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25th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Normal Autistic Film
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Normal Autistic Film
Normal Autistic Film
Normal Autistic Film
Normal Autistic Film

Normal Autistic Film

director: Miroslav Janek
original title: Normální autistický film
country: Czech Republic
year: 2016
running time: 90 min.

synopsis

Children with autism don’t suffer from an incurable disease. They suffer because they are neurodiverse in a world set up for neurotypicals. With that perspective, Miroslav Janek embarks on a series of live meetings with a number of children and young adults who have been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. He gives them the opportunity to express freely their relationship with the world and with themselves, as well as what sets them apart from “normal”. We find that he’s brought us into the company of fun, fascinating people who often suffer because they are labelled as “disabled”. This excursion into the world of autism redefines the seemingly firm boundaries between “otherness” and normality.

“Now let’s talk about Asperger syndrome. What Asperger’s knows how to do. The standard form of Asperger’s syndrome, the milder version, which is what I have, is able to find friends. But the more severe version can’t. He has no friends.”

biography

Miroslav Janek (1954) had his first experiences with documentary filmmaking as an amateur filmmaker in the 1970s. In 1980, he moved to the United States, where one of the jobs he held was an editor for Godfrey Reggio’s films. In the mid-1990s, he returned to Prague. He made such biographical documentaries as Citizen Havel (2008), Burning (2012), and The Gospel According to Brabenec (2014), which were already shown at Jihlava IDFF.

more about film

director: Miroslav Janek
producer: Jan Macola
photography: Miroslav Janek
editing: Tonička Janková
sound: Daniel Němec, Matěj Němec

other films in the section

Life and Death in Tanvald - director’s cut
The town of Tanvald as a symbol for identifying current society-wide attitudes. The death of a young Roma spurs the filmmakers’ investigation into the incident’s true course of events. The mysteries of the country’s creeping xenophobia provide a key to understanding anti-Roma attitudes. Over the course of a year, we witness the transforming landscape of Czech nationalism and the social tectonics of the racial conflict of a twisted society. The self-analytical look at the schism between the two filmmakers provides a welcome debate on the ethical integrity of the documentary filmmaker. The filmmaker’s approach comes close to desecrating the sanctity of childhood innocence.

Life and Death in Tanvald - director’s cut

Filip Remunda, Vít Klusák
Czech Republic / 2013 / 57 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Stone Games
Do the Sudeten Germans who were tortured and killed during their expulsion at the end of the war deserve a monument or not? This Czech documentary shows that this is more than an intellectual question, but a political struggle. In response to a stone monument to the victims of the expulsion in Nový Bor, a group of local inhabitants has unleashed a hate-filled ritual dance of national fervor and moral outrage that turns out to be a sufficiently strong election issue as well.  

Stone Games

Jan Gebert
Czech Republic / 2012 / 56 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
The Last Shift of Thomas Hisem
“I hope that all is okay and that you’ll get something out of this,” proclaims miner Tomáš Hisem at the start of his shift at Ostrava’s Paskov Mine, which he decided to document. Although we don’t see his face (the camera that he has smuggled into the mine is attached to his helmet), we hear his distinct local dialect as he inspects the dark and dusty tunnels and claustrophobic underground spaces that we walk and crawl through on all fours. With a sense of immediacy and in his own distinctive manner, he captures a particular place at a particular time – one day before the Paskov Mine is closed and 1,300 of his colleagues lose their jobs. “I’m shooting this so those city slickers in Prague can see the hard-ass work we do!” J. Andrš

The Last Shift of Thomas Hisem

Jindřich Andrš
Czech Republic / 2017 / 29 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
The Sound is Innocent
In this documentary essay, the director personally presents the history of electronic and experimental music from the pre-war years to the present day. The film takes place in an almost dream-like space-time that serves both as a recording studio and as a museum of technological artifacts, which allow the filmmaker to take playful grasp of the concept of talking heads. The sonically and visually layered excursion to the beginnings of the efforts to liberate and conceptualize sound is also a debate about the forms, possibilities, and perspectives of the acoustic relations to the world, in which the voices of the past constantly overlap with the sounds of the future. „Music documentaries usually tend to build a monument to a composer, band or subculture… My aim was to treat this topic in an essay-like style, using all available means that film as an audiovisual medium offers.” J. Ožvold

The Sound is Innocent

Johana Ožvold
Czech Republic, France, Slovakia / 2019 / 68 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
FREM
The film is a reaction to the current wave of post-humanist thinking caused by the development of technology and artifi cial intelligence as well as the climate crisis. The human species is beginning to realize its insignifi cance and transience, and human identity has found itself in a crisis. The fi lm FREM attempts to refl ect this feeling and creates a dehumanized and alienated view of landscape and nature beyond human perception of reality. Incomplete thoughts and fragments of dialogue, diverse music interrupted by rushes and glitches, and the seemingly confused, unanchored camera, create a disturbing, philosophical refl ection on the limits of anthropocentric thinking. "Making this film was an extreme experience, in every aspect, not only physical, since we shot in Antarctica. I had to think un-thinkable. Leave the prison of anthropomorphism behind. Stop being human." V. Čákanyová

FREM

Viera Čákanyová
Czech Republic, Slovakia / 2019 / 73 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
White-Black Film
A film object with several variations on the meaning of the word “image” – be it a film image, a primitive painting, or an idea. Using for the most part static shots of Australian nature, the film looks the continent’s aboriginal inhabitants, their troubled history under white colonial rule, and their unique relationship to art. The history of the aborigines since the arrival of white colonialists is usually divided into three periods: the “time of killing”, the “time of farming”, and the “time of alcohol”. First they were murdered by the colonisers, then they slaved away on their farms, and then they got alcohol.

White-Black Film

Vladimír Turner
Czech Republic / 2013 / 30 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
ALONE
Luba Skořepová has spent the past several years in solitude, struggling to stay an active theatre actress as long as she can. She invited the film crew into her home in order to shoot her daily life. Although the resulting film contains archival footage from her youth, it is definitely not a biographical film. The filmmakers focus on the present day, capturing scenes from the life of an old and solitary woman who possesses the will to live an active life but who is no longer important for others. Skořepová herself was behind the making of the film, through which she hopes to call attention to the subject of loneliness among old people.“Luba wanted to film Alone in order to call attention to the subject of loneliness among old people. I am convinced that we have succeeded.” O. Faifr

ALONE

Otakar Faifr
Czech Republic / 2017 / 63 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Amerika
A sophisticated portrait of the Czech custom of “tramping” as seen through a personal lens, the film reconstructs and deconstructs the myth of the Czech dream of freedom. The metaphor of “America” serves as a space for personal projection for the main heroes, as well as a symbol of a lost paradise, whose lack of a time and space anchor gives a skewed impression of an indefinite feeling of absence. Lazily moving between a road movie, a pure romance movie, and an observational musical, questions begin to form: Is it a game? Is this serious? The unclear answer perfectly fits with the utopian world of tramping, where words like “fiction” and “reality” really have no place. DETAIL:“Yeah, like, but you have some idea of what America’s like, we don’t....” “But you have country there!” “Yeah, we have country....but your country is different than our country. It’s more romantic, I’m telling you...”

Amerika

Jan Foukal
Czech Republic / 2015 / 70 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Journal: The Limits of Work
Journalist Saša Uhlová spent six months exploring working conditions at the worst-paid jobs in the Czech Republic. She spent several weeks in a hospital washroom, at a poultry plant, behind a cash register and at a waste sorting facility. Her experience formed the basis for a very personal series of reports about people working invisible jobs under shocking conditions, published on the A2larm.cz website. Apolena Rychlíková has turned these articles into a documentary film consisting of scenes shot at Uhlová’s home and of video footage taken at her places of work, accompanied by Uhlová’s read commentary.“I spent several months close to my protagonist, who never once placed herself above those whose lives she has tried to show us. Perhaps this film of our era will, with time, reach even those whom it affects.” A. Rychlíková

Czech Journal: The Limits of Work

Apolena Rychlíková
Czech Republic / 2017 / 70 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Kiruna – A Brand New World
Apocalyptic depiction of an area literally engulfed by the mining industry is presented in this documentary that observes the eponymous northern Swedish city, part of which was abandoned due to activities in the nearby iron mine. The mining company’s management decided not to halt profitable mining activities and instead made the decision to move the residents of the threatened district. Using footage shot in the city inside the Arctic Circle and directly in the mines, the director has uncovered subtle film imagery, and using the stories of three protagonists now living in a bizarre inter-time, imaginatively addresses the topics of resettlement, tradition, and respect for a particular location. “The dystopian story of Kiruna is about lost people looking for a home in an uprooted city. It shows the dark side of the advanced society, whether in Sweden or the Czech Republic.” G. Stocklassa

Kiruna – A Brand New World

Greta Stocklassa
Czech Republic / 2019 / 87 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
Pilgrimage to the Mountains
Art historian and theorist Jiří Zemánek and his friends set out on a nine-day pilgrimage from Prague to Sněžka, one they’ve done many times before. These modern pilgrims, inspired by the walking journey of the poet Karel Hynek Mácha, who completed the trip with Eduard Hindl in 1833, discover the beauties of the Czech landscape, read excerpts of poems and observations from Mácha's notebook, and observe a world in which untouched nature and modern civilization meet. The lyrical, meditative film, interwoven with humanism, offers an insight into the inner minds of pilgrims longing to merge with the world, highlights poetry as a tool for transforming human perception.     "And then there is no choice but to take one's meager belongings onto one’s back and set off. Jirka might read a poem on the road, perhaps from Mácha, Jeffers or Josef Hora, and our minds are open to the unknown. We already know that there is nothing to be afraid of: the path will set us straight and guide us, connect us with the landscape, with the clouds, with the starry nighttime sky. With ourselves.” K. Čtveráček   Q&A with  Karel Čtveráček and Jiří Zemánek:  
personal program

Pilgrimage to the Mountains

Karel Čtveráček
Czech Republic / 2020 / 82 min.
section: Czech Joy
International Premiere
noimage
FilmAFRICA follows two Central Europeans on an adventure to Zambia to repair a village’s solar panels. They are aware of the value of their work, whose purpose they see in helping the villagers – these, however, are not satisfied with their lives. Black and white mindsets subtly, humorously, and touchingly collide.

Solar Eclipse

Martin Mareček
Czech Republic / 2011 / 81 min.
section: Czech Joy
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