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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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The Last Shift of Thomas Hisem
The Last Shift of Thomas Hisem

The Last Shift of Thomas Hisem

director: Jindřich Andrš
original title: Poslední šichta Tomáše Hisema
country: Czech Republic
year: 2017
running time: 29 min.

synopsis

“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

biography

Jindřich Andrš (1994) is a third-year student in the Department of Documentary Film at FAMU; prior to that, however, he attended lectures on film science at the Charles University Faculty of Arts. His short films are linked by a single theme – the loss of authenticity in the lives of people working in technology development. In his documentary Mike and His Ultras (2016), he sketches a portrait of today’s young generation and their relationship with their idols – YouTubers.

more about film

director: Jindřich Andrš
cast: Tomáš Hiseman
producer: Tomáš Šimon, Augustina Micková
photography: Tomáš Frkal
editing: Lukáš Janičík
sound: Šimon Herrmann

other films in the section

Czech Journal: Teaching War
This episode from the Czech Journal series examines how a military spirit is slowly returning to our society. Attempts to renew military training or compulsory military service and in general to prepare the nation for the next big war go hand in hand with society’s fear of the Russians, the Muslims, or whatever other “enemies”. This observational flight over the machine gun nest of Czech militarism becomes a grotesque, unsettling military parade. It can be considered not only to be a message about how easily people allow themselves to be manipulated into a state of paranoia by the media, but also a warning against the possibility that extremism will become a part of the regular school curriculum.“In order to identify the reason for which people prepare for war in the name of peace, I have started to portray the rising military spirit in a kaleidoscopic image.”

Czech Journal: Teaching War

Adéla Komrzý
Czech Republic / 2016 / 69 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Dying for Beginners / The Key of Silence
The joint title Dying for beginners brings together two short films that the directors shot together “in hospices, maternity wards, trains, and elsewhere.” They are based on interviews with the same protagonists and about similar subjects, but always as seen from a different angle. The first film, Marek Bouda’s The key of silence explores music and its relationship to old age and death. For instance, it asks what music we can hear in heaven or what music to play after our passing. In Dying for beginners, Bára Kopecká looks at the taboo subject of death in crematoria, among the dying, or in the maternity ward. “I was interested primarily in how music is reflected in the face of the listener when he is moved by it. And silence – the counterpoint to music, a pause in the composition, the end of life... the silence that remains after we are gone...” B. Kopecká

Dying for Beginners / The Key of Silence

Marek Bouda, Bára Kopecká
Czech Republic / 2017 / 58 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
I Want You If You Dare
Single mother Martina raised twin girls, one of whom was born blind and the other with polio, leaving her disabled. Both children are now adults, and disabled Jana would love to leave her mother and live on her own in institutional living. And she would also like to experience sex, perhaps with a paid assistant. The documentary offers a brutally unsentimental view into the life of an impoverished rural family with two permanently disabled members. It delicately captures both everyday and exceptional situations, focusing mainly on the personal, emotional and relationship problems between the protagonists.  „The harder the fates I make films about, the more I appreciate when my heroes can laugh at them. And when I can make the audience laugh well, I am happy.” D. Smržová
personal program

I Want You If You Dare

Dagmar Smržová
Czech Republic / 2019 / 84 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Never Happened
“The deed did not occur,” proclaimed Vladimir Mečiar in 1996 on the murder of businessman Róbert Remiáš, which likely had a political motive and with which the Prime Minister himself was likely involved. His infamous dictum is an attempt to negate a documentary that combines an investigative approach with original filmmaking. The director builds her film on interviews with key players in the Remiáš case but does not limit herself to an austere presentation of facts. Alternating different film formats, from black and white film to VHS, she evokes a period of crime and highlights the central theme of confrontation with the past. “I wanted to make a poetic political film. Engagé art should not give up on the style.” B. Berezňáková  
personal program

Never Happened

Barbora Berezňáková
Slovakia, Czech Republic / 2019 / 82 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
Moravia, Beautiful Land
An experimental western horror film set in Moravian Slovakia brings a new perspective to the legend of St. Wenceslas. Against the shabby backdrop of village merrymaking, the legendary Prince Boleslav, a wine-cellar zombie, fights with his brother over the nature of Czech statehood and a plate of tomato beef stew. This film essay about the mythology of Bohemian and Moravian nationalism is a sarcastic depiction of meaningless tribal rituals that promote national identity but severely restrict “otherness”. The film sabotages the sanctity of folklore through the use of archaic film and video formats containing a number of mistakes and defects, a schmaltzy mix of brass band music, and the contrapuntal nature of the commentary. Detail: “The song Morava, Beautiful Land by the Bojané Band is dedicated to Saint Wenceslas, probably born in Prague, and on his way to visit his brother Boleslav. Wishing him an uneventful journey, a jaunty pace, and spring to his step.”

Moravia, Beautiful Land

Petr Šprincl
Czech Republic / 2015 / 30 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Family
A video diary exploring the most intimate and most universal. The film looks not only at the political climate within one’s own family, but also explores the boundaries between the public and the private in the age of the internet. This vivid proof of the lack of comprehension between the right and the left does not provide a political analysis, but rather offers one generation’s view of a confused era. “Those stupid kids go on hunger strike against the communists, and their dissident friends think the vice premier is a punk and call him ‘duke’…” The words of Ivan Hoffman, who doesn’t play the guitar much anymore, since there is nothing to play and no one to play to.

Family

Apolena Rychlíková
Czech Republic / 2013 / 64 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Kiruna – A Brand New World
Apocalyptic depiction of an area literally engulfed by the mining industry is presented in this documentary that observes the eponymous northern Swedish city, part of which was abandoned due to activities in the nearby iron mine. The mining company’s management decided not to halt profitable mining activities and instead made the decision to move the residents of the threatened district. Using footage shot in the city inside the Arctic Circle and directly in the mines, the director has uncovered subtle film imagery, and using the stories of three protagonists now living in a bizarre inter-time, imaginatively addresses the topics of resettlement, tradition, and respect for a particular location. “The dystopian story of Kiruna is about lost people looking for a home in an uprooted city. It shows the dark side of the advanced society, whether in Sweden or the Czech Republic.” G. Stocklassa
personal program

Kiruna – A Brand New World

Greta Stocklassa
Czech Republic / 2019 / 87 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech 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
King Does Nothing
“I don’t do anything on Sundays”, improvises Petr Král on the winners’ platform of a deserted velodrome. A fluid portrait of a poet in motion between dreaming and presence, between Paris and Prague, between a velodrome and eternity. This situational documentary offers a sketch of an active and inspirational person who continues to base his art on wonder as the core of a philosophical debate with the world, man, and dreams. Doing nothing: the ability to stop, wonder, and enjoy; elitism as the ability to talk with people and inspire them.

King Does Nothing

Jan Gogola ml.
Czech Republic / 2012 / 52 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
#sandrainuganda
A Czech NGO invited Sandra Kisić, a twenty-six-year old influencer of Bosnian origin, to come to Uganda. She spent ten days in and about the town of Kabala. Besides the local citizens, she was accompanied by a Dutch volunteer who already was on her umpteenth mission. Sandra, on the other hand, saw poverty and technological backwardness for the first time in reality, not just on her cell phone that she practically did not put down. The director captures the clash of seemingly remote, yet equivalent worlds facing up global challenges as an impartial observer to emphasize numerous tragicomic paradoxes. “Instant soup can warm you up, but it won’t give you strength. We can look at Instagram in a similar way, or we can use it as a medium that can present the ‘old school documentary film’ to the younger audience.” F. Remunda
personal program

#sandrainuganda

Filip Remunda
Czech Republic / 2019 / 70 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Eugenic Minds
The history of one idea with monstrous consequences, presented in the style of old newsreels and interspersed with quotes from Patrik Ouředník’s Europeana. Archival footage is combined with animation as a kindly narrator takes us on a journey from the idea of cultivating a “better human race” all the way to the gas chambers. “Some historians say that the 20th century began when people learned they were descended from apes. And some people claimed that they are less descended from apes than others...” – Patrik Ouředník, Europeana

Eugenic Minds

Pavel Štingl
Czech Republic, Slovakia / 2013 / 75 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Show!
A surprisingly intimate portrait of how the dream of running one’s own business can take on monstrous contours. Managed by the father of one of the singers, over the course of five years the girl band 5Angels had reached the gates of pop fame. But it is a path paved not only with the songs of Michal David, but also with the dogged determination of a man who loses any notion of where his role as manager ends and his role as parent begins. An emotionally moved Karel Gott, five angelic girls, and one overly involved father, thanks to whom the behind-the-scenes pre-Christmas atmosphere melts away just as rapidly as the fat should disappear from the belly. “A singer can’t be a lard bucket!”

Show!

Bohdan Bláhovec
Czech Republic / 2013 / 69 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
Aktuálně.cz
Respekt