New York Film Festival

Written 21-08-2014 09:29:21 by Tue Steen Müller

The photo refers to the film ”Red Army” by Gabe Polsky that at (link below) is described like this:

Soviet hockey players? As in the ones that were defeated by a young, inexperienced American team at the 1980 Olympics? In fact, the “Miracle on Ice” is just a blip in the story of Soviet hockey, as demonstrated by Gabe Polsky’s exhilarating documentary, in which the Cold War is fought on the ice. The Soviet Union’s Red Army team was the most successful dynasty in sports history. Players, trained from a young age, were stronger and more skillful than any others in the world and were meant to show up the West at every opportunity. Polsky, a child of Soviet immigrants who grew up playing hockey in the United States, finds a prime example of artistry on ice in Red Army team captain (and one-time NHL star) Slava Fetisov, who went from national hero to political enemy to American star to post-Communist Russian Minister of Sport. Polsky’s wildly entertaining film examines the many ways that sport both embodies and reflects social, political, and cultural realities… “lines up” the “auteur-packed Doc Lineup” at the coming New York Film Festival, the 52nd version that takes place September 26 – October 12. And it is indeed a great selection including at least four films that I so much look forward to watch:

Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Look of Silence”, Martin Scorcese’s “The 50-Year Argument” about the New York Review of Books, interview based (James Baldwin is there, Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer…), Albert Maysles (83 years old) with “Iris”, last name Apfel, “about fashion- and interior-design maven Iris Apfel, who is herself just south of 92…”, Wiseman’s “National Gallery” (in London) and what I think is probably the most important: “Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait” by Ossama Mohammed and Wiam Simav Bedirxan.

A quote from Real Screen: “This section of the festival has become increasingly important to us, and to me personally,” said Kent Jones, the NYFF’s director of programming and selection committee chair, in a statement. “It’s kind of a commonplace to think of documentary as an add-on to fiction, something extra, and of course nothing could be further from the truth: cinema started with documentary, and it will always be at the core of the art form.”


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Message to Man 2014

Written 19-08-2014 09:19:09 by Tue Steen Müller

St. Petersburg, end of September (20-27), programme has been announced for the 24th edition of Message to Man. On top of the list, very much appropriate, is local master Alina Rudnitskaya with her latest fine b/w work ”Blood” (photo), one of 9 feature documentaries in competition, where you also find Ventura Durall’s ”Bugarach” and ”My Name is Salt” by Farida Pacha.

Message to Man has a competition for short-length documentaries, for short fiction and for animation. AND, what is special for the festival, there is a ”in silico” category with experimental works. For the fourth time and here is a repeat of what Mikhail Zheleznikov told me about this section last year:

“In this contest we present some purely experimental works, as well as more or less narrative documentary, animation or fiction shorts, which were too "avant-garde" for a more conventional international competition. 

Experimental short film competition In Silico works well in the context of the whole festival program, and draws the audience. Besides, it really expands our options - now we can show almost all the crazy shorts that we like and easily get away with it.”

More than 20 crazy works are listed.

Later on I will write about the special retrospective of new Danish documentaries to be shown in St. Petersburg this year. Message to Man is a festival rich in programme.

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Tracy Droz Tragos, Andrew Droz Palermo: Rich Hill

Written 18-08-2014 07:43:32 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Det er et fornemt filmværk, DR2 Dokumania sender tirsdag aften, en på én gang afklaret klassisk lydefri dokumentar og helt ny ung energisk samtidsskildring. Man skal ikke lade sig forlede af den danske undertitel, den er indsnævrende og vildledende. Jeg læser i hvert fald noget andet i filmen end ”fattig i Midtvesten”. De medvirkende familier er fattige, ja, måske fordi byen er under afvikling, måske ikke derfor. De er ulykkelige måske, måske ikke derfor. Jeg tror i øvrigt ikke på, at fattige mennesker er ulykkelige, bare sådan mekanisk, som en følge af fattigdom. Som en indforståethed.

Man skal stå renset og uskyldig på den film, for lige fra første billede begynder den som en erfaren fortæller fast og rolig selv sin historie. Som selvfølgelig er en historie om Rich Hill på samme måde som Twin Peaks er om Twin Peaks, Harlan County om Harlan County.

Livet kan sådan et sted have den ro, som betragtningen skildrer. Det er et inderligt ønske om skønhed, lad os nu se på det her, tage os tid. Og oplevelsen af ro er ikke grebet ud af luften, jeg ser i filmen, at den ro er til stede i de tre drenge. Den kan være glad, den kan være deprimeret, den kan være vranten. Men billederne viser den som skønhed, og det er ikke en distancering, det er en sandhed. Det er selve autenticiteten i stedet, som griber ind i værkets form. Det begynder lige ved åbningen, som det indforståede forslag til konsensus, og jeg accepterer den aftale, og det er ikke ret tit, det sker, for eksempel forkastede jeg jo her undertitlen, men efter netop den her åbning er jeg er sikker på, at jeg vil se den film, vil det sted hen, der vandrer jeg hen.

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Categories: TV, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

The Power of Silence - Docs in Riga

Written 17-08-2014 16:27:33 by Tue Steen Müller

The Baltic Sea Docs has announced its mini film festival programme that runs parallel to the pitching of 24 new documentary projects primarily from the Baltic countries but also producers from Western European countries turn up with proposals that have a link to the Eastern part of Europe. Two Russian projects will be presented this year where no Ukranians are on the list. But, as the organisers informed me: … a Polish project deals with the experience of four young people at Maidan Square and one of the Russian projects, by Vitaly Mansky, is a reflection on his Ukrainian roots on the background of Ukraine today.

Back to the film programme: 9 films are screened, all carefully selected with a wide spread in geography… “Dance for Me” by Danish Katrine Philp, “My Name is Salt” by Indian Farida Pacha, “Two Raging Grannies” by Norwegan Håvard Nustnes, ”The Square” by Egyptian/American Jehane Noujaim and Bulgarian “Uncle Tony, Three Fools and the Secret Service” (photo) by Vesela Kazakova, Mina Mileva.

The title of the mini festival is “The Power of Silence”. Quite a subtile, sophisticated headline - I asked why and got this fine answer from Lelda Ozola and Zanda Dudina:

…There are a lot of under-water currents in each film that you keep thinking about after having watched. In other words you watch as if lightly, but then think a lot about issues raised - children travelling to other countries to reach their aims, adoption, economic growth, the quite silent people at the square of Cairo or in the salt field in India, etc, AND the wonderful lady Freda who worked with BEATLES during the whole existence of the group without walking around bragging about it. Keeping SILENT working in Liverpool as a book-keeper (title “Good Ol’ Freda”) ... She is so simple, so positive and so natural in her modesty, it's wonderful and powerful silence! … Hope that people who watch the films will understand. And hope that our good old friend from Danish screaming democracy will also understand us…

Of course, he will, I am looking forward to come back to wonderful Baltic Sea Docs in Riga for the 18th edition.

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Nagieb Khaja: Gaza Under Siege

Written 15-08-2014 07:40:03 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Filmen er lavet for Al Jazeera English, som præsenterer den således: ”We find out what happens when a war is waged on a besieged area where half of the population is below the age 18. On July 8, Israel launched an attack on the Gaza Strip, which the Israeli military called 'Operation Protective Edge.'Among its aims, they said, was to bring to an end rocket attacks launched by Hamas and other groups, and to destroy tunnels which were being used to bring in and store weapons.

For five days (July 25 – 29) in the run-up to Eid, filmmaker Nagieb Khaja was on the ground in Gaza. Hospitals were filled with injured children and distraught parents, while paramedics put their life on the line to try and reach those buried beneath the rubble. By the time he had arrived, the fighting had been going on for 16 days. Over 750 Palestinians had been killed, most of them civilians. On the Israeli side, 32 troops and three civilians had been killed.

This film is an account of what was happening as Israeli strikes decimated neighbourhoods and buildings, documenting what life was like for the people of Gaza living under fire.”

Filmen handler altså ikke om politik, ikke om konflikten mellem Hamas og Israels regering, den handler heller ikke om krigen og den er ikke noget partsindlæg heller, selv om den nok af mange vil blive set sådan. Den er i ordets egentlige forstand et vidneudsagn, Nagieb Khajas og hans holds (Reem Akkad Kasm, Warwick M and Mat Skene) vidneudsagn.

Khajas rolige og balancerede voice over, både i billedet og off, gør materialet, de optager til en reportage af stor lødighed og blivende værdi, fordi han gennemtænkt og neddæmpet lidenskabeligt løbende begrunder og værdisætter valget af optagelser, som indgår. Han vælger selv at være meget i billedet i optagelser, hvor han fortæller direkte til mig fra bilen han sidder i. Jeg ser, det er Khajas historie, hans blik, der ser alt dette forfærdende. Og efterhånden ser jeg det mere i hans bevægede ansigt end på billederne af bombernes destruktion af bygninger og mennesker. Det er jo ham, der er der. Ham, der ser. Det har jeg stor respekt for. Det bliver til en omvisning, som i sin tone og attitude er nøgtern og usentimental, men empatisk. Den er saglig og faglig. Journalisten ser det hele, ingen lidelse glemmes.

Doha, Qatar, 25 min.

Foto: Nagieb Khaja (ikke fra filmen)

"Gaza Under Siege" kan ses på Al Jazeera English i dag fredag d.15.august 21.30 og i morgen lørdag d.16.august 16.30. Den kan for tiden streames på



Categories: TV, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

2nd Edition of AegeanDocs

Written 14-08-2014 18:05:52 by Tue Steen Müller

New documentary festival in Greece, actually the second edition it is – the official selection has been announced.

Some words from the site of the festival: ”The AegeanDocs International Documentary Film Festival announces the selection of the 54 documentaries, which will participate in the official (competition) program of the AegeanDocs 2014 in Lesvos, Chios and the other islands of the Northern Aegean from 20 to 28 September 2014… The final list represents 27 countries from Europe, the Middle East, Turkey, United States, Chile, Peru, Argentina and India. We have received an impressive number of well qualified film proposals – 347 films from around the world – the selection committee has selected 54 films for the official program…

The opening film will be the Oscar nominated ”The Act of Killing” by Joshua Oppenheimer… All 54 films will take part in the competition for the four AegeanDocs awards: Best History Documentary, Best Political Documentary, Best Social Documentary (2.000 euros each) and for the Special Award for Young Filmmaker (1.000)…”

My pleasure it is to see that several films that took part in workshops organised by Storydoc (Kostas Spiropoulos and Chara Lampidou), must be the driving force behind this festival, have been taken for presentation, including films from Greece, of course, like Marianna Economou’s ”Food for Love” and Stella Alisanoglou’s ”Dimitris Papadoulis – The Multiple Gift”, but also Palestinian Nahed Awwad’s actual ”Gaza Calling” and Sara Ishaq’s ”The Mulberry House” (photo).

Fine quality is also Greek ”The Grocer” by Dimitris Koutsiabasakos and ”Ain’t no Cinderellas” by Turkish Emel Celebi.

Take a look at the site, impressive festival initiative.

Categories: Festival

San Sebastian Eastern Europe series

Written 11-08-2014 14:10:52 by Tue Steen Müller

Yes, the international film festival in the beautiful Basque city, taking place for 62nd time this year (September 19-27) launches an impressive retrospective called ”Eastern Promises. Autobiography of Eastern Europe... a look at movies produced since 2000 in the countries that lived under Soviet influence post-World War II. A cycle to discover the creative wealth of these film industries and the new talents to have emerged in the last decade.”

”The retrospective will bring together a total of 50 titles from Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldavia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Serbia, many of which have never been seen in our country...”

Among the 50 titles you will find three great documentaries: Vit Klusak and Filip Remunda's ”Czech Dream” (2004), Andrey Paounov's ”Georgi and the Butterflies” (2004)(photo) and Peter Kerekes ”Cooking History” (2009).

The occasion is of course ”25 years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall”. Which festival dares to make a retrospective of 50 documentaries, or 25... I would be happy to assist in the selection...

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Hungarian DunaDOCK Withdraws from Festival

Written 10-08-2014 19:54:47 by Tue Steen Müller

The Jameson Cinefest International Film Festival in Miskolc, Hungary will not include the DunaDOCK masterclass as planned. On facebook, in the ScreenDaily, on Spiegel Online and of course in the Hungarian media, that I can not read, the matter has been dealt with: The festival (to take place in September) does not want a couple of Roma documentaries shown, critical to the society's treatment of the minority, one of them being a film classic of Pál Schiffer from 1978. As a consequence the DunaDOCK has withdrawn from the festival.

On a personal note: In the early days of establishing the EDN (European Documentary Network) I had the pleasure of meeting the fine man Schiffer in the middle of the 1990'es, introduced to me by Diana Groó, who is one of the four filmmakers behind DunaDOCK, and who made me watch several of the master's works.

Schiffer died in 2001, another master Bela Tarr backs the decision of DunaDock as does the Hungarian Filmmakers Association. Here follows the announcement of the DunaDOCK:

Dear Friends,

We regretfully announce that DunaDOCK will not present its MasterClass program at the Jameson CineFest International Film Festival in Miskolc this September.

To our greatest surprise we found out that CineFest can only host our professional program if it does not contain – contrary to our plans – any film dealing with the topic of Roma in Hungary, or if it does, the title, the description and the names of the creators of such films cannot be listed in the official program or in any other public forum.

This year – as previously – we selected internationally recognized Hungarian and foreign documentaries for our MasterClass, based on professional

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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Torben Skjødt Jensen: Teaterdokumentarer /5

Written 07-08-2014 09:44:03 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Teatermennesket Torben Skjødt Jensen havde 29. marts 2014 den her Facebook-opdatering: ”… i aften står den på premiere på Rytteriet 2 på Bellevue – det skal nok blive sjovt... Men jeg vil nu gerne inviterere alle jer, mine FB venner, i teatret i aften. På DRK starter i aften 20.55 en ny runde teatertransmissioner på "1. parket" – og de næste 3 lørdage har jeg produceret og klippet de viste forestillinger. Det starter med "EKSIL", teater Nordkraft i Aalborgs første brydetag med Jakob Ejersbos forrygende Afrika fortællinger – en rejse med den unge Samantha ned i den mørkeste side af menneskesindet i hjertet af Tanzania. Spænd selen og rejs med i aften foran TV-skærmen ...” Jeg står på, og bliver væltet og fyldt med kaotiske følelser og ustrukturerede tanker. Jeg ved ikke hvad jeg skal mene. Og lader være. Sørger…

Over den skæbne, som truer den unge, på mange måder (måske alle måder) nøgne, unge kvinde, jeg selvfølgelig, sådan som det er indrettet, altså skrevet og iscenesat, følger fra begyndelse til slutning uden at tage blikket væk. Hun er der hele tiden, og hun skal følges til hun går til grunde. Hun hedder Sofia Saaby Mehlum, er skuespiller og en voksen kvinde, og hun fremstiller karakteren Samantha, som er en stor skolepige. Og for mine øjne forvandler Sofia Saaby Mehlum sig til denne skolepige med en voksen kvinde i sig. Jeg ser det ske. Dokumentarfilmen gør det muligt. Jeg har hende i fokus fra hun under prologen viser sig i baggrunden lænet op ad en af verandaens stolper (på den veranda foregår alt, den er et microkosmos), gennem alle scener til den sidste. Og det er ikke, fordi jeg glor på hende, som hun siger til en af mændene (og samtidig betror, at det kan hun godt forstå), det er fordi, hun lader hvert øjeblik med sin energi, sin musikalitet, sin autenticitet i hver eneste reaktion og hvert eneste udtryk. Og netop det er noget, dokumentarens iagttagelse om ikke muliggør at se, for sådan er det heller ikke, men udpeger og understreger, så jeg ikke alene oplever en 15 årig kvinde, men en voksen kvinde i sit mimesiske øjeblik på øjeblik på øjeblik, en skuespiller i sin kropslige erindring.

Jeg ser ikke filmen som en kritik af af europæisk praksis i Afrika, ikke som en filmatisering af Ejersbos roman, slet ikke som en optaget og gemt transmission eller reportage fra Nordkrafts forestilling. Jeg ser filmen som en fremragende dokumentarisk skildring af en skuespillers empatiske undersøgelse af en person i et litterært værk og hendes skuespillerarbejde med at genskabe dette menneskelivs tragedie, så jeg ved, det var ægte og stort teater der i Ålborg på Nordkraft, så jeg for mine øjne ser en autentisk indsats for ærlighed og kærlighed, men som det hedder i undertitlen også ser en konsekvent ”destruction of beauty”. Et tv-program ja, men her i form af et filmværk, som bør bevares, så det kan genses i en films skriven. Min association lander jo ved Sonnet LXV: ”… Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid? / O! none, unless this miracle have might, / That in black ink my love may still shine bright.//”

”Eksil”, Danmark, 80 min. Postedified TV & Film, København. Det grundlæggende teaterstykke blev opført af Nordkraft, Aalborg. TV- versionen blev endt på DR K første gang 29. marts 2014 og igen i forbindelse med teaterfestivalen på DRK 16. juni 2014. Vil formodentlig blive genudsendt yderligere, da de formodentlig har rettighederne til flere visninger.

Categories: TV, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Torben Skjødt Jensen: Teaterdokumentarer /4

Written 06-08-2014 16:48:59 by Allan Berg Nielsen

22. juli 2013 havde Torben Skjødt Jensen denne underdrevent stolte opdatering på sin Facebookside om sin tv-udgave af Christian Lollikes modige teaterstykke om Anders Breivik og hans i al fremtid ufattelige forbrydelse: ”Husk det nu - iaften 20.45 DR2 - MANIFEST 2083, teaterforestillingen fra CafeTeatret af Christian Lollike og med Olaf Højgaard, produceret og klippet af mig (sagde hunden) i en special version for netop DR – og vi har alle "oppet" os det bedste vi har lært…” Jeg så ikke tv-versionen dengang, først nu, og det er et fortsat chok (nu efter igen en pause) at se Torben Skjødt Jensens overførsler af teaterforestillinger til film, den ene lykkes bedre end den anden.

Hans tv-version af ”Manifest 2083” er rystende vellykket. Hele filmen handler om forestillingen, som udelukkende handler om at lave den teaterforestilling. På den måde bliver Olaf Høigaard ved med at være sig selv og aldrig den forbryder, hvis grusomme forbrydelse er baggrund for ønsket om og viljen til at lave den teaterforestilling og dernæst denne film.

Han påtager sig gennemført på alle planer det mimesiske skuespillerarbejde. Han styrketræner, indtager steroider, foretager japansk meditation. Jeg ser det hele, han sminker sig til forestillingen. Morderen sminker sig. ”Jeg skabte et narrativ”, sagde morderen. Det samme kan Lollike og Højgaard og Skjødt Jensen på den diametralt modsatte menneskelige og etiske baggrund herefter sige. De etablerede den skræmmende fortælling om, at det er muligt. Når som helst, hvor som helst. Morderne går omkring iblandt os.

Torben Skjødt Jensen har sat sit markante præg på Christian Lollikes og Olaf Høigaards modige teaterstykke. Skjødt Jensens aftryk er denne særlige berøring med en sikker, hurtig pensel, noget ubestemt tydeligt, som ikke kan være anderledes, som jeg kender fra hans film langt tilbage, som vist altid har været der i hans værk. Og ja, han har med Lollike og Højgaard oppet sig, og det var egentlig ikke påfaldende nødvendigt.

”Manifest 2083”, Danmark, 80 min. Postedified TV & Film, København. Det grundlæggende teaterstykke havde premiere 15. oktober 2012 på Café Teatret. Sendt på DR 2 første gang 22. juli 2013 og i forbindelse med teaterfestivalen på DR K for kort tid siden. Vil formodentlig blive genudsendt der, da de formodentlig har rettighederne til flere visninger.

Categories: TV, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

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