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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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This is a war, baby
This is a war, baby
This is a war, baby
This is a war, baby

This is a war, baby

director: Yurii Pupirin
original title: Eto voyna detka
country: Ukraine
year: 2017
running time: 59 min.

synopsis

Without showing any explicit battle footage, this film nevertheless manages to show the life of Ukrainian soldiers and volunteers on the Donetsk front. Images of ruin and destruction from places that only recently were the scenes of fighting are transformed into a tragicomic parable of survival in a provisional space-time. Looting is a daily occurrence, and going out in search of booty becomes a boyish adventure during which the participants explore places only recently inhabited by private individuals. And when all this is recorded by a Polish television crew headed by a canny female reporter, an existential satire is born. The war is there, but somewhere around the corner.

"The most difficult thing for me in creating this film was the choice between my personal sympathies and the desire to present the most objective picture of the war I saw in front of me." Y. Pupyrin

biography

Yuriy Pupyrin (1977) originally studied education and spent some time teaching. He subsequently studied film at the Kyiv National I. K. Karpenko-Kary Theatre, Cinema and Television University. In 2011, he shot Valera, a personal account of his visit to a dying friend. He addressed the Ukrainian war in his second film, Chronicles of Under-Declared War (2016).

more about film

director: Yurii Pupirin
producer: Yurii Pupirin
script: Yurii Pupirin
photography: Yuriy Pupyrin
editing: Yuriy Pupyrin
sound: Yuriy Pupyrin

other films in the section

Sea Tomorrow
This observational documentary examines the disappearance of the Aral Sea and attempts at its restoration. At the location where the majority of maps and atlases show a large, majestic body of water, Katerina Suvorova finds only a largish pond and an arid wasteland, filled with the rusting remnants of wrecks waiting for scrap metal collectors. Shots of the enigmatic landscape, consisting of endless expanses of sand and dust, are alternated with captivating details. Just as fascinating is the strong will and faith of the people who have stayed in this inhospitable environment, such as old gardener, fishermen, and a hydrobiologist. They hope that the sea will return, they are fighting to save it, and they all hope for a better tomorrow. “I see people of the Aral region as a collective image of the last survivors on Earth. Their stories prove that even when the last shuttle abandons our racked planet, there will be people who stay and prefer correction of errors of the past to uncertainty of the future.” Katerina Suvorova

Sea Tomorrow

Yekaterina Suvorova
Kazakhstan, Germany / 2015 / 88 min.
section: Between the Seas
East European Premiere
The Dazzling Light of Sunset
On dilapidated theater stages, the secular rituals of contemporary Georgian society play out: weddings, fashion shows, beauty pageants, political elections. The static camera, which captures this emotionless choreography of ceremonies in wide-angle shots, contrasts with the dynamic pans of the small camera held by a television reporter whose energetic activities keep a local television station going. A series of carefully framed scenes from the events that Dariko chooses to present to her viewers is juxtaposed with images from inside the run-down television studio, which survives thanks to fees earned from reading obituaries.“It fascinated me how small stories from small towns were so much more important than the big politics. And I wondered what these small stories were.” Salomé Jashi

The Dazzling Light of Sunset

Salomé Jashi
Georgia, Germany / 2016 / 74 min.
section: Between the Seas
Central European Premiere
Call Me Marianna
At the center of this film stands an attractive forty-year-old woman who has decided to fulfill a lifelong dream at the cost of great sacrifice - to be herself. She alienated her parents and lost loved ones when she underwent a long-desired sex change. The film attempts to explain to viewers and help them understand the difficult decision that Marianna had to face. While in the first, staged, part of the film the woman comes to terms with her own past through autobiographical theater performance, in the second, documentary part of the film, she is, however, confronted with unexpected twists and precarious situations that fate has set before her.DETAIL:“I’ll finally be able to look at myself in the mirror naked and not feel disgusted by my own body. – There are men and women. There’s male and female. The world doesn’t really allow any third options.”

Call Me Marianna

Karolina Bielawska
Poland / 2015 / 75 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
The Calling
Fathers Gabriel, Vicilentius, and Nazari, three monks of varying ages living at the Orthodox Pochayiv Lavra monastery in Ukraine, spend their time in isolation from the world. Nevertheless, they all came here after having lived a worldly life, and so they harbor memories of the turbulent recent history of their homeland. The film brings these memories to life against the backdrop of their daily routine within the monastery’s majestic architecture. The quiet, meditative observation of the monks’ rituals, work, and free time creates a sympathetic portrait of a place and its inhabitants, using snippets of life to offer a glimpse into their existence. “This film is shows a metamorphosis of a human individual who abandoned the worldly life and decided to follow God.” E. Praus
personal program

The Calling

Erik Praus
Slovakia / 2019 / 70 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Extra-Terrestrial Ecologies (Retroflectors: the astronaut, the robot, the alien)
What new things can we learn about ecology from science fiction? According to this video essay by artist Ralo Mayer, quite a lot. A flow of thoughts and analogies inspired not only by such sci-fi films as The Martian, E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Silent Running, but also by Biosphere 2, a project simulating an enclosed ecosystem located far away in outer space, have led the artist to reevaluate the way in which ecology is currently considered.  For his new view of things, which relies more on a cosmic rather than an earthly perspective, the key concepts consist of humans as space travellers, robotic technologies, and extraterrestrials as apparitions whom we suspect exist in distant star systems."Ecology in outer space, far from our home planet, is literally unheimlich–uncanny, or better: unsettling. After years of research about Biosphere 2, I met E. T. & we talked Haraway in a Redwood forest." R. Mayer

Extra-Terrestrial Ecologies (Retroflectors: the astronaut, the robot, the alien)

Ralo Mayer
Austria / 2018 / 43 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
The Halves
The film’s main protagonist, Alexandr Zarchikov, works on a cargo ship transporting Japanese cars that have been cut in half to the Russian port city Vladivostok. There, the cars are reassembled and transporters take them away to their final destinations. Zarchikov decides to try working on the mainland, and joins one car on its journey through Siberia. His experience morphs into a meditative film essay, symbolically divided into two halves (sea and land), where he ponders his relationship with his motherland, religion, and nature, and tries to overcome his feelings of rootlessness.DETAIL:“When I worked on a ship like this, we always got home quickly, safe and sound. Now, I don’t feel at home on a boat, nor on the island I was born, Sakhalin. Maybe by making this film, I’ll find my place.”

The Halves

Alexandr Zarchikov
France, Russia / 2015 / 95 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Bojo Beach
Regular rushes of waves wash the Ghanaian coast, and a group of fishermen pulls their catch from the sea as they do every day. This short film depicts the labours of local fishermen in several chapters. Almost aescetically static cinematography and minimal editing during the fishermen’s work set it off from anything that could happen on the beach that day. Thanks to the slow pace, unintentional abstract compositions of the fishing nets end up in the picture, or a lonely mountain is traced in the background. The film’s atmosphere isn’t determined by people but rather by the rhythm of the sea, the colour of the sky, and the structure of the sand on Bojo Beach."The idea of being sat on the beach is always one of soaking up the atmosphere, breathing in the air, being contemplative, just watching things, just letting them happen. All this in a globalized world" E. Groen

Bojo Beach

Elke Groen
Austria / 2017 / 25 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Among Houses and the Cosmos
In this sensual film essay, the director has assembled her experiences with rituals in various corners of the world, from Europe across Africa to Latin America. The close interaction of the camera with bodies moving in trances encourages active involvement in the frenzied moments in which people lose themselves in Dionysian intoxication. These moments serve the filmmaker to obliterate the distance between the individual and the collective, personal and foreign, internal and external. The film, however, attaches a political meaning to the rituals, or rather shows how uprooted cultures cope with their minority status through rituals, or even turn it to their favor. “I felt the urgency to work with video footage from years of different travels. During editing, I found myself thinking about the human necessity to impose meaningful patterns on life and being.” Koštana Banović

Among Houses and the Cosmos

Kostana Banović
Netherlands, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Portugal, Senegal, Brazil, Angola, Turkey, Gambia, Cuba, Serbia, Aruba, Netherlands Antilles / 2016 / 70 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Victoria
The hypnotic wasteland of Southern California is infused with the free-spirited nature of Easy Rider, the alienation and uprootedness of Michelangelo Antonioni, and the deep transcendence of Werner Herzog. It speaks to us through fragments of dialogues from iconic films, and yet it remains elusive and dissolves into abstract shapes, rhythms, and compositions. The landscape as a captivating and intangible, all-encompassing and insubstantial yet full emptiness becomes the means for the transgressive experience of two temporalities – the “real” time of people and the time of natural processes.„How much further do we have to go? I don't know. Not much further. That's what you said this morning. I sometimes say it all day. Really? You say it all day? We don't have much longer. We'll be there soon.“ L. Marxt

Victoria

Lukas Marxt
Austria / 2018 / 63 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Abdul & Hamza
The feelings of rootlessness and life concerns that prey on thousands of African and Middle Eastern refugees migrating to Europe resonate in this minimalist documentary about two young Somali emigrants. On the path to a better future, they have found temporary shelter in an abandoned house in the mountains near the Serbian-Romanian border. The camera simulates the perspective of an inconspicuous impartial observer capturing moments that often lack any action, but are still full of internal tension arising from the feelings of uncertainty that the silently waiting men cannot escape.DETAIL:“My friend, everyone who has kids is a lucky man. And what’s the situation with your family? – My three children and my wife are waiting for me. It’s great that they are together.”

Abdul & Hamza

Marko Grba Singh
Serbia / 2015 / 49 min.
section: Between the Seas
Central European Premiere
The Haunted
The Turan tiger, a majestic symbol of the Central Asian landscape, has been extinct for several decades, but it lives on as a sacred symbol in the collective imagination of the local population. In her captivating film essay, Ismailova pays homage to this animal as she shows how firmly bound it is, in people’s minds, with the region’s history. The tiger is a spectre that emerges from the darkness and disappears again, the landscape is like a network of ruins buried under layers of the past. The collage of visual and audio fragments, accompanied by the filmmaker’s passionate commentary, shows that “real” history cannot be separated from shared ideas and dreams."The Haunted is an intimate video letter to the spirit of the extinct Turan tiger, which disappeared from Central Asia in the 20th century. Today, the tiger lives on in people’s collective memory." S. Ismailova

The Haunted

Saodat Ismailova
Norway, Uzbekistan / 2017 / 23 min.
section: Between the Seas
Central European Premiere
de fac-to
How do we deal with our history? Is it possible that history becomes rather a tool made to justify our current interests and views? Such questions are posed in the observation documentary called de fac-to. The filmmakers visited several public events commemorating World War II in the Ukrainian town of Lviv. Moving recitations of poems are followed by anti-alcoholism propagandist bashings, allegations claiming that decommunization process in Ukraine had been started by Hitler or comparing numbers of victims during the Nazi and Communist eras. This diverse, often absurd kaleidoscope is structured as a stream of footage of events in chronological order with no commentary. „With our film we want to give an insight into specific situations and atmospheres, documenting the various protagonists as they find a relationship to the present through rituals celebrating the past.“ E. Shapiro-Obermair

de fac-to

Alexandra Wachter, Ekaterina Shapiro-Obermair
Russia, Austria / 2018 / 32 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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