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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?
Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?
Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?
Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?

Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?

director: Travis Wilkerson
original title: Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?
country: United States
year: 2017
running time: 90 min.

synopsis

In 1946, S.E. Branch clearly shot Bill Spann, a black man, in Alabama. One story of many, it can be said, but this time it’s being unraveled by the great-nephew of the murderer through this political and aesthetically distinctive film essay. During the investigation, he constantly ran in to obstacles, due not only to the prevailing racism, but also the inevitable reflection of his own connection with history. A montage of black and white memories of places, endless drives through red sunsets, and agitating tunes brings the work together in the best southern Gothic tradition, in which “the past is never dead. It’s not even past.” (W. Faulkner)

„This time I offered my love and my labor to a film that I wished somehow to be corrective. A film about the worst of my family.” T. Wilkerson

biography

Travis Wilkerson (1969) is an American independent director, producer, and performance artist. In his work, inspired by the Cuban avant-garde documentary filmmaker Santiago Alvarez, he combines maximalist aesthetics with political radicalism. His film Machine Gun or Typewriter? (2015), a refined agit-prop noir, was screened two years ago at Ji.hlava.

more about film

director: Travis Wilkerson
producer: Travis Wilkerson
photography: Travis Wilkerson
editing: Travis Wilkerson
music: Travis Wilkerson
sound: Travis Wilkerson

other films in the section

Passion - Between Revolt and Resignation
Deeply personal and openly political, this documentary chronicles the life of activist Christian Labhart who was framed by Bach's oratorio of Matthew's Passion. The film presents a bitter testimony of the futile waiting for major social change, as well as the personified history of anti-establishment activism. A monologue recapitulating the director's life since 1968 across major historical events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and the 9/11 attacks has been interwoven with quotes from left-wing thinkers from Bertolt Brecht to Slavoj Žižek. Newly shot footage illustrates how their warning theses are gradually being fulfilled in a contemporary public space.Fifty years ago I began to fight for a better world. Now I switch between revolt and resignation. With these feelings I began a cinematic trip through the jungle of today’s capitalism. Ch. Labhart
personal program

Passion - Between Revolt and Resignation

Christian Labhart
Switzerland / 2019 / 80 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
Wishing you the same
The iconic book Europeana: A Brief History of the Twentieth Century by Patrik Ouředník, first published in 2001, has transformed the imagination of the French film-maker into an apocalyptic chronicle of the last century. A straightforward testimony of scientific rationality, which led the society to a spiritual crisis and resulted in six genocides, is accompanied with melancholic Mahlerian echoes of La Belle Époque when the world was just getting ready for the century that negated all humanity. The film raises the question whether Europe in post-history and post-humanity, sweetly anaesthetized to collective unconsciousness, will pretend as if nothing had happened. “I wanted to breathe life into Ourednik's amazing text and to present its visions on the screen. The purpose of the resulting film play is to make the viewer reflect on different aspects of humanity.” A. de Mezamat
personal program

Wishing you the same

Arnaud de Mezamat
France / 2019 / 95 min.
section: Opus Bonum
European Premiere
We Make Couples
A multi-layered reflection intertwining types of domestic skirmishes with the ones we have within society. It relies on a number of central themes, such as the depictions of faces, touches, projection, or exploding light. It formulates arguments about production (relationships), forms of resistance (against restrictions), systems for organizing the way we see things (ourselves and each other), about ways we project (ourselves to others), about personal and industrial relationships, expressions of beauty (and politics) in an age when “intensity is more important than endurance”. Using montage and rhythmically brilliant collage essays, the filmmaker combines found and his own materials.“The cure for loneliness is solitude.” (Marianne Moore)

We Make Couples

Mike Hoolboom
Canada / 2016 / 57 min.
section: Opus Bonum
Czech Premiere
The Deathless Woman
The far right is on the rise again. Racial intolerance is spreading through real and virtual spaces. Which is why a woman buried alive in the Polish forests during World War II comes back to life to commemorate the history of violence against the Roma. Her “avatar” becomes a young researcher visiting locations in Poland and Hungary where Roma have lost their lives both in the distant and recent past. Thanks to the authentic testimonies and staged passages that blur the line between mystery novel and dreamlike horror, buried secrets come to light serving as both a warning and a reminder. “An uncanny series of events led me to a Polish forest. Later I found out this place was the forgotten grave of the Deathless Woman. Looking back now, I realize she'd been there all along, guiding me.” R. Mortimer
personal program

The Deathless Woman

Roz Mortimer
United Kingdom / 2019 / 88 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
The Room You Take
The world is a theatre. And in every theatre, there are usually backstage spaces that remain hidden from the run-of-the-mill spectator. In this stylized observational documentary, director Marques provides us with a glimpse behind the scenes of smaller Portuguese theatre groups. At a time when metallic monsters in the form of giant demolition bulldozers are razing a traditional theatre building, the marginal position of most theatre outsiders becomes even more depressing. Excerpts of conversations held in front of dressing room mirrors, poetic commentaries, and natural motifs are brought together to create an allegory filled with reflections, both those in the mirror, as well as their equivalents from the theatre that is the world. “I wonder if the proletarian artist isn't already an endangered species. From observational to essayistic, I build this atlas-like film to capture the mirrors of those who take this adventurous survival.”

The Room You Take

Pedro Filipe Marques
Portugal / 2016 / 165 min.
section: Opus Bonum
European Premiere
Also Known as Jihadi
This conceptual documentary, inspired by Masao Adachi’s famous 1969 film Ryakushô renzoku shasatsuma (A.K.A. Serial Killer), is based on landscape theory, whose proponents strive to capture in art the environmental influences that help to form ones’ personality, and the effect that specific locations have on an individual’s life. The film’s director uses this approach to dissect the path followed by a young Frenchman of Algerian descent from his native country to Syria and back again – a path from a secure social position to radicalism and ruin. Without even once showing us the protagonist, he builds an overall picture of him using a series of shots consisting of streets, beaches, buildings, and text from written records made during investigations and interrogations. „Fûkei means landscape in Japanese. Fûkeiron is a proposition: turn the camera 180 degrees to film not the subject of the film, but rather the landscapes that he has seen.” E. Baudelaire

Also Known as Jihadi

Eric Baudelaire
France / 2017 / 101 min.
section: Opus Bonum
East European Premiere
China, 87. The Others
We follow the film journey of director Viollaine de Villers and traveller Jean-Pierre Outers around the Chinese interior during the late 1980s. In a fragmented sequence of archival shots, vignettes of local culture gradually emerge, including everyday work, leisure time moments, and reflections of ancient myths. But it’s not just another of the countless travel documentaries or urban symphonies, but rather a suggestive video essay. The VHS camera becomes a fully-fledged historiographical medium through which foreign culture is revealed in all its myriad facets without crystallizing it into a comfortably consumable image„Welcome to China, freed from any historical or political perspective, we are confronted with the Otherness of Chinese culture. We see in this film the opposite of the picturesque – a slice of quotidian life that may be banal, but still fascinates us.” V. de Villers

China, 87. The Others

Violaine de Villers, Jean-Pierre Outers
Belgium / 2017 / 60 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
29 26
 The film 29 26 is an audiovisual recording of the thoughts and feelings of two sixteen-year-old and two nineteen-year-old girls, who in monologues reveal their concerns and ideas about the life they’ll lead in ten years. The director underscores their speech with stylized and realistic images of themselves, acquired under varying circumstances and on different materials, thus creating an original work of art connecting elements of multiple artistic areas that are close to the author. Long shots of the protagonists’ faces, captured in great detail, are highlighted with expressive illumination and interleaved with poetic, experimentally conceived passages.„‘The world grows with fear next to us‘“ - 29 26, tries to be an intimate and honest tribute/portrait about growing up. Together we create a new space, between performance and film hoping to remember who we were one day.“ P. Velho

29 26

Pedro Velho
Portugal / 2018 / 40 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
A Long Farewell
After years of negotiations, a complex of apartment buildings on the edge of Seoul is heading inexorably for destruction. With the demolition impending, the residents of the buildings slated for destruction try to express what this place means to them. Raya Kim’s minimalist documentary is not built on an apocalyptic mood or kitschy sentiment, but is rather precisely presented in the contrasts between image and sound. Static shots of homes and the surrounding landscape present a portrait of a quiet, seemingly undisturbed everyday life, while detached voices of observers recount their often-dramatic personal experiences, not hiding the uncertainty of what comes next. „What do the actual residents think about the houses scheduled for reconstruction? As with all homes, there are many different forms of time and love.” R. Kim

A Long Farewell

Raya Kim
South Korea / 2017 / 72 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
Spectres are haunting Europe
The Idomeni refugee camp housed people from the Middle East who were trying to cross the border into Europe. When the Greek police closed the camp, the refugees resisted and blocked a railway line used to deliver goods. Maria Kourkouta’s minimalist documentary not only observes these events but also presents carefully modeled static images that open up the space within and without the frame of view, and in the closing black-and-white sequence offers a poetic commentary. The result is a bleak portrait of a place where endless lines of refugees try to preserve the final remnants of their individual freedoms. “This film is a call to welcome the refugees that cross the European borders, as well as the ghosts that return with them.”

Spectres are haunting Europe

Maria Kourkouta, Niki Giannari
France, Greece / 2016 / 99 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
Aftermath
A heterogeneous tetralogy of personal profiles brings together four individuals from different corners of the world of art – pianist and entertainer Fats Waller, painter Jackson Pollock, photographer Janieta Eyre, and painter Frida Kahlo. The ambient collage of turbulent social conditions is infused with intimate moments of artistic immersion. Hypnotic images vibrate with a captivating approach to the subjects’ individual lives. Hoolboom combines documentary footage and re-enactments with experimental collage. Sped-up footage, weightlessly floating cameras, VR, found footage, the patina of 16mm films – all of them tools for redefining the genre of cinematic portrait.„The movie poses this question: how to survive in the aftermath, of the state, of the state of your family, of your body. Artist examples are offered. Perhaps only in the act of doubling, in a crowd scene, can I find this thing I call myself.“ M. Hoolboom

Aftermath

Mike Hoolboom
Canada / 2018 / 75 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
The Road Back
The Road Back is a documentary journey to a time and place that have long been considered lost. The main character tries to find a lost village near a former international railway line where his recently deceased mother spent her youth. The past merges with the present as the filmmaker mixes archival films and close-ups of nature with old photographs. In fact, this blending of two media with different relationships to time forms the basis for discovering not only the relicts of the past that lie hidden beneath layers of contemporary phenomena, but also the unstoppable flow of seemingly unchanging time.“The Road Back incorporates the characteristics of home videos in narrative schemes. In the hope to create a personified and intimate film, based on the directness of home video.”

The Road Back

Wouters Maurits
Belgium / 2016 / 31 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
Aktuálně.cz
Respekt