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25th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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3rd Echoes of Ji.hlava IDFF in New York

The best of Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival, the largest event in Central and Eastern Europe celebrating creative documentary films, will be presented at the Czech Center New York for the third time. In three days during February 2020, the CCNY will be showcasing three award-winning and most exciting films from the 23rd edition of Ji.hlava IDFF.

3rd Echoes of Ji.hlava IDFF in New York


THURSDAY, FEB 20 | 7 pm

Cinema of the Bohemian National Hall | 321 East 73rd Street | NY 10021 New York, USA | map


Alex Brendea, Romania, 2019, 82 min, in Romanian with English subt.
Best Central and East European Documentary Film at the 23rd Ji.hlava IDFF

» The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director Alex Brendea.

The observational portrait documentary presents the personality of a rural Transylvanian math teacher who teaches his students at home and ignores the existing curriculum. The stubborn elder man follows the words of essayist Constantine Noica, who believes that in an ideal school, there should not be any lessons, but rather students should go there to free themselves from the tyranny of learning. The movie monitors the dynamics of the lessons themselves, where in addition to mathematics, the problem of education itself is addressed and where the teacher acts like a father figure. It describes not only the Romanian school system, but also the society there as a whole. Profu’ is the director’s debut of Alex Brendea who has been working in Romanian cinematography for 10 years.

“I think that if you really want to make something matter 100 years from now, then you have to educate people first,” says Alex Brendea.


TUESDAY, FEB 25 | 7 pm

Cinema of the Bohemian National Hall | 321 East 73rd Street | NY 10021 New York, USA | map

Two Roads

Radovan Síbrt, Czech Republic, 2019, 80 min, in Czech with English subt.
Audience Award at the 23rd Ji.hlava IDFF

» The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director Radovan Síbrt.

Over the course of several years, the observing and attentive camera of director Radovan Síbrt captured the evolution of the personalities of musicians gathered in The Jedlička Institute music class, currently known as The Tap Tap band, that was founded 21 years ago by Šimon Ornest to give people with disabilities an opportunity to succeed outside of their daily institutional care. The attractive energy of the film which is exceptional in its approach to its theme as it avoids the usual compassionate sentiment stems from the relationships among the musicians and between them and their band leader, the driving force of the action, whose work improves the public image of people with disabilities in an unorthodox way.


THURSDAY, FEB 27 | 7 pm

Cinema of the Bohemian National Hall | 321 East 73rd Street | NY 10021 New York, USA | map


Ravo Henintsoa Andrianatoandro, Lovatiana Desire Santatra, Sitraka Hermann Ramanamokatra, Jean Chrisostome Rakotondrabe, Erick Edwin Andrianamelona, Elani Eric Rakotondrasoa, Todisoa Niaina Sylvano Randrialalaina, Sitrakaniaina Raharisoa, Adriano Raharison Nantenaina, Alpha Adrimamy Fenotoky, ed. Lina Zacher; Madagascar, Germany, 2019, 80 min, in Malagasy with English subt.
Best World Documentary Film & Special Mention at the 23rd Ji.hlava IDFF

Fonja is a film made by the youngest and possibly most exceptional film crew of Madagascar. Over the course of a four-month film production workshop, ten detainees from the male youth prison of Madagascar’s largest detention center in the capital Antananarivo discover the camera for the first time.

While they learn about the specifications and rules, they also develop their very own approach to use the camera. It becomes a tool to play around and to visualize their own ideas. Fonja takes us on a journey into their daily life in the prison through images independently shot by the young prisoners themselves. We get a glimpse into a world which is shaped by a strong hierarchy and the obedience of internal rules on the one side, and social cohesion and solidarity on the other side. It is a story about struggles and dreams, told by a strong bonded group and their great spirit to invest all of their creativity, energy, and inspiration into making their own film.



The Echoes of Ji.hlava is a project of Czech Center New York in cooperation with Ji.hlava IDFF and the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York.

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