Magnificent 7 Belgrade – Day 1

Written 30-01-2015 11:41:30 by Tue Steen Müller

I warn you – it is my intention to report from the Magnificent7 festival in Belgrade that starts tonight with the screening of ”The New Rijksmuseum – the Film” by Oeke Hoogendijk. The reporting will include a lot about films, for sure, but also about the atmosphere in this wonderful city and about the equally wonderful team behind the festival’s 11th edition. Dedicated and passionate film lovers who can be proud of a festival that attracts a huge audience. We expect more than 1000 spectators at the Sava Centre at 8pm!

We (my wife is with me) arrived wednesday around midnight with Wizz from Malmö, where we lined up to check in next to a fine photo of football star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, local hero in Malmö, where he grew up, Bosnian origins. At Nikolaj Tesla airport we were met by Svetlana and Zoran Popovic, and one of the loyal Magnificent7 team members, Andrijana Stojkovic, film director and editor. To stay in the football world, Svetlana Popovic brought me a poster that advertises the screening of ”Messi”, a film we are looking forward to show to the Belgrade audience, who might be more interested in a certain Djokovic…

Yesterday morning Zoran Popovic and I were interviewed on N1 television, which is a new (started October 2014), a regional news channel à lá CNN, broadcasting from Sarajevo, Zagreb and Belgrade. It is my general impression – take a look at the FB page of the festival – that the press is very interested in the festival and so are a good number of restaurants that in all years have been supporting the festival by inviting its guests for lunches or dinners. Yesterday we were at a vegan restaurant Radost House, Pariska 3 – delicious meal, ”good for your stomach before all the meat you will have”, as said cinematographer Jelena Stankovic, also a loyal team member of M7. Back to Crown Plaza, which has been the festival hotel since the very beginning, apart from one year where it was under renovation. It is difficult to be negative here, actually impossible, lovely hotel.

Photo from previous festival - Zoran Popovic, Svetlana Popovic and I having a rakia at the legendary ?.

https://www.facebook.com/magnificent7festival?fref=ts

http://www.magnificent7festival.org/home.html


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Ada Bligaard Søbys amerikanske trilogi

Written 30-01-2015 11:16:48 by Allan Berg Nielsen

FOF-Randers havde bedt mig pege på film til filmklubbens sæson 2014-15. Jeg havde denne gang til fire aftener valgt de fire film, som jeg på filmkommentaren.dk havde givet de bedste anmeldelser, simpelthen. Nogle af filmene havde en længde, som levnede plads til forfilm. De er så lidt ældre, men valgt efter samme princip: de har fået de bedste anmeldelser. Forleden aften var det så Ada Bligaard Søby aften i Filmklub FOF, vi skulle se og snakke om ”Petey & Ginger”(2012). Den er på knap en time, så der var plads til de første 15 minutter af ”American Losers” (2006) og hele ”Black Heart”(2008), så vi kunne snakke om instruktørens amerikanske trilogi, som vi kaldte det. Indbydelsen til medlemmerne bestod logisk nok af tre citater fra mine anmeldelser:

American Losers, 2006

”… Og jeg samler mig sammen. Hvad er det med den her film? Genren bestemmer jeg hurtigt, det er filmisk dokumentar milevidt fra journalistik. Attituden er kunstnerisk. Indholdet er vanskeligere at indkredse, det er en blanding af biografi, tragedie og komedie, og det er med musikkens afgørende placering tæt på at være en lille street musical også. Metoden er rejsebeskrivelsens, og der iblandes post-chatwinsk samtaler og interviews alt sammen i direct cinema stil, men ikke klassisk. Her er kameraet medspiller, den tredje karakter. Og der garneres med en overdådighed af billedmateriale, personligt arkivstof og lyriske optagelser til indklip. Grebet er ofte collagens, men helheden er og forbliver timen igennem et vemodigt personligt essay om en stor herskende kultur og om to forskellige og dog så ens frigørelsesforsøg inden for dens dominans.”

Black Heart, 2008

”… Vedholdende og inspirerende og fascinerende fortsætter Ada Bligaard Søby sit filmarbejde, hvor hun dels lag for lag undersøger den moderne kærlighed mellem ham og hende, dels i fremstillingen disciplinerer balancen mellem disse to karakterer med en milligram-vægt uden den flimrende lethed i fortællingerne et sekund slippes, dels fornyr det nutidige filmbillede med ganske nye kvaliteter af sikre, personlige valg i både andres arkiv, i instruerede nyoptagelser og sit eget fotografiske materiale. I hendes film bliver alt musik ved siden af den egentlige musik som igen omhyggeligt afmålt slutter sig til billedernes og sætningernes og sindsstemningernes kadencer. Genren er lyrisk film, indholdet poetisk indsigt, stemningen humørfyldt vemod.”



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Categories: DVD, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK, Poetics

Bringing Truths to Life - at Sundance

Written 29-01-2015 22:21:47 by Tue Steen Müller

Realscreen reports from the ongoing Sundance festival. And documentaries are shown and discussed. Last saturday a panel of three directors were talking about ”the blurring lines between journalism and non-fiction storytelling”.

Laura Poitras (Citizen Four etc.) (Photo): “It’s not a blurry line, it’s additive, It’s ‘Journalism Plus.’ It’s not just telling the facts. We don’t make films to break news. Hopefully we make lasting narratives, so that’s different.”

Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side etc.): “I consider myself a filmmaker, but with journalistic baggage. I do have a commitment to make something in the visual medium that stands the test the time.”

Mark Silver (3 ½ minutes)… To illustrate how different journalists and filmmakers are perceived in the U.S., the British-born Silver said that he applied to be part of a journalists union in the UK before directing 3½ Minutes, a very American crime story debuting at the festival. “I needed something to help me get through customs without having to explain myself,” he said. “Being a journalist union member did that. And to get access to the courtroom, we couldn’t have pushed that without being a journalist.”

Just a taster for the article by Michael Speier on a theme that comes up whenever the documentary genre is on the agenda.

Read more: http://realscreen.com/2015/01/25/sundance-15-gibney-poitras-silver-debate-journalism-filmmaking/#ixzz3QFOjIroi


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Flaherty: The Scent of Places

Written 29-01-2015 21:27:49 by Tue Steen Müller

The Flaherty has announced its 2015 seminar, June 13-19 at the Colgate University, Hamilton NY. The programmer is Laura U. Marks. There is a focus on Arab film artists – you can read much more about the event by clicking the link below. Here is the introduction to the seminar that is – among others – supported by AFAC, The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture:

“The title “The Scent of Places” suggests the ways cinema makes the subtlest of presences perceptible. It brings lost or forgotten events into present awareness. It gives form to unbidden feelings. It invents stories more truthful than fact. It detects patterns—emotional, social, and political. It sharpens perception so that we can see and hear, smell and feel more clearly.

Filmmakers from the Arab world are some of the most adept at these creative strategies. Living in the Arab world in recent decades, with its barrage of external and internal pressures, demands filmmakers and artists to come up with smart and subtle ways to express forces, histories, and experiences that lie under the radar. The goal of the program is to focus not on the works’ geographic, social, and political context, but on their aesthetic qualities: the scents of places that they make present. So the program brings Arab artists together with other international filmmakers who share creative strategies with them. The program also diminishes large-scale politics to focus on more intimate and playful gestures. The richest and strangest scents—those of ordinary life—float through these works. They discover patterns in the chaos of the world. They fabulate, or invent fictions that become true. They engage in psychodynamics, teasing people into expressive acts. They crackle like Geiger counters in the presence of invisible forces. With rhythm and performance they shake up the world and squeeze it for its juice.”

http://flahertyseminar.org

http://www.arabculturefund.org/home/index.php


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Carl Th. Dreyer Award to Anders Østergaard

Written 27-01-2015 23:23:45 by Tue Steen Müller

Of course we Danes must have an award carrying the name of Dreyer:

“Every year on Dreyer’s birthday, the Carl Th. Dreyer Memorial Fund awards a prize primarily to a young film director, or other artist working in film, in recognition of an outstanding artistic performance. The fund is financed by the annual earnings from Gaumont’s distribution of The Passion of Joan of Arc.”

A press release of today communicates that the prize this year goes to Anders Østergaard (cv according to DFI’s website): Director, born 1965. Graduated from the Danish School of Journalism in 1991 after training at Central Television, London. Worked as a copywriter at an advertising agency and as a researcher on documentary programmes. Awarded Best Documentary at Odense International Film Festival in 1999 for "Troldkarlen"/"The Magus". Writer-director on the international coproduction "Tintin et moi" (2003), and the documentary about one of Denmark's most popular rock bands "Gasolin" (2006) which had a successful run at the domestic boxoffice with nearly a quarter million admissions. "Burma VJ" (2008) received an Oscar nomination and has taken home a record-breaking number of international awards, including IDFA's Joris Ivens and Movies That Matter. Also from 2008 is "Så kort og mærkeligt livet er", about Danish poet Dan Turèll.

And this comment from me – An obvious choice or the award, Østergaard has developed his own original and playful take on how to treat creatively the past, shown brilliantly through his last work “1989”, shown all over Europe. On top of that he is an excellent and inspiring teacher, who can be strongly recommended to film schools and professional documentary gatherings.


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

André Singer: Night Will Fall

Written 27-01-2015 22:22:25 by Tue Steen Müller

Jeg har ikke tid til at skrive en egentlig anmeldelse af André Singers imponerende og vigtige film, som jeg så på SVT i går aftes. Allan Berg vil muligvis stå for den. Men filmen er som historisk dokument naturligvis unik, historien om den – Bernsteins dokumentar blev lagt på hylden og ikke færdiggjort af politiske årsager – er interessant, det er historie og det er filmhistorie, og det er betryggende kompetent formidlet af The True Documentary Gentleman, André Singer, som har stået bag en perlekæde af dokumentarfilm, som producent (bl.a. af flere Werner Herzog-film) og instruktør. Og har været en konstant supporter af den kreative dokumentarfilm og af nødvendigheden af at arbejde sammen i Europa gennem f.eks. EDN. Han fortjener ros som Signe Byrge gør det, igen har hun og hendes selskab Final Cut for Real været medvirkende til at en vigtig film er blevet til. Og til at vi danskere, når vi vil, kan gå online og se den via DFI's Filmcentralen.

http://filmcentralen.dk/alle/film/kz-lejrenes-befrielse-hitchcocks-glemte-film


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Ai Weiwei: On The Table

Written 26-01-2015 11:45:13 by Tue Steen Müller

If you happen to be in Barcelona this week, it is a must to visit the exhibition at La Virreina Image Centre, La Rambla 99. It is the last week of an exhibition that I was lucky to see in connection with a meeting on the upcoming DocsBarcelona, whose Elena Subira took me to be a perfect guide. Moreover Llucià Homs, the man behind it all and the one who met Ai Weiwei several times in Beijing explained me the exciting background to how the exhibition was put together:

Ai Weiwei asked in beforehand to get precise drawings of the rooms in the fine, old Palau (Palace). From those he arranged it all. There was no discussion where and how the photos from his New York time, from Beijing etc. should be placed on the walls, he decided, he designed the glass showcases where he put the famous vase with coca cola painted on it or other Marcel Duchamp-inspired readymades. His extraordinary fight for the victims of the earthquake in Sichuan 2008, the official letters to the families of the children are placed on the walls in a separate room, his own constant clashes with the authorities, his arrests, are documented on video screens – and you find his sun flower seeds and the marble flowers on the floor…



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Scorsese & Tedeschi: The 50 Year Argument

Written 25-01-2015 16:47:44 by Tue Steen Müller

”Cinematekets egne premiere-dokumentarer – håndplukkede historier fra virkeligheden”, sådan præsenteres et fint initiativ, som også kaldes ”månedens dokumentar”, som vises i Filmhuset ved 6 forevisninger, således også januar måneds bemærkelsesværdige ”The 50 Year Argument”, der vises i sin originalversion og uden danske undertekster. Premiere den 29. Januar. En filmisk hyldest til legendariske New York Review of Books i anledning af bladets 50 års jubillæum. Martin Scorsese og David Tedeschi har løst opgaven (bestilt af bladet) med humor og respekt for det skrevne ord, men også med sans for det historiske og tematiske, med tankevækkende og undertiden gribende nedslag i tekster og personer, som vil blive stående i litteraturen og journalistikken. Man får lyst til straks at få fat i bladet og dets artikler skrevet af en række fremragende forfattere, filosoffer, videnskabsfolk og journalister.

The main character is the fine gentleman Robert Silvers, 84 years old, one of the founders, who (together with Barbara Epstein (died in 2006)) ”has guided the Review since its launch”, quote from HBO press material. He is working from morning till night seven days a week and he is the one behind the 50 year celebration event that has been filmed with several contributors reading texts from the essays, they have delivered. Boring with people reading from a speakers podium? Not at all, the texts are put in excerpts on the screen, often accompanied with archive footage and photos of the contributors, beautiful b/w works, and for instance archive footage with James Baldwin, Susan Sontag, Noman Mailer, Gore



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Bories and Chagnard: Rules of the Game

Written 24-01-2015 13:16:42 by Tue Steen Müller

Svetlana and Zoran Popovic, directors of the Magnificent7 Festival in Belgrade present ”Rules of the Game” that will be screened February 5th as the closing film of the festival. The text also includes words from the director:

There’s a rumour that the employment market is looking for bold individualists. Within limits, of course. The reality is: if it doesn’t fit, it’s made to fit – or rejected.

The unique pains of finding a job are almost universally relatable. In order to succeed, you must present a certain marketable version of yourself, place yourself in unnatural situations and, above all, play by the rules. It’s even harder when you have neither experience nor qualifications to your name. Claudine Bories and Patrice Chagnard’s observational documentary takes on this very subject, focusing on a small group of disenfranchised young adults as they attend an employment consultancy firm in northern France. Through a series of vignettes we are effectively positioned to empathise with their frustrations, failures and successes over a number of months as they are coached through various stages of the employment process. Through their apprenticeship, the film reveals the absurdity of these new rules of the game.

This exquisite film done by true masters had a premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and won one the most prestigious documentary prices in Europe – The Golden Dove at DOK Leipzig. The critic of The Hollywood Reporter wrote: “Bories and Chagnard have produced a piece that is urgent in its mission, nonjudgmental in its depiction of its subjects and entirely theatrical in its mise-en-scene and dialogue - a remarkable feat.”

Director's Word:
Claudine Bories: One could say that “Rules of the Game” represent a follow-up to “The Arrivals”. The principle is the same: to film closely, with no preconceptions, what happens to people who are confronted on daily basis with major social issues of general concern. Chapter one: asylum seekers. Chapter two: jobseekers.

Patrice Chagnard: Our wish is to tackle realities everybody talks about, everybody believes they are familiar with, while hands-on, concrete approaches are rarely offered. “How does it feel to live through this?” That’s the question we ask ourselves, whether our film is about welcoming immigrants or about coaching unemployed youth. Major social issues are always a minefield littered with stereotypes and partisan rhetoric. The job of cinema is to demine the field by showing things as they are.

France, 2014, 106 mins.

happinessdistribution.com/catalogue/158-les-regles-du-jeu


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Virpi Suutari: Garden Lovers

Written 23-01-2015 15:41:00 by Tue Steen Müller

Svetlana and Zoran Popovic, directors of the Magnificent7 Festival in Belgrade present ”Garden Lovers” that will be screened February 4th at the festival. The text also includes words from the director:

One of the most important Finnish and European documentary authors, Virpi Suutari, is passionate about two things – documentaries and gardens. In this film she leads us into the beautiful and funny world “North of Eden”.

This is a documentary love story about couples who take care of their gardens together. The film looks behind the middle-class facades with a comic twist and listens to the couples’ stories about the conflicts and joys of long relationships. The setting is their own garden, a hobby that in many cases has gotten out of hand years ago. The film’s angle on the toiling and the passionate gardening is kind and humoristic: fellow human beings build and defend their territories, but also enjoy beauty in the paradise they have built for themselves and their spouses.

In the visually handsome film an invisible bond develops between the key couples. With their own stories they listen, comment and comfort each other – while also providing viewers with a chance to engage. The garden represents a door to the everyday struggles of human life, with joy, without moralizing and underlining. The film’s gardening stories celebrate fertility, play – and love.

This is a comic documentary about the necessity of gardening.

Director's Word: The process of making “Garden Lovers” was open, cheerful and liberated – a midsummer night’s play in a sense. As a director, I was happier than ever when making this film. At the same time I was bidding farewell to my father, who taught me everything about gardening. Thus, the film also became a personal journey toward accepting the idea of letting go and meeting death. With “Garden Lovers” I want to celebrate things that are temporary but necessary to the meaning of human existence. The main characters work like crazy – as I do – for their imaginary paradises, although the fruits of their labor may vanish in a moment. We cannot cheat death, but as long as our hands are buried in soil, we at least feel alive.

Finland, 2014, 73 mins.

made.fi/gardenloversmovie


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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