24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival
Yellow Circus versus Red China
original title: Žlutý cirkus versus Rudá Čína
country: Czech Republic
running time: 90 min.
synopsisTraveler and director Dan Přibáň crisscrosses the world with his crew in yellow trabants and provides fresh information from around the world. His last trip will lead us to China, which will be topis of his workshop. We will talk about absurdities, which look comical for outside observers, but are a harsh reality for ordinary local people.
biographyDan Přibáň (1976) is well-known for his project Transtrabant, where yellow Trabant convoy drives through the world. From his journeys became popular documentary series “Trabant… ”.
other films in the section
A private concert by the Plastic People at their practice space in the now-demolished house (no. 1) on the corner of Dělnická and Argentinská Streets in Prague. Because of the cramped conditions, Ságl recorded the events in extreme close-up using his characteristic hand-held lighting. The close-ups are often on the border of being out of focus. This, combined with the bright light source, makes it one of the rawest and most original documentaries of its time.
Studio at Argentinská
Czechoslovakia / 1973 / 13 min.
This documentary film points out new challenges in the inner workings of university education face to face with massification and commercialism influencing both practical and symbolic meanings of education and schooling as such. Talks on these issues are given by a score of personalities, e.g. by sociologist Frank Furedi or linguist Noam Chomsky. The film will be co-screened with Open Fortress. A Q&A session with guests is planned after the screening.
Universities and Freedom
Zuzana Piussi, Vít Janeček
A young prisoner, who wants to escape the fate predestined for her due to her mother’s lack of interest, recalls her childhood and why she ran away from home. The narrative is complemented with poems she started to write when her loved ones did not send her any letters. This portrait delves deep into the experiences of a psychologically wounded young woman.“Sýkora’s portrayal of an individual’s ‘confession’ presents a multidimensional and forceful personal portrait, melding with the director’s attitude in a work reflecting high-quality filmmaking skills, mood and atmosphere, and is obviously linked to the filmmaker’s mentality, which is not lacking in sentimentality.” Pavel Branko
Czechoslovakia / 1968 / 16 min.
Gertjan Zuilhof is former programmer for the Rotterdam film festival. Although he is not a China, nor does he speak Chinese, he became good friends with numerous independent Chinese filmmakers. Zuilhof has chosen two recent independent productions to illuminate the situation of independent Chinese filmmakers today –Man’s World by artist/filmmaker Han Tao and Welcome by producer/filmmaker Zhu Rikun. Both deal with police brutality, but do so in very different and stylistically distinct ways. Spoken word is very important in both films – lies as well as the truth.---Dílnu vede / The Workshop is led by: Gertjan Zuilhof
Hidden Welcomes. Speaking the truth in Chinese Independent Film
In this recording of a July concert by the Plastic People in the village of Skála near Humpolec, Ságl captures the almost apocalyptic dimension of the Plastics’ performances. He shoots expressive close-ups of the dancers using a hand-held spotlight, complemented by calmer footage of the musicians immersed in playing their instruments – all of it “edited” directly in the camera. The film includes all the chronologically shot footage, thus testifying to Ságl’s intuitive and concentrated work with the camera. The concert took place near the town of Humpolec, where the Plastic People worked as woodcutters in the early 1970s.
Skála nearby Humpolec
Czechoslovakia / 1971 / 7 min.
We most commonly see Normalization era in Czechoslovakia – the time of social and political repression following the country’s invasion by Warsaw Pact troops in 1968 – through documentaries about dissidents or from old television series. But the dilemmas posed by the totalitarian regime affected everybody. The 16-part series Stories of the 20th Century explores various people’s (students, journalists, miners, secret police collaborators, soldiers, rank-and-file Party members, homosexuals, and many others) responses to the pressure they received not only from the government apparatus but also from those around them. ---Three films from the series will be presented by their writers and directors. Tři filmy představí a debatu o nich povedou režiséři a scenáristé cyklu.
Stories of the 20th Century
This filmed survey of second-year students of the Documentary Department explores the conflicts that arise when a woman wants to study, possibly even set out along an academic career path, but at the same time longs to properly care for her family and children. The scenes portray the efforts of the female students, and their off-screen statements are interspersed with a contemporary commentary.
Czechoslovakia / 1966 / 7 min.
Music programmer and curator Pavel Klusák presents abstract and experimental films as a window onto the radicalization of the term “music video.” Noise, drone, feedback, sound collages, field recordings, deep electronica, improvised interactions, the post-technological world: experimental music as a source of inspiration and provocation for contemporary visual artists. Matthew Revert and Vanessa Rossetto, Franck Vigroux and Mika Vainio, Jon Rafman and Oneohtrix Point Never, and other collaborative efforts.---The Workshop is led by Pavel Klusák
Adult Contemporary: Experimental Music Video 016
One of Ságl’s few non-documentary films captures the underground scene in one static shot showing a never-ending mass of people emerging from the escalator in the Prague metro. Although it is clearly a structural film – a fixed composition with several layers of motion – Ságl also uses it to explore social issues. The mass of commuters is carried forward by a seemingly unstoppable force without any chance of escaping the flow of people – an image of early Normalization in the 1970s. The film was repeatedly projected as a visual accompaniment to concerts by the Plastic People.
Czechoslovakia / 1972 / 22 min.
What are the ideological concepts behind the emergence of documentary film as a separate field of study at FAMU? How is the documentary approach to film specific and unique? How can this specificity be reflected in the teaching and how does it differ from journalism? Documentarian Viola Ježková will try to answer these questions. The workshop will be supplemented with examples of student film exercises. Participant input and discussion will be welcomed.---Kurátorka programu a autorka textů / Curator and author of the texts: Viola Ježková
Prerequisites and Emergence of FAMU’s Documentary Department in 1963-1970
A glimpse into the extraordinary life of a person who far exceeded the conventional perception of what a scientist is: he walked barefoot through the countryside wearing a pilgrim’s hooded cloak, engaged in passionate discussions that lasted for hours, joked and laughed, always friendly, interested in talking to anyone about anything. Tomáš Škrdlant presents materials for the documentary film that they worked on together over the course of many years. Tomáš Daněk presents the scientific and philosophical works of Zdeněk Neubauer. ---Dílnu vedou / The Workshop is led by: Tomáš Škrdlant, Tomáš Daněk
The Joy of Thinking. The Life of Philosopher, Scientist, Poet, and Prophet Zdeněk Neubauer
A concert by the Plastic People and Aktual at the Music F Club on 26 February 1971 – usually called one of the key events of the Czech underground. The film captures pre-concert preparations and the concert itself, including the industrial elements of Milan Knížák’s Aktual (the use of power drill, metal percussion, various objects, and throwing rice into the audience). The second part of the film shows some of the costumes and stage designs that Jan Ságl made for the Plastics’ concerts with his wife Zorka Ságlová.
Music F Club
Czechoslovakia / 1971 / 6 min.