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25th 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

Evaporating Borders
Ethnically divided Cyprus is one entry point for those seeking asylum in “Fortress Europe”. In five acts, this film essay offers a subjective look, supported by sociological data, at the phenomenon of immigration as a lived experience. The director, herself a political immigrant, reflects upon the broader contexts of the competing social forces that shape contemporary Europe’s immigration policy, the liberal desire to take in political refugees, and society’s unwillingness to accept them. For the refugees themselves, the journey to freedom often ends by falling into an abyss of hopelessness and despair.DETAIL:“With strange paranoia, we shield ourselves from these humans who exile themselves for promises of rich countries. The world is not interested in their tides of humanity. Instead we welcome a new category of criminal: the migrant.”

Evaporating Borders

Iva Radivojević
United States / 2014 / 73 min.
section: Between the Seas
Central European Premiere
Picturesque Epochs
The main focus of the new series A Private Hungary consists of 8mm footage from the private archives of the painter Mária Gánóczy (1927), whose rhythm is accentuated by the director’s syntactic additions. Gánóczy’s melancholic narration contrasts with the ideological rhetoric of the era’s news weeklies and police reports. The portraits of her family and friends and contemporary images from her canvas-filled studio, accompanied by the poetry of Dezső Tandori, are condensed into a sense of open possibilities for how to depict the past. At the same time, the fragile and unique nature of human experience appear especially vulnerable when we touch on eternity."A time travel through 200 years of Hungarian art & history through the eye and lenses of painters. This weaved art-and-film grand patchwork streams like the currents of the river of times, ripples and floats." P.  Forgács

Picturesque Epochs

Péter Forgács
Hungary / 2016 / 133 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Lecedra
Lecedra is a small village in Bulgaria. It is also the director’ home, to which he returns after a long absence, camera in hand. A documentary about the impossibility of being an impartial observer in a place to which one is bound by emotions. Into the sometimes highly descriptive observations, there suddenly intrudes the director’s emotionally animated commentary. A small, snow-shrouded village in a post-communist country. The Eisenstein-like conflict between the old and the new (relicts of totalitarianism contrast with the achievements of capitalism) takes on sleepy contours in the wintry timelessness, far from the budding spring.

Lecedra

Jivko Darakchiev
France, Bulgaria / 2012 / 29 min.
section: Between the Seas
Central European Premiere
Regina
This film about Regina Jonas asks two questions – can a woman become a rabbi, and how to film a documentary about the first female rabbi in history, when the only image we have of her is one single photograph? Using an abundance of archival footage, often played at a slower speed, the director brings to life the atmosphere of Berlin in the first half of the 20th century. The voiceovers of letters and documents are read not by actors, but by the director’s acquaintances who themselves lived through the Holocaust – as if experience could be imprinted onto a photograph just as well as onto the human voice.

Regina

Diana Groó
United Kingdom, Hungary, Germany / 2013 / 63 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
The Circle
They wanted to create an environmentally friendly and socially sustainable community. Twelve adults and six children began to live beyond traditional social order. However, environmentally conscious behavior and embedded physical work do not result in satisfaction from the social aspect of the community ideal. The need to communicate becomes the theme of the film and it is constantly translated visually into shots of circular interviews that show that mastered interpersonal relationships are an indispensable condition for the sustainability of the community and any functional society. The inevitable implosion is preceded by an archetypal story of a love triangle and the struggle for power.“My motivation for making this film lay in the interest in human psychology, behaviour that surfaces in a closed group is a big revelation. In order to save the world, we really need to start within.” M. Lillak

The Circle

Margit Lillak
Estonia / 2019 / 93 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Pill Junkies
In the 1980s, they fled from Poland to Sweden to find independence, but instead discovered the exact opposite. Tadeusz and Krystyna are addicted to legally distributed drugs. They form an ageing couple who are drawn together more by their common weaknesses and withdrawal symptoms than a mutual attraction. The safety net of the Swedish social system meanwhile dangerously tightens in around them in proportion to their increasing need for the drugs. This observational documentary filmed by Tadeusz’s son reveals, with an unusual intensity, a type of addiction that with bitter irony can be called legal. DETAIL:“For some people happiness is winning a million bucks or two. This ain’t happiness. Happiness is when someone can live an ordinary life.”

Pill Junkies

Bartosz Staszewski
Poland / 2014 / 76 min.
section: Between the Seas
World 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 Last Black Sea Pirates
A documentary film with a dramatic arc illustrating the fairy-tale notion that “true treasure is not made of gold but is found in the human heart”. In his almost carnival-like film, the Bulgarian director shows the lives of a group of outsiders living on the shores of the Black Sea, dreaming of finding a legendary pirate treasure. The beach where most of the film takes place is located in an area known as Karadere – one of the last places in Bulgaria with natural beaches, untouched dunes and saltwater marshes.

The Last Black Sea Pirates

Svetoslav Stoyanov
Bulgaria / 2013 / 72 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
Winter / Miracle
This allegorical docufiction provides the viewer with a lightly meditative and at the same time modern impression of the Christian holiday while paying witness to the transformation of the sacral space and the holiday’s religious message. The film’s anonymous protagonists from opposite sides of the world discuss the paths of their faith in this visually stylised and stylistically edited film. Czech viewers will be entranced by the final church crossover: The wild beach scene is underscored by the song Crazy for You, Jesus, which can be heard at gathering of the Czech sect known as the Triumphal Centre of Faith. The film itself concludes at just such a gathering. 

Winter / Miracle

Željka Suková, Gustavo Beck
Croatia, Denmark, Brazil / 2012 / 60 min.
section: Between the Seas
Central European 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

The Calling

Erik Praus
Slovakia / 2019 / 70 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Enticing, Sugary, Boundless or Songs and Dances about Death
How can we talk about death and still enjoy the beauty of life? Who can we tell if we have no one? People from all corners of the world deal with the perspective of death and ask similar questions. This documentary collage by Tetiana Khodakivska and Oleksandr Stekolenko (1980) is a patient enterprise, working with intimate portraits of both ordinary people and the brilliant filmmakers, and thoughtfully placing them within a three-part mosaic about the greatest riddle of human existence. Only the motif of death gives life a purpose and links us all – but what must happen in order for us take it seriously? This imaginatively edited work of docufiction is a contemplation of life in relation to our own mortality. "This movie is about awareness of death. The story is built on documentary and fiction narrative techniques blended together. " T. Khodakivska, O. Stekolenko

Enticing, Sugary, Boundless or Songs and Dances about Death

Oleksandr Stekolenko, Tetiana Khodakivska
Ukraine / 2017 / 95 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
PhoeniXXX
Two young Romanian women make money as models on an erotic video chat site. All while they try to lead normal family lives, get along with their parents, and raise children. This observational documentary captures exactly this - their private space. The filmmakers let them speak freely about not only their jobs, but also how they themselves see their lives. At the same time, they show how a publicly condemned profession influences people’s behavior and their view of the world. The film also presents dramatic generational differences in contemporary Romanian society in which the older generation, working in agriculture, wants their children to remain at home while the younger one seems to be moving coninously to the bigger cities, leaving behind their past. "For a good documentary you have to go out and live among your characters." M. G. Dragolea

PhoeniXXX

Mihai Gavril Dragolea
Romania / 2017 / 53 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Creative Europe
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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