24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival
Symphony of the Heaven City
director: Lordan Zafranović
original title: Simfonija nebeskog grada
running time: 57 min.
synopsisA story of contrasts between past and present, life and death, in Shanghai, the biggest city of the People’s Republic of China. The film depicts national commemorations as a way of sanitizing and forgetting the past, the importance of spectacle in the creation of a national consciousness. In criticizing histories and wars built on nationalism and in depicting the growth of capitalism, the symbolic fireworks ironically celebrate the present as a memory of the Second World War, introducing an avant-garde way of experimental historical documentation.
The only human sound is a baby's cry, a Weltschmerz, in the ruins of the old Shanghai South Railway Station on “Bloody Sunday” after the Japanese bombing in August 1937.
more about film
|producer:||Aleksandar Janković, Gavrilo Azinović, Svetlana Bandić|
|sound:||Velibor Hajduković, Nebojsa Zorić|
other films in the section
Helmut Berger, a star in the European acting world, gave brilliant performances in the films made by the Italian director Luchino Visconti. This documentary portrait takes a look at the life of this elderly eccentric man, who lives in a flat overflowing with trinkets from the past. The director used interviews to try and discover who Helmut is – and thanks to him, Helmut could act again.„This film is also about the impossibility of really getting to know somebody, the question of what methods you can use to move towards an individualʼs core. Iʼm not sure that interviews are the best method.“ A. Horvath
Helmut Berger, Actor
Austria / 2015 / 90 min.
Producer Rebecca O’Brien has worked for many years with British director and documentarist Ken Loach. At this producer’s masterclass, O’Brien presents her new biographical film Versus: The Life and Work of Ken Loach. She shares her experiences from her thirty years’ collaboration with Ken Loach. The theme - the fine line between documentary film and fiction, as well as the specificity of creating a film whose subject is your good friend and close collaborator – will play an important role.
Masterclass Rebecca O'Brien: How to Make a Ken Loach Film
Czech Republic / 2016 / 50 min.
Spanish solitaire and a juror of the Between the Seas section, Albert Serra, winning the Golden Leopard Award at last year’s Locarno Film Festival, gained renown for his triptych of unprecedented adaptations – Honor de cavalleria, Birdsong and The Story of My Death, in which classical literary figures Don Quixote, Casanova or Dracula act as abstract, but all the more fascinating principles. Serra’s innovative methodologies and an unorthodox approach to cinematography earned him the nickname “radical classic”. This eccentric artist hardly follows any scripts, his films are based on improvisation and are free of narrative conventions. Aside from his film work, he also produces video-art. His Master Class will provide an insight into the principles of his work.
Masterclass: Alber Serra
Czech Republic / 2014 / 107 min.
This portrait of the influential Icelandic landscape painter Georg Gudni (1961–2011) presents his artistic development, sources of inspiration, and thoughts about painting. It also introduces questions about the relationships between the artist, the work, reality, and the viewer. Paintings are interwoven with images of the landscape and archival shots, in which Guðni explains his philosophy of creativity, interspersed with interviews with art historians and Guðni’s former colleagues."Georg Gudni’s main goal was capturing the Icelandic nature. Horizon is a personal discovery of the mindset of contemporary landscape painter, whom we knew personally. For us too – this is a very personal journey."
Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, Bergur Bernburg
Iceland, Denmark / 2015 / 80 min.
Master of the interview, subtle observer and creator of multifaceted documentaries Marcel Ophuls (1927) is the son of director Max Ophuls. The German-born Frenchman with US citizenship shot most of his films on commission for television. His documentaries weave together a variety of personal reminiscences on the wartime events of the 20th century. His work is characterised by a sense for the moment and by the sophisticated combination of materials that engage the viewer both morally and intellectually. Ophuls sees documentary film as a narrowly defined genre; during his lecture he will focus on the question of what should be included in a film and what should be left on the cutting room floor.
Masterclass Marcel Ophuls: Joys and Sorrows of Documentary Filmmaking
Czech Republic / 2017 / 77 min.
As The Yes Men, Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno's (1960) brand of activism has kept them in the headlines in USA for nearly two decades. They have made several feature films. They also created the Action Switchboard website, which was recently launched as a platform for participatory direct action. By injecting humour into drop-dead serious subjects, they provoke laughter and debate from audiences.
Mike Bonanno: History of Jokes
This Serbian director and a pedagogue who ranks among the main figures of the so-called Yugoslav Black Wave is this year’s juror of the Opus bonum competition section. Želimir Žilnik’s work reflects the tradition of cinema verité and the influence of the New York avant-garde. As early as in the 1970s, his socially engaged films focused on the criticism of the establishment following the same line also after the collapse of Yugoslavia. “I don’t try to hide my camera. I don’t hide the fact that I’m shooting and making a film about people… During shooting, I realise that, to a certain extent, I am betraying the reality that is opening up to me,” says Žilnik, summing up the nature and the problems of documentary filmmaking. In his Master Class, he will use clips from his work to demonstrate his filmmaking method and the techniques employed in his films.
MASTERCLASS: Želimir Žilnik
A European in a suit and tie comes to Africa, allegedly to open a match factory. In actuality, however, he is planning to illegally mine for gemstones. In even more actual actuality, he is journalist Mads Brügger, who is filming a documentary about the world of diplomacy, in which two approaches meet – “advanced” and “primitive” cultures, which have one thing in common: money. The film shows that the world of politics is not about the representation of national identity, but that it can be an ideal place for a rogue, represented by the strong euro.
Denmark / 2011 / 93 min.
Two of the three authors of the documentary Velvet Terrorists will talk about the creative work, methods and production hardships during the development of their film at a Master Class, including the screening of the film’s previews. Peter Kerekes and Ivan Ostrochovský joined their creative forces on all of the three levels – as directors, authors, as well as producers. Velvet Terrorists follows the story of three men longing to become heroes. During the 80s, they decided to fight the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. Explosions, gunfi re, terroristic drill and behind all that there is the desire for love.
Kerekes and Ostrochovský: Velvet terrorists
Pavol Pekarčík, Peter Kerekes, Ivan Ostrochovský
Slovakia, Czech Republic, Croatia / 2013 / 87 min.
A leading representative of Yugoslavia’s Black Wave, Slovenian cinematographer and director Karpo Godina (1943) began making amateur films in the second half of the 1960s. Their poetic style caught the attention of Želimir Žilnik, and after Žilnik’s Early Works (1969) won a Golden Bear, many other directors began to work with Godina as well, including Lordan Zafranović and Bato Čengić. In his lecture, Godina will focus on his own early works, which are characterised by a fundamental exploration of stylistic tools, meticulous work with space and, in the best tradition of the Yugoslav New Wave, a never-ceasing attempt at capturing the pulse of the era.
Karpo Godina: A Different Approach to Making Documentary Films
An old, withered female body shown in Waltz is an expression of the grotesque, afterwards represented by the séance of the dancing bodies of young men and old women. By opposing the dance of life and death, the transition implicates the personification of Eros and Thanatos. Confronting the images polarizing the body and meat, the entrance and the exit, the film provokes an impression of the transience of life. The emphasis given on the aspects of sexuality, masculinity and eroticism narrated through the dance of generations is an externalization of the nostalgic relationship between melancholy and escapism. Detail:“Let’s go in two rows! Today we’re going to learn a dance in three four time and this is the most beautiful dance – the waltz ! Viennese waltz! Strauss waltz!”
The Waltz (My First Dance)
Yugoslavia / 1970 / 28 min.
Gustav Deutsch (1952) is one of Austria’s leading film directors. He’s not only a filmmaker, but he’s also an architect and photographer. On the occasion of the release of his latest film how we live - messages to the family, he leads the audience through an examination of the term "home movie", subjecting it to thorough scrutiny. In this master class he presents analyses of his own as well as found footage on film material, guiding viewers through the entire development of the “home movie” from film to digital technology. Don’t expect dry theory - his lecture is built on visual and sensual gratification.
Gustav Deutsch: Home Movie Now