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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Free to Rock
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Free to Rock
Free to Rock
Free to Rock
Free to Rock
Free to Rock

Free to Rock

director: Jim Brown
original title: Free to Rock
country: United States
year: 2017
running time: 61 min.

synopsis

How the pleasure from the sound of electric guitars and rock and roll helped break down Communist power in the Soviet Union. During the Cold War, the desire of thousands of amateur and underground bands for Western-style freedom became a nonviolent opposition force. Even the CIA and the KGB understood the power of rock and roll. The film maps the Soviet music scene from 1955 to 1991 from an American perspective.

biography

Jim Brown (1950) is best known for his music documentaries, on which he has collaborated with many leading musicians from around the world. He has received numerous awards for his work, including four Emmys, most recently in 2007 for Pete Seeger: The Power of Song.

more about film

director: Jim Brown
producer: Doug Yeager, Jim Brown, Nick Binkley, Stas Namin
script: Doug Yeager, Nick Binkley, Valery Saifudinov
photography: Jim Brown, Peter Pilafian, Masha Keder, Tevo Diaz, Dylan Thuraz
editing: Pat Murphy, Paul Petrissans, Jason L. Pollard
sound: Heather Smith

other films in the section

Lost Tune
This is both a short documentary and an experimental drone composition from Bangladesh. A large group of harmonium players hold long tones, their vibrations combining to create a hypnotic sound field. The protest action draws attention to legal restrictions, which in present-day Bangladesh have led to the ban on and disappearance of the traditional instrument of independents, the harmonium.
personal program

Lost Tune

Reetu Sattar
Bangladesh / 2018 / 13 min.
section: Siren Test
East European Premiere
The Goodiepal Equation
A fascinating portrait of an artist who donated all his belongings to the Danish National Gallery. Goodiepal combines music, performance and his own life into a crazy and uncompromising, but also loving and logical, answer to today’s world. Hidden beneath the outer layer of absurdity lie well-considered viewpoints and a social and environmental sensibility.

The Goodiepal Equation

Sami Sänpäkkilä
Denmark, Finland / 2017 / 70 min.
section: Siren Test
International Premiere
A Strange Show Business: Normalization, Pop, and Propaganda in Czechoslovakia, 1969–1979
This workshop by Pavel Klusák is a journey into the Normalization-era 1970s, with a focus on that part of popular culture that fulfilled the regime’s propagandistic needs. This chapter of modern Czechoslovak history remains current today as historical experience, warning, and grotesque. The audiovisual archives are presented by music journalist Pavel Klusák.

A Strange Show Business: Normalization, Pop, and Propaganda in Czechoslovakia, 1969–1979

80 min.
section: Siren Test
MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A.
Producer and singer M. I. A., who is originally from Sri Lanka, covers the subjects of immigration, a non-Western view of Western society, and minority rights in her music. The film uses her personal video diary and comments on the frequent accusations that the identity of Maya Arulpragasam is partially a construct, 

MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A.

Stephen Loveridge
Sri Lanka, United States, United Kingdom / 2018 / 95 min.
section: Siren Test
Czech Premiere
Arcadia
100 years of archival footage in the guise of an experimental film. The magic, charm, and disorder of rural life. Cinematic memories of folk festivals, masked processions, sowing, and harvesting. The electro-acoustic music helps to define this film essay showing the beauty, brutality, and madness of rural Britain.

Arcadia

Paul Wright
United Kingdom / 2017 / 78 min.
section: Siren Test
East European Premiere
Ryuichi Sakamoto: CODA
A portrait of a composer who is considered the founder of modern pop music in Japan, and who is also a legend of international film music (The Last Emperor, Little Buddha, The Revenant). We are reminded of the fragility of the world by Sakamoto’s cancer and by the destruction in the wake of the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The film is both highly personal and very social. 

Ryuichi Sakamoto: CODA

Stephen Nomura Schible
Japan, United States / 2017 / 101 min.
section: Siren Test
East European Premiere
Bunch of Kunst - A Film about Sleaford Mods
As the camera follows the political, rebellious, bitterly entertaining and vulgar Sleaford Mods, it uncovers many sides of the social reality of Brexit-era Britain. Jason Williamson, whose performance The Guardian once compared to Peter Handke’s drama Offending the Audience, captures the feelings of, among others, people stuck in “shit jobs” in small towns. 

Bunch of Kunst - A Film about Sleaford Mods

Christine Franz
Germany / 2017 / 102 min.
section: Siren Test
Czech Premiere
Conny Plank: The Potential of Noise
Today’s re-evaluation of the 20th century is happening on many fronts – one example is this portrait of German music producer Conny Plank, who helped shape the music of Kraftwerk, David Bowie, Brian Eno, Neu!, Devo, Cluster, Ultravox and Eurythmics, and who died at just 47. 

Conny Plank: The Potential of Noise

Reto Caduff, Stephan Plank
Germany / 2017 / 92 min.
section: Siren Test
East European Premiere
Everybody’s Everything
Rapper Lil Peep and his life cut short are the subject of this film, which paints a portrait of the protagonist using images from the post-internet age - from mobile phone videos to film clips to original cinematographic work (the film was executive produced by Terrence Malick). The film follows the rise of fragile, vulnerable Peep from his discovery as a hip-hop sensation, up to his narcotics overdose at age 21.
personal program

Everybody’s Everything

Sebastian Jones, Ramez Silyan
United States, United Kingdom / 2018 / 115 min.
section: Siren Test
Central European Premiere
Little Tsunamis
This personal film essay starts out following three sound artists (including Chris Watson, who is known for his recordings of nature), but takes a surprising turn when the director meets the deaf writer Louise Stern. The poetic film diary shows the growing role of audio media in the world of images. 

Little Tsunamis

Toby Clarkson
United Kingdom / 2017 / 81 min.
section: Siren Test
World Premiere
Gimme Danger
Jim Jarmusch chronicles the story of The Stooges, one of the greatest rock-n-roll bands of all time, presenting the context of the band’s emergence musically, culturally, politically, historically, and relating their adventures and misadventures while charting their inspirations and the reasons behind their initial commercial challenges, as well as their long-lasting legacy.

Gimme Danger

Jim Jarmusch
United States / 2016 / 108 min.
section: Siren Test
The Punk Singer
Different ways of describing the same thing: riot grrrlz, third-wave feminism, the female invasion of the punk scene. This portrait of Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill, Le Tigre) captures the revolutionary wave of underground girl bands and the changing relationship between feminism and society since the 1990s. A film that manages to balance punk wildness with serious investigation.

The Punk Singer

Sini Anderson
United States / 2013 / 83 min.
section: Siren Test
Czech Premiere
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