice, helplessness and violence in the Israeli-occupied territories. The hand-held camera, which is the only weapon the volunteers use, creates a raw, aesthetically unadorned image of a world where people are deprived of their land, their privacy, a carefree childhood, and even a dignified death.   “It is a story of a vulnerable life, with no political rights or the right to protest, a life on the receiving end of the project of dispossession of land and resources which is the Israeli occupation.” E. Tarabien     
personal program

Of Land and Bread

Ehab Tarabieh
Israel, Palestine / 2019 / 88 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
The Wall of Shadows
In eastern Nepal, the sacred mountain Janna looms at 7000m tall. The top of Janna is considered the seat of gods and demons. It is said that whoever tries to humble her will pay for it with his life. Under the mountain lies the village where Ngada Sherpa lives with his family. One of the most reliable mountain carriers in the area, he is struggling with poverty. Nevertheless, he is determined to pay for his son to attend medical school. He therefore decides to break the taboo and accompany a climbing expedition to the summit of Janna. He hopes the gods will be merciful to him. The majestic mountain scenery becomes the set for a drama about a man tempting the elements and his own religious beliefs.     “People are often guided by emotions, and in the mountains it’s even more pronounced. Over there, we are who we are. Everything is black and white. Only here in the lowlands do we have many shades of grey.” E. Kubarska     Q&A with Eliza Kubarska:
personal program

The Wall of Shadows

Eliza Kubarska
Poland, Germany, Switzerland / 2020 / 94 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
Honeyland
An ageing beekeeper in the rural Macedonian mountains strives to maintain the tradition of honest, environmentally friendly beekeeping. Her quiet everyday life – caring for the colony and selling honey in a nearby town, the untiring care of her mother, living off their farm without electricity – is interrupted by the arrival of nomadic beekeepers, who perceive nature primarily as an opportunity for profit, a way to break free from their poverty. The filmmakers spent three years with the heroine of the film, shooting over four hundred hours of material which became the basis of this melancholy environmental appeal, lyrically depicting the immaculate beauty of nature.

Honeyland

Ljubomir Stefanov, Tamara Kotevska
Macedonia / 2019 / 85 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
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