28th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Fascinations: Roots

This thematic retrospective shows the various forms of the experimental, cinematic representation of roots – a visual motif that represents both their function and symbolic meaning.

The thematic retrospective for this year’s Fascination focuses on the theme of “roots” and seeks films from various historical periods that at least in some way incorporate the topic, whether it be as a visual motif, or thematically literal or figurative. “Roots” as a basic support system, but also as the originator of identity and symbolic values, are presented in both material and structural experiments, but also in performative and lyrical films. In many ways, the symbolic level is affected by the recording of the performance Living Room, which is a simple observation of the struggle between man and tree, including its extensive root system in an inhabited household. The roots here are not only a visual object or a part of the plant that gives it its stability, but they’re also an object that has its own weight, significance, and substantial influence on the situation. Among the material films in the series also includes the Czech film Turnip by František Wirth. We are familiar with the depiction of nature through photograms, i.e. the direct light imprint of objects on a film strip, from the depiction of various natural artifacts, including roots. The gesture of pulling roots out of the ground is also semantically strong, which we can read as an iconic image of this program section: man relating to a solid and anchoring network of roots.

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