Filmkommentaren

IDFA Opening Words from Kaag and Nyrabia

Written 15-11-2018 16:48:20 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Opening Words from Kaag and Nyrabia

This text is taken from the website of the IDFA festival:

The 31st IDFA has just officially been opened by Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag in Koninklijk Theater Carré with Aboozar Amini’s film Kabul, City in the Wind.

This is the first festival under new artistic director Orwa Nyrabia, who in his opening speech referred to the inestimable importance of artistic authenticity, pluralism, and dialogue. The festival, which takes place at several venues around Amsterdam, runs until November 25. The winners of the various competitions will be announced on Wednesday, November 21.

Before the screening of the opening film, Minister Kaag gave a speech in which she spoke about the importance of filmmakers and film programmers who are able to transmit and depict the ideas, images, and emotions of others. Creative documentaries can make us reflect, see, and experience in such a way that we, as audiences, are prepared to stand up for others and build better societies with more democracy, more openness, and more humanity.

Nyrabia, who has taken over as artistic director for IDFA 2018, then talked in his opening speech about the focus devoted to inclusivity within the festival. According to Nyrabia, this is something that lies at the heart of IDFA: a deeply rooted belief in the value of artistic freedom, in pluralism, and the importance of pluralism in our everyday lives, both locally and in the wider world. A film festival is a place for dialogue, for questions, for curiosity, and for discoveries. Nyrabia expressed the view that artistic authenticity is the antidote to lies and manipulation. Nyrabia also announced a new cooperation between the Netherlands Film Fund with the IDFA Bertha Fund to stimulate international co-production between Dutch producers and filmmakers from non-Western countries…

www.idfa.nl


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Aboozar Amini: Kabul, City in the Wind

Written 15-11-2018 06:36:05 by Tue Steen Mller

Aboozar Amini: Kabul, City in the Wind

It’s about creating the feeling of being there. To quote Richard Leacock. First time feature length director Afghan Aboozar Amini, who emigrated from the country when a teenager, was educated in Holland and in the UK, does that. Takes us there, to the dusty and windy and dirty Afghan capital Kabul, where he lets us meet three protagonists: a bus driver Abas and two kids, brothers, the small Benjamin and the bigger Afshin.

The brothers live up the hill of the city – with another brother Hussein, too



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Conference on Film Schools in Saint Petersburg

Written 12-11-2018 10:36:41 by Tue Steen Mller

Conference on Film Schools in Saint Petersburg

I have for years been visiting Saint Petersburg – for the Message2Man festival or for seminars/workshops organized by dear friends Ludmila Nazaruk and Viktor Skubey. In 2016 Skubey organized the conference “How to Reach the Audience”, which was filmed and is to be found on

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXGMu-9ScJZDOvizeYvODkUzJsAql15e7

This year a one-day conference will take place with the headline “How to Educate Students to Meet the Cinema and TV Audience. Art and/or Craft”. With 4 speakers from outside Russia and 4 from Russia. Viktor Skubey (producer, president of the filmmakers non-fiction/tv guild and teacher at the St. Petersburg Institute of film and television, were the conference takes place) asked me to moderate the conference and pick the non-Russian speakers for a set-up that is classical: 30 minutes presentation, 15 minutes of discussion.

Polish Krzysztof Kopczynski will be the first foreign speaker. I have asked him



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

The Five EFA Documentary Nominations

Written 10-11-2018 20:06:59 by Tue Steen Mller

The Five EFA Documentary Nominations

Don’t want to start arguing that this or that documentary film could also have been nominated – the five that made it are all very good films, congratulations. The winner will be announced December 15 at the ceremony in Sevilla. Among these – four of them have been reviewed on this site:

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4093/

Bernadett Tuza-Ritter: A Woman Captured

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4094/

Talal Derki: Of Fathers and Sons

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4268/

Simon Lereng Wilmont: The Distant Barking of Dogs

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4296/

Jane Magnusson: Bergman – A Year in a Life

Almudena Carracedo, Robert Bahar: The Silence of Others

As festival programmer happy to say that the films of Talal Derki and Simon Lereng Wilmont were screened at DocsBarcelona . “A Woman Captured” was wanted but got a no from the distributor and the Spanish was at other festivals. Wilmont won the first prize.

At Magnificent7 in Belgrade (seven films, seven days, a huge audience) Wilmont showed his film for the always interested Serbian audience.

https://www.europeanfilmawards.eu/en_EN/nomination-current


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Israel: The Loyalty in Culture bill

Written 07-11-2018 20:11:41 by Tue Steen Mller

Israel: The Loyalty in Culture bill

... a major threat for freedom, a major threat for cinema

Is the headline for at text I received from filmmaker Avi Mograbi, who wants readers/filmmakers outside Israel to know about a proposal put forward by the Minister of Culture in Israel. If you want to sign - like the filmakers above do - a protest, please contact Avi Mograbi  (mograbi@netvision.net.il) or French Jean-Michel Frodon (jmfrodon@gmail.com). Photo from Mograbi's film "Between Fences". Here is the text:

In the last twenty years, Israeli cinema has been thriving. This boom did not happen by chance. The Film Law (1999), which infused the film funds with unprecedented public funding, was instrumental to this flourishing. Similarly, numerous co-production agreements signed with various European and North American countries injected quite a lot of money into Israeli productions and helped raise the production values of Israeli films. Another important factor in this blossoming is openness. Many Israeli films have dealt openly with sensitive social and political issues from a critical perspective. The openness testifies for a healthy and strong growing cinematic culture.

But now, the government of Israel is in the process of amending the Culture and Arts Law (2002) with a “Loyalty in Culture” bill. The Minister of Culture will have the right to cut the budgets of bodies supported by the Ministry of Culture should they in turn support works that:



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Polemics, Directors

DOK Leipzig

Written 07-11-2018 11:02:13 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig

… 2018 ended. Was it good or bad? I normally watch all the films in the main international competition, the long documentaries to make my own hit list. This year it was not possible. I watched three, the winner of three awards Claudia Tosi’s “I Had a Dream”, Alina Gorvola’s “No Obvious Signs” that received the regional broadcaster MDR’s award and Sergei Loznitsa’s “The Trial” that got no prize, which was completely wrong. Excellent films, I would say.

Being at the festival was good, as it has been all the years I have been there, invited by Claas Danielsen and now Leena Pasanen. I liked the putting together of the program done by the selection committee, and I can easily see – without taking part – that the industry section is being taken care of with enthusiasm and professionalism by Brigid O'Shea.

Atmosphere… is crucial for a festival, and DOKLeipzig manages to create it.



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sergey Loznitsa: The Trial

Written 05-11-2018 20:36:04 by Tue Steen Mller

Sergey Loznitsa: The Trial

No doubt, Sergey Loznitsa is the master of making creative archive documentaries – a part of his impressive oeuvre that also includes fiction films and documentaries like “Austerlitz” - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3841/

in the archive films he stands out with films like “Blockade” (2005), “The Event” (2015) and “Maidan” (2014).

“The Trial” is more than two hours long, you have to be fresh in head and interested in history, I was the first one afternoon at DokLeipzig and I am more and more being drawn to films that deal with history, especially Soviet & Russian.

“The Trial” is astonishing. Let me give you the annotation from the Venice festival website, where it had its premiere:

“Moscow, USSR. 1930. The Pillar Hall of the State House of the Unions. A group of top rank economists and engineers is put on trial accused of plotting a coup d’état against the Soviet government. It’s alleged that they made a secret pact with the French Prime Minister, Raymond Poincaré, aiming to destroy the Soviet power and restore capitalism. All charges are fabricated and the accused are forced to confess to the crimes they never committed. The court delivers death verdicts. Unique archive footage reconstructs one of the first show trials, masterminded by Stalin. The drama is real, but the story is fake. The film gives an unprecedented insight into the origins of a deadly regime, which made the slogan “Lie is Truth” its everyday reality…”

To give you an impression of how the film looks like, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wlNu32e01k

that is a three minutes long trailer of the film, made for IDFA where the film will have three screenings as part of the Masters section. The man speaking is Sitinin, working at a textile factory. He confesses to have been drawn into a group called “Industrial Party” – it never existed – that worked in sabotage against the Soviet government. Loznitsa lets the confessions go the whole way, confessions made through the 11-day process under excellent filming, where you see that the packed hall and its spectators again and again had to protect their eyes – from the sunshine or from the light put up for filming?

And again and again the prosecutor Andrey Vyshinsky (1883-1954) (who was also at the Nürnberg trials, Stalin’s man, who later became minister of foreign affairs and the Soviet representative at the United Nations) – again and again he brought up the question of the foreign involvement in planning an overthrow of the Soviet government.

How did this happen, said Vitaly Mansky in his talk at the festival in Leipzig. How could these intelligent men become shadows of themselves and confess something they never did? In the film you see that they all promise – if they are not shot – to remorse and serve the country loyally.

Vyshinsky is leading the Court of the Proletariat, the hall is full and applauds when death penalty is given to several of the accused – and Loznitsa brings in images from the streets where banners proclaim “death to the saboteurs”.

It’s an amazingly (film) historical documentation that Loznitsa presents in this 129 minutes long film shot in the 1930’es in the Soviet Union.

Actuality, Russia today…? Oh yes, in many ways.

Read the post below the background for the film written by the director.   


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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sergey Loznitsa: The Trial/ 2

Written 05-11-2018 20:29:19 by Tue Steen Mller

Sergey Loznitsa: The Trial/ 2

I started working on a film about Stalin’s show trials, which were held in the USSR in 1930s, a couple of years ago. My initial idea was to edit the footage from different trials in order to show how the machine of Soviet terror was established, and how the system gradually took over the minds of innocent citizens. However, soon after I began studying archive materials, I discovered the footage, which I found to be absolutely unique. I decided to make the film in such a way, as to give the spectators a chance to spend two hours in the USSR in 1930: to see and to experience the moment, when the machine of state terror, created by Stalin, was launched into action. My intention was to reconstruct the trial stage by stage. We restored and kept all the sound that was recorded in 1930. The only commentary I allowed myself to make in the entire film is right at the very end. I need this commentary in order to tell the truth, since it is impossible to learn the truth from any other episode of this documentary film. In fact, Process is a unique example of a documentary, in which one sees “24 frames of lies” per second.


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Torben Skjdt Jensen: Carl Th. Dreyer min metier

Written 05-11-2018 14:15:09 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Torben Skjdt Jensen: Carl Th. Dreyer  min metier

”De vil lave en film om mig? Men jeg er da ikke interessant. Det er mine film som er interessante.” Carl Th. Dreyers svar dengang for længe siden var til en anden instruktør, en forgænger, men Torben Skjødt Jensen tager i sin film konsekvensen fuldt ud, han laver sin store filmbiografi som en omfattende og dyb overvejelse af alle Dreyers store og små film, af deres æstetik, som de konsekvent etablerer som ufravigelig stil og af den poetik, de afsætter som konsekvens, og som Dreyer selv formulerer, såvel strengt og generelt som i præcise detaljer hentet til filmen fra arkivstof og fra hans omfattende litterære arbejde.

Og det er jo så stil, ligesom den filmmåde jeg har mødt i Skjødt Jensens film al tid, men som først fæstnede sig som stil i min forståelse med Flâneur, 1993 ved en visning i en meget stor biograf i Clairmont-Ferrand. Hans film hører hjemme i biografen. Det er jo fotograferingens drømmende skarphed, musikkens arkitektur i en fremmedheds velkendthed, sætningernes helt nye gammeldags alvor, alt samlet i collagens tillid til associationens relevans af klippenes blide konsekvens.



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Categories: Cinema, Film History, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

DOK Leipzig Vitaly Mansky and Putin

Written 04-11-2018 23:13:30 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig Vitaly Mansky and Putin

You have to be careful with "vonhörensagen" but in this case it had its influence on the talk with Vitaly Mansky, that took place friday afternoon at the Polish Institute in Leipzig, a couple of hours after his film had been screened at the Cinestar Cinema. At the Q&A after the cinema screening of “Putin’s Witnesses”, he was attacked for having made a propaganda film for Putin. One of the attacks came from Viktor Kossakovsky, who according to my sources was pretty rude towards Mansky. It was apparent that the two do not think high of each other.

Is it a propaganda film the moderator, Barbara Wurm (very competent university teacher and festival advisor) asked Mansky picking up on the discussion in the cinema - after she had introduced the film as a kind of found footage and characterized Mansky as one, who has introduced the family chronicle film as a genre in post-Soviet Russia.

A good point I think, Mansky masters the personal commentary and it is nothing but a scoop that he is using material he made at the beginning of Putin’s period as president, where he, Putin – they are talking to each other as if they were old buddies – praises the democracy: I am happy that after a certain period I can go back to a normal life. You can’t do that in a monarchy. 18 years later he is still there – and the democracy does not function, if you are allowed to put(in) it like that!

A pan shot in the room where Putting salutes the victory after the election has been held, is accompanied by a commentary by Mansky, who mentions that most of the people in the room are now in opposition. That the mastermind behind Putin taking over from Yeltsin in 2000 – after the sensational New Year television speech where Yeltsin apologizes – forgive me, he says - his retirement and makes Putin an ad hoc President – is Yeltsin’s daughter Tatyana. Mansky makes that pretty clear. The publicity clip Mansky made for Putin was broadcast the night before the election!

One more sentence from Putin: Our main goal is to make people believe in everything we say and do. Did you hear what he said, Mansky almost whispers to us!

Mansky who now lives in Riga, was doubtful, he said, if his festival ArtDocFest will be allowed to continue, a festival of high quality including critical films – see http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4373/ - as there is now a law on its way that will limit the possibilities for the festivals in Russia. Colleagues have made an open letter against the proposal and asked Mansky NOT to sign, as he – Mansky – thinks the law proposal is made because of ArtDocfest

Well. There are many assumptions in this small documentary world. Mansky’s film is important, well made and actual. He takes a standpoint – others think that not having a position is a position, he said with a hint to colleague Kossakovsky. You have to define your position and start from there.

Vitaly Mansky has a long and really important filmography to study - go to https://dafilms.com where his films are to be found  


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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