The Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival (JIDFF) is a celebration of creative documentary film and the largest event of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe. The festival pays tribute to courage and risk. The Czech Embassy is collaborating with the festival to bring select films to Washington, DC through “Echoes of Ji.hlava”.
Location: NYU in Washington, DC 1307 L St NW, Washington, DC 20005
Monday, March 27
6:00 pm – Spectres Are Haunting Europe
Šimon Pánek, Cofounder and Director, People in Need
Light refreshments follow the screening.
Thursday, March 30
12 noon – Helena’s Law | Zákon Helena
Opening Remarks: Embassy of the Czech Republic
Marek Hovorka, director of JIDFF (SKYPE)
Possible Q&A with film director Petra Nesvačilová (SKYPE)
2:00 pm – FC Roma
David Frous, Head of the Political Section, Embassy of the Czech Republic
Q&A with film director Tomáš Bojar (SKYPE)
In between screenings, there will be short breaks for light refreshments.
March 27, 6 pm
Spectres Are Haunting Europe
Directors: Maria Kourkouta and Niki Giannari, France / Greece, 2016, 99 min.
Award: Best World Documentary Film at JIDFF
The Idomeni refugee camp housed people from the Middle East who were trying to cross the border into Europe. When the Greek police closed the camp, the refugees resisted and blocked a railway line used to deliver goods. Maria Kourkouta’s minimalist documentary not only observes these events but also presents carefully modeled static images that open up the space within and without the frame of view, and in the closing black-and-white sequence offers a poetic commentary. The result is a bleak portrait of a place where endless lines of refugees try to preserve the final remnants of their individual freedoms.
March 30, 12 noon
Helena’s Law (Zákon Helena)
Director: Petra Nesvačilová, Czech Republic, 2016, 80 min.
Documentary filmmaker Petra Nesvačilová’s study of the famous “Berdych Gang” focuses on police officer Helena Kahnová, but she also interviews other actors in the case, including the accused and the convicted. The resulting film is a mosaic that says less about the case or its background than it does about the people who exist on the edge of the law, and about their thoughts and motivations. Nesvačilová herself comes into contact with the criminal underworld and becomes an actor in her own film. She must decide whether it is safe to meet certain people, leading her to consider questions related to the essence of crime and of good and evil in general.
March 30, 2 pm
Directors: Tomáš Bojar and Rozálie Kohoutová, Czech Republic, 2016, 76 min.
A chronicle of the FC Roma football club, whose members have to persuade the other – “gadjo” – teams in the third league to play against them, transforms into an excursion through the various types of everyday Czech xenophobia. The filmmakers’ inconspicuous, observational approach gives a voice to the charismatic coaches, who, with a healthy ironic worldview, comment on a society that gives them virtually no chance. The dialogue of the various protagonists is the most prominent feature of this stirring, yet hopeless sounding documentary. Racism proves to be absurd, often unintentionally comical, but also chilling. “Hitler doesn’t belong on the playing field.”
Admission is free but you must register to attend!
All films will be screened with English subtitles.