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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Set Off
Set Off
Set Off
Set Off

Set Off

director: Mustafa Emin Büyükcoskun
original title: Gitmek
country: Germany, Turkey
year: 2019
running time: 63 min.

synopsis

The city of Kobani lies in Syria on the border of the sphere of influence of the Islamic State, Turkey and the Kurds. Representatives of these three opposing parties battled it out between the years 2014 and 2016 during a war conflict that claimed the lives of many civilians, including thirty-three Turkish citizens who had come there beforehand for various reasons. Conceptualized as a film in their memory, the filmmakers use symbolism to follow their fateful journey as they set off for a city in ruins. The footage is complemented by double exposures of the survivors' faces, who tell of the untimely deaths of their friends and relatives.

“Set Off was an exercise about how and what to tell, after an unmourned disaster; a journey parallel to theirs, daydreaming in the middle of a conflict zone, where landscape deconstructs power regimes.“ M. E. Büyükcoskun

biography

Istanbul-born Mustafa Emin Büyükcoşkun (1988) is a student of the German University of Art and Design in Karlsruhe. He worked as assistant director for the film, but also worked as a producer and cameraman assistant. As director, he made the short film, Sardunya (2008), and thirteen episodes of the Hanlardan Plazalara (2013) documentary series for Turkish television. Set-Off is his feature film debut.

more about film

director: Mustafa Emin Büyükcoskun
producer: Arzu Demir
photography: Ezgi Aydın, Emre Altan, Mustafa Emin Büyükcoşkun
editing: Semih Gülen, Mustafa Emin Büyükcoşkun
sound: David Loscher

other films in the section

Where the Land Ends
Québec is the largest Canadian province and the only one with the official language being only French. Modern struggles for Québec’s independence have resulted in two referendum polls which both acknowledged its being a part of Canada. The film explores Québec identity through the perspective of young people who haven’t had the chance to vote in the referendums. It comes up with questions about their relationship to their ancestors, whose traditions had been captured on camera by the documentary filmmaker Pierre Perrault, or whether their previously clear identification has begun losing ground now. In the course of a contemplative journey through the province’s cities and nature, seventeen young people provide their questions and ideas.“Where the Land Ends is a voice and a space. A voice that I realized I no longer heard, yet that I needed to hear. A space that still lived through some, but which we could no longer inhabit ourselves.” L. Darses     
personal program

Where the Land Ends

Loïc Darses
Canada / 2019 / 90 min.
section: First Lights
International Premiere
Among Houses and the Cosmos
In this sensual film essay, the director has assembled her experiences with rituals in various corners of the world, from Europe across Africa to Latin America. The close interaction of the camera with bodies moving in trances encourages active involvement in the frenzied moments in which people lose themselves in Dionysian intoxication. These moments serve the filmmaker to obliterate the distance between the individual and the collective, personal and foreign, internal and external. The film, however, attaches a political meaning to the rituals, or rather shows how uprooted cultures cope with their minority status through rituals, or even turn it to their favor. “I felt the urgency to work with video footage from years of different travels. During editing, I found myself thinking about the human necessity to impose meaningful patterns on life and being.” Koštana Banović

Among Houses and the Cosmos

Kostana Banović
Netherlands, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Portugal, Senegal, Brazil, Angola, Turkey, Gambia, Cuba, Serbia, Aruba, Netherlands Antilles / 2016 / 70 min.
section: First Lights
World Premiere
Panoptic
Lebanese filmmaker Rana Eid’s documentary essay premiered in the Signs of Life section at the Locarno Film Festival, a film in which she captured her journey through Beirut while mourning the death of her father. In an attempt to understand her hometown, she decided to explore its very core – its underground. Because that was exactly how she de facto lived – in hiding, just as everyone else did during the 17-year-long civil war. The director’s personal journey, filled with atmospheric, auditory sensations (she doesn’t deny her years of sound work), reflects Lebanon’s troubled past, as well as its present and future prospects, on a whole different level. “Drawing into my own memories, Panoptic is both a historical document and the memoir of an ordinary citizen trying to understand the injustices we lived through in Lebanon over the past 40 years.” R. Eid

Panoptic

Rana Eid
Lebanon, United Arab Emirates / 2017 / 69 min.
section: First Lights
East European Premiere
Mittelmeer
A poetic documentary about the Mediterranean brings together a mosaic of images of the southern and the northern coast that the director, writer and poet Nathalie Quintane collected without traveling anywhere – they acquired them through hotel and other publicly accessible webcams. In this way, both of them walk the shores and beaches, rocks and ports, enhanced with the memories and conversations that JeanMarc shares with his son about the current problems of coastal countries. Suddenly the contrasts between the European, African and Middle Eastern shores of the sea are revealed. "Webcam images placed around the Mediterranean Sea don’t have any deepness. They are like an ideal illusion of a unique world. A film has perhaps a chance to say it.“ J.-M. Chapoulie
personal program

Mittelmeer

Jean-Marc Chapoulie
France / 2019 / 73 min.
section: First Lights
International Premiere
The Building
In Kharkov, Ukraine lies Derzhprom Palace. The constructivist building, built between 1925 and 1927, was intended to embody the idea of communism. The palace soon became a symbol of the new society and inspired many avant-garde artists, e.g. Mayakovsky, Ejsenstein, Vertov and Dovzhenko. The film captures the current bustling activity of the building at a slow pace and offers a kaleidoscope of different perspectives. Through archival materials - building plans and contemporary film footage - it maps the history of the building and creates tension between the past and present, the new and old parts, the duties of employees and two astonished tourists wandering about.“Like rag-pickers of history, we look at the fragments left over from a time when a new society seemed possible, convinced that history is ultimately about the people who inhabit it” M. Mester, T. Kononenko
personal program

The Building

Matilda Mester, Tatjana Kononenko
Germany, Ukraine / 2019 / 93 min.
section: First Lights
World Premiere
On the Edge of Freedom
Moscow and Kyiv. Angela and Vlad. Two young and talented people brought together by an unusual passion for the extravagant and public conquest of forbidden parts of the city. Tall buildings, underground tunnels or freight trains are the new pastimes of a young generation yearning to get out of the rut, escape a predictable future and find fame among their peers through risky “urbex” videos. At the same time, however, the logic of social networks is turning them into a commercial phenomenon that can bring them big money – but also compel them to engage in even crazier stunts. “This is urban exploration, baby!” “This is a portrait of a new generation we rarely hear about. It is a film about the human behind an extreme phenomenon.” A. M. Hopland

On the Edge of Freedom

Anita Mathal Hopland, Jens Lengerke
Denmark / 2017 / 74 min.
section: First Lights
Central European Premiere
Aphasia
The brutal Belgian colonial policy, the Austrian oppression of the Balkans, and ethnic conflicts after the breakup of Yugoslavia – these seemingly unrelated historical episodes create one line of the documentary. In the film, history becomes a kind of speech, which often leads to the inability to formulate a complete sentence in the statements of a person suffering from loss of speech or speech disorder. In three acts, the film looks for words to describe and understand the existence of the museum of the Belgian colonial history, the hovering of Kurt Waldheim before the commission investigating his involvement in SS, and the infamous photograph of the Belgrade’s most popular DJ kicking the head of a dead woman. “Slavenka Drakulic once wrote that if we believe that the perpetrators are monsters it is because we would like to separate ‘us’ from ‘them’. Aphasia came as a result of questioning that distance.” J. Juresa
personal program

Aphasia

Jelena Jureša
Belgium / 2019 / 80 min.
section: First Lights
International Premiere
Connatural
This documentary, shot on black and white film, is an excruciating meditation on living close to death, which is nonetheless an inseparable part of life. Three generations of women live in one home, away from other people: an ageing mother, her two daughters, and her granddaughter. In long, slow shots, we see ordinary, regular actions that make up their day: braiding hair in the morning, cleaning the mother’s feet, reading the evening prayers. Lyrically stylized scenes depict their lives as an endless succession of moments of solitude, but which in their sequence and repetition gain strength, approaching analogy in the surrounding beautiful but inert nature.“Connatural stems from a need to express a series of emotions and thoughts related to the human condition. It delves into universal issues that are not usually represented as the experience of old age, everyday life and closeness to death.” J. Bellido

Connatural

Javier Bellido Valdivia
Peru / 2018 / 83 min.
section: First Lights
World Premiere
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
Metaphysics and Democracy
On average, our eyes remained fixed on an advertisement for six seconds. Advertisements are probably the most common ideological channel that we encounter in visible form. Director Luis Ortiz has based his documentary film on this contrast à la thèse. The visual aspect of the film is made up of 57 one-minute static views of advertising. The soundtrack features texts that challenge the existence of ideology as such (the Borges story Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius) and draws attention to the fact that we often confuse it with ontology (the critics of neoliberalism, such as Ignacio Ramonet and Noam Chomsky).“In times of political extremism I find it necessary to ask which mechanisms undermine democracy in the so called modern societies, then new progressive answers are needed to confront the simplistic discourses from the right.” 

Metaphysics and Democracy

Luis Ortiz
Germany, Colombia / 2016 / 59 min.
section: First Lights
World Premiere
The Making of Justice
A consistently out-of-focus visual record tracking seven men as they discuss the screenplay for a film about the life path of Tom, a young murderer who, after twelve years in prison, returns to the village where he lived, and tries to prove – to himself and others – that he has changed. The camera slides down the walls, snoops between chair legs, and captures useless details of the individual body parts of the participating figures. The schematic story of Tom’s guilt, punishment, and new beginning, which the film’s director guides her consultants through step by step, gradually gains in plasticity and becomes a surprisingly effective tool for thinking about the image of a criminal and the concept of justice. "Fiction is a powerful tool to re-imagine oneself and the world, a place where judgement can be suspended. This is a rare occasion to hear the voices of perpetrators as human beings, in an increasingly revengeful society."  S. Vanhee

The Making of Justice

Sarah Vanhee
Belgium / 2017 / 60 min.
section: First Lights
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: First Lights
World Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
Aktuálně.cz
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