Jihlava, the Czech Republic’s noted nonfiction fest, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, kicking off tomorrow, Tuesday, October 25 and running through Sunday, October 30. Approximately 90 new documentary features will unspool during the event, in addition to several screenings of retrospective programming, shorts, and talks. The following offers a number of highlights:
The festival’s primary competition, Opus Bonum, includes such work as: Pedro Filipe Marques’ THE ROOM YOU TAKE, a behind-the-scenes look at the theatre; Tze Woon Chan’s YELLOWING (pictured), on Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution; Pablo Baur’s LA PERLA, ABOUT THE CAMP, an experimental essay film about an Argentinian concentration camp; Henrique Borela and Marcela Borela’s TAEGO ÃWA, in which an indigenous Brazilian elder passes his knowledge on; and Maria Kourkouta and Niki Giannari’s SPECTRES ARE HAUNTING EUROPE, on a contested refugee camp.
Between the Seas is a competition for Central and Eastern European docs, including: Dmitry Kubasov’s BUTTERFLIES, about a young gay man in homophobic Russia; Gabriel Tempea’s NOTORIOUS DEEDS (pictured), a personal reflection of Romanian state-sponsored repression, twenty years later; Robert Kirchhoff’s A HOLE IN THE HEAD, a hybrid excavating the little-discussed Roma victims of the Holocaust; Nino Gogua’s THE THINGS, which looks at Georgian war refugees still waiting to return home; and Zosya Rodkevich’s MY FRIEND BORIS NEMTSOV, a portrait of the assassinated Russian opposition leader in his final years.
Czech Joy focuses on local offerings, such as: Dagmar Smržová’s LOVE ME IF YOU CAN, on sexual outlets for the disabled; Adéla Komrzý’s TEACHING WAR (pictured), on the encroaching movement to spark extreme nationalism among Czech citizens; Pavel Jurda’s MY NAME IS HUNGRY BUFFALO, about a blind, hard of hearing, cowboy-loving Czech’s visit with the Navajo; Pavel Kačírek’s THE WAY THE PRESIDENT DEPARTS, which looks at the dissolution of Czechoslovakian through its final presidential election; and Martin Ryšavý’s BLIND GULLIVER, a meditation on memory and perception.
Among the non-competitive sections are: Special Events, which offers Bernard-Henri Lévy’s look at the Kurdish struggle against ISIS, PESHMERGA (pictured); current affairs strand Witness, with Monika Borgmann and Slim Lokman’s exposé of conditions faced by Lebanese prisoners in Syria, TADMOR; and hybrid strand Doc-fi, which features Marcelo Félix’s PAUL, about a foreign film subtitlist; Jeffrey Dunn Rovinelli’s EMPATHY, a profile of a drug-addicted escort; and Peter Modestij’s 6A, a meeting between parents whose kids are involved in a bullying incident.