26th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

ji-hlavadok-revuecdfEmerging producersInspiration Forum

Into History

Film-lecture programme sessions led by leading Czech documentary filmmakers. The topics reflect film history across genres and history in film across the world. Each session includes a screening of the film/films or is accompanied by a separate screening.

Egon Bondy's Automatic Debate
+ She Sat in a Glass-house Throwing Stones

Pavel Klusák: Gott. A Czechoslovak Story
+ Invention of Beauty

Karlovy Vary by the Documentary Rupture of the Iron Curtain
Long Live the Dockers
+ The Man We Love the Most
+ Something Changed in Midday
+ The Song of the Rivers

Jiří Voráč: Why Havel?
+ Why Havel?

Ivo Bystřičan: Industrie
+ Industrie - Industry of Normalization
+ Industrie - Factory for Capitalism

On the Edge of Diplomacy

Pharm'n'Film: Psychadelic Sandoz
+ Images of the Visionary World
+ The Burning Ear
+ Ballet on a Paraphrenic Topic

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Aurélia
This film is an example of ambitious, large-scale feature productions based on dreamlike or even surreal themes, often sourced from literature (besides Aurélia, they include La femme 100 têtes based on Max Ernst or La Horla by Jean-Daniel Pollet which is an adaptation of a short story by Guy de Maupassant). For her cooperation with Sandoz, director Anne Dastrée chose a challenging text – Aurélia by French writer Gérarda de Nerval which describes author's own psychotic experience. In her adaptation, the director focused on the depiction of unusual states of consciousness and the psychology of the main protagonist portrayed by famous actor and singer Serge Reggiani.

Aurélia

Anne Dastrée
France / 1964 / 35 min.
section: Into History
Ballet on a Paraphrenic Topic
Ballet sur un thème paraphrénique represents the "factastic" area of the Sandoz film portfolio – films that feature opulent and extravagant set design and unclear, almost crazy narratives, but are often based on scientific subjects, such as the results of specific research papers or studies of mental disorders. That is also the case of Ballet. Director Éric Duvivier who created most films in the aforementioned category aimed for an audiovisual expression of the state of "paraphrenia" which is a type of schizophrenia where reality overlaps with schizophrenic hallucinations.
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Ballet on a Paraphrenic Topic

Éric Duvivier
France / 1962 / 33 min.
section: Into History
Egon Bondy's Automatic Debate
Egon Bondy (Zbyněk Fišer) was a poet, philosopher, Marxist, and important figure in 20th-century history. This well-known Prague prominent, who in his heyday famously lived on Nerudova Street, is noted for having led a double life: serving as an informant and frequent collaborator for the state police while also maintaining his position as an influential personality in the Czechoslovak underground. His legacy still carries with it a number of ambiguities, controversies, and prejudices. Some still demand he be condemned for his “ratting on the righteous.” Others stress the importance of his philosophical work, despite his seditious existence. The image of Egon Bondy in this documentary gives a playful nod to this ambivalent interpretation. Creators are frequently attracted to his powerful personality and still work to understand his complex worldview. Some filmmakers opt for proven documentary methods to portray him and interview his surviving family members, others use experimental techniques to evoke the spirit of his way of thought juxtaposed in the "revolting" scenery of today. This composed evening will present clips from several spectacular films. In the following debate, guests will try to grasp and zoom in on the ambiguity of Bondy's persona. The debate is hosted by Czech film producer and documentary filmmaker Jakub Wagner.
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Egon Bondy's Automatic Debate

Czech Republic / 90 min.
section: Into History
Images of the Visionary World
Images du monde visionnaire is an essential work in the Sandoz "artistic" portfolio for several reasons: it stands out thanks to its experimental form, nevertheless it is the daring subject of the film and the director's approach that makes the work unique. The film attempts to capture the altered state of consciousness of fine artist and writer Henri Michaux after taking mescaline and hashish. Michaux actively cooperated on the film as revealed in its prologue where Michaux comments on his psychedelic experiences. Also worth noting is the design of the film which uses Michaux's own drawings and surreal scenes evoking unusual states of consciousness.
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Images of the Visionary World

Éric Duvivier
France / 1963 / 34 min.
section: Into History
Industrie - Factory for Capitalism
November 1989 brought democracy and faith in economic prosperity. Like other state-run enterprises, Tatra Kopřivnice was to be transferred into private hands. However, the company’s privatization has become one example of the naive reliance on market forces and on the honesty of the "heroes" of early capitalism. The initial euphoria was soon replaced by disillusionment. 
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Industrie - Factory for Capitalism

Ivo Bystřičan
Czech Republic / 2021 / 26 min.
section: Into History
World Premiere
Industrie - Industry of Normalization
Sometimes, citizens of Czechoslovakia would have to spend several years waiting for their own car. Even so, the communist party hoped to use the newest model of the Škoda automobile to demonstrate the country’s affluence and state of technological advancement. The story of the Škoda Favorit shows how the company from Mladá Boleslav built not only reliable machines but also constructed the illusion that life in Czechoslovakia was good.
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Industrie - Industry of Normalization

Ivo Bystřičan
Czech Republic / 2021 / 26 min.
section: Into History
World Premiere
Invention of Beauty
Mr. Krása’s not your ordinary country farmer – he’s also a DIY-er and amateur inventor. When reporters come to interview him one day while in the middle of mowing his lawn and gathering chicken eggs, he introduces them to his inventions: a lawnmower, a cooling oven, and most notably his singing robot Karel, who’s managed to take over the world with his infectious songs. A film grotesque and mockumentary about the origin of a Czech music legend.
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Invention of Beauty

Marek Najbrt, Pavel Klusák
Czech Republic / 1994 / 22 min.
section: Into History
Ivo Bystřičan: Industrie
Two episodes shot for the docuseries Industry (2021) cover the history and saga of industrial capitalism, particularly with regard to two auto factories linked by their manufacturing of one of the most complex industrial products in both the period of normalization and capitalist transformation. This discussion will feature those who held positions of power during those turbulent times both at Škoda (in Mladá Boleslav) and Tatra (in Kopřivnice): Petr Hrdlička, Erika Duchanová, Zdeněk Podolský, Jan Ludva, and Bedřich Sklenovský. They will be joined by historian Martin Jemelka.
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Ivo Bystřičan: Industrie

45 min.
section: Into History
noimage
At the end of the 1940s, Czechoslovakia put itself on the festival map with the Karlovy Vary International Festival, the first editions of which also took place in Mariánské Lázně (1946–1949). However, one of the lesser-known facts from this prestigious festival’s history is that in the 1950s, it became a haven for filmmakers shooting documentaries on social unrest or communist internationalism in the West. The retrospective will remind us of Czechoslovakia’s ties to France, Italy and Germany precisely through the duality of this controversial gesture, which on the one hand linked the cultural policies of the communist parties across the Iron Curtain, and on the other hand exposed the isolationism of Czechoslovak documentary filmmaking, which ostentatiously ignored similar domestic protests on the authority of the Ministry of Information. The screening will be accompanied by a discussion between Lucie Česálková, film historian Jindřiška Bláhová and international relations historian Daniela Kolenovská. The discussion will be accompanied by these films: The Man We Love the Most, Something Changed in Midday, Long Live the Docker.
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Karlovy Vary by the Documentary Rupture of the Iron Curtain

30 min.
section: Into History
Long Live the Dockers
Robert Ménégoz’s film depicting the struggles of French dockworkers in the winter and early spring of 1950 is meant to evoke the feelings of insecurity, exertion and danger of this profession whose rights were not sufficiently reflected in post-war France. At the same time, the heroic image of dockworkers is meant to mobilize against American policy, the Marshall Plan, German rearmament and the war in Indochina. Banned by the censors in France, the film won the Grand Prix for Documentary at the 1951 Karlovy Vary Film Festival.
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Long Live the Dockers

Robert Ménégoz
France / 1951 / 14 min.
section: Into History
N’Doep
This ethnographic documentary applies the perspectives of Western and traditional medicine to the exploration of the African N'Doep ritual practiced in Senegal for the purpose of healing mental disorders. Although the guide in the film is a French psychiatrist, the overall mood is decolonial as it acknowledges the importance of the local healing traditions and the need to connect Western medicine with indigenous religious rituals.

N’Doep

Michel Meignant
France / 1967 / 40 min.
section: Into History
On the Edge of Diplomacy
A series of dialogues featuring clips from a pilot for a new documentary series of the same name that’s in the works and explores diplomatic practice and geopolitics.   The core of this documentary is a series of meetings between ex-foreign minister and diplomacy expert Cyril Svoboda and world leaders who share no common culture with us, often coming from different political backgrounds with undemocratic institutions and different political values. Why and how do we communicate with them? Well, that’s the undertaking of diplomacy. These films reflect two levels of diplomatic practice. The first is of a formal nature: what the preparations and circumstances of a summit look like, what an ambassador’s role is, what the accompanying rituals are plus everyday moments and obstacles. The second level is a reflection on geopolitics associated with transcultural contacts. The first part of this docuseries follows Mali - the largest country in Central Africa where two military coups have been staged in the past two years. And yet, despite that, the West still maintains close contact with the local regime led by self-appointed president Colonel Goita - a spokesman for moderate Islam that represents a more stable opportunity for peace and development in an otherwise impoverished country plagued by raids by Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations who, since the onset of the Libyan Crisis, have been caught in northern Mali, Mauritania, and the surrounding areas. There are also several military missions in the country, some with significant Czech participation. The co-creator of the project and main protagonist Cyril Svoboda, former diplomat and long-time Chairman of the Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting Petr Pospíchal (project consultant), content manager of documentary projects at RTVS Ondrej Starinský, content manager at the Czech Television in Ostrava and the creators of this documentary Vít Janeček and Zuzana Piussi will all take part in the debate. Clips taken from filming in Mali will show the various aspects of the diplomatic mission, including the previously mentioned protocol moments as well as visits to see key representatives in the country, including the Malian Salafi imam Mahmoud Dicko, Archbishop Jean Zerbo, the informal situation with ambassadors of major world powers and the EU, plus other key figures.
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On the Edge of Diplomacy

Czech Republic, Slovakia / 120 min.
section: Into History
noimage
How to backtrack, describe and recreate Karel Gott’s efforts at building up his own image and aiming at a replacement of reality by a construct, using TV and film footage? In what moments Karel Gott began experimenting with distancing himself from his usual image? How did his career in Germany, the one so entirely different from his domestic fame, look in a closer perspective? Can we recognize today what seemingly documentary footage had been stylized? How to perceive old TV programmes that were using playback in a very showy way? Why did Afric Simone kick Jitka Zelenková’s breasts? This is first of all a showcase of rare footage from Czechoslovak and West German TV, or an authorial seminar on the origin and contents of the book Gott. A Czechoslovak Story (2021).
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Pavel Klusák: Gott. A Czechoslovak Story

60 min.
section: Into History
Perception and Imaginative Experience
Psychedelic Sandoz at its best. The Perception and Imaginative Experience documentary analyzes the complex subject of perception from the neurophysiological and psychological standpoint. The film captures a series of perceptual experiments that use psychedelic tools (e. g., sensory deprivation, exposure to the flicker effect, etc.). The hallucinations experienced by the experimental subjects are shown in psychedelic film sequences.

Perception and Imaginative Experience

Éric Duvivier
France / 1965 / 27 min.
section: Into History
Pharm'n'Films: Psychadelic Sandoz
Aside from its production of medications, the Swiss pharmaceutic Sandoz company, currently a part of the Novartis corporation, has gained fame by producing and distributing several psychedelic substances the best known of which is probably LSD synthesized by Albert Hofmann in the Basel laboratories. The impact of the popularity of psychedelic drugs in the 1960s made the Sandoz name familiar to the general public and even propelled it into popular culture. For instance, in 1967, The Animals band released a song called A Girl Named Sandoz. The Sandoz company also reflected on the turbulent social changes of the 1960s with its own production of films which amalgamated around the Cinémathèque Sandoz film center that was in charge of production and distribution of the films. Although these films were part of the company's marketing strategy, it sometimes transcended the purely utilitarian form of educational, information or advertising film. The most interesting Sandoz films straddle the border between industrial film and artistic experiment and address subjects that are seemingly irrelevant to pharmaceutic production and often difficult to grasp, such as the mind and its various states, the phenomenon of both physical and mental disease, depiction of different ways of perception, non-European systems of healing, or psychedelic experiences and their processing. For a certain period in the 1960s and 1970s, Cinémathèque Sandoz managed to create a noteworthy film platform that granted a degree of creative freedom to the filmmakers. Thus, films were created those offer unexpected viewpoints that reacted to the cultural and social revolution of the 1960s and probably also to the discovery and research of LSD which Sandoz was promoting in the market as a new medication to treat mental disorders. This section presents six films selected from the Sandoz portfolio that represent various takes on the exploration of the theme of unusual states of mind and their understanding. Lea Petříková will be presenting her project in a form of a film lecture. She is a Czech director and a documentarist. The lecture will include the screening of these titles:Images of the Visionary World The Burning Ear Ballet on a Paraphrenic Topic
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Pharm'n'Films: Psychadelic Sandoz

30 min.
section: Into History
She Sat in a Glass-house Throwing Stones
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She Sat in a Glass-house Throwing Stones

Bernd Neuburger, Nadja Seelich
Austria / 1993 / 90 min.
section: Into History
Something Changed in South
The film by the well-known Italian director Carlo Lizzani is one of the now classic documentaries about the post-war problems of southern Italy. It focuses primarily on the congress concerning the post-war reconstruction of the region, but its main themes are poverty, exploitation of workers and the underdevelopment of the southern regions, exacerbated by WWII, and emphasizes the role of protesting workers as the leading force of transformation. While scenes of workers’ demonstrations were to be cut from the film in Italy, its original form won the Best Short Film Outline award at the 1950 Karlovy Vary Film Festival.
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Something Changed in South

Carlo Lizzani
Italy / 1950 / 22 min.
section: Into History
The Burning Ear
The Burning Ear shows the international scope of Sandoz's film production which wasn't limited to Europe but also included various forms of international coproduction, cooperation or – as in the case of The Burning Ear – projects created outside of Europe. Thus, the opportunity to make a film for Sandoz was given to Edd Dundas, American underground filmmaker, who created a psychological study of a young man whom a voice of a divine apparition or a demon drives to committing the radical act of assassination. The film was shot in Japan and fuses Japanese symbols with a universal portrayal of the harrowed inner world of the main protagonist. Dundas relates the complex subject matter mostly using atmospheric photography and strong sound design.
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The Burning Ear

Edd Dundas
United States / 1970 / 30 min.
section: Into History
The Man We Love the Most
Victoria Mercanton’s unusual French documentary from the early 1950s provides insight into the cult of Stalin worship by members of the French Communist Party. The film evokes different types of Stalin worship, from the individual to the collective one, and depicts a highly heterogeneous set of exhibits at a French exhibition in tribute to Stalin. Banned for commercial and non-commercial distribution in France, the film won the Best Short Film Screenplay award at the 1950 Karlovy Vary Film Festival.
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The Man We Love the Most

Victoria Mercanton
France / 1949 / 22 min.
section: Into History
The Song of the Rivers
Originally Dutch, a world traveler at heart, documentary filmmaker Joris Ivens focused his attention on the newly forming Eastern Bloc countries after WWII and spent part of his life and work in Czechoslovakia and East Germany. He then made a film for the East German company DEFA documenting the 3rd Congress of the World Trade Union Federation in Vienna in 1953. For this collective work he enthused many foreign directors and their national crews, who filmed the preparations of local delegations of the labor movements around the six great rivers (the Volga, the Mississippi, the Ganges, the Nile, the Amazon, and the Yangtze) for this international event. Their cinematic accounts then metaphorically “coalesce” like the “streams” of Ivens’ documentary song, for which Dimitri Shostakovich composed the music and Bertolt Brecht wrote the words. The film was awarded the Fight for a Better World Award at the 8th Karlovy Vary Film Festival in 1954.
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The Song of the Rivers

Joop Huisken, Joris Ivens, Robert Ménégoz
German Democratic Republic / 1954 / 82 min.
section: Into History
Why Havel?
The screening of Jasný’s documentary Why Havel? is co-produced by himself and Miloš Forman in Canada and Czechoslovakia in 1991. As remarkable as this reflection of the paradoxical transformation of a dissident into a president in the carnival-like atmosphere of the euphoric post-revolution period with the first question marks already appearing may be, it did not meet the expectations of the head of state. The film was premiered several years later, with one scene edited out, and its value has not yet been fully recognized. The director’s cut of the documentary will be screened and accompanied by a commentary on the intriguing story of its production and distribution. The screening is hosted by the film historian Jiří Voráč.
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Why Havel?

Vojtěch Jasný
Canada, Czechoslovakia / 1991 / 96 min.
section: Into History
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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