IDA: Getting Real

Written 09-02-2016 19:28:18 by Tue Steen Müller

Simon Kilmurry – previously at the POV, now in his new position as executive director of the IDA (International Documentary Association) – asked me to write about the upcoming conference of the association, ”Getting Real”, that has the headline ”Art. Diversity. Sustainability”. If you click on the link below you get more information and are asked to fill in a survey with important questions concerning the documentary genre – I did so, interesting questions, do the same.

Also, you can from the website link to a weekly ”Essential Doc Reads”, text clips on the art of documentary and to ”Documentary Magazine”, that also comes in print. Much to profit from if you make documentaries or are following it as er do on this site.

Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Jargil og Sønderby Jepsen: Til døden os skiller /1

Written 07-02-2016 14:58:55 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Det dokumentariske still her er uden nåde ærligt, men bag det ligger i dets filmscene også medfølelsen, som Mira Jargils og Christian Sønderby Jepsens værk, deres tv-dokumentar ikke et øjeblik forlader men langsomt undersøger og folder ud over tre aftener på TV2. Det ved Anders Kristensen, manden på fotoet godt, det er han indforstået med, han lægger alle sine muligheder for sprogets præcision ind i sine replikker og livsbeskrivelser. Han ved også godt at han skal drikke med sugerør og mades med et viskestykke under hagen resten af sin tid, men det er han imidlertid ikke indforstået med, ikke endnu. Resignationen ligger og venter, men han er ikke nået til den, han vil ikke skilles. Det er hustruen imidlertid ved at være parat til. Hans flytning til plejehjemmet er nok næste gang eller næste igen ikke den midlertidige aflastning i et kort ophold, nej, det er en flytning for al tid, en adskillelse. En skilsmisse i virkeligheden.

Jargil og Sønderby Jepsen har to ledende medvirkende mere, en mand og en kvinde i samme situation. Denne mand, Vagn er som Anders Kristensen tæt på opgivet af sin hustru, som ikke længere kan trænge igennem til hans lukkede tankeverden, ikke leve med hans svigtende hukommelse. En lang intens scene skildrer begivenheden hvor hans hånd på hans vegne nægter at skrive under på ansøgningen om en plejehjemsplads. Mildt beslutsomt skriver en datter under scenens stille, nervøse venten endelig under på hans vegne. Hans hånd har resigneret og han er skilt i virkeligheden.

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Categories: TV, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Magnificent7 Belgrade/Final Report

Written 07-02-2016 11:46:21 by Tue Steen Müller

I am back in Copenhagen after another unforgettable version of the Magnificent7 Festival, number 12 it was and of course there is reason for the organizers to be proud of what they have achieved with a festival of 7 films, one film per night, non-competitive, focus on the makers of the films, excellent picture and sound, Q&A sessions with the makers of around 1 hour, a workshop every day lasting 2 hours for young filmmakers - and for us invited guests a hospitality that is second to none.

Statistics: 6200 sold tickets, 2500 free tickets - for seven screenings - all together 8700. A record in the history of the festival.

The production team of the festival to be honoured, filmmakers themselves all of them: Jelena Stankovic, Sonja Dekic, Mila Turejlic, Andrijana Stojkovic, Iva Plemic Divjak. Press was done by Milica Novkovic. Nevena Djonlic was the programme coordinator, Svetlana and Zoran Popovic festival directors and selectors together with me (Serbian spelling) Tue Stin Mileric. Many more helped, check the website.

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Staron's on Brothers

Written 04-02-2016 16:48:57 by Tue Steen Müller

Wojciech and Malgorzata Staron were in the vip room yesterday after the screening of their masterpiece ”Brothers” that was shown in the big hall of the Sava Center in Belgrade at the Magnificent7 festival. Almost 1000 viewers attended and I can not recall such a almost sacred silence of total attention in many of the sequences. To mention one: the older brother is putting on a sock with the help of pliers. The focus is on the foot and the action, the director/cameraman dares to let the camera watch – not a sound is heard in the cinema hall. Noone is checking emails, noone is chatting with the neighbour, it’s magic, because the film is magic! Because every image is composed beauty.

We were all the time during he years trying to find a balance, not to give a lot of information, we were searching for a language. We wanted to make a film in the present, not about the past.

Especially the older brother, the one who had done filming himself, was interested in our filming, also because we used several different digital cameras during the years we were filming.

The problem was that many times they were more interested in talking to us than to each other, when we came. So we were waiting for situations to come up.

Alfons, the painter, thought that the film would be about him as an artist!

One is an Artist of Life, he worked as a cartographer, the other is a dreamer. We met them in 1994, we were 20, they were 70, we became friends and kind of part of their family in Poland. They had to re-learn Polish, when they came home – and Russian when they wanted to speak about something that we should not hear!

A love story, one in the audience asked the couple. Yes, I was searching for the love between them, Wojciech Staron said. I think I found it… Oh, yes, you did indeed!

Photo: the Staron’s behind the brothers.

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Jerzy Sladkowski on his film Don Juan

Written 04-02-2016 16:11:02 by Tue Steen Müller

Jerzy Sladkowski’s ”Don Juan” was shown here in Belgrade the other night and his Q&A meeting with the audience in the vip room of the Sava Center lasted for more an hour in a packed room, where many were sitting or lying on the floor.

Sladkowski talked so well about the film, assisted by his cameraman Wojciech Staron, that I decided to quote him (almost) word by word, of course in an edited version.

JS: Earlier it was called Gorki, now it is Nizhny Novgorod and I wanted to make a ”feeling good/ feeling better” film on how therapists in a clinic there were healing people with traumas. Through humour. It’s Russia and Chekhov, and I wanted to work in the field between humour and sadness. We went there for research but there was no humour. We woke up in deep shit, so to say. But then Wojciech (Staron) came. To observe. He moved the camera around and said that it always stopped at this boy, Oleg. It would not have been my first choice. But then I heard him

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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Cosima Spender: Palio

Written 04-02-2016 15:07:43 by Tue Steen Müller

Taken from the site of the Magnificent7 festival in Belgrade ( this text is written by festival directors Svetlana and Zoran Popovic about the film to be shown tonight at the Sava Center in Belgrade:

For centuries, one of the most beautiful old city-republics in Italy, Siena, two times a year becomes divided with conflicts, when all residents, from the youngest to the elderly live for Palio - one of the oldest horse races in the world. It is a specific time machine that magically revives Renaissance costumes, flags, coats of arms and trumpets, ceases everything with its primordial force and completely enchants both observers and participants. This is a real battle for prestige turned into a symbolic competition of horses and riders held in a surprising place - in the very center of Siena, on the largest city square. Old ritual lives its intense life even today with never reduced passions without scruples - turbulent Mediterranean mentality and dark tradition of political intrigues of the past times haunt freely, like a ghost, all the citizens, and no one is spared, not even the players or horses.

The director of the film, Cosima Spender, who grew up in Siena, develops this visually attractive, lavish spectacle, showing us Palio from the perspective of four generations of the best, most important race winners; from those who made the most brilliant recent history to the newest and youngest one who is preparing for a relentless battle to realize his biggest dream. The author of "Palio" conceived and developed a real exciting, cinematic film, with extraordinary photography, carefully interwoven dramaturgical flows, which achieves its dramatic climax in the events that really take your breath away! Exceptionally credited with the most attractive moments in the film, especially during the racing scenes, is the brilliant editor Valerio Bonelli, awarded for his superb work at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

"Palio" is a great and memorable cinematic feast!

Director’s Word: I grew up with the Palio so I was uniquely placed to gain the trust of everyone involved in the film and our narrator character was able to open doors which are normally closed to outsiders. Yet as a foreigner (I work out of London and my parentage is Anglo-American), I shared the jockeys' ambiguous relationship with Siena, and that is what I wanted to capture in this film. 

Review on Filmkommentaren by Sara Thelle: link

Great Britain, 2015, 92 mins.

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Wojciech Staroń: Brothers

Written 03-02-2016 08:56:17 by Tue Steen Müller

Taken from the site of the Magnificent7 festival in Belgrade ( this text is written by festival directors Svetlana and Zoran Popovic about the film to be shown tonight at the Sava Center in Belgrade:

From the very first moment of the film, from the first wonderful scene, an unusual and poetic story unfolds in front of us, a story about two brothers and their still unsettled life history that surrounds them. This documentary takes you on the small country roads lined with meadows, in beautiful, blossoming fields, in the dark forests where two old charismatic men are walking through - a painter, constantly in search of what excites his creative spirit, and the other one, who looks like his reflection in the mirror, and who managed, like in fairy tales, to get rid of the physical connection with the character and to become its opposite - a silent, reliable companion and protector. And whatever happens, from wandering through the landscapes full of colors and impressions, riding with no apparent purpose and reason, to everyday situations

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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sylvain Biegeleisen

Written 03-02-2016 08:41:30 by Tue Steen Müller

I just said goodbye to him, the director of ”Twilight of a Life”, who has played an important role in this 12th edition of the Magnificent7 festival in Belgrade. He came with his film about which I wrote – before the premiere in Nyon – ”…emotional it is, long time ago that I have watched a film with a smile on my face the whole way through and a tear in my eyes…”.

I had the same reaction, when I watched it here in Belgrade with the more than added value to experience the charismatic director as one who wants to follow his film, whereever he can, doing (as he did here) a masterclass, a Q&A session and a workshop.

A few words about the workshop: Sylvain Biegeleisen was together with a small group of young people from morning till afternoon. He told them that he was there to realise his ”One Day One Film” with the theme ”Memories”, with the participants being invited to bring a photo or an object to talk about what that means for them. ”My part was to be their humble servant”, Biegeleisen said, when he

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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Jerzy Śladkowski: Don Juan

Written 02-02-2016 09:44:46 by Tue Steen Müller

Taken from the site of the Magnificent7 festival in Belgrade ( this text is written by festival directors Svetlana and Zoran Popovic about the film to be shown tonight at the Sava Center in Belgrade:

This year's winner of Europe's largest documentary film festival in Amsterdam, IDFA, without a doubt is one of the best documentaries produced in recent years. The initial idea of the author was to make a film about psychiatric institutions and patients in Russia, and even during the first researches suddenly appeared Oleg, a young man trapped by autism, and his mother convinced that her son can and should do more to improve his life. Especially when it comes to women. And Oleg begins long battles to learn how to become Don Juan, to pierce even a little the armor that safely shields him from the world and girls. The camera begins to follow his therapies that slowly multiply and start turning into an interesting odyssey - from conventional conversation, to shocking, grotesque procedures, and finally to making the theater.

Following his hero, Jerzy Slatkovski with his team, in which an

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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Magnificent7 Belgrade/ Report 3

Written 01-02-2016 19:13:46 by Tue Steen Müller

They got up from their chairs but did not leave right away, they stayed to honour the filmmaker, whose ”Mallory” had just ended. Helena Třeštíková received standing ovations for her film at the screening at the Sava Center, where it was number 3 of the 7 films selected for the Magnificent7 festival.

… and maybe also for her work in total – her unique method of long term observational documentary filmmaking that she talked so well about this morning at the masterclass for young filmmakers. Třeštíková brought clips from her films – to mention some: ”René”, ”Katka”, ”Marcela” – and raised the questions of ethical nature and basically how she establishes a contact/ an agreement with her protagonists. I have seen all three previous films mentioned before but the clips made me want to come back to them – they are all available on DocAlliance, link below, price for a film 2€!

Especially ”René”, about this intelligent young man, who goes in and out of prison, robs the home of the director at one point, tells her that in the beginning of their filming relationship (that has lasted 20 years!), he was a bit in love with her, that he has seen her more during the years than he has seen his mother… He is now out of prison, lives with a dancer and her child, a film star after he has been on television several times. (Czech television broadcasts her works in primetime).

Třeštíková is now working on 15 projects! Wow, what a filmmaker!

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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