Singer Radůza has a unique place in the Czech folk music scene. The film shows Radůza as she is about to wrap up her existing style with a DVD and a concert, in order to begin a new chapter in her artistic and personal life. She was discovered by Zuzana Navarová, who offered the talented and free-thinking street singer the opportunity to study at the Prague conservatory. Radůza graduated as a composer with Spiritual Cantata. In 2003 she won three Angel awards, but she considers the year this film was made the happiest in her life.
Battle for Life
A fascinating look at the colourful life of a community which in defiance of difficult circumstances lives life to the fullest. The village of Bystré is situated in a former textile region which is currently in deep crisis - unemployment in certain places has reached over 20% and young people are moving elsewhere.
A poetic documentary film about a dream and a sea takes its inspiration from the play of the same name - staged by Divadlo bratří Formanů and Cabaret Theatre Dromesko - and from the works of Russian writer Alexander Grim.
Love, Record Player, Fall
A documentary film Love, record player, fall (or freedom, privacy and risk from the point of view of people with mental disabilities) directed by Veronika Sobková focuses on three life topics of people with mental disabilities, the three most important regarding the human rights: the freedom of movement and decision, inviolability of privacy and handling the risks in everyday life of people with mental disabilities. She is exploring them through questioning, deep reflections of experts and real situations. She is also using the shots and pictures in an interesting manner, so they serve as a picture metaphor for the concepts.
Vierka, Or the Mystery of Family B's Disappearance
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.
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."
In the 5th Row in Merta
Singer, musician, architect, director Vladimír Merta.
The restored films of Jan Špáta
A selection from a unique project to digitally restore the films of legendary Czech documentarist Jan Špáta. One of Špáta’s first accomplishments as a director is the renowned film essay Respice finem (15 min) about old village women humbly waiting for the end of life. In 1965, during eminent trumpeter Louis Armstrong’s visit to Prague, the director created the report Hallo Satchmo (26 min). In Variations on Gustav Mahler’s Theme (Variace na téma Gustava Mahlera, 13 min) Špáta rendered his relationship to and admiration for the world-renowned, Czech-born musical genius. In 1990 he and photographer Jindřich Štreit observed the lives of the subjects of Štreit’s photographs from the border region in Between Light and Darkness (Mezi světlem a tmou, 24 min). Athletic Variations (Atletické variace, 28 min) is a sophisticated essay on winning and losing during the 1982 European Athletics Championships held in Athens. The project, to be released on four DVDs, includes the digital restoration and transfer to HD format of 18 of Jan Špáta’s most important works.
Without question, Drahomíra Vihanová is one of the most original and, at the same time, most controversial Czech film directors. A fundamental turning point in her professional career came in 1969 when her debut film, Squandered Sunday (Zabitá neděle), was pulled by the censors and locked away. After a time she was allowed to resume work, at least on documentaries, but she did not return to directing features until after 1990. In his latest film, renowned documentarist Miroslav Janek captures Drahomíra Vihanová primarily at her country house in the Orlické Mountains where, in the company of her beloved cats, she looks back over her life with absolute candidness. Rounded out with artfully integrated clips from her features and documentaries, this is a visually sophisticated portrait of an uncompromising and incredibly hard-working woman, fabulous storyteller, and popular FAMU teacher, whose burning desire to create led her to sacrifice her personal life to the art of film. [KVIFF]