At the very end of 2015, we present a selection of films that you liked the most. You can watch them for free until Sunday, January 3. Make time for quality documentaries during Christmas and the New Year!
We present remarkable films by filmmakers such as Victor Kossakovsky, Mike Hoolboom, Peter Mettler, Sergei Loznitsa, Åsa Sandzén and others, films from almost all continents as well as master classes by leading filmmakers such as Peter Tscherkassky (Outer Space, Instruction for a Light and Sound Machine) and Werner Herzog (e.g. Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Fitzcarraldo, Woyzeck, Grizzly Man and others).
The civil war in Syria has reduced the local inhabitants to a state of permanent uncertainty. Should they stay or go? Haunted follows nine protagonists who must be constantly ready to suddenly leave their homes. With her debut film, Syrian director Liwaa Yazji has left an indelible mark on the map of contemporary documentary.
Imitations of Life is a film by experimental icon Mike Hoolboom; a meta-film providing an original commentary on film history. Imitation of Life consists of ten chapters, each characterized by a distinctive intonation and unified cinematic style.
Serbian-British director Aleksandar Nikolić made an impressive film Serbian Lawyer about the defense attorney of Radovan Karadžić and Slobodan Milošević. Screened at Jihlava IDFF among others, this psychological probe tells of the personal situation of the lawyer as well as our present.
An incredible trial of an appallingly ordinary man is captured in The Specialist, a Portrait of a Modern Criminal. Drawn entirely on the 350 hours of rare footage recorded during the trial of Adolf Eichmann in 1961 in Jerusalem, this film about obedience and responsibility is the portrait of an expert in problem resolving, a modern criminal. The film is inspired by the controversial book by Hannah Arendt : "Eichmann in Jerusalem, report on the banality of evil".
Victor Kossakovsky followed in the footsteps of antipodes, i.e. the inhabitants of opposite poles of the earth. The master of poetical documentary made his film Vivan las Antipodas! at Hawai, Lake Baikal, in New Zealand and Argentine, creating a visually impressive image of landscape and man and discovering fascinating and humorous parallels between (literally) opposite civilization and environmental elements.
Peter Mettler has pushed the possibilities of film in The End of Time. Capturing Swiss scientists exploring time in the 27-kilometre long particle collider, lava at Hawai Islands as well as a funeral rite near the place of Buddha’s enlightenment, the film reflects on the theme of the human perception of time.
In the words of its makers, Still Born is an animated documentary about loss, anger and sorrow. A cardiac malformation left the soon-to-be parents with a terrible choice. Variety has called Still Born a milestone of modern animation and praised it in a review for the personal tone of its narrative as well as for its inspiration by Jan Švankmajer and Bill Plympton. The film has been awarded by the jury of DOK Leipzig and other festivals.
Summer of Goliath is a documentary/fiction hybrid that narrates various stories of the people of the town of Huilotepec in rural Mexico.
Foreign Parts discovers a strange community in the spirit of the best traditions of American documentary. A hidden enclave in the shadow of the New York Mets' new stadium, the neighborhood of Willets Point is an industrial zone fated for demolition. Filled with scrapyards and auto salvage shops, lacking sidewalks or sewage lines, the area seems ripe for urban development.
In her film Naked Island, Tiha K. Gudac delves into what happened to her grandfather during the four years when he went missing. He never revealed it to anyone; speaking about the past was forbidden in the family for sixty years. Only after the fall of communism in Yugoslavia did it become clear that he was imprisoned in a gulag at the Naked Island.
Propaganda follows the Chilean presidential campaign of 2013 in the midst of one of the greatest social unrests in recent years. It proposes a visual journey through the most singular corners of political campaigns, inviting reflection on the complex relationship between politicians and citizens through the eyes of several filmmakers in the country.
One of the Czech representatives in the selection is Experience of an Exorcist, a monologue of Catholic priest Vojtěch Kodet recounting his experiences with souls in the clutches of evil forces. Frequently quoting from the writings of Raul Salvucci, the film is based on a sermon focused exclusively on the taboo subject of exorcism.
In an unusually stark and yet cinematic style, Martin Dušek’s Into the Clouds We Gaze captures the existential feeling of a generation of young people from the north of the Czech Republic as well as from all of contemporary Europe. Ráďa, the film’s protagonist from Northern Bohemia, lives for car tuning. His micro-world is lined with white plush, lit by green diodes and encouraged by roaring exhaust pipes. However, when Ráďa leaves his world, he is confronted both by the harsh reality and by his own limitations.
In the long, almost entirely static takes of the film named simply Maidan, Sergei Loznitsa has captured the revolutionary events in Ukraine. Maidan has become the home of hundreds of thousands of common Ukrainians deciding about the future course of the country. Sergei Loznitsa has made a pure documentary account full of intensive images.
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