24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival
director: Shengze Zhu
original title: Wan mei xian zai shi
running time: 124 min.
synopsisStreaming has become an unprecedented hit in China with a commercial value in the billions. In 2017, more than 427 million people could not get by without sharing the details of their pre-camera privacy. Whether it be an incompetent street dancer, an adult man suffering from a genetic disorder that makes him look like a child, or a slacker working in an underwear factory. The director watched dozens of these “newsmakers” and from more than 800 hours of absolute mundanity, she put together a remarkable collective portrait of a generation for whom offline and online worlds are inextricably linked, showing a fascinating testimony about the pursuit of rapid success and the loneliness and mere killing of time.
biographyShengzhe Zhu (1987), together with Zheng Fan Yang, founded the production company BURN THE FILM. In her documentary debut, Xujiao [Out of Focus] (2014) , she viewed the life of an immigrant child through a photographic prism. In You yi nian [Another Year] (2016), she explored the consequences of a wild shift of the Chinese population from rural to urban.
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other films in the section
Three places and three moments spent with the Geneva Golden Youth. For his documentary, the director organized a workshop with students from the prestigious HEAD School of Art and Design in Geneva to get to know the young men and women who are well-accustomed to a life of luxury and who like to kill time having long discussions in the nightclub, snorting cocaine and sipping champagne. The director sees the film as a highly subjective vision, a kind of pseudo-ethnological work in which some formal elements show hints of irony. Here he acts as an amused moralist and observer trying to break into a world riddled with lavish parties, drugs and all-pervasive vanity.
France, Switzerland / 2019 / 31 min.
This film has a 350 limit of views.The film opens up the topic of safety in public American high schools in response to the country’s frequent school shootings committed by armed students. While sports games, homecoming, and prom remain traditional high school rituals as always, a new set rituals have become commonplace: school lockdown drills, bag checks when entering the school, and even firearm training for teachers. The film approaches the deep, systemic problem of mass murders caused by racial and economic inequality among adolescents in American society, while also exploring the unimaginable fear for many European viewers that you can actually get shot in math class. “We’re doing everything we can to harden the infrastructure to keep people from getting in, but what keeps me up at night is that the wolf is in the henhouse. The threat always comes from inside.“ Bulletproof, (15:30–15:50)
United States / 2020 / 83 min.
A sensitive portrait of Daniel Spoerri that takes viewers not only to the workroom of this versatile artist, but also to his childhood spent in Romania where his father fell victim to the Jewish pogrom. In addition to Spoerri himself, his assemblages speak to them, breathing new life into various objects. They enhance the theme of rebirth around which the director constructed her own personal, fine-tuned film. - Daniel Spoerri (1930) is a Swiss visual artist and writer born in Romania. He is famous for his snare-pictures (tableau pièges), in which he places groups of objects found in chance positions onto a plane surface so that the resulting object can be hung up like a painting.
This Movie is a Gift
Austria / 2019 / 72 min.
East European Premiere
A documentary portrait of the Portuguese filmmaker Pedro Costa is a contemporary audiovisual reflection on the meanings that objects, locations and sounds in films carry. The filmography of the director of films such as House of Lava, Bones, In Vanda’s Room, and Colossal Youth is explored using not only his own words and clips from his movie trailers, but also a melancholic atmosphere and experiments with image and sound. Despite occasional glimpses into Costa’s office, he remains an enigmatic personality, which we know only through his work and creative processes. How he thinks, what he feels, and how he lives must be derived from his work.
Portugal / 2019 / 65 min.
Deep inside the wild nature of Corsica, a woman leads her lonesome life, with menacing forebodings of the future passing through her dreams. She keeps entering the forest, hunting after wildlife and in the eyes of her dead pray, she can see faces of people doomed to pass away soon. The locals think about her as an insane beldam, turning away from her except for a shepherd who had already found out for himself that her gift of telling fortunes is real. A dark film filled with mysterious atmosphere lets the audience into the world of island legends, folk tales and rural superstitions. The film also makes observations on the everyday work of shepherds in the open nature, meanwhile involuntarily contemplating topics posed beyond the horizons of human understanding.
L' ULTIMU SOGNU
France / 2019 / 33 min.
In an abandoned industrial zone at the foot of the Austrian Alps, a Nigerian mechanic lives and works by dismantling old cars and selling their individual parts, mainly to Eastern Europe and Africa. The documentary captures him during his work and while taking meditative breaks with a cigarette overlooking Erzberg Mountain, where iron ore has been mined since ancient Rome. The hero's isolated microcosm is observed at the very edge of economic activity, yet it is inextricably linked to global economic relations in Europe and Africa, the mining of resources, and the exploitation of profits.
Movements of a Nearby Mountain
Austria, France / 2019 / 85 min.
On March 20, 1995, members of the Japanese Aum Shinrikyo religious cult released deadly sarin gas in five Tokyo subway stations. Twelve people died. Among the hundreds of others who suffered long-term complications was the film's director Atsushi Sakahara. After more than twenty years, he decided to find out who was behind the attacks. He managed to convince a man who is still associated with the active movement to appear in a film. Through inconsequential conversation, the filmmaker slowly gains his trust so that he can confront him about the trauma that he has caused him. An intimate debate about the banality and inconspicuousness of evil shows how long the road to truth and redemption can be. “I promised my high school classmate that I would become a respected director. But he committed suicide, and I blamed myself for not being able to stop him. For the next thirty years, I tried to keep my promise. After the sarin attack, my determination grew even stronger.” A. Sakahara
Me and the Cult Leader - A Modern Report on the Banality of Evil
Japan / 2020 / 114 min.
East European Premiere
Liberal-minded twenty-five-year-old Eva lives in Berlin, and none of the words used to describe her alternative life are entirely accurate. She is a wanderer, poet, lesbian, prostitute, virgin, housewife, drug addict, and model who decided at age fourteen that privacy was an outdated concept. Thanks to social networks, which she uses to permanently present herself to the public, we see primarily those characteristics by which she defines herself in opposition to majority society: an absolute openness in terms of showing physicality, sexuality, and drug use. Searching Eva is not just about the search for a woman whose body (and soul) have become a public spectacle; it is a multilayered film essay that explores female identity as such.
Germany / 2019 / 84 min.
East European Premiere
This autobiographical film shot in the form of a diary captures the everyday life and woes of an old man with many successes under his belt and a richly lived past, but whose zest for life is slowly beginning to fade away. Jørgen Leth survived a devastating earthquake in Haiti, but his legs have not served him well since and every step he takes is an arduous task. He travels to Laos with a team of filmmakers and his adult children where he plans a project with help from the local people to capture the pristine nature of the country. During the project’s pre-production phase, he revisits the past to speak about his own life story, taking a poetic approach as he answers the burning question: is it still possible to find beauty and happiness if one is barely able to put on his own shoes? “I think that happiness, or what appears to be happiness, exists in the simple life. What some might view as cheating.” I Walk (00:58:50–00:59:01)
Denmark / 2019 / 90 min.
A genre hybrid film by Vincent Boy Kars is a docu-dramatic experiment – the main character, Leyla, is supposed to play key scenes from her life. The acted parts of the film explore Leyla’s relationships with her parents and boyfriend – played by hired actors – and the art of dance she has been studying. More emphasis, however, is placed on the parts between the scenes when Boy Kars and Leyla discuss her life and the ways to present it. Not only does Leyla relive her memories but she also has re-enact them again and again, always in another way, following the director’s instructions. The documentary highlights the constructive nature of documentary films and begs the question how drama helps us understand our own lives. “To me, this film is about developing your own way of filming. Sometimes I seem to create a new genre. I combine interesting elements of fiction and documentary, trying to develop an approach where acting and being come together.” V. Boy Kars
Vincent Boy Kars
Netherlands / 2020 / 90 min.
Central European Premiere
Art experimentation, image deconstruction, observation process. For over half a century now, the pioneers of video art Woody and Steina Vasulka have been exploring human memory, media memory and memory of art as an institution. A taste of life-long cohabitation of this partner and creative couple presents a personal story of a journey along places marked by their common fate: Brno, Prague, Reykjavik, New York and Buffalo. The odyssey of artistic fame of the living legends is put in contrast with their fragile social world and uncertain life perspectives. The heritage of video art is structured according to the texture of media of individual eras of film (35mm, video and hard disk). Fifty years of avant-garde saved on an external disk.
The Vasulka Effect
Czech Republic, Iceland, Sweden / 2019 / 87 min.
The Argentine Ministry of Justice encouraged research resulting in a thousand-page report on crimes against humanity committed during the military dictatorship in 1976–1983. The generally not very well-known content of the report can be heard from the mouth of the director who reads it in his car parked in front of twenty-five, mostly still functioning companies that used to denounce trade unionists and left-wing workers in exchange for their own profit. Illustratively brings evidence of thousands of missing people, hundreds of murders and countless cases of torture caused and links between dictatorship and capitalism. „The ruling paradigm in Argentine justice focused within the State itself, and not outside of it.“ J. Perel
Argentina / 2020 / 68 min.