Czech human rights film festival features films about Roma
The 17th annual "One World" International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival will offer viewers 114 films from 59 countries (the complete festival program is here). "It's not that long ago that the basic principles of human freedom were not upheld in our country either. That's why it does no harm to take a moment before spring comes to look at the world from a different perspective than your everyday one," festival organizers say.
The festival will run until 11 March in Prague and then tour another 33 towns throughout the Czech Republic before traveling to Brussels. This year's motto is "Burst your bubble!" and calls on viewers to exit their "bubbles" of passive comfort and prejudice.
"We decided to open this year's One World festival with the film 'Warriors from the North'. This is a very current film showing how ordinary boys in Denmark become followers of radical Islamism. The film shows how it is sometimes very easy to let yourself be manipulated when you haven't settled issues of your own identity for yourself and don't know what you're supposed to do in today's world," festival director Hana Kulhánková told the Czech News Agency.
One World is also presenting films on Romani themes. News server Romea.cz recommends the following:
The Queen of Silence (Královna ticha), directed by Agnieszka Zwiefka (Germany/Poland)
Denisa, a 10-year-old Romani girl, is different from her peers in many respects. As a baby she lost her hearing and never learned to speak. She lives in a community of Romanian immigrants in an illegally constructed settlement in the Polish town of Wroclaw. Sometimes, although she doesn't like to, she begs and frequently dances passionately in the style of Bollywood musical stars. When doctors attempt to partially restore her lost hearing, it seems for a moment that her life will head in a new direction. However, there are too many factors at play that move this coveted "happy ending" into the realm of a beautiful but unrealistic dream. The film bravely combines documentary observation with staged passages in the style of Bollywood dance numbers.
3 March at 19:30 at the Světozor (+ debate)
7 March at 11:30 at the Světozor
11 March at 19:30 at the Evald
Jenica & Perla, directed by Rozálie Kohoutová (Czech Republic/France)
Jenica and Perla fight their way together as part of the dance group Kesaj Čhave to the national television competition "Slovakia Has Talent". Then the Romani girls have to go back to their respective homes. Jenica, who is 17 and originally from Romania, purposefully works in Paris toward her dream of becoming a hairdresser and joining the majority society. Her friend Perla, who lives in a settlement in the foothills of the High Tatras, drops out of school and doesn't trust the "gadje". Each girl sees her future differently, but in their dance performances they find what they have in common. What kind of chance will their respective environments give them?
7 March at 18:45 at the Lucerna
9 March at 12:30 at the Atlas
11 March at 18:15 at the Světozor (+ debate)
Suppressed Letters (Zatajené dopisy), directed by Tomáš Kudrna (Czech Republic)
In the village of Květušín near Český Krumlov a unique educational facility was created in the 1950s: Educator Miroslav Dědič developed a school for children from Romani families there. Thanks to his efforts, motivated by his personal interest in aiding impoverished families in caring for their children, the school over time became a boarding school. Most pupils were first enrolled there voluntarily, but later this turned into the forcible removal of children from their families. Part of their "re-education" was sometimes even keeping letters sent to the children by their parents from them. Former students at the school recall their time there with bitterness and love. The documentary film respects the sensitivity of its subject matter and presents both the testimonies of school graduates and the man who authored its controversial child-rearing methods.
9 March at 17:00 at Světozor
10 March at 21:30 at Atlas
Lean a Ladder against Heaven (Opři žebřík o nebe), directed by Jana Ševčíková (Czech Republic)
This documentary film is about the priest Marián Kuff. News server Romea.cz previously reviewed another remarkable documentary film by director Ladislav Kaboš, "All My Children" (Všetky moje deti), which captures Kuff's unusual aid to Romani people in the Slovak settlements of Huncovce and Velká Lomnice.
A burly man enters a chapel full of people. Beneath his priestly robe he wears a fleece coat and his hands are calloused from hard labour. He is the priest Marián from a small East Slovakian village. He has enormous zeal and is strictly convinced of the correctness of his behavior in leading a "hospital of the soul" - a shelter for drug addicts, homeless people and murderers. The rules of the home are firm: New arrivals must be sober, must work honestly every day, and most follow the Ten Commandments. Jana Ševčíková's film balances human beings' faith in themselves against faith in God, which offers, at least temporarily, the resurrection of lost souls. The controversial figure of Marián and his opinions about same-sex relationships have become the subject of a broader debate about the rights of gays and lesbians in Slovakia.
7 March at 19:00 at Atlas
9 March at 18:15 at Světozor
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