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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Paradise on Earth
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Paradise on Earth
Paradise on Earth
Paradise on Earth
Paradise on Earth

Paradise on Earth

director: Jaro Vojtek
original title: Raj na zemi
country: Slovakia
year: 2019
running time: 78 min.

synopsis

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

biography

Slovak documentary filmmaker Jaro Vojtek (1968) graduated from the Film and Television Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. His debut, My zdes (2005), was screened in the documentary competition at the Karlovy Vary IFF and won many other awards. In 2009, he won the award for Best Eastern European Documentary Film for his film Border.

more about film

director: Jaro Vojtek
cast: Andrej Bán
producer: Zora Jaurová, Mátyás Prikler
script: Marek Leščák, Jaro Vojtek
photography: Jaro Vojtek
editing: Peter Harum ASFS
music: Michal Nejtek
sound: Richard Fűlek

other films in the section

Empty Horses
Mihály Kertész (1886-1962) made more than 150 films, most of them as Michael Curtiz in the United States. He remains known thanks to one of them - the melodrama Casablanca (1942). Gábor Bódy (1946-1985), on the other hand, devoted his short life spent in Hungary creating experimental films, and his filmography is little known to the general public. In this untraditional documentary, we listen in on a conversation between these two directors as they discuss their experience with film work and its sense from somewhere beyond the imaginary cinematic afterlife. An associative collage of excerpts from classic Hollywood movies and the filmmakers’ own avant-garde works evokes not only questions connected with the history and theory of film, but also opens the personal dramas and inner conflicts of their creators.  “Our aim was to imagine a fictional conversation between two film directors, both classical masters but from very different cinematic worlds, all brought to life with rich images of poetic associations.” P. Lichter 
personal program

Empty Horses

Péter Lichter
Hungary / 2019 / 67 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Under the Sun
Over the course of one year, this film follows the life of an ordinary Pyongyang family whose daughter was chosen to take part in one of the famous Korean “Spartakiads”. The ritualised explosions of colour and joy contrast sharply with pale everyday reality, which is not particularly terrible, but rather quite surreal, like a typical life as seen “through the looking glass”. The film portrays North Korea in probably the only possible way: as an unintentional situational tragicomedy. Precisely staged film scenes duplicate principles common for life in “the most beautiful country on the eastern side of the globe”: virtually horrifying selfstaging of the residents’ own lives.Detail:“Zin-mi, you have joined Children’s Union, what do you expect from your adult life?” “When joining the Children‘s Union,we enter to the adult life. And begin to think, what else shall you do for the Great Leader Kim Jong Un.”

Under the Sun

Vitaly Mansky
Czech Republic, Russia, Germany, North Korea, Latvia / 2015 / 106 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
António and Catarina
In one of the gloomy rooms in his flat, seventy-year-old Augusto casts shy glances at the camera behind which stands twenty-five year old Cristina, the film’s director. For three years she repeatedly visited him to record their interviews, during which they used the assumed names of António and Catarina. This game with identity, and mainly with the nature of their mutual relationship, is reflected in small talk, where the topics turn to diverse themes, including masturbation and gender stereotypes. Augusto/António is usually the one talking as well as the one in front of the camera, which records his image in dark details. Cristina/Catarina stands behind the camera and asks questions. “Drawn by the vigour of an old enchanting man, I made this film without knowing where it would take me.” C. Hanes

António and Catarina

Cristina Hanes
Portugal / 2017 / 40 min.
section: Between the Seas
East European 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
Abdul & Hamza
The feelings of rootlessness and life concerns that prey on thousands of African and Middle Eastern refugees migrating to Europe resonate in this minimalist documentary about two young Somali emigrants. On the path to a better future, they have found temporary shelter in an abandoned house in the mountains near the Serbian-Romanian border. The camera simulates the perspective of an inconspicuous impartial observer capturing moments that often lack any action, but are still full of internal tension arising from the feelings of uncertainty that the silently waiting men cannot escape.DETAIL:“My friend, everyone who has kids is a lucky man. And what’s the situation with your family? – My three children and my wife are waiting for me. It’s great that they are together.”

Abdul & Hamza

Marko Grba Singh
Serbia / 2015 / 49 min.
section: Between the Seas
Central European 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
Looking for Mr. Dice
Many years ago, the film’s director and the man nicknamed Mr. Dice were best friends. In a whirlwind of parties, the famous musician and the influential banker were carried on a wave of the euphoria of wild capitalism after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The bank, however, led by Mr. Dice, went bankrupt and he disappeared without a trace with the money that his friends and clients had entrusted to him. Here begins the documentary search that leads us on an adventure from Latvia to the heat of Africa and far beyond the crime, guilt, and betrayal. It is also a search for the sense of deep friendship and the struggle with common sense and conventional moral categories. "I hope the film makes the audience to think what it really means "a true friendship” when money gets involved, as well as shows an ordinary man’s struggle through the abstract glory of diamonds." K. Roga
personal program

Looking for Mr. Dice

Kaspars Roga
Latvia / 2019 / 79 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Extra-Terrestrial Ecologies (Retroflectors: the astronaut, the robot, the alien)
What new things can we learn about ecology from science fiction? According to this video essay by artist Ralo Mayer, quite a lot. A flow of thoughts and analogies inspired not only by such sci-fi films as The Martian, E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Silent Running, but also by Biosphere 2, a project simulating an enclosed ecosystem located far away in outer space, have led the artist to reevaluate the way in which ecology is currently considered.  For his new view of things, which relies more on a cosmic rather than an earthly perspective, the key concepts consist of humans as space travellers, robotic technologies, and extraterrestrials as apparitions whom we suspect exist in distant star systems."Ecology in outer space, far from our home planet, is literally unheimlich–uncanny, or better: unsettling. After years of research about Biosphere 2, I met E. T. & we talked Haraway in a Redwood forest." R. Mayer

Extra-Terrestrial Ecologies (Retroflectors: the astronaut, the robot, the alien)

Ralo Mayer
Austria / 2018 / 43 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Steam on the River
Like the steam that silently appears and then disappears over a flowing river, the life of every human is just as fleeting, and this particularly applies in the case of artists. The transience of their fame is the main topic of this documentary, which provides a glimpse into the lives of three ageing jazzmen: trumpeter Laco Deczi, saxophonist Ľubomír Tamaškovič, and contrabass player Ján Jankeje, who fled from the Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia to the West, where their stars shone alongside those of the world’s famous musicians. The reflective melancholy mood of the film, capturing the mist of fame just before it dissipates, is reflected in the overall relaxed, contemplative rhythm of the narrative.DETAIL:“Worldly fame – empty name... When the mist rises off the water, it exists only briefly and then disappears. The same applies to us humans. Each one of us spends some time here... and it is a bad idea to be in a hurry.”

Steam on the River

Filip Remunda, Robert Kirchhoff
Slovakia, Czech Republic / 2015 / 90 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Notorious Deeds
October 1989. A high school student in Bucharest is apprehended for pasting up anti-regime posters and is interred in a secret police building for a number of days. As a result, his family, loved ones, friends, and schoolmates are affected by restrictions. Twenty years later at their class reunion, an excursion begins into memories of that moment of shock etched forever into memory, but for each somewhat differently. Director Gabriel Tempea is more interested in exploring the subjective interpretation from the point of view of “talking heads” than the actual facts. A postmodern form of oral history based on the testimonies of those who have most of their lives ahead of them.“Based on personal, subjective and painstakingly detailed recollections of an exceptional occurrence, I attempted to provide a glimpse at the bigger picture of  atroubled historical period.” Gabriel Tempea

Notorious Deeds

Gabriel Tempea
Romania, Austria / 2015 / 68 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
TIMEBOX
Professor Ioan-Matei Agapi, an 80-year-old photographer and cameraman from Iași, Romania, owns a unique collection of 16mm films and photographs documenting almost fifty years of the city’s history. His daughter, also a filmmaker, has decided to make a film about her father's archives. In the unconventional surroundings of his old apartment, he reminisces about the past until one day Ioan is informed that he must leave or be evicted from home where he has spent the past 40 years. Ioan’s years of work suddenly transform into a huge burden, and the film unexpectedly changes into drama in which conflicts with city officials reveal old and hidden conflicts within the family. "The deepest thing I learned whilst doing this film is that we are stronger than we think we are." N. Agapi 

TIMEBOX

Nora Agapi
Romania / 2018 / 69 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
Ministerstvo kultury
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