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I’M NOT EVERYTHING I WANT TO BE

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by Klára Tasovská

grade: 7.5

I’m not Everything I want to be by Klára Tasovská is the portrait of a courageous, non-conformist woman. A hymn to art, beauty and life that, through powerful black and white pictures, is more alive and pulsating than ever. At the Berlinale 2024, Panorama Dokumente section.

Searching for freedom

The famous Czech photographer Libuše Jarcovjáková is now a particularly well-known name in her field. Yet, living the life she has always wanted has never been an easy path, especially considering the historical period in which she began to establish herself. How worthwhile is it to fight for one’s dreams? And, above all, what does it really mean to be free? Her unique and courageous story is told to us by director Klára Tasovská in the documentary I’m not Everything I want to be, premiered at the Berlinale 2024 in the Panorama Dokumente section and the result of a co-production between the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria.

Young Libuše (born in 1952) therefore experienced the Prague Spring at first hand. And just as her nation was trying to start again, she began to look for her own way, discovering a strong, very strong passion for photography. All she ever wanted was to be completely free, unlike her mother and grandmother, who, after becoming mothers, it was as if they had had to give up part of their dreams. Prague, but also Tokyo and, above all, Berlin, therefore, are the places that were most important in the photographer’s life. Likewise, a great desire to travel has always played a crucial role.

In I’m not Everything I want to be, then, the director has drawn heavily on precisely what Libuše Jarcovjáková has made during her long and prolific career, namely her photographs and diaries. Through skilful and rather meticulous editing, therefore, Jarcovjáková’s photos almost seem to come alive on the movie screen as, projected one after the other, in telling us the story of the protagonist they almost seem to vaguely echo the stop-motion technique. Meanwhile, the photographer’s voice tells us her own story, reading passages directly from her diary. What emerges is a rich fresco of a historical period spanning several decades and several nations, but also the portrait of a courageous woman who, often alone against everything and everyone, had to fight hard to finally be happy.

Fascinating, visually captivating and incredibly sophisticated, I’m not Everything I want to be is not afraid to stray from the canons of the classic montage documentary, but moves nimbly between different cinematic genres as it tells us now of the protagonist’s love stories, now of an interesting episode in her life, namely when, following a murder in a city nightclub, the police confiscated her camera, as some details significant to the investigation might have been present in some of her photos. I’m not Everything I want to be is all of this. A portrait of a courageous, non-conformist woman. A hymn to art, beauty and life that, through powerful black and white pictures, is more alive and pulsating than ever.

Original title: Ještě nejsem kým chci být
Directed by: Klára Tasovská
Country/year: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria / 2024
Running time: 90’
Genre: documentary
Screenplay: Klára Tasovská, Alexander Kashcheev
Cinematography: Libuše Jarcovjáková
Produced by: Somatic Films, Square Eyes

Info: the page of I’m not Everything I want to be on iMDb; the page of I’m not Everything I want to be on the website of the Berlinale