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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Viva Video, Video Viva
Viva Video, Video Viva
Viva Video, Video Viva
Viva Video, Video Viva

Viva Video, Video Viva

director: Adéla Komrzý
original title: Viva video, video viva
country: Czech Republic
year: 2018
running time: 85 min.

synopsis

Today, analogue video is attractive primarily thanks to the distinctive aesthetic quality of its pixelated image and raster errors. But for Czech artists who first explored the possibilities offered by video art in the late 1980s, this medium represented a path towards freedom. Through a portrait of her grandfather Radek Pilař, one of the pioneers of Czech video art, the director explores her own legacy of imperative creative fascination. Her film’s main story, i.e., the process of reconstructing the 1989 exhibition Video Day, contrasts this enchantment with life in the final days of the totalitarian regime, which different sharply with the adventures of those who decided to emigrate – whom the filmmaker also visits in order to discover forgotten works, get to know their creators, and re-establish broken ties. 

“’The computers, which are here with me, quietly tell me they want me to understand them, to live with them. Because we will live with them. But either they’re devils, or they will be gods.’ Radek Pilař.” A. Komrzý

biography

Adéla Komrzý (1992) studies art history at Charles University in Prague and documentary film at FAMU. In 2018, she was chosen to participate in Berlinale Talents and attended a study exchange at the Konrad Wolf Film University Babelsberg. The Ji.hlava festival has previously shown her film Every Palsy Has Its Silver Lining (2014), Czech Journal: Teaching War and Fiat voluntas tua (2016), and An Absence of Reciprocity in Vulnerability, Losses and Risks (2017).

more about film

director: Adéla Komrzý
producer: Vít Komrzý
script: Adéla Komrzý
photography: Kryštof Hlůže, Jakub Halousek
editing: Šimon Hájek
music: Jan Hammer
sound: Jakub Jurásek

other films in the section

The Prison of Art
“Most prisoners like boxes.” The constrained nature of prisons opens up an infinitude of fantasies and free artistic expression. Environment determines means of expression. A project of confrontation and dialogue with artists from the outside shows radical diff erences and a conspiratory divergence from social norms. This essay on imaginary and physical freedom introduces us to the extreme thoughts of our own boundaries and limitations.  

The Prison of Art

Radovan Síbrt
Czech Republic / 2012 / 87 min.
section: Czech Joy
Czech Premiere
RINO
Karel Köcher is supposedly the most important communist agent to infiltrate the CIA. There are few reliable sources as to his activities, and so the filmmakers aim their camera primarily at the main protagonist. The result is an unconventional portrait that tells us more about a man living a double life than about any sensationalized spy activities. The mystery surrounding his actions also envelopes Köcher the individual: it is difficult to figure out what is going through the mind of someone so perfectly in control and capable of beating a lie detector. DETAIL:“People will say, ‘Oh well, you learned to lie so how can we believe you?’ But it’s not like that, you see? When you lie for a reason, that doesn’t mean that you are a liar by nature. It’s a technical matter.”

RINO

Jakub Wagner
Czech Republic / 2015 / 95 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Stone Games
Do the Sudeten Germans who were tortured and killed during their expulsion at the end of the war deserve a monument or not? This Czech documentary shows that this is more than an intellectual question, but a political struggle. In response to a stone monument to the victims of the expulsion in Nový Bor, a group of local inhabitants has unleashed a hate-filled ritual dance of national fervor and moral outrage that turns out to be a sufficiently strong election issue as well.  

Stone Games

Jan Gebert
Czech Republic / 2012 / 56 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Incoming
It’s 4903 km to the Czech town of Aš, but in Logar, Afghanistan, the main distance that the Czech team is trying to overcome is cultural. Talking heads ponder how to pass on know-how in a country wracked by 30 years of war, but more than once a siren tears the filmmakers and main protagonists back to reality, and there follows a far more dynamic spectacle. “Every day, we travel to hell. We put on vests and ballistic eyewear. We look like robots. We step out of those enormous vehicles like aliens.” In such a situation, taking off your helmet is an act of courage and humanity.

Incoming

Radim Špaček
Czech Republic / 2013 / 70 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Prolegomena to Virtual Framing of a Revolution
A conceptual essay-like look at the origins, symptoms, and principles that stood at the outset of the revolutions in Egypt and Libya. Authoritative regimes come to an end in messages from thousands of mobile telephones. Eisenstein’s mother shot through the eye, Tom and Jerry, Barack Obama, and Slavoj Žižek appear in order to interpret bloody videos showing the chaos of and motivations behind the struggle for liberty and dignity. In Libya, an invitation to the desert of reality takes on sinister dimensions. Muammar Gaddafi utters his final curse.

Prolegomena to Virtual Framing of a Revolution

Petr Hátle
Czech Republic / 2011 / 50 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
The Perpetrator and the Bystander
This half-hour film consists of private video footage shot by theater artist Petr Lébl in 1996 while working on a production of Cyrano de Bergerac as a guest director at the national theatre in Tel Aviv. For most of the film, we see Lébl and costume designer Kateřina Štefková in a hotel room, although on the margins of their banter we encounter Lébl’s more skeptical observations directed at the camera. This seemingly banal home video of two close people breaks down the boundary between the personal and the public, between life and performance. Both continue to act in front of the camera, even though the film was not meant for the public. DETAIL:Mission Impossible – with Kateřina. Beware of Kateřina: Her raw commentaries are meant to drive you mad. Don’t let yourself be fooled: There is no point in repeating to her that I respect her. Better to act with that knowledge in your heart.

The Perpetrator and the Bystander

Jan Kačena, Nikola Krutilová
Czech Republic / 2015 / 34 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Byeway
Activism, direct observation, and situational documentary inconspicuously linger about the constantly delayed construction of the D8 motorway. Local residents, a Brno-based activist and the construction chief shatter the clichés of contemporary documentary film – among other things in who we should root for. The local mixes with the global just like economics and the environment. A beautiful shot of the north Bohemian countryside, set to Wagner’s Tannhäuser. But the viewer intuitively senses that these superficial aesthetics hide a no less forceful sense of irony and doubt.

Byeway

Ivo Bystřičan
Czech Republic / 2013 / 72 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Czech Journal: The Limits of Work
Journalist Saša Uhlová spent six months exploring working conditions at the worst-paid jobs in the Czech Republic. She spent several weeks in a hospital washroom, at a poultry plant, behind a cash register and at a waste sorting facility. Her experience formed the basis for a very personal series of reports about people working invisible jobs under shocking conditions, published on the A2larm.cz website. Apolena Rychlíková has turned these articles into a documentary film consisting of scenes shot at Uhlová’s home and of video footage taken at her places of work, accompanied by Uhlová’s read commentary.“I spent several months close to my protagonist, who never once placed herself above those whose lives she has tried to show us. Perhaps this film of our era will, with time, reach even those whom it affects.” A. Rychlíková

Czech Journal: The Limits of Work

Apolena Rychlíková
Czech Republic / 2017 / 70 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Vratislav Effenberger or Black Shark Hunting
In the spirit of this master of poetics, David Jařab approaches his portrait of leading Czech postwar surrealist Vratislav Effenberger as a game. He invited members of the local surrealist group to talk about Effenberger in places where he stages absurd encounters and interrelationships. The main theme is Effenberger’s unrealized (unrealizable) screenplays, which the filmmakers attempt to enact during the film. This surrealistic hunt for Effenberger’s imagination is capped by an interview with his son full of ambivalent personal memories. “Effenberger’s work with absurd humour and the principle of game enabled him to subversively attack the outer and inner realities of everyday life. This vision is close to mine and to the vision of my film.” D. Jařab

Vratislav Effenberger or Black Shark Hunting

David Jařab
Czech Republic / 2018 / 84 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
Good Mr. Benda
A sensitive portrait of grandfather Miroslav Benda, a tried and true Sokol member and an ordinary man with extraordinary vigor and ideals, revealing a story of human resilience and optimism through nostalgia and situational comedy. The film is a kind of observational documentary - it includes family videos and archival film material. We’re drawn into the microcosm of the village of Křenovice u Slavkova by two Japanese women who have decided to visit Benda, thanks to his long friendship with a university professor from Tokyo. Together with Benda, the audience travels to the only Japanese gas station in Europe, to Prague’s Strahov Stadium, and to New York to visit American Sokol members. “Old Mr. Benda fascinates me with his ability to elevate banality to a feast; he is like a Zen master who was asked about the meaning of life and said: ‘When you want to eat, eat; when you want to sleep, sleep.’” P. Jurda

Good Mr. Benda

Pavel Jurda
Czech Republic / 2018 / 76 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Everything´s Gonna Be Fine
Producer Čestmír Kopecký had originally wanted to make a film about the changing face of Brno, but in the end director Robin Kvapil and co-writer Pavel Šplíchal created something more closely resembling Šplíchal’s ironic blog Prigl. In their “lovingly anarchistic” film, Brno forms the epicentre of a sarcastic look at Czech society. The naive and vacuous communist-era documentary with which Kvapil’s film opens gives way to the reporter’s bitter monologues right in front of the camera. These are intercut with acted sequences featuring Brno’s political elites, artists, and outcasts.“People say that Brno is the only joke that is inhabitable. The entire film follows this logic.” R. Kvapil

Everything´s Gonna Be Fine

Robin Kvapil
Czech Republic / 2017 / 71 min.
section: Czech Joy
World Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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