24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival
synopsisA 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.
biographyJúlio Alves (1971) has experience directing commercials as well as short fiction, animation and documentary films. His feature-length documentaries about art and life in contemporary Portugal have been presented at festivals such as DocLisboa. He is a co-founder of the One Shot Film Festival. The film Sacavém is based on his dissertation project.
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|sound:||João Alves, Hugo Leitão|
other films in the section
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.
United States, Hong Kong SAR China / 2019 / 124 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.
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.
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
This film has a 700 limit of views. Though China doesn't celebrate Christmas, it’s exactly where the magic of Christmas comes from. Yiwu City District is home to more than 600 factories that make glittering bulbs, flashing snowmen, and other festive decorations. People from all over the country flock to Yiwu to land a good-paying job, and they leave their families, college, and cultural traditions behind just so they can buy the latest iPhone with the money they earn. The film explores their typical day on the job and private lives with a pinch of laconic humour. And with the help of perceptive observation, the many paradoxes of a globalised world and a modernising communist China are brought to the fore. “I wanted it to be a photogenic and illustrative story that could be told in an observational and organic way without too much manipulation of the narrative, but also an emotionally relevant story for the Western world.” M. Kovačević
Merry Christmas, Yiwu
Sweden, Serbia, France, Germany, Belgium, Qatar / 2020 / 94 min.
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.
“Krāslava Bridge is the first bridge over the river Daugava in the territory of Latvia — a gate for the Daugava river from Belarus to Latvia” says the opening title of the film in which a strategically built and historically significant construction holds a number of different meanings. An analytical documentary immortalised in a series of suggestive, black-and-white, static shots and sounds brings us closer to the life of the bridge in all its heaviness and lightness from various angles: through the eternally flowing river it arches over, we witness the endless movement of car traffic and pedestrians walking between two river banks as well as the call of the wild within close proximity to the manifestations of human civilisation, for which it serves as a symbolic backdrop. "The special thing about the documentary is the fact that we shot it on the leftovers of a 21-year-old 35mm negative. And it really worked. It looks great.” L. Pakalniņa
The First Bridge
Latvia / 2020 / 11 min.
This film has a 500 limit of views. Somewhere between North and South America, capitalism and communism, and the Soviet Union and the United States lies Cuba — regarded as a historical, geographical, and cultural intersection of various utopian visions. Although these visions have yet to be fulfilled, the people of Havana, whom Hubert Sauper chose as his guide, still cleave to them and continue to believe the stories of their ancestors. This spontaneous and melancholic travel essay confronts the unadorned reality of the impoverished island state and explores the myths its people live by. And despite the country’s long history of foreign influence, oppression, and political upheavals, these myths have ensured that the people of Cuba never lose their inner freedom. “In Epicentro, I tried to reflect on these amazing and opposing terms, ‘utopia’ and ‘dystopia’, and thereby focused on Cuban society as a case study.” H. Sauper
France, United States, Austria / 2020 / 107 min.
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.
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
United States / 2020 / 275 min.
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.
There will be no more night
France / 2020 / 75 min.