Until saturday July 9th the festival in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic is on and the red-carpet mainly feature film festival has a fine eye for documentaries as well. As part of the schedule the Jihlava Festival (20th edition this year late October!) presents what they call ”docu talents” from Eastern Europe, and the 51st Karlovy Vary event has a competition for documentary films.
12 films are listed with a good variety of new and old talents… many of them directors known for works praised previously on this site. Like Polish Michal Marczak who presents his ”All These Sleepless Nights” with which, quote from the catalogue, the director ”reconfirms his reputation as a nonconformist who is ever veering from the parameters of the traditional documentary toward hybrid forms.” Like he did way back with ”At the Edge of Russia” that I met when I was working for the training programme Ex Oriente. Equally talented is Daniel Abma, whose ”Transit Havana” I saw a couple of months ago and characterised as ” a well told character driven, emotional and informational, visually excellent documentary”. Shot in Cuba, great characters and a slogan for Cuban politics, ”Homophobia no, socialismo si”.
A third younger director, Mohamed Siam from Egypt, has for years been working on – quote from the catalogue of the festival – ” a
scathing report on the dissolution of his homeland, whose people had barely tasted their suddenly-acquired freedom when they found themselves choking on the turbulent events of the months that followed”. Siam was at the DoxBox festival in Damascus in 2011 with the idea to this film that now completed is ”Whose Country”. I have high expectations. As I have for new films by the veterans, very much acclaimed Vitaly Mansky and Miroslav Janek.
After his festival success ”Under the Sun” Mansky turns the camera towards his own background with ”Close Relations” that has this catalogue annotation:
“I became a Russian citizen simply because I happened to live in Moscow when the Soviet Union broke apart,” says the celebrated Ukrainian documentarist. A few decades later his family in Ukraine face the dramatic consequences of further turbulent change, and their fresh experience of the revolution shows us that the media presentation of the country’s East-West dichotomy is deeply flawed.”
On the top of my list of ”Must See”, however, is Czech master Miroslav Janek’s ”Normal Autistic Film” (PHOTO) that goes like this:
”A foremost Czech documentarist with a unique authorial vision challenges us once and for all to stop perceiving autism as a medical diagnosis. Let’s take hold of the surrounding chaos and overload our senses! In such a state one may understand autism as a fascinating way of thinking that’s often maddeningly difficult to decipher.”
Read about all the films on