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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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The Last Self-portrait
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The Last Self-portrait
The Last Self-portrait
The Last Self-portrait
The Last Self-portrait

The Last Self-portrait

director: Marek Kuboš
original title: Posledný autportrét
country: Slovakia
year: 2018
running time: 72 min.

synopsis

Slovak director Marek Kuboš has not shot a film in 13 years. His first film ever – a student exercise at film school – was a self-portrait. The circle is closed, the source of creativity has seemingly dried up. All that is left to do in the last self-portrait is to clean up after oneself, to recapitulate one’s successes and failures, and to bid farewell to one’s protagonists. This introspective meta-documentary is not so much a study of a creative crisis as it is a self-therapeutic process and an attempt at offering a comprehensive profile of the filmmaker at a time of unstable certainties. Appearing in the role of Kuboš’s consultants are essentially all leading Slovak documentary filmmakers.

"I’ve long felt that through documentary filmmaking I can’t say what I want to, what calls out to me. I’ve butted against internal and external boundaries that have paralyzed me as a documentarian. " M. Kuboš

biography

Marek Kuboš (1970) studied documentary film at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava and is often included in the so-called Generation 90, a group of outstanding filmmakers who attended school in the 1990s that includes Jaroslav Vojtek, Peter Kerekes, Robert Kirchhoff, and Marko Škop. He is best known for his documentary A Photographer’s Journey (1993), followed by Train Station 2nd Class Kraľovany (1998) and Voice 98 (1999).

more about film

director: Marek Kuboš
producer: Marek Kuboš, Tibor Horváth
script: Marek Kuboš
photography: Marek Kuboš
editing: Radoslav Dúbravský, Marek Kuboš
music: Marek Kuboš
sound: Ján Boleslav Kladivo

other films in the section

Normalization
Nearly 40 years ago, a young woman was murdered in Slovakia. To this day, the group of men who were convicted of this crime have tried in vain to prove that they are the victims of judicial terror. The director, who does not hide the fact that the sympathizes with the convicted, goes beyond their case and indirectly reveals doubts as to the trustworthiness of his country’s judicial system. Only once do most of the convicted appear together before the camera: when their sentences are confirmed in 2006. More than the words, recriminations, anger, and sadness, the viewer remembers their exhausted expressions and the realization that they can never give up.

Normalization

Robert Kirchhoff
Slovakia, Czech Republic / 2013 / 100 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
Balaton Method
This documentary journey, which explores the landscape surrounding Hungary’s largest lake and its recreational resorts, includes live concert footage of seventeen local bands – well-established names and newcomers to the music scene alike. Their performances, including the participation of a hundred other musicians, are recorded at various times of day in diverse locations, ranging from harbours and hotel balconies to churches, helping to create a portrait of the distinctive atmosphere at each of the sites. This independent musical road movie shot around Lake Balaton is the first Hungarian feature-length film financed through a crowd-funding campaign.DETAIL:“Balaton! This word has magical power! It makes all eyes kindle, puts a smile on everybody's face. The shining sun and the naughty waves paint all the faces golden brown. The lake is full of tourists.”

Balaton Method

Bálint Szimler
Hungary / 2015 / 85 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
The Makavejev Case or Trial in a Movie Theater
In 1971, the film WR: Mysteries of the Organism, an outstanding example of the Yugoslav Black Wave, was enthusiastically received at the Cannes Film Festival. Back home, however, this radical and ironic exploration of sexuality and communism was banned by the Yugoslav regime, and director Dušan Makavejev subsequently emigrated. The ban was decided during the film’s premiere screening, which turned into an unofficial trial. The Makavejev Case plays a newly discovered audio record of the debate in its entirety, accompanied by images of the incredulous faces of people listening to the audiotape recording: actors from Makavejev’s film, random passers-by on the street, and monkeys in a cage. „Makavejev - is my favorite Serbian director. WR: Mysteries of the Organism became a symbol of Makavejev’s heritage: a film language as a play game and an everlasting experiment in in directing." G. Radovanovic
personal program

The Makavejev Case or Trial in a Movie Theater

Goran Radovanovic
Serbia / 2019 / 73 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Waiting room
Waiting, as a condition in which people spend a large part of their lives, is the central theme of this narrative film. The lives of seven women of various ages, who do not know each other, intersect for a brief period of time. They are linked by one place – the waiting room at the main railway station – where each one of them, in deep contemplation, is looking for something or someone different. The slow non-dramatic narration, with stiff stylised camera movements places the viewer in the role of stalker. In this film, in which the director admittedly combines elements from both fictional film and documentary practice, he worked with non-professional actresses.DETAIL:“Believe it or not, for me otherness is what is real, what is normal. I love those who are different. They are my people. My life is in God’s hands. That is how I received it, just like everyone else.”

Waiting room

Palo Korec
Slovakia / 2015 / 72 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Blind Cinema
An unusual group sets sail from St. Petersburg to Finland. The crew, which consists of vision-impaired people and people with normal eyesight, learns to work together in order to successfully complete their undertaking. The observational documentary shows the crew’s first contact with the boat, which is done by touch, and then follows their daily routine while at sea. The disinterested camera records a reality that overcomes our prejudices regarding the helplessness of blind people. The problem-free journey gives the sailors space for new sensations. Excerpts from the ship’s log show us aspects of the mission – i.e., the transformation of oneself that can change the world. „What do you see when you cannot see? How do you interact with a world with fewer visual elements to distract you? Blind Cinema explores the realm of sightless people who sail the sea and expand the boundaries of self.” G. Glyants

Blind Cinema

Grigory Glyants
Russia / 2017 / 50 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Winter / Miracle
This allegorical docufiction provides the viewer with a lightly meditative and at the same time modern impression of the Christian holiday while paying witness to the transformation of the sacral space and the holiday’s religious message. The film’s anonymous protagonists from opposite sides of the world discuss the paths of their faith in this visually stylised and stylistically edited film. Czech viewers will be entranced by the final church crossover: The wild beach scene is underscored by the song Crazy for You, Jesus, which can be heard at gathering of the Czech sect known as the Triumphal Centre of Faith. The film itself concludes at just such a gathering. 

Winter / Miracle

Gustavo Beck, Željka Suková
Croatia, Denmark, Brazil / 2012 / 60 min.
section: Between the Seas
Central European Premiere
Bojo Beach
Regular rushes of waves wash the Ghanaian coast, and a group of fishermen pulls their catch from the sea as they do every day. This short film depicts the labours of local fishermen in several chapters. Almost aescetically static cinematography and minimal editing during the fishermen’s work set it off from anything that could happen on the beach that day. Thanks to the slow pace, unintentional abstract compositions of the fishing nets end up in the picture, or a lonely mountain is traced in the background. The film’s atmosphere isn’t determined by people but rather by the rhythm of the sea, the colour of the sky, and the structure of the sand on Bojo Beach."The idea of being sat on the beach is always one of soaking up the atmosphere, breathing in the air, being contemplative, just watching things, just letting them happen. All this in a globalized world" E. Groen

Bojo Beach

Elke Groen
Austria / 2017 / 25 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
PhoeniXXX
Two young Romanian women make money as models on an erotic video chat site. All while they try to lead normal family lives, get along with their parents, and raise children. This observational documentary captures exactly this - their private space. The filmmakers let them speak freely about not only their jobs, but also how they themselves see their lives. At the same time, they show how a publicly condemned profession influences people’s behavior and their view of the world. The film also presents dramatic generational differences in contemporary Romanian society in which the older generation, working in agriculture, wants their children to remain at home while the younger one seems to be moving coninously to the bigger cities, leaving behind their past. "For a good documentary you have to go out and live among your characters." M. G. Dragolea

PhoeniXXX

Mihai Gavril Dragolea
Romania / 2017 / 53 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Opera about Poland
A travelogue collage in search of Polish identity in an uncertain world. A carefully composed dream about the unfound unity of nation, old injustices and moments of glory that fade away under the burden of petty thoughts and the fear of non-existent enemies. A selection of period footage, newspaper articles, and bitterly current citations from the internet, mixed with journal entries by the author Andrzej Stasiuk to create a personal reflection of events. The staged portraits of ordinary Poles set to a tension-filled disharmonic operatic soundtrack at first seems like a series of unrelated images and thoughts, but they slowly come together to form a portrait of the soul of the Polish nation."To begin the repair or therapy you need to be diagnosed. You need to see what mistakes have been made in the past. Or check if you are living with untrue myths and beliefs." P. Stasik

Opera about Poland

Piotr Stasik
Poland / 2017 / 41 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Trapped By Law
In 2010, thousands of Kosovo Roma were forcibly repatriated from the European Union to their original home. And this despite the fact that many had spent years living in the EU. They had grown up there, studied there, some had even been born there. This engaged documentary follows the story of brothers Kefaet and Selami, rappers from Essen who, from one day to the next, find themselves in Kosovo, cut off from the rest of the world and from their family in Germany. The director does not remain neutral in recording their many years spent trying to get out of a trap of absurd and unfriendly laws, and to return from their native homeland to their real one.DETAIL:“We also had hard situations, you know, where we were maybe thinking about this, you know, to get separated, go separate ways, but no – In the end it was always just differences here and there, that you have to compromise with.”

Trapped By Law

Sami Mustafa
Kosovo, Germany / 2015 / 90 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
One Day in Selimpasha
One man and an apartment, about which we know nothing. This is the premise of a conceptual documentary based on the concept of providing a deliberately limited amount of information to the viewer. We look into the intimate space behind the closed front door, where the most ordinary activities are carried out: cooking lunch, preparing tea, eating lunch, starting a fire in the fireplace. In this residential monodrama, a second living actor is desperately lacking, one that would bring to life the plot embodied in speech. It becomes a study of a person’s existence in their most personal space - a dwelling that can be just as much a preserve of peace and security as a golden cage of solitude."What are the feelings of a person who does nothing while everyone expects him to do something? What should he do? In general, is there any difference between the emotions of two humans? What does portrait mean? A human face or something else?" H. Baydarov

One Day in Selimpasha

Hilal Baydarov
Azerbaijan / 2018 / 64 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Guests
Set in a remote Russian village located about hundered and sixty kilometres from Moscow, this observational documentary is focused on a group of loggers – illegal migrants from Tajikistan who came to Russia in the hope of finding work. Hired by Russian businesses, they live thousands of kilometres away from their families to whom they send their earnings. The uncompromising endless shots capture the simplicity of the lives of these seasonal workers, and the overall undisciplined style of the filming corresponds well to the unfriendly environment in which they must survive from day to day.DETAIL:“Yeah, well, life is tough. As they say – it's not a bed of roses. You have to live your life properly... Can you imagine how difficult it must be for our wives?”

Guests

Alexey Sukhovey
Russia, France, Germany / 2014 / 62 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
Aktuálně.cz
Respekt