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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

Helena's Law
Documentary filmmaker Petra Nesvačilová’s study of the famous “Berdych Gang” focuses on police officer Helena Kahnová, but she also interviews other actors in the case, including the accused and the convicted. The resulting film is a mosaic that says less about the case or its background than it does about the people who exist on the edge of the law, and about their thoughts and motivations. Nesvačilová herself comes into contact with the criminal underworld and becomes an actor in her own film. She must decide whether it is safe to meet certain people, which leads her to consider questions related to the essence of crime and of good and evil in general.“I thought I was shooting a portrait of a brave police woman, but in the end I found myself in places that I had always been afraid of and that I only knew from the movies. The underworld. And now I see that this underworld is all around us – sometimes very, very close.”

Helena's Law

Petra Nesvačilová
Czech Republic / 2016 / 80 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
FREM
The film is a reaction to the current wave of post-humanist thinking caused by the development of technology and artifi cial intelligence as well as the climate crisis. The human species is beginning to realize its insignifi cance and transience, and human identity has found itself in a crisis. The fi lm FREM attempts to refl ect this feeling and creates a dehumanized and alienated view of landscape and nature beyond human perception of reality. Incomplete thoughts and fragments of dialogue, diverse music interrupted by rushes and glitches, and the seemingly confused, unanchored camera, create a disturbing, philosophical refl ection on the limits of anthropocentric thinking. "Making this film was an extreme experience, in every aspect, not only physical, since we shot in Antarctica. I had to think un-thinkable. Leave the prison of anthropomorphism behind. Stop being human." V. Čákanyová
personal program

FREM

Viera Čákanyová
Czech Republic, Slovakia / 2019 / 73 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
Feral
Charlie Soukup is a Czech underground songwriter and Charter 77 signatory. He emigrated in the early 1980s, and has spent the last several decades living on his own in the Australian outback as a hermit and Buddhist. Documentary filmmaker Jiří Holba sought Soukup out on his large property in the bush, where he builds secret shelters and lives away from civilization. The film, which Holba shot entirely alone on location, presents spontaneous conversations and situations that fully capture Soukup’s distinctive charisma. The film’s series of monologues are a kind of stream of thoughts that are part mad rambling and part insightful observations on life. “I’m interested in a film as a poem, a touch of life, a wave of a magic wand, a sudden burst of a spark in the infinite darkness, a solution of a puzzle. No beginning, no end, everything in a compact space. And love.” J. Holba

Feral

Jiří Holba
Czech Republic / 2018 / 72 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
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
Apparatgeist
The concept of Apparatgeist expresses how mankind’s relationship with technology evolves and how it transforms our social contacts. In a similar fashion to the authors of this theory, James E. Katz and Mark Aakhus, the film’s director has also focused on the current phenomenon of mobile phones. It takes us to an allegorical space of the apparatgeist, a barren, inhospitable place where cell phones act as small windows into different worlds of internet mundanity and bizarreness, and as a reflection of our interaction with a digital device. “How much do we hide behind our smartphones and use them to expose ourselves? To what extent is it possible to imprint ourselves into images composed of ones and zeros?” M.-M. Kochová
personal program

Apparatgeist

Marie-Magdalena Kochová
Czech Republic / 2019 / 11 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Viva Video, Video Viva
Today, analogue video is attractive primarily thanks to the distinctive aesthetic quality of its pixelated image and raster errors. But for Czech artists who first explored the possibilities offered by video art in the late 1980s, this medium represented a path towards freedom. Through a portrait of her grandfather Radek Pilař, one of the pioneers of Czech video art, the director explores her own legacy of imperative creative fascination. Her film’s main story, i.e., the process of reconstructing the 1989 exhibition Video Day, contrasts this enchantment with life in the final days of the totalitarian regime, which different sharply with the adventures of those who decided to emigrate – whom the filmmaker also visits in order to discover forgotten works, get to know their creators, and re-establish broken ties.  “’The computers, which are here with me, quietly tell me they want me to understand them, to live with them. Because we will live with them. But either they’re devils, or they will be gods.’ Radek Pilař.” A. Komrzý
personal program

Viva Video, Video Viva

Adéla Komrzý
Czech Republic / 2018 / 85 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Lost Coast
The film follows the lives of fishermen and vacationers who, through community efforts and friendly cooperation, seek to improve the otherwise deserted shores of the South Moravian reservoir Nové Mlýny, whether for a family holiday or leisurely fishing. Due to bureaucratic machinations, however, they are forced to sell off their summer homes and leave this place full of nostalgia and memories for good. Discreetly observational camerawork reveals the ordinary hardships, difficulties and joys of ordinary people and, with humorous insight alternating with melancholy contemplation, recounts the story of the conflict between living human experience and the cold state apparatus.  “’It’s a pity - one beautiful era has come to an end… ’ Fisherman Saša”. J. Zykmund
personal program

Lost Coast

Jiří Zykmund
Czech Republic / 2019 / 78 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Heidegger in Auschwitz
Czech Joy - Out of competitionThe German philosopher Martin Heidegger, one of the most important thinkers of the 20th century, goes on a tour of Auschwitz forty years after his death. He takes 2,500 photographs during his visit. On his way back, he visits Prague and his attention is caught by the tail end of a marathon, which conspicuously reminds him of a funeral. The following winter, his Jewish lover and another of the most important thinkers of the 20th century, Hannah Arendt, rises from the grave as well. With a 16mm camera in hand, she aimlessly wanders the area surrounding Heidegger’s chalet in Todtnauberg. She has visions of various motifs from the great philosopher’s central work, Being and Time. All is arranged in a strictly structural shape. Static in movement, kinetic in stillness. “Oh, Germany! People laugh when they hear the talk that comes from your house. But anyone who sees you reaches for a knife.” M. Ježek

Heidegger in Auschwitz

Martin Ježek
Czech Republic / 2016 / 50 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
Moravia, O Fair Land III.
After centuries of oppression, the spirit of Moravian Slovakia (Slovácko) awakens to the rhythm of folk music and speed metal. A folk costumed zombie horror under the supervision of a modern Adam and Eva from a Czech TV quiz show mixes classical tragedy and ethnographic studies, biblical parable and low-brow genres. Petr Šprincl subverts the sacred myths, satirically revealing the dark foundations of social rituals against a background of folklore motifs. After nationalism and fascism, the subjects of the first two parts of this Moravian Epic, the series continues with variations on the Mrštík brothers’ play Maryša, imbued with Satanism.   „The Trilogy Moravia, Beautiful Land starts with belonging to tribe, folk costume and folklore, continues with the birth of the fascist of Slovácko and his defeat of the devil, and pagan inferno breaks out in the final volume.“ P. Šprincl
personal program

Moravia, O Fair Land III.

Petr Šprincl
Czech Republic / 2019 / 65 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Kings of Šumava
Josef Hasil, nicknamed King of the Bohemian Forest, was a cross-border smuggler between communist Czechoslovakia and the West, and later an agent for the CIC news service. His actions are the central theme of a film created using narrative animation resembling modern film noir, conversations with witnesses, and shots of the beauty of the mysterious Bohemian forests. In places, the documentary also takes on the qualities of a Hollywood action film, which contrasts with the burden of moral decisions of an individual and the relentless power of the totalitarian regime. Almost detective-like investigation is framed by the Bohemian myths and legends that are still told of the man today. "Kings of Šumava poetically explores the duality of hero, villain and reunites former Czech immigrant Vlasta Bukovsky and infamous Czech people smuggler Josef Hasil." K. Kelly
personal program

Kings of Šumava

Kris Kelly
Czech Republic, Ireland / 2019 / 70 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
The Way the President Departs
The compilation documentary The Way the President Departstakes us back to the events surrounding the presidential elections in Czechoslovakia in 1992 that led to the dissolution of the federal republic. The film, which uses clips from Czechoslovak Television and Original Videojournal, focuses on the first elections, in which the sole candidate was Václav Havel. It is Havel himself who is the focus of the film. We see primarily his immediate reactions to the changing situation around the elections, whether those intended for the public or expressed within his circle of advisors. In addition to observations of an important Czech politician, the film evokes public life in the 1990s.“I am sure that for today’s audiences, this behind-the-scenes look at politics will be interesting and stimulating, and they will be surprised at how dramatically the political scene has changed.”

The Way the President Departs

Pavel Kačírek
Czech Republic / 2016 / 51 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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