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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

ji-hlavadok-revuecdfEmerging producersInspiration Forum
Dying for Beginners / The Key of Silence
Dying for Beginners / The Key of Silence

Dying for Beginners / The Key of Silence

director: Marek Bouda, Bára Kopecká
original title: Umírání pro začátečníky / Tónina ticha
country: Czech Republic
year: 2017
running time: 58 min.

synopsis

The joint title Dying for beginners brings together two short films that the directors shot together “in hospices, maternity wards, trains, and elsewhere.” They are based on interviews with the same protagonists and about similar subjects, but always as seen from a different angle. The first film, Marek Bouda’s The key of silence explores music and its relationship to old age and death. For instance, it asks what music we can hear in heaven or what music to play after our passing. In Dying for beginners, Bára Kopecká looks at the taboo subject of death in crematoria, among the dying, or in the maternity ward.

“I was interested primarily in how music is reflected in the face of the listener when he is moved by it. And silence – the counterpoint to music, a pause in the composition, the end of life... the silence that remains after we are gone...” B. Kopecká

biography

Bára Kopecká (1970) studied editing at FAMU and also works as an editor. Her directorial debut was the documentary DK (2013, Ji.hlava IDFF 2013) about her husband, the architect David Kopecký, which she made four years after his death. Marek Bouda (1967) is an experienced director of television documentaries (e.g., Předčasná úmrtí, 2001–2002). Both directors also worked on episodes of the documentary cycle Doctors (2017).

more about film

director: Marek Bouda, Bára Kopecká
producer: Bára Kopecká, Petr Kubica
script: Bára Kopecká, Marek Bouda
photography: Marek Bouda
editing: Nicole Hálová
sound: Jaroslav Fryš, Bára Kopecká

other films in the section

Lost Coast
The film follows the lives of fishermen and vacationers who, through community efforts and friendly cooperation, seek to improve the otherwise deserted shores of the South Moravian reservoir Nové Mlýny, whether for a family holiday or leisurely fishing. Due to bureaucratic machinations, however, they are forced to sell off their summer homes and leave this place full of nostalgia and memories for good. Discreetly observational camerawork reveals the ordinary hardships, difficulties and joys of ordinary people and, with humorous insight alternating with melancholy contemplation, recounts the story of the conflict between living human experience and the cold state apparatus.  “’It’s a pity - one beautiful era has come to an end… ’ Fisherman Saša”. J. Zykmund
personal program

Lost Coast

Jiří Zykmund
Czech Republic / 2019 / 78 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Kiruna – A Brand New World
Apocalyptic depiction of an area literally engulfed by the mining industry is presented in this documentary that observes the eponymous northern Swedish city, part of which was abandoned due to activities in the nearby iron mine. The mining company’s management decided not to halt profitable mining activities and instead made the decision to move the residents of the threatened district. Using footage shot in the city inside the Arctic Circle and directly in the mines, the director has uncovered subtle film imagery, and using the stories of three protagonists now living in a bizarre inter-time, imaginatively addresses the topics of resettlement, tradition, and respect for a particular location. “The dystopian story of Kiruna is about lost people looking for a home in an uprooted city. It shows the dark side of the advanced society, whether in Sweden or the Czech Republic.” G. Stocklassa
personal program

Kiruna – A Brand New World

Greta Stocklassa
Czech Republic / 2019 / 87 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
Czech Journal: The Little Mole & Laozi
In one episode of Czech Journal, Filip Remunda focuses on the Chinese president’s visit to the Czech Republic and launches into confrontational discussions with the citizens of a country that violates human rights and where people are imprisoned for their opinions, but whose population proudly voices their allegiance to their prospering country. Footage of the protests held by the Czech public, and in the opposite situation, when the Chinese greet the president with joy, as well as interviews with a Chinese dissident and with a Czech teacher, are interspersed with the saying of Laozi and footage of Leonid Brezhnev’s visit to Prague in 1978. The film thus opens the question as to with whom the Czech president is fostering warm international relations.“More than the protests, I was interested in the fact that the Chinese find us ridiculous for allowing people to protest. I went to China to get at the roots of this attitude.”

Czech Journal: The Little Mole & Laozi

Filip Remunda
Czech Republic / 2016 / 85 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Love Me If You Can
In other countries, sexual assistance for disabled people is an established concept, but it is only just getting started in the Czech Republic. Documentarian Dagmar Smržová approaches the subject in a style reminiscent of the films of Erika Hníková. She has chosen three handicapped men and one trained sexual assistant, and follows them in everyday situations, casually asking them various questions. The film explores a subject that, although it is a serious social issue, the public has either ignored or finds controversial. Above all, however, she offers a sensitive look at the intimate lives of people living with disabilities.“... we cannot choose whether we are born good looking or not so good looking, strong or weak and that’s why we should reach out and help each other with things one can and the other can’t do – including making love…”

Love Me If You Can

Dagmar Smržová
Czech Republic / 2016 / 63 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Non-Parent
With her documentary study of the current form of the family, the director follows up on her earlier film Generation Singles. By looking at six different stories, she presents various views and opinions regarding partnership and parenthood – what does shared custody look like, how does a single parent raise children and how do lesbians? How do patchwork families function, how is it with adopted kids and how is it with people who have decided to never have any at all? In intimate on-camera interviews, the participants explain their decisions, however voluntary, and reflect on the causes and consequences of their (non-)functioning families or partnerships. “Changes in the concept of family are a sign of the times. Today there are many different forms of cohabitation. I am not judging whether the fact that the family is changing is good or bad. I am merely recording this trend because it affects us all.” J. Počtová

Non-Parent

Jana Počtová
Czech Republic / 2017 / 83 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Talks with TGM
Another contribution to the specific subgenre of animated history by the scriptwriter Pavel Kosatík. On 26 September 1928, Karel Čapek and President Masaryk meet in the gardens of Topolčianky castle to decide about the fate of their joint literary work. Their fiction film dialogue is based on quotes from a future book and their mutual correspondence, considerably freeing the original format of literary conversation from binding conventions. Čapek and Masaryk reproach and offend each other, but they also ask key personal questions and questions about the social functions of a writer and politician respectively.“It’s a film about two extraordinary men; it’s about the fact that emotions can be sometimes more powerful than ideas even in such exceptional people.” J. Červenka

Talks with TGM

Jakub Červenka
Czech Republic, Slovakia / 2018 / 80 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Passengers
The film’s director sees her four protagonists as passengers along for the ride. She started to follow them just before they left the children’s home where they grew up, and spent the next six years following their lives. The return to a non-functioning family environment often also means the return to established patterns, lack of a future, and unstable social relations. The film is an indirect indictment of the country’s institutionalized care system, which manages to look after children as minors but fails to properly prepare them for the transition into adulthood.„What is it like to sit in the back seat of your life?“         

Passengers

Jana Boršková
Czech Republic / 2018 / 78 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Everything Has Its Own Time
Viola Ježková’s experimentally conceived film presents real time and cinematic time as something woven into one image. The image layers are often layered over one another, and the audio tracks are intermixed. This very personal documentary is a poetic exploration of memory, consciousness and future expectations as inexorably joined by reality. Filing by before our eyes (before the cinematographic gaze) are scenes from the past and images of everyday life; in the voiceover, inner voices recite fragments of long-ago dialogues between those who have left us but have not left us alone. “How to come to terms with loss? How to treat the remains? How to understand the meaning of memories? When we enter a picture, we leave the frame. We meet ideas of images. And through this encounter we gain a new image – an image for the future.” V. Ježková

Everything Has Its Own Time

Viola Ježková
Czech Republic / 2017 / 29 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Two Roads
The Jedlička Institute music class currently known as The Tap Tap band was founded 21 years ago by Šimon Ornest to give people with handicaps an opportunity to succeed outside of their daily institutional care. An observing and attentive camera captured the evolution of the personalities of several of the musicians over the course of several years. The attractive energy of the film which is exceptional in its approach to its theme as it avoids the usual compassionate sentiment stems from the relationships among the musicians and between them and their band leader, the motor of the action, whose work improves the public image of people with handicaps in an unorthodox way. “Even if it was hard for me at first, I was trying to make a film in a similar way that the band members are putting up with their destinies: with no sentiment, pointless pity or political correctness involved, yet with a touch of pitch black humour.” R. Síbrt
personal program

Two Roads

Radovan Síbrt
Czech Republic / 2019 / 80 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
The Dangerous World of Doctor Doleček (Czech version)
Kristýna Bartošová has approached the genre of documentary film portraits as a battlefield. This director, who has Bosnian roots, chose to film the story of the Czech doctor Rajko Doleček, who is a very enthusiastic defender of Ratko Mladić, the Serbian general accused of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia. In this undeniably moving work, shot with a hand-held camera with no attempt to conceal the presence of the film’s creators, the director, at first cautiously, but with increasing intensity, confronts Doleček about his controversial stance. At the same time, she must come to terms with the doctor’s unshakeable opinion.DETAIL:“I wanted to present a portrait of someone who denies genocide. When I first met Doleček, I thought it would be easy to condemn him. But is it not always easier to judge someone you do not know personally?”

The Dangerous World of Doctor Doleček (Czech version)

Kristýna Bartošová
Czech Republic / 2015 / 72 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
Solos for Members of Parliament
Twenty-one politicians reply to the question of how they view the Czech Republic’s future. The survey, built on the democratic principles of equality and freedom of speech, provides the same conditions for all of the interviewees and presents their uncensored and complete responses. However, this raw materials provides more testimony regarding the present than the future, as it unmasks the faces MPs and senators present to the public and demonstrates the rhetorical means they use to expand political power. Freedom is a double-edged sword depending on whose hands hold it. The same applies to media as a tool used for disseminating propaganda as well as for undermining it.“The film shows the people behind mandates, trying to approach them on the condition that they have to approach us.  To what extent is a different form of public meetings with politicians possible? To what extent are other worlds possible?” T. Bernátková

Solos for Members of Parliament

Tereza Bernátková
Czech Republic / 2018 / 34 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
The Last Shift of Thomas Hisem
“I hope that all is okay and that you’ll get something out of this,” proclaims miner Tomáš Hisem at the start of his shift at Ostrava’s Paskov Mine, which he decided to document. Although we don’t see his face (the camera that he has smuggled into the mine is attached to his helmet), we hear his distinct local dialect as he inspects the dark and dusty tunnels and claustrophobic underground spaces that we walk and crawl through on all fours. With a sense of immediacy and in his own distinctive manner, he captures a particular place at a particular time – one day before the Paskov Mine is closed and 1,300 of his colleagues lose their jobs. “I’m shooting this so those city slickers in Prague can see the hard-ass work we do!” J. Andrš

The Last Shift of Thomas Hisem

Jindřich Andrš
Czech Republic / 2017 / 29 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
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Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
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