PRAGUE — In a nation notorious for its agnostics, the Czech Republic’s docu fest in Jihlava gave top honors to a pic recounting an alleged visitation by the Virgin Mary — or at least its effects on two young Slovak girls.
“Ivetka and the Mountain” by Vit Janecek, a Negativ production, “mediated contact with the metaphysical in a clear way,” according to the fest jury in the Czech Joy section.
Special mention went to “Redemption Attempt of TV Repairman Josef Lavocka in Nine Scenes,” Lukes Koke’s chronicle of a village alcoholic and his religious life, which, like “Ivetka,” had its world preem in Jihlava.
Visiting programmers and sales agents were also keen on Czech docus “RAPublic,” Pavel Abraham’s teen street music pic, and “Gyumri,” Jana Svecikova’s examination of the fallout of the 1988 Armenian earthquake.
Romanian docu “The Flower Bridge” by Thomas Ciulei won the Between the Seas section, which focuses on Central and Eastern European film, because of its frank depiction of family struggles in the developing former East bloc.
Argentine docu “Iraqi Short Films” by Mauro Andrizzi won Jihlava’s Opus Bonum section, winning the praise of Czech film scholar and mentor Karel Vachek.
The disturbing 18-year-long account of a Czech career criminal and author, “Rene,” swept the aud award for helmer Helena Trestikova, who recently won the European Film Academy kudo for pic.
Meanwhile the Respekt current affairs magazine kudo went to “Tough Guys from Trebic” by David Machacek and Roman Santur.
Best of the fest, which transforms the woods-surrounded Central Bohemia town of Jihlava for a week every autumn, now moves on to 28 Czech and Slovak cities.
Fest ran Oct. 24-29.