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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Steam on the River
Steam on the River
Steam on the River
Steam on the River

Steam on the River

director: Filip Remunda, Robert Kirchhoff
original title: Pára nad řekou
country: Slovakia, Czech Republic
year: 2015
running time: 90 min.

synopsis

Like the steam that silently appears and then disappears over a flowing river, the life of every human is just as fleeting, and this particularly applies in the case of artists. The transience of their fame is the main topic of this documentary, which provides a glimpse into the lives of three ageing jazzmen: trumpeter Laco Deczi, saxophonist Ľubomír Tamaškovič, and contrabass player Ján Jankeje, who fled from the Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia to the West, where their stars shone alongside those of the world’s famous musicians. The reflective melancholy mood of the film, capturing the mist of fame just before it dissipates, is reflected in the overall relaxed, contemplative rhythm of the narrative.

DETAIL:
“Worldly fame – empty name... When the mist rises off the water, it exists only briefly and then disappears. The same applies to us humans. Each one of us spends some time here... and it is a bad idea to be in a hurry.”

biography

Robert Kirchhoff, who is also the author of the documentary Normalization (2013), is the founder of the Slovak project atelier.doc, which is involved in the independent production and distribution of films, and the publishing of books and CDs. Filip Remunda is the co-founder of the Institute of Documentary Film. In addition, he heads the Hypermarket Film production company with Vít Klusák, and together they filmed Czech Dream (2004) and Czech Peace (2010).

more about film

director: Filip Remunda, Robert Kirchhoff
producer: Robert Kirchhoff, Filip Remunda, Kamila Zlatušková
script: Filip Remunda, Robert Kirchhoff
photography: Martin Matiášek, Jakub Halousek, Tomáš Staněk
editing: Jana Vlčková
sound: Michal Gábor

other films in the section

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
Opera about Poland
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

Opera about Poland

Piotr Stasik
Poland / 2017 / 41 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Waiting room
Waiting, as a condition in which people spend a large part of their lives, is the central theme of this narrative film. The lives of seven women of various ages, who do not know each other, intersect for a brief period of time. They are linked by one place – the waiting room at the main railway station – where each one of them, in deep contemplation, is looking for something or someone different. The slow non-dramatic narration, with stiff stylised camera movements places the viewer in the role of stalker. In this film, in which the director admittedly combines elements from both fictional film and documentary practice, he worked with non-professional actresses.DETAIL:“Believe it or not, for me otherness is what is real, what is normal. I love those who are different. They are my people. My life is in God’s hands. That is how I received it, just like everyone else.”

Waiting room

Palo Korec
Slovakia / 2015 / 72 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
PhoeniXXX
Two young Romanian women make money as models on an erotic video chat site. All while they try to lead normal family lives, get along with their parents, and raise children. This observational documentary captures exactly this - their private space. The filmmakers let them speak freely about not only their jobs, but also how they themselves see their lives. At the same time, they show how a publicly condemned profession influences people’s behavior and their view of the world. The film also presents dramatic generational differences in contemporary Romanian society in which the older generation, working in agriculture, wants their children to remain at home while the younger one seems to be moving coninously to the bigger cities, leaving behind their past. "For a good documentary you have to go out and live among your characters." M. G. Dragolea

PhoeniXXX

Mihai Gavril Dragolea
Romania / 2017 / 53 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
The Haunted
The Turan tiger, a majestic symbol of the Central Asian landscape, has been extinct for several decades, but it lives on as a sacred symbol in the collective imagination of the local population. In her captivating film essay, Ismailova pays homage to this animal as she shows how firmly bound it is, in people’s minds, with the region’s history. The tiger is a spectre that emerges from the darkness and disappears again, the landscape is like a network of ruins buried under layers of the past. The collage of visual and audio fragments, accompanied by the filmmaker’s passionate commentary, shows that “real” history cannot be separated from shared ideas and dreams."The Haunted is an intimate video letter to the spirit of the extinct Turan tiger, which disappeared from Central Asia in the 20th century. Today, the tiger lives on in people’s collective memory." S. Ismailova

The Haunted

Saodat Ismailova
Norway, Uzbekistan / 2017 / 23 min.
section: Between the Seas
Central European Premiere
One Day in Selimpasha
One man and an apartment, about which we know nothing. This is the premise of a conceptual documentary based on the concept of providing a deliberately limited amount of information to the viewer. We look into the intimate space behind the closed front door, where the most ordinary activities are carried out: cooking lunch, preparing tea, eating lunch, starting a fire in the fireplace. In this residential monodrama, a second living actor is desperately lacking, one that would bring to life the plot embodied in speech. It becomes a study of a person’s existence in their most personal space - a dwelling that can be just as much a preserve of peace and security as a golden cage of solitude."What are the feelings of a person who does nothing while everyone expects him to do something? What should he do? In general, is there any difference between the emotions of two humans? What does portrait mean? A human face or something else?" H. Baydarov

One Day in Selimpasha

Hilal Baydarov
Azerbaijan / 2018 / 64 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Bojo Beach
Regular rushes of waves wash the Ghanaian coast, and a group of fishermen pulls their catch from the sea as they do every day. This short film depicts the labours of local fishermen in several chapters. Almost aescetically static cinematography and minimal editing during the fishermen’s work set it off from anything that could happen on the beach that day. Thanks to the slow pace, unintentional abstract compositions of the fishing nets end up in the picture, or a lonely mountain is traced in the background. The film’s atmosphere isn’t determined by people but rather by the rhythm of the sea, the colour of the sky, and the structure of the sand on Bojo Beach."The idea of being sat on the beach is always one of soaking up the atmosphere, breathing in the air, being contemplative, just watching things, just letting them happen. All this in a globalized world" E. Groen

Bojo Beach

Elke Groen
Austria / 2017 / 25 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Flotel Europa
In an emotionally gripping, deeply personal story about the loss of one’s childhood and a difficult adolescence in a politically unstable time, the director brings to life twenty-year-old memories from the time spent at the side of his mother, older brother, and hundreds of other refugees from war-torn Bosnia and Herzegovina. Together they awaited asylum in temporary housing on the Flotel Europa, which docked on the shores of Denmark in the early 1990s. The director incorporated archival video footage that the refugees themselves shot directly on the boat.DETAIL:“There were many good people, but the divisions caused by the war in Bosnia had slowly but surely settled in between us, refugees on Flotel Europa.”

Flotel Europa

Vladimir Tomić
Serbia, Denmark / 2015 / 71 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
Blind Cinema
An unusual group sets sail from St. Petersburg to Finland. The crew, which consists of vision-impaired people and people with normal eyesight, learns to work together in order to successfully complete their undertaking. The observational documentary shows the crew’s first contact with the boat, which is done by touch, and then follows their daily routine while at sea. The disinterested camera records a reality that overcomes our prejudices regarding the helplessness of blind people. The problem-free journey gives the sailors space for new sensations. Excerpts from the ship’s log show us aspects of the mission – i.e., the transformation of oneself that can change the world. „What do you see when you cannot see? How do you interact with a world with fewer visual elements to distract you? Blind Cinema explores the realm of sightless people who sail the sea and expand the boundaries of self.” G. Glyants

Blind Cinema

Grigory Glyants
Russia / 2017 / 50 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Call Me Marianna
At the center of this film stands an attractive forty-year-old woman who has decided to fulfill a lifelong dream at the cost of great sacrifice - to be herself. She alienated her parents and lost loved ones when she underwent a long-desired sex change. The film attempts to explain to viewers and help them understand the difficult decision that Marianna had to face. While in the first, staged, part of the film the woman comes to terms with her own past through autobiographical theater performance, in the second, documentary part of the film, she is, however, confronted with unexpected twists and precarious situations that fate has set before her.DETAIL:“I’ll finally be able to look at myself in the mirror naked and not feel disgusted by my own body. – There are men and women. There’s male and female. The world doesn’t really allow any third options.”

Call Me Marianna

Karolina Bielawska
Poland / 2015 / 75 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech 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
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