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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Artifices
Artifices

Artifices

director: François Reichenbach
original title: Artifices
country: France
year: 1963
running time: 10 min.

synopsis

A group of French pupils asks their American peers – what is the Far West? The young Americans answer with their teacher’s help. The director transforms the children’s statements into images, and shows how the state instills an official opinion on the Far West. Are we watching a visual rhapsody or is it a politically engaged cinéma direct documentary? 

biography

François Reichenbach (1921-1993) was a filmmaker influenced by the travels of his youth. In his work, he addressed topics such as the relationship of France and the USA and shot portraits of renowned international artists.    

more about film

director: François Reichenbach
producer: Les Films de la Pléiade

other films in the section

Salesman
American filmmakers are the furthest from Vertov’s notion of film-truth. The Maysles directing duo is known for reducing the influence of editing. Salesman is based on the concept of living camera: to be as close as possible to the essence of the events and preserve their ambiguity. The film’s subject are the lives of door-to-door Bible salesmen.

Salesman

Charlotte Zwerin, David Maysles, Albert Maysles
United States / 1968 / 90 min.
section: Direct Vérité
The Little Café
Reichenbach was an innovative filmmaker who filmed everything around him using primarily his intuition. Instead of filming portraits of people, he made a portrait of a little café, where people are considered props and a spontaneously filmed telephone conversation between the café owner and a customer becomes the plot.  

The Little Café

François Reichenbach
France / 1963 / 12 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
An Insight into Madness, The Prisoner Party
The film is made up of the eponymous medium-length film and the short film The Prisoner Party. The director’s goal was for the viewers to better comprehend the everyday life of patients and doctors at the psychiatric hospital in Saint-Alban, where the first experiments with psychotherapy took place. The commentary uses Artaud’s texts on madness.

An Insight into Madness, The Prisoner Party

Mario Ruspoli
France / 1961 / 53 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
Hitler – Never Heard of Him
Bertrand Blier’s debut is an original anti-bourgeois lampoon based on interviews with several Frenchmen aged 15 to 22 who don’t recognize Hitler. It’s unique for its form, based on its camera work and editing. For its time it was so provocative that it was banned for viewers under 18 and withdrawn from competition at Cannes.  

Hitler – Never Heard of Him

Bertrand Blier
France / 1961 / 90 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
The Snowshoers
This key direct cinema film originated without a script and without the usual permits. Originally it was intended to be a short four-minute report about a traditional sport, but it was rejected. The goal was to lead viewers away from traditional reportage documentaries. The film showed how to exempt documentary from the rules.

The Snowshoers

Michel Brault, Gilles Groulx
Canada / 1958 / 15 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Seeing Miami...
It’s no wonder the director claims to be inspired by the work of Jean Vigo. In this film, he artfully develops his own style – dialogic commentary, corpses, slowed-down scenes, and parallel montages. The result is an image of white and black society. The film was censored in Canada due to its scenes from Cuba and Fidel Castro giving a speech. 

Seeing Miami...

Gilles Groulx
Canada / 1962 / 31 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
Don´t Look Back
The work of D. A. Pennebaker is absolutely vital to any understanding of the development of cinéma vérité outside of France, and his documentary about Bob Dylan is the essence of this style. First shown in 1967, it was an unexpected hit with audiences and subsequently became the model for future music documentaries even though it is nothing more than a record of Dylan’s 1965 tour of England. 

Don´t Look Back

Donn Alan Pennebaker
United States / 1967 / 95 min.
section: Direct Vérité
The Village Pleasure
Or, how to become a Frenchman in a few lessons. It’s the essence of cinéma vérité, combining an essayistic approach with an effort to capture raw reality in all its truth, but at the same time, we’re watching a documentary version of The Firemen’s Ball in the French countryside. 

The Village Pleasure

François Reichenbach
France / 1963 / 47 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
The Human Pyramid
Rouch doesn’t pursue reality - he provokes it. The camera isn’t hidden but stands in the forefront. This sociological documentary about the clash of white and black cultures is based on improvisation. This simulation of the coexistence of dozens of boys and girls is an attempt to capture the essence of real existing facts and Rouch’s concept of cinéma vérité. 

The Human Pyramid

Jean Rouch
France / 1961 / 88 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
Lonely Boy
At first glance, the film appears to be a survey about the gifted singer, the idol of a generation. The result is a unique way of observing stars through their own fans. The sound is significant here, achieving an unprecedented sense of reality. The innovative approach complements the film with staged scenes. 

Lonely Boy

Roman Kroitor, Wolf Koenig
Canada / 1962 / 27 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
Lomelin
Toreadors call their first entrance into the arena the “moment of truth”. We follow one such moment in the life of a Mexican toreador who is later considered one of the best bullfighters of all time. The camera becomes part of reality, without any additional commentary, only the soundtrack and editing give meaning to Lomelin’s gestures and emotions and those of his family. 

Lomelin

François Reichenbach
France / 1965 / 22 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
CANDID EYE (1958-1960): The Back-breaking Leaf
A short film from the TV documentary series The Candid Eye, which was quite innovative content-wise and intended to show a new way of filming. The goal in this particular case was to visually and aurally capture the numbing drudgery of seasonal tobacco pickers. Despite this, at some moments the direction took on a certain aesthetic aspect. 

CANDID EYE (1958-1960): The Back-breaking Leaf

Terence Macartney-Filgate
Canada / 1959 / 29 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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