Dec 8, 2015 7:00 PM
TUESDAY FILM CLUB: DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING DEPARTMENT FAMU
The Czech Republic has a long tradition of creating exceptional documentary films. How do these students see the future of Czech documentaries evolving?
Documentary film studies were a part of the Department of Direction since the beginnings of FAMU. They separated in 1961, in particular as a result of the activities of Antonín F. Šulc. Ever since the beginning, the teachers were prominent authors who shaped the Czech film and TV documentary genre and pedagogy (such as Jiří Lehovec).
The development of the documentary and journalistic film and in particular TV genres resulted in the need for bringing up comprehensively educated and prepared author and director personalities. The Department would go through various phases of its development in connection with what the political and social demand dictated in terms of raising documentary authors. The relatively liberal period of the 1960s gave way to the 1970s when there were strong efforts at forcing the requirements of the “normalising” society upon the curricula, student assignments and teaching staff. There was a “thaw” in the latter half of the 1980 when nonconformist (by the period standard) films and topics started to appear. After November 1989, the Department underwent a gradual transformation into its current form where documentary film is understood as a specific artistic discipline involving a wide range of approaches to filmmaking, with emphasis on authors’ films.
Hands-on studies are complemented by theory subjects aimed at learning and education in art science and arts, and specialized seminars developing both analytical and creative abilities.
Tonight’s film selection include:
Světlík / Air Shaft
A small house inside the courtyard of a larger building. A small flat with only one window. A window leading to an air shaft. To what extent can we affect what happens behind the walls and how does what happens behind the walls affect us? Should we try to help someone who does not want to be helped?
Andran Abramjan: Argumenty / Arguments
An international debating contest where high school students discuss the Ukrainian crisis is met by a telephone call from Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky to the Ukrainian Ministry of the Interior. A conceptual play about the possibilities of diplomacy and the need to catch one’s opponent with his pants down.
Jan Strejcovský: Igorovo velké dojetí / Igor’s Great Emotion
Igor’s Great Emotion is a game for one of the most talented post-1989 directors. Contemporary self-reflection over daredevil deeds mixes with reconstructed fragments of laboriously desensitised memory. But by calling oneself a “spiritual seeker”, one cannot bury the sleeping demons forever. And so during clinical death only instant spiritual séances can bring the director back. An attempt at laying off the sedatives and resurrecting a director who ostentatiously killed himself by publishing a diary, or the death of the director in order to make the world his empire through the inclusion of the occult.
Martina Ševčíková: Několik Let / Several Years
Miroslav Brož’s quixotic struggle to improve the status of the Roma in the Czech Republic has found expression in protests for the removal of a pig farm. The lack of participants in the planned blockade leads to frustration and lost hope for fulfilling the vision of a more active civil society. The diffidence from the protest’s outcome is contrasted with the terseness of Brož’s voiceover commentary and his activities on social networks, which are subtly edited onto the screen.“I am calling from Lety near Písek, where a pig farm stands on the site of a gypsy concentration camp. We are non-violently blocking access to the farm. I am asking for any help possible. There are too few of us.”
Robin Kvapil: Film o Ondrejovi Jajcajovi, vykradači hrobů / Film about Ondrej Jajcaj,Graverobber
40 min., 2012
Ondrej Jajcaj has collected human teeth sincehe was fourteen. His collection even includedthe teeth of composers Strauss and Brahms,and his private collection of dental prosthesesis said to be the world’s largest. Most frequently, however, he sets out for graves in the vicinity of the Sudetenland. He says people shouldn’t collect famous painters’ works, but rather their heads so they can tell their sweethearts:“Look, those are paintings are from this head.” And despite this he’s a beautiful person. As are all of you...
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Dec 8, 2015 7:00 PM