Winners of the jubilee 20th edition of Jihlava IDFF

Comments on the winners of 20th Jihlava IDFF by the festival editorial team

Spectres Are Haunting Europe (Maria Kourkouta, Niki Giannari, 2016)

Czech Joy Section: FC Roma and Normal Autistic Film

Whereas last year´s Czech Joy Section remained without a winner, there are two of them this year. Czech documentary film is quite fond of topics from environment of handicapped people or gypsy minority. However, I cannot free myself of feeling that films with this topic are often automatically overrated. Truth is that both Normal Autistic Film and FC Roma do deserve the reward, and not only due to strong and attractive topics they are dedicated to. Nevertheless, in comparison to Helena´s Law, which I had considered a definite winner, I see their winning as not really fair and deserved. The documentarist Petra Nesvačilová also chose an attractive topic for audience and she showed a wonderful work with the protagonists as well as Miroslav Janek. Moreover, she did not hesitate to take risks, she enriched the film with original presentation and became its dauntless active participant.

Veronika Jančová

Win of FC Roma, which shares its reward with Normal Autistic Film in the Czech Joy Section, is definitely a pleasant surprise. This attempt to see the issue of xenophobia from a different perspective surely deserves the prize. On one hand Czech media usually offer a rather sensationalist conception, on the other hand mainly intellectual community adopts a protecting attitude towards Gypsies and idealizes everything too much. Surprisingly, FC Roma is somewhere in between or maybe even completely out. The film avoids direct confrontation and idealization successfully. But you definitely should not avoid the film, so try to manage seeing it at the cinema before going home.

Kateřina Šardická

Opus Bonum Section: Spectres Are Haunting Europe and Smiling on the Phone

Spectres Are Haunting Europe, the winner of the Opus Bonum Section, is a very remarkable documentary film, which gained its victory deservedly. It is not a real surprise that a film with a very current topic, which refugee crisis surely is, became the winner. I am glad that the jury appreciated certain demands and unbearableness of this film spectacle. It thus confirmed that not only journalistic methods are suitable to use for delicate social-political questions, but that also more original and authorial approaches are possible to apply without reducing strength and expressiveness of the film. Special mention goes to Smiling on the Phone, a documentary film with a very interesting theme. However, its certain amateur roughness and rudeness cannot go unheeded. On the other hand this imperfection might look likeable. Nevertheless, I do not really understand this choice, in context of other competing films of the section, like We Make Couples, for instance, which is a really impressive avant-garde piece of work.

Veronika Jančová

Spectres Are Haunting Europe, the winner of the Opus Bonum Section, offers a unique, formally inventive and inspiring view of the refugee crisis topic. A dissociated and intentionally impersonal shooting of refugees in the Idomeni camp on Greek-Macedonian border is free from personal stories and context. It does not try to make viewers put themselves into migrants´ shoes place. The Greek director Maria Kourkouta focuses on the whole group, an anonymous mass of fugitive people, which got stuck in time and space and which symbolizes a European dilemma, the right of an individual to freely choose the place for living and social as well as political mechanisms which take this right away as they did in the past. This extraordinary work, whose title refers to a communist manifest, is not about them. It is about us.

Janis Prášil

Special mention goes to Smiling on the Phone, an observational documentary film. In my opinion it definitely deserves the reward. In spite of its minimalistic approach, the film is an excellent investigation of contemporary labour world, which exploits hundreds of people just to squeeze them completely and speedily replace them for a “new blood”, which is positive and efficient enough. Demotivation and alienation of employees discord with employer´s demands to look relaxed and enthusiastic all the time. Forced smiles during phone calls are replaced with apathetic expressions during breaks – a perfect picture of today´s society.

Kateřina Šardická

Engram of Returning (Daïchi Saïto, 2015)

Fascinations: Engram of Returning

The main topic of discussion after screening of the film was the question of image relations, which Saïto used for origin of his film, and memory – his own engram he “projected” into images and whose flashes he worked with, and also engrams left by images in places without images and moving positions of repeatedly returning flashes, which fuse into gently changing compositions, stuck somewhere between an eye and a viewer´s visual cortex.

The question of seeing colours, heretofore unseen, was for me more interesting than memory function, rewriting the seen in moments of not seeing. It seemed to me that the black fields, which interrupted constituent images, helped me to penetrate more deeply into the world of fine, beautifully softened shades, which pervade into each other and kind of exist without any shape qualities and off space.

It seemed to me that I see some of them for the first time in my life. I remembered “chimerical colours” and the Canadian philosopher Paul Churchland, who deduces their existence from the standard neuroscience opponent-process theory of colour vision. During colour vision, tired neurons shoot vectors from top parts in the form of a spindle, which represents common colour processing, an experience into space behind its bounds. Might it be possible that Saïto managed to outsmart the spindle in the dark moments of the film?

Tereza Hadravová

more articles from a section:  Theme

1+2.19Emerging Czech female documentariansIs there a new tide of emerging female documentarians in Czech cinema? What’s fascinating about the work of Czech female filmmakers like Johana Ožvold, Greta Stocklassa or Viera Čákany?Will Tizard Through Eyes of American Journalist Daniel WalberAmerican freelance critic Daniel Walber focuses on a bunch of Czech experimental movies which were screened at the 21st Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival in the Fascinations: section.Daniel Walber
2.17Why Series SuckCritical essay about the phenomenon Quality TVHanjo Berressem, Nadine Boljkovac
1.17Haptic/Visual Identities – A project between art and researchAgata Mergler and Cristian Villavicencio about their haptic camerasAgata Mergler, Cristian Villavicencio
4.16Winners of the jubilee 20th edition of Jihlava IDFFComments on the winners of 20th Jihlava IDFF by the festival editorial teamTereza Hadravová, Veronika Jančová, Kateřina Šardická, Janis Prášil
F3.16Ji.hlava ManifestoWatch Ji.hlava Manifesto online
4.16Transparent Landscape: TurkeyComing to terms with the past, the clash of cultures, and intellectual reflections on everyday life – just three aspects of a country larger than Ukraine and as unknown as the OrientTomáš Doruška, Âkile Nazlı Kaya
4.16The Russian Avant-GardeThe pioneer of the moving image – Dziga Vertov – and other significant figures of the Russian interwar avant-garde explore not only Soviet society, but, even more importantly, art and the nature of the medium of mediaBriana Čechová
4.16Translucent Being: Éric RohmerAbout not well known documentary work of French pedagogue Éric RohmerDavid Čeněk
4.16Translucent Being: Bill MorrisonCreation methods of the American experimental filmmaker and documentarian Bill Morrison, who uses a variety of damaged celluloid strips in his films; most often, however, those damaged by the ravages of time.Andrea Slováková, Štěpánka Součková

starší články

October 30, 2016

from current issue:

New releaseOn Adultery as Mirror of Our Own SelvesBarbora Jíchová Tyson, a visual artist, who has been living in America for seventeen years, has finished her first feature film Talking About Adultery this year. According to the author, the film is an essayistic collage and represents a perspective on humanity, which holds the mirror up to us all.Barbora Jíchová TysonNew releaseFREMWhat is it like to shoot a film in Antarctica? Is it possible to get into the head of artificial intelligence? And what is GAI? All this is described by the documentarist Viera Čákanyová in the text she wrote about her new film FREM in dok.revue.Viera ČákanyováNew releaseHavel Speaking, Can You Hear Me?What were the two last years in the life of former dissident, ex-president Václav Havel like? How did he reflect on the fact that he was gradually leaving this world? Documentarian Petr Jančárek talks about his upcoming documentary film capturing the final stretch of Havel’s, life, the rough cut of which was shown at the Ji.hlava IDFF in the Studio 89 section marking this year’s anniversary of the so-called Velvet Revolution.Petr JančárekThemeEmerging Czech female documentariansIs there a new tide of emerging female documentarians in Czech cinema? What’s fascinating about the work of Czech female filmmakers like Johana Ožvold, Greta Stocklassa or Viera Čákany?Will TizardSportHow to Teach Documentary FilmmakingThis year’s Ji.hlava IDFF offered a panel discussion on how documentary filmmaking is taught in Visegrad countries. Methods used to teach documentary filmmaking in different V4 countries were discussed by lecturers from selected schools. Vít Janeček introduced documentary courses at Prague’s FAMU, Attila Kékesi represented Hungarian University of Theatre and Film Arts in Budapest, Viera Čákanyová talked about study programmes at Slovak Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava – VSMU, and Maria Zmarz-Koczanowicz discussed documentary education at National Film School in Lodz. What emerged from their fruitful discussion? Vít Janeček, Kamila Boháčková, Maria Zmarz-Koczanowicz, Attila Kékesi, Peter KerekesPoemThe reanimation of Mr. PuiuKhavn De La CruzReviewA Place to Take a BreathThe film journalist Janis Prášil compares two documentary portraits of this year – Forman vs. Forman and Jiří Suchý: Tackling Life with Ease on his blog.Janis PrášilReview Music as a Lag Between Death and InfinityJanis Prášil ruminates on Solo – this year´s winner of Ji.hlava Czech Joy section – which comes to cinemas. Did the picture succeed in depicting the inner world, so hard to portray, of a mentally ill musician? And what if it is the illness itself which enables people to take a look into the grievous core of being?Janis PrášilReviewOn Sounds by ImageThe film journalist Antonín Tesař writes about the new film The Sound Is Innocent directed by Johana Ožvold.Antonín TesařInterviewGreta Stoklassa: I Read Rather than Preach the RealityAn interview with the director Greta StoklassaKamila BoháčkováInterviewTo Surprise MyselfWhile the main competition at the International Karlovy Vary Film Festival does not feature any Czech title, the festival’s documentary section has one Czech film to offer: A documentary road movie by Martin Mareček entitled Over the Hills exploring the relationship between a father and a son, as well as the distance that separates us from others. Unlike his previous socially engaged films, the latest title provides a personal and intimate insight. But as Martin Mareček put it in his interview for dok.revue – what is intimate is universal. Marek Hovorka, Petr Kubica, Kamila BoháčkováInterviewKarel Vachek: Films Just Have to Make You Laugh!One of the most original Czech filmmakers Karel Vachek made his ninth film novel called Communism and the Net or the End of Representative Democracy. Fifty years after Prague Spring and thirty years after the Velvet Revolution, Karel Vachek “with his inner laughter” looks back on the evolution of our society and predicts a transformation to direct democracy based on the possibilities of the internet that will allow for the engagement of the whole mankind without the need of representatives. His film Communism will be screened at the beginning of next year at the International Film festival Rotterdam.Kamila BoháčkováIntroductionCzech docs of the year 2019Welcome at the English double issue of dok.revue 2019. This winter issue looks back upon the Czech documentary scene in the year 2019 and serves as an annual book of the most (internationally) interesting Czech documentaries and articles about them at dok.revue.Kamila Boháčkovávideo dok.revueMasterclass: Sergej Dvorcevoj23rd Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival