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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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The Judge over the Czech Way

The Judge over the Czech Way

director: Robert Sedláček
original title: Soud nad českou cestou
country: Czech Republic
year: 2019
running time: 84 min.

synopsis

The documentary reflects on thirty years of renewed democracy by way of a court hearing, whose subject matter. The film brings together actors in the roles of the plaintiff, defense counsel and judge with real people who represent Czech society as spectators, witnesses and members of the jury. The film is clearly inspired by a court hearing regarding a two-generation dispute filmed by Czechoslovak Television in 1966.

“The story of an idealism and naivety of one and rationality of others. Review of thirty years of a divided society, who did not know about it. ” R. Sedláček

biography

Robert Sedláček (1973) has graduated from documentary film-making at FAMU, Prague. The most noticeable of all his documentaries are the trilogy In Those Days (1999, 2000, 2002), Václav Bělohraddský: Nobody Is Listening (2004) and Miloš Zeman - a Politician’s Obituary and a Praise of Vysočina (2007). He shoots TV series, such as The Czech Century (2013) and La bohème (2017), as well as feature films, such as Men in Rut (2009), Long Live the Family! (2011) and Jan Palach (2018).

more about film

director: Robert Sedláček
producer: Dušan Mulíček
script: Ondřej Gabriel
photography: Jan Šuster
editing: Petr Pauer
sound: Robert Slezák

other films in the section

Lecture: Early Czech Films and Problems of Transformation
Restitution and Prostitution Comedy of the 1990sThe post-Velvet Revolution era in Czechoslovakia brought along a huge transformation of the society. Millions of citizens started their own businesses and tens of thousands received previously nationalized estates. Czech film, impacted by privatization of Prague’s Barrandov Studios and an advent of independent producers, was continuously mirroring this situation.A lecture by Kamil Fila full of video fragments from films like e.g. The Sun, Hay and Erotica, Playgirls, Even Greater Dumbass Than We Hoped For and many others. Length: 100 minutes
personal program

Lecture: Early Czech Films and Problems of Transformation

Kamil Fila
Czech Republic / 2019 / 100 min.
section: Studio 89
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
Two Roads
The Jedlička Institute music class currently known as The Tap Tap band was founded 21 years ago by Šimon Ornest to give people with handicaps an opportunity to succeed outside of their daily institutional care. An observing and attentive camera captured the evolution of the personalities of several of the musicians over the course of several years. The attractive energy of the film which is exceptional in its approach to its theme as it avoids the usual compassionate sentiment stems from the relationships among the musicians and between them and their band leader, the motor of the action, whose work improves the public image of people with handicaps in an unorthodox way. “Even if it was hard for me at first, I was trying to make a film in a similar way that the band members are putting up with their destinies: with no sentiment, pointless pity or political correctness involved, yet with a touch of pitch black humour.” R. Síbrt
personal program

Two Roads

Radovan Síbrt
Czech Republic / 2019 / 80 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Velvet FAMU
The film shows the activity of students of the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU) during the Velvet Revolution in 1989. Through the confrontation of archives, memories of former students – now figures of the cultural scene – and the input of current students, it examines the most important political initiative of the film school students in the late 1980s.
personal program

Velvet FAMU

Jan Rousek, Lea Petříková
Czech Republic / 2019 / 52 min.
section: Studio 89
World Premiere
Feral
Charlie Soukup is a Czech underground songwriter and Charter 77 signatory. He emigrated in the early 1980s, and has spent the last several decades living on his own in the Australian outback as a hermit and Buddhist. Documentary filmmaker Jiří Holba sought Soukup out on his large property in the bush, where he builds secret shelters and lives away from civilization. The film, which Holba shot entirely alone on location, presents spontaneous conversations and situations that fully capture Soukup’s distinctive charisma. The film’s series of monologues are a kind of stream of thoughts that are part mad rambling and part insightful observations on life. “I’m interested in a film as a poem, a touch of life, a wave of a magic wand, a sudden burst of a spark in the infinite darkness, a solution of a puzzle. No beginning, no end, everything in a compact space. And love.” J. Holba

Feral

Jiří Holba
Czech Republic / 2018 / 72 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Talks with TGM
Another contribution to the specific subgenre of animated history by the scriptwriter Pavel Kosatík. On 26 September 1928, Karel Čapek and President Masaryk meet in the gardens of Topolčianky castle to decide about the fate of their joint literary work. Their fiction film dialogue is based on quotes from a future book and their mutual correspondence, considerably freeing the original format of literary conversation from binding conventions. Čapek and Masaryk reproach and offend each other, but they also ask key personal questions and questions about the social functions of a writer and politician respectively.“It’s a film about two extraordinary men; it’s about the fact that emotions can be sometimes more powerful than ideas even in such exceptional people.” J. Červenka

Talks with TGM

Jakub Červenka
Czech Republic, Slovakia / 2018 / 80 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Czech Journal: Teaching War
This episode from the Czech Journal series examines how a military spirit is slowly returning to our society. Attempts to renew military training or compulsory military service and in general to prepare the nation for the next big war go hand in hand with society’s fear of the Russians, the Muslims, or whatever other “enemies”. This observational flight over the machine gun nest of Czech militarism becomes a grotesque, unsettling military parade. It can be considered not only to be a message about how easily people allow themselves to be manipulated into a state of paranoia by the media, but also a warning against the possibility that extremism will become a part of the regular school curriculum.“In order to identify the reason for which people prepare for war in the name of peace, I have started to portray the rising military spirit in a kaleidoscopic image.”

Czech Journal: Teaching War

Adéla Komrzý
Czech Republic / 2016 / 69 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Lost Coast
The film follows the lives of fishermen and vacationers who, through community efforts and friendly cooperation, seek to improve the otherwise deserted shores of the South Moravian reservoir Nové Mlýny, whether for a family holiday or leisurely fishing. Due to bureaucratic machinations, however, they are forced to sell off their summer homes and leave this place full of nostalgia and memories for good. Discreetly observational camerawork reveals the ordinary hardships, difficulties and joys of ordinary people and, with humorous insight alternating with melancholy contemplation, recounts the story of the conflict between living human experience and the cold state apparatus.  “’It’s a pity - one beautiful era has come to an end… ’ Fisherman Saša”. J. Zykmund
personal program

Lost Coast

Jiří Zykmund
Czech Republic / 2019 / 78 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Skokan
Director Petr Václav calls Skokan a documentary film with fairy-tale aspects, mainly because of its emphasis on authenticity in telling the fictional tale of a Romani recidivist in search of career opportunities at the Cannes film festival. The main character is played a by real ex-con, Julius Oračko, whom the filmmakers got out of prison on parole shortly before the start of filming. The film was shot with just a rough script, which was fine-tuned on the set. The scenes from Cannes were shot during the festival. The ending, which recalls the liberation of an enchanted princess, again feels like a fairy tale.“We improvised most of the scenes during filming – we used the places we were able to get into and the light that was available. Above all, I tried to capture the experiences of the main character,” P. Václav

Skokan

Petr Václav
Czech Republic, France / 2017 / 93 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Passengers
The film’s director sees her four protagonists as passengers along for the ride. She started to follow them just before they left the children’s home where they grew up, and spent the next six years following their lives. The return to a non-functioning family environment often also means the return to established patterns, lack of a future, and unstable social relations. The film is an indirect indictment of the country’s institutionalized care system, which manages to look after children as minors but fails to properly prepare them for the transition into adulthood.„What is it like to sit in the back seat of your life?“         

Passengers

Jana Boršková
Czech Republic / 2018 / 78 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Conspiracy 89
The rapid progression of the Velvet Revolution in November 1989 made some people wonder whether the collapse of communism in Czechoslovakia had not actually been organized from above. The documentary on conspiracy theories questioning the spontaneous course of events confronts the memories of witnesses with actual findings of historians.
personal program

Conspiracy 89

Andrea Sedláčková
Czech Republic / 2019 / 52 min.
section: Studio 89
World Premiere
Czech Commercial: The Rise of Capitalism
A dynamic overview of Czech television commercials since the time of late socialism until the capitalist economic boom in the nineties. In interviews with advertising creatives and examples of the best and worst of Czech production, the transformation of marketing practices in relation to socio-economic changes is revealed.
personal program

Czech Commercial: The Rise of Capitalism

Martin Jůza
Czech Republic / 2019 / 52 min.
section: Studio 89
World Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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