24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival
Ji.hlava IDFF, day four: Karel Vachek, Václav Havel, and Slovakia
The festival’s Sunday programme dished out films by three Slovak authors. One of them was The State Capture by Zuzana Piussi. “The murder of a journalist has opened up more questions than only the one about the murderer,” said Zuzana Piussi about her investigative film about contemporary Slovakia. The two other Slovak titles were Paradise on Earth by Jaro Vojtek and FREM by Viera Čákanyová. “FREM was inspired by the idea/thought that we are living in a time when we, as a biological species, have reached the limits of matter that we are made of, and we are seeking for the ways of improving and exceeding the natural limits,” says Viera Čákanyová about her film.
Communism and the Net or the End of Representative Democracy, a documentary essay by Karel Vachek, also had its premiere at the festival. “Communism was the last big utopia. All utopians in the past knew that property and power have to be scattered among people,” said Karel Vachek.
Sunday also brought a preview of the film, Havel Speaking, Can You Hear Me? by Petr Jančárek who was invited by Václav Havel to “…shoot the rest of his life.”
The discussions of the Inspiration Forum today revolved around the climate crisis. The “climageddon” was discussed by the head of Finnish Greenpeace, Sinni Harkki, and American climate expert Bill McKibben, among others. “I think that our dependency on fossil fuels will be harder to eradicate than ideologies of the 20th century,” said Bill McKibben during the debate.
Discovery of the 23rd Ji.hlava IDFF: Feliks Sobolev
One of the biggest discoveries of this year’s Ji.hlava IDFF will be the work by Ukrainian filmmaker Feliks Sobolev (1931–1984). His oeuvre will be introduced in the Translucent Being section. “Our aim is to introduce directors who have pushed the boundaries of documentary film reflection. And Feliks Sobolev is a legend,” says the section’s programme composer, Andrea Slováková. Since 1960s, he has been considered one of the greats of Soviet documentary filmmaking, his films were sold-out, and yet he is still completely unknown outside Ukraine. “He discovered new creative techniques: working with animation, time-lapse footage, and inventing technologies to capture otherwise elusive phenomena,” continues Andrea Slováková. Feliks Sobolev and his film block will be also a part of the programme on Monday.
What can you look forward to tomorrow?
Festival visitors will be treated to more “masterclasses”, i.e. lectures by film professionals. Notable Romanian director, screenwriter and instigator of the Romanian New Wave, Cristi Puiu, and the author of the Ji.hlava festival spot Sergei Dvortsevoy will both introduce their work. Robert Sedláček’s latest film The Judge over the Czech Way will have its premiere, as well as Filip Remunda’s #sandravugande.
Monday will offer another block of the section, Fascinations: Eroticism. A retrospective dedicated to eroticism in documentary cinema will show another x-rated film block. “Contemplations on physical desires, attraction and the demonstrations of physical love in avant-garde cinema in addition to working with the naked body have various motifs and forms: the relationship of the society and the depiction of nudity and sex is questioned, diversity is emphasised in the form of queer eroticism, and censorship of expressions of the physical in art works is criticised,” says the section’s programmer Andrea Slováková.
The Inspiration Forum will bring the Documentary Dialogue featuring the American of Mexican origin, writer and former border guard Francisco Cantú.
The festival will culminate in the evening by the Closing Ceremony of the 23rd Ji.hlava IDFF and awards will be granted in the following competition sections: Opus Bonum, Between the Seas, Between the Seas – student competition, Czech Joy, First Lights, Fascinations, Fascinations: Exprmntl.cz, Testimony on Politics, Testimony on Nature and Testimony on Knowledge.