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25th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

ji-hlavadok-revuecdfEmerging producersInspiration Forum
The Betrayed Square
The Betrayed Square
The Betrayed Square
The Betrayed Square

The Betrayed Square

director: MML collective
original title: Trahir la Place
country: Switzerland, Poland
year: 2018
running time: 45 min.

synopsis

The Arab Spring of 2011. Day after day, thousands of young Egyptian protesters flooded Tahrir Square in Cairo. Poet and sound artist Stéphane Montavon assembled a psychedelic collage composed of freely accessible images of the revolution, adding an acoustic probe full of tension, rebellion and aggression of the repressive forces. The revolutionary turmoil is expanded into a sonic dimension of auteur installation. It is an impressive story of symbolic moments of ecstatic struggles for democracy and a new Constitution. It exposes mottos, protesters’ slogans and dialogues of the massacred victims. The images of repressive government forces are confronted with everyday life. On a cold morning, the betrayed revolution melts into a day-to-day routine.

"Rebuilding the revolution with found footage reminds us not only of the past fight, but most importantly of the Egyptian’s revolutionary will still awaiting to be accomplished." Maciej Madracki, Michał Mądracki, MML collective

biography

The MML Collective (2008) features Swiss filmmaker, graphic artist and illustrator Gilles Lepore (1972) and two brothers: Polish novelist and screenwriter Michał Mądracki (1979) and filmmaker, film critic and film direction graduate from Katowice Film School Maciej Mądracki (1984). His film Work of the Machines screened at Ji.hlava IDFF in 2010. Stéphane Montavon is an author of dozens of sonic and audiovisual installations.

more about film

director: MML collective
producer: Stephane Montavon, Michał Mądracki
script: Stephane Montavon
editing: MML collective
sound: Stéphane Montavon

other films in the section

Birthday
A lonely life made up of daily routine tasks is depicted in this documentary made by the director about his own mother. It’s her birthday – her husband has been dead for years and her children have forgotten her, with the exception of her son, who remains behind the camera. Despite this, the ageing woman cleans, cooks, and makes ready for a possible celebration. Cursory inspections of her mobile phone screen show that she would have been happy with just a phone message. Birthdays give new meaning to loneliness, just as the director cuts away various natural barriers of the camera image and amplifies the sound effects track to allow silence to emerge and envelop the main character."One day of any person is the summary of his life. What we feel in one day is the same for all our life. Nothing changes. Repetitions, Repetitions and Repetitions. Just like my mother on her birthday." H. Baydarov

Birthday

Hilal Baydarov
Azerbaijan / 2018 / 63 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Winter / Miracle
This allegorical docufiction provides the viewer with a lightly meditative and at the same time modern impression of the Christian holiday while paying witness to the transformation of the sacral space and the holiday’s religious message. The film’s anonymous protagonists from opposite sides of the world discuss the paths of their faith in this visually stylised and stylistically edited film. Czech viewers will be entranced by the final church crossover: The wild beach scene is underscored by the song Crazy for You, Jesus, which can be heard at gathering of the Czech sect known as the Triumphal Centre of Faith. The film itself concludes at just such a gathering. 

Winter / Miracle

Željka Suková, Gustavo Beck
Croatia, Denmark, Brazil / 2012 / 60 min.
section: Between the Seas
Central European Premiere
Not my Land
Allotment gardens near an international airport. Their ownership is unclear. Ethnic Russians living in the Baltic republics. Following in the footsteps of a documentary photographer, the filmmakers reveal the complicated modern history of Estonia as a country with a large Russian minority. They do so on a stage measuring several square kilometres in size. The aging gardeners are like squatters in the house of history. Beneath our feet is soil that is not theirs; over our heads, planes fly to countries they cannot visit; on all sides they are surrounded by a nation that doesn’t want them in their house.

Not my Land

Aljona Surzhikova
Estonia / 2013 / 52 min.
section: Between the Seas
Central European Premiere
Dialogue with Joseph
Yosef Yosade, a Lithuanian landscape artist, has worked for many years in Israel. His daughter Elżbieta has set the camera on him to capture the nuances of his creative process. Artfully framed static scenes of the master at work, in contemplation, or absorbed in discussions reveal the painter’s distinctive approach based on searching for the visual structure of a landscape. The director also presents visual depictions of landscapes in mutual conflict with their filmed versions, thereby linking the “abstract” and “concrete” perspectives. The film therefore reflects not only individual creation, but also examines the relationship between two specific media. “The film relates the structure of a landscape to that of a human being. Unstable, arid, peopled by other creatures, by footprints from the past; those are features which Joseph shares with the desert he paints.” Elżbieta Josadė

Dialogue with Joseph

Elžbieta Josadė
Lithuania, France / 2016 / 42 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
The Last Self-portrait
Slovak director Marek Kuboš has not shot a film in 13 years. His first film ever – a student exercise at film school – was a self-portrait. The circle is closed, the source of creativity has seemingly dried up. All that is left to do in the last self-portrait is to clean up after oneself, to recapitulate one’s successes and failures, and to bid farewell to one’s protagonists. This introspective meta-documentary is not so much a study of a creative crisis as it is a self-therapeutic process and an attempt at offering a comprehensive profile of the filmmaker at a time of unstable certainties. Appearing in the role of Kuboš’s consultants are essentially all leading Slovak documentary filmmakers."I’ve long felt that through documentary filmmaking I can’t say what I want to, what calls out to me. I’ve butted against internal and external boundaries that have paralyzed me as a documentarian. " M. Kuboš

The Last Self-portrait

Marek Kuboš
Slovakia / 2018 / 72 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Normalization
Nearly 40 years ago, a young woman was murdered in Slovakia. To this day, the group of men who were convicted of this crime have tried in vain to prove that they are the victims of judicial terror. The director, who does not hide the fact that the sympathizes with the convicted, goes beyond their case and indirectly reveals doubts as to the trustworthiness of his country’s judicial system. Only once do most of the convicted appear together before the camera: when their sentences are confirmed in 2006. More than the words, recriminations, anger, and sadness, the viewer remembers their exhausted expressions and the realization that they can never give up.

Normalization

Robert Kirchhoff
Slovakia, Czech Republic / 2013 / 100 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
The Halves
The film’s main protagonist, Alexandr Zarchikov, works on a cargo ship transporting Japanese cars that have been cut in half to the Russian port city Vladivostok. There, the cars are reassembled and transporters take them away to their final destinations. Zarchikov decides to try working on the mainland, and joins one car on its journey through Siberia. His experience morphs into a meditative film essay, symbolically divided into two halves (sea and land), where he ponders his relationship with his motherland, religion, and nature, and tries to overcome his feelings of rootlessness.DETAIL:“When I worked on a ship like this, we always got home quickly, safe and sound. Now, I don’t feel at home on a boat, nor on the island I was born, Sakhalin. Maybe by making this film, I’ll find my place.”

The Halves

Alexandr Zarchikov
France, Russia / 2015 / 95 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Antigone - How Dare We!
The classical heroine as a symbol of moral resistance against the malevolence of the state is significantly transformed in Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek’s conception. His polemic interpretation of the famous myth is interspersed with acted passages from the staging of his drama The Triple Life of Antigone set in a Ljubljana housing estate. In contrast to this, there are television recordings of political cataclysms – from the division of Berlin to the birth of the Baader–Meinhof Group, from raw images of the refugee crisis to how it was discussed by the European Parliament. Against this backdrop and using Antigone, Creon and the chorus as a mouthpiece, the director asks crucial questions about the essence of law and morals in the world of broken-down democracy. „It is a kind of political essay on European democracy today and at the same time a combination of a feature-length documentary, because I want to present the key points of Žižek's drama at the same time.” J. Sever    
personal program

Antigone - How Dare We!

Jani Sever
Slovenia / 2020 / 87 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Refugees Are Welcome Here
"Open the borders," chant democratically-minded people in Berlin and frustrated refugees behind the barbed wire of makeshift camps. Encounters with empathic volunteers and clashes with repressive state forces and hostile ultra-right citizens are woven together in a crooked trajectory. The director focuses on the dramatic atmosphere of the unenviable presence and uncertain future of the refugees through direct immersion into emotionally tense events. Without hijacking events with commentary or standing in the position of a distant witness, the film allows the viewer to become a direct participant in the path to freedom through in-your-face camera work.     "When you're filming between ultra-right groups, the most important thing is to act as if you belong there and keep calm. I don’t take part in the discussion, I record their statements because they want me to, I never ask them questions. T. Rafa
personal program

Refugees Are Welcome Here

Tomáš Rafa
Slovakia / 2020 / 97 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
Under the Sun
Over the course of one year, this film follows the life of an ordinary Pyongyang family whose daughter was chosen to take part in one of the famous Korean “Spartakiads”. The ritualised explosions of colour and joy contrast sharply with pale everyday reality, which is not particularly terrible, but rather quite surreal, like a typical life as seen “through the looking glass”. The film portrays North Korea in probably the only possible way: as an unintentional situational tragicomedy. Precisely staged film scenes duplicate principles common for life in “the most beautiful country on the eastern side of the globe”: virtually horrifying selfstaging of the residents’ own lives.Detail:“Zin-mi, you have joined Children’s Union, what do you expect from your adult life?” “When joining the Children‘s Union,we enter to the adult life. And begin to think, what else shall you do for the Great Leader Kim Jong Un.”

Under the Sun

Vitaly Mansky
Czech Republic, Russia, Germany, North Korea, Latvia / 2015 / 106 min.
section: Between the Seas
Czech Premiere
YOU (pl) and ME
The video diary of a young woman involved in a love affair captures the metamorphosis of life and love on the outskirts of the Austrian metropolis. We follow the movements of spirit and body, approaching parenthood and other internal and external changes through the viewfinder of an old camera and the accompanying commentary. Although the film works with only photos and sound, it is full of motion. It creates an intimate atmosphere in which we watch Nica and Ben go through the twists and turns that life brings, which look like the most common and natural life events.DETAIL:“Back then – before you. I had wanted it to stop. I wanted all of these indignities, putdowns, rejections, validity to intimacy, beneath this cloak of hot air called the modern ‘being’ – to stop.”

YOU (pl) and ME

Jasmin Hirtl
Austria / 2015 / 88 min.
section: Between the Seas
World Premiere
noimage
FilmSECESSION looks at the anarchists, self-styled dukes, or isolated madmen who have declared war on the state by founding their own, with their own laws, languages, and coins. Led by whimsy, ideology, or visions of alternative ways of living, they delineate their space – which only shows that at the beginning is individual freedom, and at the end is the state.

Empire Me: New Worlds Are Happening!

Paul Poet
Austria, Germany, Luxembourg / 2011 / 100 min.
section: Between the Seas
International Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Creative Europe
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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