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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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NU

director: Frédéric Cousseau, Blandine Huk
original title: NU
country: France
year: 2018
running time: 54 min.

synopsis

“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

biography

Frédéric Cousseau (1963) started his career as a rock musician; since the 1980s, he makes documentary, fiction, and experimental films. The Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival presented his films Pornographic Isolation (2011) and Coal & Cossacks (2013) in the section Short Joy.
Blandine Huk (1969) is a professional journalist, and she regularly collaborates with Frederic Cousseau.

more about film

director: Frédéric Cousseau, Blandine Huk
producer: Frédéric Cousseau, Blandine Huk
photography: Frédéric Cousseau
editing: Blandine Huk, Frédéric Cousseau
sound: Frédéric Cousseau

other films in the section

(T)ERROR
Saeed “Shariff” Torres, a former Black Panther member, is now working for the FBI. His task is to discover signs of terrorism in American Muslim communities. This reportage captures the dimension of paranoia that exists in the USA’s security police in the best tradition of the American investigative reporting style. The director reveals undemocratic principles underpinning the functioning of American democracy.The attempt to uncover a crime before it occurs becomes an exercise in chasing phantoms, leads to a distortion of facts, and spreads feelings of fear amongst often innocent people.DETAIL:“Do you think your present right now is in any way related to your past?” “Well, I don't have a past, I don't even wanna make bring it back up. I really don't.”

(T)ERROR

David Felix Sutcliffe, Lyric R. Cabral
United States / 2015 / 84 min.
section: Opus Bonum
Central European Premiere
The Life and Death of Oscar Pérez
Óscar Alberto Pérez (1981-2018) was a Venezuelan policeman who, after Nicolás Maduro had been sworn in as president, became an active opponent of his regime. In June 2017, he attacked the Supreme Court of Justice from a helicopter. In January 2018, the Venezuelan national guard tracked him down, and although he gave up to them, shot him dead along with five other rebels. The film is his traditional portrait sketched out as a pattern edited documentary with Pérez himself having taken part in its making. Actually, all audiovisual material that the editor Romain Champalaune composed the film of comes from Pérez’s profiles on social networks. “Oscar Perez's story tells about the desperation in today's Venezuela but also questions our era. It reflects on our incapacity to change things in a complex world where social medias predominate.” R. Champalaune   
personal program

The Life and Death of Oscar Pérez

Romain Champalaune
France / 2018 / 45 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?
In 1946, S.E. Branch clearly shot Bill Spann, a black man, in Alabama. One story of many, it can be said, but this time it’s being unraveled by the great-nephew of the murderer through this political and aesthetically distinctive film essay. During the investigation, he constantly ran in to obstacles, due not only to the prevailing racism, but also the inevitable reflection of his own connection with history. A montage of black and white memories of places, endless drives through red sunsets, and agitating tunes brings the work together in the best southern Gothic tradition, in which “the past is never dead. It’s not even past.” (W. Faulkner)„This time I offered my love and my labor to a film that I wished somehow to be corrective. A film about the worst of my family.” T. Wilkerson

Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?

Travis Wilkerson
United States / 2017 / 90 min.
section: Opus Bonum
Central European Premiere
Appunti del passaggio
The 1960s saw a large wave of immigration from Italy to Switzerland, which was infamously accompanied by hurdles thrown up against this new workforce. Meditative static images reveal the places, the landscape, and the border between the countries that are a part of this story. Photographs and an intermezzo consisting of the reading of poems inspired by the diaspora add an emotional element. The notes of a young woman read as voiceover give the documentary a multilayered narrative that tells the story of the collective memory of a group of economic migrants and their working conditions, exploitation, and loss of dignity. “By critically examining the merging of political power and cinema, as well as various ‘aesthetics of reality’, the project proposes a convergence of past and present to question history through (hi)stories of migration, architecture and cinema.”

Appunti del passaggio

Maria Iorio, Raphaël Cuomo
Italy, Switzerland / 2016 / 43 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
Dead Slow Ahead
A freighter sails through a barren seascape. Apparently drifting aimlessly. Apparently? A highly enigmatic allegory of the isolation of man and machine in a post-industrial capitalist society, which is as close to techno-pessimistic sci-fi as it is to romantic painting. This story, consisting almost exclusively of the landscape, the movements of workers and machinery, and the ship itself, uses a highly aesthetic style to put across the impression of absolute desolation and disconcertion. The sedative rhythm pulls the viewer into a completely new, unknown world. Bit by bit we come to a realisation and start to ask: is this the last ship of humanity, burdened with the difficult task of keeping in motion that which has long stopped making sense?DETAIL:“Is anybody listening? An entire river is entering through the keel. There’s a lot. The water is reaching the storage tanks. Roger! Roger! Attention! The wheat is getting wet. The wheat. Sir, this is a disaster!”

Dead Slow Ahead

Mauro Herce
Spain, France / 2015 / 74 min.
section: Opus Bonum
Central European Premiere
27 Times Time
Documentary filmmaker Annick Ghijzelings used her visit to Polynesia to shoot a personal meditation on the phenomenon of time. She slowed down the smooth flow of time in order to consider, in 27 short fragments, the various ways time can be represented. She does so by combining poetic narrative with images of the past and slow-motion shots of nature and local life. Gradually, she puts together a multilayered image of time that questions the boundaries between art, science, and philosophy, between advanced civilization and native cultures, and between the past, present, and future."The stories never subscribe to explanations or expert digressions. They are off-camera, barely pronounced, they are whispered in our ear like a secret between friends that beckons sharing."

27 Times Time

Annick Ghijzelings
Belgium / 2016 / 73 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
Backstage Action
This is de facto a film about a film, with the only difference being that the focus is exclusively on the extras. They are filmed while waiting to take their turn, while conversing with others, and thinking about their performances. Although they take their duties very seriously and long to be stars, for the filmmakers, they’re just people that can be coordinated as necessary, nothing more. This film, on the contrary, gives them full consideration, revealing their personalities, what they experience, and what they dream of. The footage comes from many different places where movies are made, involving extras from all different nationalities."The representative becomes a present body, a speaking body, he becomes an acting body, even a political body liberated from the stereotypes that pertain to the community he was supposed to represent." S. Azari 

Backstage Action

Sanaz Azari
Belgium / 2018 / 61 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Covered with the Blood of Jesus
For Richard, life is an unending cyclical journey to scratch out a living. Fetch water, take diesel from the pipeline, try to sell it by the side of the road, go to school, study in the dorm, fetch water again. If he wants to reach his goal – to get his education and use it to break out of the vicious circle of his life – he can’t stop. In a lively observation, the film director brings us closer to the life of poor Africans in the Niger River Delta. Close to natural heritage of enormous value, a huge agglomeration of residents suffers, to whom massive oil extraction that brutally destroys the environment brings only meagre extra income.DETAIL:“We are taking our oil, we are not stealing, it’s in our village. Europeans are enriching themselves with our resources and leaving us in extreme poverty. The entire world is benefiting from Nigeria but we don’t have access to it...”

Covered with the Blood of Jesus

Tommaso Cotronei
Nigeria, Italy / 2015 / 72 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
De Sancto Ambrosio
The opening ten-minute sequence of the film raises a question whether something is about to happen or not. Nothing much is going to happen, though. Workers are working at a building site, kids are playing, tourists are sightseeing, a wedding and a funeral are in progress, followed by images of empty streets and perspectives of building rooftops – in brief, a microcosm. The film shows the town from a totally different perspective, laying out fragments of life of seemingly totally uninteresting people who simply go about their existence. The camera is set in motion without the passersby even noticing since it has been put in a strategic elevated spot. The whole movie consists purely of bird’s-eye view shots."I always had a fascination to go up the building's rooftops to contemplate the city. Spending one year on a medieval bell tower was like being in a time machine which made time into something tangible." A. Di Bias

De Sancto Ambrosio

Antonio Di Biase
Italy / 2018 / 50 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
The Lust for Power
In recent Slovak history, there’s hardly a more significant figure than Vladimír Mečiar. Director Tereza Nvotová approaches him from several different directions. One is an interview that she conducted with him directly, another is his narrative monologue that presents Slovak history against the backdrop of his own family history, and finally through archival images of Mečiar’s public appearances in the media. Her film, accompanied by aerial images of the Slovak landscape as it appears today, poses the question of what Mečiar meant for the her generation, for society at the time, and for Slovakia in general. “When I was 10-years-old, we´d make believe that we were E. T., Winnetou or Mečiar. Now I want to find out who he really was and what he has done to us and to our country because now I see the same story playing out all over the world.“ T. NvotováThe film is being screened in cooperation with the Representation of the European Commission in the Czech Republic.

The Lust for Power

Tereza Nvotova
Slovakia, Czech Republic / 2017 / 89 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
The Nature of Things
This documentary essay explores the inner world of Angelo Santagostino, a man suffering from ALS, which has left him unable to perform the most basic functions or to communicate without the help of a special computer. The illness has permanently imprisoned him in a wheelchair, but he has maintained a rich inner life. The film conveys Angelo’s dreams, memories, and fantasies in scenes that evoke unfettered movement beyond normal horizons, whether it’s travelling through the universe, swimming underwater, or riding rides at a theme park. The symbolic contrast between his immobile body and his boundless spirit creates a portrait of a person who has maintained admirable dignity in the face of death.„Angelo has been the longest and shortest journey of my life, for sure the most beautiful.” 

The Nature of Things

Laura Viezzoli
Italy / 2016 / 68 min.
section: Opus Bonum
East European Premiere
Acts and Intermissions
This experimental documentary essay about American anarchist and political activist Emma Goldman (1869–1940), known as the “most dangerous living woman” of her time, is the second part of her directorial trilogy about women and ideology, in which she poses the fundamental question: what do women have to give up in order to more than “just women”? The filmmaker presents a rich collage of archival footage, reconstructed scenes, and observed moments from the present with the goal of exploring the resurgence of protests in the 21st century. Over several timelines, we see fragments of Goldman’s diary entries intertwined with moments from her life and prophetic speeches. “The 2nd in my explores Emma Goldman & Anarchism in a series of non-hierarchical fragmented ‘memory’ chapters. Each part asks what we give up to be more than merely female?” A. Child

Acts and Intermissions

Abigail Child
United States / 2017 / 57 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
Aktuálně.cz
Respekt