Dimitra Kouzi: Good Morning Mr Fotis

Written 26-01-2021 12:08:57 by Tue Steen Mller

Dimitra Kouzi: Good Morning Mr Fotis

In these times of lockdown all over, where kids sit at home meeting their classmates, and their teacher(s), via a computer, this is a film that can show us how important it is that children are together, when they are together in a class at school – and that they have a teacher for whom the profession is a calling. Mr Fotis is his name and he is the teacher that I would have loved to have.

The kids in the multicultural primary school in Athens profit from his passion and ability to make the 6-12 year old girls and boys interested, listen, be creative and first of all take part in their own individual development; maybe without knowing it, but some of them will never forget – and all right I also had teachers wayyyy back who taught me how to navigate in this crazy world.

The observational documentary, the first film of Dimitra Kouzi as director and producer, is one of those that makes you smile through the 70 minutes it lasts. Because of the kids and their energy, sometimes no-energy because they have to stay up late to pray, because of the interaction between them and Mr Fotis, who builds up his teaching step by step with the goal that the class performs a play with references to Greek culture and myths. ”Where will you be in 10 years”, Mr Fotis asks the kids and they answer… none of them will be in Greece, as one puts it ”Greece has a Past but no future”! Strong words from children! 

There are water fights in the schoolyard, there are small episodes where the background of the kids is revealed, there are many fine poetic moments caught by the very active camera. Wonderful. The director knew what she was looking for. And if you wait and are patient, magical moments will come forward. Actually it is lovely to watch Mr Fotis and his smile and whole warm attitude towards the children. A teacher with will and curiosity, who wants to give the children a fundament in life. 

Of course the film has been used as an inspiration for teachers to see what you can achieve with the right attitude and commitment. It has been part of workshops for teachers who have intercultural classes as well as in film education. Happy to read that in material provided by Dimitra Kouzi, and happy to see small clips with some of the children made for the promotion of the screening at Thessaloniki Documentary FF. 

Greece, 70 mins., 2020


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Bar Mario Closed

Written 20-01-2021 15:54:23 by Tue Steen Mller

Bar Mario Closed

I got a mail this morning that made me sad but also made me think of many many good visits to the bar next door the Zelig Film School in Bolzano. The mail came from Stefano Lisci, here is the beginning: 

… Ciao Tue, It's Stefano Lisci from Zelig. How are you? Here in Bolzano I am a little bit tired for the corona...but good! I write to tell you that Bar Mario had to close! Marina and Paolo had the corona virus, it was a long convalescence, especially for Paolo that was positive for 3 moths. Now they are good…

”Those who have visited the film school know what I am talking about, for those who don’t know: The Bar Mario is next door to the Zelig film school and for students, staff and teachers this is the place you go in the breaks to have a coffee, or where you drink a beer at the end of the day. And where you will meet the captain Marina, the cook Roberto and Paolo – who live there behind the door on which ”privato” is written.

Here is a quote from an article on this site written in 2016, where the film ”Bar Mario” that Stefano directed, had its premiere:

”Bar Mario” is a film that enters to the ”privato”, to the world of the three, in a chaptered, visually impressive story that takes us viewers on board a ship that has crossed mountains to be here, among mountains. The father of Marina, Mario, was a sailor and she has taken over his job to conduct the ship of life in good and harsh weather. She, and the film, does so in a warm, sweet and compassionate way. And with the fun and atmosphere that reigns in the Bar.” The film went to several festivals in Italy, well deserved, and now, as the bar is closed (and the cook Roberto has passed away last year) – and small local bars like this all over have to close due to the pandemic – I can only recommend you to watch it – Stefano had put it on line, price a bit more than 3$:

Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Nicolas Philibert Interviewed

Written 17-01-2021 14:52:55 by Tue Steen Mller

Nicolas Philibert Interviewed

… In le Monde by Jacques Mandelbaum, film critic at the newspaper since 1995. You have to be a subscriber of le Monde to read the whole interview. I have taken the liberty to quote from the excellent meeting with the great French filmmaker:

« Nicolas Philibert, 70 ans, est une figure tutélaire du documentaire en France après quarante ans d’activité dans le domaine. A toutes fins utiles, un rappel de son parcours pour la route. Démarrage en 1978 avec La Voix de son maître, coréalisé avec Gérard Mordillat, entretien avec douze grands patrons de l’époque et chronique discrète de la mutation capitaliste en cours, pas suffisamment toutefois pour n’être pas censurée durant treize ans. »

« … Nicolas Philibert a pris la direction régulière, depuis quelques mois, du quai de la Rapée, dans le 12earrondissement de Paris, où est accostée la péniche de l’Adamant, centre psychiatrique de jour dépendant des hôpitaux de Saint-Maurice (Val-de-Marne). »

« Filmer le désordre mental : Rien d’évident toutefois, pour beaucoup de raisons. La première, naturellement, consiste à filmer le désordre mental. Terrain instable, souffrance humaine, fragilité de tout, risque avéré du pittoresque. La seconde, non moins prégnante, est la pandémie qui sévit depuis dix mois. Nicolas Philibert, qui habite à Paris, s’estime à cet égard relativement chanceux : « Contrairement à beaucoup de mes collègues qui se sont arrêtés au milieu d’un tournage, la période du premier confinement a été pour moi celle de l’isolement nécessaire à l’écriture du projet. Je n’ai donc pas trop souffert. J’ai programmé mes journées. Une heure de marche rapide le matin, puis lecture et écriture. J’ai aussi mis à profit ce temps libre pour filmer ma mère, qui a eu 100 ans en avril 2020. Ça a été très important pour moi d’aller la voir régulièrement, même si je ne sais pas encore le devenir de ces images. » »

« Moi, je me fous de faire un film de plus. Faire un film avec de l’acquis, ça ne m’intéresse pas. Je veux être dérouté, questionné. Je veux qu’un tournage m’attire et me fasse peur. Et affronter cette peur en filmant . »

« La pandémie touche le quotidien de tout un chacun. L’activité du centre en est, pour le moment, fortement impactée. Par ailleurs, la maladie a, pour certains patients, de fortes répercussions psychiques. J’intègre naturellement ces éléments à mon écriture. »

Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

dok.incubator 2021

Written 15-01-2021 17:22:07 by Tue Steen Mller

dok.incubator  2021

Andrea Prenghyova wrote me a couple of days ago, asking if I could mention that the 10th edition of her dokincubator is coming up. Really, 10th edition (!), I thought, and I dare say that Prenghyova has managed to put the training initiative on the map of popular workshops in Europe. I don’t recall having met filmmakers, who have been critical to the content of the workshops that have high class professionals as tutors, not only editors but also a marketing specialist like Freddy Neumann and the producer Christine le Goff. But for those who want to know more than, what can be read on the website of dokincubator I have picked a quite from one of the interviews Prenghyova has made, one published today: 

In an interview with Steve Rickinson from Modern Times Review, published today, link below, Andrea Prenghyova says:

„There are two most important things that distinguish us from other training programmes and workshops. First thing is that we are the workshop which is coming quite late to the filmmakers – at the stage of the rough cut. Therefore, we are able to work with the real material and to participate in the real creative process. This is very important…

The second thing that distinguishes us is our quite special methodology, we are learning through doing – we are a very pragmatic workshop, but at the same time, we cover various aspects. On one side you get a very high quality of your creative process and on the other, you also get quite a wide perspective on your film – you test your film…”

Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Vibe Mogensen: De prrende

Written 13-01-2021 13:57:20 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Vibe Mogensen: De prrende

VIBE MOGENSEN: DE PÅRØRENDE blev sendt på TV2 i aftes og den kan nu ses på TV2 Play. Se den!

Jeg så Vibe Mogensens film i forgårs. Jeg er stadigvæk bevæget, imponeret og glad. Generøst blev jeg lukket ind i den lange smertefulde samtale. Fik en syvende stol omkring bordet. Dokumentaren forsvandt i ubønhørlig virkelighed...

Der er kun det rum med bordet og stolene og så psykologen, de fem pårørende, forældre til psykisk syge børn, nærbillederne af deres ansigter og deres fortællinger, som Nanna Frank Møller kærligt og kompetent har klippet til én fortælling om hvad der sker når ens barn rammes af psykisk sygdom.



Tue Steen Müller har på sin Facebookside "...en tilføjelse til ovenstående, en anmeldelse af Vibe Mogensens fremragende Min fars sind, som havde samme klipper, Nanna Frank Møller og samme producer, Vibeke Vogel. Filmen har været vist i udlandet - med succes og med Vibe og Nanna tilstede. Dygtige dokumentarister."

Read more / Ls mere


Categories: TV, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK, Web

Lisa Blond: Lys p den lukkede

Written 10-01-2021 10:56:43 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Lisa Blond: Lys p den lukkede

"Lys på den lukkede er en af de mest rørende, fortvivlende og kærlige udsendelser, jeg har set længe", skriver AnneLise Marstrand-Jørgensen på sin Facebookside, "dygtige, empatiske Lisa Blond har fulgt enestående Søren Magnussens arbejde med at skabe bedre vilkår for mennesker på den lukkede afdeling på Rigshospitalet. 

Efter en langvarig indlæggelse samme sted, fik Søren den tanke, at der måtte kunne skabes mere liv og glæde blandt de forpinte psykiatriske patienter. Og så gik han i gang. Med at plante en have fuld af blomster, arrangere kagebord og en lille hvid hest og sørge for en salsafest bag hegnet.

Read more / Ls mere


Categories: TV, Web

Michael Apted 1941 2021

Written 09-01-2021 14:30:35 by Tue Steen Mller

Michael Apted 1941  2021

“I wanna be a jockey…” is a sentence that my wife and I always remember, when we talk about and recall the UP series by Michael Apted, who passed away yesterday. We got acquainted with the series at a festival in Cork, Ireland in the 1990’es, where we could not stop talking about the children, who have been filmed since 1964, 9 episodes, with 7 years in between, and with 63UP as the last one from Apted’s hands, a magnificent piece of documentary film history – about Life lived and about the English class society. The 14 children were chosen from upper and working class, it is fascinating to follow their journeys. Tony (on the poster) had a short carreer as a jockey, went on to become a taxi driver keeping his charm and cockney accent. Andrew became a solicitor, John a barrister – and Bruce, touching Bruce, who from the start wanted to be a missionary « to help the poor people in Africa » and did not think he would ever get married, did get into charity work and did get married and did have children. Jackie, Lynn, Sue are the women in the series, Suzy took also part but did not want to be in the 63UP. In the enormous amount of articles about the series – and also in the films – you often hear the children as grown-ups reflect on what it has meant for them to be on television every seven years. Apted regrets in many interviews the lack of gender equity – and says that made him be very careful when selecting female stars for his many fiction films.

Neil, however, is the most exciting person to follow in the series. A lively energetic kid with a bright future, we assume, leaves the society, wanders around as homeless, has mental problems, but comes back, becomes a politician and wants to help others as his close friend Bruce, who helped him, when he was down. Does voluntary work at the church.

I had the privilege to be a juror with Michael Apted at the Moscow International Film Festival – for the documentary competition when that started in 2011 – with Russian Alexander Gutman as the third man in the jury. We watched 7 films, were invited to stay 10 days in the Russian capital, so my wife and I had lot of time with Apted and his wife Paige Simpson. He was a true English man with the most wonderful voice (as you can hear it in the series) and with a typical sense of humour. Without me saying so the organisers of the festival called me “expert”, which made Apted salute me every morning at breakfast with “Good Morning Expert”.

5 years later we visited Paige and Apted in Venice California in their beautiful funkis house. The 63UP was on its way, the expert and his wife were trying to get information about what had happened since 56UP. A wedding, an illness, a new place to live for the jockey… We have not yet seen the 63UP that came out in 2019. Was that the last episode as Michael Apted is no longer among us? RIP.

“'Give Me the Child Until He Is Seven and I Will Show You the Man'.

You can buy the series on Amazon.

Categories: TV, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

abotić & Varushev: Twins Woven from Dreams

Written 07-01-2021 13:46:17 by Tue Steen Mller

abotić & Varushev: Twins Woven from Dreams

The film is co-directed by Sead Šabotić & Lea Vahrušev, the latter is also the producer.

Take a look at the still above. Marko is trying to find out if his new sneakers fit him. His wife has sent them to him. His is not that happy, they are not so comfortable but he does not want to tell her. The scene, in itself it could be seen as insignificant, becomes important as the camera stays with him for a long time, no hurry – as in many other moments in the film. And the scene builds up to the visit of the wife at the Belgrade District Prison, Block 5-1, where the filmmakers have found a handful of young (and younger) inmates, with charisma and well built bodies – and a lot of worries about how to cope with the life outside that is waiting for them; work and family, kids.

The film goes close to the characters. You get a strong impression of how it is to be in the prison, of the friendships, of the very much time they choose to exercise and think and talk openly with each other about what is waiting for them. Outside. They talk with staff and each other.

The film refrains from digging into, why they are there. The camera work is excellent (Milan Petkovic) and the edting (Mina Petrovic) likewise, allowing well framed significant images to be informative mixed with close-ups of heads and bodies. The filmmakers trust the image, bravo for that. And through the narrative approach they express respect towards the inmates and let us viewers see what it means to leave the prison.

The world is full of prison-documentaries. This one is one of the better.

Serbia, 2020, 67 mins.




Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Lithuanian Documentarians Honoured

Written 29-12-2020 14:52:08 by Tue Steen Mller

Lithuanian Documentarians Honoured

… well, they are so far nominated « For Promoting Lithuania Globally », the directors and producers Arunas Matelis and Giedre Zickyté, by an organisation GLL (Global Lithuanian Leaders), that  is a non-profit association for professional individuals that identify with Lithuania and care about its future. If you click below you will find more information about the categories, where Lithuanians who have done something important for the country and its culture are listed as nominees to awards being given out in the month of January.

This information gives me the chance to salute two good friends I have known for one and two, almost three decades. Arunas from the time of Balticum Film & TV Festival in the 1990’es, Giedre from this century. Both of them filmmakers with an international network, ready to overcome all the trouble making coproductions gives, for their own works and ready to step into helping colleagues to make their film sas Arunas did with “Lobster Soup” and Giedre with “The Earth is Bleu as an Orange”. Two films from Spain and Ukrainia. It’s a generosity that many other filmmakers could learn from, commitment and the ambition to get the films out to as many as possible whatever country. Here follows the motivation for the nomainations:       

Arunas Matelis: For the first Lithuanian representation on global film distribution platforms with documentary “Wonderful Losers. A Different World“. This year, the documentary of Arūnas Matelis “Wonderful Losers. A Different World'' was uploaded to online film distribution platforms of more than 90 countries including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Kanopy. In the USA, the film has reached TOP 3 among iTunes documentaries. The film features the backstage dramas of cycling competition Giro d’Italia, it has been awarded at 14 international film festivals, in 2017 it received the title of the best Lithuanian film, and in 2018 it represented Lithuania in two categories of Academy Awards.

Giedre Zickyte: For captivating story-telling of dramatic history of Lithuania through the documentary "The Jump" and its victories at Warsaw, Rome and New York film festivals. The Documentary “The Jump" tells the story of Lithuanian soviet sailor Simas Kudirka who during the Cold War made an attempt to escape the Soviet Union by jumping from the Soviet to the American ship. The film captivated the global audience by the thrilling story and the way it is told. At the international Warsaw A Class festival, it was awarded as the best documentary. Documentary “The Jump" has become the first Lithuanian film invited to Rome Film Fest and DOC NYC 2020 in New York.

Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Oeke Hoogendijk: My Rembrandt

Written 24-12-2020 11:01:17 by Tue Steen Mller

Oeke Hoogendijk: My Rembrandt

This text is written by Svetlana and Zoran Popovic, directors of the Magnificent7 Festival in Belgrade.

A dramatic documentary exclusive insight into the world behind the facades of top art, the author who amazed us with a saga about the reconstruction of one of the largest museums in Europe.

Through masterful direction, Oeke Hoogendijk tells a story about a sensation roaring through the world, the discovery of a new and previously unknown painting of the greatest of the greatest masters, Rembrandt, and transforms it to an exciting thriller that leaves us breathless. This film shows us the world behind the art, the world of collectors, art historians, authenticity experts, those possessed by both true passion and prestige, with discrete dark shades of basic greed. This is a fascinating story about a detective search from the sensing of vague outlines in the shadows and secrets of time, to the brutal penetration of x-rays and flashes in the hunt for the unseen. Balancing between fascination with the subtlest ups and downs of genius and the need to possess or profit, the heroes of this film are constantly torn, revealing the face of the modern world driven by ambition to ceaselessly produce newer and newer things and to raise values on a pedestal which simultaneously degrades and questions them.

A film that truly ‘touches’ for you the original works of masters and leads you into the space of their complex and turbulent existence.

The Netherlands 2019 95 minutes 

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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