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24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

ji-hlavadok-revuecdfEmerging producersInspiration Forum

Fascinations: Garden

Each year Ji.hlava presents an experimental retrospective on a specific theme. Following last year’s theme of erotica, this year we will focus on the phenomenon of gardens. The garden is one of the popular motives, metaphors and visual inspirations in the film avant-garde.

film database

3/60 Trees in Autumn
3/60 Trees in Autumn is made up of static shots of treetops that Kren took while walking through the park. As in his other work, the length of the shots is controlled based on a carefully pre-arranged scheme, which sets the film’s rhythm and evokes its overall atmosphere, which is also supported by the effect of the dark tree crowns placed in contrast against the light sky.     “Kren views trees as an optical experiment and observes them with respect to their abstract value.” T. Trummer
personal program

3/60 Trees in Autumn

Kurt Kren
Austria / 1960 / 5 min.
section: Fascinations: Garden
Czech Premiere
Biostructures
A silent film study that examines plant structures reveals the poetics of nature and the film medium. Static details of a passion fruit, a cherry blossom, onion skins with a dandelion, and tree leaves are captured on film using various techniques, playing with the opposites of light and dark and color contrasts.   “In some sense, scientists - cell biologists in particular - were the first experimental filmmakers.” D. Szalay
personal program

Biostructures

Alice Růžičková
Czech Republic / 1998 / 8 min.
section: Fascinations: Garden
Blooming Flowers and Plant Movements
Blooming Flowers and Plant Movements was filmed using a time-lapse method that allows the viewer to watch in a short time what would not be possible to see with the naked eye. In close-ups, Mol films budding flowers of various species and enhances their beauty by capturing the movements of several species of growing fungi.   “Mol's films express a passion for science and nature, combined with a great interest in camera optics and film perception.” Malin Wahlberg
personal program

Blooming Flowers and Plant Movements

J. C. Mol
Netherlands / 1932 / 20 min.
section: Fascinations: Garden
Carol
Shots of the details of trees gradually intertwine with the female silhouette in this abstract portrait of the director's wife. Carol Emshwiller was a strong voice in American science fiction literature’s new wave from the mid-1950s. Ursula K. Le Guin praised her as “a major fabulist, a marvelous magical realist, one of the strongest, most complex, most consistently feminist voices in fiction.”     “Carol and I spent a few days filming in the woods. We took a few shots of her, trees, and twigs, which I combined with places modified by the sound of the kalimba.” E. Emshwiller
personal program

Carol

Ed Emshwiller
United States / 1970 / 6 min.
section: Fascinations: Garden
Dendromité
With the help of thermographic and melancholic black-and-white shots, this contemplative film opens up philosophical-ethical questions about the possibilities of man’s intimate relationship to nature. The aesthetically diverse film contemplation calls for the awakening of empathy between human and non-human perception. “Sometimes I hear the plants whisper.” Title of the exhibition at the Botanical Museum in Berlin, 2018
personal program

Dendromité

Karine Bonneval
France / 2017 / 11 min.
section: Fascinations: Garden
Easyout
With the care of a surgeon, Pat O’Neill – the master of optical copying – evokes flashes of memory from the collective mind of civilization. Winking Buddhas, a cloned politician with a robotic voice and humans as ants represent the surreal echoes of humanity, which dissolve into an aggressively stroboscopic storm of the subconscious.    “There are certain characteristics in my work. One is a concern with perceptual ambiguity, with subjects whose presence has more than one explanation.”P. O'Neill
personal program

Easyout

Pat O’Neill
United States / 1971 / 10 min.
section: Fascinations: Garden
Film Studies of Impatiens, Vetch, Tulip, Mimosa, and Desmodium
An experiment conducted from 1898 to 1900 at the University of Leipzig used time-lapse photography to reveal the secrets and aesthetic captivation of plant movement and growth. The researchers photographed various types of plants for up to 28 days at a time to explain to the viewer the process of tulip germination or the effect of light on the movement of flower leaves. „Many scientists strive for professorship. Also in former times. At that time it often was sufficient to be a student of Wilhelm Pfeffer to be appointed to a university.“ K. Mägdefrau   This film is in the public domain: https://av.tib.eu/media/12258
personal program

Film Studies of Impatiens, Vetch, Tulip, Mimosa, and Desmodium

Wilhelm Pfeffer
Germany / 1900 / 3 min.
section: Fascinations: Garden
Lilium
This, the second in a series of digital portraits that decompose plants into strips of color, does not present a flower as a static element but rather as a creature of transformation and the passage of time. The organism blossoms vertically through a pulsating surface composed of sound and, once past the boundary between concrete and abstract, explores the spatial potential of colors.
personal program

Lilium

Karø Goldt
Austria, Germany / 2002 / 3 min.
section: Fascinations: Garden
MA: SPACE/TIME IN THE GARDEN OF RYOAN-JI
Ma, the Japanese concept for time and space experienced in the Ryoan-Ji Zen Garden, points to the importance of silence and emptiness in a world filled with objects and sound. The film, which blurs the line between a film essay, philosophical reflection, and conceptual work, encourages us to stop and experience our own existence.   “[John Cage] is my predecessor, as he said: ‘Time is the most important factor in music,’ and in response I would like to say that time is also the most important factor in film.” Interview, 2009
personal program

MA: SPACE/TIME IN THE GARDEN OF RYOAN-JI

Takahiko Iimura
Japan / 1989 / 16 min.
section: Fascinations: Garden
Neighbours
What starts out as a cute, silent grotesque about two men resting in the garden of their cardboard houses quickly turns into a crude political commentary that draws attention to the cruelty and absurdity of war. The film's message is enhanced by a combination of animation and live action along with comical sound effects.   „I was inspired to make Neighbours by a stay of almost a year in the People's Republic of China. [...] I decided to make a really strong film about anti-militarism and against war.“ N. McLaren
personal program

Neighbours

Norman MacLaren
Canada / 1952 / 9 min.
section: Fascinations: Garden
Poem 8
Poem 8 is an attempt to use film as a medium for expressing the poetic art form. The film follows the same rhythmic structure of poetry and cadence of modern dance and uses heavily stylised costumes and aesthetic approaches to fine art. The absence of narrative and the melancholic nature of the frames create a meditative and aesthetically pleasing excursion into the author's subjectivity.   „I thought, how interesting it would be if we used the film in a different method. So far it had been used like a novel to tell a story, or else as a documentary and there was nothing else in between, and I wanted to use the film as a poetic medium.“ E. Etting
personal program

Poem 8

Emlen Etting
United States / 1932 / 20 min.
section: Fascinations: Garden
Selected Treecuts
A formal experiment sees trees as objects free from their semiotic meaning. The treetops become only a cluster of shapes, colours, and structures intended for digital editing. Instead of a romantic contemplation of nature, the film explores the possibilities of video as a tool for the aesthetic manipulation of reality.     „We actually fell in love, I think: Not with each other but with the video.“ S. Vašulka
personal program

Selected Treecuts

Steina Vasulka
United States / 1980 / 9 min.
section: Fascinations: Garden
There is a garden in my head
Disguised as an unfamiliar landscape, a woman strides through the centuries as an object of romantic sensuality, a decadent ornament, or a torch of the sexual revolution. The animated tapestry of flora and fauna presents the female body as an erotic, decorative and symbolic element.
personal program

There is a garden in my head

Karin Wiertz, Jacques Verbeek
Netherlands / 1987 / 4 min.
section: Fascinations: Garden
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