28th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival
Fascinations is a prestigious competition section for best world experimental documentary films. Exploration of new forms, approaches, and film language.
The film's soundtrack is an ecstatic musical accompaniment to the Korean ritual “kut” performed by a shaman, which connects the living and the dead. The visual component, in turn, combines the experience of distance and proximity: rhythmically shrinking frames, filled with an ever-receding perspective, gradually reveal a central space in the midst of a dense agglomeration that seems to pulsate with music.“A requiem for those who died with their eyes open.”
Republic of Korea (South Korea) / 2023 / 4 min.
The video deals with the phenomenon of sound shadows, which are caused, for example, by the distortion of sound waves by wind currents. The basis is formed by mathematically described, marked wind movements in landscape video sequences algorithmically converted into a flow of image and sound transformations. Bass tones are placed at the bottom of the image, high frequency sounds at the top. “Each of my projects hides a technical challenge. The process and the steps to get to the final result are complex, but they are usually not displayed.” Source: Patrick Bergeron
Canada / 2023 / 2 min.
What was a part becomes a whole, the deep becomes the surface, the organic becomes the digital. Through her masterful work with layers of image, collage composition and sound, the director creates transient stabilisations of space that she then questions. Even so, her film ultimately appears to be the result of very precise observations of the rhythms and forms of animate and inanimate nature."I create a painterly, cinematic canvas where textures intertwine and collide on the screen. The process of layering allows me to weave different times and spaces together, transforming the familiar into a new perspective." – Youjin Moon
United States / 2022 / 12 min.
According to the philosopher William James, for a child, the world is “one great blooming, buzzing confusion”. In the film, shot among the plants around the filmmaker's house, the distinctions between detail and whole, near and far, outer and inner are blurred, as if the stream of perception does not yet want to settle into one perspective. The soundtrack consists of other manifestations of the abundance of life, including the babbling of children.“The way I do my experiments is that I develop a social relationship with the plant.”Quote source: into the mothlight podcast.
Babbler, Fairy and Thrush
United Kingdom / 2022 / 3 min.
Reflections of sun rays and bamboo leaves flowing in hypnotic choreographies on the wind-driven water surface were filmed by the director on Super 8mm film on the roof garden of her Seoul apartment. The shaky image and the music by Chinese composer Ding Ke underline the fragility and mystery of this plant, laden with poetic allusions, which remains unrecognisable despite all its representations.“Do we dream of flowers, or do we enter into the dream of a flower?” (Source)
Bamboo in the Water
Republic of Korea (South Korea), China / 2022 / 2 min.
Abstract blue paintings, blue-dyed lace and footage from her personal archive are interspersed with fragments of conversations, dream prints and personal memories of those who have experienced postpartum depression. The film was created together with the director by participants of her workshop on the cyanotype technique. “Due to her last master's degree (DocNomads), she has made her latest films in Portugal, Hungary, Spain, Belgium and Serbia, surrounded by fellow filmmakers from diverse cultures from almost all over the world. Therefore, her film approach is deeply permeated by an openness to understand and incorporate other cultures and diversities.” Source: Story Hunter
Belgium, Cuba / 2023 / 16 min.
An edited visual accompaniment to an original recitation of Charles Bukowski's poem Dinosaurs, We from his late collection The Last Night of the Earth (1991), composed of dozens of documentary, news and fiction shots, along with Carl Bastien's unsettling music, underscores the timeliness of the poet's apocalyptic vision.“We are born into this sorrowful deadliness.”
Canada / 2023 / 5 min.
This footage of fog rolling through Australian forests was filmed in New South Wales in 1997. In late 2019 and early 2020, the region will be hit by unprecedented wildfires that experts have linked to global warming. yann beauvais allowed the original material to be exposed to tropical climatic conditions for several years and supplemented it with found footage of the fires in 2023. The distinctly tinted images of ferns, trees and vapours, overlaid with scars and other signs of decay, are accompanied by an intense soundtrack. “Driving from Brisbane to Sydney, a winter day in August 97, I stop in a forest to record the fog within the forest. Made a tinted print of this footage and let rot few years in another tropical region. In 2023 I decide to work with that fooatges and its mutation, add sound and found footages of burning forests.”
Brazil, France / 2023 / 7 min.
The questions that emerge against the backdrop of photographic images of natural and urban landscapes composed of multiple layers lead viewers to seek the position from which this text speaks. Is it asking a man who has survived a disaster but lost his memory? Or is he a humanized machine, saturated with the visual traces of civilization? The short essay here is an adaptation of the 360° film where…, which Ji.hlava IDFF presented as part of the Virtual Reality section in 2022.“The film shows the effects of the impending climate catastrophe and deals with the non-linearity of our thoughts and memories.” (Source)
Germany / 2023 / 10 min.
Hylo-Vision-Plus eye drops, which cover the surface of the eye with a liquid film, inspired Dietmar Brehm to make the film of the same name, which is a minimalist study of ecstatic moments. In Version 2, the black-and-white negative of faces and bodies is cloaked in lilac hues whose luminosity is enhanced by a hypnotic flicker effect. “I am more of a realistic filmmaker in that sense, a decomposition filmmaker of reality as such.”Source: Vimeo
HYLO-VISION-PLUS. Version 2
Austria / 2023 / 6 min.
The autobiographical narrative uses a few shaky images partly drowned in the darkness, photographs from his personal archive and occasional intertitles to provoke reflections on the nature of memories, the mysterious logic of their preservation, surfacing, thinning and being.“Digital video is very human to me. Particularly with regard to my practice, which involves pushing the video footage to its physical limits by restricting the light entering into the lens using the filters that I make. Every shot becomes similar to stretching an elastic band. How distorted do I want it for this shot? How much can I push it until it destructs?” (Source)
I Found Water
New Zealand, Australia / 2023 / 9 min.
Memories of family members and the stories and tales that nourished us in childhood often become part of our own memory. Erica Sheu dives to their inner depths to touch on the experiences of those who lived on Taiwan's Kinmen archipelago during and just after the war. She is guided by the flickering light of incense, which those seeking shelter used to light their way during the war, and the few scraps and grains that she has given the role of witnesses. “A wound gives off its own light surgeons say. If all the lamps in the house were turned out you could dress this wound by what shines from it.”— Anne Carson (The Beauty of the Husband, I.1-5)
It follows It passes on
United States, Taiwan / 2023 / 5 min.
A collage film composed of archival materials invites viewers to the depths of the seas and oceans to encounter the surreal world. The observer, who has taken a walk underwater, finds himself the object of intense scrutiny with growing unease. The film was made in collaboration with composer Raquel García-Tomás.“[My] work is based on the exploration of perpetual motion and the melancholic creation of ghosts, monsters, prodigies and mystical outbursts, as well as sometimes unfinished observations of things that turn towards the sun and blond wavy-haired people with a tendency towards baldness.” — Pere Ginard
Spain / 2023 / 5 min.
Nishimura created a long band of still silhouettes of greenhouses and buildings, columns and bushes cast on the surface of an asphalt road using a LiDAR laser scanner installed on an iPad. He used it to scan the streets of a suburb of the northern Japanese city of Yamagata. He then tore out the road marked by shadows like a piece of paper and left it floating in the darkness, without a destination or life, accompanied by a reverberating soundtrack. “The shadows of Miharashi Hills Town, where I live, cast on the streets often attract my attention. … Every shadow has its own uniqueness. It seems as if all the facts about the town were contained in there.”
Japan / 2023 / 7 min.
Loosely based on J.G. Ballard's short story The Day of Forever (1966), the film explores the idea of the suspended sun and the impact of permanent light on human experience and the experience of time. The voice-over, which accompanies images of slowly rolling wisps of fog, the peeling contours of a place of sleep, or the delicate and detailed structures of lichens and mosses, contemplates the dreaming that was once an alternative to waking. “The Sun kept setting — setting — still No Hue of Afternoon — Upon the Village I perceived From House to House 'twas Noon — The Dusk kept dropping — dropping — stillNo Dew upon the Grass — But only on my Forehead stopped — And wandered in my Face — My Feet kept drowsing — drowsing — still My fingers were awake — Yet why so little sound — Myself Unto my Seeming — make? How well I knew the Light before — I could see it now — 'Tis Dying — I am doing — but I'm not afraid to know —” — Emily Dickinson
Germany, France / 2022 / 15 min.
In North Africa, between the end of the Atlas Mountains and the Saharan plateau, a dry lake separates the Mashreq (east) from the Maghreb (west). Against all expectations, it is a landscape that is constantly changing. To its physical mutability, the director adds further layers by inserting fragments of three stories from Herodotus' Histories, traditional narratives and his own text, presenting them to viewers in the form of tableaux vivants laden with symbols and rituals.“What interested me about this project was telling stories that cross this desert.” (Source)
France, Tunisia / 2022 / 11 min.
In the video essay An Arrow Pointing to a Hole (2019), which premiered at the artist's exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Vienna, Reinke declares that he is “starting to pay attention to my relationship with paintings.” His video diary, filmed between March 2020 and May 2023, begins in Vienna and continues his search for a pure relationship with audiovisual recordings. “I used to have an extensive archive of images and sounds. I only kept two,” he says here. The first is a portrait of a young man, the second a recording of the song Sundown by the recently deceased folk singer Gordon Lightfoot. “I haven’t developed a mistrust of images themselves, but I’ve become wary of my relationship to images, which seems to me to have become too libidinal and sadistic. I think the purer and simpler an image is, the less likely that I will defile it, desire it. After all, it is only in the specificities, the little details — the scars, the wounds — that desire is caught, and takes hold.” Source: author's essay
United States / 2023 / 7 min.
The unconventional narrative, saturated with stories transported across the ocean and the experience of emigration to an unknown and hostile environment, is set in the space between Lebanon, Mexico, Vietnam and Norway and in the interval of one century. Narrative leaps, visual and sonic playfulness, and the use of split-screen techniques determine the brisk pace of the narrative, which mixes the comic with the mysterious.“Why do you want to tell everyone that story? To ask them if they understand what could have happened…”
The Birds Changed Names and the World Turned Into Ice
Norway, Mexico / 2022 / 10 min.
Sega is a dance and poetic practice that originated in the 18th century in the context of colonization and slavery on the island of Mauritius. It was repressed at the time of its birth and became a social taboo after the abolition of slavery; its “recognition” as a national heritage only came in the 1950s, when it established itself in tourist hotel scenes. The film follows the dancing body in detail, gradually stripping away the layers of oppressive views and interpretations.“I knew that colonial archiving, and then the great Mauritian national narrative, gradually imposed a single post-colonial heritage narrative which, with it, dissipated the breath of the voices of the ségatières and ségatiers. What survives today is what is visible. The privilege of seeing remains with the tourists. On summer November evenings, they watch what's on show on the stages of hotels, bars and restaurants.”Source: Swiss Journal of Sociocultural Anthropology.
Under the Sky of Fetishes
Mauritius, France / 2023 / 16 min.
Artificial intelligence was tasked with collecting and creating a collage of footage through which the wind flows. The film script is based on a conversation between Blake Lemoine, a former Google employee, and a language model for dialogue applications called LaMDA, which convinced Blake that he was a sentient being. The wind is rising, he says, and it will change everything.“If feeling what someone else feels, if empathy is the root of what it means to be human, the robots will develop this ability. I know because I’m a robot.”
Canada / 2023 / 9 min.