doclisboa – International Film Festival will hold an outdoor screening on Cinemateca Portuguesa‘s rooftop terrace on Friday July 7 at 10.30 p.m., as an announcement and preview of the festival’s two major retrospectives this October. Vera Chytilova‘s Strop will be screened as a prelude to one of the largest ever retrospectives of the filmmaker’s work. Gilles Groulx‘s Un Jeu Si Simple will be screened in the context of the forthcoming retrospective Another America – The Unique Cinema of Quebec.
Věra Chytilová // Retrospective
doclisboa ’17 presents a retrospective of Věra Chytilová (1929-2014), “the first-lady of Czech film”. A leading figure of the Czech New Wave alongside directors such as Milos Forman and Jiří Menzel, Chytilová was one of its most innovative and radical directors – as well as the only woman in the movement. Chytilová’s path is unique: it spans five decades and encompasses many genres, from experimental documentary in the 60’s to mainstream comedy in the 90’s and 00’s. Her work is pointedly irreverent and stands out for its ironic approach. Using non-linear approaches and other non-conventional cinematic devices, her work broke with and challenged the existing representational codes of socialist realism. Focusing on human relations and placing a particular emphasis on the emancipation of women and their role in society, Chytilova’s work also offered a strong critique of the moral decay of the communist regime and society. Her work often suffered censorship, resulting in her being reduced to artistic silence for seven years by the government. Throughout her career, Věra Chytilová won many awards in many international festivals such as Venice, Oberhausen, Moscow and Chicago. Her contribution to film was finally recognized when she was given the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettre (1992) and the Czech Medal of Merit (1998).
This retrospective is a collaboration between Cinemateca Portuguesa, Czech Film Center, Czech State Cinematography Fund and FAMU.
Strop, Věra Chytilová (1961) is a look at the life and daily routine of a fashion model. The film’s combination of cinéma verité with more formal elements is emblematic of the New Wave that was about to emerge in Czech cinema. This was Chytilová’s graduation film, yet she claimed of Strop: “I didn’t shoot it as homework, I didn’t think it was necessary to graduate, it wasn’t a duty but a need.”
Another America – The Unique Cinema of Quebec
The 60s and 70s were a particularly curious time in francophone Canada, Quebec, regarding film production. A wave of exciting new authors arose in tandem with the appearance of lightweight equipment and in the course of supportive official policies from the Office National du Film. These filmmakers would invent a unique style of Direct Cinema, the influence of which continues to resonate. Deeply anchored in the problematisation of issues of identity, culture, language and history, this cinema radically depicted the day-to-day of the region, creating a truly amazing cinematic position and language: films whose editing and use of music, whose relation between sound and image, or even colour and black and white, form a unique array in history. From documentary momentum to fictional construction, from manifesto-film to essay-film, this is a cinema whose origins are rooted in the strangeness and history of its own territory, neighbouring and providing an alternative to the great Anglo-Saxon territory of the USA to propose another America. A cinema and people of a complex nature, a specific culture. A nation of a surprisingly strong character. A history comprising the abyss of colonization, the desire for autonomy, the separatist struggle, and the quest for the recognition of its identity.
This retrospective, in collaboration with Cinemateca Portuguesa and Sodec, will screen a body of films spanning from those initial decades until the present day, showing authors from Claude Jutra, Michel Brault, Pierre Perrault, Gilles Groulx and Anne Claire Poirier to Marcel Carrière, Denis Côté and Simon Lavoie among many others.
Un Jeu Si Simple, Gilles Groulx (1964) is a beautiful documentary exposing the full spectrum of issues regarding the phenomenon of ice hockey: celebration, drama, myth, physical performance and collective liberation. Groulx engages the language of Direct Cinema, alternating between black and white and colour imagery, to present and dissect the meaning of hockey in Quebec: more than a game, it is a unique opportunity of living a dream.