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

2.20It comes right from the bellyIn this personal essay, a Danish sound designer Peter Albrechtsen remembers one of the world's greatest and most unique modern film composers, Jóhann Jóhannsson. This article was written in 2018, shortly after the Jóhannsson´s death, but has never been published.
1.20There’s more than one feminismA reflection on women documentarians inspired by Barbora Baronová’s book Women on WomenMartin Šrajer
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
1.18Exprmntl.cz 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: Exprmntl.cz 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
F5.16Winners 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

starší články

4.16DOK.REVUE
October 31, 2016


from current issue:

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