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Docudays – Mira Janek, Polish Docs and New Baltic Cinema

Ukrainian festival on Human Rights, DocuDays, which starts this Friday, will give special attention to director and cinematographer Pavel Kostomarov, Czech filmmaker Míra Janek or documentaries by Louis Malle. Closer look will be focused on Polish and Baltic documentary film production. Apart from retrospectives and tributes the programme contains seventeen East Silver selected films.

After the main event in Kiev, the festival will present a travelling showcase of selected films across the Ukraine. For detailed information about the festival, please visit the official page at www.docudays.org.ua.

8th DocuDays UA – International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, Ukraine
March 25 – 31, 2011

Selected East Silver films in programme:

Auto*Mate

Director: Mareček Martin
Production company: Bionaut Films

Auto*Mat, Czech Republic, 2009, 90 min, Digi Beta, DVD, Arts and Culture, Society

"A playful film essay about our automobile-automatic society. A film crossing the border of its media, turning into a social act.Martin Mareček: “I lived in downtown Prague, in the ""heart of Europe"". In Prague, ""the mother of cities"", as well as ""the city of cars""... According to statistics, it is one of the most car-crippled cities in Europe. Six years ago, I met my neighbour in the hallway. He was moving: ""Well, we're off, we can't take this anymore."" I replied: ""Yeah, I understand, it's the cars, isn't it? The noise, the smell…"" The neighbour smiled, puzzled: ""Not really, it's cause we have nowhere to park."" Is the story absurd? Is my neighbour autistic? Not quite. I believe that most of us city folks are this automatic… We all suffer from it… Automatically we swear, automatically we drive. Slowly but surely, our game ends with our own auto-mate. Isn't there anything we can do about it? I realized that it is no longer sufficient to make a film. It would only turn into another short essay filled with automated clichés, targetting the usual audience. Another submission into the intellectual fish tank. Therefore, I have gradually turned from a film director into an activist, an artistic radical and a political lobbyist. The multilayered organism AUTO*MATE was conceived.”

 

Something about Georgia

Director: Kirtadzé Nino
Producer: Rozenberg Paul
Production company: Zadig Productions, ARTE G.E.I.E., YLE - Finnish Broadcasting Company, Sundance Institute, Georgian Public Broadcasting

Něco o Gruzii, France, Georgia, 2010, 100 min, Digi Beta, HD, Current Affairs, Human Rights, Politics

The film is a political fable that depicts the frail equilibrium of the world and questions the values of international politics. It takes us through a critical and violent year in the life of Georgian state - from the presidential election of January 2008, when everything seemed possible, to the chaos of the August war with Russia and the sobering aftermath - and raises questions about political responsibility and the morality of international affairs. The story is told through its main actors: the Georgian president, the Georgian government, the political opposition, foreign leaders, international delegations and organisations and, most of all, the ordinary Georgian people.

 

Kill the Day

Production company: Belsat TV

Dniuka, Belarus, 2010, 30 min, Beta SP, Creative, Personal View, Portrait

An ordinary village in Belarusian Palessje. An old pair, Antanina and her husband Viktar, sit knee by knee in their small village hut, decorated with home-made cloths. He drinks badly and wonders “what does one live in this world for?” It is very sad and gloomy in winter, but when the spring comes, the nature revives, and so do the people and the animals. Life goes on. But why does the old woman sigh so heavily? A very colorful and realistic image of old-time people microcosm. Sometimes amusing, sometimes tragic. There is swearing, quarrelling, disagreement; and at the same time harmonious coexistence of people and nature, man and woman.

 

Out of Reach

Director: Stożek Jakub
Production company: Darklight Film Studio

Poza zasięgiem , Poland, 2010, 30 min, Digi Beta, Portrait

Karolina and Natalia seek refuge from their domineering father and reminiscence about sad childhood without a mother in a basement of their block of flats. When the younger sister’s poor eyesight starts to deteriorate, the girls decide to find Bożena, their mother, who left the family when they were young. The director, Jakub Stożek, accompanies Karolina on her journey to Paris where the older sister is supposed to meet the mother whom the girls know only from the voice message left on the phone she never answers. Will the daughter be able to establish a bond with the mother she has not seen for fourteen years?

 

The Work of the Machines

Producer: Tejchma Jacek
Production company: Samorządowe Centrum Kultury w Mielcu

Praca maszyn, Poland, Switzerland, 2009, 38 min, Digi Beta, Arts and Culture, Music

Poland. A typical industrial town. Here begins “The Work of Machines”. This dance was created in 1968 to celebrate the Factory. Following the memories, it was possible to recreate the forgotten dance. This reconstruction becomes a time vehicle to the past, allowing for a trip to the era where production was supposed to mean a happy life.

 

Two Together

Production company: Les Films Hors-Champ

Vdvoyem, Russia, 2009, 49 min, Beta, Arts and Culture, Creative, Portrait

A film about loving relationship between a married couple with artistic leanings. Lyudmila and Vladimir have lived and worked together for decades. Set apart from the surrounding world, their small house is filled with their drawings and wooden sculptures inspired by Celtic art and reminiscent of the works of these natural people. The artwork even has its own room in the house, which the couple regularly visit with emotions bordering on religious awe. Kostomarov’s film reveals an exceptional feeling for the poetic, sometimes almost lyrical, portrayal of what appears to be everyday life. With the help of sensitive camerawork, the director manages to imbue the cheerful story of Vladimir’s bohemian youth and shots of Lyudmila’s solicitous care for her beloved husband with an uncommonly intimate atmosphere, thus offering the viewer a documentary poem about one possible form of eternal love.

 

3 Weddings: Bernadett & Sanju

Producer: László Sára
Production company: Campfilm Production

3 esküvő: Bernadett és Sanju, Hungary, 2009, 26 min, HD, Docu Series, Society

Love through the Internet. A fairy tale about an adventurous marriage connecting three continents. Is a 2 month-old internet acquaintance enough to know that She/he is Mr/Mrs Right? A Bollywoodlike story about a marriage of a Hungarian girl and a guy from India. This short documentary is part of the "3 Weddings" series (3 esküvő, 3 x 26 min).

 

Secret years

Director: Takács Mária
Production company: Fórum Film Alapítvány (Forum Film Foundation)

Eltitkolt évek, Hungary, 2009, 90 min, DVD, Gender, History, Human Rights

Hungarian women between 45 and 70 talk about „the secret years“ - their lives as lesbians under Communism and ever since. Stories about the repression of the 1960s and 1970s, the emerging subculture and alternative scene of the 1980s; the political movements for minority rights of the 1990s, up to the present, where democratic values are being threatened by nationalist violence.

 

Last Bus Stop

Production company: BGB Film Ltd.

Hosszú utazás, Finland, Hungary, 2007, 52 min, Digi Beta, Politics, Social Issues, Society

Last Bus Stop is both a tragic and comic film about people living in a divided village marked by strange phenomena on the eastern border of the European Union.As the European Union is building the Schengen-walls, a two-way street turns into a one-way exit only. For those living on the "wrong" side of the new borders even the opening of a new crossing can bring surprising results.

 

Slowly

Director: Wolski Tomasz
Producer: Gawlita Anna
Production company: KIJORA Anna Gawlita

Pomalu, Poland, 2010, 30 min, Digi Beta, Social Issues, Society

The film will show one day of life at a small farm in the Low Beskid. Three generation of men live under the same roof: 48-year-old Jan, who works at log-rolling in the woods, his 78-year-old father, Michał, who used to have the same job as his son, and 8-year-old Mateusz, who plays at the log-rolling. Their everyday, unhurried life contrasts with the massive traffic rolling all day long just a few metres from their farm.

 

Disco & Atomic War

Director: Kilmi Jaak
Production company: RUUT, Helsinki Filmi

Disko ja tuumasõda, Estonia, 2009, 80 min, ?, Beta, DVD, HD, Archive , Creative, History, Personal View

Disco and Atomic War tells the story of a strange kind of information war in which a totalitarian regime stands face to face with the heroes of popular culture. And loses. Western popular culture had an incomparable role shaping Soviet children's worldviews in those days - in ways that now seem slightly odd. Finnish television was a window to a world of dreams that the authorities could not block in any way. Though Finnish channels were banned, many households found some way to access the forbidden fruit. Disco and Atomic War offers its own version of recent history, mixing spy games into a human tragicomedy.

 

Klucis. The Deconstruction of an Artist

Director: Krilovs Peteris
Production company: Vides Filmu Studija, Vivement Lundi, ERT S.A. - Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation

Klucis. Nepareizais latvietis, Latvia, 2008, 90 min, Digi Beta, Archive , Arts and Culture, Creative, Portrait

This film is a deeply personal view on the life of artist Gustav Klucis, one of the foremost representatives of early 20th century Russian avant-garde art, whose life drama reflects the tragedy of a whole nation during the years of Stalin’s repressions. It is a story about boundless ambitions, hope, love and artist’s responsibility that continues haunting him after his death.Gustav Klucis (1895–1938), one of the pioneers and major exponents of constructivism and photo collage, is also one of the most controversial figures in Latvian art. Born in a peasants’ family, he is perhaps the best known Latvian artist in the world. Ironically, the art catalogues and textbooks call him a Russian artist, and in Latvia he is still largely regarded as some sort of a "lost son". Gustav Klucis’s life and artistic career pose many questions still unanswered today. Who was he? A hero or a victim of his own political naivety? An idealist or a conformist? A patriot or a traitor of his homeland? Killed during the Stalin’s purges at the end of the 1930s, his name lives on in art history as one of the classics of Russia’s avant-garde art. This film will endeavour to "decipher" Klucis by using the means of his own artistic thinking.

 

Till it Hurts

Production company: Darklight Film Studio, Polish Television. - Poltel Ent.

Do bólu, Poland, 2008, 25 min, Digi Beta, Docu Series, Personal View, Portrait

The story of a lonely, 53-year-old psychiatrist living with his severely overprotective mother. When a woman steps into the picture, a bad conflict breaks out. After years of sexual abstinence, Ewa brings out the man in him. His mother yells, 'Wake up, you're fifty- three!". He answers in St. Paul's words, 'Children obey your parents, honour thy father and thy mother and ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath.

 

Let's Run Away From Her

Production company: Darklight Film Studio, HBO Poland

Ucieknijmy od niej, Poland, 2010, 50 min, Digi Beta, Creative, Personal View

Another painfully intimate documentary by Marcin Koszałka is devoted to family matters seen through his sister’s experience. With a running camera adult siblings dissect their relations with parents and with each other. The protagonist of the film, affluent businesswoman, who still hasn’t come to terms with the death of their mother and father, becomes the director’s conscience. He is trying to get closer to his dead parents in his own way – filming the last moments of patients in a hospital.

 

Kha-Chee-Pae

Director: Janek Míra
Producer: Němec Richard
Production company: Verbascum

Chačipe, Czech Republic, 2005, 57 min, 16 mm, 8 mm, DV, Experimental, Human Rights, IDF Video Library, Society

Miroslav Janek investigates life in a children's home through games. He invites the kids to become his filmmaking partners: he teaches them how to operate a film camera, and encourages them to film the environment in which they live. The director introduces the children to various filmmaking crafts, and thus they are not limited to merely capturing reality. Together they create animation, shoot skits they have created themselves, and experiment with film materials - all the while revealing many things about their lives. In the kids' hands, the camera is a toy, but one which breaks down the walls separating two worlds. It is a tool that enables them to confide their secrets, to cope with powerlessness and unexpected sorrow. "Hi mom, hi Kuba, I'm in the woods and my phone number is 021905. On the way, I saw forest men, homeless people, nymphs, drunks, and a witch who gave us some snakes. We ate the snakes. Then I flew home to where the beginning is. Big animals were at the table worrying about something. Suddenly, I looked up and the social lady was standing at the door, and Uhu flew to the stars, and there was creepy thunder. Then I dissolved completely, like sugar in water. It was pretty impressive. That's what I remember. I won't even mention the car crash."

 

Vierka, Or the Mystery of Family B's Disappearance

Director: Janek Míra
Producer: Němec Richard
Production company: Verbascum, Czech TV

Vierka, Czech Republic, 2005, 76 min, DV, Creative, IDF Video Library

This documentary started out as a portrait of a young talented Roma singer but turned into a drama about two different views of "the truth". Coincidence is instrumental at the beginning of the film and the end is shrouded in mystery. Initially, the story describes the encounter between singer Ida Kelarová and a young Roma girl named Vierka Berkyová from Lucenec, Slovakia whose musical talent astonishes everyone who hears her sing. It focuses on her talent and spontaneity, but also deals with the notion of helping those around us. It presents a new step forward in the life of the Berky family, and investigates the idea of mutual coexistence as it explores the desire to create an idyll in which the two families share a home. One day the Berkys suddenly leave Kelarová's home, mysteriously disappearing without a trace. For director and cameraman Miroslav Janek, the documentary thus transformed into a drama pitting against each other two versions of the truth - each one keenly and passionately experienced. It becomes the means of uncovering the hidden, in part unacknowledged, forces that determine one's ideas about the meaning of life and its fulfillment. The viewer never actually finds out the real reasons for this dramatic turn of events and must be satisfied to merely approach the truth of the mystery.


Arrhythmia

Director: Strelnikova Sveta
Production company: KINOTEATR.DOC

Arytmie, Russia, 2009, 70 min, Beta SP, Personal View, Portrait

After finishing his studies on the Medical College, Bezz has to work in the stateclinic for three years. During the day he is a general practitioner and during thenight he is the boss of the entertainment company BEZ Promo, organizing parties inMoscow's clubs. Despite the fact that he is not successful with any of his projects,Bezz convinces himself and the others that all his efforts in fact lead to something important.