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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Owner’s Portrait
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Owner’s Portrait
Owner’s Portrait
Owner’s Portrait
Owner’s Portrait

Owner’s Portrait

director: Joaquín Maito
original title: Retrato de propietarios
country: Argentina
year: 2018
running time: 80 min.

synopsis

A fable-like documentary composed of footage from different corners of the planet juxtaposes animals and humans like two separate yet connected universes. Virtually without speech, with a heavy emphasis on the audio component, it tells the story of an island of untamed cats and mysterious antennas that broadcast to the world on long-wave radio a call for liberation from the economic and social ties that bind us. Everywhere the radio waves reach, we see static shots of human bondage and animal freedom, and by linking these contrasting images, an Eisenstein-style montage emerges, with new cinematic meaning.

„Everything started with an image in my head: a world without pets. That image became a documentary essay with a science fiction atmosphere, about freedom, work, domestic animals and societies in capitalism.“ J. Maito

biography

Joaquín Maito (1987) is an independent filmmaker from Argentina. Together with Tatiana Mazú, he filmed the documentary The State of Things in 2012, which was selected for screening at the Argentinian Mar del Plata International Film Festival. The film focuses on the auction of items from people’s estates – the process of assigning a value to items that meant everything to their original owners but which for buyers have only the value expressed in the terms of sale.

more about film

director: Joaquín Maito
producer: Joaquín Maito, Romina Beraldi
script: Joaquín Maito
photography: Joaquín Maito
editing: Manuel Embalse, Tatiana Mazú
sound: Catriel Vildosola

other films in the section

Savagery
Just forty years ago, the Brazilian state of Pará was covered by rainforest. Today, it is an area where the wilderness comes into harsh conflict with the savagery of the urban population. Using several segments, a team of two French documentarians compose an especially brutal poetical mythology of a place where poachers hunt snakes that are many meters long, crowds of people look on during police murder investigations, and a mother must apologize because her adolescent rapper son insulted the local police. Using a handheld camera, the filmmakers take spontaneous shots, sensitive to both the genius loci and the unaffected interviews with local inhabitants. "We went to Pará, Brazil, at the pursuit of some sort of vision of savagery. Crossing tales, ecological themes and fantastic apparitions, we try to undo this arbitrary separation between the fascination with nature and the fear of violence." J. Le Fourn

Savagery

Jonathan Le Fourn, Rèmi De Gaalon
France / 2017 / 94 min.
section: First Lights
International Premiere
Depth Two
A history of the armed conflict in Kosovo, in which NATO forces also eventually took part, includes many heretofore unexamined events, including mass murders of civilians which the Serbian police attempted to cover up. Ognjen Glavonić’s poetic documentary presents shocking witness testimony and leaves it to the viewer to piece together the events of the time. Unsettlingly stunning visuals give the events a current dimension - long shots of the locations in which the atrocities took place create a symbol of surviving the past in the present that the inexorable forward passage of time usually softens.“By using light and sound, a combination of spoken testimonies and images of the places where the crimes happened, the film speaks directly to the sensations, imagination and emotions of the viewer.” Ognjen Glavonić

Depth Two

Ognjen Glavonić
Serbia, France / 2016 / 80 min.
section: First Lights
Czech Premiere
#3511
The film’s main topics are migration and the integration of immigrants into their new society. #3511 explores these issues through the story of an Australian soldier whose daily correspondence and diary from his time traveling during World War I are combined with a short story by J. L. Borges. His particular life story is a metaphor for contemporary questions regarding exile, memory, and integration. In terms of form, the film consists primarily of footage of an abandoned landscape and homes, accompanied by a voiceover commentary. On rare occasions, we can see the speakers’ faces. „The film began from a serendipitous coincidence : fiction and reality. 100 years later the material challenged the limits of what could be, known and reconstructed. But what if fiction were to pose reality as an enigma ?“ I.Stillwell

#3511

Isaac Stillwell
Australia, France, Belgium, Germany, Poland / 2018 / 68 min.
section: First Lights
World Premiere
On the Edge of Freedom
Moscow and Kyiv. Angela and Vlad. Two young and talented people brought together by an unusual passion for the extravagant and public conquest of forbidden parts of the city. Tall buildings, underground tunnels or freight trains are the new pastimes of a young generation yearning to get out of the rut, escape a predictable future and find fame among their peers through risky “urbex” videos. At the same time, however, the logic of social networks is turning them into a commercial phenomenon that can bring them big money – but also compel them to engage in even crazier stunts. “This is urban exploration, baby!” “This is a portrait of a new generation we rarely hear about. It is a film about the human behind an extreme phenomenon.” A. M. Hopland

On the Edge of Freedom

Anita Mathal Hopland, Jens Lengerke
Denmark / 2017 / 74 min.
section: First Lights
Central European Premiere
Gevar's Land
This portrait follows the daily life of Syrian Gevar, who left for France with his family and wants to apply for asylum in Reims, in the northeast of the country. Back in his homeland, Gevar’s passion was tending his garden and he is determined to pursue this hobby in a new place. He rents a small plot of land in the suburbs to spend time with his family. The film is not just about Gevar's passion for gardening, but it also shows from a completely different perspective the reality of war refugees’ lives in a new country and the hardships associated with applying for asylum, language barriers, and the difficulties with finding a job and supporting a family. "Gevar’s land explores the question: how do the land - by working it, by farming it - forge an organic tie between a man and a space ?" Q. Barhamji
personal program

Gevar's Land

Qutaiba Barhamji
France, Qatar / 2020 / 78 min.
section: First Lights
International Premiere
Mittelmeer
A poetic documentary about the Mediterranean brings together a mosaic of images of the southern and the northern coast that the director, writer and poet Nathalie Quintane collected without traveling anywhere – they acquired them through hotel and other publicly accessible webcams. In this way, both of them walk the shores and beaches, rocks and ports, enhanced with the memories and conversations that JeanMarc shares with his son about the current problems of coastal countries. Suddenly the contrasts between the European, African and Middle Eastern shores of the sea are revealed. "Webcam images placed around the Mediterranean Sea don’t have any deepness. They are like an ideal illusion of a unique world. A film has perhaps a chance to say it.“ J.-M. Chapoulie

Mittelmeer

Jean-Marc Chapoulie
France / 2019 / 73 min.
section: First Lights
International Premiere
In Praise of Nothing
“A whistleblowing documentary parody about Nothing.” That is how the filmmakers describe In Praise of Nothing. In fact, Nothing is the only protagonist of this essay-like film. An ironic and unflinchingly critical monologue, delivered in simple rhymes and with the voice of Iggy Pop, accompanied by captivating and succinctly expressive footage shot by several dozen people all over the world with the assignment to “shoot nothing.” „A cinematic equivalent to Erasmus’s humanistic classic In Praise of Folly, in which Folly goes around the world arguing it is smarter to be mad than smart. 500 years later, it is Nothing who gets the main role.“ B. Mitić

In Praise of Nothing

Boris Mitic
Serbia, Croatia, France / 2017 / 78 min.
section: First Lights
Central European Premiere
Yellowing
The Hong Kong protests of 2014 known as the “Umbrella Revolution” were an expression of some people’s dissatisfaction with the restrictive interventions in local affairs by the Chinese government. The protestors, primarily young people, rejected the limitations on local autonomy made by the communist government. In his first-person participant documentary, director Tze-woon Chan and his hand-held camera become a part of events in the island city. Over the course of 20 chapters (or “memos”), the film’s young protagonists express their feelings and views of the revolution whose cruel historical momentum rolled right over them.“Hearts might change before China’s assumed complete takeover. But I made Yellowing to document the Umbrella Movement, in the hope that our initial intent and belief might be remembered and be reminded of.”

Yellowing

Tze Woon Chan
Hong Kong SAR China / 2016 / 133 min.
section: First Lights
European Premiere
Notorious Deeds
October 1989. A high school student in Bucharest is apprehended for pasting up anti-regime posters and is interred in a secret police building for a number of days. As a result, his family, loved ones, friends, and schoolmates are affected by restrictions. Twenty years later at their class reunion, an excursion begins into memories of that moment of shock etched forever into memory, but for each somewhat differently. Director Gabriel Tempea is more interested in exploring the subjective interpretation from the point of view of “talking heads” than the actual facts. A postmodern form of oral history based on the testimonies of those who have most of their lives ahead of them.“Based on personal, subjective and painstakingly detailed recollections of an exceptional occurrence, I attempted to provide a glimpse at the bigger picture of  atroubled historical period.” Gabriel Tempea

Notorious Deeds

Gabriel Tempea
Romania, Austria / 2015 / 68 min.
section: First Lights
World Premiere
Motherlands
The refugee crisis through the eyes of a smuggler. Modern Odyssey lined with railway embankments, sleepers, darkness, the atmosphere of danger, and disappearing hope. A journey across the continents for peace, freedom and seeming prosperity brought Hervé to Europe. He buried his original motherland, Ivory Coast, under the traumatic memories of war. His new home is a shabby Greek apartment where he can live his illegal life with his newborn and Greek girlfriend. A five-year-long look into the life and conscience of a man whose existence is unexpectedly moving in a direction where the line between the moral and the amoral is as blurred as the footage of raids shot by the terrified director.     „What is morality when you have no choices? What is ethical when you have no rights? Can we be judged? And if so by whom?“ G. Babsi  
personal program

Motherlands

Gabriel Babsi
Hungary, Romania / 2020 / 73 min.
section: First Lights
World Premiere
Instructions for Use of Jiří Kolář
Roman Štětina returns to the subject of radio in a documentary project created in collaboration with radio director Miroslav Buriánek. In documenting Buriánek and the members of the KLAS theater ensemble as they prepare a radio adaptation of Kolář’s poetry collection Instructions for Use, Štětina tries to explore radio directing as a distinctive but hidden artistic act. Without showing the viewer the final radio production, Štětina offers us a unique chance to witness the creative process involved in creating a radio adaptation. The voiceover features commentary on the events in the studio.“Speak, create, share geometrically. No slapped on layers of lyricism. Just sorrow and yearning. And respect the rule of the right angle.” (Miroslav Buriánek)

Instructions for Use of Jiří Kolář

Roman Štětina, Miroslav Buriánek
Czech Republic / 2016 / 130 min.
section: First Lights
World Premiere
Everything´s Gonna Be Fine
Producer Čestmír Kopecký had originally wanted to make a film about the changing face of Brno, but in the end director Robin Kvapil and co-writer Pavel Šplíchal created something more closely resembling Šplíchal’s ironic blog Prigl. In their “lovingly anarchistic” film, Brno forms the epicentre of a sarcastic look at Czech society. The naive and vacuous communist-era documentary with which Kvapil’s film opens gives way to the reporter’s bitter monologues right in front of the camera. These are intercut with acted sequences featuring Brno’s political elites, artists, and outcasts.“People say that Brno is the only joke that is inhabitable. The entire film follows this logic.” R. Kvapil

Everything´s Gonna Be Fine

Robin Kvapil
Czech Republic / 2017 / 71 min.
section: First Lights
World Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
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