The Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival prepares “Notes on the War”
- The upcoming edition of the largest Czech documentary film gathering will reflect on the war in Ukraine and is assembling the largest showcase of Filipino cinema in Europe
The Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival is bracing for its 26th edition (25-30 October), set to include the latest crop of auteur documentaries, thematic retrospectives and examples of experimental filmmaking. “It wouldn’t be accurate to say that Ji.hlava’s film programme was curtailed during the pandemic, but this year's edition is absolutely exceptional – in terms of both the international sections and the highly popular Czech Joy competition showcasing national documentary films,” says festival director Marek Hovorka. “Ji.hlava has always been a festival of discovery. Audiences can look forward to the largest retrospective of the cinema of the Philippines shown outside of Asia, as well as a reflection on the war in Ukraine,” explains the director. “We will be looking at the latter in depth and from different perspectives. Aside from the screening of Ukrainian films and the Inspiration Forum discussions, there will also be a section called ‘Notes on the War’, composed of world documentary classics.”
The Czech Joy section, which spotlights domestic oeuvres, will screen Adam Ondra: Pushing the Limits [+see also:
film profile], a portrait of Adam Ondra, one of the best sports climbers in the world, by Jan Šimánek and Petr Záruba. A depiction of the life of Czechoslovakian composer Jan Kapr is captured in Kapr Code [+see also:
interview: Lucie Králová
film profile] by Lucie Králová, and for the first time, Czech Joy will include a VR film, Darkening by Ondřej Moravec (see the news). The festival programmers have also prepared a screening of Jan Švankmajer’s two-hour director’s cut of his last documentary, Kunstkamera (see the news). Furthermore, the festival has prepared the largest showcase of Filipino cinema in Europe. “It’s an exceptional retrospective that has been two years in the making, and showcases the evolution of documentary and independent experimental cinema,” says Ji.hlava programmer Adriana Belešová. Among the selected films is Oliver by Nick Deocampo and Kiri Dalena’s Red Saga, depicting the war in the Filipino countryside.
The Fascination section will present more than two dozen films from all over the world. “It is a showcase of the diverse artistic practices that directors use or explore in their representation of reality. It is fascinating to see what strategies filmmakers from such politically and culturally diverse territories as Latin America, Asia and the Middle East employ in relation to their social context,” says Andrea Slováková, the section’s curator, about the selection, which includes works from Brazil, Finland, Cuba, Iraq, Australia and Taiwan.
Another, larger retrospective, titled Notes on the War, will be dedicated to a reflection on war and peace. The section will feature Stanley Milgram’s Obedience, Jayne Loader and Kevin and Pierce Rafferty’s The Atomic Café, and Alain Resnais’ Night and Fog. War is also one of the topics reflected in the Constellations section, which comprises the best of the bunch from the world’s film festivals. The section includes Sergei Loznitsa’s The Kiev Trial [+see also:
interview: Sergei Loznitsa
film profile], which reconstructs a Nazi trial from 1946, while another Loznitsa film, The Natural History of Destruction [+see also:
film profile], will be screened in the Testimonies competition section.
For the 21st time, the Ji.hlava IDFF will feature the Inspiration Forum, with its discussions and lectures. “This year, we will be looking at democracy, freedom, technology, the situation in Ukraine, and also the theory of degrowth,” says Tereza Swadoschová. The list of guests includes Hungarian LGBTQI+ activist Dorottya Rédai, Filipino artist and human rights activist Kiri Dalena, US journalist Ben Tarnoff, and Ukrainian writer, poet and civil activist Oksana Stomina.
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