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23rd Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Studio 89

Thirty years after the events of Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution of 1989 that brought fundamental changes in political issues in former Czechoslovakia, their remembrance will probably look different from what they did in the past. Today, the rich country is divided more than ever, and it seems to be once again looking for its future and appearance. The Ji.hlava festival holds in esteem and protection the values that have helped to shape the direction of our country after 1989: freedom, democracy, justice, interest in public affairs and respect for different views. The anniversary of this major change in the life of Czech society will be remembered by presenting an original collection of films and lectures that will help to understand the pre- and post-revolution era, along with roots of the current crisis which may result in a sort of The Judge on the Czech Way turned into a documentary reconstruction by director Robert Sedláček. The time and spatial circumstances of the exhausted finish line of the so-called “real socialism” are described in the films by dissident filmmaker Michal Hýbek who was recording Václav Havel’s reactions after his last release from the prison, but also interviewed Alexander Dubček, the symbolic figure of the famous Prague Spring of 1968. Dubček in a previously unpublicized interview from September 1989, premiered at Ji.hlava festival, represents former communist reformers who were not pondering Western-style democracy in Czechoslovakia, but a reformed version of socialism. The voice of rigid communist representation is also heard in Jan Rousek’s new film, still in progress, A Normalization of Power. The breakthrough events of November 17, 1989 are summed up in the documentary by Lea Petříková and Jan Rousek, Velvet FAMU. The building of Prague’s famous film academy stands just around the corner from Národní třída where communist police forces stormed a peaceful student march on that day. And it was the students of Prague’s FAMU and DAMU (i.e. film and theatre academies) who initiated a general student strike at universities across the country. The strike very soon disseminated into theatres and led up to the general strike that virtually ended the communist sovereignty. Testimonies of former university students hold arguments against various conspiracy theories that are listed in a film by Andrea Sedláčková. The fast and furious pace of post-revolution years is captured in a documentary on Czech advertising and a lecture on ownership restitutions in the Czech film business. Advertising became symbolic of the rapid introduction of free market, meanwhile restitutions were attempts to come to terms with 40-year-old process of so-called nationalization whereby the communist government had relayed private businesses to state ownership. It remains an interesting fact that the topic of restitutions was more often dealt with through fiction film than documentaries at the time. A distinguished personality, playwright, essayist, dissident and later a president of both Czechoslovakia and the independent Czech Republic will be remembered in an almost forgotten documentary Vision 2000 by Juraj Herz and fragments from Petr Jančárek’s film (still in making) This Is Havel Speaking, Can You Hear Me?

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Conspiracy 89
The rapid progression of the Velvet Revolution in November 1989 made some people wonder whether the collapse of communism in Czechoslovakia had not actually been organized from above. The documentary on conspiracy theories questioning the spontaneous course of events confronts the memories of witnesses with actual findings of historians.
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Conspiracy 89

Andrea Sedláčková
Czech Republic / 2019 / 52 min.
section: Studio 89
World Premiere
Czech Commercial: The Rise of Capitalism
A dynamic overview of Czech television commercials since the time of late socialism until the capitalist economic boom in the nineties. In interviews with advertising creatives and examples of the best and worst of Czech production, the transformation of marketing practices in relation to socio-economic changes is revealed.
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Czech Commercial: The Rise of Capitalism

Martin Jůza
Czech Republic / 2019 / 52 min.
section: Studio 89
World Premiere
Jan Rousek: Normalization of Power
Excerpts from the upcoming film examines the formation of the new political system in Czechoslovakia after 1968 and the circumstances surrounding its collapse in the late 1980s. Through the testimony of members of the ruling party during the peak of normalization, the film reveals their delusions, their lust for power, and their mutual differences, and the recently revealed backdrop of events leading to November 1989.
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Jan Rousek: Normalization of Power

Jan Rousek
Czech Republic / 2020 / 90 min.
section: Studio 89
Work in Progress
Lecture: Early Czech Films and Problems of Transformation
Restitution and Prostitution Comedy of the 1990sThe post-Velvet Revolution era in Czechoslovakia brought along a huge transformation of the society. Millions of citizens started their own businesses and tens of thousands received previously nationalized estates. Czech film, impacted by privatization of Prague’s Barrandov Studios and an advent of independent producers, was continuously mirroring this situation.A lecture by Kamil Fila full of video fragments from films like e.g. The Sun, Hay and Erotica, Playgirls, Even Greater Dumbass Than We Hoped For and many others. Length: 100 minutes
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Lecture: Early Czech Films and Problems of Transformation

Kamil Fila
Czech Republic / 2019 / 100 min.
section: Studio 89
World Premiere
Lecture: On the archetype of apocalypse in the Czechoslovak cinema in the 1980s
Toward the end of the state-run socialism era, Eastern bloc citizens were being supplied with film and TV images of the decline of civilization and crumbling ecosystems. Today’s “environmental sorrow” thus already had its predecessor back then. Apart from issues like air, soil and water pollution (e.g. in Jan Svěrák’s student film Oil Gobblers), a threat of nuclear conflict raised by the Chernobyl disaster was very alive at the time. The lecture by Kamil Fila will focus on well-known and unfamiliar, eloquent and intensive, but also totally weird examples of fears representative of this period.  
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Lecture: On the archetype of apocalypse in the Czechoslovak cinema in the 1980s

Kamil Fila
Czech Republic / 2019 / 100 min.
section: Studio 89
World Premiere
Michal Hýbek: Interview with Dubček
In spring 1989, Hýbek and Jaroslav Hanzel shot interviews with dissidents for Hýbek’s film Czechoslovakian taboos 1968-1989. They presented it while travelling across the Baltics and Russia, interviewing the representatives of democratic movements. A. Dubček agreed to shoot an interview for a Moscow TV show Vzglyad.  It was made in his apartment in Bratislava on September 12, 1989.Screening with a commentary by Jan Bernard.
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Michal Hýbek: Interview with Dubček

Jan Bernard
Czech Republic / 90 min.
section: Studio 89
Petr Jančárek: This Is Havel Speaking, Can You Hear Me?
In April 2009, Václav Havel proposed to director Petr Jančárek to “… film the rest of his life”.  Their almost three-year collaboration, ended with Havel's death, characterized total openness, the ex-president's confidence in the director and the creator's responsibility towards his hero. Feature documentary This Is Havel Speaking, Can You Hear Me? arises from unique material, profiting from the non-existent distinction between the private and public forms of the world personality. According to the director, "it certainly does not intend to become a formally polished monument to the giant or slogan in the encyclopedia of world statesmen."   For the first time, parts of an exceptional film will be screened at the Ji.hlava festival. The discussion will be focused on the relationship between the creator and statesman, the development of the project and its author concept.  
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Petr Jančárek: This Is Havel Speaking, Can You Hear Me?

Petr Jančárek
Czech Republic / 90 min.
section: Studio 89
Work in Progress
Short Films by Michal Hýbek
Michal Hýbek (1957–2003) used to be an amateur film-maker.  In his clip Courtyards 1981, he captured the famous exhibition that took place in Malá Strana, Prague. Together with P. Bárta, they became famous for their Breakfast (1984) on J. Prévert’s poem. Away from the castle, away! (1986) is an authentic and investigative view on the discovery of St. Maurus reliquary. His documentary Letters to Olga (1986) was the first to introduce “Havel, a dissident” to the world, capturing his work on a book of letters from prison. After the Velvet Revolution, he created an essay on Havel’s March journey, Paris - London or There and Back with Mr. President (1990). Screening with a commentary by Jan Bernard.
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Short Films by Michal Hýbek

Jan Bernard
Czech Republic / 90 min.
section: Studio 89
The Judge over the Czech Way
The documentary reflects on thirty years of renewed democracy by way of a court hearing, whose subject matter. The film brings together actors in the roles of the plaintiff, defense counsel and judge with real people who represent Czech society as spectators, witnesses and members of the jury. The film is clearly inspired by a court hearing regarding a two-generation dispute filmed by Czechoslovak Television in 1966. “The story of an idealism and naivety of one and rationality of others. Review of thirty years of a divided society, who did not know about it. ” R. Sedláček
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The Judge over the Czech Way

Robert Sedláček
Czech Republic / 2019 / 84 min.
section: Studio 89
World Premiere
Theatricality Workshop on November 17th
Theatricality Workshop on November 17th A demonstration as a theatrical performance? The Theatricality Workshop will present the concept of theatricality of public events on the 17th of November. The authors will offer their documentaries for a joint open discussion with invited personalities devoting themselves to theatricality and documentary film. Together they will analyze the theatrical aspects of the examination of symbolic behavior through an audiovisual medium at the event on the 17th of November. E.g., they will try to reveal the essence of political demonstrations, parades and speeches.   Preview: Observation on the 17th of November 2018  Directed by David Neumann and Sara Jarošová Cinematography by David Neumann, Sara Jarošová, Karolína Hruboňová, and Assel Torgayeva Country of production: Czech Republic Year made: 2019   Preview: Television Tribune  Directed by David Neumann and Sara Jarošová Cinematography by David Neumann, Sara Jarošová, and Karolína Hruboňová Country of production: Czech Republic Year made: 2019
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Theatricality Workshop on November 17th

Sára Jarošová, David Neumann
Czech Republic / 2019 / 100 min.
section: Studio 89
Velvet FAMU
The film shows the activity of students of the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU) during the Velvet Revolution in 1989. Through the confrontation of archives, memories of former students – now figures of the cultural scene – and the input of current students, it examines the most important political initiative of the film school students in the late 1980s.
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Velvet FAMU

Jan Rousek, Lea Petříková
Czech Republic / 2019 / 52 min.
section: Studio 89
World Premiere
Vision 2000
In a documentary by Juraj Herz, President Václav Havel talks to Oscar Award-winning actor Maximilian Schell about his vision for the new millennium. The actor and politician were also connected by the fact that Schell had read Havel's thank-you speech on the occasion of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in Frankfurt in October 1989.
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Vision 2000

Juraj Herz
Czech Republic, Germany / 1993 / 54 min.
section: Studio 89
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Evropská unie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
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