Rembrandt, Ukrainians, Eisenstein, Goldin

Written 09-12-2016 15:09:53 by Tue Steen Müller

And what do they have in common? I will tell you in this small report from New York, where everyone talks about – well, you know who, we had to struggle to pass his blocked corner at his Tower on fifth Avenue, where media people and visitors were waiting to get a glimpse of the president-elect. OMG.

Earlier that day we had the pleasure to meet with Dar’ya Averchenko and Roman Bondarchuk, who came from Los Angeles, where they had been promoting their ”Ukrainian Sheriffs” for the Oscars, with several screenings and presentations also in New York – and now they are back in Kiev to take part in the preparations of the Docudays festival in March. I am looking forward to be there again and take part.

With Dar’ya and Roman we were talking about Odessa, a city that

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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDA Awards to be Given Friday in LA

Written 08-12-2016 01:37:02 by Tue Steen Müller

IDA, The International Documentary Association, is awarding documentary filmmakers and films this coming friday at a ceremony in Los Angeles. It is now ”award season” as they say in the US film circles and the IDA event is one of those events that come before the Oscars and which is considered to say something about/predict, who will compete at the Academy Awards. IDA is an association that on its website  has this fine sentence: Documentary storytelling expands our understanding of shared human experience, fostering an informed, compassionate, and connected world.

For those who miss the DOX Magazine you should know that IDA publishes the Documentary Magazine – it’s all on the website, see below.

For readers of this site you should know that four of the nominated six films for the Best Feature Award have been reviewed or reported on: ”O.J.: Made in America” by Ezra Edelman, ”Cameraperson” (PHOTO) by Kirsten Johnson, ”Weiner” by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg, and the only non-American film on the list, ”Fire at Sea” by Gianfranco Rosi. Johnson is also nominated in the short category for ”The Above” and for Best Editing (Nels Bangerter). Rosi is also on the list for ”Fire at Sea”.

There are many other awards – I have absolutely no objection to a Pioneer Award to Ally Derks, who steps down as director of IDFA after having started the whole thing more than twenty years ago, a festival that this year had 280.000 tickets sold or given out. And bravo to those administering the Pare Lorentz Award to give that to beautiful ”Starless Dreams” by Iranian Mehrdad Oskouei.

Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

A Visual Weekend in Philadelphia

Written 05-12-2016 20:10:43 by Tue Steen Müller


must include a visit to the extraordinary Barnes Foundation. We were there thanks to Philly citizens Anita Reher, ex-EDN and now running the Flaherty in New York, and Robert Goodman, photographer and film teacher. So first some words about the ”…mission of the Barnes Foundation, which dates back to its founding in 1922, is “the promotion of the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts…”. For the dramatic history of the foundation and its locations, its founder Dr. Barnes and his passion for collecting Renoir, Cezanne, Modigliani, Degas, Soutine, van Gogh and many many others, I will advice you to read the entry at wikipedia. The collection itself is amazing. A gem for art lovers.

The beautiful museum in the centre of Philly was opened a few years ago with rooms arranged and paintings hanging as they did in the old place, according to Barnes (who died in 1951) wishes and vision. So when you enter a room the walls are packed with lovely art, a visual bombardment that does not care about genres and –isms, but have the individual pieces speak to each other.

That’s the permanent exhibition but before looking on that, we went for ”Live and Life Will Give You Pictures: Masterworks of French Photography 1890-1950”. Thematically organised you were offered to watch lots of Cartier-Bresson, Brassaï (oh Paris…), André Kertész as well as Man Ray, who is born in Philadelphia.

The photo taken for this text reflects ”the decisive moment”, to quote Cartier-Bresson, where Robert Goodman, Anita Reher and Ellen Fonnesbech studied the exhibition of photographic masterworks.

Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Torben Skjødt Jensen: Flâneurtrilogien

Written 04-12-2016 19:53:36 by Allan Berg Nielsen

For nogen tid siden skrev Torben Skjødt Jensen på sin Facebookside at en blogger i USA var optaget af hans tredje Flâneurfilm fra 1998: ”Walter Benjamin FB-siden har fundet en omtale af 2 film om Walter Benjamin hvoraf den ene er den som Peter Hallberg og jeg lavede i 1998, Benjamins Skygge - og de kan godt li' den... rart! Følg linket herunder og så kan man faktisk også se filmen - godt nok i en frygtelig YouTube opløsning, men med engelske undertekster - og det er jo bedre end ingenting for jeg kan desværre ikke overtale DFI til at min Flâneur-trilogi burde være på Filmcentralen/Filmstriben - de er åbenbart lidt for meget kunst til danske øjne!”


Jeg husker de tre sindrigt sammenhængende, kloge, omhyggeligt udførte film og fulgte selvfølgelig linket (som findes nedenfor) og læste: “… In the 1998 film, Flâneur III: Benjamin’s Shadow, Danish director Torben Skjødt Jensen and writer Ulf Peter Hallberg collaborate on an impressionistic black-and-white meditation on Paris, overlaid with Hallberg’s ruminations and quotations from Benjamin. Benjamin’s fascination with nineteenth-century Paris drove his massive, unfinished Arcades Project, an excavation of the inner workings of modernity. Where John Hughes’ One Way Street: Fragments for Walter Benjamin, 1992 is marked by a very dated 90’s aesthetic (which may look chic now that the decade’s back in fashion), the above film (Torben Skjødt Jensen's) is both classical and modernist, a testament to the beauties and contradictions of Paris. I think in this respect, it is a more fitting tribute to the critical and contradictory aesthetic theory of Walter Benjamin. “ (Josh Jones, a writer and musician based in Washington, DC @jdmagness)

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Categories: Film History, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Shadow Girl Wins 3 awards in Valparaiso

Written 01-12-2016 14:10:49 by Tue Steen Müller

And I got more news from Docsbarcelona Valparaiso – the beautiful film ”Shadow Girl” that premiered in Barcelona at the DocsBarcelona in May received three awards at the festival: The National Award, the Audience Award and the Interactive Award. The latter was given in connection with the Interactive workshop at the festival. Wow for a film that I wrote about in May:

… And then to the cinema to sit next to Maria Teresa Larrain in a cinema, where her ”Shadow Girl” had its second screening at the festival, where she pitched the film a couple of years ago. The film is strong and emotional in its description of how Maria Teresa grows blind, a film that is without sentimentality but full of reflections on what it means to become blind. She meets blind street vendors, she shows the film to them and it is said that the worst thing about getting blind is to lose your dignity. Maria Teresa does not, she is a role model of great courage in a film that has a clever personal text from her and a visual flow of colours. It must have a long festival life and come on broadcasters, this is also for you, or for us television viewers!...

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Syrian Love Story Wins in Valparaiso

Written 01-12-2016 01:11:08 by Tue Steen Müller

The entreprenant director of DocsBarcelona Joan Gonzalez is also director of DocsBarcelona Valparaiso in Chile, the first edition with a national and an international competition, training sessions – as he proudly texted me some days ago: In the city where Joris Ivens made his film essay ”a Valparaiso” in 1963, which is available for free on vimeo. Link below. Chris Marker wrote the script, Patricio Guzman was one of the cameramen.

The festival closed tonight and the winner was – again – Sean McAllister with his ”A Syrian Love Story”. Here is what I wrote way back reviewing the film: 

…there are few documentarians who like McAllister, goes from the journalistic point of view and the anynomous reportage, to be a true storyteller who captures your attention fully because of the closeness to the characters he can create, because he always involves himself - he is in this case an intruder into the lives and destinies of a refugee family that he met in 2009 and kept a close relation to until this year, 2015…

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

VOD for Arabic Creative Documentaries

Written 30-11-2016 21:50:14 by Tue Steen Müller

I had the pleasure to meet Palestinian Reem Bader at the Antalya Film Forum earlier this autumn. She told me about the vod platform she was involved in building up. It looks great. Let me quote from the site:

”Welcome to Minaa video on demand VOD, the first in the world to specialize in harboring, streaming and celebrating Arabic creative documentaries. Each month, you will be introduced to creative docs that are new to Minaa collection and invited to join interactive events with directors. As not to miss an event, we encourage you to join Minaa mailing list and its social media channels.

This fall, Minaa is happy to present it’s newest feature: Collections

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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Web

Flying Film Festival 2017

Written 30-11-2016 20:19:22 by Tue Steen Müller

No, we normally don’t promote festivals calling for films, but there are exceptions like this one. A festival in the air, with Francesca Scalisi and Mark Olexa as captains. These are the words from the cockpit, and a link to what I wrote about the edition 2015:

“Fasten your seatbelt. A new edition of the Flying Film Festival is about to take off! We will start accepting applications to participate in the highest altitude festival in the world from January 2017!!!”

Visit their FB page.

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Diedie Weng: The Beekeeper and His Son

Written 28-11-2016 09:24:58 by Tue Steen Müller

China, the country of so many stories that we have not yet heard. Here is one. A beautiful one, premiered at the festival in Nyon, a multilayered work, as a good documentary should be, about countryside/city, generation conflicts in a family, man and animals, modern life and old age and so on so forth, I could go on and if it looks like a conceptual social documentary, it’s my fault in describing what is a well told family story with interesting characters, who are developed as the film develops. First of all the two mentioned in the title, the 71 old beekeeper, who struggles to make his profession survive, it’s not easy and to his big

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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA: Kogusashvili/ Sarvestani/ Hendrikx

Written 27-11-2016 15:42:31 by Tue Steen Müller

Three more brief reviews of ”Gogita’s New Life” (Levan Koguashvili), ”Prison Sisters” (Nima Sarvestani) and ”Stranger in Paradise” (Guido Hendrikx). With some genre simplification: A docu-comedy, a journalistic/humanistic documentary and a hybrid documentary.

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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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