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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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The Wall
The Wall
The Wall
The Wall

The Wall

director: Dmitry Bogolubov
original title: Stena
country: Russia
year: 2017
running time: 43 min.

synopsis

The Stalin Cult is once again gaining in strength in Russia. Every December 21st, the former Communist leader’s admirers gather to honor him on Red Square, at the site of his grave in the Kremlin Wall. In this observational documentary, the Russian director introduces the principle of “walking heads” – the majority of the footage consists of long takes showing the faces of the people waiting in line to place flowers and pay homage in front of a bust of Stalin. Accompanied by the sound of shuffling feet, a representative sample of various human types parades in front of our eyes, their faces reflecting almost a sacred reverence for a man who was responsible for the murder of several millions of their fellow citizens.

"Imagine thousands of Jews praying to Hitler’s grave. Impossible? How people can worship the one who annihilated them? In modern Russia we can witness a similar paradox." D. Bogolubov

biography

After completing law school, Dmitry Bogolubov (1980) obtained a degree in documentary and television production from the Russian State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK). He focuses on making television documentaries and advertisements and also creates visual effects for Russian films. He has directed the films Neglected (2011) and Oleg the Wise (2014), both of which have received several awards in Russia. He also was the cinematographer for the documentary On the Edge (2014), directed by his wife, Anna Shishova-Bogolubova.

more about film

director: Dmitry Bogolubov
producer: Dmitry Bogolubov
script: Dmitry Bogolubov
photography: Vladimir Kuleshov
sound: Sorin Apostol

other films in the section

Vacancy
The camera observes an American motel along the main highway – just the way many of us imagine the United States. We follow four people inside the room at night, where they have been living in a kind of private purgatory for several years. Their sins are drugs, crime, and bad decisions. The slow flow of scenes and the occasionally blurred image create an atmosphere of being out of time and out of place – which probably just where these four people, incapable of breaking free from the vicious circle of apathy, feel themselves to be. The four documentary portraits combine to form a picture of the depressing life of people nurturing a tiny flame of hope. „,I have been to hell and / back. / And let me / tell you / It was / wonderful‘ (from Louise Bourgeois work)“ A. Kandy Longuet

Vacancy

Alexandra Kandy Longuet
Belgium / 2018 / 80 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Things We Do Not Say
A video diary by a young Iranian actress, intended for her boyfriend living in exile. A lament of dashed hopes from the contested 2009 presidential elections, which were followed by the largest protests since the Islamic revolution. The filmmaker stages a parallel eight-year-old reality – the pre-election ecstasy is framed by an incomplete rehearsal of Macbeth. We relive situations that cannot be changed and that deeply resonate with the motif of coming to terms with reality. The actor’s hopeless gesture is balanced by a call for resisting totalitarianism and by an homage to the victims of the autocratic regime. The feverish atmosphere of the elections is muffled by the skepticism of the main protagonists – they, too, were once young and naive."Is there a void from which the sense emerges? Can we fill the emptiness by a reality, our own reality? The images that we remember, are they the same images, or reflections of those images?" A. Razi

Things We Do Not Say

Ali Razi
Iran, France / 2018 / 52 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World 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
Kuichisan
This portrait of Okinawa, a Japanese island formerly home to an American military base, is conceived as a young boy’s daydream-like wanderings, his attention randomly falling on various objects and events. The film thus represents a bold victory of cinematic intuition over method and order. The combination of 16mm black-and-white camera with color images, a soundtrack disconnected from the images, and the blurring of the boundaries between documentary and fiction make this film an enigmatic but fascinating experience.

Kuichisan

Maiko Endo
Japan, United States / 2012 / 76 min.
section: Opus Bonum
Czech Premiere
One Night Stand
The film is based on the filmmakers’ real encounter with an unknown European one night in a bar in Beirut in 2017. It was a man on the road to join the Kurdish militia fighting in the war against the Islamic state on the territory of Syria. The conversation was secretly recorded on a cellphone and serves as the script for animated modeled situations and reconstructions of that night. In addition to a fascinating probe into the thinking of a man who is willing to sacrifice his life for the struggle for  freedom, the film is also a formal polemic on the apparent authenticity of the documentary and the possibilities of representation of reality by means of simulations and modeled situations. “War today is a constant state of preparation for absolute destruction beyond the frontline. We no longer have the means of recognising it, nor distinguishing between a soldier and a citizen.” M. Lotfy, N. Abed     
personal program

One Night Stand

Noor Abed, Mark Lotfy
Palestine, Egypt / 2019 / 24 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Ex Press
A passenger train travels across the landscape of the Philippines, while a monologue description of the journey presents fragments of memory and fantasy that look back at the country’s past. This graduate film by debuting filmmaker Jet Leyco is not based on a fixed script, but was made intuitively and spontaneously on location. Documentary approaches are mixed with stages elements in order to create a hypnotic mixture at whose centre lies the search for the unexplained resignation of the police officers defending the train against vandals.

Ex Press

Jet Leyco
Philippines / 2011 / 90 min.
section: Opus Bonum
Central European Premiere
Flesh Memory
Finley Blake supports herself by performing live online erotic webcam shows. Because of this, her young son was taken from her and she is desperately trying to get him back. She is 33 years old and alone, with only her cat and the rats that inhabit her house in Austin, Texas. The film captures several ordinary days of her life – days in which she is so terribly alone yet still surrounded by people. She lives her life through computer monitors, isolated from the outside world. Although this is an observational documentary, its composition, often alternating image sizes, helps make the film’s pace even more dynamic. "Title came first. I was showering when I decided I would, one day, make a movie called Flesh Memory, about eroticism and the Internet. Then I met Finley. And everything suddenly made sense. Best ideas always pop up in the shower, don’t they?" J. Goldberg

Flesh Memory

Jacky Goldberg
France / 2018 / 60 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
Dark Matter
A film with almost no words, about things that people do not usually talk about. Army testing has turned an Italian army firing range into a dangerous place for people and all nearby living beings. Not coincidentally, it is a place reminiscent of the Zone in Stalker – a place that arouses curiosity precisely through its forced negation of life. Dark matter is a hypothetical form of matter that does not interact with light. It neither emits nor absorbs light. Dark matter has no radiation and no shadow. And yet, scientists are convinced that it exists.

Dark Matter

Massimo D'Anolfi, Martina Parenti
Italy / 2013 / 77 min.
section: Opus Bonum
East European Premiere
Our Nixon
During Watergate, the FBI confiscated more than 500 reels of Super 8 film shot by Nixon’s advisors Haldeman, Ehrlichman and Chapin. The films spent 40 years locked in a government safe. Our Nixon uses this “found footage” as the basis not for an experiment in form, but for a humorous, playful and pertinent commentary on the line between privacy and politics. “All of Nixon’s men” smile as they run towards the camera, a circus bear circles on a motorcycle, and a pop hit of the time goes: “You’ve been around for such a long time now.” A home video becomes the opening sequence for a television series.

Our Nixon

Penny Lane
United States / 2013 / 85 min.
section: Opus Bonum
Central European Premiere
Once More unto the Breach
Because of his Russian origins, Italian soldier Romano Isman is called to the front to act as a military interrogator and translator for the fascist bigwigs and the local population. Isman’s narrative mixes a detailed description of the horrors of war and historical testimony with a lyrical disillusioned contemplation on the insignifi cance of the individual in the midst of war. The filmmaker creates a contrast between historicized illustrative images accompanying the narration of the protagonist and images of modern Ukraine and Russia, which to this day are still dealing with the despair and frustration caused by the events of the twentieth century. “Il varco combines found footage of different origins. it's a fictional story populated by presences: ghosts wandering in the Ukrainian steppe, echoes of bloody pasts, and wars still being fought today.” M. Manzolini, F. Ferrone
personal program

Once More unto the Breach

Michele Manzolini, Federico Ferrone
Italy / 2019 / 70 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
TERRA NULLIUS or: How to be a Nationalist
Even uninhabited archipelagos may be subject to drawn out territorial disputes if they are rich in oil deposits. However, the filmmaker is more concerned with how ownership issues reverberate amongst nationalists in competing countries rather than in the history of the dispute or its resolution, making it possible to present the patriotic pathos-soaked ceremonies of the Japanese, the efforts of Chinese authorities to complicate diversionary activities, and the expressive protests and bizarre rituals of Taiwanese activists. The desire to understand the situation leads the director to participate in several futile attempts to land on the islands. Although he finds himself on the frontline during an escalation in the conflict, he is able to maintain his distance as an impartial observer.DETAIL:“I´m an American by birth, and a Taiwanese and a Chinese by blood. This blood is ideological. For me, and for the long dead philosopher Bishop Berkeley, to be is to be perceived.”

TERRA NULLIUS or: How to be a Nationalist

James T. Hong
China, Taiwan, Japan / 2015 / 78 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World 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: Opus Bonum
European Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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