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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Happy Mother´s Day
Happy Mother´s Day

Happy Mother´s Day

director: Joyce Chopra, Richard Leacock
original title: Happy Mother´s Day
country: United States
year: 1963
running time: 30 min.

synopsis

This controversial film has provoked a discussion about manipulating the audience's opinion. It pretends to lay out the objective events surrounding a birth of quintuplets, while in reality putting forward a meticulously thought-out piece, prompting the viewer to wake up to the absurdity of the campaign. The film strives for committed objectivity rather than comprehensiveness.

biography

Richard Leacock (1921-2011), who worked with Robert Flaherty in his youth, was known first as an experimenter and later primarily as a cameraman at Drew Associates, practicing the concept of “live camera”.

more about film

director: Joyce Chopra, Richard Leacock
producer: Donn Alan Pennebaker, Richard Leacock
photography: Richard Leacock
editing: Richard Leacock, Joyce Chopra
sound: Joyce Chopra

other films in the section

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 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
Artifices
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? 

Artifices

François Reichenbach
France / 1963 / 10 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
Manouane River Lumberjacks
This film, by one of the most important and most productive Canadian documentary filmmakers, examines the seasonal work of a diverse group of lumberjacks, among whom are members of Canadian Indian tribes. The style combines direct cinema with a lyrical approach to the landscape, which enthralls everyone.  

Manouane River Lumberjacks

Arthur Lamothe
Canada / 1962 / 28 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
Wrestling
With his creative concept, the creator of this film about wrestling completely exceeds simple match reporting. The viewers have more information than the fans in the hall and can assess not only the match, but also the reaction of the spectators. The music selection (Bach, Vivaldi) also draws attention to the fact that it’s more like a theatrical production.

Wrestling

Marcel Carrière, Claude Fournier, Claude Jutra, Michel Brault
Canada / 1961 / 28 min.
section: Direct Vérité
European Premiere
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
Strangers of the Earth
Filmed in the village of Livinière in the Lozère district, locals talk about their work and lives in a time when the area is threatened with depopulation and the extinction of traditional farming methods. The goal was to record the opinions of these people living in relative isolation, thus affecting the truth about the situation. 

Strangers of the Earth

Mario Ruspoli
France / 1961 / 40 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
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
Gare du Nord
The collective narrative film Paris Through the Eyes Of... was intended as a New Wave manifesto with the goal of reviving interest in it. It didn’t quite happen, though, but an interesting work was created, part of which is the story of Odile, who has a fight with her husband and meets a mysterious man. It was shot as two long single takes on 16mm film and later transferred to 35mm.  

Gare du Nord

Jean Rouch
France / 1965 / 16 min.
section: Direct Vérité
Czech Premiere
On the Pole
This pillar of direct cinema captures the fame and death of race-car driver Eddie Sachs. It combines original with archival footage, black-and-white with colour film, and among other things makes use of sped-up images in order to achieve the same effect as in Primary. Again, the film tries to find the logic of the depicted events and to offer an objective take on them.

On the Pole

Richard Leacock, Robert Drew
United States / 1960 / 58 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
Ministerstvo kultury
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