Jihlava Manifesto (1997-2016)
From October 24 to November 6, DAFilms.com presents a showcase of documentary essays screened at Jihlava IDFF. Don’t miss the greatest festival gems of the past twenty years!
Since the festival takes place in the Czech Republic, it is not surprising that films of local provenance have a strong representation in the showcase; not in terms of quantity but rather quality. The earliest of the documentaries, A New Hyperion, or Liberty, Equality, Fraternity directed by Karel Vachek, seems to be topical again. The complex collage with a philosophical-sociological depth captures the situation in Czechoslovakia before the election in 1990. One of the main roles is “played” by Václav Havel. The second earliest documentary film of Jihlava Manifesto is Fungus by Vít Janeček. Mushroom picking is a Czech national sport and it is thus not surprising that the director used these forest crops to interpret the universe. Documentarist Radek Tůma (1976), who likes to experiment with form and the division line between documentary and fiction, completes the trio of Czech documentaries by his experimental baroque western Plani di giardini ideali.
The showcase of international documentary films is naturally varied as well and the viewers can broaden their horizons both in the field of artistic perception and geographically. The Taste of Koumiz by Belgian director Xavier Christiaens is an inward empathetic journey through Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The Stockholm-based artistic duo Lars Bergström (1962) and Mats Bigert (1965) scored at Jihlava IDFF exactly ten years ago with their stylized imaginative film Last Supper combining documentary footage of capital punishment with in-depth stylization, iconic installation and animation.
North America is the home of Fascination by [Mike Hoolboom](http://dafilms.com/director/189-mike-hoolboom/], a film based on archive footage and creative images by Colin Campbell (1942-2001), one of Canada’s remarkable video artists. The same continent also gave birth to Touch by Shelly Silver; a subjective film essay pointing out the constructed character of every artwork.
Ladies and gentlemen, the school of arthouse documentary is about to begin!
Films for the event
Fascination (Orig.) / 2006 / Canada / 70 min
In this portrait, consisting of a collage of the works, archive materials, and creative images by one of Canada’s most expressive video artists, Colin Campbell (1942–2001), Mike Hoolboom looks for parallels with his own work. He addresses broader issues about video as a medium and includes interviews with Canadian artists. The end result is a non-traditional approach to film narrative.
Das wirst du nie verstehen (Orig.) / 2003 / Austria / 52 min
Three elderly ladies are sitting at the table with cakes and coffee. But when it comes to questions about the past, a seemingly ordinary family meeting turns to a strategy of telling stories and being silent...
Touch (Orig.) / 2013 / United States / 67 min
A man returns, after fifty years, to Chinatown to care for his dying mother. He is a librarian, a cataloguer and recorder, a gay man, a watcher, an impersonator. He passes his time collecting images - his witnesses and collaborators. Sitting in the dark, we look at them and share his cloak of invisibility, both a benefit and a curse...
Sista maltiden (Orig.) / 2005 / Sweden / 57 min
The last supper has been given to prisoners facing the death penalty as long as the punishment has existed. The tradition stems from funeral rites where the deceased person was given food on his deathbed to protect him on his journey to the afterlife. Today, the ritual of giving the last supper to the condemned person has been detached from its origin, and can be perceived to be as absurd as the punishment it accompanies...
Plani Di Giardini Ideali (Orig.) / 2008 / Czech Republic / 105 min
Vratislav Brabenec, a poet, musician, and gardener is the centre stage of a baroque western, an all embracing documentary film depicting a play while the play becomes a documentary: there are no limits to the human creativity, and thus it is possible for speculations about plans for a garden and misty poeticism about the train of love to stand at the same level with a theatre performance, which makes the film a blend of sensuality and metaphysical anxiety, thirst for life and the demonia of death and doom.
Nový Hyperion aneb Volnost, rovnost, bratrství (Orig.) / 1992 / Czech Republic / 196 min
Through a mosaic of events, opinions, and goings on, Karel Vachek records the situation preceding the Czechoslovak elections in 1990. With subtle irony he juxtaposes various phenomena and on the screen portrays the surprising socio-political context of the incredible whirl of the first free elections after the fall of the communist regime...
Zum Vergleich (Orig.) / 2009 / Austria, Germany / 62 min
Harun Farocki tracks the individual steps in the manufacture and use of bricks in Africa, India and Europe, comparing different traditions. Instead of using a commentary, he allows the images to speak, working with the color, movement and sound of bricks, which symbolize the basic building block of social relationships and economic structures.