Chris Blum: Big Time

Written 13-03-2014 06:34:17 by Mikkel Stolt

What a treat I got last Friday during the music film festival in Copenhagen: To be able to watch this old Tom Waits-film on the big screen again. It’s from a time in his career when he had almost redefined himself as an artist (with invaluable help from his wife Kathleen Brennan on the three albums “Swordfishtrombones”, “Rain Dogs” and “Frank’s Wild Years”), and the film consists of concert performances loosely glued together with fictionalized intermezzos with some off-beat Waits-personas.

He has always been inspired by American musical culture (blues, Tin Pan Alley-songwriting, jazz’n’poetry of the Beat-generation to name a few) and in this period he throws in a lot of other good stuff too (different European music styles for example). He manages to take it all in, give it a twist and a growl and then you have that unmistakable musician he had become at that time. His musicians matches him perfectly (including the innovative guitarist Marc Ribot), and my biggest objection to the film is that it offers them too little screen time.

But the film also documents that Waits is just one hell of a performer. Not a good actor in films, no - never thought so - but having seen him live on three occasions I can vouch for the impression that this film brings: he is a quite unique composer, lyricist, storyteller, comedian AND entertainer.

Though it may not be the best introduction to his music for Waits-novices (it IS a rather wild ride); as a concert or music film it is just right and despite being from around the time of the early days of MTV it actually feels rather timeless. It is both a document of a certain time in an artist’s career and a semi-avant-garde experience in its own right.

The film has never been released on dvd and the “literature” is a bit vague on the reasons. It can, however, be found on the internet, but you didn’t hear it from me since I’m pretty sure that neither the director nor the Waits-couple has agreed to it.

USA, 1988, 87 mins


Categories: Cinema, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

The Swedish Guldbaggen 2014

Written 21-01-2014 10:59:28 by Tue Steen Müller

Guldbaggen (The Golden Beetle), the yearly Swedish cinema award ceremony, took place yesterday and again documentaries played an important role – as last year where two films stood out: Palme by Kristina Lindström and Maud Nycander and Searching for Sugarman by Malik Bendjelloul.

Awarded as the best film this year was ¨The Reunion” (Återträffen) by Anna Odell, a hybrid film to use a modern terminology, or a docufiction, that Mikkel Stolt reviewed for

Danish director Per Fly got the beetle as best director for ”Monica Z” about legendary singer Monica Zetterlund.

Best documentary went to Mia Engberg for her ”Belleville Baby”, a very fine choice. I saw it in connection with the Nordisk Panorama festival in Malmø and wrote: has a feeling, an atmosphere, a personal tone (the director’s own voice and her text is excellent) and a well told story from the past, where the director fell in love in Paris, lived with him for some time, experienced him becoming a criminal, because of his immigrant background, an honest film that also includes reflections on the fimmaker wanting to convey the good story, whatever the subject of the story thinks... it is so well made with a mix af material – super 8 blurred images, photos, newsreels and tv-reports from riots in France, home video from the director with her small son, all framed by the myth of Orpheus and Eurydike. An essay film on remembering, and remembering different moments and events, maybe they never took place. Impressive work...

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Wojciech Staron in New York

Written 19-12-2013 11:35:31 by Tue Steen Müller

“It has a story, a point of view, a humanistic approach and a director, who is also the cameraman and who has the skills to catch magical moments as they happen in life. A decade ago the director made ”Siberian Lesson” and now he goes to Argentina with (his family) the same teacher and her two kids...”

A text quote from the review I made in May 2011 about ”The Argentinian Lesson”, one of the most beautiful documentaries from the last years.

Now the two films (from Siberia and Argentina) have been released as one entitled ”Two Lessons”, in New York in the cinema founded by Albert Maysles. This deserves a big BRAVO and links to reviews from the US, including one very well written from New York Times. The question that comes to my mind is simple – why don’t we/you do the same in other cities and festivals?

The credit list of ”Two Lessons”:

Directed by Wojciech Staron; director of photography, Mr. Staron; edited by Zbigniew Osinski; produced by Malgorzata (Malgosia) Staron; released by Non-Fiction Cinema Releasing. At the Maysles Cinema, 343 Malcolm X Boulevard, between 127th and 128th Streets, Harlem. In Polish and Spanish, with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 54 minutes.

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Becker-Larsen: Den forunderlige kvanteverden /2

Written 16-12-2013 09:12:26 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Fysikeren på billedet er gået ud på balkonen på Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos på la Palma for efter at have afsluttet et stort vellykket eksperiment at se ud over Atlanterhavet over mod Tenerife. Han har med det berømte optiske teleskop iagttaget, at en foton, en mindste lyspartikel, som kan tænkes og nu også iagttages og altså er, en foton, som var entangled, det vil sige skilt fra og dog sammenbundet med en foton, som en anden fysiker på Mt. Teide observatoriet på Tenerife, stadigvæk havde under observation der, 144 km derfra. De adskilte dele var omhyggeligt forhindret i fysisk kontakt på nogen kendt måde. Men når fotonen på Tenerife blev påvirket ved iagttagelse og ændrede egenskaber kunne fysikeren på La Palma iagttage de samme ændringer. De adskilte fotoner var stadigvæk én fysisk enhed. Fysikere havde tidligere i eksperimenter set dette hos skilte (entanglede) fotoner, men aldrig tidligere havde de opretholdt entanglement over så stor afstand.

Read more / Læs mere


Categories: Cinema, TV, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Becker-Larsen: Den forunderlige kvanteverden /1

Written 15-12-2013 12:24:45 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Filmen om, hvordan man tæmmer kvanteverdenen, ja, filmen, hvor man overhovedet får undervisning i, hvad kvanteverdenen er, instruktøren Lars Becker-Larsens og pruduceren Gitte Randløvs nye store satsning med alvorlig videnskabsformidling vises i aften 23:15 på DR 2. Derefter vil den kunne ses på frem til ca. 15. januar. Senere kommer den på DVD, og på / filmcentralen.

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Categories: Cinema, TV, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Joe Berlinger: Under African Skies

Written 27-10-2013 07:04:43 by Mikkel Stolt

Paul Simon’s 1986 album, “Graceland”, is a pivotal album and more than anything it revealed to us western mono-culture consumers that South Africa is a rich source of rhythms, harmonies and just plain good grooves. Also, the album and the following tour gave musicians like Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Joseph Shabalala, Ray Phiri and Baghiti Kumalo a chance to make the world listen to their (and Simon’s) music.

But since the record was made during the embargo of South Africa, ANC and Artists Against Apartheid were adversaries to Simon’s project - although both Simon and the involved black musicians insisted on the collaboration.

In 2011 Paul Simon returned to South Africa to meet the old gang and to do a 25th anniversary concert. This film, quite traditionally, consists of scenes from the rehearsals, archive footage of the old recordings and concerts, the harsh life under apartheid plus recent interviews with the main characters. Simon himself comes across both enthusiastic (albeit a bit old) and somewhat tired of the old controversy while the other musicians are just a treat to look at and listen to.

There is an important dialogue on a sofa between Simon and founder of AAA, Dali Tembo, where they discuss the political implications, and - in my mind a key scene - Simon also tells us about a meeting he had with ANC. Back then, ANC wanted the black musicians to not go on the tour, and Simon therefore asked the politicians: “Is this the government you will be? A government who wants to control artists?” Powerful stuff, to say the least.

But the film pays an equal attention to the music related topics. For instance, we hear about Simon’s problems with getting his words to fit when he returned to New York with the tapes. He had to re-listen and re-analyze the complex patterns of the instruments.

However, we as an audience aren’t allowed to really listen. Even though the film is packed with music, we mostly get to hear a few seconds before someone talks, and while it seems completely unnecessary to have people like Whoopi Goldberg and Paul McCartney in the film, others like Harry Belafonte and Philip Glass make more sense. It’s always tricky to fit music into a storyline, but apart from that the film is structured rather cleverly.

It is not cinematographically awe-inspiring but certainly inspiring in other ways; especially if you are just slightly interested in Paul Simon, music, culture, politics or… the world.

Joe Berlinger: Under African Skies, 2012. Watched at Cinemateket, Copenhagen.


Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

East by SouthEast

Written 17-10-2013 06:27:50 by Tue Steen Müller

Sitting in Tbilisi I see a press release from the Danish Cinematheque that hosts a ”Festival of Central and Eastern European Film” from October 24 till November 7. Among them the feature hit from Georgia, ”In Bloom”, but also several documentaries. Exciting selection.

Let me quote an interesting article by Ewa Mazierska attached to the press release:

”One problem which is not specific to Eastern Europe, but is felt there more strongly than in, let’s say, France or Denmark, is the dying out of the province. This problem has to do, paradoxically, with the fact that still a large chunk of the population of Eastern Europe lives in the province; this being a consequence of delayed modernisation of this part of Europe. During the communist times the authorities usually limited the number of people able to relocate to the large cities by the rule that one has to be ‘registered’ there in order to live and work there. Under democracy, however, when one can, at least in theory, live where one wants, many people choose to do so, leaving behind their families and thus communities depopulated, impoverished and unbalanced in terms of gender and age. This problem is tackled in numerous Eastern European films, although often indirectly, as exemplified by Matchmaking Mayor (2010) by Erika Hnikova, Igrushki (2012) by Lina Luzyté and Night Boats (2012) by Igor Mirkovic. By and large, in the bulk of the films by Eastern Europe directors their countries come across as places to escape from rather than to visit and enjoy. However, less often than in the past this idea is transmitted in films about sex trafficking, as if to suggest that girls from Eastern Europe have learnt from cinema not to naively follow men from the West promising them paradise on the other side of the border.”

”Igrushki” (photo) is in competition here at Cinedoc in Tbilisi.

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Adam Nielsens klippekunst

Written 26-08-2013 12:08:01 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Det Danske Filminstituts Roos Pris 2013 blev i lørdags tildelt filmklipperen Adam Nielsen for, som det hedder i begrundelsen, bag kulisserne med kompromisløshed, alsidighed og unik musikalitet at være med til at løfte kvaliteten af dansk dokumentarfilm.

Det er jeg meget glad for, for Adam Nielsen er min helt, og jeg fejrede begivenheden i aftes ved at se hans og filminstruktøren Tine Katinka Jensens mesterværk ”Solange on Love” (2008), hvor han klipper et intenst og nærværende og i ethvert sekund autentisk materiale nænsomt og håndfast gennem en forrygende parallelhandling og udvikling af 2 + 2 karakterer frem til et vidunderligt digt om kærlighedens fremtrædelsesformer set fra kvindernes vinkel med en mands blik. Et stort sted er noget så sjældent som et fuldendt frieri i en dokumentarisk og aldeles ægte scene.


Jeg mødte første gang Adam Nielsens filmkunst, da jeg så en arbejdskopi af ”Ghosts of Cité Soleil” (2007), som han havde klippet for Asger Leth. Det var en voldsom oplevelse, som jeg aldrig glemmer. Jeg skrev senere på den baggrund en anmeldelse af filmen, faktisk det første indlæg, jeg lavede her på Filmkommentaren:

Det er ikke journalistik det her, men vi må have styr på de politiske fakta, og klipperen Adam Nielsen vælger håndfast at gøre rede for disse ting ved at gøre journalistikken til et element i filmkonstruktionen. Den politiske tv reportage er helt regulært anbragt i dette musikalske forløb, så kompositorisk nodebundet, at jeg tænker mig der i klippemanus disse steder står: andante. Vi skal lige have vejret...

Read more / Læs mere

Categories: Cinema, TV, Poetics, Web

Sønderby J. & Bervald Jørgensen: Blodets bånd /2

Written 27-05-2013 10:18:34 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Traileren er et chok for mig, det bliver en overvindelse at gå ind i biografen til den film. Så nøgen den må være og så blufærdig på samme tid. Den udstiller ikke, mærker jeg i de effektivt klippede scener, den er bare. Nøgen og blufærdig, ville helst dække sig. Det er en særlig tone i datterens fortvivlede stemme, som siger mig det. Det er så privat, at det gør ondt, gør ondt at komme til at høre, for jeg burde jo gå, det her kommer mig bestemt ikke ved. Men filmen forlanger, at jeg bliver. Sådan vil det også være, men voldsomt manifest ved premieren, for jeg tror faktisk, at den film vil holde, hvad traileren lover.


Categories: Cinema, Web

Sønderby Jepsen & Bervald Jørgensen: Blodets bånd

Written 25-05-2013 10:02:27 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Jeg kan faktisk rigtig godt lide den her synopsis, som er sendt ud med pressematerialet til næste film i DOX:BIO:

”Synopsis: Svend har 16 børn. De fire yngste har han sammen med Gitte, som han netop er ved at blive skilt fra efter 28 års turbulent ægteskab. Samtidig har Svend og Gittes yngste datter, Christina, besluttet sig for at flytte hjemmefra. Men opbruddet i familien åbner en byge af spørgsmål – især for Christina, som er på vej ind i voksenlivet uden rigtig at kunne huske noget fra sin barndom. Christina vil for eksempel gerne vide, hvorfor hun og hendes tre hel-søskende blev tvangsfjernet, da de var små. Men Svend og Gitte lider af en slags kollektiv hukommelsessvigt og er ude af stand til at give et fornuftigt svar. De mener begge at tvangsfjernelsen blev iværksat på falske anmeldelser fra et nært familiemedlem.

For at hjælpe sin datter – og sin egen hukommelse på gled – beslutter Svend sig for at søge aktindsigt hos kommunen. Ved at læse dokumenterne fra dengang er han overbevist om, at han én gang for alle kan bevise overfor Christina og resten af verden, at tvangsfjernelsen var en fejl. Og en dag kommer posten så med en meget stor kasse fyldt med sagens akter om Svend og hans mange børn. Sammen med Christina og hendes søster Michelle graver Svend sig ned i den fortid, som ingen rigtig kan huske – og de tre kommer ud på en rejse, som er alt andet end køn.”

Det ser ud til, at Sønderby Jepsen fortsætter sit projekt med familieundersøgelser. Den seneste var bestemt også alt andet end køn, men tilføjede jo den nøgne sociale undersøgelse noget. Jeg må nu kigge nøje efter, hvad det noget er. For det er det, som bevæger mig til at blive i hans film, som han laver sammen med andre, denne gang igen en journalist, som i den vellykkede ”Dømt for terror” (2010), han lavede sammen med erfarne Miki Mistrati og også da med Helle Faber som producer. Her er det nyuddannede journalist Pernille Bervald Jørgensen, som er medinstruktør. Hun har researchet materialet omhyggeligt, og hun har fulgt de medvirkende i flere år og lavet optagelser, det er grundigt, det her. Og hertil kommer så dette noget, som må være det, Sønderby Jepsen tilføjer. Jeg tør ikke skrive filmkunst, så det lader jeg være med…

Filmen har premiere i HADSUND BIO 4. juni og kan den 5. juni ses ved simultane visninger i en lang række biografer, de fleste steder dog kun den ene gang.

Categories: Cinema, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Jay Bulger: Beware of Mr. Baker /2

Written 15-05-2013 14:52:25 by Allan Berg Nielsen

The Guardian to-day: MICHAEL HANN: "Meeting Ginger Baker: an experience to forget. How an onstage Q&A with the great drummer turned into a professional horror show":

Link to  On Jay Bulgers film "Beware of Mr. Baker".

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Web

Audrius Stonys Visits Copenhagen

Written 25-04-2013 22:47:51 by Tue Steen Müller

“Audrius Stonys deserves much praise for his ”Ramin”, a film about an old man in Georgia, his daily life, his attachment to his late mother, his looking for a woman he knew in his youth... the story is told in stunningly beautiful images by Audrius Kemezys, the story construction is complicated, but there are magical moments (like in most of Stonys films) that you will never forget, and original ideas...” words taken from this site, which has posts about the Lithuanian filmmaker dating back to the beginning of

He, Audrius Stonys, visits Copenhagen this coming monday to screen his film, ”Ramin”, in the documentary cinema set up by Ebbe Preisler in the PH Cafeen in Copenhagen, check the website below – there might be documentary film fans in Copenhagen, who happen to be ignorant about the quality and commitment behind the initiative. Stonys will introduce the film and talk with the audience afterwards.

On the top of the film of Audrius Stonys, a film by Klaus Kjeldsen from 2006 is shown, shot in ”his” street, Nansensgade, about the fascinating artist Chriatian Lemmerz. The description of the film, in Danish, goes like this:

Christian Lemmerz er en tysk kunstner bosiddende i Danmark. Han er ikke mindst kendt for sine krasse skulpturer, men denne aften skal vi opleve ham skabe nogle såkaldte monotypier i et lille værksted i Nansensgade hos kunsttrykker Michael Schäfer. Der er ikke noget buller og brag i denne film, den er et roligt nærbillede af en arbejdende kunstner, kraftfuld javel, men koncentreret og humoristisk.

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Cinemateket maj/juni 2013

Written 20-04-2013 09:44:46 by Tue Steen Müller

The following text in Danish is praising the Copenhagen Cinemateket, part of the Danish Film Institute, for its programme for May and June. A real treat for film lovers, film history with the giants Luchino Visconti and Satyajit Ray in front but also a tribute to Christopher Walken and new films from Egypt as well as a series of films by the Korean Chan-Wook Park – and a handful of strong documentaries.

Jo, det er den rene gavebod, som det 64 siders programhæfte fra DFI præsenterer for maj og juni – det er en god idé med det nye format, overskueligt og indbydende – og det siger jeg ikke kun fordi jeg rammes i hjertekulen, når jeg ser at 8 film af mesteren Luchino Visconti bliver vist med et løfte om at flere følger til efteråret. De står alle sammen på dvd-hylden, men at gense ”De lange knives nat”, ”Leoparden” og ”Døden i Venedig” på det store lærred i forhåbentlig flotte kopier – det er derfor vi har et filmmuseum. Og så er der den vidunderlige Apu-trilogi (foto) af Satyajit Ray, dokumentariske og vemodigt poetiske film, som det skrives så rigtigt af Jesper Andersen i introduktionen.

På dokumentar-siden: Anne Wivels grundige Kierkegaard-film med bl.a. Møllehave og Garff, Jørgen Leths ”Det gode og det onde”, og fra udlandet bl.a. Carlo Guillermo Protos gribende ”El Huaso” om faren, der ønsker at tage sit liv. Den vises i en serie med nye fransk-canadiske film.

Personligt glæder jeg mig til at gense Dariusz Jablonskis ”Fotoamator” (”Amatørfotografen”) fra 1998. Jeg var medlem af juryen ved idfa i 1998, hvor filmen fik hovedprisen i konkurrence med Sergey Dvortsevoys ”Bread Day” og Viktor Kossakovskys ”Pavel og Lalya” – jeg tror ikke festivalen har haft et stærkere felt siden da, og jeg har tit tænkt på om vi valgte den rigtige vinder. Jablonskis fremragende film bygger på lysbilleder taget af en nazistisk bogholder i den jødiske ghetto i Lodz.

Categories: Cinema, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Searching for Sugarman in France

Written 16-04-2013 16:47:01 by Tue Steen Müller

A week ago the French newspaper Le Monde brought an interesting article about the national launch of the Oscar winner Searching for Sugarman theatrically. Released in cinemas by December 26 2012, the film is now running in around 70 cinemas, 75 copies and 130.000 entrées, being on the top 30 list for weeks.

But it started completely different. The film was at Sundance January 2012, the distributor saw it, they tried to get it to Cannes in May, but as it had been around already no success, it had a screening at the American film festival in Deauville, a European fim with an American theme – and a VIP screening in Paris where both film and music people were invited. When the film was over, Sixto Rodriguez entered the stage to perform. Voilà! And then of course promotion from mouth to ear parallel to the news about the many awards that the film obtained.

The film stays in the French cinemas until end of May where a dvd will be released, including the performance in Paris as bonus material on the disc and followed by concerts with Rodriguez in cities in France.

The article in Le Monde was brought April 9.

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Shola Lynch: Free Angela

Written 06-04-2013 15:51:13 by Tue Steen Müller

With the subtitle... and all political prisoners, an addition that Angela Davis, the person in question, the hero of the film, the charismatic icon of the Black Power movement, imprisoned in 1970 for involvement in the killing of a judge, with other victims, being the owner of the murder weapon... an addition that Davis insisted on during her time in jail, trying to avoid the focus on her alone, in vain, as she became a symbol for freedom and justice all over the world, including the communist world. Davis was a member of the American Communist party until 1991.

”You know her name, know her story”, says the text on the film poster, right, at least for my generation, but the historical details, the events back in 1970, are good to meet again, as you do in this classically told documentary that uses archive, interviews and the voice of Angela Davis herself, in and out of the image. With the emphasis on the time leading up to her arrest, the trial and the release due to the decision of an all-white jury.

Good to meet her again in a dramatised form that appeals to the emotions, when you see and hear Angela’s sister and others fight for her release then, travelling the world to get support, as well as the lawyers that had her case... not to forget the love story between Davis and Black Panther icon George Jackson (shot dead in 1971) that was used against her by the prosecutor.

You could argue that it would have been interesting to know what happened to Davis in the following decades, the director decided not to go in that direction even if Davis herself (born 1944, still with big impressive hair and characteristic smile), in the film, indicates that the events back then has shaped her life as an activist and fighter for black women’s rights.

The distributor in France mk2 has published an interview (in French) with Angela Davis and the director in the magazine Trois Couleurs, link below. The film was seen in a mk2 cinema in Paris.


Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Ken Loach: The Spirit of 45

Written 14-03-2013 08:20:27 by Tue Steen Müller

A new film by Ken Loach, this time a documentary. The director (born 1936) looks into ”the spirit of 45” in England, the post-war time where a welfare state was built on social and human values which are difficult to discover today. The film opens tomorrow, March 15, with a ”satellite Q&A nationwide” in 40+ cinemas with Loach and other guests. There is an interview available on the Guardian website, and a trailer and a lot of info on the site of the film, see below. Here is a text from that site:

An impassioned documentary about how the spirit of unity which buoyed Britain during the war years carried through to create a vision of a fairer, united society.

1945 was a pivotal year in British history. The unity that carried Britain through the war allied to the bitter memories of the inter-war years led to a vision of a better society. The spirit of the age was to be our brother’s and our sister’s keeper. Director Ken Loach has used film from Britain’s regional and national archives, alongside sound recordings and contemporary interviews, to create a rich political and social narrative. The Spirit of ’45 hopes to illuminate and celebrate a period of unprecedented community spirit in the UK, the impact of which endured for many years and which may yet be rediscovered today.

Ken Loach: “The achievements of the ’45 Labour government have largely been written out of our history.  From near economic collapse we took leading industries into public ownership and established the Welfare State.  Generosity, mutual support and co-operation were the watch words of the age.  It is time to remember the determination of those who were intent on building a better world.”

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Simon Klose: TPB AFK

Written 21-02-2013 09:17:02 by Allan Berg Nielsen

”Det er dagen før retssagen begynder. Fredrik pakker en computer i en rusten gammel Volvo. Sammen med hans Pirate Bay (TPB)-medstiftere står han ansigt til ansigt med et erstatningskrav fra Hollywood på 72 millioner kroner i en sag om krænkelse af ophavsret. Fredrik er på vej hen for at installere en ny computer i den hemmelige serverhal. Det er her verdens største fildelingsside er gemt. Da hacker-vidunderbarnet Gottfrid, internetaktivisten Peter og den fordrukne webnørd Fredrik findes skyldige i retssagen bliver de konfronteret med virkeligheden i form af et liv offline AFK away from the keyboard. Men dybt nede i de mørke datacentre fortsætter skjulte computere stille med at kopiere filer.”

Sådan sætter DR2’s pressemeddelelse filmen i gang. Og sådan går filmen faktisk i gang. Og jeg er i en thriller, og jeg holder ved længe, for der er spændende det her, det er spændende i lang tid. For mig begynder thrilleren først at tabe højde, da tv-timen er gået, og vi skal i gang med retshandling to, appelsagen. Så mærker jeg, at det ikke er biograf det her. Fortryllelsen damper væk, og så står jeg ud af filmen og begynder at tænke IRL (in real life), får lyst til at google og finde facts. Og jeg griber mig i at sidde og kigge på en tv-dokumentar, hvor jeg mangler forudsætninger. Og jeg mærker en sær udelukkelse, en arrogance, som de medvirkendes indforståethed forsvarer sig med over for deres modstandere, samtidig med, de inkluderer alle internetbrugerere af deres slags og med deres moral, ekskluderer de fremmede som mig, mærker jeg, og jeg tænker, hvor er de journalistiske dyder, jeg plejer at stole på? Og så sker det, at tv-dokumentaren sandelig også smider mig af... Men jeg kan stå på igen, denne gang har jeg mange chancer som publikum:

For i et samarbejde mellem DR2, Information og DOX BIO var der i aftes, 20. februar dansk biografpremiere i Grand Teatret, København med efterfølgende debat. Det kan man nok læse om i Information i dag. Og snart kan den vel ses i flere biografer. Dertil kommer, at den har tv-premiere på DR2 Dokumania den 26. februar 21:00. DR2 skriver i pressemeddelelsen desuden om en ”nytænkende måde at frigive dokumentarfilm på”, her altså en film, som DR2 er tilfreds med at have medfinansieret. Denne nytænkende måde er, at TPB AFK samtidig har web-premiere på link Her kan man, gratis altså, se filmen, og det var sådan, jeg i aftes var til premiere ved min computerskærm. I sig selv en oplevelse og en overvejelse: har Per K. Kirkegaard klippet en biograffilm, en tv-dokumentar eller en youtube-film? Jeg er forvirret og i syv sind. Og det gør altså ikke noget. Jeg er foreløbig ikke begejstret, men jeg er faktisk alligevel lidt fascineret og nysgerrig…

Simon Klose: TPB AFK, The Pirate Bay Away from Keyboard, Sverige 2013. Klip: Per K. Kirkegaard. Producere: Signe Byrge Sørensen, Anne Köhncke og Martin Persson. Medvirkende: Peter Sunde, Gottfrid Svartholm Wark og Fredrik Neij. Produktion: Blandt flere selskaber Final Cut for Real


Categories: Cinema, TV, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK, Web

Jørgen Vestergaard: Spillemanden

Written 10-02-2013 17:52:44 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Vestergaard tager igen simpelthen ordet og fortæller en historie. Den her gang om en stor musiker ude på landet, der hvor de bor. Han gør det på den måde, han kan og altid har gjort det på, i en dokumentarfilm, som han bare laver. Han samler pengene sammen, han samler holdet af kolleger og venner og går i gang. Optager og klipper og færdiggør og indtaler sin fortælling voice over. Det er sådan han tager ordet, og jeg bliver så glad, når jeg igen hører hans stemme fortælle om det, han nu er optaget af. Det gik sådan til, at Jacob Oschlag fra foreningen Thy Folkemusik pegede på en fortsættelse af filmene om Evald Thomsen, Evald og Ingeborg og alle de andre (1974) og om brødrene Ejnar, Hans og Karl Nielsen fra Oksbøl, Æ Tinuser (1979). Han skulle lave en film med Karl Skaarup.

Filmen er for så vidt om ham, spillemanden Karl Skaarup (1924) fra Koldby i Thy, men den er mere end det, den er en film om musik, og den er derfor især med ham som medvirkende, han fortæller skam lidt om sig selv og sit liv, men vigtigst, han forklarer fagligt og omhyggeligt om sin musik i ellers ubeskrevne detaljer, om sine forbilleder og om sin undervisning, som han sent i karrieren med succes blev lokket ud i af en ny generation af musikere. Filmen er om musik og musikalske generationsskifter uden egentlige brud, men med traditioner og videreførelser og fornyelser. Og så om den personlige faktor: det drejer sig her om Karl Skaarup. Og den loyale, klassiske tv-dokumentar udvider sig, ja, Skaarup fortæller, som han forventes, om gamle dage og missionens syn på hans fag i dans og alkohol og hans myndige dialekt slår fast: det er ikke synd. Men han bliver faglig i sin selvbiografi, holder sig til instrumenternes række, fortæller om dem, han har ejet siden barndommen. Og så kommer det interessante, musikken. Han lærte at se på de dansende, skille de dygtigste ud og spille efter dem, for dans og musik hører sammen, i hans verden i den rækkefølge. Sådan er kunsten.

Filmens kerne er mødet mellem Karl Skaarup og violinisten fra konservatoriet, Kristian Bugge, mødet mellem erfaring og begejstring. Bugge overtaler Skaarup til at tage sig som elev, og efterhånden bliver Skaarup en slags ekstern lærer ved Fyns Musikkonservatorium. Selv havde han lært af violinisten Viggo Post fra Bedsted, og han kunne så videreføre kendskabet til de lange, lange thyske turdanse i akademiske rammer, men ikke kun denne folkloreindsamling, han tilføjede og fortsætter med at tilføje sin egen kunst, det gammeldags på den autentiske, den ægte måde. Musikken er levende, variationerne udvides med improvisationer, som i opmærksomhed på dansen stadig understreger denne. Dette er Vestergaards films fornemhed, klippet følger og illustrerer konkret i dejligt lange scener uden nogen fotografisk eller klippeteknisk pynt, at Karl Skaarup samler en stil omkring sig, en musikalsk skole velsagtens, der som hovedingrediens er afhængig af og respekterer, hvad folk gør, når de danser, og af, hvad de simpelthen kan lide.

Jørgen Vestergaard har lavet en film om og en udforskning af en stor musikalsk tradition i sin værkrække, endnu en fint følt film om kunst. Direkte gribende er det at overvære den gamle musiker lytte sig opmærksomt ind i et ungt orkester, Habadekuks fremmede musik og lidt efter lidt spille sammen med dem, senere at se ham give koncert for 400 alvorligt lyttende tilhørere i Vestervig Kirke, koncert, ja! Både spillende med i stort orkester og som solist med fuldstændig stilhed omkring sig og sin harmonika.

Jørgen Vestergaard: Spillemanden – en film om Karl Skaarup, Danmark 2012, 39 min. Fotografi: Orla Nielsen, lyd: Erik Nielsen, klip: Henrik Jørgensen, musik: Karl Skaarup, Kristian Bugge og Habadekuk, idé: Jakob Oschlag, produktion: JV film & tv, salg: Forlaget Knakken


Categories: DVD, Cinema, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Daniel Dencik: Ekspeditionen til verdens ende

Written 04-02-2013 15:49:28 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Jeg er, når jeg læser foromtalerne og i og med selve titlen og, da det kommer dertil, fra filmens begyndelse midt i de store arktiske ekspeditioners omfattende mytologi. I mit liv begyndte den mytologi naturligvis med Knud Rasmussens store slæderejse, og den fortsatte med min generations ekspeditionsdeltagere og deres fascinationer af de gamle (selv har jeg aldrig rejst), som da Per Kirkeby i sin tid skrev om nye biografiske bøger om ”… helte fra et af mine reservater, Mylius-Erichsen og Lauge Koch. For at mit polarrejsende-Valhalla skal være besat på de første rækker mangler nu blot J.P. Koch, Nansen, Wegener og Eigil Knuth.” Der står altså en del biografier af den slags i Kirkebys reol, og jeg har ikke svært ved at gætte en stor del af de biograferedes navne. Disse klipper af mænd var også mine helte og deres fortællinger var min udfordring. Og der troede jeg altså, at jeg kunne begynde at se Denciks film.

Eller jeg kunne begynde med Daniel Richter, som medvirker i filmen som ekspeditionsdeltager, og som sidder der på den grønlandske klippe med skitseblok og riffel, jeg kunne begynde med hans malerier, for det hedder om hans landskaber i en tekst fra en udstilling, jeg så, at de ”… forbinder sig med romantikkens landskabsmaleri og oversætter på kyndig vis det ophøjede romantiske til et tidssvarende sprog.” Disse bjerge af på én gang destruktion og evighed omkring små skikkelser af foreløbighed i undfangelsens længsel. Der så jeg i begyndelsen af Denciks film, at jeg måske kunne fortsætte i en forståelse af hans landskaber af hav og is og klippe.

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Categories: Cinema, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Maysles Cinema

Written 21-12-2012 16:03:14 by Tue Steen Müller

Oops, suddenly you stand in front of a small cinema with the name Maysles Cinema. In the window there is a poster for ”5 Broken Cameras” that runs the same night with a skype Q & A with one of the directors. Another poster promotes ”The House I Live in” by Eugene Jarecki to be screened in January.

We enter the small lobby, have a photo taken next to the poster of the Maysles Brothers masterpiece ”Grey Gardens” (1975) and have a small chat with a female staff member, who tells us that the cinema has been here in Harlem on Malcolm X Boulevard for five years with screenings and debates, and a lot fo classes for kids and grown-ups related to film and theatre.

Taken from the very informative webiste of the Maysles Institute: ... The Cinema is committed to a democratic experience, one where filmmakers are asked to attend the screenings of their work, and audiences have the opportunity to actively engage the films and each other in post-screening forums. Coupled with its scheduled series, we encourage the programming participation of local social and cultural organizations and citizen-activists to deepen community involvement and provide exposure for under-represented social issues and overlooked artists and their work.

And a quote from the old master himself (he celebrated his 86th birthday December 6!) from an interview made by David Noh for Film Journal International: In Harlem you walk down the street and people talk to each other, and loud enough so that you hear their conversation. We wanted to be a part of it and we wanted to have a theatre where we could show documentaries exclusively and also teach local kids how to make their own movies. These movies have been good enough that three of twelve of our kids got their films on TV."

Photo: Poul Rude.

Categories: Cinema, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Jean-Louis Trintignant

Written 11-12-2012 22:35:13 by Tue Steen Müller

Michael Haneke’s ”Amour” has Jean-Louis Trigtignant in the leading male role. In connection with the opening of that film in New York, the art cinema house Film Forum is running a retrospective of films with the actor. A unique chance to study a great actor, just one masterpiece after the other, here are some of the titles:

”Il conformista” (Bertolucci), ”Red” (Kieslowski), ”Z” (Costa-Gavras), ”Un homme et une femme” (Lelouch), ”Ma nuit chez Maude” (Rohmer), ”Les biches” (Chabrol)...

An inspiration for cinematheques around the world to do a retrospective as well?

About ”Amour” Trintignant said in a quote from New York Times: “I’ve worked in more than 135 films, and to me Michael Haneke is the greatest director in the world working today,” Mr. Trintignant said in a telephone interview from Europe. “I choose what films I will work in on the basis not of the script but of the director, and he has the most complete mastery of the cinematic discipline, from technical aspects like sound and photography to the way he handles actors. This film deals with themes that are very dark, but I’ve never enjoyed working with a director as much as I have with him.”

PS. By the way it is his birthday today, born December 11 1931.

Categories: Cinema, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Ada Bligaard Søby: Petey & Ginger

Written 22-10-2012 19:06:42 by Allan Berg Nielsen

1. november på CPH:DOX får Ada Bligaard Søbys nyeste film premiere. Den har titlen Petey & Ginger - a testament to the awesomeness of mankind og på dens hjemmeside hedder det kontant om den: "When the global economy collapses the only true victors are those that weren't invited to the boom. Petey & Ginger elegantly and honestly documents two very real characters who semi-happily live on the fringes of I-don't-really-give-a-fuckville-and-that's-okay-ish. Filmmaker Ada Bligaard Søby again invites us into her ongoing infatuation with the treasure that is the blissfully detached lives of American Losers. Take notes…"


Categories: Cinema, Festival

Kristina Lindström & Maud Nycander:Palme

Written 05-10-2012 08:34:48 by Tue Steen Müller

This is a review of the biographical film about Olof Palme, a theatrical success in the country, where he lived from his birth in 1927 until he was shot down in a street in Stockholm on his way home from the cinema in 1986. The film opens this month in Denmark. I continue in Danish language:

Hvem var han egentlig, spørges der i filmens begyndelse. En kvindestemme er det, der spørger, det er hende, der kommer tilbage her og der undervejs, ikke på forklarende tv-manér, men nænsomt spørgende tager hun os ved hånden og sikrer det flow i fortællingen, som er der hele tiden i denne flot konstruerede dokumentarfilm, der bygger på arkivmateriale fra tv og film, på nye og gamle interviews – spændt ud over årtier i en klassisk form, hvor alle facetter af fænomenet Olof Palme studeres.

Klassisk på den måde, at modsætninger konstant stilles op. Overklassedrengen Palme der bliver socialdemokratiets leder. Den oratoriske begavelse, verdensmanden Palme som tør gå imod amerikanernes infame Vietnamkrig og konstant forsvarer menneskets rettigheder og værdighed, for samtidig brutalt verbalt at jorde politiske modstandere i den hjemlige andedam. Den netop verbalt suveræne taler, der kunne vende en forsamling til sit synspunkt men ikke nødvendigvis til at kunne lide ham. Han fik aldrig bugt med sin intellektuelle arrogance. Og naturligvis den overordnede sammenstilling af Palme som politisk verdensstjerne i forhold til de mange komplikationer på hjemmebanen. Kirunastrejken, IB-skandalen, skattesagerne, Barsebäck, Clark Olofsson og Stockholmssyndromet osv. Det tjener filmens skabere til ære, at de ikke holder sig tilbage fra at lade flere være temmelig kritiske overfor ikonet. Harry Schein, fhv. filmdirektør, kalder ham et magtmenneske (og det skulle komme fra Schein!/ ed.), Roy Andersson udtaler at sagen omkring IB-skandalen får ham til at tænke, hvor ærlig Palme egentlig var, hvorimod Jörn Donner konstaterer, at Palme var for intelligent til Sverige.

Privatoptagelserne, de kornede stoflige super-8 film, løfter filmen kolossalt i kombination med de fine udsagn, som hans tre sønner kommer med. Der var en privatperson Olof Palme, ihvertfald fire uger om året, som hans hustru

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Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Ada Bligaard Søby, alle blogindlæg om hendes film

Written 06-09-2012 11:43:51 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Scene efter scene stilles i kø i disciplineret række og forbindes kontrapunktisk med interview- og dialogmateriale, dokumentariske beretninger i løsreven fastholdelse. Det er meningsfuldt i en ganske anden form for filmfortælling end den normale danske tradition; og det er befriende, så befriende…




Ada Bligaard Søby er månedens instruktør i FILMKLUB FOF i Randers, vi skal se nogle af hendes film og snakke om dem, og 1. november på CPH:DOX får hendes nye film premiere. Den har titlen Petey & Ginger - a testament to the awesomeness of mankind og på dens hjemmeside hedder det kontant om den: “When the global economy collapses the only true victors are those that weren't invited to the boom. Petey & Ginger elegantly and honestly documents two very real characters who semi-happily live on the fringes of I-don't-really-give-a-fuckville-and-that's-okay-ish.” Filmmaker Ada Bligaard Søby again invites us into her ongoing infatuation with the treasure that is the blissfully detached lives of American Losers. Take notes…” Så nu er det tid at samle, hvad jeg til nu har noteret om hendes film:

AMERICAN LOSERS (58 min., 2006)

Det begynder med allerførste scene. Den kvindelige hovedperson inviterer os med et blik i kameraet til at følge efter i denne historie. Det er selvfølgelig ganske ligetil og uskyldigt – og det virker. Man følger gerne med. Det er en kompetent disposition.

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Categories: DVD, Cinema, Festival, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK, Web, Directors

Daniel Dencik: Moon Rider /2

Written 05-09-2012 07:16:44 by Allan Berg Nielsen

"...En helt der nemt kan indlemmes i det Jørgen Lethske cykel-persongalleri, hvis og når Quaade vælger den professionelle karriere, ligesom Dencik med denne film giver publikum et bevis på sit visuelle talent og sans for den store historie om manden, der vil vinde for enhver pris. Eller... hun kommer ind i fortællingen mod slutningen, men før VM’et i København i 2011... vil Quaades kæreste, der bringer smilet frem i det melankolske ansigt, få ham til at tænke på andre værdier i tilværelsen. Som han i øvrigt gør det i filmens smukkest klippede sekvens, hvor han alene på landevejen, sat af feltet, pludselig oplever naturens skønhed omkring sig. Ren poesi." (Fra Tue Steen Müllers store anmeldelse her på siden)

Moon Rider vises i aften i en række biografer. Se hvor her på DOX:BIO I nogle af biograferne vises den flere gange over en periode.

Categories: Cinema

Bonke og Koefoed: Ballroom Dancer /2

Written 02-09-2012 08:17:55 by Allan Berg Nielsen

... Slavik, who corrects her at the same time as he declares his love to her. One-dimensional, the film is, and mid way through the story, the film goes dead, for a long period, coming up again with a beautiful sequence where the two, after having been apart, and after she has met another man, good for her, perform in a rehearsal room to the tunes of ”You were on My Mind”. That dance is great to watch... (Tue Steen Müller)

... the film had many nice scenes and some quite beautiful filming too. But during the film, I suddenly thought of Scorsese's “The Color of Money” which starts by explaining the rules of the billiard game, 9-ball. Then the story and emotions can fold itself out, because you don't have to think about the technicalities of the game anymore and you can enjoy the professional talk later on in the film. I felt left a little alone during “Ballroom Dancer” because I know very little of dance and I couldn't understand why Slavik went mad at Anna and such. (Mikkel Stolt)

Efter premieren på CPH:DOX viste sig udelt varierede, men i grunden delte oplevelser af filmen hos skribenterne på Filmkommentaren Nu kan filmen ses ved en enkelt visning (NB de første i dag) i disse biografer:

KBH K, GRAND TEATRET 02/09, kl 19.00 Med instruktør-besøg og danseopvisning ved Egor Kondratenko & Mie Lincke Funch AALBORG, BIFFEN I NORDKRAFT 02/09 kl 16.30 HASLEV BIO 02/9 kl 18.00 IKAST BIO 02/09 kl 19.00 ÅRHUS, ØST FOR PARADIS 09/09, kl 20.00 Der vil være danseopvisning ved Petar Daskalov & Christine Højmark BIOGRAFEN SKANDERBORG 12/9, kl 18.30 TISVILDE BIO 12/9 kl 20.00 BORNHOLM CASSIOPAIA 28/9 kl 19.00 SLANGERUP BIO 19/09 kl 19.00 ESBJERG HUSET 24/10 samt i RY BIOGRAF og i biografen i VORDINGBORG.  

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Daniel Dencik: Moon Rider

Written 22-08-2012 20:52:30 by Tue Steen Müller

Det er sjældent, at en films synopsis-tekst rammer plet. Som regel er den båret af ønsket om at sælge billetter og forfalder til superlative salgsklichéer. I dette tilfælde (fra DFI (Det danske Filminstitut) hjemmesiden) har jeg kun kunnet nikke genkendende. Ja, det var den film, jeg så, beskrevet præcist og nøgternt med plads til begejstring. Her er den så:

Synopsis: »Moon Rider« er en fortælling om den unge Rasmus Quaade og hans kamp for at blive professionel cykelrytter. Det er en dannelsesrejse, der fører tilskueren med ned i helvede og tilbage. Med personlige Super8-optagelser og rå hjelmkamera-billeder, fortælles historien om et ekstraordinært talent, der befinder sig på et afgørende tidspunkt i sit liv. Det er en historie fortalt fra indersiden af en racerhjelm. Rasmus har en krop skabt til cykling, men et sind, der er skabt til at tænke. Hans fængende overvejelser om liv og død bliver hans største modstander i kampen om at udleve sin drøm: at blive verdensmester i enkeltstart. For at vinde skal han tømme hovedet helt, men hvordan tømmer man hovedet, når alle tanker er et skridt i den forkerte retning? Med hudløs ærlighed lukker Rasmus Quaade os ind i sin verden, hvor vi møder både tvivlen, frygten og dødsdriften, men også euforien ved at være blandt de ypperste i verden. Filmen tegner et hjerteskærende billede af et kæmpe sportstalents ekstreme og ensomme liv.

Filmen: Jo, filmen går tæt på cykelrytteren og mennesket, en ung mand, velformuleret, super-ambitiøs. Og her er der en fortællestil, hvor teksten, cykelrytterens refleksioner, som kommer som akkompagnement til billederne, aldrig i form af interview, undertiden opfattes som en slags stream-of

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Categories: Cinema, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Erika Hníkova: Matchmaking Mayor/ 2

Written 22-08-2012 09:27:43 by Tue Steen Müller

Det er mildest talt ikke hver dag at en tjekkisk/slovakisk dokumentar finder vej til en dansk biograf. Men her er én, takket være de brave folk fra Øst for Paradis og Gloria i Aarhus og København. Den har premiere i morgen, den 23. august. Vi bragte en anmeldelse af filmen i april 2011, her gentages den:

It is not the first time a film about a village with unmarried singles is being made these years. Seems to be a trend! And as the Greek one (”Sugartown”) and the Serbian one (”Village Without Women”) this one from Czech Republic, taking place in Slovakia, is warm and sweet to experience. At the same time as it is describing a provincial community, where daughters often stay with their mums and sons with their mothers as well. The older generation claims that they would love to see their children married, at the same time as they want the grown-up kids to stay at home, simply for their own sake, to avoid loneliness. The mayor, a former general, does what he can, but is not very succesful neither with his attempt to matchmake through a party planned for months, nor with his speeches that reaches the population via loudspeakers on every street corner.  

The director’s voice is heard, when she goes around to make first hand research. She asks questions on our behalf, she enjoys the confidence of the characters and gets good material to bring home. Something happens to the characters during the film, we get closer to them, but real close, no, there are still a natural lot of shyness when it comes to love. And there should be, this blogger thinks. Zemplinske Hamre is the name of the village, probably the one and only time you hear about it!

80 mins., Czech Republic & Slovak Republic.


Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Kaspar Astrup Schröder: I Want to Cheer Up Ltd.

Written 21-08-2012 00:15:57 by Tue Steen Müller

The Danish director behind ”The Invention of Dr. Nakamats” and ”My Playground” was praised by filmkommentaren last year through the words:”A multi-artist, an original talent, who also makes films... definitely a refreshing new talent in Danish documentary”.

In his new documentary, the second one he has shot in Japan, he shows – with the help of a Japanese woman behind the camera – we hear her questions to the main character Ryuichi Ichinokawa but we do not see her – huge talent for getting close to the man, whose normal job is to bring out post and parcels, with the addition that he runs a company that offers special service to families, or rather to people who do not have “enough” family members for weddings, receptions etc. So Mr. Ichinokawa steps in as organiser, as a kind of metteur-en-scène, including himself to play a father for a young girl, who wants her boyfriend to meet the father in order to get his permission to live together before eventual marriage.

This is a fine, entertaining and attractive invitation to watch the film that, however, turns out to be much more about Mr. Ichinokawa’s problems with his private life in a family, where love between Mr. Ichinokawa and his wife seems gone long ago, with him working to make the family with two children survive. Mr. Ichinokawa talks about his hell of a life, very few things seem to be good for him, yes he adores the dog of the house! And he says openly to camera that he has often thought of taking his own life.

His family knows nothing about his job as a helper for other people to repair their relationship. Mr. Ichinokawa builds up to tell his wife, which he does at the (far too abrupt) end of the film.

The family situation and the main character’s strong melancholy and small appetite on life fills up – it feels so – a big part of a film that through lack of more layers and a development of the identity theme becomes repetitive and flat in structure accompanied by a strong music score that serves to bring energy to scenes that lack strength. I hate to use this cliché of television commissioners but maybe the film is too long and Mr. Ichinokawa no strong and interesting enough to carry the story.

The film premieres in 50 cinemas in Denmark this Wednesday August 22 through the excellent DoxBio initiative that brings documentaries to cinemas.


Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Kaspar Astrup Schröder: Lej en Familie A/S

Written 20-08-2012 19:54:41 by Tue Steen Müller

Det er det med de skuffede forventninger... Jeg gik til pressevisning af ”Lej en familie A/S” af Kaspar Schröder i højt og positivt humør med erindringen om, hvordan han i april 2011 på en Dok-dag i Cinemateket havde bjergtaget mig med sin præsentation af den metode, som han havde anvendt i sin første originale Japan-film om Dr. Nakamats, som han viste klip fra, suppleret af arkitekturfilmen med parkour for fuld udblæsning. ”A multi-artist, an original talent, who also makes films... definitely a refreshing new talent in Danish documentary”, var de ord som filmkommentaren viderebragte.

Og det er ingen dårlig film, som Schröder nu sender på gaden. Historien om familiefaren Ryuichi Ichinokawa, som uden sin families viden driver et firma, som udlejer personer, som kan agere familie for mennesker, som ingen har, er interessant og attraktivt underholdende I sig selv. Til bryllupper skaffer han stand-ins – eller optræder selv som en far, som kan sige god for, at datteren flytter sammen med sin kæreste før de beslutter sig for at gifte sig – eller  udlejer en kritisk læser til en forfatter før bogen kommer på gaden. Hr. Ichinokawa er forbavsende åben om, hvad han foretager sig, bortset fra at et tv-klip med ham skjuler hans identitet, ligesom de involverede i brylupperne etc. har slørede ansigter. Det er sjældent, at man er kommet så tæt på japanerne som I denne film (bortset fra Sean McAllisters fine film fra 2008), om en hovedperson, der ikke kan forsørge sin familie gennem udlejningsfirmaet, hvorfor han må have et andet job som pakkeudbringer, som han så I øvrigt bliver fyret fra. Det er bemærkelsesværdigt, at det lykkes

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Categories: Cinema, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Jean Rouch Tribute

Written 16-08-2012 16:17:59 by Tue Steen Müller

Icarus Films in New York has a strong, high quality catalogue, including several works by Chris Marker, who died end of July this year. This week the company pulished the good news that it has acquired North American distribution rights to six films by “legendary French filmmaker and ethnographer Jean Rouch”.

The press release, that gives a gives a first intro to the filmmaker goes like this:

A founder of cinéma vérité, Rouch is widely recognized as one of the world’s most significant documentary filmmakers, but much of his filmography has long been unavailable in the United States. The six titles Icarus Films has acquired number among his most highly regarded productions: two shorts, LES MAÎTRES FOUS (1955) and MAMMY WATER (1956), and four features: MOI, UN NOIR (1957), THE LION HUNTERS (LE CHASSE AU LION A L’ARC) (1965), JAGUAR (1967), and LITTLE BY LITTLE (PETIT À PETIT) (1969).

Between 1946, when he made his first film in Niger, and his death in 2004, Rouch produced more than 100 films, most of them on African subjects. From his position as a researcher at France’s National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), he became “one of the most creative forces in ethnographic film and one of its most vigorous challengers.” (Pat Aufderheide, Documentary Film: A Very Short Introduction) “No one”, Gilles Deleuze said of Rouch, “has done so much…to break with a cinema of ethnology.”

The period in which Rouch produced the six films Icarus has acquired represents the most sustained flourishing of his practice of “shared anthropology,” a process of collaboration with his subjects that he described as a “type of participatory research,” which he said, “appears to me to be the only morally and scientifically feasible anthropological attitude today.”

Among this group are Rouch’s two best-known films: LES MAÎTRES FOUS,

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Categories: DVD, Cinema, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Jonas Neuvonen: Reindeerspotting

Written 12-07-2012 10:39:09 by Allan Berg Nielsen

CPH:DOX inviterer til snigpremiere på Reindeerspotting tirsdag 17. juli 21:30 i Gloria Bio, Rådhuspladsen 59. Billetter koster kun 50 kr. og kan købes/bestilles her!  

Tue Steen Müller gav i sin tid Reindeerspotting en indlevet og anerkendende anmeldelse. Han skrev blandt andet:  "One man behind the camera, a friend, himself on drugs, this is what makes the film attractive contrary to hundreds of well meaning ”don’t do it” drug addict films.

There is an intimacy in the relationship between the one who films and the one, who is being filmed. It is a relief when Jani is ready to leave fucking Finland to go abroad. This is where the film invites the viewer to experience tha classical journey of a young man, who wants to see and learn about the world. Free subutex drug in Paris, they are having a great time but when money is over, they have to go back and Jani ends up in prison, or as written, he ”is in and out” of prisons.

In terms of image, it looks (to use a Lars von Trier word about his new film) like shit and yet you take it all in, because it is a drama, well told in a personal and honest way. That is why people go to watch it, that must be the answer." Dengang (august 2010) havde filmen i Finland solgt mere end 60.000 billetter i biograferne.


Categories: Cinema, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Robert B. Weide: Woody Allen: A Documentary

Written 05-07-2012 19:53:26 by Mikkel Stolt

I tend to avoid topical documentaries with no artistic purpose of its own, so why do I want to see a documentary about Woody Allen? Furthermore, I believe I know most things about Allen so a biographical film would almost only be disappointing. But to be honest, I’m just a big fan. I have seen all his films and his writing have brought me through some difficult and sleepless nights in the past. If I was forced to mention my favourite film of all times at gun point (or even “gub point” - before I took the money and ran) I would probably say “Manhattan”.

Thankfully, this film is quite satisfying in many ways. Not only does it provide us with a pretty good insight on his early career as a joke writer and stand-up comedian, it also gives us good commenting on the better part of his films. Allen himself is either waddling around or willingly talking to the director about his methods, dreams and hang-ups, and most of it is known stuff. He laments that he’s a comedian and not a tragedian (which I’ve always thought is a false premise) and he speaks highly of actors and ex-wives. We meet a lot of his fellow workers in interviews and there is some good archive material as well as good excerpts from his feature films, although with a greater emphasis on the first two thirds of his career.

All in all it’s pretty skillfully and amusingly put together, for instance when a comment by one of his agents about a career advice given to Allen is followed by a scene from “Broadway Danny Rose” in which Allen gives career advice to a balloon folding act. But towards the end of the film we are on the set of “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” and suddenly you want to know even more about his film making and his views on acting and aesthetics. Supposedly, the PBS TV version holds another hour with more nerdish material and I would love to get a hold of that.

As a documentary, it’s surely entertaining and will most likely give even non-fans an urge to watch or read more Woody Allen, but of course it lacks a bit as a work in its own right. I don’t see how you could do it differently, though, except digging more into the dynamics of the schism between tragedy and comedy which is such a huge part of Allen’s art.

Now I will go re-watch “Interiors” which this film claims was very serious and Bergmanish (which it is) but as I actually recall as being quite funny as well. And since I know I’m going to die someday, I’d better get my laughs now.

Robert B. Weide: Woody Allen: A Documentary, USA 2011, 113 mins (theatrical cut).  


Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

15 Young by Young/ Premiere

Written 17-05-2012 23:07:49 by Tue Steen Müller

The Latvian national premiere of the 15 Young by Young documentary series - 15 short films of 15 minutes from the former Soviet republics - young filmmakers making films about young people and their lives in today's independent countries 20 years after the fall of the empire - took place with a galla screening in Riga saturday, followed by a screening in Sigulda, a town one hour from the capital, very well known for its winter sport but also the town that hosted a seminar two years ago where the shaping of the series started with directors and tutors present. I was invited back to Sigulda to watch the films and enjoy the company of the directors. And it was indeed joyful to sit in the cosy cinema in the culture centre of Sigulda, to see the directors being lined up with flowers from the mayor, having an ice cream, a banana and a glass of red wine in the break of the around 3 hour long screening, that was well attended by locals. It reminded me very much of ten years of film festival in Bornholm, Denmark, great unpretentious atmosphere, warm-hearted.

The premiere(s), organised by the producer Ilona Bicevska and her team, also included an outside internet broadcast of a debate (in Russian, the language all directors spoke) that took place in a park in Riga and that you can find online. "Is it Easy to be Young", the moderator said with a fine reference to the classic documentary of Juris Podnieks. The answers were different depending on the country, the director lives in. Goes without saying that a young person in a Baltic country have better conditions than someone from Belarus or from Moldova or Kirgisztan or... if you talk in materialistic terms.

The series has already been broadcast on arte, hopefully many other channels (and festivals) will also take this unique insight to countries that we need to know more about as they are only present in the media when revolutions or catastrophies happen. Unique the series is also because it presents many different ways of making a short film, from pure observation to fictionalisation, and put together there is freshness and talent to experience. The link below invites you to know much more. With clips to enjoy. Do so! 15 countries. 15 directors. 15 stories. (Photo from the Russian short in the series)

Categories: Cinema, Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Vikram Gandhi: Kumaré

Written 08-05-2012 14:52:05 by Tue Steen Müller

The reason for this review that ends with concrete info in Danish: The DR  documentary strand Dokumania invites to a screening at the Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen of this very entertaining documentary that is produced in the US, has travelled festivals over there, is American in tone, has been compared to ”Borat”, which is right as a starting point as the director also plays fake with his identity but this is where the comparison stops.

The power of illusion is the theme of the film – well, what could be a more precise description when it comes to cinema? The director of the film, that has the subtitle ”a true story about a false prophet”, ” is a young East Coast American from an Indian family. He is astonished by the success of Eastern-style gurus in the wealthiest parts of the world. As an experiment, Gandhi learns the tricks of the yoga trade, dresses himself as a guru, lets his beard grow, adopts a thick accent, and sets off under the name Kumaré to the desert city of Phoenix, Arizona. There, he quickly gathers a group of followers around him, whom he teaches to meditate to catchphrases such as "Be all that you can be." (text taken from idfa annotation 2011). With his own commentary the audience is guided through his journey that must stop at a point, “I am not who you think I am”, he must reveal his true identity. What is the reaction from the disciples, did they buy his “help yourself, you don’t need a Guru”?  

Back to the power of illusion – in the beginning this blogger thought that the director wanted to reveal all the humbug in the commercial, spiritual world, but the film changes perspective and comes out differently, without (almost, I would say) making fun of the disciples who worship Sri Kumaré. 

USA, 2011, 84 mins.

Photos courtesy of Kahlil Hudson and Daniel Leeb (according to site of the film)

Filmen vises på Det Kgl. Bilbiotek mandag den 14. Maj kl. 17. Instruktøren er til stede. Begrænset plads.

Filmen vises på Dokumania, 22.maj 2012 kl. 21 med genudsendelse 26.maj kl. 17


Categories: Cinema, TV, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

The Punk Syndrome in Theatres in Finland

Written 07-05-2012 16:20:23 by Tue Steen Müller

According to this film blogger, their previous documentary “Living Room of a Nation” was one of 10 the best documentaries coming out in 2009. Now Jukka Kärkkäinen and J P Passi have done another strong film that travels from festival to festival, AND – writes the fine FilmNewEurope site today - was released on 4 May 2012 on 45 screens in Finland, a record for a domestic documentary in Finland.

From the site: "The film is a documentary about a punk group whose four members are all mentally handicapped. The filmmakers observed their private lives at improvised rehearsals and concerts resulting in a film that can be likened to a jam session of sound and fury, the essence of punk.

The Punk Syndrome is produced by Mouka Film Oy ( International sales are handled by Vienna-based Autlook Filmsales ( It premiered at Visions du Reel, winning the CHF 10,000 special prize for Most Innovative film."

Take a look at the film’s site to find out more about this original work.

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Ib Bondebjerg: Virkelighedsbilleder/ 2

Written 17-04-2012 19:32:49 by Tue Steen Müller

In Danish a late promotion for en aften med Anne Wivel og Eva Mulvad, der taler med Ib Bondebjerg i anledning af hans bog ”Virkelighedsbilleder”.

Cinemateket fortjener igen ros for at tage dette initiativ. 213 minutter – i følge programkataloget – er sat af til et fokus på portrætdokumentaren og vise Anne Wivels ”Svend” (2011) og Eva Mulvads ”Vore lykkes fjender” (2008), to meget vellykkede eksempler på film af høj kunstnerisk kvalitet.

At Anne Wivels film blev forbigået ved såvel Bodil- og Robert-prisuddelingerne, hvor Mads Brüggers ”Ambassadøren” blev kåret som årets danske dokumentar, er skammeligt for såvel kritikerne (Bodil) som kollegerne (Robert). Publikum vidste bedre, ”Svend” blev set at 35.000 i biografen, ”Ambassadøren” af 16.000.

Arrangementet finder sted i Cinemateket torsdag den 19. April kl. 19

Categories: Cinema, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Herzog on Death, Danger and the End of the World

Written 17-04-2012 19:09:47 by Tue Steen Müller

Steve Rose from The Guardian brings Saturday April 14 a very interesting article on and interview with Werner Herzog, whose ”Into the Abyss” is screened all over the world in these months. I have taken out this quote from the article that you should definitely read in its full version:

”Into The Abyss (photo) is not overtly about capital punishment. Herzog describes it more as "an American Gothic" – a survey of a Texan landscape of poverty, intoxication, incarceration and death. But he's explicit about his opposition to the death penalty: "I was born when Nazi Germany was still around, and simply because of all the atrocities and the genocide and euthanasia, I just can't be an advocate of capital punishment. There's something fundamentally wrong in my opinion, but I would be the last one to tell the American people how to handle criminal justice."

As well as the documentary, he made another four 50-minute documentaries interviewing other death row inmates. "Not interviewing," he corrects me. "I'm not a journalist; I'm a poet. I had a discourse, an encounter with these people but I never had a list of questions."”

Into The Abyss is out on DVD and Blu-ray on 30 April.

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Werner Herzog: Ned i afgrunden

Written 05-04-2012 09:11:28 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Anmeldelserne forlanger simpelthen, at man finder frem til en biograf, hvor filmen vises:








”Til at begynde med virker Herzogs anti-form næsten demonstrativt umoderne. Men efterhånden som flere talende ansigter afleverer deres vidnesbyrd, efterhånden som filmens tema bliver belyst, giver formen mening…”

”Werner Herzog har tydeligvis opbygget en form for tillid og forståelse med de mennesker, han taler med i 'Ned i afgrunden'. Måske fornemmer hans interviewofre en medmenneskelig nysgerrighed i stedet for en journalistisk professionalisme hos Herzog. I hvert fald sker der noget forbavsende, da præsten Richard Lopez lige har fortalt om det græs, de køer og de egern, der fylder hver af hans dage med glæde. 'Kan du fortælle om de egern?' spørger Herzog, og som tilskuer sidder man og tænker på hvad dælen det er for at bizart spørgsmål, men knap er præsten færdig med at beskrive de frejdige gnavere før han sammenligner dem med de mænd, han be'r den sidste bøn for - og så bryder han ud i tårer. Var det Herzogs sjette sans, der slog til?” (Per Juul Carlsen)


“Herzog er (ved siden af en fortsat, men svækket række spillefilm, red.)… blevet en myreflittig dokumentarist, der i essayistisk form undersøger alle mulige emner, som optager ham: renæssancemusik, alternativ luftfart, buddhistisk fordybelse, menneskers overlevelse på udsatte steder, idealisters store selvbedrag og lejlighedsvise sejre. Herzog anbringer sig selv i billedet, interviewer, kommenterer, reflekterer og strukturerer hver film som kammermusik.”

”Into the Abyss bærer undertitlen ’A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life’. Sagen er dødsstraf, og Herzog gør emnet konkret ved at analysere en amerikansk forbrydelse i alle faser af forløbet. Tonefaldet er langtfra lidenskabeligt. Filmen er en disciplineret øvelse i at anskueliggøre et problem, så tilskueren selv kan tage stilling, men må være gjort af forstokket stof for ikke at reagere på dét, som Herzog har vist ham.” (Bo Green Jensen)


”Med sin læspende tyske accent lyder Herzog som en parodi på Djævlens advokat, men faktisk er han en beundringsværdig interviewer, der stiller alle de rigtige, fordomsfri og svære spørgsmål til en række hårdt prøvede mennesker. Hans instinkt for at trykke på skjulte knapper i det mildeste toneleje er forbløffende. Det sker med spørgsmål, som kvalificerer undersøgelsen, snarere end de søger kontante svar. Herzog gør, hvad han altid gør: vælger et blødt punkt og graver sig ind i menneskelivets verden. Hvad han finder dernede i små og store afgrunde, er hvad han viser frem. Så må vi selv blive klogere. Hvis vi da synes, dét er en pointe.” (Kim Skotte)

Werner Herzog: Ned i afgrunden (Into the Abyss), USA, Storbritannien og Tyskland 2011. 106 min. Fotografi: Peter Zeitlinger. Dansk distribution DOXBIO Litt.: Per Juul Carlsen, Filmland 4.4.2012, Bo Green Jensen, Weekendavisen 4.4.2012, Kim Skotte, Politiken 4.4.2012. 

Filmen havde premiere i aftes ved en enkelt samtidig visning i 50 biografer. Og fra i dag kan den ses i Café-Biografen i Odense og i Grand i København.

Categories: Cinema, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Werner Herzog, Collected Postings on his Works

Written 04-04-2012 10:03:58 by Allan Berg Nielsen

From being an arthouse feature film director known for extravagance and his work with legendary Klaus Kinski, he is now (also) a hit among documentary lovers, even if he would not accept to be a documentarian as his many joyful attacks on the direct cinema people have shown… (Tue Steen Müller)




by Tue Steen Müller

Steve Rose from The Guardian brings Saturday April 14 a very interesting article on and interview with Werner Herzog, whose ”Into the Abyss” is screened all over the world in these months. I have taken out this quote from the article that you should definitely read in its full version:

”Into The Abyss (photo) is not overtly about capital punishment. Herzog describes it more as "an American Gothic" – a survey of a Texan landscape of poverty, intoxication, incarceration and death. But he's explicit about his opposition to the death penalty: "I was born when Nazi Germany was still around, and simply because of all the atrocities and the genocide and euthanasia, I just can't be an advocate of capital punishment. There's something fundamentally wrong in my opinion, but I would be the last one to tell the American people how to handle criminal justice."

As well as the documentary, he made another four 50-minute documentaries interviewing other death row inmates. "Not interviewing," he corrects me. "I'm not a journalist; I'm a poet. I had a discourse, an encounter with these people but I never had a list of questions."”

Into The Abyss is out on DVD and Blu-ray on 30 April.



by Mikkel Stolt

What does a cave being enclosed for thousands of years sound like? Or smell like? This film actually tries to tell us, but first of all it shows us what it looks like. Or to be more precise, it shows us what the 30.000 years old cave paintings look like. And let me tell you right away, that despite being a 3D sceptic I was really flabbergasted by the effect that this format gives you; a unique sense on how the ancient artists used the curves and hollows of the cave walls to create effects that are right down spectacular. Even from today’s perspective this is world class art!

The paintings do take up a lot of time in this film and you actually get the strange sensation that even Herzog himself was overwhelmed by the art in these caves and thus has made a slightly more conventional documentary. We do get a lot of his trademarks, though: The philosophical narration, the “leading” questions to interviewees and the oddball characters, for instance the “perfumerist” who is skilled in finding hidden caves using his nostrils. Also, a typical Herzog-moment comes when his voice narrates that the footprints of a wolf and an 8-year-old boy were found next to each other. Did the wolf stalk the boy, did they walk together as companions or were the footprints sat 10.000 years apart? “We will never know”. Herzog also wants to put art, music and the understanding of human evolvement into perspective and it really does work. But first and last are the paintings themselves of paramount interest to him. Even when we almost think the film is over, we get the best seven or eight minutes of them all: the camera dwelling on the walls with very simple lighting effects and some really beautiful music - an original score by Ernst Reijseger as far as I can detect.

However, a few “buts” arose in my mind. At an early point in the film, one of the scientists asks the crew to be silent so we can hear the sounds of the cave. Herzog can’t stand that silence more than 10 seconds but soon adds a heartbeat and then music, and shortly it gives you an uneasy feeling about the director’s choices. And apart from when we see the paintings themselves; the 3D format is interesting at best and somewhat annoying and distracting at worst.

But in the end the film is just wonderful and Herzog does the unthinkable: he lets us feel that he put the matter of the film in a predominant position because he didn’t have a choice. These paintings are essential to mankind, the film says, and I agree. 5 point nibs (Posting November 14 2011)

2 comments to Cave of Forgotten Dreams:

Leena Pasanen wrote 16-11-2011 22:49:18: Why can't we just face the fact that even the masters can be out of their comfort zone and not fully know what they are doing?! 5/6 is very generous in my opinion.

Mikkel Stolt wrote 21-11-2011 11:27:58: Hi, Leena. Good to hear from you. I usually don't have any problem critisizing the masters (or anybody else :) ). I didn't find Scorsese's Harrison-film especially good and Herzog's "My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done" was an even bigger challenge to watch. However, in this film the problem was maybe that Herzog was too much in his comfort zone. But I must admit I was truly moved by it.



by Tue Steen Müller

Herzog is – mostly due to this blog’s Allan Berg, a true admirer of the work of the German director – one of the most noticed and praised names of this site. If you write his name in the ”search”, you get 33 hits. From being an arthouse feature film director known for extravagance and his work with legendary Klaus Kinski, he is now (also) a hit among documentary lovers, even if he would not accept to be a documentarian as his many joyful ”attacks” on the direct cinema people have shown.

Read more / Læs mere

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Directors

Errol Morris: Tabloid

Written 09-02-2012 13:34:09 by Mikkel Stolt

Joyce McKinney was hot stuff in the British tabloids back in the 1970’es and the case known as the “Mormon sex in chains case” started out when McKinney allegedly kidnapped her Mormon husband-to-be and forced him to have a good time with her – if you get my drift. The story has it all; a former beauty queen challenging a cult church, sex pictures, clever escapes from the authorities, a relentless press and a shocked public. No need not to make a documentary about it.

Errol Morris is a giant in the documentary field but I quite quickly got this uneasy feeling that something was wrong. In this film he has most of the characters in a studio – including McKinney – where they all take us back to the days and each telling their side of the story. I grant that Morris has a certain skill to arrange his material in a clever way, but the whole thing just gets too clever or too arrogant even. His other visual aids are old still photos, collages/animations and archive footage from fiction films and this style very often comes across as strangely old-fashioned and tiresome, even when the intent was clearly to be comical. For instance when a character says in a talking-head shot; “…and then the phone rang”. Cut to footage of an old-style telephone which rings in some obscure fiction film. Cut back to someone talking about what that phone call implied.

At that point I began to feel that Morris was pulling my leg or even mocking us. Or worse, mocking the people IN the film. Quite often you hear Morris react sarcastically as the interviewer or he takes a word from an interview and puts it in capital letters directly on the screen. He’s not too shy to use supposedly funny sound effect either and the whole thing led me to believe he’s not really interested in this story. He’s interested in the telling of a story and that is when it could have gotten really interesting in my view. Who do we believe and why do we believe them? Can we believe the storyteller – can we believe Morris?

This could - with a different and more humble approach - have been a very clever and self-ironic piece of self-mockery which would have been quite becoming for the filmmaker. Instead, it’s a film which doesn’t seem to take its story, its characters or the audience seriously. Why would I take this film seriously then? I really can’t but I would like to be proven wrong, scolded or told off. Hit me!

Watched at Cinemateket, Copenhagen.

USA, 2010, 87 mins.


Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Matthew Akers: Marina Abramović

Written 03-02-2012 08:41:12 by Juste Eigminaite

This feature-length documentary by Matthew Akers beautifully portrays Marina Abramović, an unforgettable artist who is capable of using herself as a tool for expressing modern art. Marina is Belgrade-born New Yorker and widely known for her exhibitions that exceed general norms, sometimes even physically hurting herself and others. This film is a powerful picture of Marina and her one-year’s thorough preparation for the Exhibition Artist is Present that took place in 2010 at MOMA (The Museum of Modern Art, New York).

Artist is Present is a 3 months long performance, where Marina would be sitting on a chair in a middle of an empty spacious room fully emotionless to offer a gaze to someone who would choose to sit on a chair across from her.

This performance became a huge success. People would wait more than 16 hours to get a possibility to look Marina in the eyes for couple of moments. It was the longest performance in Marina’s career and it demanded all the possible physical as well as emotional preparation from her. As she claimed herself: ‘The Hardest thing is to do something which is close to nothing’.

The film crew follows Marina for one year of preparation and 3 months of performing at MOMA. Moreover, there is also a strong romantic love side to this movie.  Marina’s long year partner German performance artist Ulay is about to reunite with Marina and perform together once more.

This film has everything what a good story entails: a strong artistic value, wisdom, dreams that did and did not come true, unforgettable love story, drama, disappointment, hard work and above it all a lot of hope and genuine emotions.

Seen at Sundance 2012., trailer, review, review

About the exhibition:


Categories: Cinema, Festival

Errol Morris’ film

Written 02-02-2012 14:07:40 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Det er godt at være københavner lige nu. Cinemateket viser her i februar store dele af Errol Morris værk, 2.-8. februar hans Tabloid (2010) som månedens film. I morgen kan man også se The Thin Blue Line (1988). Det store Morris program omfatter endvidere i løbet af februar The Gates of Heaven (1978), A Brief History of Time (1991), The Fog of War (2003) og Standard Operating Procedure (2008). Se tidspunkter her:

Still: The Fog of War

Categories: Cinema

BAFTA Nominations

Written 18-01-2012 17:18:00 by Tue Steen Müller

The following (edited) text about good times for documentaries in cinemas is taken from the Realscreen site:

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is reintroducing an award category for best documentary, “in recognition of the number of high-quality theatrical documentaries” being made. The new category will be simply called “Documentary”.

A theatrical documentary award was presented by BAFTA between 1948 and 1990, but dropped thereafter, with docs recognised in the major film categories only. In a statement, the organization said: “BAFTA’s Film Committee has chosen to re-introduce this category now in recognition of the number of high-quality theatrical documentaries released in cinemas in the UK each year.”

“Films from all countries will be eligible as long as they have a theatrical release in the UK. The award will only usually be presented if 15 or more films are entered. A specialist Documentary Chapter of BAFTA Film Voting Members will vote for a longlist of five films during the round one vote and then will vote again in round two to decide the three nominations. The winner will be selected by all Film Voters during round three voting.”

Asif Kapadia’s Senna (photo), James Marsh’s Project Nim and Martin Scorsese’s George Harrison, Living in the Material World have been selected as the three documentary prize nominees for the 2012 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Film Awards.

Notably, Senna also lands a nomination in the Outstanding British Film category – the first time a documentary has been nominated in the category since Marsh’s Man On Wire, which won the prize in 2009. Prior to that, Kevin Macdonald’s Touching The Void also picked up the award, in 2004.

Senna, Nim and Material World were culled from a five-strong doc longlist that also included Pina and Macdonald’s Life in a Day. The 2012 BAFTA Film Awards’ winners will be announced on February 12 at the Royal Opera House in London, England.

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Lise Birk Pedersen: Putin’s Kiss

Written 12-01-2012 14:42:31 by Tue Steen Müller

Of course it is a scoop to get close to the inner circles of Putin’s youth movement Nashi through Masha Drokova. And to come out with this film now, when things are moving in Russia. It deserves to be seen all over, for sure. And it is a scoop to include journalist Oleg Kashin, who was almost beaten to death after critical comments towards Putin and the movement. As well as the opposition politican Ilya Yashin.

BUT the most interesting and dangerous man in the story, the founder of Nashi, the good looking demagogue, Vasily Yakemenko, who rethorically seduces the youngsters to fight for ”a clean Russia” and who is now kind of minister of Youth, he is not really a character in the film, even if he is so much in the picture, literally. His rude behaviour towards Masha, who at a moment seems to be in love with him, is once revealed, and his approval with an evil smile of the disgusting action with the trampling on photos of opposition politicians and critical journalists is caught by the camera. Yakemenko is his master’s voice, a man of power, a manipulator. Was it not possible to get him and his ideology more into the film?

I am asking this because I have doubts about the strenght in the story as it unfolds now. The film obviously has structural, storytelling problems. It does not establish the story up front where you in surveillance camera b/w images see someone beeing beaten up without linking this to Oleg Kashin, who through a voice-off tells: This is a film about a young woman, who goes into a political movement, becomes one of their spokespersons, gets a tv show as a journalist but starts to doubt the brutality of the Nashi and begins to meet some of the opposition people.

AND makes her decision when Oleg Kashin is being attacked. We know later that he is the victim when the b/w sequence is repeated. The growing friendship between the two of them and her decision to quit Nashi comes thus as a kind of surprise. It is a pity that the film lacks flow because both young Masha and the damaged Oleg are interesting to follow. For me it seems like a problem that the film wants to be both a character driven story and a journalistic report on Nisha and the opposition.

Premiere in Danish cinemas January 19. Oleh Kashin and Ilya Yashin will attend. The film goes to Sundance and open in American cinemas after the festival.

Denmark, 82 mins


Categories: Cinema, Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Wim Wenders: Pina/ 2

Written 12-01-2012 14:29:45 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Wim Wenders 3D-dansedokumentar om koreografen Pina Bausch har dansk premiere i dag. Filmen har modtaget importstøtte fra Det Danske Filminstitut, som videremeddeler, at Politiken og Berlingske giver topkarakterer. 

Det gjorde i sin tid Tue Steen Müller også her på siden, han gav imponeret og begejstret seks spidse penne til Wenders film. Vi genanbringer dem lige og linker til anmeldelsen.


Categories: Cinema, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Danish Documentaries

Written 10-01-2012 19:56:03 by Tue Steen Müller

It is going well for Danish documentaries, and it is not only we Danes who say so in the general halleluja-how-good-we-are atmosphere that often reign here. The Swedish say so (9 documentaries to be shown at the upcoming Gothenburg International Film Festival) as well as the Americans, according to the number of docs to be shown at the coming Sundance festival, 3 out of 4 Danish titles. Idfa, the biggest festival for the genre in the world, had ”The Ambassador” as the opening film and so on so forth.

And back home the documentary is now being acknowledged. The national Bodil Awards, which constitute the major Danish film awards given by Denmark's National Association of Film Critics, to be distributed in March, include now a nomination of five documentaries, for the first time in the history of the awards. The nominees are: The Will (Testamentet), Christian Sønderby. The Ambassador (Ambassadøren), Mads Brügger. Svend, Anne Regitze Wivel. ½ Revolution, Karim El Hakim og Omar Shargawi. The President (Præsidenten), Christoffer Guldbrandsen. On a personal note: This is really good news, I still remember the lobbying for this to happen that we were many who performed occasionally during the 20 years I worked at the National Film Board of Denmark (Statens Filmcentral). Without result. Were the documentaries worse back in the 70’es, 80’es, 90’es? No. Was the visibility for documentaries in the general opinion worse? Absolutely! Has the documentary genre developed along with the technical development going from film to video? For sure!

Which is also evident when you look at a press release that reached us today from the DoxBio: Proudly it is announced that the number of tickets sold for documentaries through DoxBio theatrical distribution to the Danish cinemas in 2011 had grown from around 20.000 to 77.078. The bestseller is Svend (photo) about the late socialdemocratic politician Svend Auken which reached 40.542 with The Ambassador as number 2 with 18.326 and Eva Mulvad’s The Good Life with 10.879. 42 cinemas take part in DoxBio. Still, these numbers do not at all compete with the 135.000 tickets sold for Janus Metz Armadillo a couple of years ago.

Categories: Cinema, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Danfung Dennis: Hell and Back Again

Written 21-12-2011 10:26:44 by Tue Steen Müller

The Afghanistan documentary by Danfung Dennis, awarded at many festivals opens today in Paris. The daily Libération has an interview with Dennis, link below. Here is a re-post of the review of the important documentary:

I love my pistol”, says Sergeant Nathan Harris, the protagonist of the film about an American soldier, who gets seriously wounded in combat in Afghanistan, is taken back to the US and to his wife Ashley, who helps him recover; at least she helps him getting through the day, the trauma he has from his time in Afghanistan, he does not seem to be able to fight on his own as the film tells the audience.

Many films have come out and is coming out from and about the war in Afghanistan and its consequences on heart and mind, especially on those going there as soldiers to secure changes in the country. This one is one of the best so far in its superb camera work from the battlefield, in its description, with a lot of dignity, of the Afghans who are victims of the constant search for Talibans by the Americans. They are told to leave their houses, their houses are searched, they are searched and controlled. The desperation comes from the Afghans, who don’t want to be ruled by the Talibans, but you soldiers do not really make the situation easier!

The emotional side of the film, however, lies where Nathan Harris is back home, suffering enormously from his pain, constantly taking strong medicin and – this is how the film is built – thinks back on Afghanistan where he definitely wants to be again as a killer, the word used by the doctor who examines him. As a spectator you look, with empathy, thanks to the approach of the director, at a man brought up in a society of violence, a young man sitting in a sofa at the end of the film playing with his guns... ”I love my pistol”.

US/UK, 2011, 88 mins.

Winner of 1st Documentary Competition at Moscow International Film festival 2011.


Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Czech Documentaries in Cinemas

Written 18-12-2011 10:17:36 by Tue Steen Müller

A total of 44 Czech films have been released in cinemas this year, including 19 documentaries. The number of theatrical releases has been steadily rising in recent years. This positive trend is both due to the technical and financial availability of digital technologies that make cinema release viable even for low-budget films, as well as various projects, such as Czech Joy in Czech Cinemas that helped release 5 documentary films in a joint campaign.

Seventeen of this year's documentary releases will compete for the Czech Lion Awards organized by the Czech Film and Television Academy (CFTA), that will be announced in March 2012. In sheer number of films, the documentary category comes close to the feature category (24 films). In mid-January, Czech film critics will also announce best films of the past year. Their competition features all films distributed in cinemas, short films as well as films making use of alternative distribution channels. On top of the CFTA eligible films, the Czech Film Critics Awards include, for instance, Andrea Slováková's documentary In Sight released on VoD.

Photo: Matej Minac’s film “Nickys Family”, the third film about Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved 699 children from nazi deportation to concentration camps.

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Documentaries in Paris

Written 08-12-2011 21:33:07 by Tue Steen Müller

That Paris is the best cinema city in Europe is known by every film buff. Not only do all important new films arrive to the screen, but there are also ”reprises” and ”festivals”, so you can always enjoy Fritz Lang, Vincente Minelli and early works by Polanski, at the same time as you see new films from the Middle East or from Poland.

If you buy your weekly Pariscope, you may want to count how many documentaries that run at the Parisian cinemas in the coming week: 30: From obvious titles like Frederick Wiseman’s Crazy Horse to the strong German film by Cyril Tuschi about Khodorkovski (photo). From the German music film ”Kinshasa Symphony” to ”Pina” by Wim Wenders. To Swedish Göran Olsson’s masterly archive documentary ”The Black Power Mixtape” to the French ”Territoire Perdy” by Pierre-Yves Vandeweerd. Many of the documentaries have only one screening per day or per week but they are available due to the good system that art cinemas like the MK2 chain run, where films are kept for a long time on the screens.

PS. Not a documentary, not at all, but if you get near a cinema in Paris or elsewhere and like British acting when it is best, go and see ”Shame” by Steve McQueen with Michael Fassbender in the main role. It premiered here in Paris today.

Categories: Cinema, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Michael Christoffersen: Law of the Jungle

Written 29-11-2011 11:10:24 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Sådan ser han ud, den seneste i rækken af Christoffersens helte, alle jurister på arbejde for et internationalt retssystem. Han her er på vej, på billedet på vej fra en demonstration langt inde i Perus jungle, arresteret og på vej til bank og måneders fængsel og flere mishandlinger, men også på vej til en erkendelse af, at undertrykkelsen og volden og torturen, forsvindingerne og henrettelserne må bekæmpes i seje og tålmodige juridiske argumentationer i internationalt overvågede retssager på et stadigt udbygget og sikret grundlag af international ret, i hans tilfælde internationale rettigheder for oprindelige folk. Han er jæger og familiefar og leder af en gruppe unge indianere, som har sat sig op mod olieselskabet Pluspetrols metodiske ødelæggelse af deres land. Han hedder José Facin Ruiz, og han læser i dag jura på universitetet i Lima. Den kendsgerning er den lykkelige udgang på Michael Christoffersens film om de forfærdelige forbrydelser i Perus Amazonland under Pluspetrols regime.

Som jeg prøvede at forklare, da jeg i sin tid skrev om Christoffersens Saving Saddam har jeg det sådan med hans film, at dengang the crime of crimes og det historisk set nye internationale retssystem om disse sager og nu et spirende internationalt juridisk system omkring oprindelige folks krav på ret til jord og søer og vandløb og naturressourcer i de nu fire film bliver selve emnet og kernen. I hver film vokser fortællingen og en karismatisk hovedperson sammen med forståelsen af denne jura, denne etik, som altså effektivt kropsliggøres i en smuk bue fra den blide og tænksomme Aspegren i Genocide, over den barske og effektive Geoffrey Nice i Milosevic on Trial, den frustrerede Wilay i Saving Saddam og nu i Law of the Jungle den forbitret argumenterende Jorge Tacuri (indianergruppens advokat og filmens egentlige hovedperson) og hans klient og protegé, den med imponerende værdighed determinerede indianerleder José Fachin Ruiz, en måske kommende folkeretsspecialist.

De fire værker set under ét udgør en samlet journalistisk og dokumentarisk erfaring om international ret lagt ned i ét vældigt værk, som filmet på location disse tidlige år vil bevare sin enestående status som skildring af denne ambition om et samlet retssystem. Denne tidlige historie er hermed skrevet og tydeligt formuleret af de bevægende medvirkende, Michael Christoffersens advokathelte.

Operatøren i BioCity Randers kom ind i salen i aftes, tydelig glad og stolt over at være med i Dox-On-Wheels fornemme næsten simultane visning i 20 biografer i 19 byer, altså også i min. Operatøren var skuffet over et beskedent fremmøde, men jeg kan nu bagefter forsikre ham om, at Law of the Jungle var langt den vigtigste film blandt dem, han kørte i aftes, og at det var stort at se en intellektuelt uomgængelig dokumentar i en næsten ny og RIGTIG biografsal med perfekt videoprojektion og smuk lyd.  

Michael Christoffersen: Law of the Jungle, Danmark 2011, 83 min., klip: Niels Ostenfeldt, produceret af Radiator Film, Stefan Frost og ABC Film. Filmografi (Michael Christoffersen): Saving Saddam, 2008, sammen med Esteban Uyarra, produktion: Team Productions, Mette Heide, Milosevic on Trial, 2007, produktion: Team Productions, Mette Heide, Genocide: The Judgement, 1999, Michael Christoffersen for BBC og SVT.


Categories: Cinema, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

A New Wave for Arab Cinema?

Written 17-11-2011 14:22:15 by Tue Steen Müller

17th floor of the Hotel Africa in the capital of Tunisia. Early morning, the city prepares for a new day. Sunshine. To the right the beautiful clock with the sea behind it, to the left a look down the Avenue Bourguiba, that leads to the medina and the kasbah square, which was a main location for the uprising almost a year ago. The avenue is impressive with its trees and accompanying bird concert. It is full of outside cafés and what could be better for a man from the North of Europe to sit here, in the month of November, with a café crème and a warm croissant au beurre, watching life passing by. And the men (not many women at the cafés!) chatting, cigarette smoking.

Inside the hotel the Euromed Audiovisual III, an EU funded programme, hosts a conference for a couple of hundred people, which one way or the other deals with the theme ”Towards a New Mediterranean Cinema?”. The organisers have decided to practise the classical panel format for the conference. Thus one group of people after the other takes the floor to express opinions and convey information. The problem with that format is that you need strong moderation to avoid the time schedule to fall apart. The conference organisation lacked that skill so there was a constant delay and time pressure. At the same time as many speakers seemed to have prepared a half an hour powerpoint presentation, and were given 10 minutes to deliver that. And your prejudice about French speaking people needing more time to make their points was not shot down. Not at all!

Themes – data collecting, statistics about production and distribution, promotion, cinemas, film funds and commissions, the role of television. All on the background of the Arab Spring and the hope for a better and more free cinema, be it fiction or documentary. In the room were film people from Arab speaking countries – Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya (!), Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria. The clearest optimism was to find in the hosting country. ”You know what”, said the director Ferid Boughedir (”Halfaouine”, 1995, wonderful feature film), ” we were called from the Ministry of Culture. Please rewrite your film project with no  self-censorship”!

The main question, however, that came up in all panels, was the lack of Sud-Sud collaboration and whether the Arab spring could spark a new era in that respect. Each country has a close look on own problems – lack of funding, bad television, few cinema halls, dependency of financing from the North (=

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Categories: Cinema, TV, Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Nelson Pereira: The Music According To Tom Jobim

Written 06-11-2011 12:59:06 by Mikkel Stolt

The opening is splendid: Old b/w footage from the 50’s of an aircraft flying into Rio de Janeiro and an orchestral rendition of “Garota de Ipanema” on the soundtrack. I want to go to Rio and I want to see and enjoy this film. The camera is now on the ground and takes us downtown in a car and nothing can go wrong. Or so I thought.

The film has no talk at all but continues like an uncommented anthology with a line of numerous interpretations of the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim. The clips seem to be original and they last for between one and four minutes or so. That means that we rarely get more than a couple of verses and the Portuguese lyrics are sometimes subtitled and sometimes not. More irritatingly, it seems that the film now and again use “new” archive material which was not in the original TV or live performance footage. It’s mostly album covers or posters which the camera pans or tilts over or old stills where they couldn’t resist splitting the layers in that “modern 3D” fashion which is more annoying than meaningful. So as a film I must say it comes across very uneven at times, almost amateurish, and somewhat haphazardly put together. For instance, at one point there is a still of an album with Jobim’s name (again) and you can see that this particular album was arranged by band leader Nelson Riddle. It’s immediately followed by Nara Leão singing “Dindi” with just a guitar player!?

Turning to the music, there seem to be one principle: Two to four different interpretations of each number. That is highly interesting but also quite frustrating at times when a favourite of yours is limited to a mere minute. There might be a slight chronological order (but it doesn’t feel or look that way) and only sporadically is there displayed any development of Jobim’s work or how Brazilian and American jazz music started to affect each other. Sometimes Jobim is seen playing and sometimes he’s not and the film ends with some performances of his with choir and big bands from the late 80’s and early 90’s. On the director’s webpage I realize now that there is a TV program from 1984 listed with the same title, so I expect this to be a newly made version which supposedly had its world premiere at New York Film Festival in October this year.

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Categories: Cinema, Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Truls Lie: The Seduced Human, a moral enquiry

Written 05-11-2011 14:59:48 by Allan Berg Nielsen

For nylig forlangte Tue Steen Müller her på siden at nye film skal indeholde noget nyt: ”Please surprise me, give me time for reflections, to smile, laugh, cry, tell me something I did not know in beforehand – or show me something that I have not seen before, or make some unpredictable montage of location connections with places, with sound and image. Surprises, please.”

Nå, det er selvfølgelig skrevet noget senere, end Lie var færdig med sin journalistiske dokumentar om Jørgen Leths liv og værk, så han kunne ikke ad den vej vide, at han let med sit emne og sit arbejde kunne ramle ind i netop sådan en træthed. Müllers advarsel var kommet for sent. Lie styrer fra først til sidst lige en gang til gennem alt det stof, vi kender så godt fra andre biografiske film og især fra Jørgen Leths egen produktion af film og bøger og fra utallige interviews, han har givet.

Filmens undertitel lover et essay, bilder jeg mig ind. Og det glæder jeg mig til og skuffes. Jeg får en feature, som formidlende holder stoffet ude fra fra kroppen, autors krop og lader den medvirkende gøre arbejdet. Men jeg er i og for sig ikke interesseret i en repetition af Jørgen Leths liv og værk, jeg vil se Truls Lies grundige læsning af biografien og filmene. Lie er filosof og journalist, og Kierkegaard bringes i spil, men ikke for alvor, den undersøgende journalistik sendes på vej ned i uopdagede lag: nysgerrigheden (et kort afsnit er viet den, se still!) og angsten for at svømme i dybt vand. Men Lie forfølger ikke sporene, taber ligesom interessen, lige netop når min er vakt, for det her er da vist nyt? I hvert fald for mig.

Lie har lavet en sympatisk film, og en pædagogisk film, måske også en lidt kedelig film. Leth medvirker som altid loyalt, yder sit bedste, holder sig ikke for fin til nogen eller noget. Et menneske uden arrogance. Desværre er Lie trods sin karrieres pondus for ydmyg og høflig og vist også for lidt energisk. Det er ærgerligt, synes jeg. Men uøvede kan nok her finde en tilgængelig første introduktion til en stor kunstner og et stort værk.

Truls Lie: The Seduced Human, a moral enquiry, Norge 2010, 51 min. Medvirkende: Jørgen Leth, manuskript: Truls Lie, fotografi: Truls Lie og seks fotografer yderligere, klip: Marius Smit, producer: Dag Hoel, produceret af Faction Film. Filmen er på CPH:DOX lige nu og en DVD skulle meget snart være til salg på filmens hjemmeside.  

Tue Steen Müller har også her på siden skrevet om Truls Lies journalistiske arbejde med DOX magazine.


Categories: Cinema, Festival, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Phil Cox: The Bengali Detective

Written 26-10-2011 17:53:56 by Tue Steen Müller

This documentary of Phil Cox, that has done and is still doing the international festival circuit, is the Documentary of the Month at Cinemateket, The Danish Film House in the centre of Copenhagen. The film will have six screenings, the two first with the presence of the director (November 10 at 7.15pm and November 11 at 4.45pm). Change to Danish languag

På dansk har Cinemateket givet filmen titlen ”Dansende Detektiv” og det er da også én af de mange fortælle-tråde, som Phil Cox trækker i sin underholdende film fra Calcutta: Hovedpersonen Rajesh og hans detektiver træner til en audition til en konkurrence, det er Bollywood-dans, som vi kender det, og det giver et kosteligt syn i en film, der er bedst, når vi kommer tæt på hovedpersonen i hans private tilværelse, som er præget af at hans kone er meget syg. Rajesh er en stærk karakter, han fylder godt i historien (også i bogstavelig forstand!) og selvom mange scener er sat i scene, er der en sandfærdighed i historien, som man aldrig betvivler.

Phil Cox har lavet en film til et stort publikum, der er masser af stemning fra metropolen Calcutta, de tre sager som detektivbureauet skal opklare, er appelerende lige fra Operation Tiger om falsk shampoo i omløb, til en kvinde hvis mand er hende utro, og til forsøget på at opklare et brutalt mord på tre unge på et jernbaneområde. Detektiverne arbejder, hvor politiet skulle have været men ikke er. ”We clean up the mess in society”, siger Rajesh. Musikken skubber handlingen frem, filmen er bygget op som en krimi og den sociale baggrundsbeskrivelse giver den autenticitet.

UK, 91 mins.


Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Mads Brügger: The Ambassador

Written 05-10-2011 22:43:59 by Tue Steen Müller

Filmkommentaren was invited to look at the new feature length documentary by Danish Mads Brügger (selected for the upcoming idfa festival competition in Amsterdam) and watched the film together with students at the documentary film school Zelig in Bolzano, Italy. Here follows a collective review based on the spontaneous reactions from the 10 directing students, in their own language:

Una follia totale – Tiziana Poli

Völlig unglaublich (fast unmöglich) – Juri Mazumbar

Too horrible to be true – Alexandra Kaufmann

скандальный (shocking)
потрясающий (incredible)
очень смешной (hilarious) – Vasili Vikhliaev

La musica rende il film ancora piu ironico, brillante, intelligente – Irene Ammaturo

Von lächerlich bis sehr tiefgreifend – Lisa Wimmer

Osé (Daring) – Victoria Chan

Et rått og tankevekkende møte med business og diplomati i CAR – Ane Helga Lykka

Nehmt die Sonnebrillen runter und öffnet die Augen für die versteckten Machenschafter von Botschaftern! – Stefan Pircher

Ist sowas überhaupt legal? – Benjamin Thum

A voir absolument – Julie Fawel (guest)

Cocktail af fin journalistik, komedie og dårlig smag - Tue Steen Müller (teacher)

The film opens today in 50 cinemas in Denmark. About the film, read below.

Denmark, 2011, 93 mins.ügger-takes-his-Ambassador-to-IDFA.aspx

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

News from Paris: Goodbye Mubarak!

Written 16-09-2011 21:56:37 by Sara Thelle

This blog has followed with great interest the popular uprising in the Arab world, the good news and the bad news. Coming home to Paris after the vacation, the first results of how the situation translates into films are starting to come out. Here are two of them, both regarding Egypt, surely there are others and much more will come, hopefully many Arab voices too.

Goodbye, Moubarak!, written and directed by Katia Jarjoura, was filmed before and during the elections in Egypt in November and December last year. The crew worked under very difficult circumstances, filming without official authorization in a dictatorship, that nobody knew at the time where about to take its last breaths. We get to meet the heroic hardworking opposition, hear the hair-raising, nearly hilarious discourse of the official political power and get a rare insight of the Egyptian society just before it all cracks up; the repression, the exasperation, the fear and the courage. As Katia Jarjoura mentioned at the preview of the film at la Scam Tuesday night, this film was thought to be visionary, instead it became a historical document! The story of the film is of course told through this new perspective and gives an instructive view of the background of the revolution and its different protagonists and stakes. I highly recommend that you take a look at Arte on Wednesday night September 21 if you have the possibility.

And to follow up on the story of Egypt, I very much look forward to see Tahrir Liberation Square by Stefano Savona, screened at the Locarno Film Festival this year. The film will now be shown on Monday September 19th for the first time in Paris in the always-interesting bar, Le 61, a convivial meeting-place for...

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Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Ulla Boje Rasmussen: Thors saga /2

Written 26-08-2011 07:52:51 by Allan Berg Nielsen

I Bio Carl i Filmhuset, København er der før premieren på ”Thors saga” indbudt til en konference. Det er samme dag, 7. september 15:00. Konferencens overskrift er ”Thors saga - hvordan kommer Island videre?” Konferencen er arrangeret af Norden i fokus under Nordisk Ministerråd, som i deres pressemeddelelse skriver:

”Mød forretningsmand, entreprenør og en af Islands mest udskældte personer. Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson, en central aktør i den kollapsede islandske finanssektor. I 2007 var Björgólfsson nummer 249 på Forbes’ liste over verdens rigeste personer, i dag har han indgået aftale om at afdrage en gæld på mere end 50 milliarder kroner.

Dokumentarfilmen Thors Saga handler om Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson og hans forfader, danskeren Thor Jensen. Begge ekstraordinære forretningsmænd med initiativer, der er nært forbundet til Islands op- og nedture. Thors Saga af den danske instruktør Ulla Boje Rasmussen har premiere den 7. sept. I den forbindelse kommer Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson til et debatarrangement i Danmark, som Norden i Fokus arrangerer i samarbejde med Børsen Executive Club. Her ser vi klip fra filmen og hører hovedpersonen fortælle, hvordan han oplevede Islands økonomiske krise indefra. Panelet, som udover Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson består af Lars Christensen, Danske Bank og Helgi Hjörvar (S) medlem af Islands Alting og Nordisk Råd, vil diskutere, hvad vi kan lære af krisen i Island, og hvordan vi sikrer vores bank- og finanssektor mod tilsvarende kriser i fremtiden. Børsens chefredaktør Anders Krab-Johansen er ordstyrer på mødet.”

Der er offentlig adgang til konferencen, oplysninger fås hos Louise Hagemann (33960331) Tilmelding til

Foto: Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson (Fra

Categories: Cinema, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Ulla Boje Rasmussen: Thors Saga

Written 25-08-2011 09:39:39 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Filmen om den markante islandske familie Thor og dens rejse i fire generationer gennem landets økonomiske op- og nedgange har været længe undervejs. I årevis har den omhyggelige dokumentarist Ulla Boje Rasmussen på rejse efter rejse samlet stof sideløbende med, at den seje producent Henrik Veileborg har finansieret, holdt et kompliceret klippearbejde i gang og reddet færdiggørelsen igennem verdenskrisen, som afgørende må have grebet ind i selve kernen i fortællingen, da hovedpersonen fortsat har været omtumlet og omstridt hovedperson derude i virkeligheden. Vi, som har haft lidt viden om denne produktionshistorie, venter mere end spændte på det endelige indhold, som fylder 90 minutter med en moderne islandsk saga, som Upfront Films på sin hjemmeside beskriver således:

“The family´s founder, Danish orphan Thor Jensen, was only 14 years of age when he was offered an apprenticeship in Iceland. The remote Danish colony was impoverished at this time, but Thor Jensen saw potential for growth. With innovative business ideas, he worked his way up from nothing to become an extremely wealthy and respected man. Thor Jensen was behind a number of pioneering projects that helped Iceland’s business community to florish. The Icelandic economy strengthened, an important step for Iceland’s liberation from Denmark to an independent republic in 1944.   

The great-grandchild of Thor Jensen is businessman Björgólfur Thor Björgólfsson. Thor Björgólfsson found inspiration in his forefather's initiatives and inherited his ability to see opportunities in uncultivated markets. With sensational ventures, Björgólfsson looked beyond Iceland's borders and gained success. Brewery, pharmaceutical and telecommunication industries in the former Eastern Bloc countries had his interest. Björgólfsson then defied his own business strategy, turned focus toward Iceland, and invested in the Icelandic banking system. Here he made his greatest failure. The global financial crisis reached Iceland and threatened with state bankruptcy. Today, Björgólfsson is thought to be one of the key figures to send Iceland into economic pillory…”

Filmen har premiere på Det Kongelige Bibliotek, København 7. september 19:30.

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Det går godt for Dokumentarfilmen

Written 22-08-2011 00:14:44 by Tue Steen Müller

A small text on good times for the documentary in cinemas and media coverage in Denmark. More films in cinemas, much more press than before, reviews in daily newspapers of dvd’s

Jo, det ser godt ud for dokumentaren. Ihvertfald var det markant at åbne dagbladet Politiken’s filmtillæg denne torsdag. Der var anmeldelser af hele fire dokumentarfilm, to udkommet på dvd (Senna og Two in the Wave (om Truffaut and Godard)) og to med premiere i biografen, Steam of Life og Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop. Når dertil kommer, at den lille, fine biograf Vester VovVov har tre dokumentarfilm på plakaten (udover filmen om O’Brien er det det Exit Through the Gift Shop og Til Havet), at centrumsbiografen Dagmar reklamerer med snarlige events omkring premiererne på Bobby Fischer Against the World (photo) og El Bulli, at Grand Teatret har haft Waste Land (se anmeldelse nedenfor) på programmet, den kører nu i Empire Bio, at der er Dokumania hver tirsdag på DR2, at der er Mandagsdokumentar i PHCaféen, at Cinemateket har en månedlig dokumentar i Filmhuset, hvor også EDN (European Documentary Network) har SønDok med udenlandske debatskabende film... ja, så det er svært at være pessimistisk på genrens vegne.

Bortset fra hvis man – som co-blogger Allan Berg – har bosat sig udenfor hovedstaden, for så er der langt til filmene, ihvertfald hvis de skal ses på det store lærred. Men det er en helt anden historie om dansk centralistisk kulturpolitik.

Categories: Cinema, TV, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Richard Leacock: The feeling of being there

Written 09-08-2011 08:36:16 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Cinemateket i København meddeler, at fra på torsdag, 11. august præsenteres en række af Richard Leacocks banebrydende dokumentarfilm - i alt 11 film - og ved visningen  af de tre første fortæller dansk dokumentarfilms grand old man, Tue Steen Müller om Leacock og introducerer aftenens film. Leacockserien er blevet til på grundlag af Cinéma du Réels store retrospektive Leacock-arrangement i foråret, og programredaktøren Jesper Andersen takker Sara Thelle fra Canary Bananas Films (og fra kan vi lige nævne) for et fint samarbejde. 

Altså 11. august 19:00 i Cinemateket: Tue Steen Müller og Sara Thelle med sjældne Richard Leacock film. Vi bringer naturligvis gerne denne meddelelse videre.   

Categories: Cinema, Film History, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Asif Kapadia: Senna

Written 10-07-2011 16:03:28 by Tue Steen Müller

In a report from the Moscow International Film Festival the following I wrote the following about the film about legendary Ayrton Senna: (the film) has a classical straight forward narrative, simple it is, and should be, with its focus on the career of the formula 1 driver, Brasilian Ayrton Senna, his fight with French Alain Prost, a love-hate relationship, his importance for his poor nation, his charming appearence. It is all built on archive, not a talking face, all comments come off the image, an excellent solution for a film that appeals to a broad audience.

In an interview in the Guardian, Saturday July 9, done by Stuart Feffries, the information is given on a film “that quietly (has) broken box office records to become the surprise hit of the summer. Now the picture is poised for a US release that might well put it in the frame for an Oscar.”

Continued by the following: “The 39-year-old Hackney-born director's film powered away from an unpromising position on the starting grid. It grossed £375,000 on its first weekend, three times more than Kevin Macdonald's 2005 documentary about two British mountaineers' near-death experience in the Andes, Touching the Void. After that impressive start, Kapadia's film looks set to become one of the most successful documentary films ever released in the UK. "At the moment, we're in third and chasing down second," laughs Kapadia. His film has accelerated past Justin Bieber's concert film, Never Say Never. It's now grossed more than £3m and is bearing down on the 2005 nature documentary March of the Penguins. "There's only one documentary we'll never overtake – Fahrenheit 9/11." Michael Moore's 2004 documentary has, like Ayrton Senna in the 1993 Brazilian grand prix, an unassailable lead in this race.”

The interview gives an  excellent background to a film that was also very well received at the festival in Moscow.

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Wim Wenders: Pina

Written 28-06-2011 13:59:38 by Tue Steen Müller

Saw the 3D film about legendary coreographer Pina Bausch in a totally full cinema hall during Moscow International Film Festival. It was one of those unique cinema experiences you will never forget. One after one the members of her Tanztheater, dancers from all over the world, speaking in different languages, and speaking in a way that the words do not only say something about the late (she died in 2009) Pina Bausch but also add in tone to the music of the film, the music that carries the dance scenes inspired from her work, especially from ”Café Müller”.

The dancers are of course brilliant on the stage that Wenders has established, and the imagery makes you think of great surrealist painters like Magritte, or of great filmmakers as Alain Resnais (”L’année dernière á Marienbad”) or the work of Swedish master Roy Andersson and his use of space. You do not at any moment get bored and you regret, when it is over, the 106 minutes of pleasure. And long to see it again.

Pleasure, yes, but what the dancers express, are feelings of pain and joy, sorrow and happiness, it is literally moving, they are moving, the images are moving, words are few but the movements of the dancer and their faces expressing gratitude to what Pina Bausch gave to them. It’s all about Love.

Germany, 2011, 3D, 106 mins.

Still: Donata Wenders, from


Categories: Cinema, Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Côté & Henriquez: You don’t like the Truth

Written 24-05-2011 07:55:57 by Tue Steen Müller

The Copenhagen documentary audience gets spoilt. First the professionals were invited to watch it at the yearly Maraton Dok, organised by EDN (European Documentary Network) and now Cinemateket at the Danish Film Insttute has chosen the film as the ”documentary of the Month” in June. The film referred to is the idfa (International Film Festival Amsterdam) Special Jury Prize winner ”You don’t like the Truth – 4 Days inside Guantanamo”.

The film made by Luc Côté and Patricio Henríquez, has gone all over the world, and this coming September to be theatrically released in New York, ”has its actuality and relevance as a film that goes behind the many news bits and discussions about the camp in Cuba. To give an evidence to how one (and many more?) prisoners have gone through the most outrageous interrogation beyond any human decency... It is intense in its split-screen use of the security camera footage that catches the interrogation of a 16-year old boy. You shake your head in despair watching this investigative (many interviews with cell mates and lawyers and a psychiatrist) Canadian film about the mental torture of a Canadian citizen. For more about the content and background, click on the title in the text below or go the site of the film.” Quote from earlier posting on this site.

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Parallel 40: Documental del Mes

Written 22-05-2011 08:49:54 by Tue Steen Müller

Documentary of the Month is a unique distribution initiative, run by Parallel 40 in more than 40 cities, not only in Catalunya and Spain, but now also in Latin America – in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. It was born out of the EU supported Cinema Net Europe but has since 2007 been an independent activity, where the documentaries are shown in its original version subtitled in Catalan (for the audience of Catalunya, Comunitat Valenciana, and Illes Balears) and subtitled in Spanish for the rest of Spain, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. Documentaries selection is decided by Parallel 40, the promotion as well – posters for each film etc. Highly professional everything is. Goal – very simple – to get documentaries closer to the people.

A high quality in the selection, for sure. Look at the titles from this year, there are no compromises: This month of May it is Sandrine Bonnaire’s beautiful film about her ill sister “Elle s’appelle Sabine”, otherwise on the programme are Michael Madsen’s “Into Eternity”, Jan Terhaven’s “Autumn Gold”, Pawel Lozinski’s “Chemo” (photo), Miki Ronkainen’s “The Screaming Men” and PeÅ Holmquist’s “Young Freud in Gaza”. In some cases the filmmaker is present to meet the audience, in others debates are arranged around the theme of the film.

Do not get surprised if the Documentary of the Month is spreading its activities to other countries, maybe first of all through the Parallel 40 Sur office in Chile, a country close to the heart of Joan Gonzalez, where young Alexandra Galvis promotes the activities of the company, primarily the distribution but also training and solid networking.

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Arab Documentaries Wanted

Written 11-05-2011 16:39:53 by Tue Steen Müller

AFAC is the name, it is based in Beirut and “The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) is an independent Arab initiative established by local cultural lobbyists and a group of international donors in 2007. AFAC funds individuals and organizations in the fields of cinema, performing arts, literature, music and visual arts, while facilitating cultural exchange and cooperation across the Arab world and globally.”

It is active in the documentary field, and gives grants for documentarians. Deadline for applications has just been extended to May 30. Here is a text from the site of AFAC:

“Responding to the vast number of excellent cinema proposals received duringthe general open call, AFAC decided to establish an additional program for filmmaking. Documentaries are a very popular and accessible medium in the Arab world, allowing filmmakers to broach current issues as well as investigate the recent past. Partnering with a prestigious and experienced institution like the Sundance Documentary Institute provides both the expertise as well as an avenue to connect filmmakers with experienced producers and distributors.

In 2009, AFAC and the Sundance Documentary Institute designed a specific program that provides funding and consultation, networking and training opportunities for documentary filmmakers. Over 145 applicants from the region responded to the first call for proposals. A jury made up of leading regional and international figures selected the top fifteen applicants—both well-known and up-and-coming filmmakers from across the region—for their pertinent and original proposals.

During the next cycle, AFAC is hoping to see the program expand to become a launching pad for filmmakers, providing them with the financial and professional resources to create influential work that is globally recognized.”

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Morten Henriksen: Bag Blixens maske

Written 06-05-2011 18:09:49 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Det er et vildt projekt, et meget modigt foretagende. At åbne en film med i en omhyggeligt arrangeret troskyldighed at begynde en selvbiografi og så gøre den muntrere og muntrere, flere gange dobbeltbundet farligere og farligere og anbringe hele konstruktionen i en stor litterær sammenhæng og fuldende den i et kærlighedsindsigtens drama, som er alt andet end troskyldig og langt mere end en personlig eller blot privat erindring.

Alt andet og langt mere. Men hvad så? Nu bliver det svært. Et sted i Morten Henriksens spindelvæv af en film, klæbende og irriterende og overdådig smuk, inde i laget af samtale mellem søn og far, mellem filminstruktør og litterat spørger Morten Henriksen: "Betingelsen for samtalerne var, at jeg troede på det?" Og Aage Henriksen svarer: "Ja, at du gav det en mulighed... uden at reagere negativt og kritisk." Kun i hengivelsen kan fortællingen blive til.

Filmen rammer og rummer dette usigelige, som vi skal give en mulighed. Hvad er det så? Vil man naturligvis spørge. Og der må svares, at det jo netop ikke kan siges, ikke kan skrives. Men i filmen findes det fanget ind og pakket i spindelvæv. Se selv efter! Og læs så bogen, for i den er vigtige dele af dialogen fastholdt til læsning om og om og dernæst videre i flere af litteratens og digterens bøger.

Personerne er altså filmens instruktør, Morten Henriksen og hans far, litteraten Aage Henriksen. Og selvfølgelig Aage Henriksen og Karen Blixen, litteraten og digteren, fremstillet dels af dem selv og dels af Ole Lemmeke og Birthe Neumann. Det danner en række fortællinger om afgørende relationer: sønnen og faderen, litteraten og digteren, Aage Henriksen og Karen Blixen og sammenvævede specielle og generelle temaer, familiehistorie, kunstvidenskab og kunsthistorie plus vigtige bidrag til skildringen af Blixen og især et stort og dybt fascinerende portræt af Aage Henriksen, fortsat skabende i feltet mellem videnskab og essay.  

Still: Lemmeke og Neumann som litteraten og digteren i et øjeblik af den 10 år lange samtale, som filmen undersøger på det underfundigste. Klogt og besindigt.

Morten Henriksen: Bag Blixens maske, Danmark 2011, 54 min. Filmen kan ses i fire biografer, i Aalborg, Aarhus, Odense og København.

Litt.: Morten Henriksen: Bag Blixens Maske, samtale med Aage Henriksen (2010), Aage Henriksen: Budbringersken, samlede essays om Karen Blixen (2008)


Categories: Cinema, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Helmrich: Position Among The Stars

Written 24-04-2011 11:06:23 by Tue Steen Müller

Good news for the documentary interested audience in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Monthly Documentary in May at the Film House is Leonard Retel Helmrich’ masterpiece “Position Among the Stars” that runs every day from Thursday May 5 till Wednesday May 11. First a clip from the intro of the Film House, in Danish, and then quotes from what we wrote after the film won the first prize at idfa 2010. Go and watch the film:

“Leonard Retel Helmichs hjertevarme og sorthumoristiske portræt af en indonesisk familie i et slumkvarter i Jakarta vandt hovedprisen på verdens største dokumentarfilmfestival (IDFA) og på Sundance-festivalen. Via portrættet af Shamsuddin-familien demonstrerer Retel Helmrich, hvordan globaliseringsbølgens krusninger brydes med lokale sociale omvæltninger i det moderne Indonesien, herunder begyndende demokrati, generationskonflikter, voksende indkomstforskelle og opblomstringen af militant islamisme.”

”Position among the Stars” is third part of a trilogy about a family in Indonesia. 6 years after his second film about the family Sjamsuddin, three generations, the director Helmrich presents one more big humanistic epic that can be compared to Satayit Ray’s Apu-trilogy. Helmrich goes or rather flies from situation to situation, his camera is constant moving, there is an outstanding flow in the narrative, and he is met with open arms and minds by his characters. You sense that they like him, like he likes them, but empathy is of course not enough to make an exceptional film like this – the director knows his stoytelling dramaturgy, he knows to play with contrasts: countryside/big city, young/old, old world/modern life, and he does it through scenes with the warm and loving grandmother, her sometimes desperate son, who is a representative for the local community, split as he is between his mother’s generation and his niece, the teenage girl, the hope of the family, who is the one who must have an education, the first one in the family. There is a development of the characters in the film. There is laughter and tears.

Hemrich is using the Single Shot Cinema technique, a style he developed and perfected himself. He chooses to actively engage with his subject rather than remaining a neutral outsider - a position that typifies Direct Cinema. He aims to record events from the inside, not observe from a distance. To achieve this, he created the Steadywing, a construction that allows the filmmaker to move the camera continually in an exceptionally fluid and intuitive way - as he did among the family members featured in his trilogy. Helmrich's invention has proved to be an inspiration for an entire generation of young filmmakers.


Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Good Docu News from Czech Republic

Written 21-02-2011 16:54:57 by Tue Steen Müller

On this blog you have often met the sentence ”East Beats West” referring to this blogger´s enthusiasm for original documentaries from Eastern Europe. The central point for spreading knowledge about the situation, and for stimulating the sector through festivals, workshops, training sessions and brilliant website is the IDF (Institute of Documentary Film) in Prague. IDF has released this press release about ”Czech Documentary Film in 2010. It includes an overview of viewer numbers for Czech Television, cinema attendance, festival awards, funding suppport from the State Fund for the Support and Development of Czech Cinematography, and Czech TV. But also some well argumented worries for the future. I think documentarians in many other countries will nod affirmingly when you read the pro’s and con’s:

Czech documentary film in 2010:

  • 16 Czech documentaries released in cinemas
  • Highest cinema attendance for documentary film: Katka – 117,000 filmgoers
  • Documentary funding from the State Fund for the Support and Development of Czech Cinematography: CZK 33 million granted to 39 projects
  • Czech Television allocated CZK 157 million in external and internal costs to 786 projects
  • Highest viewer numbers for documentary programme on Czech Television's channel 1, ČT1: 13. komnata Kateřiny Kornové - 1,250,000 viewers
  • Highest viewer numbers for documentary programme on Czech Television's channel 2, ČT2: Marital Etudes 20 Years Later - Mirka and Antonín - 504,000 viewers

Prague, February 9, 2011 – Czech documentary film did fairly well in 2010. As in the previous year, sixteen documentaries were released in cinemas, yet according to the Association of Film Distributors, documentary films attracted over 160,000 filmgoers, i.e., nearly three times as many compared to 2009.

Read more / Læs mere

Categories: Cinema, TV, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Forgotten Transports in Copenhagen/Again

Written 19-02-2011 11:51:27 by Tue Steen Müller

The Czech Embassy to Denmark has asked us to recommend the documentary film series written, researched and directed by Lukáš Přibyl. One part was shown in Copenhagen in January, with such a success that the remaining three now are to be presented. The series is unique - take a look at our review of the series from 2009. Here is what the Embassy’s press release says:

When the Holocaust is mentioned, people recall images of tattooed numbers on forearms, children in striped uniforms in Auschwitz or Hitler’s speeches. Forgotten Transports have none of that. “You won’t see Hitler in my films,” says Lukáš Přibyl. “What I’m interested in is when you take a person from a relatively normal life and suddenly throw them into completely apocalyptic conditions – how does that person react?”

Each of the four films focuses on one unique “mode of survival” in the extreme conditions of the camps in Latvia, Belarus, Estonia and Poland. The films employ no present-day footage, only authentic, meticulously researched time-and-place precise materials and the words of witnesses. Out of tens of thousands of Czech Jews deported to the forgotten places in the east, fewer than 300 survived. Lukáš Přibyl managed to find over 70 of them and most of them told their stories for the first time… Based on 400 hours of interviews recorded in 20 countries and 10 years of work, the series offers a surprising picture of survival “as we don't know it”.

Tuesday 22 February 2011 at 19:00: Forgotten Transports to Belarus: Men Who Fought

Tuesday 1 March 2011 at 19:00: Forgotten Transports to Latvia: Family Strength

Tuesday 8 March 2011 at 19:00: Forgotten Transports to Poland: The Human Spirit

… in Husets Biograf, Copenhagen

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Cinema Komunisto in Cinema

Written 09-02-2011 09:12:19 by Tue Steen Müller

Mila Turajlic’s Cinema Komunisto closed the Magnificent/ Festival in Belgrade a bit more than a week ago. The reception was overwhelmingly positive and the film is now up for a theatrical release.

The organisers of the festival Svetlana and Zoran Popovic proudly write: The film is quite a hit and it goes to cinemas in two days. That is great and even the producer was surprised with that possibility. It will be in four cinemas in Belgrade and also in the only cinema in Novi Sad. That would be fantastic even for a fiction film. For documentary, this is far beyond anyones expectation.

Photo (taken by documentary colleague Boris Mitic): The domestic premiere of “Cinema Komunisto” was the closing film of the Magnificent 7 Festival, screening in the large auditorium of the Sava Center before a packed audience. The public showed a great interest for the first Serbian documentary ever programmed in the history of the festival. Following the screening the members of the crew were introduced on stage, along with two of the film’s principal characters – production designer Veljko Despotovic and film star Velimir Bata Živojinović.

Categories: Cinema, Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

News from Paris: Armadillo in France/2

Written 29-01-2011 00:12:50 by Sara Thelle

Janus Metz’s Armadillo has now been running in theatres in France for over 6 weeks and can still be seen on the big screen around the country until mid-March. So far, the film (originally put out in 26 copies December 15th) has had an audience of 12.570.

According to Distrib Films, the French distributor, who has been very pleased with working with the film, the number of entries does not quite give justice to the success of the film. The film has been showed in important cinemas all over France, is still out there circulating and there has been a lot of positive feedback. The press coverage has been very good, most of the reviews concerned with the moral ambiguity of the film in connection with form, style and content.

Distrib Films is preparing a DVD and Blue-ray release in France for the end of April.

Here are some of the reactions from the French press (my translations and mostly my italics):

Eric Libio, L’Express, December 15th 2010:

“ (…) Armadillo left a deeper impression than imagined at first. […] Fiction or reality? It wasn’t clear to me at the time and this uncertainty added to the slight vagueness, obviously intentional from the director’s part, that positions the viewer not only at the heart of a conflict –literally speaking- but also confronts him or her with the force of the true but nevertheless dramatized images, drawing Armadillo towards a hybrid genre that seeks to replace television reportage, having become unreal – a war, it’s far away and it’s the others – with a documentary sufficiently romanesque [novelistic] to provoke a powerful effect of reality.

Read more / Læs mere

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Månedens Dokumentar i Filmhuset

Written 15-01-2011 15:48:28 by Tue Steen Müller

... i København er "The Parking Lot Movie", se min anmeldelse nedenfor. Filmen vises fra 18. januar - 23, januar, én forevisning dagligt. Hurra for dette fine initiativ, som siges at være en succes med hensyn til antal tilskuere.








Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Meghan Eckman: The Parking Lot Movie

Written 15-01-2011 15:29:54 by Tue Steen Müller

At the end of the film a song comes up – called ”Life in a Nutshell” – which is exactly what the director of this classic observational and interview born documentary aims it to be. It takes place in Charlottesville in Virginia, and moves barely out from the lot. Only when there are interview bites with those who were there as parking lot guards and later have left for something else and more profitable. They look back at a place in the city, and a place in their lives, that had and has its own importance as free space for different characters and reflections. Some of them are so-called ”unemployable misfits”, who basically do not want to leave and if they do, they come back, and some of them are now in fine positions out there in the society.

They sit in the small booth, taking the payment from the clients, most of the time in a good chatting atmosphere, with exceptions where the guards have to run after people who try to get away without paying. After f... word debates between the driver and the guard.

... overeducated people people, they say about themselves ”with time to think about it”. It being Life, and love and fun and sorrow, as most of them come from the university nearby.

It is quite fun, and get sometimes deep with the characters, because of their quirky personalities. There are good sequences to look at, and it is an interesting microcosmos that has been caught. But it is not very interesting to look at, as goes for many American documentaries after Michael Moore. Could have been great to see some visual interpretation of the theme of Life, of waiting, of helping each other. But enjoy the fun part of it, the observations of the booth and the poems on the wall.

(A film like that makes me think how different American and European documentaries are, in general. Something went wrong, Albert Maysles, Pennebaker and Leacock – they have forgotten to SEE, they just record...)

USA, 2010, 74 mins.


Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

MandagsDokumentar Forår 2011

Written 27-12-2010 17:25:38 by Tue Steen Müller

Så er det der igen, programmet med MandagsDokumentar, igen sat fremragende sammen af Ebbe Preisler, denne utrættelige kender og formidler af kort- og dokumentarfilm – og tvprogrammer – nyt og gammelt som er værd at tage op igen. Instruktørerne kommer til ph-caféen på Halmtorvet i København, de indleder forevisningerne og diskuterer med publikum, som er loyalt og talrigt. Det er fortrinsvis danske film, men også udenlandske. Som denne gang hvor sæsonen indledes den 10. Januar med en film af Adam Schmedes, den hedder ”Fåret Colette” (PHOTO), som følges ”fra stald til sæter og hjem igen”. Efterfulgt af det afsnit fra østrigske Michael Glawoggers ”Workingman’s Death”, som foregår på en markedsplads i Nigeria, hvor kvæg slagtes.

Man kan andre steder se, hvor meget Preisler har nydt at sætte film sammen over temaet ”arbejde”. ”Akkord” hedder en film fra 1976 af Freddy Tornberg og Erik Thygesen – den bliver matchet med franske Thomas Balmès dokumentar ”A Decent Factory” (fra 2004) om Nokia’s alt andet end decent måde at behandle sine kinesiske (akkord)arbejdere på!

Hvad ellers? Flere film af stortalentet Ada Bligaard Søby, Fredrik Gerttens kontroversielle ”Bananas!”, ”Ljusår” af Mikael Kristersson filmet i mere end ti år i instruktørens have, ”Football is God” af Ole Bendtsen og Poul Martinsens tv-klassiker ”Før solen går ned” fra kolonitidens Kenya.

Categories: Cinema, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

News from Paris: Armadillo in France

Written 17-11-2010 23:16:54 by Sara Thelle

The Danish documentary Armadillo, Grand Prix at la Semaine de la Critique in Cannes this year, is getting ready to take in France. Distrib Films is in charge of the distribution and the film will be launched December 15th with 40 to 60 copies in the French theatres (MK2, CGR a. o.).

Press showings takes place next week and a special screening is organised in la Maison du Danemark in Paris Tuesday night November 23rd followed by debate in the presence of the director Janus Metz (unfortunately no more seats are available). The film will be released on DVD in France in April 2011.

Filmkommentaren will be following closely how the film is received in France.

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Godard Discussed Again Again...

Written 14-11-2010 17:22:49 by Tue Steen Müller

We have posted several texts on the ever original and non-conventional 79 year old Jean-Luc Godard, especially in connection with his newest film ”Film Socialisme”. This sunday (November 14) Guardian has an interesting article that starts like this:

It should have been a typical acting love-in of the type the beautiful and rich elite of Hollywood do so well. At a lavish dinner last night, the acclaimed French director Jean-Luc Godard was given an honorary Oscar alongside other established greats such as Francis Ford Coppola and the actor Eli Wallach.

There was the usual banquet, mutual backslapping and enough air-kissing to inflate a zeppelin – but that was where the parallels with orthodox movie award ceremonies ended. For not only did the recipient of the gong fail to show up, but he was, in absentia, the subject of fierce debate over whether or not his long commitment to highlighting the plight of Palestinians has crossed over into antisemitism. The question on many people's lips was: is Godard anti-Zionist or is he anti-Jewish?

... and later on: The reclusive 79-year-old certainly has a long history of supporting the Palestinians, including filming Until Victory, which told the story of the Palestinian struggle against Israel. He once admitted that his grandfather had "ferociously" disliked Jews. "He was anti-Jew; whereas I am anti-Zionist, he was antisemitic," the director once said.

Read the whole article at:

Categories: Cinema, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Jørgen Leth: Det erotiske menneske

Written 03-11-2010 18:06:38 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Titlen leder i første omgang på vildspor. Den leder mænd og nok især kvinder på vildspor. Foromtale og stills hjælper til: man forventer pik og patter. Og så er det sådan, at kun mændene får deres syn for sagn, ovenikøbet i en ren overdådighed af bare bryster, mens kvinderne tilsyneladende snydes, der er ikke antydning af pik i den film, ikke skyggen af en tilsvarende fremvisning. Imidlertid, efter den første skuffelse, indser kvinderne, at alle disse fraværende smukke og veludstyrede mænd i filmen lever og ses i de utallige nærværende kvinders blik, instrueret som kvinderne er – vel at mærke inde i filmens dialog – til at samle deres tanker og koncentration om den dejligste mand i deres fortid. Hver deres dejligste mand. Det er ansporet af denne erindring, synlig i blikkene mod kameraet, at brystvorterne erigerer.

Psykologens kommentar er tilsvarende opmærksom. Det ses, at Jørgen Leth både som filmens hovedperson og som dens instruktør er begejstret for netop de kvinder, som er begejstret for ham. Som menneske søger han bekræftelse hos disse kvinder. Han lever den usikre eksistentielle situation, et kærlighedstab engang, og kompenserer ved en midlertidig situation af lykke, kvindens accept i som regel korte, enkelte gange lidt længere, øjeblikke af værdsathed. Føler sig begæret, er begæret. Som et erotisk menneske. Denne udsathed er det erotiske menneskes virkelighed.

I en overvældende ærlighed og præcis u-selvhøjtidelighed, befriende muntert ind imellem, lægger filmen disse kort på bordet. Det måtte jo komme, stikket. (Nej, det er ikke det sidste). I tekst efter tekst, film efter film havde Leth ved sine udspil denne årrække fået os til at ane, hvad der sad på hånden. Jørgen Leth lader som om, intet er sket i mellemtiden, han placerer ikke sin film i den offentlige debat, i sladderens verden af karaktermord, men fortsætter det arbejde, som hele tiden har ligget i det poetiske værk. Opfylder kravene her: der er dette at gøre, og så dette. Og han bliver ikke klogere, vi bliver ikke klogere, men eftersøgningen fortsætter. 

Read more / Læs mere


Categories: Cinema, Festival, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Belgrade Revisited

Written 26-10-2010 11:11:39 by Tue Steen Müller

I am in rainy Belgrade. Wonderful to be back in the city where the magnificent documentary film festival Magnificent7 takes place every year. At the end of January. But this is actually not the main reason for my presence... for two hours yesterday I was in the world of fiction film, playing the role of a Danish diplomat... in the first long feature film of Andrijana Stojkovic. "The Box" (PHOTO) is the title of the film... based on a true story, for the Danish diplomat the leaving from Belgrade in 1992 and his meeting with one of the main characters in the film, a young man working in a company responsible for the moving of the belongings of the diplomats out of the country.

I am going to meet with Svetlana and Zoran Popovic, the two organisers of the Magnificent7 festival, that is to celebrate the seventh edition in January 2011, the pick of four of the 7 films have been done. Titles like "48", "Nenette", "Zanzibar Musical Club" and "Men who Swim" are already confirmed.

I am also to meet and have a private sneak preview of the film of Mila Turajlic, "Cinema Komunisto", which has been selected for First Appearance Competition in the upcoming idfa festival in Amsterdam.

Categories: Cinema, Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

MK2 + la Cinematheque

Written 10-10-2010 19:27:11 by Tue Steen Müller

Our Paris correspondent, Sara Thelle, has already written about Film Socialisme by Jean Luc Godard, and her article was one of the reasons that I, with great expectations and huge pleasure, went to see the film in MK2 Beaubourg, where it still runs at one of those fine late morning screenings, once per week, that is practised by the chain of cinemas of Marin Karmitz (MK). My friend and I left the cinema in complete agreement on the quality and playfulness of the latest work of the old man, who has not stopped challenging the film language in a film that has many layers and reflections, and is serious and full of humour at the same time.

At such a good mood we left the Beaubourg quartier heading for Bercy, to la Cinematheque Francaise, to watch the exhibition "Brune et Blonde" that has just opened and runs in the French capital until January 6 2011. Film history, the stars and their hair, clips from films back to the silent movie, brilliantly edited and displayed, supplemented by paintings by, among others, Paul Delvaux, and photos by, among others, Man Ray. But the main attraction was, without any doubt, the clip scenes, where many evoked wonderful memories like Silvana Mangano in the classic "Rice Girl" (PHOTO), in her sensual, seducing dance. Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve, her sister Francoise Dorleac, Ingrid Bergman, Julia Andrews, Penelope Cruz... For the exhibition a series of short films had been made; the one of Abbas Kiarostami with a little girl, who is asked to let her hair be cut, she thinks about it, hesitates for a moment, but says no, and hesitates again when she is asked to cut the hair of her friend - a master's work, go and watch it, well go and take an hour or two in the exhibition to have your film history evoked, open for blonds and brunettes.

Categories: Cinema, Film History

Peter Kerekes: Cooking History

Written 06-10-2010 09:14:01 by Tue Steen Müller

The Danish audience, at least the one in Copenhagen, centralised Danish cultural policy, but that is another story, will have the possibility to watch one of the most awarded and spoken about documentaries from the recent years, "Cooking History" by Slovak Peter Kerekes. The film is number two (after "Last Train Home") after the launching of "Documentary of the Month" by the Danish Film Institute. The film has been reviewed and "career-followed" on this site. The director will attend the opening screening in Copenhagen.

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Documental del mes

Written 30-09-2010 04:14:37 by Tue Steen Müller

... means ”Documentary of the Month” and is a strong film-cultural initiative for the distribution of creative documentaries for the audiences in around 40 cities of Catalunya, Comunitat Valenciana, Illes Balears and other Spanish cities. Since May 2009, The Documentary of the Month crossed the Catalan and Spanish borders and started its incursion in Latin America. Thanks to MEDIA’s European Union project support, 3 theatres in Santiago de Chile opened. This is the beginning of a healthy relationship between Europe and Latin America. And this is history as I can witness here from Santiago de Chile

… where I meet the organiser of screenings that now take place in 14 theatres – 4 in Chile, 7 in Argentina and 3 in Uruguay. Her name is Alexandra Galvis and she proudly told me about the success of the screening of the poignant film by Nicolas Entel, “Sins of My Father” (Photo), that features Sebastian Marroquin, son of the gangster Pablo Escobar, in a reconciliation process with the sons of the fathers that were killed by his father. The film sold 2356 tickets in Montevideo in 4 weeks, a huge number for a documentary in the capital of Uruguay. The biggest hit in Chile so far is the film by Peter Greenaway, “Rembrandt’s j’accuse”, that still runs, also in Buenos Aires where more than 2000 has watched the British master’s work.

Documentaries selection is decided by Parallel40 in Barcelona. I work for the company that is also responsible for DOCSBarcelona. (excellent site with clips)

Categories: Cinema, Film History

Last Train Home i Cinemateket

Written 19-08-2010 20:55:54 by Tue Steen Müller

The Danish Cinemateket, that is part of the Danish Film Institute, and works from the Film House in the centre of Copenhagen, shows many documentaries (at one or two screenings) in their fine monthly programme. Recently, Cinemateket, the festival cph:dox and EDN (European Documentary Network) has decided to go one step fuether to introduce a regular “Documentary of the Month", having one film run for a week with several screenings. First title is “Last Train Home” by Lixin Fang. It is shown in Cinemateket September 9-15. Here follows a repost of the Danish language review of Allan Berg on this site. Berg saw the film at Cinema du Réel this year in March:

Åbningen er voldsom indtryksfuld. Set fra en høj kran skildrer kameraet en mængde kinesere – jeg ved jo i forvejen, det er kinesere, men ville heller ikke være i tvivl – det regner, alle farvers paraplyer ses deroppefra og kinesernes tøj som pletter af kulør. Denne uforglemmelige mumlen af folkemængde høres sagte, men den stiger til højdepunktet af larm samtidig med, at kameraet udvider beskæringen af billedet, og mængdens antal vokser og vokser. Det er en uoverskuelig mængde. Det må være alle kinesere samlet. Det land er forfærdende stort, jeg føler jeg drukner.

Det er snart nytår og nytårsfesten er familiens fest. Millioner af arbejdere i byen skal hjem til familien i landsbyerne. Hundreder af kilometre. Og de skal jo alle hjem på én gang. Det er dette sceneri, filmen skildrer. Vi følger et ægtepar, som arbejder på en meget stor systue, hvor der sys blå jeans til eksport. De lever der, yderst beskedent og midlertidigt i årevis. Børnene er hjemme i landsbyen hos farmoderen. Én gang om året rejser de hjem. Det er til nytårsfesten. Og det er nu, de befinder sig et sted nede i mængden som to

Read more / Læs mere

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Documentaries in France

Written 03-08-2010 15:36:28 by Tue Steen Müller

The French CNC (Centre National du Cinéma et de l’image Animée) has published a study on the market for documentaries in France. According to the French Media Desk and their weekly newsletter no. 194 ( the study concerns the creative documentaries.

2225 hours of documentaries have been produced in 2009, a progress of 8,1%. The contribution from television is the biggest in 20 years, 47,3%. The documentaries represented 6,5% of the market in 2009 – and with 2008 statistics the sales of tv documentary programmes were 26% of total sales.

Documentaries for cinema release: 30 films were produces for theatrical release in 2009 with almost 3 mio. Tickets sold. The duration of their prseence on the screns are longer than for fiction and animation. In general a French cinema documentary is released in 27 copies.

Crisis... where? (Photo: Agnes Varda)

For details:

Categories: Cinema, TV, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

News from Paris : August

Written 29-07-2010 07:48:15 by Sara Thelle

If you are spending time in Paris in August, here are a few ideas, which might not be in your travel guide.

The Forum des images (recently renovated and situated down in Les Halles, great cinema and great program) organises for the tenth time le Cinéma au clair de lune, open air projections of various classics (Rohmer, Godard, Renoir, Beineix…) who all has Paris as a setting, shown in different places around Paris (Montmartre, Place des Vosges, Parc Montsouris…). It runs from August 4th to 22nd and it’s all for free. Take a look at the program:

In Milly-la-Forêt, 50 km South-East of Paris, lies the house of Jean Cocteau. It has just been opened to the public end of June this year. Cocteau bought the house in 1947 and lived there until his death in 1963. The house and the garden have been carefully restored.

Read more / Læs mere

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Janus Metz: Armadillo/10

Written 12-07-2010 14:29:38 by Tue Steen Müller

The Danish documentary “Armadillo”, directed by Janus Metz and filmed by Lars Skree,  about Danish  soldiers in Afghanistan has been running in Danish cinemas for 6 weeks. More than 100.000 tickets have been sold, and the film is still running. The following are text clips from the Danish press release from the distribution company

ARMADILLO er nu blevet set af over 100.000, og det er sket i løbet af bare seks uger. På trods af hård konkurrence fra bl.a. VM i Fodbold, ”Sex and The City”, ”Twilight: Eclipse” og den danske sommer, har den danske ARMADILLO præsteret over alle forventninger i de danske biografer. Allerede i åbningsweekenden trak filmen 25.000 danskere i biografen til den intense historie om danske soldater udstationeret i Afghanistans urolige Helmand-provins. I den forgangne week-end ramte publikumstallet 100.225.

ARMADILLO kører fortsat i mange biografer landet over

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

News from Paris: Godard – Film Socialisme

Written 08-07-2010 18:12:11 by Sara Thelle

While Cannes is still waiting for Godard, we had the great pleasure in Paris to spend the evening of June 18th in his company after a special screening of Film Socialisme in le Cinéma des Cinéastes near Place Clichy. The evening was organized by Mediapart, an important Internet news site founded in 2008 by Edwy Plenel (journalist and former managing editor of Le Monde), who hosted the event.

Film Socialisme (Vega Film, 102 min.), with the subtitle La liberté coûte cher (Freedom comes at a high price), continues in the line of collages of video, documentary archive, text, graphics, music and dialogue that Godard has been making since the late eighties, this time at the lengths of a feature film. It’s political, it’s poetic and radically experimental.

The film is “a symphony in three movements”, a triptych composed of the following three ‘tableaux’:

Des choses comme ça… (Things like that): Set on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean, different personages, including Patti Smith, the philosopher Alain Badiou and an undefined war criminal, strolls in and out of the kitsch decadence onboard the boat. Underneath lies a story of some ‘lost’ gold from the Spanish civil war and the destiny of Europe.

Notre Europe (Our Europe): A garage somewhere in rural France run by a family with two kids and a white lama. The children revolt and hold their parents to an explanation of the concepts of freedom, equality and fraternity, all filmed by a frantic television-crew.

Nos humanités (Our humanities): A visit to six legendary sites: Egypt, Palestine, Odessa, Hellas (“Hell as”), Naples and Barcelona. The film ends with a beautiful sequence borrowed from a film by Agnès Varda (herself present amongst the audience that evening), showing two trapeze artists on a beach. The final words are: No comment…

Read more / Læs mere

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Janus Metz: Armadillo/9

Written 25-06-2010 16:06:13 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Ideal 3, Waltz with Bashir: 

"Man kommer ind i universet uden at få en mening stoppet ned i halsen i denne dokumentar. Man får bare lov til at være med og selv bedømme. Og så er der det, at det er en animationsfilm skabt ud fra virkelige optagelser. Animationsformen gør, at man kommer ind i et mere drømmende univers, der ikke bliver så konkret. Den har faktisk samme kvalitet som Stalker , hvor det udefinerbare giver kimen til fantasi. Dokumentarfilm skal ikke nødvendigvis være konkrete, for som filmskabere er vi hele tiden med til at redefinere konventionerne." (Lars Skree, fotograf på Armadillo i interview i Politiken, Film, 3. juli 2010)

Hvem er denne Bashir? Eller rettere, hvem var han? Har jeg vidst det og glemt det? Filmen handler om at glemme. Historiens fortæller, som også er filmen instruktør har glemt alt det med denne Bashir og krigen i Libanon i hans ungdom. Hvor han var deltager. Det er mere end 25 år siden.

Bashir Pierre Gemayel (1947-1982) var libanesisisk politiker, militschef og valgt libanesisk præsident i tre uger. Han var ledende medlem af falangistpartiet og præsidentkandidat ved valget i 1982, da landet var midt i den lange borgerkrig (1975-1990) og besat af både syriske og israelske tropper. Bashir Gemayel samarbejdede med israelerne og især med forsvarsministeren Ariel Sharon. Han var stærkt støttet af den amerikanske regering under Ronald Reagan. Hovedmodstanderen var det palæstinensiske PLO, ledet af Yassir Arafat og endvidere de syriske styrker. Bashir Gemayel blev sammen med 26 ledende falangister samlet til møde dræbt ved at attentat 14. september 1982 af en syrisk orienteret maronit kristen. Falangisternes hævn blev den massakre, som Folman havde søgt at glemme. Sammen med de øvrige israelske tropper så han og vennerne passivt til fra deres stillinger et par hundrede meter derfra.  

En nat på en bar sidder Ari Folman sammen med en ven fra dengang. Kammeraten fortæller ham om et tilbagevendende mareridt, hvor han jages af 26 bidske hunde. Altid samme antal hunde. De to mænd finder i samtalen frem til, at der er en forbindelse mellem den onde drøm og deres opgave som soldater i den israelske hær dengang under den krig, hvor de rykkede ind i Sydlibanon og stødte helt frem mod Beirut. Kammeratens opgave var faktisk at skyde de hunde, før de ved deres gøen røbede et natligt angreb på landsbyen. Men Folman må erkende, at han faktisk intet husker fra den periode af sit liv. Fortrængningen er manifest.

Han opsøger nu en række af de andre fra hans afdeling dengang, og rekonstruerer begivenhederne, som førte frem til massakren på de mange palæstinensiske flygtninge i Beirutbydelene Sabra og Shatila.  

Waltz with Bashir vakte opsigt ved sin fremkomst sidste år, den havde succes på festival efter festival omkring i verden, var Israels bidrag til festivalen i Cannes, og den deltog også i den københavnske og århusianske festivaler. Havde også biografvisninger. Nu kan vi der bor vestligere selv se efter, er Ari Folmans Waltz with Bashir vildt flot, men kold og tom? Som det er hævdet. De fleste kritikere var dog begejstret. Ekstrabladet gav seks stjerner, DR2 Premiere og Politiken hver fem.

Min kollega Tue Steen Müller her på siden gik imidlertid frustreret fra visningen i København. Og har den erfarne mand dårlige fornemmelser med det kunstneriske fintmærkende nærvær under det fremragende håndværk distancering - ja, så er der noget at kigge efter, ved jeg. Og tale om.

Skree og Metzs Armadillo er måske midt i den gruvækkende realitet også et "drømmende univers, som ikke bliver konkret". Måske har Lars Skree med sine bemærkelsesværdige enquette svar foræret os nøglen til den uforglemmelige og gådefulde film om krigerne i Armadillo.

Still: Ari Folman: Waltz with Bashir, 2008

Categories: Cinema, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK, Poetics

Janus Metz: Armadillo/8

Written 25-06-2010 15:58:36 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Ideal 2, The Three Rooms of Melancholia:

"Nok en af de mest fantastiske dokumentarfilm, jeg har set. Visuelt er den simpelthen så smuk. Den er næsten to timer lang, og man skal virkelig koncentrere sig. Den er megatung og beskæftiger sig med konsekvenserne af den 2. tjetjenske krig for russiske og tjetjenske børn fra tre forskellige steder. Forældreløse børn hjælpes af det russiske militær, hvis de selv går med i hæren. Måden, den er filmet på, giver den så meget empati, og man får lov til at være fluen på væggen uden at få tingene stoppet ned i halsen". (Lars Skree, fotograf på Armadillo i interview i Politiken, Film, 3. juli 2010)

Skree skyr ikke det tanketunge, når det er smukt som Pirjo Honkasalos triptykon Melancholia. Filmen handler om lovens bud du må ikke vidne falsk mod din næste (Honkasalo bruger den engelske formulering: ”Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour”) og funderer over fjendebilledets opståen. Den er en skønhedsmættet meditation over mennesket fanget i voldelig konflikt uden ende og uden nåde. ”Et rekviem over de levende og de døde” skrev New York Times. Filmens tre afsnit skildrer først livet blandt 9 til 14-årige drenge på det russiske militærakademi på Kronstadt, dernæst i illegale optagelser fra det sønderskudte Grosnij, en kvindes uselviske arbejde med på helt eget initiativ med at redde så mange børn som muligt og endelig blandt børnene i en af Ingusjiens flygtningelejre, hvor Kronstadt-elevernes kommende fjender dannes i deres anderledes kultur med modsatrettede billeder af fjenden. Der fældes ingen domme i dette værk, hændelserne betragtes med opmærksomhed, undren og vemod.

Lars Skree har som mesteren Honkasalo filmet Armadillo simpelthen smukt og med så megen indlevelse, at man er til stede lige bag hans kamera og selv må tage stilling til billedet og det, billedet viser. Man får intet forklaret, intet bliver udlagt.  

Still: Pirjo Honkasalo: The Three Rooms of Melancholia, 2004

Categories: Cinema, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK, Poetics

Janus Metz: Armadillo/7

Written 25-06-2010 15:17:56 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Ideal 1, Stalker:

"Mange har spurgt, hvad vi havde i tankerne, da vi lavede Armadillo. Og en ting, jeg har tænkt meget på, er det med at være isoleret et sted og ikke rigtig vide, hvem der kigger på hvem. Her har Stalker været en stor inspiration. Man er i en zone, hvor der er heftigt omkring en, men alligevel ser man det aldrig, men fornemmer det kun. Det var mange gange den fornemmelse, vi havde, når vi sad i den lille Armadillo-lejr. Det var jo ikke Armadillo, der omringede hele det store område, men området, der omringede os. Og man var hele tiden beluret." (Lars Skree, fotograf på Armadillo i interview i Politiken, Film, 3. juli 2010)

Jeg blev meget optaget af Lars Skrees svar i den lille enquete den dag. Og jeg kom med det samme til at tænke på, at Janus Metz vistnok I Cannes en dag havde sagt, at han opfattede Armadillo som en filosofisk film, og nu så jeg Skree i sin påpegning af konkrete inspirationer holdt sig til de åndelige sider af det filmkunstneriske felt, i sine ambitioner havde han inkluderet poetiske forbilleder. Først nævner han altså Stalker. Og jeg gik til Tarkovskijs poetik og læser igen det Thomas Mann citat fra Der Zauberberg, som Tarkovskij har sat foran sit essay om "det filmiske billede":

"Wir wollen es so stellen: Ein geistiger, das heisst ein bedeutender Gegenstand ist eben dadurcg 'bedeutend', dass er über sich hinausweist, dass er Ausdruck und Exponent eines Geistig-Allgemeinen ist, einer ganzen gefühls- und Gesinnungswelt, welche in ihm ihr mehr oder weniger vollkommenes Sinnbild gefunden hat - wonach sich denn der Grad seiner Bedeutsamkeit bemisst..."

I sin anmeldelse her på Filmkommentaren er Tue Steen Müller på vej mod denne forståelse af "Armadillo", han tager konkret udgangspunkt i netop et sådant sindbillede: Se på dette billede... Og vi ser, at Skree har filmet denne kriger, som netop for første gang har set, hvad der uden for zonen, set det, som hele tiden har set ham. Tarkovskijs videnskabsmand er rygvendt på vej, Skrees kampvognsfører er filmet en face, vi ser øjnene, som har set "det heftige".

Litt.: Andrej Takowskij: Die versiegelte Zeit, 1984 (tysk oversættelse 2002)

Still: Andrei Tarkovskij: Stalker (da.: Vandringsmanden), 1979

Categories: Cinema, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK, Poetics

Nils Vest: Et rådhus/2

Written 16-06-2010 09:44:40 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Det begynder allerede ved indgangen. Det med Nyrops detaljer. Hver indgang har sine særlige figurer. Her er det vejvæsenets gamle indgang ud mod H. C. Andersens Boulevard. To brolæggerjomfruer i granit flankerer porten. Rådhuset skulle have den danske stenhuggertradition fra middelalderkirkerne indarbejdet. Men det håndværk var glemt, så billedhuggeren Anders Bundgaard måtte lære sig det forfra, da han fik opgaven. Et sted i Nils Vests film kommer vi ind i et kælderrum med Bundgårds skitser til de mange ansigter, han huggede i granit, og Vest fortæller i sin nøgternt personlige speak, at billedhuggeren fandt sine modeller i de nærmeste omgivelser, blandt byggeriets håndværkere og rådhusets medarbejdere.   

Og Vest tager denne demokratiske idé op. Det er jo et hus for alle borgere i byen, og han åbner sin film og sin omvisning ved at lade en almindelig rådhusbetjent tage imod og føre os ind i huset og dets idé. Vest er vedholdende (eller stædig) som sine hovedpersoner, nu altså Martin Nyrop, hans motiver og greb går igen fra film til film. Også dette, at det ophøjede monument ikke kun ses i arkitekturhistoriens lærde og følsomme blik i kunstnerisk øjenhøjde, men også ses nedefra, i fejemandens jordnære og håndfaste perspektiv. Vest mestrer begge vinkler.

Og det bliver til ét af de gennemgående lag. Denne omviser-fortælling tages op i Jens Bidstrups velordnede klipning, og en række mennesker, som arbejder i husets funktioner eller med husets historie eller med dets arkitekts biografi, får stafetten og fortæller hver deres brik i mosaikken, som bliver filmens handling af dagligdag, arkitektur og menneskeliv.

Der er premiere i morgen kl. 12 i Grand Teatret.  Et rådhus til hverdag og fest kører derefter i den biograf, forhåbentlig et stykke tid, for det er selvfølgelig en simpel pligt for enhver københavner med kærlighed til sin bys smukke huse at gå ind og se filmen om byens italienske renæssance rådhus og dets mylder af historier og detaljer og betydninger.

Nils Vest: Et rådhus til hverdag og fest, Danmark 2010, 52 min. Manuskript: Nils Vest, fotografi: Erik Norsker, Casper Høyberg, Steen Dalin og Nils Vest, klip: Jens Bidstrup, musik: Anders Koppel, lyd: Iben Haahr Andersen, produktion: Nils Vest. Produceret og distribueret af Nils Vest Film her også direkte dvd-salg.


Categories: DVD, Cinema, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Nils Vest: Et rådhus

Written 11-06-2010 10:08:52 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Den koncentreret vedholdende og omhyggeligt researchende Niels Vest er klar med en ny arkitekturfilm. 17. juni er der i Grand Teatret, København premiere på hans seneste værk i rækken af bygningshistorier vævet sammen med arkitektbiografier, filmen om tilblivelsen af Københavns Rådhus fra 1905 og om husets arkitekt, Martin Nyrop. Den har fået titlen Et rådhus til alvor og fest. Den handler om intrigerne i byggeudvalget, hvor Nyrops modstandere havde indflydelse, om arkitektkonkurrencerne, om Nyrops vældige forarbejder med studier, især i italiensk renæssancearkitektur, om hans frodige detaljeglæde og især om den snedige stædighed, hvormed han sikrede sig, at hans oprindelige idé og plan ad omveje blev gennemført. Et tema om den suveræne arkitektpersonlighed som er centralt i hele Vests række af skildringer af hovedpersoner og monumenter fra den danske bygningskulturelle arv: Laurits Thura og Vor Frelsers Kirke, Nicolai Eigtved og Frederiksstaden, C.F. Hansen og Vor Frue Kirke, Christian 4. og Rosenborg. 

Niels Vest modtager en af dagene Europa Nostra Prisen 2010 for sit arbejde med at organisere bevarelsen af visse bymiljøer som især Christiania og senest for eksempel modstanden mod en nutidig tilbygning ved Holmens Kirke.

Still: Niels Vests film boltrer sig i detaljer: ”Den store indgang fra Vester Voldgade, hvor der engang løb en å, har både to krabber, en havmand, en havfrue og et søpindsvin placeret rundt om portåbningen foruden kalkmalerier med tang og en søstjerne oppe under loftet inde i porten.” Men filmen fortaber sig ikke et øjeblik, overblikket mærkes som en sikkerhed, ikke som en stramhed.

Nils Vest: Et rådhus til hverdag og fest, Danmark 2010, 52 min. Manuskript: Nils Vest, fotografi: Erik Norsker, Casper Høyberg, Steen Dalin og Nils Vest, klip: Jens Bidstrup, musik: Anders Koppel, lyd: Iben Haahr Andersen, produktion: Nils Vest. Produceret og distribueret af Nils Vest Film her også direkte dvd-salg.

Categories: DVD, Cinema, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Jan Tenhaven: Autumn Gold

Written 06-06-2010 12:05:16 by Tue Steen Müller

Good subject: Old (some of them veeery old) people who are still fit for life and take part in an athletic World Champions competition in Lahti, Finland. But what about the treatment of the subject, can this sustain a feature length format?

That scepticism was taken away very early in the film. The director proved to know his five athletes very well, and was able to get much more out of them than ”just” their preparation for the tournament. We get their lives, their joys and sorrows, how to live alone as the life partner, or the live partners, have passed away – and we see how and where they live and cope with the daily things that one has to take care of. Like you and me.

But what about the narrative structure – how can 5 stories be told so you are not bored or lose concentration. Also that scepticism disappeared leaving nothing but a bravo to the editing. And to  Alfred (100!), Herbert (93) (photo), Ilse (82), Jiri (82), Gabre (93) for being so open to a film team that was able to convey the charm and visdom of being old!

The film will be released in German theatres by July 8. The following television channels are credited to broadcast the film, if it does not reach your festival and the big screen: arte, RTE (Ireland), TSR (Switzerland), ERT (Greece), YLE (Finland) and MAX (India!).

Germany, 94 mins., 2010


Categories: Cinema, TV, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

News from Paris: Tarkovsky for children

Written 01-06-2010 19:14:00 by Sara Thelle

In France kids have Wednesdays off from school. For those who have the possibility, it is a day to discover the multiple activities Paris has to offer children. Le centre Pompidou, Beaubourg to Parisians, holds every Wednesday of the school year the program L’Écran des enfants, an initiation to cinema for children under 13.

I went with my daughter Asta, 8 ½, to see Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Steamroller and the Violin (1960, 43 min.). This is Tarkovsky’s first longer short film and it was his graduating film from the film school in Moscow. The film tells the story of a friendship between a little boy, Sasha, who plays the violin and the worker Sergei and his (incredibly beautiful) red steamroller. The influence of Albert Lamorisse’s The Red Balloon (Le ballon rouge 1956) is very clear. The images of the film are sheer beauty, the mirrors, the reflections; the dreams are already there. Asta could not follow the story, I think because she was just taken by the visual impression. Here’s a more detailed description:

A DVD is available from Facets Video (region 1) and bits can of course be seen on Youtube, but get it for your children’s film program if you have one, it has to be viewed on the big screen.

What we particularly appreciate about Beaubourg’s program is that the curators are there themselves to present the days film. They make a small introduction and offer to read aloud the subtitles on non-French films, should the children wish so. And they also leave time for comments and questions afterwards. Asta’s comment was “the film was very good”!

Link to Centre Pompidou

Paris has many other cinematographic offers for children, I can get back to that another time, and nothing beats the event of taking an actual trip to a movie theatre and sit down in the dark. It is important and a pleasure to be able to let your child grow up with a larger view of cinematography, than what is offered by mainstream cinema today.

I quote Chris Marker, from an interview Tue Steen Müller has linked to in an earlier comment, but can easily be repeated and counts for kids as well: “Godard nailed it once and for all: at the cinema, you raise your eyes to the screen; in front of the television, you lower them. Then there is the role of the shutter. Out of the two hours you spend in a movie theater, you spend one of them in the dark. It's this nocturnal portion that stays with us, that fixes our memory of a film in a different way than the same film seen on television or on a monitor” (Chris Marker, interview Libération March 5. 2003 translated in Film Comment:

The film made me plunge in to Tarkovsky’s own writing, though he hardly mentions The Steamroller and the Violin. I highly recommend his reflections on the art of cinema:

Andrei Tarkovski: Le temps scellé (Petite bibliothèque des Cahiers du Cinéma 2004). English edition: Sculpting in Time (University of Texas Press 1989).

Categories: DVD, Cinema, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Janus Metz: Armadillo/6

Written 01-06-2010 11:05:16 by Tue Steen Müller

The Danish documentary "Armadillo" which premiered in cinemas last friday is a huge audience success. 22.282 tickets have been sold in three days, which is absolutely unusual for a documentary in Danish theatres. Earlier this month "Armadillo" by Janus Metz was awarded the Semaine de la Critique Prize in Cannes. 

I weekenden strømmede publikum i stort tal ind i biografens mørke for at se Janus Metzs meget anmelderroste og omtalte film. Alene torsdag, fredag, lørdag og søndag solgte filmen 22.882 billetter og gik direkte ind på førstepladsen på filmhitlisten, hvor den slog Prince of Persia af pinden.

"Jeg tror, Janus Metz har ramt den gyldne mellemvej mellem debatskabende og stærkt rørende film med en masse action og følelser. Det er derfor, den får så stor succes. Men vigtigst af alt skaber filmen en debat hos alle unge som gamle uanset baggrund. Den debat har fra starten været vores drøm, så jeg er rigtigt glad for, at så mange går i biografen og ser den", udtaler producenten Ronnie Fridthjof.

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

All Norwegian Screens Digitised in 2011

Written 28-05-2010 11:57:34 by Tue Steen Müller has recently written about the digital plans for documentaries in Lithuania and Denmark. Now a piece of text taken from the newsletter of Filmkontakt (see above) demonstrates that some countries also have throughts for the screening of films, at least Norway does:

In just one year, all cinemas in Norway will be ready for digital screenings and equipped with 2K or 4K projectors. As one of few countries in the world, Norway has closed deals with six major Hollywood studios for digital screenings. According to the industry organisation for Norwegian cinemas, Film & Kino, the conversion of all of Norway’s cinemas to digital will be the world’s first national non-commercial digital cinema rollout.

Since 2006, Film & Kino has supported two digital pilot projects concerning 33 cinemas all over Norway. Som cinemas and institutions have made individual investments in digital equipment, and the experience from the pilot projects has been decisive for the successful digital rollout. 30 cinemas will have a 4K Sony projector, which is the standard required by the big Hollywood studios to show their films digitally. The digitisation process will begin this June in 37 theatres in Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim and will run until April next year.

For more information, see Film & Kino's website.

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Boris Bertram: Tankograd/2

Written 20-05-2010 12:18:16 by Tue Steen Müller

Russian stories... why are they so attractive, why do they travel so well? Is it because we still know so little about this huge country and its Soviet past? Is it because their stories, like Tankograd, are so much more interesting in their dramatic, often tragic dimension that we are drawn to them – to get away from  our own tiny wellfare problems and meaningless media focus on politicians and their (lack of) behaviour? Probably. Or is it because Russians simply are so good for the camera with all their passion and extrovert gesticulation? Or their charm as Boris Bertram depicts so well in this film through the male dancer, who looks like a young Rudolf Nuruyev. And through his female counterpart, sweet and pretty as she stands there in the kitchen with her grandmother. Yes, I know that kitchen. I have seen it so often.

It is not my job to review the film – that is done by Allan Berg, see below – but I want to express my nostalgic pleasure of being taken back to places and situations that I have enjoyed so much in Russia and in the former Soviet republics, that I have visited after 1989/1990.

The small kitchen, the generously arranged dinner tables and the hospitality you meet so often, the vodka bottles, the apple juice that you need to accompany the vodka with to prevent a hangover, the totally worn down and dirty staircases, the small appartment rooms where families find their ways of sitting, eating and sleeping, the constant smoking of cigarettes, the grey appartment blocks... the brewing of coffee at the toilet (not in the film) because this was the only place left for the coffee machine... I have seen it in Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Kiev, Minsk and St. Petersburg, and perfectly it is observed and conveyed in the film Tankograd. In many places – luckily – the living conditions have improved, in others not. But the art of survival is still performed within the warm atmosphere that I saw and recognised in Tankograd. 

Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Boris Bertram: Tankograd

Written 18-05-2010 17:43:33 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Boris Bertram skildrer et ungt, russisk dansekompagni i Chelyabinsk og kombinerer det med en skildring af stemningen i den fordømt by til en stor elegi. Efter Danmarkspremieren kører filmen i Vester Vov Vov, København fra torsdag, 20. maj. Senere er der visninger i Odense, Café Biografen 28. maj 21:30 og i Århus, Øst for Paradis 29. maj 21:00. Begge disse visninger er efterfulgt af en koncert, Bichi meets Savery (Ghost Society, Blue Foundation), se filmens hjemmeside:

Vi møder en i grundtrækkene klassisk bysymfoni. I rammen af en dag fra morgen til sengetid følges solodanseren Masha og hendes venner og kolleger i korte scener fra træningen frem til premieren på forestillingen, de arbejder med på deres berømte Chelyabinsk Contemporary Dance Theater. Men filmen skildrer også deres hjemmeliv i de små lejligheder i boligblokkene. Her er deres liv. Øvesalen, køkkenet og soveværelset, supermarkedet og så en gang imellem scenen i teatret, hvor det hele udlades. Forståelserne, længslerne, frigørelserne. Ellers er der fåmæltheden, neddæmpetheden.

Chelyabinsk er en deprimerende by, en tavs by med en frygtelig fortrængt viden. Den var tidligere central for udviklingen af Ruslands atombombeprogram. Indbyggerne oplevede en række ulykker med udslip af radioaktivitet. I 1957 kulminerede det med en voldsom eksplosion med tilsvarende forurening. Dertil kommer vistnok en mere end lemfældig omgang med atomaffaldet. Så jorden er giftig, floden er giftig, søerne er giftige, grundvandet er giftigt. Følgesygdommene er talrige og massive. Depressionen præger de unge dansere, præger alle andre i byen, bliver til langsomhed og stilfærdighed. Og således er Bertrams film, neddæmpet og inderst inde fortvivlet.

Det er morgen hos Masha og hendes kæreste. Kaffe, cigaret og nyheder på mobiltelefonen. Der er faktisk valg i dag, skal du hen og stemme? Nej, det tror jeg ikke. Nej, det skal jeg ikke. Jeg heller ikke. Filmen opstiller tre strategier for tackling af den fortvivlede situation i byen. Møder miljøkæmpere, men med de to unge ved morgenmaden lægges jo den politiske mulighed til side. Læger og det øvrige sundhedsvæsen besøges, lindres kan der måske, men ikke helbredes. Resignation, vi skal jo dø af et eller andet, men skal vi tænke på det hele tiden, er det uudholdeligt at leve, det er holdningen blandt indbyggerne. Derfor dansen, optagetheden på denne kunstneriske måde af sin egen krop og dens mulighed for udvidelse, for nye skønhedsudtryk. Så ikke udadvendtheden i politisk aktion og lægelig behandling og forebyggelse, men indadvendtheden, indbøjningen i sig selv, i sit helt eget bliver strategien, som vælges, strategien, filmen især skildrer. Og sandt at sige, de danser meget, meget smukt. 

Boris Bertram: Tankograd, Danmark 2009, 58 min. Manuskript: Boris Bertram, fotografi: Emil Noel, Magnus Nordenhof Jønck og Boris Bertram, klip: Charlotte Munch Bengtsen og Henrik Vincent Thiesen, musik:Tobias Wilner Bertram, Sara Savery og Vladimir Shainskiy + Ghost Society, lyd (sound design):Tobias Wilner Bertram, PeterAlbrechtsen og Thomas Jæger, produktion: Sara Stockmann og Anne Wivel, produceret af Barok Film


Categories: Cinema, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Berlusconi Again Again...

Written 15-05-2010 12:22:39 by Tue Steen Müller

The headline is taken from a small report by Camillo de Marco, who from Cannes Film Festival writes for the CinEuropa website. About one more documentary that puts its focus on Berlusconi... Italian documentarians do not have so go far to find good stories as Michael Moore did not when George W. was in the White House. Here is the note:

A throng of journalists, applause and some laughter greeted the morning’s press screening of Draquila: Italy Trembles [trailer] by Sabina Guzzanti, on how the aftermath of last year’s earthquake in Abruzzo was handled by the national Civil Protection Agency (see article). The nearly 400-seat theatre was full well before the film began.

The actress-director also met with the Italian press this morning, and expressed her “deep shame" over Italian Minister of Culture Sandro Bondi’s decision not to attend Cannes because the film is a"a propaganda product that offends the country". Yesterday evening, Italy’s Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, denied accusations of Italy’s "subjugation" of the film’s content. "It’s a problem of cultural decline", added Guzzanti. Meanwhile, the 100Autori Association is asking for Minister Bondi to resign. Distributor BIM has published the film’s initial box office. Since its domestic release last Friday, Draquila has grossed €413,000 (and yesterday, €56.500), to earn it third place on the charts after Robin Hood and Iron Man.

PS. Below the official site of the film (with clips) and a link to Cineeuropa that in its editorial choice also includes a huge amount of trailers, mostly for fiction films.

Categories: Cinema, Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Janus Metz: Armadillo – in Cannes

Written 12-05-2010 16:00:05 by Tue Steen Müller

It is always to be noted that the Cannes Film Festival picks a documentary for a competition screening. This time a Danish one, Armadillo by Janus Metz, has been taken for the Semaine de la Critique. The first screening in Cannes takes place May 16, and the film has a Danish cinema premiere July 8. For that reason we wait with a review till early July but want to tell you what the film is about. Here is the text from the site of the Danish Film Institute:

Armadillo is an upfront account of growing cynicism and adrenaline addiction in young soldiers at war. Mads and Daniel are serving their first mission in Helmand, Afghanistan. Their platoon is stationed in Camp Armadillo, right on the Helmand frontline, fighting tough battles against the Talebans. The soldiers are there to help the Afghans, but as fighting gets tougher and operations increasingly hairy, Mads, Daniel and their friends becomes cynical, widening the gap between themselves and the Afghan civilisation. Mistrust and paranoia set in causing alienation and disillusion.

And about the director Janus Metz: Born 1974, Denmark. MA in Communication and International Development Studies from Roskilde University. Has worked as a researcher on documentary film projects. Metz lived in Johannesburg for one year (2002-03), working on a South African drama series, »Soul City«. The stay inspired him to make his debut film, the documentary »Township Boys« (2006). Also in 2006, he produced the programme »Eventyrerne«/»Clandestine« for the national broadcaster DR, which follows a group of illegal African migrants through Sahara on their way to Europe. »Fra Thailand til Thy«/»Love on Delivery« (2008), recipient of two GuldDok awards at CPH:DOX and selected for IDFA's Silver Wolf programme, is Metz' first film about Thai women and their pursuit of a Danish husband. Succeeding this is »Fra Thy til Thailand«/»Ticket to Paradise« (2008), selected for IDFA's Reflecting Images: Panorama, and honoured with a Special Mention at CPH:DOX.

My co-blogger Allan Berg has several times written about the two thai-films on this site. Search ”Janus Metz”. Photo: Lars Skree, cameraman of the film.

Categories: Cinema, Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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