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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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We Make Couples

We Make Couples

director: Mike Hoolboom
original title: We Make Couples
country: Canada
year: 2016
running time: 57 min.

synopsis

A multi-layered reflection intertwining types of domestic skirmishes with the ones we have within society. It relies on a number of central themes, such as the depictions of faces, touches, projection, or exploding light. It formulates arguments about production (relationships), forms of resistance (against restrictions), systems for organizing the way we see things (ourselves and each other), about ways we project (ourselves to others), about personal and industrial relationships, expressions of beauty (and politics) in an age when “intensity is more important than endurance”. Using montage and rhythmically brilliant collage essays, the filmmaker combines found and his own materials.

“The cure for loneliness is solitude.” (Marianne Moore)

biography

Mike Hoolboom (1959) is a leading figure of Canadian experimental filmmaking. He worked for the distribution company CFMDC and as the artistic director of the Images festival. He is the author of a novel and a number of books on experimental cinematography. In his personal and essay films, he works primarily with “stolen footage”. His films appear regularly at the Jihlava IDFF - in 2003 a retrospective of his work was held.

more about film

director: Mike Hoolboom

other films in the section

27 Times Time
Documentary filmmaker Annick Ghijzelings used her visit to Polynesia to shoot a personal meditation on the phenomenon of time. She slowed down the smooth flow of time in order to consider, in 27 short fragments, the various ways time can be represented. She does so by combining poetic narrative with images of the past and slow-motion shots of nature and local life. Gradually, she puts together a multilayered image of time that questions the boundaries between art, science, and philosophy, between advanced civilization and native cultures, and between the past, present, and future."The stories never subscribe to explanations or expert digressions. They are off-camera, barely pronounced, they are whispered in our ear like a secret between friends that beckons sharing."

27 Times Time

Annick Ghijzelings
Belgium / 2016 / 73 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
The Sound of Old Rooms
Calcutta, 2011. A birthday party. Amidst the restless mood of the family celebration, we are thrown back to the student years of the ambitious and promising communist poet Sarthak. As a young idealist and bon vivant, he works to refine his empathy for the social problems of his nation, his altruistic concern for living beings, and his revolutionary consciousness. The past is woven together from memories, dilemmas, and basic human fears, concerns and joys. The echoes of old rooms resonate with a revolutionary ethos, artistic elitism, and the inability to take care of oneself.  

The Sound of Old Rooms

Sandeep Ray
India, South Korea, United States / 2011 / 74 min.
section: Opus Bonum
European Premiere
Expectant
If we look up the word "expectante" in a Spanish-English dictionary, we learn it is an adjective which can be translated as “expecting” or “biding one's time”. It is no accident this single-word title belongs to an disconcerting Peruvian film which takes its audience to a darkened city where a group of friends is spending an evening of leisure. Even though the neighborhood they live in is a relatively safe one, their locked doors and gates provide no more than an illusion of safety, which is a thought applicable world wide. The distant black-and-white camera through which the audience observes the plot seems to be biding its time for a chance to attack."I think cinema is about creating sensations and reaching out to a personal language as a way to manifest our vision as individuals." F. Rodriguez Rivero

Expectant

Farid Rodriguez Rivero
Peru, Portugal / 2018 / 77 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
Looking for North Koreans
The dual nature of North and South Korea, forcibly divided by the Soviet Union’s power plays, continues to aff ect the lives of both countries’ inhabitants to this day. Every year, more and more people leave the totalitarian north; every year, more families and lives are torn apart. Kidnappings, extortion, human trafficking, threats of extermination, and hundreds of missing are the order of the day. A dark shadow looms over neighbouring China as well, where the trail of most traffickers and their victims comes to an end. The film goes searching for North Koreans who have disappeared, interviews victims and traffickers, and explores the grey zone of these political twins.  

Looking for North Koreans

Jero Yun
France / 2012 / 73 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?
In 1946, S.E. Branch clearly shot Bill Spann, a black man, in Alabama. One story of many, it can be said, but this time it’s being unraveled by the great-nephew of the murderer through this political and aesthetically distinctive film essay. During the investigation, he constantly ran in to obstacles, due not only to the prevailing racism, but also the inevitable reflection of his own connection with history. A montage of black and white memories of places, endless drives through red sunsets, and agitating tunes brings the work together in the best southern Gothic tradition, in which “the past is never dead. It’s not even past.” (W. Faulkner)„This time I offered my love and my labor to a film that I wished somehow to be corrective. A film about the worst of my family.” T. Wilkerson

Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?

Travis Wilkerson
United States / 2017 / 90 min.
section: Opus Bonum
Central European Premiere
14 Homicides
The state of Utah has very broad definitions of when a police officer can use a weapon on duty. Last year, 14 controversial deaths were caused by the police. This documentary, based on traditional film structure, is made up of 14 two-minute static shots of the crime scenes. The soundtrack consists of recited texts made up of interrogation reports and the responses of people close to the victims. The objective communication sharply contrasts with the tragic incidents. The fixed camera view becomes a sad reminder of a fatal incident which paradoxically most authorities consider to be justified.DETAIL:An attorney for the Hunt family says they don't believe Darian attacked officers with the toy sword. He also stated that he was a harmless and innocent young man who was drawn into an incident provoked by the police.

14 Homicides

Jona Gerlach
United States / 2015 / 34 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
The Room of Bones
A poorly equipped and underpaid team of forensic anthropologists is sent to study the countless mass graves in El Salvador, trying to identify the victims using fragments of bodies. Desperate mothers go for DNA tests in the hope of being able to bury the bones of their sons and daughters. Shot in muted colors and with muted emotions, this film on the search for physical and metaphysical remains uncovers the unprecedentedly brutal history of this small Central American country. The impossibility of resolving the local situation is illustrated by the film’s central metaphor hidden in its title: El Salvador is like a closet overflowing with bones, too small for this much death.DETAIL:“How many go into each grave?” “If they’re fat, four. Otherwise, five. If they’re smaller, we fit in six to eight.”

The Room of Bones

Marcela Zamora
El Salvador, Mexico / 2015 / 61 min.
section: Opus Bonum
European Premiere
Spectres are haunting Europe
The Idomeni refugee camp housed people from the Middle East who were trying to cross the border into Europe. When the Greek police closed the camp, the refugees resisted and blocked a railway line used to deliver goods. Maria Kourkouta’s minimalist documentary not only observes these events but also presents carefully modeled static images that open up the space within and without the frame of view, and in the closing black-and-white sequence offers a poetic commentary. The result is a bleak portrait of a place where endless lines of refugees try to preserve the final remnants of their individual freedoms. “This film is a call to welcome the refugees that cross the European borders, as well as the ghosts that return with them.”

Spectres are haunting Europe

Maria Kourkouta, Niki Giannari
France, Greece / 2016 / 99 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
differently, Molussia
Industriální kolosy, louky a moře, práce strojů a lidí. Statické pohledy na krajinu více či méně poznamenanou člověkem doprovází zpěv ptáků, ruch dálnice, štěkot psů, bouře a déšť. Osm alegorických příběhů předčítaných z románové fikce Guntera Anderse na pozadí krajiny, měnící se v kontrastu tónů základních barev a černé, spoluvytváří snový obraz totalitárního státu Molussie – dobové reakce na sílící nacismus, která neztratila nic na své aktuálnosti.  

differently, Molussia

Nicolas Rey
France / 2011 / 78 min.
section: Opus Bonum
Smiling on the Phone
This observational documentary investigates the phenomenon of the call centre as a contemporary labor issue. “A”, employed in a Nike customer service centre, decides to document her last weeks prior to her return to Spain. A casually placed camera captures her loneliness, her colleagues, or aimless shots of a room with strange voices and sounds. It reveals the discrepancy between the image, as presented by the media and as it is promoted among employees, and its perception, which we come to know from text messages sent between “A” and “K” that flash onto the screen. The feelings of alienation and demotivation conflict with the requirement to behave more positively and enthusiastically.“Smiling on the Phone explores issues of contemporary labor and highlights the political relevance of documenting the workspace while exploring forms of response and resistance to those work-related images created by the powers.”

Smiling on the Phone

Aitziber Olaskoaga
Netherlands, Spain, United States / 2016 / 38 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
Thawathosamat
This nearly four-hour film encyclopaedia takes us on a tour of Thailand’s many religions, including various forms of animism, Buddhism and Hinduism. Footage is limited to images of rituals, all without commentary and accompanied only with information on the location and the text of short excerpts from the prayers.In the immense length of the film, the individuality of each ritual dissolves into a flow of colours, lights, shouts, dance, song, music, voices and exploding firecrackers. It is an encyclopaedia that does not emphasize differences but blurs them.

Thawathosamat

Punlop Horharin
Thailand / 2012 / 170 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
The Road Back
The Road Back is a documentary journey to a time and place that have long been considered lost. The main character tries to find a lost village near a former international railway line where his recently deceased mother spent her youth. The past merges with the present as the filmmaker mixes archival films and close-ups of nature with old photographs. In fact, this blending of two media with different relationships to time forms the basis for discovering not only the relicts of the past that lie hidden beneath layers of contemporary phenomena, but also the unstoppable flow of seemingly unchanging time.“The Road Back incorporates the characteristics of home videos in narrative schemes. In the hope to create a personified and intimate film, based on the directness of home video.”

The Road Back

Wouters Maurits
Belgium / 2016 / 31 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
Aktuálně.cz
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