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25th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Opus Bonum

Opus Bonum is a competition section for the documentary films from all around the world, with the price for the Best World Documentary Film.

film database

A Man Leaning
A film based on a diary written by Thierry Metz (1956–1997), a renowned French poet, in an alcohol rehab clinic a year before he committed suicide. A melancholic portrayal drawing on the writer's tragic private life and intimate poetry. Metz's lines are underscored by a slow train of images of construction workers building houses, treetops swaying in the wind, patients smoking behind the walls of the clinic. The film leads us through Thierry's private history, including the death of his son and the agony of his addiction – through the pain that results in desire to end it all. “I look forward to the days to come in peace, from a distance, but with care. I have to kill someone deep inside myself, even though I do not know how to go about it. The most important thing is not to lose the thread.” T. Metz
personal program

A Man Leaning

Marie-Violaine Brincard, Olivier Dury
France / 2020 / 94 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
Dissipatio
The strict quarantine in the spring of 2020 reduced the living space of hundreds of millions of people down to just a few square meters. The horizon was limited to the view from the window, boredom permeated the days, and an endless stream of catastrophic rumors emanated from the radio and television. Against the backdrop of his own mental and physical discomfort, the director begins to shoot a video diary. The similarly non-existent static camera records existential monologues as well as activities serving basic bodily needs. This philosophical essay is woven from reflections on the coming transformation of the world and the images that try to capture it.   "During the quarantine Time became something strange. So we stood as still as possible, scared by our own breath, while our home was turning into the kingdom of that new kind of time." F. TicozziYou can watch the director’s introduction HEREQ&A with the director Filippo Ticozzi:
personal program

Dissipatio

Filippo Ticozzi
Italy / 2020 / 39 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Forensickness
This video essay, a work that blurs the lines between film and professional text, is based on the creator's reflection of Chris Kennedy's Watching the Detectives (2017), which depicts the hard work of amateur social detectives on Reddit who try to uncover the perpetrator of a terrorist attack at the 2013 Boston marathon. The film is a kaleidoscope of seemingly incoherent associations, philosophical considerations, and humorous comments, which subtly criticise the current obsession with finding the culprits of tragedies at all costs; and through formal experimentation, the film points to the neurotic need to monitor and punish today's society.   „Too often research stories focus on final results or findings; but that’s not how it’s done! In actuality research involves a lot of wandering – a lot of intellectually “flânerie” if you like – and in many cases the wandering is much more interesting and rich than the results.“ Ch. Galibert-LaînéQ&A with Chloé Galibert-Laîné:  
personal program

Forensickness

Chloé Galibert-Laîné
France, Germany / 2020 / 40 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
Mapping Lessons
Through the diary entries of the film's main protagonist K., we learn about her return from post-revolutionary Russia to her home in Greater Syria, in which, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, individual communities are trying to find a way to autonomy. Thanks to the juxtaposition with the Russian past, presented through shots from Soviet film classics such as Esfir Shub's Spain or Kinoglaz by Dziga Vertov, and the Syrian present, portrayed through various mobile phone footage, the director draws parallels between two incompatible realities and creates a multimedia essay on neo-colonialism and independence.   “After the crushing of our revolution in Egypt in 2013, Mapping Lessons began as a daydream. This film is a visual conversation between political struggles across time and space, from anti-colonial battles against the French and British in the 1920s, to the Syrian revolution in 2011, 1936 Spain, a revisionist memory of Russian Soviets, and the Paris Commune amongst others. This film was my way of relating our current neocolonial condition with the past, all with an eye on what to do the next time." P. Rizk 
personal program

Mapping Lessons

Philip Rizk
Egypt / 2020 / 61 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
On Endings
Black-and-white shots of an abandoned city and human dwellings permeated by melancholy, in which time drags on and gives rise to space for inner reflection and contemplation. It is the filmmaker’s intimate statement from isolation, in which he reads letters from a mother longing for her son, whom she has not seen for four years. Words full of tenderness, pain, and religious conviction mix memories of the past with faith in future moments together. In the texts, uttered in a quiet voice, light and darkness contrast, as they do in the captivating shots full of chiaroscuro. Without a storyline, dialogue, or tension, the film offers itself to quiet contemplation by its viewers.   “[...] films are memories; cinema is memory. I think cinema is there to record our existence, the unknown, and the memory of the world. ” L. Paolo Dela Cruz    
personal program

On Endings

Liryc Dela Cruz
Italy, Philippines / 2020 / 82 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Once Upon a Time in Poland
Director Karel Žalud, with directors Vít Klusák and Filip Remunda, visited Poland over the course of several years to better understand Poles and their relationship with God. In the film, Žalud turns to casual passers-by, nuns celebrating the anniversary of the baptism of Poland, a representative of the anti-Semitic Radio Maryja, and a priest accused of sexual harassment. While they are all clear on matters of faith, the filmmaker, who himself seeks spiritual support, is increasingly skeptical. Christianity in today’s Poland seems to offer answers, but only to questions agreed upon by the church and the conservative government.     “It’s like a road movie through the medieval Catholic landscape. In short, it is a documentary football match, with one team being the most atheistic nation in Europe, which we are, versus the Poles, who are the most Catholic.” V. Klusák
personal program

Once Upon a Time in Poland

Vít Klusák, Filip Remunda
Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia / 2020 / 97 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
One Says No
Chinese cities expand and gradually absorb the countryside. The village of Yangji was yet another victim to the expansion, which benefits local developers linked to the government. Rural residents are forced to vacate their simple dwellings and make room for new houses and entrepreneurs from the cities. The vast majority of local resistance will subside despite meager compensation and low prospects for decent housing, but Azhong is one of a handful of people who choose to fight against the corrupt system. He does not intend to give up his home. This raw documentary, revealing the inhuman dimension of the Chinese construction boom, is based on his immediate testimony from a barricaded apartment.  Q&A with the filmmakers:     
personal program

One Says No

Dayong Zhao
China / 2020 / 96 min.
section: Opus Bonum
International Premiere
Rift Finfinnee
In grandiose wide opening shots, slow panoramas, and concise static compositions, Daniel Kötter explores the landscape east of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. He focused his attention on four urbanizing areas, in which the boundaries between urban and rural, between industry and agriculture are blurring. The film also gives us an insight into the private lives of the locals. Their off-screen comments help create a layered portrait of a place undergoing drastic ecological and social changes - for which many are not prepared.     „While the camera represents my distant and outside perspective on the landscapes and urban development in Addis' periphery, the locals speak to each other in their local languages.“ D. KötterQ&A with the director of Rift Finfinnee Daniel Kötter:  
personal program

Rift Finfinnee

Daniel Kötter
Germany / 2020 / 79 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Terrain Vague
A film between a short story and a social documentary, combining stifling atmosphere with humour and reflections of the millennials. We follow a fictional female journalist who tries to report on changes happening in poor neighbourhoods of Philadelphia with empty half-built compounds, the high-end centres of the future, for now reminiscent of some Kafkaesque novel. Black and white photographs on 16mm film accompanied by a monotonous female voiceover leading the audience through a dystopic fantasy with a caustic commentary on gentrification and class inequality in American cities. "Set in Philadelphia in the recent past, Terrain Vague takes the conversion of an industrial plant into a new tech-hub as a starting point to explore some of the tensions of the neoliberal city." E. KihnQ&A with Edward Kihn :  
personal program

Terrain Vague

Edward Kihn
United States / 2020 / 47 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
White on White
White on White is director Viera Čákanyová’s video diary that she kept while staying at the Polish Antarctic station, where in 2017 she shot the film FREM (2019), whose main character was an artificial neural network. During her stay, the author chats with various artificial intelligences, leading conversations that touch on the nature of film, art, and the meaning of life while also revealing a way of thinking that’s free from humanity and from an emotionality that forces deep introspection. Footage from her routine, everyday life at the station contrasts with lyrical images of the immaculate Antarctic nature, which the author complements with her own commentary and thoughts provoked by the loneliness of the ice-covered landscape.   „How can you think something fundamentally inhuman? I'm making a film about artificial intelligence, but it's getting harder, more absurd. The Antarctic landscape works like a drug. Am I walking in the white darkness, looking for a sense of relief? I am matter with consciousness, far from thermodynamic equilibrium. That’s is the only thing I can report on.“ V. ČákanyováQ&A with the director Viera Čákanyová:
personal program

White on White

Viera Čákanyová
Slovakia, Czech Republic / 2020 / 74 min.
section: Opus Bonum
World Premiere
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Creative Europe
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
Aktuálně.cz
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