Written 24-04-2015 21:41:02 by Tue Steen Müller
This article is brought now because the film has its international premiere at HotDocs in Toronto , tomorrow, April 25.
A long prologue: On this site Herz Frank (1926 – 2013) has an iconic status. Co-editor Allan Berg and I met the director at the Balticum Film & TV Festival on Bornholm in the 1990'es, later on in Riga, where we contributed verbally and (a bit) financially (Allan as consultant for The Danish Film Institute) to “Flashback”. Personally I have had the pleasure to have met Herz (Frank) in Tel Aviv on a couple of occasions. He has been a huge inspiration for me in my understanding of what documentaries are and can be.
Allow me to quote Herz: In front of me on my work table is the central fragment from Raphael's fresco "The School of Athens". Plato and Aristotle discuss the philosophical meaning of life. Plato is pointing upwards - the essence is the Idea! Aristotle, on the other hand, has his palm pointing down to the ground - the basis is the material! Even earlier in the Old Testament (Genesis) both views are united. In the first book of Moses the first lines states: In the beginning God created heaven and earth. Read - the spiritual and the material.
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Written 23-04-2015 22:02:08 by Tue Steen Müller
Thanks to a Cineuropa website (very actual, well written and edited, covering also a lot of documentary events and films) and a link from the article, I got to know about the Play-Doc 2015 festival (Festival Internacional de Documentals) that runs now and until April 26, the 11th edition, with welcoming words from Mexican director Nicolás Pereda, I have taken a clip:
“In a world in which people communicate with each other by phone and computer, in which artistic collectives are becoming ever thinner on the ground and cultural events are becoming more and more impersonal, Playdoc is a breath of fresh air, a model for other festivals across the world to follow.
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Written 23-04-2015 20:01:53 by Tue Steen Müller
The 46th (!) edition of Visions du Réel is going on with still a couple of days left. Before the festival Doc Alliance brought an interview with the festival director for some years, Luciano Barisone, a man who is not afraid of bringing non-tabloid, non-journalistic artistic documentaries to his festival. I have copy-pasted from the interview a couple of interesting sequences:
Barisone: The “vision” is in the name of the festival together with the word “réel”. It’s a gaze upon human evolution, a tight connection between reality and imagination, a meeting between a state of mind and a state of the world. We deal with creative documentaries and we think of creativity as Robert Bresson did: “To create is not to distort or invent people and things. It is to weave people and things who exist and as they exist into a new relationship.”
This year’s edition of the festival has been strongly linked with the personality and the work of Barbet Schroeder, a Swiss-born director playing an important role in the French Nouvelle Vague movement as well as working with famous Hollywood stars. Why have you decided to focus on Schroeder’s work? Your decision has also affected the visual style of the 46th edition...
Barisone: Last year we decided to create an award named Maître du Réel, in order to honour a major filmmaker who has been working in documentary and narrative features, following the path of a realistic representation of world history and human events. Barbet Schroeder completely embodies this for his career as a whole and for his way of approaching reality.
Written 21-04-2015 09:18:25 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Going Clear (”Scientologys religiøse fængsel”) vises i DR2 Dokumania i dag 21. april klokken 20.35. Senere på aftenen, klokken 23.00 bringes et interview, som Clement Kjersgaard lavede med Alex Gibney i forbindelse med at filmen blev vist på Sundance Film Festival.
Jeg kan bestemt godt se Alex Gibneys film som en storstilet ambition om underholdende formidling af en journalistisk undersøgelse af en række biografiske, organisationshistoriske, juridiske og især moralske forhold inden for Scientology, en undersøgelse, som resulterer i en række afsløringer af skjulte metoder og sammenhænge. Men det lykkedes ikke for mig at være underholdt af Gibneys arbejde, og det lykkedes heller ikke for mig ved et enkelt gennemsyn egentlig at fatte historien, så han han havde heller ikke i formidlingen held i forhold til mig.
Det er formen, han anvender, som er i vejen, som kommer imellem værket og mig, kommer mellem dets vigtige optagelser af samtaler med tidligere medlemmer af Scientology, mellem dets omfattende arkivmateriale og min oplevelse. Det er et imponerende materiale, og jeg tror heller ikke det i og for sig er udygtigt anvendt i filmen; det er brugt nøjagtigt som man gør i den slags film, ikke bedre, ikke ringere. Men jeg er træt af formen og har egentlig aldrig accepteret den. Der er en filmisk kulturkløft mellem den slags tv-dokumentar og mig.
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Written 20-04-2015 18:04:01 by Tue Steen Müller
The 30th edition of the DOK.fest in Munich invites the audience to watch five of the Israeili documentary master Avi Mograbi's films. Mograbi travels apparently from one (well deserved) homage to the other, last one was in Paris at the Jeu de Paume museum in March. The films – "August: A Moment before Eruption" (2002), "Happy Birthday, Mr. Mograbi" (1999), "How I Learned to Overcome my Fear and Love Arik Sharon" (1997), "Once I entered a Garden" (2012) and "Z32" (2008) – show the director's personal style and his unique skill to convey his critical analysis of Israel in a humourous language.
Mograbi has been a frequent guest on this site, I am true admirer of him and his film essays, here are just two quotes:
…he innovates the documentary language by using talking masks, as his main character, the killing Israeli soldier, does not want to face the camera. Very intelligent trick that combined with his Brechtian musical element, himself singing comments to the soldier’s crime, makes the film into a universal essayistic wish for reflection… (about Z32)
…A masterclass, a master’s class, Mograbi is exactly as his films are: tense, sometimes comic, but always dealing with the embarrassing reality of the country he lives in. A frustrated artist, as he says himself, who wants to move something, raise a debate in Israel, but does not succeed, he is met with total silence, no reactions, whereas he now is an estimated artist in Western Europe! In the next issue of Cahiers du Cinema, the headline is characterising him as ”Le Grand sculpteur de notre temps”. (DocsBarcelona 2009, masterclass with Avi Mograbi).
The festival takes place May 7-17 and has a good and interesting international programme, check it. Link below.
Written 19-04-2015 08:44:34 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Jeg har lyst til at dykke lidt ned i FILMCENTRALEN FOR ALLE, ned i repertoiret, finde ikke de film jeg har pligt til at se, men lige netop de film, jeg har lyst til at se streamet på min computer. Og lige netop med Filmcentralen lykkes det hver gang, uden problemer, uden forstyrrelser. Ligetil og enkelt. Det er smukt. Som den første vælger jeg Ole Johns Niels Bohr fra 1985. Det er fordi, Per Kirkeby engang skrev, at det bedste man kan gøre det er at læse videnskabshistorie. Jeg tror det var engang han skrev om Wegener og kontinenternes bevægelse. Det råd har jeg så fulgt siden, i hvert fald så længe, videnskabshistorie blev skrevet og filmet af poetiske forfattere og filminstruktører, af digtere og videnskabsmænd og -kvinder. Efterhånden som formidlere og journalister tog videnskabshistorien op blev jeg tøvende, det fangede mig mindre. Ole Johns film om Bohr har således holdt sig fast i min erindring i tredive år og den berører mig mærkeligt mere end forståeligt. Dengang den kom og så nu igen. Den holder, som vi siger.
Filmen har fortællerstemme, og som Iikka Vehkalahti så rigtigt gør opmærksom på: ”… I, for example, do not understand a person who, by principle, says: ’And I don’t use voice over’. It is like leaving out the music! What would such films as Citizen Kane, Sans Soleil or Sound Of Insects be without voice over?” Og som Vehkalahti er jeg derfor ikke modstander af voice-over, jeg er faktisk tilhænger af dette intime, fundamentale element, som betror mig, betror netop udvalgte mig historien. Og jeg kan godt lide fortællerstemmen i Niels Bohr, hører den som forfatterens, som Johns. Den rummer sin tids litterære tone. Det er det, jeg mærker, det er en fortrolighed, som at blive set som publikum.
Det næste jeg lægger mærke til, er en detalje, men ligeså vigtig for mig. De medvirkende får ikke navneskilt på, de er medvirkende, altså skuespillere i en film, og de er ikke vidner i en journalistik. Princippet svigtes dog sært nok ved scenerne med Erik Bohr og med Margareth Growing. Men det gør ikke noget, nu er jeg glad.
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Written 18-04-2015 22:48:37 by Tue Steen Müller
At the beginning of March I posted a text about a great initiative taken by young filmmakers - Francesca Scalisi and Mark Olexa – both graduated years ago from the Zelig Film School in Bolzano:
”The festival will start beginning of March and run until end of April. The 30 longhaul aircraft (A330-A340) of the SWISS are loaded (with films) within the first week of March, it serves all SWISS destinations around the world non-stop…
These are words from the website, link below: Welcome to the “Flying Film Festival, the first festival taking place entirely in the air. It will be “flying” in the months of March and April 2015 with the aim of promoting to a wider audience short documentaries with a strong cultural connotation and emerging directors.”
I have had the pleasure to watch the 9 competing short films as a member of a jury (grounded), I have given my points, not to be revealed here, and look forward to see the final result of jury AND airborn passengers votes. Nevertheless I dare – in short – to write
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Written 16-04-2015 22:48:12 by Tue Steen Müller
… at DOK Leipzig, a press release announces from the festival. Like American presidents the new director of the important festival has chosen to reveal her changes after her first 100 days in office! Here comes most of the press release from yesterday:
... Most substantially, the division between documentary and animated films in the competitions will be abolished. “It is a bold move, but this is how I see DOK Leipzig - fresh and bold,” says Pasanen. “The international competition among festivals is fierce. We want to stand out with our cutting-edge approach to storytelling and our unpredictable programming. We will have a festival that is surprising its audience every year.”
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Written 16-04-2015 13:15:44 by Tue Steen Müller
Of course IDF (Institute of Documentary Film) stands behind this wonderful initiative, it calls itself “Project Father and Mother”, but there are other well-known partners - One World Romania Association (Bucharest, Romania), Restart (Zagreb, Croatia), Mozinet (Budapest, Hungary) and Filmtopia (Bratislava, Slovakia), (who) “will create an extensive and continuous distribution network for the documentaries on the territory of all the participating countries, and will thus help to significantly extend the audience base and increase the general interest in creative documentary.”
Take a look at the website to know more about the high-quality films that will be shown non-theatrically in the countries mentioned. The IDF website includes a fine text from where I have kidnapped the following appetizer:
“Wednesday April 15, the official launch of project KineDok in Slovakia will take place in Bratislava in A4 -Association for Contemporary Culture. The introductory film will be the Danish-Hungarian documentary “1989”. During the following year, screenings at 20 more non-traditional venues will take place in Slovakia...
"It will be officially launched with the public screening of a Danish-Hungarian film, “1989” and a discussion with its directors Anders Østergaard and Erzsébet Rácz. A docu-party will follow. The authors of 1989, which I personally consider a great political drama about the fall of the Iron Curtain, will accompany the film tour throughout Slovakia in the next three days. After the screening in Bratislava they will introduce their film in the film club of The University of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Trnava and then in Topolčany," says the main coordinator of KineDok in Slovakia Eva Križková from Filmtopia...
In the course of the year, up to 12 documentaries will be screened at each of the twenty alternative spaces and film clubs...”
Photo from “Joanna”, Oscar nominated Polish documentary by Aneta Kopacz.
Written 15-04-2015 14:16:44 by Tue Steen Müller
Apropos the sad news about the Avala Studio in Belgrade, here is a written flashback to a night at the Sava Center at the closing night of the Magnificent7 2011:
It was one of those evenings that you will never forget – and that Mila Turajlic will never forget. A totally packed Sava Centre in Belgrade gave her a minute long applause for her great work on making the 100 minutes long documentary on Yugoslav film history, ”Cinema Komunisto”, a film that in this and shorter versions will travel the world, to festivals and television companies. It is an enjoyable and informative voyage the young director takes, in film history and in history – back to a country that no longer exists. And with Tito as the main character, a man who loved films, watched film every night, and also wanted to have films made about himself and his greatness in fights against the Germans during WW2. The greatest man, as Orson Welles says in an archive clip from his visit to the country. Hundreds of partisan films were made, we see clips from them and from loads of other Yugoslav films, matched with documentary archive material and interviews and situations from today. All done in a way that is so excellent that it is hard to believe that this was done by a young filmmaker and a young editor (Aleksandra Milovanovic) with many others who were not alive or were kids. But they had the courage, the patience and the skills to research and produce, and the maturity to make a film of that size. Bravo!... and go to their website where a lot is to be learned as I did last night in Belgrade at a magnificent screening for a couple of thousand people:
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Latest comments / Seneste kommentarer
Mikkel Stolt: Måske ikke overraskende, men jeg er helt enig i din skarpe analyse, Allan. Formen, som filmen anvender, har nået et mætningspunkt - det er for forudsi...
Allan Berg: Fotografiet er fra pressematerialet, det originale foto indgår som arkivmateriale i filmen i en vigtig scene, og det er et godt billede. Det er begrun...
Per Berthelsen: Per Bertelsen er IKKE med på billedet. Forstår ikke helt hvorfor sådan et foto anvendes, hvor flere uden fast tilknytning til bandet figurerer....
madeleine: Thnks for this supernice keeping René Vautier alive! For those who speak /understand german see our 2012 blog www.ohnegenehmigung.com we visited René ...
John Burgan: Thanks for the heads up, Tue. What a life!...