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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

Viva Video, Video Viva
Today, analogue video is attractive primarily thanks to the distinctive aesthetic quality of its pixelated image and raster errors. But for Czech artists who first explored the possibilities offered by video art in the late 1980s, this medium represented a path towards freedom. Through a portrait of her grandfather Radek Pilař, one of the pioneers of Czech video art, the director explores her own legacy of imperative creative fascination. Her film’s main story, i.e., the process of reconstructing the 1989 exhibition Video Day, contrasts this enchantment with life in the final days of the totalitarian regime, which different sharply with the adventures of those who decided to emigrate – whom the filmmaker also visits in order to discover forgotten works, get to know their creators, and re-establish broken ties.  “’The computers, which are here with me, quietly tell me they want me to understand them, to live with them. Because we will live with them. But either they’re devils, or they will be gods.’ Radek Pilař.” A. Komrzý
personal program

Viva Video, Video Viva

Adéla Komrzý
Czech Republic / 2018 / 85 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Family
A video diary exploring the most intimate and most universal. The film looks not only at the political climate within one’s own family, but also explores the boundaries between the public and the private in the age of the internet. This vivid proof of the lack of comprehension between the right and the left does not provide a political analysis, but rather offers one generation’s view of a confused era. “Those stupid kids go on hunger strike against the communists, and their dissident friends think the vice premier is a punk and call him ‘duke’…” The words of Ivan Hoffman, who doesn’t play the guitar much anymore, since there is nothing to play and no one to play to.

Family

Apolena Rychlíková
Czech Republic / 2013 / 64 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
FC Roma
A chronicle of the FC Roma football club, whose members have to persuade the other - “gadjo” - teams in the third league to play against them, transforms into an excursion through the various types of everyday Czech xenophobia. The filmmakers’ inconspicuous, observational approach gives a voice to the charismatic coaches, who, with a healthy ironic worldview, comment on a society that gives them virtually no chance. The dialogue of the various protagonists is the most prominent feature of this stirring, yet hopeless sounding documentary. Racism proves to be absurd, often unintentionally comical, but often also chilling.“Hitler doesn’t belong on the playing field.”

FC Roma

Tomáš Bojar, Rozálie Kohoutová
Czech Republic / 2016 / 76 min.
section: Czech Joy
Helena's Law
Documentary filmmaker Petra Nesvačilová’s study of the famous “Berdych Gang” focuses on police officer Helena Kahnová, but she also interviews other actors in the case, including the accused and the convicted. The resulting film is a mosaic that says less about the case or its background than it does about the people who exist on the edge of the law, and about their thoughts and motivations. Nesvačilová herself comes into contact with the criminal underworld and becomes an actor in her own film. She must decide whether it is safe to meet certain people, which leads her to consider questions related to the essence of crime and of good and evil in general.“I thought I was shooting a portrait of a brave police woman, but in the end I found myself in places that I had always been afraid of and that I only knew from the movies. The underworld. And now I see that this underworld is all around us – sometimes very, very close.”

Helena's Law

Petra Nesvačilová
Czech Republic / 2016 / 80 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Burning
An intimate portrait of a director who almost involuntarily devoted her life to film, and who was willing to sacrifice three marriages and motherhood to the cult filmmaking. The film portrays Drahomíra Vihanová as a hard-headed shaman of images who shares her religion from its early days of being damned by the regime for Zabitá neděle (Squandered Sunday, 1969) to the public execution of Zpráva o putování studentů Petra a Jakuba (The Pilgrimage of Students Peter and Jacob, 2002). An existential essay that, in contradictions and paradoxes, fluctuates between documentary and acted film, between adoration, forgetting, and cats.

Burning

Miroslav Janek
Czech Republic / 2012 / 57 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech 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
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
My Name is Hungry Buffalo
Jan calls himself Buffalo. He loves cowboys, he’s blind, and may lose his hearing. Pavel Jurda’s documentary follows his journey to America to visit the chief of the Navajo tribe, who wants to perform a ritual to help his hearing. The film is full of unpretentious humor thanks to Jan’s charisma. In the USA, he’s like the Don Quixote of the Wild West - a naive adventurer in a world that is much more ordinary than his imagination. This observational, but not standoffish, film is also an example of how the medium of film can relate to blind people by constantly showing the difference between what Jan perceives and what we actually see.“The film is not about blindness, even if the main character is blind. It is about yearning for life. ‘We are all handicapped in some way,’ says a guy during a journey that starts with an accident and ends in triumph.”

My Name is Hungry Buffalo

Pavel Jurda
Czech Republic / 2016 / 83 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Attention Economy: 39 Minutes After the Presidential Election
Petr Salaba’s film is a mosaic of videos that use different perspectives to record the actors and witnesses of the incident widely discussed in the media and related to re-electing Miloš Zeman the President of the Czech Republic at the end of January 2018. The film image, divided into several frames with parallel events, is a voyeuristic view of the exacerbated situation that occurred shortly after Zeman’s press conference at the congress Top Hotel in Prague. The journalists and film documentarists present at the press conference got into conflict with Zeman’s aggressive supporters after a man collapsed in the lounge. “We have to find the positive Nash equilibrium. wikipedia.org/wiki/Nash_equilibrium” P. Salaba

Attention Economy: 39 Minutes After the Presidential Election

Petr Salaba
Czech Republic / 2018 / 8 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
The Dangerous World of Doctor Doleček (Czech version)
Kristýna Bartošová has approached the genre of documentary film portraits as a battlefield. This director, who has Bosnian roots, chose to film the story of the Czech doctor Rajko Doleček, who is a very enthusiastic defender of Ratko Mladić, the Serbian general accused of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia. In this undeniably moving work, shot with a hand-held camera with no attempt to conceal the presence of the film’s creators, the director, at first cautiously, but with increasing intensity, confronts Doleček about his controversial stance. At the same time, she must come to terms with the doctor’s unshakeable opinion.DETAIL:“I wanted to present a portrait of someone who denies genocide. When I first met Doleček, I thought it would be easy to condemn him. But is it not always easier to judge someone you do not know personally?”

The Dangerous World of Doctor Doleček (Czech version)

Kristýna Bartošová
Czech Republic / 2015 / 72 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
The Prison of Art
“Most prisoners like boxes.” The constrained nature of prisons opens up an infinitude of fantasies and free artistic expression. Environment determines means of expression. A project of confrontation and dialogue with artists from the outside shows radical diff erences and a conspiratory divergence from social norms. This essay on imaginary and physical freedom introduces us to the extreme thoughts of our own boundaries and limitations.  

The Prison of Art

Radovan Síbrt
Czech Republic / 2012 / 87 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
Czech Journal: The Limits of Work
Journalist Saša Uhlová spent six months exploring working conditions at the worst-paid jobs in the Czech Republic. She spent several weeks in a hospital washroom, at a poultry plant, behind a cash register and at a waste sorting facility. Her experience formed the basis for a very personal series of reports about people working invisible jobs under shocking conditions, published on the A2larm.cz website. Apolena Rychlíková has turned these articles into a documentary film consisting of scenes shot at Uhlová’s home and of video footage taken at her places of work, accompanied by Uhlová’s read commentary.“I spent several months close to my protagonist, who never once placed herself above those whose lives she has tried to show us. Perhaps this film of our era will, with time, reach even those whom it affects.” A. Rychlíková

Czech Journal: The Limits of Work

Apolena Rychlíková
Czech Republic / 2017 / 70 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
Aktuálně.cz
Respekt