Filmkommentaren

Jenni Kivist & Jussi Rastas: Colombia in My Arms

Written 25-09-2020 23:07:08 by Tue Steen Mller

Jenni Kivist & Jussi Rastas: Colombia in My Arms

This fine – in aesthetics as well as in content – documentary won The Dragon Award for Best Nordic Documentary at the Göteborg Film Festival beginning of February this year. The jury‘s motivation is so precise and well written that I will use some of the words as starting points for this review’s recommendation to show the film on big screens, when festivals ”open” again.  

This award is given for the curiosity of the directors in observing vastly different opposing groups, resulting in a polyphonic portrait of a country in which peace doesn’t seem welcome. The precise use of photography and editing submerges us in the differing realities presented and creates a stark contrast between the political sensibilities at play in the natural and urban environments, and the associated poverty and luxury. This film goes beyond being an intimate portrait of a country, and makes us reflect upon colonialism and post-colonialism, capitalism and anti-capitalism, and what keeps us going as humanity.

…Observing vastly different opposing groups. The film takes its beginning in the 2016 peace agreement between the government (when the President was Santos) and FARC. There is a focus on the strong young and sympathetic soldier from FARC, Ernesto, who is to be a leading character through the film. He believes in the peace, believes in putting down the weapons after more than 50 years of war, believes in the right movement for FARC from guerilla to political party. He ends up being disappointed, when all hope for peace is crashed; the government sends soldiers to stop the farmers from picking coca leaves to end their sole possibility for having an income; brutality reigns, paramilitary groups operate, the war continues. Another character is a man from the decadent upper class, who says that he would never allow a FARC person to enter his palazzo, and who has no sympathy for the political class – that also includes a right-wing female politician, who express her philosophy more or less like this: the poor are happy with their lives and so are the rich. No problem!

 The precise use of photography. I would go further in my characterisation: The camera work is excellent, lots of close-ups, energy in the scenes with an editing that lets some of them (the scenes) be loose and develop like those with Ernesto and his friend in the tent in the jungle. Funny they are.

… beyond being an intimate portrait of a country. Yes, definitely there is this clear sense of classes, in that way the filmmakers have succeeded in creating a drama as good as any fiction.

2020, Finland, 90 mins.

www.nordiskpanorama.com

 


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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Tatia Kkhirtladze: Glory to the Queen

Written 25-09-2020 15:51:04 by Tue Steen Mller

Tatia Kkhirtladze: Glory to the Queen

I had seen it before, in a rough cut version and in a final version. I had made notes but could not find them so I was happy, when the director Tatia Kkhirtladze asked her distributor Christa Auderlitzky from filmdelights in Vienna to send me a link.

And it was as fresh as the first time I met the film, entertaining and well made, full of joy and lovely archive from the time of Soviet Georgia. Because of the four chess masters looking back, reflecting on what chess has meant to them in their lives as stars, world champions, public figures in Georgia and worshipped abroad, especially in Serbia, where Milunka Lazarevic, a grandmaster herself, is the one who says clever words about the four, especially about ”The Queen”, Nona Gaprindashvili, whose first name is carried by a huge amount of Georgians, as the film proves. Nona has this special sports winning gene that kept her on the top for fifteen years and made her a carreer as a sportswoman in Sovjetunion. Her charisma is strong, she talks about FC Barcelona (writes this fan) and she gives the anecdote that astronaut Gagarin stayed away from a friendly billiard match with her, when he heard that she would probably be better than him!

Maia Chiburdanidze was the world champion, after Nona, also for 15 years. She sticks out from the three others in the way she dresses – the others are ”ladies” – and talks. She says that did not feel free before she lost and felt she played her best chess. A woman close to nature and a woman who produces perfume from herbs. And who loves to tease Nona who in her senior championship activity often is the one becoming number four or so. 

Nana Alexandria and Nana Ioseliani are the two other masters, who are also still active in chess clubs, where they teach kids about the sport or they go around beating men in tournaments. 

… and for me who has been there and love the food and drinks – there is so much to enjoy from Tbilisi and the countryside. Via the fine meetings with four women, as young and as mature grown ups, some grannies. You get the impression that chess has given them a good life.

The film had its world premiere earlier this month at the CineDoc 2020 Festival that runs until the end of this month. I don’t see any reason for the film NOT to travel to other festivals – written by someone who knows nothing about chess.

Georgia, 80 mins., 2020


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Nordisk Panorama Awards 2020

Written 24-09-2020 21:07:21 by Tue Steen Mller

Nordisk Panorama Awards 2020

All right. Shit happens! And I know how the organisers, with their sense of professionalism, feel right now after an award ceremony that was supposed to be "a festive Gala" but was spoilt by technical problems. Here in Copenhagen, in my armchair, with my usual slippers that I have also used for many workshops, when these have taken place in hotels where you stay and work, I saw the wonderful host Nadia Jebril alone in the town hall in Malmö, where I was in persona last year. She was presenting one award after the other. I heard her voice, I saw the nominees, I heard the jurors saying who were the winners, but their lips were not moving. It was like a stop motion animation film. The same for the winners in their homes thanking. A classic dramaturgy for an award ceremony, in this case damaged by technical problems. The organisers recognised the mistakes and ask you to go

to https://www.facebook.com/NordiskPanoramaFilm/videos/779104632910601

if you want to see the award ceremony in the right speed and with image and sound synchron.

Please do so! They deserve it. 

And for the awards, "The Painter and the Thief" by Norwegian Benjamin Ree got the main award. No objections!


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Hubert Sauper and Awards Tonight

Written 24-09-2020 13:56:03 by Tue Steen Mller

Hubert Sauper and Awards Tonight

A film is written four times. When a script is made. When the film is shot. When the material is edited. When the audience sees it… Words from Hubert Sauper, who was invited to have a conversation with festival programmers Cecilia Lidin and Martijn te Pas at Nordisk Panorama. One hour with clips from his “Darwin’s Nightmare”, “We Come as Friends” and the most recent “Epicentro” from Cuba. Well prepared by the moderators, who during the session were trying to come in with questions – difficult but no problem as the director talked so well and interesting, especially about “We Come as Friends” that (as “Darwin’s Nightmare”) is available online, for free, for the audience in the Nordic countries. The fine thing about the talk was that he related to the clip, gave the context and told how it was shot: A naked black boy is given white socks by missionaries, who ask the black people to dance… Sauper told us that he was about to break down watching this colonialist humiliation, this “moment of truth”; a friend who was with him grapped the camera and shot the scene. A mild and generous Hubert Sauper invited us to experience some of his ways of filmmaking. And I have to see “We Come as Friends”.

Tonight I have been invited to put on my festive slippers for the Award Ceremony. Online. Will do my best. Wonder who will win the main award, Best Documentary. „The Cave“ by Feras Fayyad must be the clear favourite, but it could also be „Songs of Repression“ by Estephan Wagner and Marianne Hougen-Moraga or „The Painter and The Thief“ by Benjamin Ree. Or could I hope for „Bitter Love“ by my old friend Jerzy Sladkowski who with cameraman Wojciech Staron has created another lovely story from Russia. I have not seen all 14 films in this competition so there could be a dark horse somewhere.

https://nordiskpanorama.com/en/festival/programme/competition-films-2020/docs-in-competition-2020/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Karl Forchhammer: Last Days of Summer

Written 23-09-2020 21:54:43 by Tue Steen Mller

Karl Forchhammer: Last Days of Summer

«Tamara is a feminist but also a hopeless romantic in love with a Catholic man with whom she shares few beliefs. Sierzput has just won his girlfriend back but is struggling to hold on to her. And out of sheer boredom, Ponek has broken her own rule and has started sleeping with her friends. A love letter to people in their late twenties, where many are waiting for adulthood only to realise it has already arrived.» The words are taken from the catalogue of Nordisk Panorama 2020, about this film that is in the competition section “New Nordic Voice”.

I was puzzled: Why a Polish film in the Nordisk Panorama? I had to go to the Q&A to get the answer. Here Martijn te Pajs, festival programmer and an excellent conversation partner for the young DANISH director, helped me. Karl Forchhammer explained that he had studied in Prague and at the National Film School in England and had filmed «Last Days of Summer» in Warsaw.

I like the Central European culture, Karl Forchhammer said but considers this to be a very Polish film as well. I agree, knowing films by Piotr Stasik and other Polish coming out from the Wajda film school. It has nerve, rythm, it catches moments of intensity and I believe that the world can look like that in a bohemian environment, where cigarettes are smoked constantly, as well as joints, with a lot of bottles in hand and on the tables, with a sex scene, and a lot of sex being discussed, and what is love – «the last days of summer» – what comes after, as the director said in the Q&A. "It was of course a privilege for me – having the same age as the three protagonists – to be able to sit there with them for a week or two without shooting."

Watch the film, it would not surprise me if there is an award for it. Anyway the director shows big cinematic talent and sensibility, support him!

https://nordiskpanorama.com/en/festival/

 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Nordisk Panorama Forum Second Day

Written 22-09-2020 18:06:52 by Tue Steen Mller

Nordisk Panorama Forum Second Day

Two days. 20 projects presented. I attended them all online as an observer. From my armchair. And had fewer sighs and shaking my head in disappointment than when the Forum is alive. Why... Maybe because I had close-ups on my screen of the moderators, the pitching teams and the broadcasters and film fund consultants. Instead of sitting far away from the action, in an observer's seat in a big hall.

The moderators did a very fine job – Gitte Hansen’s face always readable: Here is an emotional project, here is something that could be fun to watch, and sceptical (with good reason), when some of the panelists did not really deliver what she wanted. The same with Mikael Opstrup who also contributed with quick reactions to what was said. Why less irritated... Maybe also, no because it is so important that documentarians meet in tough times, both those who make or support the films and those, who are waiting for good films to be broadcast.

Those pitching were in general well prepared and appreciated that some came 

 



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Pedro Costa

Written 22-09-2020 13:46:40 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Pedro Costa

PEDRO COSTA

Efterhånden gik det op for mig, hvad det var for en kapacitet af indsigt og erfaring jeg og Marc Recha sad i jury med, Pedro Costa fra Lissabon og dengang lige så meget fra Paris. Det var på festivalen Zinibi i Bilbao november 2003, dokumentarfilm konkurrencen og vi tre havde travlt med at se film og snakke længe om dem.

Omsider om lørdagen fik jeg mulighed for at se en stor del af Costas arbejde som var en præsentation uden for konkurrencen, først hans No Quarto da Vanda som en installation, som en udstilling af en stor del af det optagne materiale, No Quarto da Vanda x 2, i alt 120 min. Det var i en dvd-projektion i en lille udstillingssal over for museets biograf. Og derefter så jeg så den tre timer lange film. Den var berømt, og jeg havde da hørt om den. I Paris eller Amsterdam? I Paris, vil jeg tro. Den havde da vist også været vist på en Natfilmfestival i København.

Men jeg fik den ikke set, og lige nu forbandt jeg den ikke med den mand lige overfor, hvis kloge og lange taler, når han omsider sagde noget, jeg begærligt lyttede til. Sjældent mødte og møder jeg mennesker, som i det præcise udtryk og vældige omfang udtrykker, hvad jeg troede og tror eller ønskede jeg selv tænkte. Costa er et højt begavet, meget følsomt, ansvarligt, præcist og muntert menneske. Og hans film, de to, jeg nu havde set og som jeg nu igen kan se under arkitektur festivalen, No Quarto da Vanda om den hårde virkelighed for en narkoman som bor i et fattigt Lissabonkvarter som er ved at blive fjernet og Où gît votre sourire enfoui? om klippearbejdet ved det tredje gennemklip af Danièle Huillets og Jean-Marie Straubs Sicilia! De to film, indså jeg, hørte nu for mig til de store dokumentarfilm i verden. Det gør de stadigvæk. Sådan er det med Pedro Costas egensindige film.

Det kan jeg få bekræftet når Pedro Costa kommer til København 3. og 4. oktober til arrangementer i Cinemateket i forbindelse med CAFx 2020, Copenhagen Architecture Festival. 

http://cafx.dk/program/



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Categories: Cinema, Festival, Film History, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Nordisk Panorama Forum First Day

Written 21-09-2020 17:49:37 by Tue Steen Mller

Nordisk Panorama Forum First Day

Same procedure as last year – NO:

Online pitching as in many/most of the industry events connected to festivals since March this year. No meetings face-to-face. 10 projects today and 10 tomorrow. 15 minutes per Project. 50% for presentation, 50% for feedback. Business as usual – individual meetings in the afternoon, pre-booked by the Forum staff. And individual meetings later in the afternoon with the North American Decision-Makers, pre-booked as well.

It started at 9 this morning. Moderators were as usual the Danish Gitte Hansen and Mikael Opstrup. Sitting in Malmö. They did not respect the rule of distance, but showed their test results on paper to the camera. Opstrup with the fine Covid-Pass document we make in Denmark, Gitte Hansen with an email from the Swiss authorities; she lives and works in Zürich. Fine to see the two on the screen, much closer than usual. They were fresh, well prepared, enjoying to sit there inviting the filmmakers to present their projects as well as calling for comments from the panelists, i.e broadcasters and film institute/fund consultants. No sales agents or distributors, I guess they will be there for the individual meetings...



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Niki Lindroth von Bahr

Written 21-09-2020 08:00:20 by Tue Steen Mller

Niki Lindroth von Bahr

The Swedish animation director had her last work, “Something to Remember”, shown as the opening film at Nordisk Panorama, that runs until September 27 and is accessable for all citizens in the Nordic countries. For free. The film took me by surprise, a masterpiece, 5 minutes long, so I had to watch the previous 3 films she has made. Which I did with the generous addition of a masterclass with the artist, all available with some small clicks on the link below – and an easy creation of an account.

4 films during 11 years. Animal animation. Small puppets – a fish, monkeys, a rabbit, a snail… - put into human situations, in a musical as ”The Burden” (2017) that has won 82 awards ( !!!), 15 minutes long, a dark look at our civilisation, where – as she said in the masterclass – the surrounding is the main character. Dark, yes, yet the characters in this cold world sing and dance to make the burden bearable. Monkeys performs so you think of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers! Hilarious.

Different is ”Tord and Tord” (2010), 10 minutes, based on a short story by Jorun Jonasson, narrated by Thomas Lindholm. ” One day Tord accidently enters the apartment next to his own. A man, also named Tord, has just moved in. Tord and Tord start hanging out together.” Dark, yes, and sad, yes, but again with a subtle humour bringing my thoughts to Samuel Beckett, when the fox and the hare start to reduce their communication to codes - on small pieces of paper put through the letter slot of their doors. At the end there is nothing to say and do.

In 2014 she made ”Bath House”. In the masterclass she mentioned that this is a true Swedish local phenomenon that nowadays is falling apart – and that’s what you see in the film, when a handful of animals enter the institution to make life difficult for the manager, who wants all to be in order.

In the masterclass Niki Lindroth von Bahr talks about her upbringing in an art family, her education as an artist, her troubles with getting funding for her work, her place in the art world and in the film world, they are so very different. The masterclass was sent from Manchester, where she right now is working on a Netflix production.

https://nordiskpanorama.com/en/activity/masterclass-with-niki-lindroth-von-bahr/


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Benjamin Ree: The Painter and the Thief

Written 20-09-2020 09:52:45 by Tue Steen Mller

Benjamin Ree: The Painter and the Thief

This fascinating film premiered at Sundance, is about to go into theatres in Sweden and Norway , and is in the Best Documentary Competition at Nordisk Panorama, that runs until September 27. It’s an amazing story with extraordinary characters with unusual personal backgrounds – it’s a thriller about stolen art, a psychological drama, a love story, shot over years , with characters that develop, to say the least, a dramaturgy that breaks rules, with several twists, it’s lovely off mainstream documentary storytelling. I was hooked from start till end.

It would be wrong of me to reveal totally, where the story goes, not so say where it ends. So, let me give you the starting point: Barbora, Czech painter living in Norway, has two of her paintings stolen from a gallery. One of the thiefs, Karl-Bertil, is identified via surveillance cameras, and in the courtroom the painter goes to the thief to ask if she may paint a portrait of him. They meet, she paints him, her style is photorealism – and the two builds up a strong emotional relationship. He is a drug addict, he can’t remember, where the stolen paintings went, they stay in contact, she helps him, he helps her; the story is told from the angles of them both. Barbora’s boyfriend, Øystein, who took her away from a violent relationship in Berlin, asks her why she is drawn to the destructive that Karl-Bertil represents, and if she is aware of the moral responsibility she takes helping him. The couple seeks therapy help. The un-chronologically told story gives the viewer surprising background information on Karl-Bertil, and the director of the film succeeds to paint (sorry!) a portrait of a man with many faces. Far from the usual “just another junkie”.

A film full of energetic scenes, touching, entertaining. Watch it!

https://nordiskpanorama.com/en/festival/


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