Written 25-10-2014 08:38:35 by Tue Steen Müller
Gustav Mahler was in Jihlava. His face is looking at me from the wall in the breakfast room of Grand Hotel, which was grand once, an art nouveau building from the outside but how could they put that terrible furniture into the lobby! Tasteless. Anyway, service is fine and kind. Back to business, well actually pleasure:
After having three one hour meetings with filmmakers participating at the training programme Ex Oriente, a masterclass was held by Peter Kerekes and it lived up, to what I had expected. Kerekes showed clips from the three films that have given him the well deserved reputation as a documentary auteur with his own style, ”66 Seasons”, ”Cooking History” and ”Velvet Terrorists”.
The Slovak told the audience why he is not able to make observational documentaries, he feels uncomfortable by being there and telling his characters that ”just don’t notice that I am here”! Reality is not in front of the camera, it’s in my head. For the ”66 Seasons” I did a deep research to make sure that they would talk about the past, what happened way back around the swimming pool in Kosice. I wrote everything down when having filmed, a good
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Written 24-10-2014 17:07:28 by Tue Steen Müller
Click below and you get the local organisers of the pan-European screenings of ”1989”, and in many cases also the location of the screening that takes place on November 5th. What a great effort that lies behind this initiative. The click also gives you access to watch the trailer of the film.
Written 24-10-2014 15:22:04 by Allan Berg Nielsen
De to på dette still har en affære. Det er en kort scene, der er nogle få flere i filmen, de er alle iscenesat, de er vignetter i den vældigt omfattende dokumentation af den mindste og almindeligste kærlighedshistorie i verden. Det er dokumentationen som gør den usædvanlig, bemærkelsesværdig og til posthum kandidat til århundredets største.
Jeg læser ikke filmen som en lummer romance, som festivalkataloget formulerer det, jeg læser såvel emne som værk, som jeg læser Orhan Pamuks roman ”Uskyldens Museum”. Jeg ser filmens autentiske, fotografiske, lydbåndbundne og fysiske artefakter, som jeg tror, jeg ville se hans museum i Istanbul, grebet og berørt af materialets aura af ømhed. Jeg tror også, jeg ville se Susanne Zanders udstilling i Berlin af dokumentmappen og dens indhold, ”Günter K.: Margret-Chronik einer Affäre ” på samme måde. Filmen bygger på den udstilling. Det er en rørende og uskyldig affære. Hvis nogen er skyldige, er det galleriejeren og filminstruktørerne. Men de er også modige, de har vist mig almindelighedens poesi.
Susanne Zander beskriver på sin hjemmeside historien ganske kort: ”Margret (udstillingens titel) chronicles a secret love story, which took place from May 1969 to December 1970 between the Cologne businessman Günter K., 39, and his secretary Margret S., 24 – a meticulous documentation consisting of various photographs and documents, which were found in a briefcase at the dissolution of an apartment.The convolute comprises of hundreds of color and black-and-white photographs showing the same woman in various places and poses: sitting at a typewriter at the office, traveling, and in a hotel room…” (En fotoserie på hjemmesiden viser et ganske lille, vemodigt gribende udvalg, dybt intime souvenirs forvandlet til genstande i en offentlig kunstsamling.)
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Written 24-10-2014 09:19:36 by Tue Steen Müller
I am back in Jihlava after 5 years. I stopped working for the training programme Ex Oriente in 2009, where the final session with pitching took place in this cosy provincial town, where time seems to stand still. But where a documentary film festival is taking place for the 18th time. From the start under the leadership of energetic Marek Hovorka, who is always going for the different films and have established interesting sections for his programme. The festival has a huge industry programme, the excellent DocAlliance is here, the Silver Market, loads of masterclasses with directors like Godfrey Reggio, Peter Kerekes and Nicolas Philibert.
I went to the Silver Market and watched some short documentaries. Peter Kerekes came up – again – with a surprise, entertaining and thought-provoking. Title ”Second Chance” (photo, 12 minutes, he visits an old lady, whose birthday is October 28, the independence day of Slovakia (1918). To ask for her advice. His plan is to fight the corrupted policy of current Slovakia and his idea is to ask a country to invade Slovakia to establish better conditions – as communist leader in Czekoslovakia Bilak did in 1968, when he and others in the top of the communist party asked Brezhnev to help! Kerekes goes to Finland for help! It’s excellent!
More observational is Vitaly Mansky’s ”The Eternal Light”, shot in Ukraine on Victory Day, May 9, where the war veterans join around the memorial statue and the eternal flame that unfortunately has gone out. He meets a veteran in his home, stories from the war are told. 15 minutes, whereas Laila Pakalnina has made a two minutes piece, that in her classical search for weird situations has one shot on football players lined up side by side waiting for the result of a penalty shoot… for football freaks like me funny, will others understand.
At night a walk through the quiet and softly lighted town, following the white lines that take you from cinema to cinema, a fantastic idea that the festival has performed year after year. To a three hour opening of the festival, a show for more than one hour and a film about families adopting children, ”Auditioning for Parenthood” by Alica Nellis. For me a mainstream tv documentary full of talking generalities, have to talk to Marek Hovorka why a festival that advocates for film Art starts like that.
Written 23-10-2014 16:07:13 by Tue Steen Müller
I read the last article this morning in a plane on my way to Prague. I had browsed through the sport pages of a stupid Danish tabloid newspaper and felt good in my 24C seat on Czech Airlines with DOX in my hands. You concentrate on the reading and if any turbulence occurs you read the same sentences more than once holding quality in your hands! DOX is for these moments up in the air, or in the summer garden, in a train or in the sofa at home. I have never read the entire magazine right away, the same with this issue, you read it piece by piece, pick it up once in a while, also this number 103, where black is the cover and white are the letters that say ”last issue in print”.
Filmkommentaren.dk readers might have followed the posts of protest and the many why’s to Paul Pauwels (PP), who on the website of EDN has characterised this debate as a facebook campaign! In this last issue, PP writes, under the headline ”On to Greener Pastures”, that DOX does not fit into the EDN policy in a new challenging media situation.
Anyway, the other day I heard that an Executive Committee member of the EDN had suggested to publish/print one fat DOX per year to come out in connection with the idfa festival. That is
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Written 22-10-2014 13:29:39 by Tue Steen Müller
Of course the film had to start with 1956 and it does so with very fine and moving archive footage of people searching for the remains of Imre Nagy, whose government was not accepted when the Russians invaded the country. Nagy was executed in 1958. That historical reference is important to include as the re-burial of Nagy, the rehabilitation of him, happened in the years around 1989, and with the support of Miklós Neméth, who served as prime minister 1988-1990 and is the main character of ”1989”, an intelligent, informative, entertaining and provoking documentary.
Yes, it deserves all these superlatives for its fresh look at what happened 25 years ago, when the wall went down as did the Soviet Union. Neméth, economist, coming into power, looked at a country close to bankruptcy and found the border control mechanisms extremely expensive – so he decided to have the borders opened, to tear down the iron curtain. He did so and had strong opposition from the hard-liners in his communist party, his rooms were bugged, and his manouvres were looked upon with more than skepticism from the GDR leader Erich Honecker, as the result was that thousands of Eastern Germans flew to the West through Hungary, before the wall went down in their own country.
They are all there in the film – Gorbachev, Helmuth Kohl, Honecker – and
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Written 22-10-2014 13:20:53 by Tue Steen Müller
Så er der guf for historikerne – igen. Denne gang ikke i forbindelse med et stykke 1864, Danmarkshistorie, vi er tættere på, det drejer sig om 1989, for 25 år siden i tiden omkring Europas totale forandring – murens fald, Sovjetunionens opløsning.
Og det drejer sig om en intelligent udarbejdet, filmisk provokerende, underholdende og oplysende film af danskeren Østergaard og ungareren Rácz. De præsenterer en nyfortolkning af begivenhederne, der førte til murens fald og et nyt Europa. I centrum er datidens ungarske premierminister Miklós Neméth, som fortæller, hvorfor han besluttede sig for at rive ”jerntæppet” ned. Det var ganske enkelt for dyrt at opretholde grænsekontrollen! Konsekvensen blev at østtyskerne i tusindvis flygtede til vesten via Ungarn.
Neméth blev ikke populær. Dels kom han i konflikt med landets betonkommunister, dels så DDR’s Erich Honecker med forfærdelse på, hvad der skete i Ungarn. Og Gorbatjov… Neméth besøgte ham i marts 1989. Og Kohl, Gorbatjov ringede til ham.
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Written 21-10-2014 09:54:11 by Tue Steen Müller
”Finding Vivian Maier” is ”documentary of the Month” at the Cinematheque in Copenhagen with screenings from the 23rd of October, so Copenhageners – this is a must-see, it is lovely portrait of a mysterious woman, who her whole life was working as a nanny or governess, serving others at the same time as she, always with a camera around her neck, was taking photographs that she never showed to others. A person who ”never fit in”, an eccentric. She lived from 1926-2009. Close to her death, a quote from the website of the film...
”... Maier’s massive body of work … came to light when in 2007 her work was discovered at a local thrift auction house on Chicago’s Northwest Side. From there, it would eventually impact the world over and change the life of the man, who championed her work and brought it to the public eye, John Maloof.
Currently, Vivian Maier’s body of work is being archived and cataloged for the enjoyment of others and for future generations. John Maloof is at the core of this project after reconstructing most of the archive, having been previously dispersed to the various buyers attending that auction. Now, with roughly 90% of her archive reconstructed, Vivian’s work is part of a renaissance in interest in the art of Street Photography.”
Of course one might say that it is the work of an artist that is interesting and not her/his life. In this case, however, the putting her life together piece by piece through the photos and interviews with those, who employed her and
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Written 21-10-2014 08:54:41 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Filmen rummer et vigtigt sted 30 minutter inde den mest gribende scene, jeg mindes at have set i en tv-dokumentar. Den er en ægte og helt igennem autentisk filmscene. Den varer vel næsten fem minutter, og er netop så lang, den er, fordi den skildrer en vanskelig telefonsamtale, og en sådan tøver, som vi ved, med at slutte, for ingen ved, hvordan man gør. Scenen fortsætter, så den kan vise mig hvor smukt, det kan ske. Fortsætter til sin egen afslutning. Samtalen er den alvorligste en læge og en patient kan have. Når begge, patienten og lægen, er tømte for ord, naturligt færdige, trætte, vokser pauserne og bliver ligesom af sig selv til en slutning. Det er meget smukt, for sådan ved jeg naturligvis, det er i den virkelige virkelighed.
Patienten deltager i forsøget på Herlev Sygehus med t-celle behandling. Det var først gået så godt, men nu efter den seneste scanning opfylder hun ikke kriterierne for at fortsætte. Hun er opgivet, det er hvad lægen, uden direkte at sige det sådan, må meddele i denne telefonsamtale. Patienten argumenterer med lægen, hun gør det afdæmpet klogt. Både på et intellektuelt niveau og på et følelsesmæssigt niveau. Hele samtalen hører jeg på filmens lydside. Jeg er hos lægen og kigger hende over skulderen, mens hun sidder ved sit skrivebord og tager den samtale, som hun på forhånd har aftalt med patienten, som bor i Thy. Det er alt sammen meget, meget opmærksomt registreret af Henrik Bohn Ipsens kamera. Det er filmens centrum og handlingens overraskende omdrejningspunkt. Sådan har klipperen Steen Johannessen klogt ordnet det.
Louise Detlefsen har lavet en interessant produktionsbeskrivelse, hvor hun skriver om filmens idé: ”Først mødte vi den erfarne kræftlæge Benny Vittrup Jensen, der som overlæge ved Enhed for Eksperimentel Behandling på Herlev Hospital, talte med os om tro, håb og kærlighed i arbejdet med de uhelbredeligt syge patienter. I en periode på nogle måneder fik vi lov at sidde med i hans konsultation på 17. etage, hvor patienter, der ikke har flere behandlingsmuligheder kommer for at medvirke i medicinske forsøg, i håbet om det kan forlænge eller redde deres liv. Efter at have fulgt Benny Vittrup Jensen havnede vi nogle etager længere nede på Herlev Hospital, hvor Center for Cancer Immunterapi holder til. Her oplevede vi, at der foregik noget nær et mirakel..."
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Written 20-10-2014 16:05:06 by Tue Steen Müller
The festival in Georgian capital Tbilisi ended yesterday and I found this message on the FB page:
The award ceremony is over and we would like to announce the results:
International Competition: The main prize of this section goes to "Judgment in Hungary" (dir. Eszter Hajdu). The special mention to "Ne me quitte pas" (dir. Sabine Lubbe Bakker & Niels van Koevorden)
Focus Caucasus: The main prize of this section goes to "Blood" (photo) (dir. Alina Rudnitskaya). The special mentions to "Zelim’s Confession" (dir. Natalya Mikhaylova) and "Biblioteka" (dir. Ana Tsimintia)
Cinedoc Young: Our special jury - the youth - gave the main award of this section to "The Barrel" (dir. Anabel Rodriguez Rios)
Our opening film "Do you believe in love?" (dir. Dan Wasserman) received the Public Prize.
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