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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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TEACH
TEACH
TEACH
TEACH

TEACH

director: Alex Brendea
original title: PROFU'
country: Romania
year: 2019
running time: 82 min.

synopsis

The personality of a rural Transylvanian math teacher who teaches his students at home and ignores the existing curriculum, tells us not only about the Romanian school system, but also about society there as a whole. The stubborn elder man follows the words of essayist Constantine Noica, who believes that in an ideal school, there should not be any lessons, but rather students should go there to free themselves from the tyranny of learning. The observational portrait documentary monitors the dynamics of the lessons themselves, where, in addition to mathematics, the problem of education itself is addressed and where the teacher acts like a father fi gure.

“I think that if you really want to make something matter within 100 years from now, then you have to educate people first.” A. Brendea

biography

Alex Brendea (1987) makes his directorial debut after ten years of working in Romanian cinematography as a cameraman. In addition to several feature films, he has also shot Dieter Auner's documentary Off the Beaten Track (2010) about herdsmen in northern Transylvania and Anul dragonului (2013) for HBO Europe, which was dedicated to Chinese immigrants in Romania.

more about film

director: Alex Brendea
cast: Dorin Ionita
script: Alex Brendea
photography: Alex Brendea
editing: Letitia Stefanescu
sound: Razvan Ionescu

other films in the section

Paradise on Earth
Andrej Bán is a journalist and photographer who reports from areas in crises around the world, the likes of which include Kosovo, Georgia, Afghanistan, Ukraine and Haiti, where he constantly travels back and forth. A director of his decided to accompany him with a camera, and their intimate conversations intertwine throughout the film, revealing the reporter's internal professional and personal struggles. The documentary follows Andrej in cities destroyed by war or in refugee camps, during which it becomes clear that he's interested in a deeper look inside the causes of the confl icts as well as the oppressive situations their victims find themselves in.“People forgotten by people. With photographer, publicist, and friend Andrej Bán we discover stories of people, who were forced to leave their homes.” J. Vojtek
personal program

Paradise on Earth

Jaro Vojtek
Slovakia / 2019 / 78 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Notorious Deeds
October 1989. A high school student in Bucharest is apprehended for pasting up anti-regime posters and is interred in a secret police building for a number of days. As a result, his family, loved ones, friends, and schoolmates are affected by restrictions. Twenty years later at their class reunion, an excursion begins into memories of that moment of shock etched forever into memory, but for each somewhat differently. Director Gabriel Tempea is more interested in exploring the subjective interpretation from the point of view of “talking heads” than the actual facts. A postmodern form of oral history based on the testimonies of those who have most of their lives ahead of them.“Based on personal, subjective and painstakingly detailed recollections of an exceptional occurrence, I attempted to provide a glimpse at the bigger picture of  atroubled historical period.” Gabriel Tempea

Notorious Deeds

Gabriel Tempea
Romania, Austria / 2015 / 68 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
The Last Self-portrait
Slovak director Marek Kuboš has not shot a film in 13 years. His first film ever – a student exercise at film school – was a self-portrait. The circle is closed, the source of creativity has seemingly dried up. All that is left to do in the last self-portrait is to clean up after oneself, to recapitulate one’s successes and failures, and to bid farewell to one’s protagonists. This introspective meta-documentary is not so much a study of a creative crisis as it is a self-therapeutic process and an attempt at offering a comprehensive profile of the filmmaker at a time of unstable certainties. Appearing in the role of Kuboš’s consultants are essentially all leading Slovak documentary filmmakers."I’ve long felt that through documentary filmmaking I can’t say what I want to, what calls out to me. I’ve butted against internal and external boundaries that have paralyzed me as a documentarian. " M. Kuboš

The Last Self-portrait

Marek Kuboš
Slovakia / 2018 / 72 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
My Granny from Mars
Babushka Zina is originally Ukrainian, but because of the current political situation she has remained in Russian-occupied Crimea. Separated from her family, she lives in a forgotten seaside town while trying to decide whether to stay or to leave. The sounds of Russian contemporary music and folk songs add to the atmosphere of her exile town, which is seen through a sensitive lens filled with sentimentality. But the consequences of the unsatisfactory political situation are ever-present in this place, which is like a different planet. The way in which the director records Zina’s relationship to her friends and family betrays a deep respect for this old woman, her life wisdom, and her experiences."After the annexation of Crimea my old Ukranian granny Zina had to face the fact of living on a 'new planet'. For many reasons, the time has come for her to make a crucial decision." A. Mihalkovich

My Granny from Mars

Alexander Mihalkovich
Belarus, Ukraine, Estonia / 2018 / 83 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Under the Sun
Over the course of one year, this film follows the life of an ordinary Pyongyang family whose daughter was chosen to take part in one of the famous Korean “Spartakiads”. The ritualised explosions of colour and joy contrast sharply with pale everyday reality, which is not particularly terrible, but rather quite surreal, like a typical life as seen “through the looking glass”. The film portrays North Korea in probably the only possible way: as an unintentional situational tragicomedy. Precisely staged film scenes duplicate principles common for life in “the most beautiful country on the eastern side of the globe”: virtually horrifying selfstaging of the residents’ own lives.Detail:“Zin-mi, you have joined Children’s Union, what do you expect from your adult life?” “When joining the Children‘s Union,we enter to the adult life. And begin to think, what else shall you do for the Great Leader Kim Jong Un.”

Under the Sun

Vitaly Mansky
Czech Republic, Russia, Germany, North Korea, Latvia / 2015 / 106 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
Guests
Set in a remote Russian village located about hundered and sixty kilometres from Moscow, this observational documentary is focused on a group of loggers – illegal migrants from Tajikistan who came to Russia in the hope of finding work. Hired by Russian businesses, they live thousands of kilometres away from their families to whom they send their earnings. The uncompromising endless shots capture the simplicity of the lives of these seasonal workers, and the overall undisciplined style of the filming corresponds well to the unfriendly environment in which they must survive from day to day.DETAIL:“Yeah, well, life is tough. As they say – it's not a bed of roses. You have to live your life properly... Can you imagine how difficult it must be for our wives?”

Guests

Alexey Sukhovey
Russia, France, Germany / 2014 / 62 min.
section: Between the Seas
International 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
Anthill
Although the traditional traffic in this gargantuan garage complex in the middle of an urban neighborhood in Tallinn ceased long ago, the place still lives its own alternative life. Seven hundred parking spaces are used by their owners for various purposes, creating a distinctive “man cave” atmosphere. While some repair their vehicles in their spaces, others have transformed theirs into warehouses, apartments, private saunas, disco bars, and restaurants. The director observes the offbeat life in this pulsating anthill with the necessary dose of humorous exaggeration and sense of the absurd, drawing comparisons to Ulrich Seidel’s In the Basement (2014).Detail:“I don't know if it’s true or not. I read it in a scientific magazine. Many years ago. I guess 15 years ago. The Japanese produced a video camera. It was banned later. Some confusion.”

Anthill

Vladimir Loginov
Estonia / 2015 / 83 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
Butterflies
Young Alexei is openly homosexual. Although his peers have no problem with his sexual orientation, his mother is unable to accept it. This documentary portrait follows Alexei during summer break, as he spends time with his new lover Grisha, whom he met at a Tarkovsky festival. The film takes an unusual observational approach in that the camera is often right up against people’s bodies and faces during impassioned discussions, arguments, or testimony. As a result, the spontaneous and eccentric manner in which Alexei breaks down gender stereotypes are brought to the fore. “Making a movie always goes hand in hand with fear and shame. This is because the film just now learned to dive into the man. Untill now it only described. During the work on the film Butterflies I always thought about it.” Dmitry Kubasov

Butterflies

Dmitry Kubasov
Russia / 2016 / 79 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Birthday
A lonely life made up of daily routine tasks is depicted in this documentary made by the director about his own mother. It’s her birthday – her husband has been dead for years and her children have forgotten her, with the exception of her son, who remains behind the camera. Despite this, the ageing woman cleans, cooks, and makes ready for a possible celebration. Cursory inspections of her mobile phone screen show that she would have been happy with just a phone message. Birthdays give new meaning to loneliness, just as the director cuts away various natural barriers of the camera image and amplifies the sound effects track to allow silence to emerge and envelop the main character."One day of any person is the summary of his life. What we feel in one day is the same for all our life. Nothing changes. Repetitions, Repetitions and Repetitions. Just like my mother on her birthday." H. Baydarov

Birthday

Hilal Baydarov
Azerbaijan / 2018 / 63 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Cinema Futures
A multi-genre collage consisting of variations on educational films, interviews with famous people (film theorist David Bordwell, director Christopher Nolan), and free-association poetry, Cinema Futures makes humorous use of a subversive and almost conspiratorial commentary. A meditation on the future of film in a world of digital platforms, this wild cinematic “ride” through a labyrinth of museums and archives to bring life classic cinematic and archival methods and contrast them with today’s ubiquitous virtuality. Does the death of celluloid also mean the death of film? Are we losing our audiovisual memory?"A few years before a digitally presented film was exclusive. I disliked it. Scratches, dust and the noise of the silver belong to my formative movie experiences. But nostalgia is not an option."

Cinema Futures

Michael Palm
Austria / 2016 / 125 min.
section: Between the Seas
East European Premiere
The Sun Sets in the East
The film depicts the year 1984/85 through the diary entries by the director’s grandfather, a Soviet peasant from Lithuania, which reflect contemporary values associated with faith in God, as well as details about daily routines and political change. Despite its historicizing base, the film is still relevant today. The formal side is made up of live images taken with static cameras that contemplate the depopulated state of the Lithuanian rural areas. The poetic documentary essay about the irreparable impact of man examines the transformation of society from rural to urban and forces the viewer to question the hectic lifestyles we lead today."The Sun Sets in the East is a sincere film that can be watched and felt by anyone, and we hope that everyone will be able to find a reflection of themselves or their family's past in it." A. Dovydaityte, A. Belinski

The Sun Sets in the East

Alexander Belinski, Agne Dovydaityte
Lithuania / 2018 / 83 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
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