24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival
synopsisThe murders, which have steadily been on the rise since the 1990s, form the subject matter of this epic documentary depicting the horrific scale of violence in a crime-stricken, Mexican society riddled with corruption. The ghost-like appearance of the overall picture is reinforced by the chosen black-and-white material and the division of the film into chapters, capturing with almost anthropological consistency a series of testimonies from the bloody history of the country. The sun shines on the horror: the search for the kidnapped, raped, and murdered women and missing students, the murder of a photojournalist who pointed out the links between politicians and criminal cartels, the uncovering of mass graves on private sites.
biographyJulien Elie was born in Montreal. He stayed in Rwanda in the 1990s and made a documentary based on his experiences there entitled Celui qui savait (2001), in which he dealt with the political crimes that took place in the country. In his film, Le dernier Repas (2003), he focuses on the death penalty, specifically "the journey to the heart of Huntsville, Texas, known as the execution capital of the USA."
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|sound:||Daniel Capeille, Gabriel Villegas, Mimi Allard, Bernard Gariépy Strobl|
other films in the section
Catarina’s mother died when Catarina was 17 years old. Jacinto lost his mother prematurely as well. Catarina is the director of the film, Jacinto is her father, and together, they tell their family history, marked by the resistance against the fleetingness of time, in a poetic dialogue. The film combines documentary and fiction – the story of Beatriz and Henrique and how they fell in love, had a wedding and six children together. As a sailor, Henrique spent a lot of time away from home, so his wife took care of the children mostly herself. Ttheir eldest son Jacinto has been dreaming of becoming a bird since his childhood...“The question of metamorphosis is linked to the idea of how the character portraying my father in the film, transforms into me.” C. Vasconcelos
The Metamorphosis of Birds
Portugal / 2020 / 101 min.
This autobiographical film shot in the form of a diary captures the everyday life and woes of an old man with many successes under his belt and a richly lived past, but whose zest for life is slowly beginning to fade away. Jørgen Leth survived a devastating earthquake in Haiti, but his legs have not served him well since and every step he takes is an arduous task. He travels to Laos with a team of filmmakers and his adult children where he plans a project with help from the local people to capture the pristine nature of the country. During the project’s pre-production phase, he revisits the past to speak about his own life story, taking a poetic approach as he answers the burning question: is it still possible to find beauty and happiness if one is barely able to put on his own shoes? “I think that happiness, or what appears to be happiness, exists in the simple life. What some might view as cheating.” I Walk (00:58:50–00:59:01)
Denmark / 2019 / 90 min.
In 1930, Andrei Platonov completed his novel entitled The Foundation Pit, which explored the living dystopia of the Soviet regime as it began to lose meaning for the country’s people. Just as the workers in prose begin to question the world around them and cease to understand the meaning of their work, which eats away at their physical and mental wellbeing, many Russians today are expressing feelings of disillusionment with the current regime through posts uploaded on YouTube. When all official channels of communication are under the watchful eye of government authorities, the litany directed towards President Vladimir Putin can only be posted on the internet. And together they consist of a remarkable, found-footage fresco of the lives of the citizens of modern-day Russia, often living in poverty and helpless on the back of official propaganda. “It's hard to tell the exact amount of footage, but it's around 80-90 hours of live recordings. Some videos lasted less than a minute, others went up to 10-20 minutes. In the end there were thousands of messages.” A. Gryazev
The Foundation Pit
Russia / 2020 / 71 min.
A grandmother, a granddaughter and a dog. A path leading up to dying. Several timeless moments from the life of a sick woman enriched by the presence of a filmmaker granddaughter who captures the transient quality of life events and the gentleness of giving farewells through film. Behind closed doors, simple conversations, routine actions (a dinner) and handing over of experience (gutting the pig’s head) unwind. The acuteness of fleeting moments is augmented by the dog’s view. The projection of final moments in life captured by the eyes of the camera that of a devoted pet. An intimate balance of losses in one’s life laid out on a ground plan of a family tri-portrait.
The Dog's Eye
France, Belgium / 2019 / 37 min.
Small silhouettes appear in the middle of the sights, observed from afar. They move quickly but they cannot escape the quick all-seeing eye. They are monitored all the time. Despite the apparent absence of the human element we are not watching an animated film or a computer game but authentic videos from Afghan, Iraqi and Syrian missions of American and French soldiers. The silhouettes belong to real people who are only a trigger pull away from death. This is the 21st-century warfare. Everyone who can be seen is under threat. Eléonore Weber used dehumanized images of dying for her chilling reflection of the modern form of war.
There will be no more night
France / 2020 / 75 min.
A sensitive portrait of Daniel Spoerri that takes viewers not only to the workroom of this versatile artist, but also to his childhood spent in Romania where his father fell victim to the Jewish pogrom. In addition to Spoerri himself, his assemblages speak to them, breathing new life into various objects. They enhance the theme of rebirth around which the director constructed her own personal, fine-tuned film. - Daniel Spoerri (1930) is a Swiss visual artist and writer born in Romania. He is famous for his snare-pictures (tableau pièges), in which he places groups of objects found in chance positions onto a plane surface so that the resulting object can be hung up like a painting.
This Movie is a Gift
Austria / 2019 / 72 min.
East European Premiere
Art experimentation, image deconstruction, observation process. For over half a century now, the pioneers of video art Woody and Steina Vasulka have been exploring human memory, media memory and memory of art as an institution. A taste of life-long cohabitation of this partner and creative couple presents a personal story of a journey along places marked by their common fate: Brno, Prague, Reykjavik, New York and Buffalo. The odyssey of artistic fame of the living legends is put in contrast with their fragile social world and uncertain life perspectives. The heritage of video art is structured according to the texture of media of individual eras of film (35mm, video and hard disk). Fifty years of avant-garde saved on an external disk.
The Vasulka Effect
Czech Republic, Iceland, Sweden / 2019 / 87 min.
In an abandoned industrial zone at the foot of the Austrian Alps, a Nigerian mechanic lives and works by dismantling old cars and selling their individual parts, mainly to Eastern Europe and Africa. The documentary captures him during his work and while taking meditative breaks with a cigarette overlooking Erzberg Mountain, where iron ore has been mined since ancient Rome. The hero's isolated microcosm is observed at the very edge of economic activity, yet it is inextricably linked to global economic relations in Europe and Africa, the mining of resources, and the exploitation of profits.
Movements of a Nearby Mountain
Austria, France / 2019 / 85 min.
Irving Park is a neighborhood in Chicago where the film's four lead characters live together under one roof. But their cohabitation has a rather unusual arrangement – they are all aging gay men practicing dominant-submissive relationships. This time-lapse film gets right in the middle of the action of this abnormal household, and through a seemingly primordial provocation that seems only natural and commonplace, such as long conversations from the Lord and his naked slaves, the film enables a sense of family reciprocity, unsolvable crises and daily inhabitation. As one of the cast members admits: we all live in acceptable relationships of domination and submission.
Greece / 2019 / 117 min.
Central European Premiere
A genre hybrid film by Vincent Boy Kars is a docu-dramatic experiment – the main character, Leyla, is supposed to play key scenes from her life. The acted parts of the film explore Leyla’s relationships with her parents and boyfriend – played by hired actors – and the art of dance she has been studying. More emphasis, however, is placed on the parts between the scenes when Boy Kars and Leyla discuss her life and the ways to present it. Not only does Leyla relive her memories but she also has re-enact them again and again, always in another way, following the director’s instructions. The documentary highlights the constructive nature of documentary films and begs the question how drama helps us understand our own lives. “To me, this film is about developing your own way of filming. Sometimes I seem to create a new genre. I combine interesting elements of fiction and documentary, trying to develop an approach where acting and being come together.” V. Boy Kars
Vincent Boy Kars
Netherlands / 2020 / 90 min.
Central European Premiere
In eastern Nepal, the sacred mountain Janna looms at 7000m tall. The top of Janna is considered the seat of gods and demons. It is said that whoever tries to humble her will pay for it with his life. Under the mountain lies the village where Ngada Sherpa lives with his family. One of the most reliable mountain carriers in the area, he is struggling with poverty. Nevertheless, he is determined to pay for his son to attend medical school. He therefore decides to break the taboo and accompany a climbing expedition to the summit of Janna. He hopes the gods will be merciful to him. The majestic mountain scenery becomes the set for a drama about a man tempting the elements and his own religious beliefs. “People are often guided by emotions, and in the mountains it’s even more pronounced. Over there, we are who we are. Everything is black and white. Only here in the lowlands do we have many shades of grey.” E. Kubarska
The Wall of Shadows
Poland, Germany, Switzerland / 2020 / 94 min.
This observational film provides a detailed insight into the daily work of the administration of Boston City Hall in Massachusetts and the activities of the city’s mayor Marty Walsh. Representatives' meetings, meetings with citizens, and fieldwork by individual employees reflect the difficulties that affect not only Boston but the entire United States. The issues of racial inequality, homelessness, poverty trafficking, and climate change are reflected in the specific steps of the city administration. The complex picture of an important social institution illustrates the difficulties faced by local democratically minded authorities during the Trump era. „I made City Hall to illustrate why government is necessary for people to successfully live together.“ F. Wiseman
United States / 2020 / 275 min.