Special Event, Reality TV, Opus Bonum, Fascinations

Reports: Peshmerga, The Internet Ruined My Life, Back in Time for the Weekend, We Make Couples, Save (My Heart from the World)

Peshmerga (Bernard-Henri Lévy, 2016)

Special Event: Peshmerga

In Front Line Against the Islamic State

A war conflict can be best captured in fiction blockbusters with an unquestionably likeable main hero we, spectators, can root for from the beginning to the end. That was a majority opinion, which had ruled heretofore. However, the French philosopher and intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy, who was working as a war reporter for years, has proved that you can gain thrill and action from a documentary as well, sometimes even much better than from a narrative film. Pesmergha is said to be a wartime essay following for several months the Kurdish fighters against the Islamic state in close proximity to enemy lines. And it works perfectly: mesmeric scenes right from the fights, and real gunshots and explosions from close proximity are supplemented with the author´s provocative commentaries. Moreover, the atmosphere of fear and tension is perfectly supported by excellent music. Sometimes we cannot keep from an unpleasant feeling, like if we were with Kurdish soldiers right in the middle of the shooting and actually fighting with them. If you are afraid that you might not orient yourselves well enough in the situation regarding the Islamic state, relax – Pesmergha is a film rich in information, it tells you all the necessary knowledge and rewards you with a strong spectatorial experience at the same time.

Kateřina Šardická

Reality TV: The Internet Ruined My Life, Back in Time for the Weekend

Reality TV section offers examples of interesting television formats of the reality genre. One of the blocks presented two programmes showing participants who have first-hand experience of modern technology impacts. Each of the two programmes pictures this topic from a different perspective. One of them remembers past times with a fair amount of nostalgia and charts gradual progress in a rather praising way, whereas the other one brings testimony of a turned away side of these changes and thus shows dangers modern technologies breed. The Internet Ruined My Life provides viewers with shuddering authentic testimonies, which reveal unimaginable consequences the virtual world of the internet and social networks can have on our lives. The issue of poor responsibility of internet users, who leave behind traces that are easy to misuse, has been discussed a lot in recent years. Anonymity of this environment is in fact only seeming. In an alarming and very convincing way, the programme shows that the internet can ruin not only our life but it might also cause that we influence unintentionally life of another person. Back in Time for the Weekend on the other hand is really relaxing and even tackily carefree. In its centre, there is a family which travel back in time to past decades. Their house is a time machine and every day the family wake up to find themselves in a new year. They discover its social and technological changes and we thus observe improving standards of living, which went hand in hand with widening possibilities how to spend leisure time, and origin of modern consumer society. A lot of interesting illustrations, statistics and experts´ statements are piled up on this frame. However, nothing is more entertaining than watching the family amazed constantly by everything and crowing with delight about the merest trifles.

Veronika Jančová

Opus Bonum: We Make Couples

In his latest piece, We Make Couples (2016), Mike Hoolboom educated many viewers. This very bold and inspiring avant-garde piece of film work is a reflection on relationships and capitalism. It ponders whether and how a couple may be a factor of social transformation and a form of resistance. It combines reflections on the art of projection, political constructs and a desire for happiness and freedom. His auteurship can certainly not be denied. Mike Hoolboom combined found footage with original creative production, photography, film, animation and other diverse film material. A patchwork of poodles, Pussy Riot, Occupy, goats, suffragettes and Frankenstein has a film projector at its centre. The discontinuity of the footage is a misleading impression, as everything has its own internal logic of a dream. Through an experimental game we feel in touch with the creative process. Volumes of footage loop, layer and regroup different motifs.

Change, destruction, process, beginning, backwards, forward, back again, a new beginning ... The riveting assembly is completed by a commentary in the form of essay notes on the art of projection and partnership in connection to capitalism. - Can partners project basic questions linked to capitalism among themselves? Do we have ownership of one another? Do I act as if my partner is my personal property? Do we present ourselves as a certain (commercial) brand? Do we gradually become part of the system? Do we unknowingly support the status quo with our partnership? But can a partnership also be a form of resistance? Are we capable of creating a couple which will not bury itself due to the system in place? If yes, how? The film asks these questions and tries to work its way to new theories on functional forms of partnerships. It encourages us not to get trapped in the same roles, but to risk instead... Down with monogamy!

Veronika Jančová

Save (My heart from the world) (Jacques Perconte, 2016)

Fascinations: Save (My Heart from the World)

Save Me from Dangerous Speed

This little piece of colourful madness keeps the viewers in an intoxicating, euphoric thrill, while they tensely expect what will happen next. Graphically, the film sometimes looks as if the screen simply froze.

It all started as an inconspicuous ferry ride and an unknowing viewer had no idea what lay in store. Jacques Peronte always comes up with something excellent and this time he had my undivided attention the whole time. Shots of waves started to freeze and consequently electrified into something that reminds us of a computer graphic of the 1990s. After some time you no longer know that the beginning was somewhere on a ferry. When watching this film, it occurred to me if this screening is not just an addition to some kind of music mix. Such a thing has a gradual development and the second half of the film is on full throttle. Soundtrack starts with a woman´s voice from a radio transmitter, giving instructions to the driver. Her voice takes up a rhythm and she then speaks with a certain regular frequency. When the drums join in, the viewer is totally hypnotized in the seat, watching intently what is happening on the screen. Everything starts to accelerate. Everything starts to intensity. Then there is an abrupt stop and the viewer is still watching, paralyzed.

The film Save (My heart from the world) is named aptly and furtively wittily. Not only does the graphics of the film point to our glutted society, it actually saves our hearts from the world, while we are watching.

Tereza Vlasatá