IDFF Jihlava Oct. 23-28 -- translucent beings

    The Jihlava IDFF presents the work of the German film essayist Harun Farocki and the Argentinian revolutionary Raymundo Gleyzer

    Each year the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival organises its traditional programme section TRANSLUCENT BEINGS, which profiles the work of selected figures in world documentary filmmaking. This year the section focuses on the work of the German director-essayist Harun Farocki and the Argentinian revolutionary filmmaker Raymundo Gleyzer. This autumn Jihlava is also welcoming important guests to take part in both retrospectives.

    Harun Farocki
    I have a sense of too much self-preoccupation among those filmmakers and journalists today who believe they are producing reality. Their assumptions arise from a belief that whoever controls the computer or the camera also controls reality.
    --Harun Farocki

    Harun Farocki
    was born in Nový Jičín on 1 September 1944. The long-time editor of the magazine Filmkritik (1974-1984) and a versatile artist, he has made almost 90 films, regularly organises multi-media installations, publishes books, and is also engaged in the academic sphere - working at the universities in Berlin and Berkeley and currently a visiting professor in Vienna.

    Farocki's unique poetics are characterised by a critical dialogue with the technocratic present. The "inconvenient" Farocki first earned a name for himself with one of his very first films, The Inextinguishable Fire (1969), in which he traced the process of the production of napalm and placed the circulation of this "commodity" in a wider social context. Social changes brought about by the modern "media revolution" are a key theme for Farocki. Using associative montages, strictly objective composition, and quasi-educative commentary, in his films he attempts to show how much our society is in the grasp of the power of images.

    This retrospective will include the following films by Farocki:
    -Nicht löschbares Feuer (The Inextinguishable Fire) (1969) - Farocki's uncompromising contribution to the debate on the war in Vietnam applies a variety of perspectives to examine a fundamental socio-economic metaphor of that era - napalm.
    -Bilder der Welt und Inschrift des Krieges (Images of the World and the Inscription of War) (1989) - Farocki's cult piece that goes in quest of the boundaries of the visual representations of the world and their ideologically motivated images.
    -Arbeiter verlassen die Fabrik (Workers Leaving the Factory) (1995) - Lumière's famous footage is the inspiration for a film treatise on the history of cinematography and the industrial use of human labour.
    -Erkennen und Verfolgen (War at distance) (2003) - a film essay on how war affects industrial production and how the methods of war are projected into our everyday lives.
    -Videogramme einer Revolution (Videograms of a Revolution) (1992) - the last days of the Romanian dictator Ceausescu through the lens that defined the nature of the 20th century - film cameras in the hands of Farocki and the Romanian writer Andrei Ujica.

    Raymundo Gleyzer
    Filmmakers in South America working in the name of revolutionary film must not stop at the point of mere criticism or a call for reflection; their work must be a call to action. They must bring people to tears and anger, enthusiasm and faith...
    --Raymundo Gleyzer

    Raymundo Gleyzer was born on 25 September 1941 in the Argentinian city of Buenos Aires. He grew up poor and began working in a copper-wire factory at the age of thirteen. He began studying film at the film school in La Plata. His student feature film El Ciclo (The Cycle) was compared for its poetics with the early works of M. Antonioni. He did not complete his studies, but he worked for several for an Argentinian television station and as a foreign correspondent he even wound up in Czechoslovakia in 1969. In 1971 he founded the revolutionary film group Cine de la base. Its members shot their films illegally and then screened them also illegally. They not only wanted to report truthfully about the situation in the country, they wanted also to form a resistance to dictatorship. As a result of this subversive activity Gleyzer was abducted in May 1976. Such prominent figures as Jane Fonda, Francis Ford Coppola, Arthur Penn, Carlos Saura, Federico Fellini, and Jean-Luc Godard called for his release. He died under thus far unclear circumstances.

    Gleyzer's enthusiasm for left-wing "revolutionary art" was awoken very early on. He saw film not just as a gloss or commentary on contemporary social situations, but also and especially as one of the primary media through which it would be possible to shift the status quo towards an explicitly defined ideological goal. Use film as a weapon and mould it, as Fernando Solanas would have said, with a consciousness of "film as action".

    "In my country, in Argentina, it is impossible to make films within the system because the censor bodies do not just monitor political films alone but all human relationships. That is why we prefer to make films outside this system and screen them for small groups of viewers... It is better to communicate a clear idea to twenty people than confusing thoughts to thousands, which is exactly what we would be doing if we worked for the system." (From an interview with the Cuban director Tomás Gutiérrez Alea)

    The Jihlava IDFF plans to screen all of Gleyzer's key films, and a sample of the selection includes:
    -La Tierra quema (The Land Burns) (1964) - a short film describing the bleak reality of life in the rural regions in Brazil through the story of thirty-five-year-old farmer Juan Amaro
    -México, La revolución congelada (Mexico, The Frozen Revolution (1971, awarded the Golden Leopard at the International Film Festival Locarno) - the film was made during the Presidential campaign. For many years it was banned in Mexico owing to its politically subversive and irreverent nature.
    The festival will also show footage filmed in Czechoslovakia for Argentinian television in 1969.

    The Jihlava IDFF will welcome Juana Sapire, Gleyzer's wife and close co-worker, as an important guest to accompany Gleyzer's film profile.

    Born in Argentina, she studied production at the Argentinian Institute of Independent Film and met her future husband in 1957. She worked on all his films, starting with La Tierra quema. In the literally tumultuous circumstances in which the majority of Gleyzer's films were she occupied the functions of sound mixer and producer. In 1971 she and her husband, along with other politically active filmmakers, founded the group Cine de la base. She recalls: "We found this group in order to infuse our political efforts with life even in the cultural arena. Our objective was to shoot films for workers who had no access to commercial production. We screened films in sheds, in schools, in factories in the poorest neighbourhoods. And people understood us, as we were speaking about them and about their problems, in their language."

    After her husband's tragic death she went into exile and continued to work with several other filmmakers. Since the late 1990s she has been actively promoting Gleyzer's work, which has come to be somewhat overlooked, and she initiated the creation of the biographic documentary Raymundo (2002).

    Last modified on 29-10-2007