Julia Margaret Cameron: Portræt

Written 27-11-2015 18:01:56 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Dette fotografi er plakatmotiv til en udstilling i Musée de l’Orangerie i Paris. Ansigtet er standset i slutpunktet af en bevægelse, måske afvisende, måske reserveret, en bevægelse mod venstre, standset i en profil. En profil som jeg kender i en kendt litterær sammenhæng. Fotografen er Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879), hun er blandt de tidligste af dem hvis fotografiske værker i skøn overdådig mængde er ophængt på den store og vigtige udstilling på Musée de l’Orangerie i Paris, Qui a peur des femmes photographes? Optagelsen er fra 12. april 1867, modellen er Mrs. Herbert Duckworth, som levede med sin britiske familie i Sri Lanka. Aftrykket er på albuminpapir efter et negativ af kollodium på våd glasplade og har hjemme på Bibliothèque nationale de France. Cameron er, indrømmer jeg den eneste af fotograferne på udstillingen jeg kendte i forvejen. Nu har jeg set fotografier af Mary Dillwyn, Lady Frances Jocelyn, Alice Austen, Frances Benjamin Johnston, Gertrude Kasebier…

De mange fotografier på udstillingen demonstrerer uden om redaktørernes ophængningsdispositioner og fortolkende tekster at det særlige kvindelige blik findes, at så snart kvinderne gik i gang med at fotografere opstod i fotografiet en særlig følsomhed for scenen, en vemodig tone af en særegen skønhed uanset tema og genre, en fotografisk fastholdelse af visse øjeblikke i iscenesættelser af tilstande og oplevelser i det kvindelige univers. Til de fastslåede bestemmelser studium og punctum måtte jeg med ét der i udstillingssalen tilføje denne ekstra: scene som er den imaginære begivenhed før lukkerens forevigelse.

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Categories: Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK, Poetics

IDFA Forum and Eastern Europe

Written 26-11-2015 19:00:00 by Tue Steen Müller

Hanka Kastelicová from HBO Europe posted a photo and a text on FB that caught my attention: Miha Čelar and Nenad Puhovski just pitching at IDFA. Good luck, guys, you are only pitchers from Eastern Europe at IDFA Forum this year, we are very proud of your achievement, I wish you to find the right partners in Amsterdam.

I can only support the wish for success for this Slovenian/Croatian project.

But the only one from Eastern Europe… It made me go through the list of projects for the Forum and I found one more from the region, the Polish “The Prince and the Dybbuk” by the couple behind “Domino Effect”, Elwira Niewiera, Piotr Rosolowski.

But only two! Why? Is the simple reason that the selection committee did not find more of good quality for the Forum? Is it because the Eastern European producers and filmmakers did not apply because they prefer to go to Prague for the East Doc Platform in March, or to some of the smaller pitching sessions like the ones at ZagrebDox or Baltic Sea Forum in Riga or the one connected to the Krakow festival?

Is it because the difference in budgets for Eastern and Western European documentary films are so big that – without any bad thoughts – both the selectors and those selecting think that it does not make any sense to have a project with a budget of 100.000€ at the Forum? Where the normal is around 250.000€.

… IDFA announced its winners yesterday. There was a Polish/Swedish, a Latvian/Ukrainian, a Georgian, a Scottish/Georgian.

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Awards 2015

Written 26-11-2015 09:38:03 by Tue Steen Müller

The festival in Amsterdam is still going on – until November 29. The awards, however, were presented yesterday, For the first time ever, two prizes were awarded per competition: a prize for the best film and a special jury prize.

For the Feature-Length Documentary Competition it was a Polish/Ukrainian triumph. Jerzy Sladkowski got the main award for his ”Don Juan” – a quote from the jury report: "This tender, bittersweet tragicomedy about role-playing within both therapeutic theatre games and family dramas, and the interplay between them, is both subtle and aggressive, speaking volumes about the definitions of normality, abnormality and the dynamics of power and love”. A fine choice by the jury to give a prize to the Polish veteran, who has been living in Sweden since 1982, and who for this film had engaged the master of camera, Wojciech Staron. The Special Jury Award went to Roman Bondarchuk and Darya Averchenko for their first feature length documentary, ”Ukrainian Sheriffs”, produced by Latvian Uldis Cekulis – and many times written about on this site. So well deserved!

From my point of view the jury for IDFA Award for Best Mid-Length Documentary made a beautiful choice giving the main award to Danish Andreas Koefoed for his ”At Home in the World” (photo), a quote from the jury report: ”a film that manages to humanize the issues we are so concerned about today. With great sensitivity and compassion for its characters the director gives a face to the most vulnerable of refugees, children bravely coping with a new world. We were deeply moved by a film that provides people everywhere a slight ray of hope.” The Special Jury Award was given to ”The Fog of Srebrenica” by Samir Mehanovic.

The IDFA Award for First Appearance went to Georgian ”When the Earth Seems to be Light” by Salome Machaidze, Tamuna Karumidze and David Meskhi, a quote from the jury report: ”A particular city, a flickering moment in life, and a specific time in history are viewed through the eyes of youth who drift, almost invisibly, through a landscape of crumbling architecture and political protest. Cinema contains many portraits of young masculinity, but our experimential, expertly-crafted… film sees its outsider subjects differently. It finds within their apathy the visions of a different and better life.” The Special Jury Award in memory of Peter Wintonick went to Hassen Ferhani’s Roundabout in My Head (Algeria/France/Lebanon/Qatar).

There were more prizes given, read the titles and motivations by clicking below.

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Breaking News: CPH:DOX Moves from November

Written 25-11-2015 17:37:07 by Tue Steen Müller

While IDFA is running, CPH:DOX communicates that it will move from November to March. Festival director Tine Fischer puts it like this:

“This year’s festival has been outstanding. We have once again had great response from our audiences, and the interest from the international film industry is now so significant that we have decided to move the festival to March to give ourselves the space it takes to develop the international ambitions of the festival further. CPH:DOX has taken place in the week before IDFA since the very beginning without too many overlaps and complications, but with the latest year’s growth in international industry attendance we need more space around us.”

According to the press release, link below, the producers and the Film Institute are very happy with this decision, using words like ”unique” and ”a leading platform” about the festival, that in the same text – most important from this blogger’s point of view - stresses that…

… the mission of the festival continues to be to present challenging and critical works of documentary cinema – and other arts – in an original and intelligent context. CPH:DOX aims to set a high cultural standard and to stimulate critical thinking, while insisting on documentary as an art form across different practices…

By the way the 2015 version finished with a new audience record: 91.400 (in 2011 it was 47.000).

Next festival March 16-26 2017.

Photo by Amanda Obitz

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Russian Documentary Survey

Written 24-11-2015 18:36:25 by Tue Steen Müller

Extensive and valuable information was sent to me by Russian Georgy Molodtsov, energetic filmmaker and promoter of documentaries from his country – together with Sergei Kachkin, Alisa Stolyarova and Vlad Ketkovich, contact persons for Moscow Business Square, Documentary Film Center and the Russian Documentary Guild.

43 pages, editor-in-chief Konstantin Nafikov, captions: Festivals, Cinemas, Producers, Distributors, Sales Agents, tv channels.

There is a detailed description of how to get support from the Ministry of Culture through obtaining a status of ”National Film”, there is a statistic of how many admissions foreign films have made in Russian cinemas with ”Citizen Four” (Laura Poitras) and ”Amy” (Asif Kapadia) in the top with 33.000 and 24.000. A list of production companies, of international film festivals, tv channels, and first and foremost the films with credits, links to trailers, information on where to watch the full films – many of the are right now at IDFA’s Docs for Sale and at East Silver run by IDF in Prague. Director names – Alina Rudnitskaya, Tatiana Soboleva, Denis Klebeev (photo from his succesful ”Strange Particles”), Viktor Kossakovsky, Ivan Tverdovsky, Vitaly Mansky, Sergei Miroshnichenko… to mention a few.

At this very moment where the IDFA Forum is running and where projects are presented that have budgets around 250.000€ or more, it is interesting to read the budgets of the Russian documentaries, very few of them exceed 100.000€.

Thanks for doing this big work, I say as one who is always interested in what happens in the big country – and thanks for including the controversial films as well, which are ”only” shown outside Russia.

Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Becoming Zlatan…

Written 22-11-2015 21:55:28 by Tue Steen Müller

… or how I could not get rid of the football player, whose last name is Ibrahimovic, the man who with two goals last week made sure that we Danes do not have a team at the upcoming European Championship. I watched the match with good friend, true documentarian, Scottish Doug Aubrey and his Danish Film Institute commissioner wife Marie Olesen, a football connaisseur, at their place, we survived the Danish defeat thanks to good whisky and a recognition of the fact that Denmark lost to a great player.

I thought the defeat was out of my mind but at IDFA some days later I met Fredrik Gertten, a football idiot like myself, always AGAINST Messi and FOR Zlatan. With a smile he gave me a postcard invitation to the world premiere of the film he and his brother Magnus have made, “Becoming Zlatan”, Danish editor (traitor!) Jesper Osmund.

My luck was that I could not be in Amsterdam for the screening but it was not possible to get rid of Zlatan… On French television, this evening, here in Paris, there was a long focus on Zlatan, Ibra as they call him here, who in this weekend’s French league, for his PSG club, was the leader, and was praised for his football skills. The two

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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Robert Frank, Ukrainian Sheriffs and Kossakovsky

Written 21-11-2015 11:05:14 by Tue Steen Müller

If you read the post below, ”Viktor Kossakovsky at IDFA”, you will discover his insisting on the form, on the composing of the image, on the aesthetics. If you want to see how this can be done, please go and see Laura Israel’s film ”Don’t Blink: Robert Frank” (Photo) here at IDFA. It was screened at the Stedelijk Museum thursday night and is an excellent introduction to the now 91 year old legendary photographer and filmmaker made by his editor and collaborator in many films, a warm and generous portrait and a look into the creative process of a lovely man, a great artist, who has suffered personal tragedies in his life, that is very much present in his work, but who has also demonstrated how to catch moments in the lives of ”The Americans”, the title of his masterpiece. There was a retrospective of his work – and there is right now at IDFA, including his Rolling Stones film, ”Cocksucker Blues” – in Copenhagen, Sara Thelle wrote about it on this site.

And then last night at the Munt 11 cinema with around 400 seats, full house to the world premiere of ”Ukrainian Sheriffs” by Roman Bondarchuk and Darya Averchenko, which I have had the pleasure to follow from the sideline and with a biased look: it is an excellent film that demonstrates fully the talent of Bondarchuk, also present in his ”Dixieland” that will premiere next year. A breakthrough on the international scene. The film has wisely been taken fo the main international competition by the IDFA, where it still has 6-7 screenings.

Finally, there has been quite some discussions here at IDFA about the Viktor Kossakovsky session the other day. I wrote about it and this morning I got an email from VK, who wrote to me something important, I have to correct from my previous text: … one thing: I was saying Sorry, because Russians or prorussians shot the airplane MH17. And when I was watching The Belovs I just realized that you can see in the film the main element of russian mentality: unpredictable aggression - when we talk about Patriotism and meaning of life…

Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Christian Holten Bonke: Ejersbo

Written 20-11-2015 15:27:18 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Det åbner så smukt med en arkivoptagelse af forfatteren Jakob Ejersbo i en bus i Tanzania må det jo være, smuk, glad, forventningsfuld. Så vandrer han hen ad den afrikanske landevej, kameraet ser ham bagfra. Vi vil gerne følge ham, vil gerne blive i den her filmpoetiske historie.

Men straks derefter tages der med det observerende kamera fat på bjergvandingen som gennemgående fortællelag. ”Det skete i virkeligheden ved et tilfælde. Jeg hørte om forfatteren Rune Skyum-Nielsens planlagte tur op til Kilimanjaros tinde med Jakobs to venner. En tur hvor Jakobs sidste ønske skulle forløses. At hans aske skulle spredes ud over Tanzanias jord. Jeg var allerede tændt. Kan man drømme om en bedre ramme for et portræt? Selvom jeg skulle portrættere en afdød forfatter, ville jeg gennem opstigningen på bjerget Kilimanjaro kunne skildre Jakob gennem et dramatisk nutidslag. Det var en gave…” skriver Bonke i pressematerialet til filmen. Bonke presser imidlertid sin gave, sit indfald, presser sit stof til grænsen af overvægt, hvis da ikke netop over den grænse, tænkte jeg ved første gennemsyn, filmen er ved at vælte. Jeg tænkte videre at det måske var sådan et element som der engang på et lille skilt over alle begynderes klippeborde med et mere end berømt citat advaredes mod: den kæreste scene skulle fjernes.

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Categories: Cinema, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Viktor Kossakovsky at IDFA

Written 20-11-2015 11:17:19 by Tue Steen Müller

The IDFAAcademy for young filmmakers from all over the world started yesterday. Joyful Meike Statema is the head of this important section of the Documentary Paradise that IDFA was called in the KLM flight magazine I had in my hands during the turbulent journey down from Copenhagen thursday morning.

The turbulence continued… After video introductions of the participants – full of fun – Viktor Kossakovsky and Tom Fassaert were introduced under the headline ”Master and Talent”. It became one of the most memorable sessions I have experienced. It was emotional and informational at the same time – to bring forward two words that Kossakovsky used on a stage that he conquered totally.

The original idea, I think, was that the two of them should have a conversation about filmmaking, the experienced Kossakovsky and the young Tom Fassaert, whose ”A Family Affair” was the opening film of the festival’s 28th edition.

It did not work out like that. Fassaert wanted to show his appreciation of Kossakovsky by showing a long clip from ”Belovs”. He did and it made Kossakovsky burst into tears, kneel in front of the screen, ”I am sorry I shot this”, ”this is a typical Russian person”, he was inconsolable, had to leave the room, came back, left again, came back and stayed.

Stayed, yes, I dare say, to tear apart completely the film of the talent. He

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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Listapad Minsk – Eye of Pleasure

Written 18-11-2015 10:15:14 by Tue Steen Müller

Irina Demyanova came up to me at the Baltic Sea Forum in Riga: Tue, it is time for you to come back to Minsk. You were there 20 years ago! I would like to invite you back.

Right she is, I was in Minsk to meet filmmakers two decades ago. I travelled with Ilze Gailite, we represented the Baltic Media Centre and had meetings, that included a presentation of something new called “pitching”. That is one of the things that Yuri Goroulev remembered, when I met him in Minsk a week ago for the 22 edition of the Listapad festival.

I was there for three full days – hospitality warm, perfect organization, good programme for documentaries, which was what I was looking for and at. And – as my Russian language skills do not exist – the festival generously offered me, and other guests, a personal guide. Veronika Bondarovich, young filmmaker-to-be, took me around to films and to the lecture on documentary I made at the festival, where she and Lizaveta Bobrykava, head of the industry section, translated/interpreted my school English so well.

I had time to watch four Belarussian documentaries and meet with the

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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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