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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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ALONE
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ALONE
ALONE
ALONE
ALONE
ALONE

ALONE

director: Otakar Faifr
original title: SAMA
country: Czech Republic
year: 2017
running time: 63 min.

synopsis

Luba Skořepová has spent the past several years in solitude, struggling to stay an active theatre actress as long as she can. She invited the film crew into her home in order to shoot her daily life. Although the resulting film contains archival footage from her youth, it is definitely not a biographical film. The filmmakers focus on the present day, capturing scenes from the life of an old and solitary woman who possesses the will to live an active life but who is no longer important for others. Skořepová herself was behind the making of the film, through which she hopes to call attention to the subject of loneliness among old people.

“Luba wanted to film Alone in order to call attention to the subject of loneliness among old people. I am convinced that we have succeeded.” O. Faifr

biography

Debuting director Otakar Faifr (1980) previously worked in theatre himself. He is a co-founder of Geisslers Hofcomoedianten, which produces comedies inspired by baroque tradition and where he worked as dramaturge, producer and actor. Alone, shot in collaboration with Luba Skořepová, was funded by the Taťána Kuchařová Foundation – Beauty of Help and through crowdfunding.

more about film

director: Otakar Faifr
cast: Luba Skořepová
producer: Michal Novák, Otakar Faifr, Michal Rykovský, Věra Krincvajová, Anna Miklošová
script: Otakar Faifr
photography: Otakar Faifr
editing: Michal Novák
music: Jana Kirschner, Lumír Hrma
sound: Lumír Hrma, Martin Novák

other films in the section

Non-Parent
With her documentary study of the current form of the family, the director follows up on her earlier film Generation Singles. By looking at six different stories, she presents various views and opinions regarding partnership and parenthood – what does shared custody look like, how does a single parent raise children and how do lesbians? How do patchwork families function, how is it with adopted kids and how is it with people who have decided to never have any at all? In intimate on-camera interviews, the participants explain their decisions, however voluntary, and reflect on the causes and consequences of their (non-)functioning families or partnerships. “Changes in the concept of family are a sign of the times. Today there are many different forms of cohabitation. I am not judging whether the fact that the family is changing is good or bad. I am merely recording this trend because it affects us all.” J. Počtová

Non-Parent

Jana Počtová
Czech Republic / 2017 / 83 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Kings of Šumava
Josef Hasil, nicknamed King of the Bohemian Forest, was a cross-border smuggler between communist Czechoslovakia and the West, and later an agent for the CIC news service. His actions are the central theme of a film created using narrative animation resembling modern film noir, conversations with witnesses, and shots of the beauty of the mysterious Bohemian forests. In places, the documentary also takes on the qualities of a Hollywood action film, which contrasts with the burden of moral decisions of an individual and the relentless power of the totalitarian regime. Almost detective-like investigation is framed by the Bohemian myths and legends that are still told of the man today. "Kings of Šumava poetically explores the duality of hero, villain and reunites former Czech immigrant Vlasta Bukovsky and infamous Czech people smuggler Josef Hasil." K. Kelly
personal program

Kings of Šumava

Kris Kelly
Czech Republic, Ireland / 2019 / 70 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
Amerika
A sophisticated portrait of the Czech custom of “tramping” as seen through a personal lens, the film reconstructs and deconstructs the myth of the Czech dream of freedom. The metaphor of “America” serves as a space for personal projection for the main heroes, as well as a symbol of a lost paradise, whose lack of a time and space anchor gives a skewed impression of an indefinite feeling of absence. Lazily moving between a road movie, a pure romance movie, and an observational musical, questions begin to form: Is it a game? Is this serious? The unclear answer perfectly fits with the utopian world of tramping, where words like “fiction” and “reality” really have no place. DETAIL:“Yeah, like, but you have some idea of what America’s like, we don’t....” “But you have country there!” “Yeah, we have country....but your country is different than our country. It’s more romantic, I’m telling you...”

Amerika

Jan Foukal
Czech Republic / 2015 / 70 min.
section: Czech Joy
Solos for Members of Parliament
Twenty-one politicians reply to the question of how they view the Czech Republic’s future. The survey, built on the democratic principles of equality and freedom of speech, provides the same conditions for all of the interviewees and presents their uncensored and complete responses. However, this raw materials provides more testimony regarding the present than the future, as it unmasks the faces MPs and senators present to the public and demonstrates the rhetorical means they use to expand political power. Freedom is a double-edged sword depending on whose hands hold it. The same applies to media as a tool used for disseminating propaganda as well as for undermining it.“The film shows the people behind mandates, trying to approach them on the condition that they have to approach us.  To what extent is a different form of public meetings with politicians possible? To what extent are other worlds possible?” T. Bernátková

Solos for Members of Parliament

Tereza Bernátková
Czech Republic / 2018 / 34 min.
section: Czech Joy
World 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
Blind Gulliver
In Martin Ryšavý’s new film, the film medium becomes an analogue of the human mind. The artist uses it not only to organize memories, but also as a specific instrument of perception. The film features scenes from visits to Ukraine and Russia, a monologue by a Russian tarot card reader, and the director’s eye exam. Using focus, he creates parallels between the camera and the sight organ; with editing, a web of associations emerges in which personal memories intertwine with observations of public political and social events. Blind Gulliver is a film about searching for perspectives in all senses of the word.“I pass through the world with eyes wide open.”

Blind Gulliver

Martin Ryšavý
Czech Republic / 2016 / 105 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
The Sound is Innocent
In this documentary essay, the director personally presents the history of electronic and experimental music from the pre-war years to the present day. The film takes place in an almost dream-like space-time that serves both as a recording studio and as a museum of technological artifacts, which allow the filmmaker to take playful grasp of the concept of talking heads. The sonically and visually layered excursion to the beginnings of the efforts to liberate and conceptualize sound is also a debate about the forms, possibilities, and perspectives of the acoustic relations to the world, in which the voices of the past constantly overlap with the sounds of the future. „Music documentaries usually tend to build a monument to a composer, band or subculture… My aim was to treat this topic in an essay-like style, using all available means that film as an audiovisual medium offers.” J. Ožvold
personal program

The Sound is Innocent

Johana Ožvold
Czech Republic, France, Slovakia / 2019 / 68 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech 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
Bo Hai
In his new work of docufiction, Vietnamese-born Czech director Dužan Duong continues to explore the life of the Czech Republic’s Vietnamese community. Bo Hai takes an intimate look at a young man who helps out at his father’s mini-market. By showing everyday situations, the films introduces us to the life of young Vietnamese who have lived most of their life in the Czech Republic and are losing touch with the culture of their parents but at the same time are prevented from becoming fully-fledged members of Czech society. Filmed primarily using longer static shots in real-life settings, Bo Hai recalls the approach of contemporary cinematic realists. At the same time, it is also a personal statement about the director’s generation. “#FilmfromMini-market” D. Duong

Bo Hai

Dužan Duong
Czech Republic / 2017 / 26 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Talking About Adultery
In open testimonies by husbands, wives, and lovers, this highly stylized introspective fi m presents different forms of marriage and searches for the meaning of this institution in our post-consumerist society. Through a visually dominant text conversation between the central couple R. and B., the viewer gradually begins to identify with the stories of anonymous heroes who balance fulfillment of love and sexuality in relationships, cope with their frustration, or describe the rediscovered value of marriage. Metaphors and collages reflect the filmmaker’s perspective, and ultimately a surprising twist of life connected to the filming. “Infidelity is actually a boring topic, yet it can be quite telling about one.” B. Jíchová Tyson
personal program

Talking About Adultery

Bára Jíchová Tyson
Czech Republic, United States / 2019 / 72 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
Incoming
It’s 4903 km to the Czech town of Aš, but in Logar, Afghanistan, the main distance that the Czech team is trying to overcome is cultural. Talking heads ponder how to pass on know-how in a country wracked by 30 years of war, but more than once a siren tears the filmmakers and main protagonists back to reality, and there follows a far more dynamic spectacle. “Every day, we travel to hell. We put on vests and ballistic eyewear. We look like robots. We step out of those enormous vehicles like aliens.” In such a situation, taking off your helmet is an act of courage and humanity.

Incoming

Radim Špaček
Czech Republic / 2013 / 70 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Vana - The Biggest Race Is the Life Itself
The Great Pardubice Steeplechase, broken bones, clinical death. The extreme life of the mercurial jockey, trainer, and steeplechase cyborg Josef Váňa is marked by an obstinate devotion to horses, racing, and a determination to take on any challenge. His rough personality and often choleric behaviour resonate with passion and business strategy. After a 15-year hiatus, the iron will of this legend of socialist racing tracks managed a comeback (even without the mythical Železník) and again took first place.  

Vana - The Biggest Race Is the Life Itself

Jakub Wagner
Czech Republic / 2012 / 86 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
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Český rozhlas
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