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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

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
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 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
My Friend Fela
An energetic documentary that presents the story of a unique musical rebel who represented the essential opposition element in Nigeria, yet still managed to define the explosive afrobeat style. The film avoids the myths, preferring to let witnesses tell a more realistic story. Fela Kuti, whose importance for the entire Pan-African generation is indisputable, is presented in more detail and more vividly than ever before.

My Friend Fela

Joel Zito Araújo
Brazil / 2019 / 94 min.
section: Siren Test
East European Premiere
Amnesia
In 1989, communism also fell in Poland. The first free elections took place and economic and political transformation began. The documentary, shot on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the changes, summarizes the business, social, and political losses and successes of the country from the perspective of local musicians such as Kazik Staszewski, Muniek Staszczyk, and Liroy.

Amnesia

Maciej Kuciel
Poland / 2019 / 40 min.
section: Siren Test
International Premiere
Mimaroglu: The Robinson of Manhattan Island
İlhan Mimaroğlu was one of the pioneers of electronic music. In the late 1950s, he and his wife emigrated from Turkey to the United States. There they continued to discover new sounds together. In addition to excerpts from their film and photographic archives, the multi-layered audiovisual portrait consists of excerpts from İlhan's compositions and the personal reflections of both spouses.

Mimaroglu: The Robinson of Manhattan Island

Serdar Kökçeoğlu
Turkey, United States / 2020 / 76 min.
section: Siren Test
East European 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
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
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
Lydia Lunch – The War Is Never Over
How to turn trauma into meticulous and angsty feminist rock? A captivating portrait of a post-punk poetess shows the close connection between radical creations and the utopian expectations of social change. The film brilliantly explores the straightforwardness of Lydia Lunch, who’s not afraid to talk about her childhood experiences with sexual abuse.

Lydia Lunch – The War Is Never Over

Beth B
United States / 2019 / 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
15 Corners of the World
The (cinematic) archeology of electronica. Eugeniusz Rudnik revolutionized the idea of music using a pair of scissors and a magnetic tape. At Polish Radio’s legendary Experimental Studio, he revealed the hidden value of rough and rejected sounds long before the rise of DJs. 15 Corners of the World is an attempt at hearing the vision of his music.

15 Corners of the World

Zuzanna Solakiewicz
Poland, Germany / 2014 / 79 min.
section: Siren Test
Czech Premiere
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