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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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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
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

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
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
My Name is Hungry Buffalo
Jan calls himself Buffalo. He loves cowboys, he’s blind, and may lose his hearing. Pavel Jurda’s documentary follows his journey to America to visit the chief of the Navajo tribe, who wants to perform a ritual to help his hearing. The film is full of unpretentious humor thanks to Jan’s charisma. In the USA, he’s like the Don Quixote of the Wild West - a naive adventurer in a world that is much more ordinary than his imagination. This observational, but not standoffish, film is also an example of how the medium of film can relate to blind people by constantly showing the difference between what Jan perceives and what we actually see.“The film is not about blindness, even if the main character is blind. It is about yearning for life. ‘We are all handicapped in some way,’ says a guy during a journey that starts with an accident and ends in triumph.”

My Name is Hungry Buffalo

Pavel Jurda
Czech Republic / 2016 / 83 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
One Last Time in the Fields
A filmed explication and a discovered script, composed of melodies and images for a film that was once supposed to be made. In the beginning was Bohuslav Martinů’s cantata Kytice – or rather, its part titled “Man and Death”, a musical adaptation of Sušil’s collection of folk poetry. Inspired by it, writer and painter Ivan Matoušek created an eschatological still-life that then influenced his novel The Ego. This path is followed not just by the story of the film’s creation but by the film itself, a brief depiction of man on the road towards death, moving slowly amidst a waving field. Images become a parable of our own mortality. “You can only quote yourself in your own work.” P. Havlík

One Last Time in the Fields

Přemysl Havlík
Czech Republic / 2017 / 54 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Talks with TGM
Another contribution to the specific subgenre of animated history by the scriptwriter Pavel Kosatík. On 26 September 1928, Karel Čapek and President Masaryk meet in the gardens of Topolčianky castle to decide about the fate of their joint literary work. Their fiction film dialogue is based on quotes from a future book and their mutual correspondence, considerably freeing the original format of literary conversation from binding conventions. Čapek and Masaryk reproach and offend each other, but they also ask key personal questions and questions about the social functions of a writer and politician respectively.“It’s a film about two extraordinary men; it’s about the fact that emotions can be sometimes more powerful than ideas even in such exceptional people.” J. Červenka

Talks with TGM

Jakub Červenka
Czech Republic, Slovakia / 2018 / 80 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Vratislav Effenberger or Black Shark Hunting
In the spirit of this master of poetics, David Jařab approaches his portrait of leading Czech postwar surrealist Vratislav Effenberger as a game. He invited members of the local surrealist group to talk about Effenberger in places where he stages absurd encounters and interrelationships. The main theme is Effenberger’s unrealized (unrealizable) screenplays, which the filmmakers attempt to enact during the film. This surrealistic hunt for Effenberger’s imagination is capped by an interview with his son full of ambivalent personal memories. “Effenberger’s work with absurd humour and the principle of game enabled him to subversively attack the outer and inner realities of everyday life. This vision is close to mine and to the vision of my film.” D. Jařab

Vratislav Effenberger or Black Shark Hunting

David Jařab
Czech Republic / 2018 / 84 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Faces of Meda
This film documenting the coexistence of filmmaker Veronika Janečková and arts patron Meda Mládková can be seen as a film about the making of a portrait documentary that was never made. Much of the footage used was taken without Mládková’s knowledge and captures her everyday meetings with the director, who briefly lived in her home in Washington during the course of filming. The film thus shows two different sides of Mládková – the public face, which she shows during “talking head” interviews, and the private face, which reveals minor everyday generational conflicts between an aging powerful woman and the young documentarian.DETAIL:“She had all the maladies. She was kind of fat, she wasn’t particularly pretty. I also think she had long hair. I told her, ‘You must lose 20 kilos.’ She managed to obtain her PhD in the States in just a year.”

Faces of Meda

Veronika Janečková
Czech Republic / 2015 / 50 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
Czech Journal: Don’t Take My Life
One day, documentary filmmaker Andrea Culková learned that she faced attachment of assets because of a minor error that she learned about too late. She thus became one of the many people to find themselves caught in a debt trap. In her contribution to the Czech Journalseries, Culková delves into an examination of the phenomenon of debt, debt recovery, and debt payments in Czech society from a personal as well as investigative viewpoint. She interviews various actors in the field, from debtors to the Minister of Justice, attends conferences of debt collectors, and explores how the issue is addressed in other countries."You can’t just take my film from me!!!!"

Czech Journal: Don’t Take My Life

Andrea Culková
Czech Republic / 2016 / 63 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

Zuzana Piussi, Vít Janeček
Czech Republic / 2017 / 73 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Milda
As the main representative of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, Milouš Jakeš was the most powerful man in the country. At ninety years old, he still evokes strong reactions in society today. The director joins Jakeš on a look back at his life, from his beginnings at the Baťa Works until his final expulsion from the party. The film is interspersed with period footage of anti-government protests being put down, and the former general secretary is also confronted with former dissidents or their descendants. This documentary portrait shows an almost ascetic old man with firm convictions regarding the rightness of the old order, which suited his austere nature.“Alone like an abandoned dog.” P. Křemen

Milda

Pavel Křemen
Czech Republic / 2017 / 70 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Solos for Members of Parliament
Twenty-one politicians reply to the question of how they view the Czech Republic’s future. The survey, built on the democratic principles of equality and freedom of speech, provides the same conditions for all of the interviewees and presents their uncensored and complete responses. However, this raw materials provides more testimony regarding the present than the future, as it unmasks the faces MPs and senators present to the public and demonstrates the rhetorical means they use to expand political power. Freedom is a double-edged sword depending on whose hands hold it. The same applies to media as a tool used for disseminating propaganda as well as for undermining it.“The film shows the people behind mandates, trying to approach them on the condition that they have to approach us.  To what extent is a different form of public meetings with politicians possible? To what extent are other worlds possible?” T. Bernátková

Solos for Members of Parliament

Tereza Bernátková
Czech Republic / 2018 / 34 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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