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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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The Things
The Things

The Things

director: Nino Gogua
original title: Nivtebi
country: Georgia
year: 2016
running time: 62 min.

synopsis

Nearly 10 years after the conflict in Georgia, Georgian inhabitants of the Russian-occupied territory are still living in temporary camps, waiting to return home. Their dwellings are cookie-cutter houses. They brought only the few items that they managed to grab from their homes when fleeing from the occupation army. Equally austere, almost as empty as their provisional housing, they live their lives at the mercy of waiting for what is to come. In this meditative documentary, real relics of their past lives, everyday things brought from their original homes, are the most tangible manifestations of the irreversibility of time as measured by losses.

“We attempted to reflect about war experience from particular perspective, to meet persons rather than statistics, to observe rather than inquire, to contemplate about something we all share - the attachments.” Nino Gogua

biography

Nino Gogua (1988) studied journalism at Tbilisi State University. She worked on news programs for the private television station Maestro TV and as a reporter for Liberali magazine. In 2012, she co-founded the CineMark production company, which focuses on documentary films. Her previous film Madonna (2014) is a portrait of the only female driver employed by the Georgian public transportation system.

more about film

director: Nino Gogua
producer: Natia Guliashvili
photography: Sandro Khutsishvili

other films in the section

Savagery
Just forty years ago, the Brazilian state of Pará was covered by rainforest. Today, it is an area where the wilderness comes into harsh conflict with the savagery of the urban population. Using several segments, a team of two French documentarians compose an especially brutal poetical mythology of a place where poachers hunt snakes that are many meters long, crowds of people look on during police murder investigations, and a mother must apologize because her adolescent rapper son insulted the local police. Using a handheld camera, the filmmakers take spontaneous shots, sensitive to both the genius loci and the unaffected interviews with local inhabitants. "We went to Pará, Brazil, at the pursuit of some sort of vision of savagery. Crossing tales, ecological themes and fantastic apparitions, we try to undo this arbitrary separation between the fascination with nature and the fear of violence." J. Le Fourn

Savagery

Jonathan Le Fourn, Rèmi De Gaalon
France / 2017 / 94 min.
section: First Lights
International 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, First Lights
World Premiere
Monk of the Sea
Even today, seventy percent of the men in Thailand follow the old custom of spending at least a short part of their life as a Buddhist monk in a monastery. For Ball, the film’s protagonist, his two-week career as a monk is intended to serve as a symbolic steppingstone between his wild student life and more moderate adulthood. However, the reality of things is by far not so simple. Rafał Skalski’s staged documentary uses the example of Ball’s marginal experience to demonstrate the degree to which modern-day Thai society is based on the incompatibility between ascetic and hedonistic lifestyles, which the one-time transformation of the unrestrained young man into a monk cannot really conceal."To me, this is an instant kind of spirituality. We want to get a lot of things done in one go – quickly fall in love, make a career, be successful."

Monk of the Sea

Rafal Skalski
Poland, Germany / 2016 / 68 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
Yellowing
The Hong Kong protests of 2014 known as the “Umbrella Revolution” were an expression of some people’s dissatisfaction with the restrictive interventions in local affairs by the Chinese government. The protestors, primarily young people, rejected the limitations on local autonomy made by the communist government. In his first-person participant documentary, director Tze-woon Chan and his hand-held camera become a part of events in the island city. Over the course of 20 chapters (or “memos”), the film’s young protagonists express their feelings and views of the revolution whose cruel historical momentum rolled right over them.“Hearts might change before China’s assumed complete takeover. But I made Yellowing to document the Umbrella Movement, in the hope that our initial intent and belief might be remembered and be reminded of.”

Yellowing

Tze Woon Chan
Hong Kong SAR China / 2016 / 133 min.
section: First Lights
European Premiere
The Nature of Things
This documentary essay explores the inner world of Angelo Santagostino, a man suffering from ALS, which has left him unable to perform the most basic functions or to communicate without the help of a special computer. The illness has permanently imprisoned him in a wheelchair, but he has maintained a rich inner life. The film conveys Angelo’s dreams, memories, and fantasies in scenes that evoke unfettered movement beyond normal horizons, whether it’s travelling through the universe, swimming underwater, or riding rides at a theme park. The symbolic contrast between his immobile body and his boundless spirit creates a portrait of a person who has maintained admirable dignity in the face of death.„Angelo has been the longest and shortest journey of my life, for sure the most beautiful.” 

The Nature of Things

Laura Viezzoli
Italy / 2016 / 68 min.
section: First Lights
East European Premiere
Through Foreign Eyes
Mykaela Plotkinova thought of making this poetic, mosaic documentary in a bookshop, when she came across the words of poet Manoel de Barros about “the accent of the place of our origin we carry in our eyes”. She never found the quote again, but in the course of the next few years, she carried out the project with the help of other contributors, mainly the editor C. A. Saquieres. She created a film essay combining reflections on the identity and ethnic roots of several natives of the Brazilian city of Recife, who live abroad, and the images of the places where they live.„I’ve never not felt like a foreigner, but neither did I really know where I came from. Through Foreign Eyes searches for a story that no-one has ever really told me. This film is a must for me. A film that is made to understand life.“ M. Plotkin

Through Foreign Eyes

Mykaela Plotkin
Brazil, Argentina / 2018 / 74 min.
section: First Lights
World Premiere
My Unknown Soldier
Documentarian Anna Kryvenko offers an unusual perspective on the 1968 occupation of Czechoslovakia. She conceived My Unknown Soldier as an audio-visual diary, through which she revisits the events of the time with rare archive material and her own commentary. Her great-uncle was a soldier in the occupying forces; he committed suicide shortly after his return from Czechoslovakia. Kryvenko’s own Ukrainian origin earns her first-hand experience of the Czechs’ deep-seated hatred of Russian-speaking people. The film therefore casts light on another unfortunate legacy of the August 1968 events in contemporary Czech, but also Ukrainian and Russian society."I don’t want to speak about general justice or truth. I would like to show that no truth can be definite. This is a story about how one becomes an “occupier” without intending to." A. Kryvenko

My Unknown Soldier

Anna Kryvenko
Czech Republic, Latvia, Slovakia / 2018 / 79 min.
section: First Lights
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
A Tall Tale
The magic of folksongs lies in their freedom from the restraints of artificial genres and thematic rules. The creative duo of Lucia Nimcová and Sholto Dobie approach their improvised observational documentary in much the same way. The sequence of images from contemporary western Ukraine brings narrative, sound, and musical elements and nearly photographic detailed static scenes of reality into creative counterpoint. Figures of various ages alternate before the camera; interior and exterior locations change; but the song goes on. A folk opera consisting of bawdy folk songs, storytelling ballads, and pre-modern hip-hop. Old world music.“A Tall Tale seeks to capture private and hidden realities excluded from the main historical narrative of the region. Hard mountain rap, vintage feminism and filthy Carpathian hip hop are still alive and relevant.” Lucia Nimcová

A Tall Tale

Lucia Babjaková Nimcová
Slovakia / 2016 / 34 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
TEACH
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
personal program

TEACH

Alex Brendea
Romania / 2019 / 82 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Taego Ãwa
Tutawa Tuagaek, the ageing leader of the Ãwa, a Brazilian indigenous tribe, is one of the last survivors of the 1973 massacre of Indians in the Amazon jungle. This team of filmmaker-ethnographers records his everyday life in the company of young followers, to whom he is trying to pass on his experiences. The Indian community’s everyday rituals are contrasted with found photographs and video clips that offer rare evidence of the atrocities that Tutawa recounts. Different epochs and visual formats create a continuum that reveals the traumatic history of an oppressed people who have managed to survive despite all odds."The imagination is not only mediator between understanding and sensibility, it has its own dynamism, scheme free, organized bodies, constituted individuals, fixed identities, consolidated psyches."

Taego Ãwa

Henrique Borela, Marcela Borela
Brazil / 2016 / 75 min.
section: First Lights
East European 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
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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