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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Open Fortress

Open Fortress

director: Ivo Bystřičan
original title: Otevřená pevnost
country: Czech Republic
year: 2019
running time: 52 min.

synopsis

The film deals with events at Masaryk University in Brno during one academic year against the background of annual celebrations of historic events that helped to shape the academy’s present orientation. Through a large number of annual events and rituals with graduation ceremonies as their peak, the film asks questions about the continuity of university traditions and whether they still hold their original meaning: a quest to seek truth in the free world populated by students and professors. The film will be co-screened with Universities and Freedom. A Q&A session with guests is planned after the screening.

biography

Screenwriter and director Ivo Bystřičan (1980) deals with social and political issues. His films include: My Latest 150.000 Cigarettes (2013), Byeway (2014) or History of Disobedience (2017).

more about film

director: Ivo Bystřičan

other films in the section

Stories of the 20th Century: Branded for Life
How did people with a different sexual orientation live before the Velvet Revolution? Did they have to hide their true identity? Did they suffer legal prosecution? Former member of the Czechoslovak women’s table tennis team Jana Kociánová, government official František Bloudek, and FAMU graduate Libuše Jarcovjáková (author of a unique series of photographs from Prague’s legendary T-Club) tell their stories.

Stories of the 20th Century: Branded for Life

Radim Špaček
Czech Republic / 2016 / 26 min.
section: Workshops
noimage
This graduate project film made by an Indian student of the Documentary Department looks at the issue of racism in Czechoslovakia. One specific story of love and hate, of prejudice and good will, is expanded to include the experiences of other foreigners in the country. In addition to the protagonist’s narrative, the film is accompanied by a commentary by Antonín Navrátil.

Black and White

Krishna Wiswanath
Czechoslovakia / 1968 / 20 min.
section: Workshops
Karel Thein: The Film Essay and the Prose of Images
The aim of a literary essay is to capture the moveable and unstable “ego”, which also involves things and other people. The objective of the workshop is to explore the methods that can (and cannot) be used to convert this loose prosaic form into film. We will also examine how filmmakers themselves perceive the film essay in their own texts, starting with Hans Richter and his reflective manifesto entitled The Film Essay: A New Form of Documentary Film (1940). The workshop will also include commented excerpts from films by Dziga Vertov, Hans Richter, and Terence Davies.---Dílnu vede / The Workshop is led by: Karel Thein

Karel Thein: The Film Essay and the Prose of Images

90 min.
section: Workshops
Pavol Sýkora
Dramaturge, screenwriter, and director Pavol Sýkora (1931–1970) was a central figure of Slovak documentary film in the 1960s. He worked as a dramaturge on documentary films at Koliba Studios. The selected films represent his most distinctive and original portraits. Besides an inclination for the reconstruction pioneered by Flaherty, Sýkora’s work is characterized by an attempt at achieving a maximum understanding of the subject free of embellishment, academism, and pathos, and without being didactic. The results are deeply felt portraits of man or explorations of inner experience, often without words.---Dílnu vede / The Workshop is led by: Martin Kaňuch

Pavol Sýkora

section: Workshops
ABCD
With almost no commentary, this portrait of a young rural early-grade schoolteacher shows the tenacity of a woman who must battle daily snowdrifts on her skis to reach her job. The filmmaker interweaves shots of mundane tasks in lyrical compositions presenting poetic views of the landscape.“Sýkora’s themes revolve around insignificant people who find themselves in extreme social or psychological situations. In each case, he has grown humanly fond of his protagonists.” Rudolf Urc

ABCD

Pavol Sýkora
Czechoslovakia / 1969 / 16 min.
section: Workshops
noimage
We most commonly see Normalization era in Czechoslovakia – the time of social and political repression following the country’s invasion by Warsaw Pact troops in 1968 – through documentaries about dissidents or from old television series. But the dilemmas posed by the totalitarian regime affected everybody. The 16-part series Stories of the 20th Century explores various people’s (students, journalists, miners, secret police collaborators, soldiers, rank-and-file Party members, homosexuals, and many others) responses to the pressure they received not only from the government apparatus but also from those around them. ---Three films from the series will be presented by their writers and directors. Tři filmy představí a debatu o nich povedou režiséři a scenáristé cyklu.

Stories of the 20th Century

section: Workshops
Skála nearby Humpolec
In this recording of a July concert by the Plastic People in the village of Skála near Humpolec, Ságl captures the almost apocalyptic dimension of the Plastics’ performances. He shoots expressive close-ups of the dancers using a hand-held spotlight, complemented by calmer footage of the musicians immersed in playing their instruments – all of it “edited” directly in the camera. The film includes all the chronologically shot footage, thus testifying to Ságl’s intuitive and concentrated work with the camera. The concert took place near the town of Humpolec, where the Plastic People worked as woodcutters in the early 1970s.

Skála nearby Humpolec

Jan Ságl
Czechoslovakia / 1971 / 7 min.
section: Workshops
WORKSHOP Gao Xingjian
Chinese novelist, playwright, and literary critic Gao Xingjian will personally introduce not only his literary work but also his films. Gao will introduce his two finished films: Silhouette/Shadow (2003) a subtle, poetic portrait of an artist-loner intertwined by scenes from Gao’s theatre plays. His second film, Apres le déluge/After the Flood (2008) named after his famous exhibition presented worldwide is a silent fresco interaction between ink and six dancers. After the screening Gao will read from his book Soul Mountain for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2000.  

WORKSHOP Gao Xingjian

90 min.
section: Workshops
Suchá nearby Nejdek
Preparations for a concert by the Plastic People and Aktual in the village of Suchá by Nejdek. The film records the arrival of the band members, moving the equipment, and setting up the stage, but not the concert itself, which took place in absolute darkness and is seen on the film only as a brief shot of someone breathing fire – one of the many pyrotechnical effects that were a part of the Plastics’ concerts. It is a momentary homage to fire-breather, stage technician, and later the drummer for DG 307, Vladimír Vyšín.

Suchá nearby Nejdek

Jan Ságl
Czechoslovakia / 1972 / 3 min.
section: Workshops
Prerequisites and Emergence of FAMU’s Documentary Department in 1963-1970
What are the ideological concepts behind the emergence of documentary film as a separate field of study at FAMU? How is the documentary approach to film specific and unique? How can this specificity be reflected in the teaching and how does it differ from journalism? Documentarian Viola Ježková will try to answer these questions. The workshop will be supplemented with examples of student film exercises. Participant input and discussion will be welcomed.---Kurátorka programu a autorka textů / Curator and author of the texts: Viola Ježková

Prerequisites and Emergence of FAMU’s Documentary Department in 1963-1970

section: Workshops
WORKSHOP American Culture in Contemporary Documentary Cinema
This workshop will focus on capturing human movement as a form of expression that is equal to spoken and written expression. We will be especially interested in both the spontaneous and the planned use of hands as language, including the unique characteristics of the cinematic recording of the hand’s rhythm and movement. Workshop participants will watch two documentaries: In the Land of the Deaf (dir. Nicolas Philibert, 1993) and Dancing Dreams (dir. Anne Linsel and Rainer Hoffmann, 2010). The first of these (by the director of To Be and to Have) enters the world of deaf-mutes; the second off ers a look at dance rehearsals at Pina Bausch’s Kontakthof with a group of young non-professional dancers.  

WORKSHOP American Culture in Contemporary Documentary Cinema

90 min.
section: Workshops
Dumpling Feast
The “Dumpling Feast” was a private event held at the home of Dana and Jiří Němec on Prague’s Ječná Street. The idea for the event came from Ivan M. Jirous, who held the family’s dumpling recipe. Besides showing several people cooking and an improvised concert, the film’s main focus is on a “happening” by Jan Steklík and Karel Nepraš of the Crusader School of Pure Humor Without Jokes – the “measuring of the food.”

Dumpling Feast

Jan Ságl
Czechoslovakia / 1972 / 9 min.
section: Workshops
Ministerstvo kultury
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Kraj Vysočina
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