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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Passengers

director: Jana Boršková
original title: Pasažéři
country: Czech Republic
year: 2018
running time: 78 min.

synopsis

The film’s director sees her four protagonists as passengers along for the ride. She started to follow them just before they left the children’s home where they grew up, and spent the next six years following their lives. The return to a non-functioning family environment often also means the return to established patterns, lack of a future, and unstable social relations. The film is an indirect indictment of the country’s institutionalized care system, which manages to look after children as minors but fails to properly prepare them for the transition into adulthood.

„What is it like to sit in the back seat of your life?“ 

 

 

 

 

biography

Jana Boršková (1977) studied screenwriting at FAMU and did a student exchange at the Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris. She works for Czech Television, where she focuses primarily on programs about traveling. She is the author of several feature film screenplays. In 2011, she shot the intimate documentary From Cherries to Cherries about how her mother came to terms with the death of her husband.

more about film

director: Jana Boršková
cast: Milan Gujdan, Josef Pošmurný, Milan Pošmurný, Pavel Sivák
producer: Jarmila Poláková, Taťána Marková
script: Jana Boršková
photography: David Šachl
editing: Blanka Kulová, Jiří Brožek, Ivana Davidová
sound: Vladimír Chrastil, Jana Boršková

other films in the section

The State Capture
After the murders of the journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová, the shooting of the documentary about a new kind of social establishment in which the traditional state structures become replaced with Mafia and oligarchy took a huge turn. By interviewing various persons - lawyers, bloggers, journalist, security experts, and former secret service agents -, the author tries to uncover the complex network of those influencing the Slovakian public space. The investigative film about a country in which the communist regime fell thirty years ago offers overwhelming facts about the unclear relationships among former secret service agents and interest groups, and shows the issues and threats faced by both journalists and the public. “The murder of a journalist raised more questions than just who the killer was. The tragedy illuminated the real picture of social institutions and created a short window when it was possible to capture it with a camera.” Z. Piussi
personal program

The State Capture

Zuzana Piussi
Slovakia, Czech Republic / 2019 / 79 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
Illusion
In her original concept of a film as a computer game, the author presents her personal report from Budapest where she was spent a year as a student. The viewers take part in a game, going through several levels that put them into everyday situations related to the issues of the contemporary Hungarian society: they see the capital with the eyes of tourists, but they are mostly forced to use the subjective perspective of the Hungarians to think about the freedom of art, the right to education, medical care, and the questionable Hungarian political situation in general where the name of the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, is often heard again and again.“The most demanding part of this film was to fight my own paranoia and the standardized thinking constantly produced by my characters and the system I made the film about.” K. Turečková

Illusion

Kateřina Turečková
Czech Republic / 2018 / 52 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
personal program

Kiruna – A Brand New World

Greta Stocklassa
Czech Republic / 2019 / 87 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
Central Bus Station
Only recently, Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station was still the largest in the world. But this oversized space only serves more than its original purpose to bring in masses of people who, confused by its complicated interior design, succumb to shopping fever. Over time this concrete monster, which won’t be easy to tear down, has become a temporary refuge for people on the margins of society – refugees, criminals, prostitutes. Like its main protagonist, the tourist guide Yonatan, the film’s director is fascinated by one of the wonders of the world of redundancy and the microcosm of the people who live here.“To me, the Central Bus Station is not only a strange place, but also a place where everyone can find a kind of home.” T. Elšík

Central Bus Station

Tomáš Elšík
Czech Republic / 2018 / 75 min.
section: Czech Joy
East European Premiere
Love Me If You Can
In other countries, sexual assistance for disabled people is an established concept, but it is only just getting started in the Czech Republic. Documentarian Dagmar Smržová approaches the subject in a style reminiscent of the films of Erika Hníková. She has chosen three handicapped men and one trained sexual assistant, and follows them in everyday situations, casually asking them various questions. The film explores a subject that, although it is a serious social issue, the public has either ignored or finds controversial. Above all, however, she offers a sensitive look at the intimate lives of people living with disabilities.“... we cannot choose whether we are born good looking or not so good looking, strong or weak and that’s why we should reach out and help each other with things one can and the other can’t do – including making love…”

Love Me If You Can

Dagmar Smržová
Czech Republic / 2016 / 63 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Czech Journal: Children of the State
A great wave of criticism was aroused in 2011, when the Norwegian Child Welfare Services, Barnevernet, took away both of the Micháleks’ sons. The documentary director, who has two children of her own, set out to Norway to discover whether the state is indeed dictating how parents should raise their children. This investigative documentary uses individual stories and interviews with experts to reveal that the issues are much more complex than the way they are presented by the Czech media. Although the defined rules may be restrictive, they are also apparently one of the reasons why Norway is ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world. “Do what degree do we overlook cases in our surroundings, when parents are not able to handle the raising of their children? Are we respecting privacy? Or is it indifference? Are we able to view the state as other than a necessary evil?” I. P. Miloševičová

Czech Journal: Children of the State

Ivana Pauerová Miloševič
Czech Republic / 2017 / 57 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Talking About Adultery
In open testimonies by husbands, wives, and lovers, this highly stylized introspective fi m presents different forms of marriage and searches for the meaning of this institution in our post-consumerist society. Through a visually dominant text conversation between the central couple R. and B., the viewer gradually begins to identify with the stories of anonymous heroes who balance fulfillment of love and sexuality in relationships, cope with their frustration, or describe the rediscovered value of marriage. Metaphors and collages reflect the filmmaker’s perspective, and ultimately a surprising twist of life connected to the filming. “Infidelity is actually a boring topic, yet it can be quite telling about one.” B. Jíchová Tyson
personal program

Talking About Adultery

Bára Jíchová Tyson
Czech Republic, United States / 2019 / 72 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
Vote For Kibera
Photographer Don, a resident of Kibera, a giant slum in Nairobi, says that in his photographs he tries to capture the positive side of his home – not suffering, misery, and resignation, but hope, determination, and creativity. And Martin Páv’s documentary has taken a similar approach. Working with the unique photogenic qualities of the slum, the film is structured as a series of interviews with local residents. Besides Don, we also meet local artists, a teacher, and a boxing coach. Nevertheless, in the film’s final part about the presidential elections in Kenya, the frustrations, hopelessness, and violence in Kibera bubble to the surface.“People can co-operate if they have a reason to.“ M. Páv

Vote For Kibera

Martin Páv
Czech Republic / 2018 / 86 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Why Do I Feel Like A Boy?
In a small village in the southern Czech Highlands, the director meets with sixteen-year-old Ben to examine the issue of defining his identity in person: Ben is living in a girl’s body, but feels like a boy. With his real feelings, he flees into the online world and truly feels happy, for example, when using greenscreen technology to participate in Prague Pride. The film indirectly captures the (mis)understanding and (un)acceptance he meets with at school and his focused insight is completed by interviews conducted by the director with his mother and sister, who involuntarily embody everything that Ben hates about himself. “What I like about it the most is how the story of a teenage transgender boy can disrupt the conservative structures of a television film, go beyond the media, and challenge the inhumane sterilization of transgender people in the Czech Republic.” K. Turečková    
personal program

Why Do I Feel Like A Boy?

Kateřina Turečková
Czech Republic / 2019 / 26 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
llllllIIIIl
The film’s title can be seen as an anti-captcha, a text that is easily machine-read but difficult for people to understand. Working in the style of a documentary essay, the film considers the problem of the autocracy of machines. Apocalyptic visions inspired by the film The Terminator are projected onto the reality of destructive protests against the G20 Summit, whose catalyst, means and outcome are statistical analyses of behavioural models realized using the computers and telephones in our pockets. A collage of original images, commented graphs and internet garbage. For the full viewing experience, please have your smartphone ready. “This text can’t be longer than 200 characters. That’s 60 more than a tweet by Donald Trump.” P. Salaba

llllllIIIIl

Petr Salaba
Czech Republic / 2017 / 27 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Kalado
“There are many teachings in the world – karate, aikido, tai chi, yoga. But none teach you purification. Only kalado,” says the film’s protagonist, the performance artist Sai Kijima. As the viewer listens to his introspective commentary, the camera show him exploring the limits of the body with his strange movements. Kalado is a tool for getting to know oneself, for questioning ingrained ideas about oneself, and for finding one’s hidden identity. The film captures the ritual nature of Kijima’s performances and the manner in which he lets deeply rooted traumas flow forth in a cleansing outburst of creativity. “When I met Sai, I was captivated above all by the fact that he dances and cleans. I was interested in finding Kalado. When we finished filming, he said ‘Life is misunderstanding. Misunderstanding is understanding. This is Kalado.’” T. Tara

Kalado

Tereza Tara
Czech Republic / 2017 / 30 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Enclosed World
This four-hour documentary – a compilation of Czech Television’s eponymous series – systematically charts life in prison and the associated societal circumstances. Through looking at human fates, on both sides of the bars, it explores imprisonment as something that, although often addressed in the media, is something with which most of us have no personal experience. Using the powerful stories of several individuals who are at different stages of their incarceration, the film presents not only a cross-sectional view of the current correctional system but also contemplations about guilt, punishment, justice, and whether an individual caught in the gears of a repressive system can actually remedy their behavior and change.“Enclosed world has undoubtedly been the longest, most demanding and most exhausting project I have worked on. I don’t know how many such things you can do in your life if you don’t slow down to survive. Maybe just one…” K. Žalud

Enclosed World

Karel Žalud
Czech Republic / 2018 / 229 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
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