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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Opera about Poland
Opera about Poland
Opera about Poland
Opera about Poland

Opera about Poland

director: Piotr Stasik
original title: Opera o Polsce
country: Poland
year: 2017
running time: 41 min.

synopsis

A travelogue collage in search of Polish identity in an uncertain world. A carefully composed dream about the unfound unity of nation, old injustices and moments of glory that fade away under the burden of petty thoughts and the fear of non-existent enemies. A selection of period footage, newspaper articles, and bitterly current citations from the internet, mixed with journal entries by the author Andrzej Stasiuk to create a personal reflection of events. The staged portraits of ordinary Poles set to a tension-filled disharmonic operatic soundtrack at first seems like a series of unrelated images and thoughts, but they slowly come together to form a portrait of the soul of the Polish nation.

"To begin the repair or therapy you need to be diagnosed. You need to see what mistakes have been made in the past. Or check if you are living with untrue myths and beliefs." P. Stasik

biography

Polish documentarian Piotr Stasik is the co-founder of the Association of Creative Initiatives „Ę”, an instructor at the “Film Kindergarten” of the Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing. He has directed several short films, which have earned numerous awards. These include 7 x Moscow (2005), The Last Day of Summer (2010) and A Diary of a Journey (2013).

more about film

director: Piotr Stasik
producer: Anna Gawlita
script: Piotr Stasik
photography: Piotr Stasik, Paweł Chorzępa, Adam Palenta
editing: Dorota Wardeszkiewicz, Piotr Stasik
sound: v Wilk

other films in the section

The Last Self-portrait
Slovak director Marek Kuboš has not shot a film in 13 years. His first film ever – a student exercise at film school – was a self-portrait. The circle is closed, the source of creativity has seemingly dried up. All that is left to do in the last self-portrait is to clean up after oneself, to recapitulate one’s successes and failures, and to bid farewell to one’s protagonists. This introspective meta-documentary is not so much a study of a creative crisis as it is a self-therapeutic process and an attempt at offering a comprehensive profile of the filmmaker at a time of unstable certainties. Appearing in the role of Kuboš’s consultants are essentially all leading Slovak documentary filmmakers."I’ve long felt that through documentary filmmaking I can’t say what I want to, what calls out to me. I’ve butted against internal and external boundaries that have paralyzed me as a documentarian. " M. Kuboš

The Last Self-portrait

Marek Kuboš
Slovakia / 2018 / 72 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
The Dazzling Light of Sunset
On dilapidated theater stages, the secular rituals of contemporary Georgian society play out: weddings, fashion shows, beauty pageants, political elections. The static camera, which captures this emotionless choreography of ceremonies in wide-angle shots, contrasts with the dynamic pans of the small camera held by a television reporter whose energetic activities keep a local television station going. A series of carefully framed scenes from the events that Dariko chooses to present to her viewers is juxtaposed with images from inside the run-down television studio, which survives thanks to fees earned from reading obituaries.“It fascinated me how small stories from small towns were so much more important than the big politics. And I wondered what these small stories were.” Salomé Jashi

The Dazzling Light of Sunset

Salomé Jashi
Georgia, Germany / 2016 / 74 min.
section: Between the Seas
Central European Premiere
António and Catarina
In one of the gloomy rooms in his flat, seventy-year-old Augusto casts shy glances at the camera behind which stands twenty-five year old Cristina, the film’s director. For three years she repeatedly visited him to record their interviews, during which they used the assumed names of António and Catarina. This game with identity, and mainly with the nature of their mutual relationship, is reflected in small talk, where the topics turn to diverse themes, including masturbation and gender stereotypes. Augusto/António is usually the one talking as well as the one in front of the camera, which records his image in dark details. Cristina/Catarina stands behind the camera and asks questions. “Drawn by the vigour of an old enchanting man, I made this film without knowing where it would take me.” C. Hanes

António and Catarina

Cristina Hanes
Portugal / 2017 / 40 min.
section: Between the Seas
East European 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
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
The End and the Means
Massage, doing the laundry, grazing water buffalo, snake charmers, street jugglers and dentists, music and dance lessons. Through his humble contemplation on various expressions of people’s devotion to their work, Paweł Wojtasik shows the web of human activities that each have their fixed place within India’s caste society. Work is not a path out of poverty or towards wealth, but a form of Hindu meditation on the roots of human activity and established working techniques and rituals. Man is a machine controlled by a higher power. This observational documentary, filmed primarily in India’s oldest city, Varanasi, focuses on the sacred Ganges River as a source of all human endeavours. „I wanted to investigate the Indian idea that work can lead to liberation rather than alienation. As a film worker myself, I learned from the people I filmed – to be present with the whole body and mind.“ P. Wojtasik

The End and the Means

Pawel Wojtasik
United States, India, France / 2018 / 99 min.
section: Between the Seas
World 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
This is a war, baby
Without showing any explicit battle footage, this film nevertheless manages to show the life of Ukrainian soldiers and volunteers on the Donetsk front. Images of ruin and destruction from places that only recently were the scenes of fighting are transformed into a tragicomic parable of survival in a provisional space-time. Looting is a daily occurrence, and going out in search of booty becomes a boyish adventure during which the participants explore places only recently inhabited by private individuals. And when all this is recorded by a Polish television crew headed by a canny female reporter, an existential satire is born. The war is there, but somewhere around the corner."The most difficult thing for me in creating this film was the choice between my personal sympathies and the desire to present the most objective picture of the war I saw in front of me." Y. Pupyrin

This is a war, baby

Yurii Pupirin
Ukraine / 2017 / 59 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
The Betrayed Square
The Arab Spring of 2011. Day after day, thousands of young Egyptian protesters flooded Tahrir Square in Cairo. Poet and sound artist Stéphane Montavon assembled a psychedelic collage composed of freely accessible images of the revolution, adding an acoustic probe full of tension, rebellion and aggression of the repressive forces. The revolutionary turmoil is expanded into a sonic dimension of auteur installation. It is an impressive story of symbolic moments of ecstatic struggles for democracy and a new Constitution. It exposes mottos, protesters’ slogans and dialogues of the massacred victims. The images of repressive government forces are confronted with everyday life. On a cold morning, the betrayed revolution melts into a day-to-day routine."Rebuilding the revolution with found footage reminds us not only of the past fight, but most importantly of the Egyptian’s revolutionary will still awaiting to be accomplished." Maciej Madracki, Michał Mądracki, MML collective

The Betrayed Square

MML collective
Switzerland, Poland / 2018 / 45 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
The Circle
They wanted to create an environmentally friendly and socially sustainable community. Twelve adults and six children began to live beyond traditional social order. However, environmentally conscious behavior and embedded physical work do not result in satisfaction from the social aspect of the community ideal. The need to communicate becomes the theme of the film and it is constantly translated visually into shots of circular interviews that show that mastered interpersonal relationships are an indispensable condition for the sustainability of the community and any functional society. The inevitable implosion is preceded by an archetypal story of a love triangle and the struggle for power.“My motivation for making this film lay in the interest in human psychology, behaviour that surfaces in a closed group is a big revelation. In order to save the world, we really need to start within.” M. Lillak
personal program

The Circle

Margit Lillak
Estonia / 2019 / 93 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Notorious Deeds
October 1989. A high school student in Bucharest is apprehended for pasting up anti-regime posters and is interred in a secret police building for a number of days. As a result, his family, loved ones, friends, and schoolmates are affected by restrictions. Twenty years later at their class reunion, an excursion begins into memories of that moment of shock etched forever into memory, but for each somewhat differently. Director Gabriel Tempea is more interested in exploring the subjective interpretation from the point of view of “talking heads” than the actual facts. A postmodern form of oral history based on the testimonies of those who have most of their lives ahead of them.“Based on personal, subjective and painstakingly detailed recollections of an exceptional occurrence, I attempted to provide a glimpse at the bigger picture of  atroubled historical period.” Gabriel Tempea

Notorious Deeds

Gabriel Tempea
Romania, Austria / 2015 / 68 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
TEACH
The personality of a rural Transylvanian math teacher who teaches his students at home and ignores the existing curriculum, tells us not only about the Romanian school system, but also about society there as a whole. The stubborn elder man follows the words of essayist Constantine Noica, who believes that in an ideal school, there should not be any lessons, but rather students should go there to free themselves from the tyranny of learning. The observational portrait documentary monitors the dynamics of the lessons themselves, where, in addition to mathematics, the problem of education itself is addressed and where the teacher acts like a father fi gure.“I think that if you really want to make something matter within 100 years from now, then you have to educate people first.” A. Brendea
personal program

TEACH

Alex Brendea
Romania / 2019 / 82 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
Aktuálně.cz
Respekt