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23rd Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Passengers
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Passengers
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Passengers

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
hrají: 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

Czech Journal: Teaching War
This episode from the Czech Journal series examines how a military spirit is slowly returning to our society. Attempts to renew military training or compulsory military service and in general to prepare the nation for the next big war go hand in hand with society’s fear of the Russians, the Muslims, or whatever other “enemies”. This observational flight over the machine gun nest of Czech militarism becomes a grotesque, unsettling military parade. It can be considered not only to be a message about how easily people allow themselves to be manipulated into a state of paranoia by the media, but also a warning against the possibility that extremism will become a part of the regular school curriculum.“In order to identify the reason for which people prepare for war in the name of peace, I have started to portray the rising military spirit in a kaleidoscopic image.”

Czech Journal: Teaching War

Adéla Komrzý, Vít Klusák, Filip Remunda
Czech Republic / 2016 / 69 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
The Last Shift of Thomas Hisem
“I hope that all is okay and that you’ll get something out of this,” proclaims miner Tomáš Hisem at the start of his shift at Ostrava’s Paskov Mine, which he decided to document. Although we don’t see his face (the camera that he has smuggled into the mine is attached to his helmet), we hear his distinct local dialect as he inspects the dark and dusty tunnels and claustrophobic underground spaces that we walk and crawl through on all fours. With a sense of immediacy and in his own distinctive manner, he captures a particular place at a particular time – one day before the Paskov Mine is closed and 1,300 of his colleagues lose their jobs. “I’m shooting this so those city slickers in Prague can see the hard-ass work we do!” J. Andrš

The Last Shift of Thomas Hisem

Jindřich Andrš
Czech Republic / 2017 / 29 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Czech Journal: The Limits of Work
Journalist Saša Uhlová spent six months exploring working conditions at the worst-paid jobs in the Czech Republic. She spent several weeks in a hospital washroom, at a poultry plant, behind a cash register and at a waste sorting facility. Her experience formed the basis for a very personal series of reports about people working invisible jobs under shocking conditions, published on the A2larm.cz website. Apolena Rychlíková has turned these articles into a documentary film consisting of scenes shot at Uhlová’s home and of video footage taken at her places of work, accompanied by Uhlová’s read commentary.“I spent several months close to my protagonist, who never once placed herself above those whose lives she has tried to show us. Perhaps this film of our era will, with time, reach even those whom it affects.” A. Rychlíková

Czech Journal: The Limits of Work

Apolena Rychlíková
Czech Republic / 2017 / 70 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
ALONE
Luba Skořepová has spent the past several years in solitude, struggling to stay an active theatre actress as long as she can. She invited the film crew into her home in order to shoot her daily life. Although the resulting film contains archival footage from her youth, it is definitely not a biographical film. The filmmakers focus on the present day, capturing scenes from the life of an old and solitary woman who possesses the will to live an active life but who is no longer important for others. Skořepová herself was behind the making of the film, through which she hopes to call attention to the subject of loneliness among old people.“Luba wanted to film Alone in order to call attention to the subject of loneliness among old people. I am convinced that we have succeeded.” O. Faifr

ALONE

Otakar Faifr
Czech Republic / 2017 / 63 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Czech Journal: The Little Mole & Laozi
In one episode of Czech Journal, Filip Remunda focuses on the Chinese president’s visit to the Czech Republic and launches into confrontational discussions with the citizens of a country that violates human rights and where people are imprisoned for their opinions, but whose population proudly voices their allegiance to their prospering country. Footage of the protests held by the Czech public, and in the opposite situation, when the Chinese greet the president with joy, as well as interviews with a Chinese dissident and with a Czech teacher, are interspersed with the saying of Laozi and footage of Leonid Brezhnev’s visit to Prague in 1978. The film thus opens the question as to with whom the Czech president is fostering warm international relations.“More than the protests, I was interested in the fact that the Chinese find us ridiculous for allowing people to protest. I went to China to get at the roots of this attitude.”

Czech Journal: The Little Mole & Laozi

Filip Remunda, Vít Klusák, Jakub Halousek
Czech Republic / 2016 / 85 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Peasant Common Sense
Originally, this film – which made waves in Czech society – was supposed to be about Czech agriculture and about the factors that have the greatest impact on it. But one of the most important factors turned out to be the entrepreneurial and political activities of Andrej Babiš. A documentary with elements of investigative journalism, the film follows journalists Zuzana Vlasatá and Jakub Patočka as they uncover Babiš’s business style and its impact on society and the environment. Through inventive editing, framing and the use of animation, the film goes beyond a mere presentation of facts to create an original report, made using various tools of the cinematic medium. “The government must by guided by peasant common sense!” Z. Piussi

Peasant Common Sense

Vít Janeček, Zuzana Piussi
Czech Republic / 2017 / 73 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
Blind Gulliver
In Martin Ryšavý’s new film, the film medium becomes an analogue of the human mind. The artist uses it not only to organize memories, but also as a specific instrument of perception. The film features scenes from visits to Ukraine and Russia, a monologue by a Russian tarot card reader, and the director’s eye exam. Using focus, he creates parallels between the camera and the sight organ; with editing, a web of associations emerges in which personal memories intertwine with observations of public political and social events. Blind Gulliver is a film about searching for perspectives in all senses of the word.“I pass through the world with eyes wide open.”

Blind Gulliver

Martin Ryšavý, Radim Procházka
Czech Republic / 2016 / 105 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

Filip Remunda, Vít Klusák, Ivana Pauerová Miloševič
Czech Republic / 2017 / 57 min.
section: Czech Joy
World 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
personal program

Central Bus Station

Tomáš Elšík
Czech Republic / 2018 / 75 min.
section: Czech Joy
East European 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
Dying for Beginners / The Key of Silence
The joint title Dying for beginners brings together two short films that the directors shot together “in hospices, maternity wards, trains, and elsewhere.” They are based on interviews with the same protagonists and about similar subjects, but always as seen from a different angle. The first film, Marek Bouda’s The key of silence explores music and its relationship to old age and death. For instance, it asks what music we can hear in heaven or what music to play after our passing. In Dying for beginners, Bára Kopecká looks at the taboo subject of death in crematoria, among the dying, or in the maternity ward. “I was interested primarily in how music is reflected in the face of the listener when he is moved by it. And silence – the counterpoint to music, a pause in the composition, the end of life... the silence that remains after we are gone...” B. Kopecká

Dying for Beginners / The Key of Silence

Bára Kopecká, Marek Bouda
Czech Republic / 2017 / 58 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
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