26th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival
Second festival day: Czech Joy, Plicka and Kennedy
Czech Joy, a section showcasing the latest of Czech documentary production, this year comprises nineteen films.
Several of them had their premiere on the first day of the festival. A time-lapse doc called One-room School directed by Petr Hátle captures the situation at the inclusive school META that supports the integration of young migrants into Czech society.
The Beginnings directed by Linda Kallistová Jablonská follows the fates of girls who were raised in institutional care – an orphanage in Počátky. "I did some research on how the first years of our life shape us as young people and I came to the conclusion that if a child grows up in institutional care, it will greatly affect their adult life," says the director.
Eyewitness created by director and playwright Jiří Havelka depicts the tragic events of June 1945, when 265 Carpathian Germans, Hungarians and Slovaks were killed near Přerov during the brutalities that took place after WWII. “Eyewitness is not a streamed theatre performance but a piece intended primarily for a screen and speaking fully using the film language,” says director Jiří Havelka about the film.
Brotherhood is the title of a film created by a graduate of Prague’s FAMU, Francesco Montagner that tells the story of three Bosnian sheep-herding brothers. It follows them as they grow up and tend to their flock and household during the years when their father is in prison for terrorism.
A retrospective of the Slovak-Czech ethnographer and filmmaker Karol Plicka also started today and it will offer fifteen films screened at Ji.hlava in several film blocks. The showcase’s highlight will be the famous The Earth Sings (1933).
What is on Ji.hlava’s Thursday programme?
The Constellations section showcasing the best of films shown at festivals over the past year will treat us to Jane by Charlotte. In her directorial debut, British actress Charlotte Gainsbourg explores her complicated relationship with her own mother, actress, singer and 1970s fashion icon Jane Birkin. “Filming you on camera is basically just an excuse to watch you,” says the director in the film.
Opus Bonum will show another film in its premiere – Out in Force by Martin Mareček. “Kamil invited me to capture his physical transformation he was planning to undergo in those five years. But it soon became clear that I was witnessing something much more complicated, intimate and universal. Out in Force very well complements Over the Hills and fits into my plan to dedicate a trilogy to the current perspectives of masculinity,” said Mareček about the film that will be distributed in cinemas by Artcam Films.
The Testimonies section, which takes a look at current world events, will comprise nineteen films. Among them is Gorbatchev.Heaven directed by Russian filmmaker Vitaly Mansky. It is a documentary epitaph of a declining statesman contrasting with the chaos of contemporary Putin's Russia.
Czech Television Documentaries will feature Reconstruction of Occupation by Jan Šikl that collects private archival footage. This is how he discovered several hours of footage showing the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops in August 1968. Memories of specific events come to life, and the exploration gradually turns into a reflection on how the historical moment has imprinted itself on us.
Inspiration Forum: Mental health and equality
The twenty-fifth edition of Ji.hlava will again feature the Inspiration Forum, which will take place for the eleventh time this year. "The Inspiration Forum brings together film professionals with figures from outside the film world thus becoming a place for discovering and initiating new themes for documentaries," says Tereza Swadoschová, the Head of Programme of the Inspiration Forum. The day’s focus was on mental health and the main guest speaker was American psychiatrist Bruce D. Perry, author of the award-winning book What Happened to You? (2021) co-authored by Oprah Winfrey.
Equalities and inequalities will be the main topic of tomorrow’s programme of the Inspiration Forum. Trouble with Gender, Care and Violence will feature the online appearance of American feminist, philosopher and gender studies legend Judith Butler (USA). The interview, conducted by philosopher Tereza Matějčková, will also be available online in a live stream. Among this year’s guests will be Polish women’s rights activist Marta Lempart, one of the initiators of the of the National Women's Strike (Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet) movement.