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25th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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City Hall
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City Hall
City Hall
City Hall
City Hall
City Hall
City Hall

City Hall

director: Frederick Wiseman
original title: City Hall
country: United States
year: 2020
running time: 275 min.

synopsis

This observational film provides a detailed insight into the daily work of the administration of Boston City Hall in Massachusetts and the activities of the city’s mayor Marty Walsh. Representatives' meetings, meetings with citizens, and fieldwork by individual employees reflect the difficulties that affect not only Boston but the entire United States. The issues of racial inequality, homelessness, poverty trafficking, and climate change are reflected in the specific steps of the city administration. The complex picture of an important social institution illustrates the difficulties faced by local democratically minded authorities during the Trump era.


„I made City Hall to illustrate why government is necessary for people to successfully live together.“ F. Wiseman

biography

Frederick Wiseman (1930) is an American filmmaker, documentary filmmaker, and theater director. He focuses on the critical portrayal of American institutions and society. A characteristic feature of his work is his observational style and dramatic structure. In 2014, he received the White Lion in Venice for his life's work.

more about film

director: Frederick Wiseman
producer: Karen Konicek, Frederick Wiseman
photography: John Davey
editing: Frederick Wiseman
sound: Frederick Wiseman

other films in the section

Dark Suns
The murders, which have steadily been on the rise since the 1990s, form the subject matter of this epic documentary depicting the horrific scale of violence in a crime-stricken, Mexican society riddled with corruption. The ghost-like appearance of the overall picture is reinforced by the chosen black-and-white material and the division of the film into chapters, capturing with almost anthropological consistency a series of testimonies from the bloody history of the country. The sun shines on the horror: the search for the kidnapped, raped, and murdered women and missing students, the murder of a photojournalist who pointed out the links between politicians and criminal cartels, the uncovering of mass graves on private sites.

Dark Suns

Julien Elie
Canada / 2018 / 154 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
Honeyland
An ageing beekeeper in the rural Macedonian mountains strives to maintain the tradition of honest, environmentally friendly beekeeping. Her quiet everyday life – caring for the colony and selling honey in a nearby town, the untiring care of her mother, living off their farm without electricity – is interrupted by the arrival of nomadic beekeepers, who perceive nature primarily as an opportunity for profit, a way to break free from their poverty. The filmmakers spent three years with the heroine of the film, shooting over four hundred hours of material which became the basis of this melancholy environmental appeal, lyrically depicting the immaculate beauty of nature.

Honeyland

Ljubomir Stefanov, Tamara Kotevska
Macedonia / 2019 / 85 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
Four Seasons and Autumn
Multi-talented artist and Czech native Jiří Synek (1921-2017), known to readers as František Listopad, spent most of his life in Portugal, where he performed under the name Jorge. He was a poet, translator, theater and film director, organizer, and teacher, and as such had a large influence on Portuguese cultural life. He had a significant role in building the Portuguese television and film school. He also wrote continuously, and his poems and prose are an exceptional testimony to the melancholy of exile. The documentary contains revealing archival recordings and poetic sequences, presenting Listopad through his ideas and life philosophy.

Four Seasons and Autumn

Pedro Sena Nunes
Portugal / 2018 / 90 min.
section: Constellations
Central European Premiere
A Stranger
Mikel, director of the film, along with the protagonist Mathias, are childhood friends, nevertheless due to the time that has elapsed, the former finds that he knows hardly anything about the latter. The mad circumstances leading up to a fatal twist in their lives makes them shoot a documentary reconstruction about the process that turns into a very personal portrayal of a man who was made to live a double life against his will, the border between each one of them being as thin as a line drawn between victim and perpetrator in a ruthless criminal underworld. More than to the criminal plot though, attention is turned to stubborn attempts of a person dragged down by a spiral of serious problems while being able to wear a mask of seemingly happy and steady life.

A Stranger

Mikel Cee Karlsson
Sweden, Finland / 2019 / 99 min.
section: Constellations
East European Premiere
Bulletproof
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)
personal program

Bulletproof

Todd Chandler
United States / 2020 / 83 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
Present. Perfect.
Streaming 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.

Present. Perfect.

Shengze Zhu
United States, Hong Kong SAR China / 2019 / 124 min.
section: Constellations
East European Premiere
Searching Eva
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.

Searching Eva

Pia Hellenthal
Germany / 2019 / 84 min.
section: Constellations
East European Premiere
A Moon for My Father
The body as a material sculpting object and abstract unity of functions. The body as a part of early traumas, ideological rejection, political censorship, persistence and ephemerality. The body as a concept of organization of extensive natural communities. The body as an empty shrine for further artistic use. This audiovisual essay in letters by Iranian filmmaker and British sculptor is a dreamful, intimate dialogue, discourse on the country’s fate following the Islamic revolution, on family and a desire to perfect the female body devastated by malignant disease. A film conversation on the artistic reflection of beauty, memory, experience, fulfilment and inception of new life.

A Moon for My Father

Douglas White, Mania Akbari
United Kingdom, Iran / 2019 / 73 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
Movements of a Nearby Mountain
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

Sebastian Brameshuber
Austria, France / 2019 / 85 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
There will be no more night
Small silhouettes appear in the middle of the sights, observed from afar. They move quickly but they cannot escape the quick all-seeing eye. They are monitored all the time. Despite the apparent absence of the human element we are not watching an animated film or a computer game but authentic videos from Afghan, Iraqi and Syrian missions of American and French soldiers. The silhouettes belong to real people who are only a trigger pull away from death. This is the 21st-century warfare. Everyone who can be seen is under threat. Eléonore Weber used dehumanized images of dying for her chilling reflection of the modern form of war.Q&A with the director Eléonore Weber:  
personal program

There will be no more night

Eléonore Weber
France / 2020 / 75 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
L' ULTIMU SOGNU
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

Lisa Reboulleau
France / 2019 / 33 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
Irving Park
Irving Park is a neighborhood in Chicago where the film's four lead characters live together under one roof. But their cohabitation has a rather unusual arrangement – they are all aging gay men practicing dominant-submissive relationships. This time-lapse film gets right in the middle of the action of this abnormal household, and through a seemingly primordial provocation that seems only natural and commonplace, such as long conversations from the Lord and his naked slaves, the film enables a sense of family reciprocity, unsolvable crises and daily inhabitation. As one of the cast members admits: we all live in acceptable relationships of domination and submission.

Irving Park

Panagiotis Evangelidis
Greece / 2019 / 117 min.
section: Constellations
Central European Premiere
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