Michael Glawogger 1959-2014

Written 23-04-2014 18:01:01 by Tue Steen Müller

Shocking news – Michael Glawogger has died from malaria during the shooting of a film in Africa. So young! My deepest condolences to family and the many, who were close to him.

In June last year I had the privilege to moderate a masterclass with Michael Glawogger (photo). It happened in Barcelona at DocsBarcelona, where his ”Whores Glory” was shown. I had recommended the masterclass to happen after meeting the director at the Magnificent7 festival in Belgrade 2011, where he stayed the whole week of the festival, took everyone by heart with his warm generosity and ability to inspire, sharing his experience as a filmmaker, who never compromised and gave us, as he expressed it himself, a description of ”la condition humaine”.

In connection with a retrospective in New York, NY Times characterised his impressive work as ”A World of Troubled Beauty” – referring to his trilogy ”Megacities”, ”Workingman’s Death” and ”Whore’s Glory”. Films that will stay in film history.

A couple of quotes from his hand, taken from the many texts about Glawogger:  ”I start filming when I sense that nothing is exotic any longer. But common. Not before.”“For me documentary filmmaking is a very special kind of life and I come to see places in a way that I could not see by just travelling, and I would also feel lost travelling without the purpose of watching things in order to work with them, since that makes sense to me. If I weren't a filmmaker, I wouldn't take that time for travelling and watching, so that makes me very happy. The people I meet for these films, that make them very happy...”

Take a look at the photo, see his smile, see his calm and open invitation to ask whatever question relevant to the art of filmmaking that he mastered so wonderfully – most recent with the film from the National Library in St.Petersburg.

Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Responses to Ban of Russian Channels

Written 22-04-2014 23:23:23 by Tue Steen Müller

Is this a wise decision, I wondered, when i read a text on "Film New Europe" a couple of weeks ago:

Governmental bodies in both Latvia and Lithuania have banned broadcasts of Russian state TV channels. A three month ban began on 8 April 2014. Lithuania first issued a three month ban of the Russian channel NTV Mir two weeks earlier over broadcast of the documentary The Convicted. It later suspended broadcasts of RTR-Planeta (Russia) also for a period of three months. Latvia issued a three-month suspension of rebroadcasts of the channel Rossiya RTR over reports of biased coverage reflecting military propaganda. One-third of Latvia’s population is native Russian-speaking, and 8 percent of Lithuania’s population is comprised of native Russian language speakers...

I decided to ask three very good friends to give me their reactions, Latvian Lelda Ozola who works as Media Desk at the National Film centre, film directors Giedre Beinoriūtė and Audrius Stonys from Lithuania. The answers, the strongest one first, were:

STONYS: Let me answer you what I think about the banning of Russian TV channels in few questions. Would it be possible that ‘Der Stűrmer’ or ‘Vőlkischer Beobachter’ would be published and distributed in London in

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Categories: TV, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Bill Brummel: Erasing Hate

Written 21-04-2014 17:39:37 by Tue Steen Müller

Danish DR/Dokumania shows tomorrow the American tv (NBC) documentary “Erasing Hate”. I got a link to watch it for a review, I could go through the first third of the film then the link went on strike. So no points are being given but impressions from what I saw and clips found on the internet:

The story is simple: Bryon Widner used to be “ready to kill for the white race.” For 15 years he was a skinhead, he was a neo-nazi. One of the worst, an expert in the field says. Bryon, that is what he says, “became a role model for many”. But he changed his mind when he found Julie, who was also part of the movement, they got a baby and decided to leave their violent past behind. BUT Bryon was tattooed all over, he wanted to get rid of the “signification of a killer”. So, that’s the story… people from an organisation that investigates the far right movements in the US meet with Bryon and Julie, wants to help and an anonymous donor pays for the plastic surgery that is extremely painful.

It is indeed an American documentary: Narration, interviews where you hear the interviewer, close-up of the tattoos, music from “wall to wall”, reenactments, sweet sequences from the family life etc. No surprises, but pretty hard to watch the plastic surgery going on! A quote from the doctor: Your heart has changed, now we need to change the surface…



(This article give the whole story in details).

To be shown on DR, Dokumania Tuesday April 22

USA, 91 mins., 2011

Categories: TV, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Carmen Cobos: Imperfect Harmony

Written 19-04-2014 13:43:05 by Tue Steen Müller

Louis Andriessen, charismatic Dutch composer, and Mariss Jansons, charismatic Latvian chief conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. The two characters in the fascinating observational documentary drama, which is very well told, interesting and entertaining.

The drama evolves as the days pass. Andriessen has composed music for the 125 year's anniversary of the Concertgebouw, and enters the building to follow the rehearsals during the last five days before the performance. The camera stays very much on the face of the composer, who appears a bit nervous and confused in the beginning. His relationship to the musicians is warm and generous, while the relationship to the conductor is on the contrary a bit complicated. At some moments, to say the least... ”school teacher”, says Andriessen having discussed details with Jansons, ”he is a pain in the...”. Some of the musicians seem to agree with Jansons and his need for pedantry – it is clear that he in his questions to the composer that this is not the kind of music he favours – others like the more open attitude to interpretation that Andriessen stands for.

It is a very generous film. You get very close to the artistic creation of a fine piece of music, you get a fine impression of how two characters of different temperament get closer to each other, two old proud professionals who have to meet each other, whether they like it ot not. You see how an orchestra works preparing down to the smallest details, asking questions to the composer. Andriessen has very interesting comments to his work, to music and to from where his inspiration comes... Happy Ending, Andriessen walks out of the building, out into windy Amsterdam mission completed.

The film is shown in Tuschinski, Amsterdam May 6 in the context of the 75 birthday of the composer. It deserves an international life.

The Netherlands, 2014, 75 mins.


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Cucic & Skoric: Mitch - Diary of a Schizophrenic

Written 18-04-2014 14:35:01 by Tue Steen Müller

It is rough. It is provoking. It is touching, poetic and shocking because you experience the difficulties of a man’s aim to come to terms with himself and life as it goes on in his head and around him in the psychiatric hospital, where he is, has been for 12 years and where he in a film, he is making himself, expresses his despair. Outstanding it is, nothing less!

He does not understand, why he is put up here, ”I am a bohemian, I write poems and songs, I take photographs, why am I here with retarded people”. And Mitch makes this film, together with Damir Cucic, filming himself and patients behind the bars, he is an intelligent well-formulated man, who talks about himself and asks questions in different languages to other patients. They sing songs, they rap and perform. Or sit on a bench, have given up, have been here for 22 years. These patients are not visually recognisable, they have been given silhouettes to cover their identity.

Mitch is a man who has been using many drugs, and you understand quickly that he is locked in because he has committed crimes. He turns the camera (a cellphone?) towards himself, he is filming himself at night time as well, and the director of the film, Damir Cucic, interprets his situation in these and many other

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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Ossama Mohammed and Wiam Berdirxan: Silvered Water

Written 17-04-2014 22:26:09 by Tue Steen Müller

A mail came in today with the headline: Good News in Bad Times! It came from Orwa Nyrabia from Syrian Proaction Film, together with French Films d’Ici the producer of ”Silvered Water. Syria, An Auto-Portrait”.

Orwa Nyrabia: It is with much pleasure that we share with you, wonderful friends and partners, the news we received while Homs is under merciless shelling. Our new release is premiering in May, and taking the story another step further...

The film in question has been selected for the Festival de Cannes, Official Selection, Special Screenings.

Directed by Ossama Mohammed (photo) and Wiam Berdirxan, the description of the film goes like this, according to the mail received:

“In Syria, everyday, YouTubers film then die; others kill then film. In Paris, driven by my inexhaustible love for Syria, I find that I can only film the sky and edit the footage posted on YouTube. From within the tension between my estrangement in France and the revolution, an encounter happened. A young Kurdish woman from Homs began to chat with me, asking: ‘If your camera were here, in Homs, what would you be filming?”. Silvered Water is the story of that encounter.”

Indeed a Special Screening at the upcoming Cannes Festival!

90min, documentary

Music by Noma Omran

Editing by Maisoun Asaad

In association with Arte France - La Lucarne 

With the Support of CNC, AFAC and Sundance Documentary Fund, Procirep.

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Gus Holwerda: The Unbelievers/ 2

Written 16-04-2014 08:27:39 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Herzog taler sig bestemt ikke igennem filmen (havde han dog bare gjort det...), der er ikke så meget mere end på traileren. Hans rolle er at anbefale filmen, og det gør han ved at anbefale de to unbelievers, biologen Richard Dawkins fra Oxford og fysikeren Lawrence Krauss fra Phoenix. Vi har alle brug for modige mennesker som disse, som taler om nødvendigheden af videnskab og fornuft som grundlag for at forstå vores omverden, siger han.

Herzog speaker altså ikke filmen roligt, indtrængende og skarpt, som han ville kunne, som jeg opfattede traileren lovede, som var min egentlige begrundelse for at åbne for Dokumania i aftes. Han kommer altså slet ikke til orde i filmen, som tværtimod støjende, overfladisk og sjusket prøver at dække Dawkins og Krauss på en verdensturné med foredrag og interviews. Jeg synes, det er uudholdeligt, men de er sympatiske og fascinernede hovedpersoner, og det holder mig fast, for der er dog et par scener, som den på fotoet her, hvor de to vist nok, har jeg på fornemmelsen, vist nok i virkeligheden karismatiske videnskabsmænd begynder at udfolde sig i en ordentlig samtale. Jeg, der ellers er smidt af fortællingen, finder i disse få gode scener ind til, hvad der kunne have været en dokumentarfilm, et værk, som kunne bevæge og flytte mig.

Hvad er der da i vejen? Jeg oplever filmen indforstået, og det plejer bestemt ikke at gøre mig noget, hvis værket ikke tager hensyn til mig af den grund, men her er der en åbenlys arrogance, som forudsætter, at jeg kender de to fra amerikanske shows, så de uden videre kan fortsætte i stilen med fikse hentydninger uden at gå i dybden med noget som helst, men bare klippe til den sjoveste replik, som netop kun er indforstået morsom. Der er imidlertid fem til syv gode scener, hvor et argument føres igennem, hvor en udredning gives plads. Og så er der de tos samvær, hvor en stemning af dokumentarisk ægthed viser sig, om ikke realiseret, så en anet mulighed, et kig bagom den smagløst hæsblæsende konstruktion af overfladiskheder.

Kan dette være rigtigt? Jeg ser filmen en gang til og undrer mig. Der er ikke mere, den kommer ikke længere, ikke dybere. Og jeg konkluderer med at tildele den to penne af seks (den ene pen ekstra alene for for de længere scener med de to medvirkende alene i et foredrag, alene sammen i denne samtale, som er så vigtig og så forsømt), og jeg finder nogle anmeldelser frem (i tvivl, er det kun mig, som ser den film sådan?) og ser, at den ikke blev særlig godt modtaget i USA, og jeg vil gøre The New York Times’ Jeannette Catsoulis’ beskrivelse i hendes anmeldelse (12. december 2013) til min. Netop sådan tænkte jeg faktisk, da jeg så filmen:

”Accompanying the respected scientists and atheists Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss on a triple-continent series of public engagements, Gus Holwerda’s unforgivably superficial documentary is too busy drooling over its subjects to flesh out their body of work. Whether debating Muslims in Canberra, Australia, or making rhetorical mincemeat of the archbishop of Sydney; bantering with Stephen Colbert in New York City; or holding forth at the 2012 Reason Rally in Washington, this genial tag team is photographed with the deference of star-struck teenagers. Train, cab and airplane journeys between locations are pointlessly recorded, as is Mr. Krauss’s spell in a makeup chair and the vibrant hue of his pink sneakers — as though to underscore their wearer’s nonconformity…” Og Jeannette Catsoulis konkluderer: ”Too slight to Persuade, ’The Unbelievers’ is also too poorly made to entertain. The rational roots of atheism deserve a much better movie that this.”

USA, 2013, 75 min.


Categories: TV, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Audrius Stonys og Filmkommentaren

Written 14-04-2014 23:02:36 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Jeg satte for nogen tid siden dette still ind som nyt gruppebillede på Filmkommentarens Facebookside. Sevara Pan så straks, at det måtte være fra en film, og spurgte fra hvilken, og Tue Steen Müller synes, jeg skal rykke ud med hele historien. Den er så her. Billedet er fra ENSOM (VIENA / ALONE), 2001, 16 min. af Audrius Stonys fra Vilnius. Filmen er fotograferet af RIMVYDAS LEIPUS.


Da vi begyndte august 2007, skulle grafikeren, som lavede vores blog, have et visuelt forlæg. Vi valgte dette still fra Stonys film, scenen, hvor den lille pige i en travelling går langs fængslets mur hen mod porten for at blive lukket ind til sin mor. På besøg.

Grafikeren brugte murens struktur, som herefter minder os om adskillelse og menneskets tilværelse og ensomhed i den og, ved vi, som har set filmen, skønheden og glæden i kærlighedsmødet. Filmkommentaren indrømmer noget sent lånet af disse fotos og krediterer på det taknemmeligste Rimvydas Leipus og Audrius Stonys for deres definition af vores filmkunstneriske profil. Som vi gør, hvad vi kan, for at leve op til.


Den handler om cinematografiens sublime evne til at skabe en mere virkelig virkelighed. Jeg plejer at se den som en etude, på én gang et katalog over en række filmiske greb og så også en ganske lille gribende og smuk fortælling om ubodelig ensomhed. Fortællingen rives hele tiden i stykker ved det Brechtske verfremdungsgreb (husk, dette er film…), men derved understreges alene fortællingens og filmens styrke.


Han begyndte at skrive og at lave film, da Litauen var en del af Sovjetunionen, og han har siden som uafhængig filminstruktør og producent lavet 14 film. Hans film har vundet adskillige internationale filmpriser. 2004-2005 var Stonys lærer i dokumentarfilm på filmhøjskolen i Ebeltoft. Siden 2006 har han undervist på Tokyo Waseda Universitet. Audrius Stony er af den overbevisning, at frihed i film er det centrale, det er vigtigere end nogen æstetisk opfattelse. Særligt når der har været forsøg på at begrænse denne frihed har det vist sig, at filmene kun har ændret deres ydre skal. Dette synes at være særligt tydeligt i dokumentarfilmene, som forsøges presset ind i en standard ramme af en slags produktion af information, underholdning, følelser og undervisning. I modsætning til dette mener Stonys, at dokumentarfilmen ikke er sat i verden med ønsket om at informere. Den er født af undren med opdagelsen af muligheden for at standse tiden og fordybe sig tænksomt i tilværelsens mirakel. (Efter http://dafilms.dk/ hvorfra flere af hans film kan streames)

Læs mere om Audrius Stonys film her: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/

Categories: Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Gus Holwerda: The Unbelievers

Written 14-04-2014 10:16:53 by Allan Berg Nielsen

To erfarne videnskabsmænd, en biolog og en fysiker, sidder på en café og fortsætter en lang samtale, de har gang i, om, forstår jeg på pressemeddelelsen, hvordan videnskaben kan tage diskussionen med religionen, ateismen mod gudstroen. Jeg kender i forvejen intet til de to mænd og deres videnskabelige arbejde, googler dem og bliver yderligere interesseret. Sådan en film vil jeg da gerne se. Den bliver sendt i DR2 DOKUMANIA i morgen tirsdag aften. Se den veloplagte trailer (link herunder), det ser da muntert ud, det vil jeg da se det hele af, de to veltalende og intelligente og charmerende hovedpersoner, the unbelievers, vil jeg da glæde mig til at være i stue med på tirsdag en god times tid. Jeg vil glæde mig til scener som den her på et still fra filmen, hvor de på lige vidende fod sidder og drøfter det rationelle, videnskabeligt begrundede svar til de religiøse fundamentalisters teorier om skaberens intelligente design. Det helt afgørende er mig imidlertid, at trailerens første scene er fra et interview med Werner Herzog, alene hans velkendte, trygt foruroligende stemme er nok. Jeg er med på den historie. Traileren virker.

USA, 2013, 75 min.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxDLkoK8vQQ (Trailer)

Categories: TV, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Vladislava Plancikova: Felvidek

Written 12-04-2014 16:59:54 by Tue Steen Müller

... with the subtitle ”Caught in Between”. ”An Animated Documentary” it is said in the press material, and indeed it is, including all kind of animation techniques that I don’t have knowledge enough to characterise correctly. But what I can say is that I don’t remember to be so wonderfully surprised as I did with this film by a director, who does not hesitate to use the film language in all its beautiful range of possibilities within the animadoc genre: archive material, photos, interviews, ”normal” documentary footage in ”normal” speed and in fast motion, a personal commentary...

”A director’s quote from the press material: …the film was inspired by my family history. I was intrigued to hear a casual comment which my grandmother made one day: My great-grandmother - her mother - never got used to living in Slovakia. When I learnt that my grandmother’s family only moved to Slovakia after they had left Hungary – their homeland – I was stunned. My grandmother was only four years old and, naturally, she doesn’t recall much about the events of those days. Yet she remembers that the turbulent times after World War II dramatically affected the lives of numerous Slovaks and Hungarians. Today Felvidek is a Slovak territory largely populated by ethnic Hungarians. But back in the 1940s, thousands of people were forced to leave their homes and resettle. I never knew that! The postwar resettlement was never mentioned at school… Hungarians had to relocate from Slovakia to Hungary. 89 660 Hungarians left their homes in Slovakia at that time and 71 787 Slovaks from Hungary returned to Slovakia. My film has an ambition to show how postwar events affected the fates of people in both counties.”

It is a complicated story that the director wants to tell and sometimes along the watching of the film I found the explanatory text too dominating but that is a detail compared to the many superb poetic sequences, where images tell

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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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