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25th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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1970
In December 1970, riots broke out in communist Poland in response to the sudden rise in the price of meat and basic foodstuffs. The response of the ruling establishment to the workers' strikes, demonstrations, and protests was harsh. The film reconstruction could have been a gripping feature drama, but the director depicts the events of the time using animated puppets and archival audiovisual footage. The film's central focus is recordings of telephone conversations of peculiar characters, whose conversations stand on the borderline between absurd drama and black grotesque. However, the questions of who recorded them and why the rioting crowd is mute are chilling. „Outside, people are fighting for this proverbial bread, and these guys are sitting surrounded by oranges, bottles and grapes. There is this divide. And when it reaches truly extreme levels, people take to the streets.“   The Polish Institute in Prague is the partner of the 25th Ji.hlava IDFF.   

1970

Tomasz Wolski
Poland / 2021 / 70 min.
section: Testimonies
Czech Premiere
A Bloody Taboo
Despite forming a natural part of the life of half the world’s population, menstruation is still a taboo in many countries. The film “Bloody Taboo” shows just how stigmatized it is in Japan. The intimate confessions of a large sample of women reveal that the unwillingness of the patriarchal society to lead an open dialogue about the monthly bleeding is just a symptom of a bigger problem that is gender discrimination.

A Bloody Taboo

Sybilla Patrizia
Japan, Austria / 2021 / 14 min.
section: Short Joy
European Premiere
A Machine To Live In
The feature-length documentary essay by the filmmaking duo of Yoni Goldstein and Meredith Zielke tells the story of the Brazilian capital’s unique, almost mystical architecture, its prophetic history, and the cosmic dreams of the future that surround it. Pieced together from snippets of audiovisual texts, songs, interviews, and snapshots, the four distinct narrative perspectives form a hybrid portrait of the futuristic, almost cosmic landscape of Brasília, which becomes a source of UFO cults, spiritualist temples, and the transcendent. The filmmakers portray the architectural environment of Brasília as a unique, inspiring place where utopia often becomes reality.  „A Machine to Live In attempts to locate where the desires for myth and reason sublimates in the building of utopian spaces. It collects vignettes and stories from architects and builders as they describe their ideal cities, both real and transcendent.” (Yoni Goldstein)

A Machine To Live In

Meredith Zielke, Yoni Goldstein
United States / 2020 / 89 min.
section: dok.incubator: 10 years
The film already had its Czech Premiere
A man and a camera
This minimalistic documentary is based on simple, unsignalized confrontations of people with the camera lens. The director sets off with his hand-held camera across the Netherlands with the intention of exposing his compatriots to recording equipment with no explanation whatsoever. The resulting work can be interpreted as a sociological experiment, but it could be read as a further illustration of the effect observed in documentary film: people confronted with the camera stop behaving naturally and tend to strike poses. Most of all, it stands out as a brilliant example of work with “creative limitations”, formerly seen in the collaboration of Lars von Trier with Jørgen Leth.„For me, it’s important to enquire about human nature but also the medium of film itself. I was curious about how people would behave and respond when you radically throw over all conventions of film and social behaviour.“

A man and a camera

Guido Hendrikx
Netherlands / 2021 / 63 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
A Marriage

A Marriage

Asad Faruqi, Kateřina Hager, Kateřina Hager
Czech Republic, United States / 2021 / 74 min.
section: Czech Television Documentaries
The film already had its Czech Premiere
A Night at the Opera
The documentary miniature by renowned director Sergei Loznitsa was made as a tribute to the art of opera and a polemic against social rituals and historical veracity. The edited film combines footages of opera performances from the 1950s and 1960s, political celebrations, and folk festivities. The nobility and grandiosity of the opera galas, reminiscent of the French imperial tradition, is deconstructed through a fictional montage logic where street folk culture triumphs over the rituals of the French bourgeoisie. There is one particular part towering above the political allegory and the treatise on theatricality: Maria Callas’s timeless performance of an aria from Rossini’s The Barber of Seville.„In general, the role of theatre (and opera) in politics, including the contemporary one, is colossal. All political actions, including the civil disobedience movements, have theatrical features. After all, politics itself is a kind of stage performance." (Sergei Loznitsa)

A Night at the Opera

Sergei Loznitsa
France / 2020 / 19 min.
section: Constellations
Czech Premiere
A Night of Knowing Nothing
A female student of the Film and Television Institute of India only known by her initial L. is writing letters to her ex-lover K. who has left her. Her quivering voice reading her letters introduces us to the inner world as well as the external circumstances of this young woman. As she – just like her peers – struggles with her desires, fears and questions related to her personal identity as well as the broader national one, the clashes between the protesters and the police are getting more and more heated in the streets. A captivating collage of reminiscences, fantasies, dreams and contemporary archive footage provides an intimate account of the turbulent present and an uncertain future of a country in the midst of political and social changes. „Nechtěla jsem natočit film informující o politické situaci, ale vykreslit osobnější, intimnější a tím pádem i lidštější pohled na velmi složitou situaci.“ (Payal Kapadia)

A Night of Knowing Nothing

Payal Kapadia
India, France / 2021 / 97 min.
section: Constellations
Central European Premiere
noimage

A Study in Natural Magic

Charlotte Pryce
United States / 2013 / 3 min.
section: Fascinations: Roots
A Symphony Of Noise - Matthew Herbert's Revolution
Comprehending the world through sound: British producer Matthew Herbert presents this ambition to the audience. His journeys into sound are motivated by contemporary social and political issues. What do we hear when listening to the average pig that is part of the slaughter and food industry? How will Brexit change the sound of the world? If we experience the act and sound of cutting down a tree, will we learn more about listening to the non-human parts of the world? A portrait of a conceptualist, political artist, inexhaustible pilgrim to the center of the world of sound.

A Symphony Of Noise - Matthew Herbert's Revolution

Enrique Sánchez Lansch
Germany / 2021 / 96 min.
section: Siren Test
East European Premiere
A Time of Rejoicing
Leaving aside the Musica Picta series (1987), Pilař rarely worked with recordings of physical performances in his videos. In his art study Painting, he composes an artistic space from three motifs: dance choreographies, collages and paintings, and chroma keys images of fire, with Martin Hřebačka's abstract animations shining through occasionally.

A Time of Rejoicing

Radek Pilař
Czech Republic / 1985 / 4 min.
section: Fascinations: Radek Pilař
A Year in Exile
The superfast longitudinal documentary is composed of short takes / impressions filmed over the course of one year, forming a kind of a cycle of audio-visual poems: image is accompanied by the director’s poetic comments and fragments of conversations. The film as a whole reflects the effort to capture the ephemeral experience of an uprooted, forcibly displaced person in their new environment. „I took videos each and every day for a whole year. I edited them into a sort of video diary, and from them, I was able to make my first short film.“  

A Year in Exile

Malaz Usta
Turkey, Syria / 2020 / 19 min.
section: Short Joy
European Premiere
Abstract animations from the 1960s - Part I
Pilař made the two surviving reels of animation experiments after his return from the 1963 Paris Biennale. The gestural brush painting over the surface of the originally black and white puppet film which he almost completely removed from the stock falls at the beginning of his programme works of expressive collage and assemblage. He returned to it repeatedly, as he did to the material he later reworked for Pink Floyd (ca. 1984) and Colours 1965 (ca. 1991).

Abstract animations from the 1960s - Part I

Radek Pilař
1963 / 4 min.
section: Fascinations: Radek Pilař
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