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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

THE GOOD DEATH
Terminally ill Janette wants to die with dignity, but it’s not possible in the UK, where she lives. She therefore decides for assisted suicide. She must plan her journey to Switzerland before her rapidly advancing disease makes it impossible. The question of whether we own our own lives or whether they own us is the primary impetus behind this documentary portrait, which shows that death can be good despite the sadness that always accompanies it. The film, with dramatically suggestive camera work, uses feature film techniques, and engaging characters and stories of her loved ones are interwoven with Janette’s story."Let's talk about death because we will all die someday. The question is: can we choose when and how? I think we should." T. Krupa

THE GOOD DEATH

Tomáš Krupa
Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, France, Switzerland / 2018 / 83 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
TEACH
The personality of a rural Transylvanian math teacher who teaches his students at home and ignores the existing curriculum, tells us not only about the Romanian school system, but also about society there as a whole. The stubborn elder man follows the words of essayist Constantine Noica, who believes that in an ideal school, there should not be any lessons, but rather students should go there to free themselves from the tyranny of learning. The observational portrait documentary monitors the dynamics of the lessons themselves, where, in addition to mathematics, the problem of education itself is addressed and where the teacher acts like a father fi gure.“I think that if you really want to make something matter within 100 years from now, then you have to educate people first.” A. Brendea

TEACH

Alex Brendea
Romania / 2019 / 82 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
de fac-to
How do we deal with our history? Is it possible that history becomes rather a tool made to justify our current interests and views? Such questions are posed in the observation documentary called de fac-to. The filmmakers visited several public events commemorating World War II in the Ukrainian town of Lviv. Moving recitations of poems are followed by anti-alcoholism propagandist bashings, allegations claiming that decommunization process in Ukraine had been started by Hitler or comparing numbers of victims during the Nazi and Communist eras. This diverse, often absurd kaleidoscope is structured as a stream of footage of events in chronological order with no commentary. „With our film we want to give an insight into specific situations and atmospheres, documenting the various protagonists as they find a relationship to the present through rituals celebrating the past.“ E. Shapiro-Obermair

de fac-to

Alexandra Wachter, Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermair
Russia, Austria / 2018 / 32 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Us Against Us
The director and her father take a camera in hand and film each other during interviews in which they discuss schizophrenia, their own pasts, and their personal conceptions of happiness. The film is a personal statement of two people affected by or marked by a mental disorder - a father forced to live with it and a daughter who had to grow up with a sick and often absent father. During filming, they try to find understanding for each other while revealing their inner traumas. One of the secondary topics is what it is like to undergo treatment for a mental disorder in Romania, as the father expresses frustration with the way he and his condition are viewed by the local healthcare system.
personal program

Us Against Us

Andra Tarara
Romania / 2020 / 74 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Paradise on Earth
Andrej Bán is a journalist and photographer who reports from areas in crises around the world, the likes of which include Kosovo, Georgia, Afghanistan, Ukraine and Haiti, where he constantly travels back and forth. A director of his decided to accompany him with a camera, and their intimate conversations intertwine throughout the film, revealing the reporter's internal professional and personal struggles. The documentary follows Andrej in cities destroyed by war or in refugee camps, during which it becomes clear that he's interested in a deeper look inside the causes of the confl icts as well as the oppressive situations their victims find themselves in.“People forgotten by people. With photographer, publicist, and friend Andrej Bán we discover stories of people, who were forced to leave their homes.” J. Vojtek

Paradise on Earth

Jaro Vojtek
Slovakia / 2019 / 78 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
The Things
Nearly 10 years after the conflict in Georgia, Georgian inhabitants of the Russian-occupied territory are still living in temporary camps, waiting to return home. Their dwellings are cookie-cutter houses. They brought only the few items that they managed to grab from their homes when fleeing from the occupation army. Equally austere, almost as empty as their provisional housing, they live their lives at the mercy of waiting for what is to come. In this meditative documentary, real relics of their past lives, everyday things brought from their original homes, are the most tangible manifestations of the irreversibility of time as measured by losses. “We attempted to reflect about war experience from particular perspective, to meet persons rather than statistics, to observe rather than inquire, to contemplate about something we all share - the attachments.” Nino Gogua

The Things

Nino Gogua
Georgia / 2016 / 62 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Sleeping souls
A Russian director puts together a mosaic or his country’s rural mentality deformed by government propaganda. The pre-election season in the Russian town of Achinsk is filled with the voices of the regime’s supporters, drowned out only by the chopping of ice on a Siberian lake. The regime’s skeptical opponents are already predicting the clear outcome. The locals’ passivity and the election commission’s unspoken stance on the clear ballot manipulation culminate in the citizens’ inability to change the situation. Putin’s emotional tears following his victory are a visual metaphor for the artificiality of the entire election process in Russia.

Sleeping souls

Alexander Rastorguev
France / 2013 / 51 min.
section: Between the Seas
East European 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
A Tall Tale
The magic of folksongs lies in their freedom from the restraints of artificial genres and thematic rules. The creative duo of Lucia Nimcová and Sholto Dobie approach their improvised observational documentary in much the same way. The sequence of images from contemporary western Ukraine brings narrative, sound, and musical elements and nearly photographic detailed static scenes of reality into creative counterpoint. Figures of various ages alternate before the camera; interior and exterior locations change; but the song goes on. A folk opera consisting of bawdy folk songs, storytelling ballads, and pre-modern hip-hop. Old world music.“A Tall Tale seeks to capture private and hidden realities excluded from the main historical narrative of the region. Hard mountain rap, vintage feminism and filthy Carpathian hip hop are still alive and relevant.” Lucia Nimcová

A Tall Tale

Lucia Babjaková Nimcová
Slovakia / 2016 / 34 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Between Us
Various forms of partnerships, love, and intimacy are examined in a detailed empathic study by a young female director. The film is riddled with themes of a lack of freedom, emotional scars from previous relationships, cheating, and gender fluidity. With the help of structured conversations between three couples, who read each other questions prepared by the director, and archival footage of their everyday family and romantic life, we gradually get a comprehensive picture of a contemporary love life.    "Marcel: What are you most afraid of?  Carolina: Spiders. And that you’ll end up leaving me."  from Between Us (32:00-32:06)
personal program

Between Us

Dorota Proba
Poland / 2020 / 52 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Our Daily Water
Drinking water deliveries by boat to remote Croatian islands is a great opportunity to observe often humorous daily life. Especially when the ship’s captain has a tendency to make coarse comments, regaling his young nephew, the newest member of the crew, with his choleric outbursts. Our Daily Water is an observational film, but it gives inner energy and humor to its protagonists. The film’s creators successfully convey the atmosphere of lazy days along the hot Croatian coast and the explosive temperament of the locals."Through this Mediterranean comedy about a Captain and his crew I wanted to tell a story of invisible people who work honestly in order to prevent our country from becoming an "accidental state"." V. Vorkapić

Our Daily Water

Vlatka Vorkapic
Croatia / 2018 / 57 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Creative Europe
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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