And the Winner Was Ingmar Bergman...

Written 16-12-2018 23:02:36 by Tue Steen Mller

And the Winner Was Ingmar Bergman...

... at the European Film Awards yesterday, „Bergman, A Year in a Life“ by Jane Magnusson is the title of the Swedish documentary that took home the prize. Which made many angry... Here is what Krakow Film Festival director Krzysztof Gierat wrote on FB:

“Dear members of the Academy, are you sure that you have watched all the nominated documentary films? How can you reward an academic and historical film about Bergman, when you have very important movies about our reality!”

Others join Gierat in saying that it is obvious that the members of the European Film Academy – how do you become a member this ignorant blogger ask – have not seen all five films and therefore put a vote on a film that carries the name of the world famous director: Bergman.

I am not a member of the Academy and I have not seen the film but from the general positive reviews, I understand that the film is based on interviews with a lot of anecdotes about the master.

Some commentators among the documentarians on FB point at the whole selection and award process as being hopeless, considering that it is not  realistic that the members have/take the time to watch five documentaries as they are also meant to watch a lot of fiction films nominated.

Anyway, les jeux sont faits, in the year that celebrates the 100 year of Ingmar Bergman’s birth, one more film added to the many that already exist about him, was awarded to be the Best European Documentary 2018.

And one more “anyway” – click below and see/listen to the great speech on Europe and European culture and cinema held by Ralph Fiennes at the ceremony in Sevilla.

Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Simon Lereng Wilmont: Olegs Krig

Written 13-12-2018 16:00:40 by Tue Steen Mller

Simon Lereng Wilmont: Olegs Krig

... med undertitlen "En Barndom i Skyggen af Krigen"

Freddy Neumann tager sig af pressearbejdet for The Distant Barking of Dogs, som på lørdag måske bliver kåret som Europas bedste dokumentarfilm ved European Film Academy’s ceremoni i Sevilla. Filmen er blevet omtalt og anmeldt på filmkommentaren – se links nedenfor. Den prisvindende film kan nu ses på dansk TV: En børneversion på lørdag på DR Ultra kl. 17 og voksenversionen den 25. december kl. 23 på DR2.

Neumann beskriver filmen sådan: Filmen er ulykkeligvis blevet højaktuel i takt med optrapningen af den russiske/ukrainske konflikt. Den udspiller sig på frontlinjen af krigen i det østlige Ukraine og følger den 10-årige ukrainske dreng Oleg gennem et helt år, og viser hvordan krigen gradvist udvisker hans barnlige uskyldighed. Oleg bor sammen med sin elskede bedstemor Alexandra i en lille landsby tæt ved fronten. Uden andre steder at tage hen, kan Oleg og Alexandra blot se til, mens byens øvrige indbyggere rejser væk. Hver dag bliver en stadig større kamp, for krigen synes ikke at have nogen afslutning. I den nu halvtomme landsby hvor Oleg og Alexandra er ladt tilbage, viser filmen hvor skrøbelige – men samtidigt livsvigtige – de tætte, personlige relationer er for overlevelsen…

Anmeldelse 6 af 6 penne: 

Senere indlæg:  (omtale)  (omtale)  (omtale)  (omtale)  (analyse ved festivaldirektørerne og en omfattende reportage fra Lereng Wilmonts workshop på festivalen i Beograd)  (længere omtale)

Categories: TV, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Cordelia Dvork: Marceline

Written 12-12-2018 16:12:31 by Tue Steen Mller

Cordelia Dvork: Marceline

In the 1980’es I attended Cinéma du Réel in Paris almost every year. It was during the years, where wonderful, charismatic Suzette Glenadel was the director. And where big documentary names like Fred Wiseman and Pedro Costa were  introduced to the French audience. Not to forget that I several times saw the unique couple Joris Ivens and Marceline Loridan-Ivens in the cinema. Icons. He with his beautiful white hair, she with her red hair.

Joris Ivens died in 1989, Marceline this year in September. He was born in 1898, she in 1928.

Their life together forms an important part of the television documentary, „Marceline“ with the subtitle „A Woman. A Century“. There are clips from the Vietnam-films and from the China series, that they made together. Not to forget the „Une Histoire de vent“ (“A Tale of the Wind“), the superb poetic last film of the couple, far from the political.

The film, however, is first and foremost with Marceline at home in Paris, talking to visitors or at the hairdresser or in the famous clip from the Edgar Morin classic from 1961, „Chronique d’un ète“. Marceline Loridan-Ivens survived the Auschwitz-Birkenau that she was deported to as did Simone Veil, who died in 2017. A friend during her whole life. And there is a sequence with Marceline signing books for the many admirers, she had. She talks about the books, one written to her father, “But you did Not Come Back”, another, also with the holocaust as a theme, “L’Amour Après”.

France, 218, 58 mins.

You can find quotes from the film as well as other clips with Marceline Loridan-Ivens on facebook.

Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Fred Wiseman: Ex Libris the NY Public Library

Written 05-12-2018 16:47:55 by Tue Steen Mller

Fred Wiseman: Ex Libris  the NY Public Library

Oh, I enjoyed this fresh and inspirational film by the master - is Wiseman really 88 years old - when I watched it, thinking back more than 40 years when I was educated librarian and functioned for some years as one. The same flashback I had when I watched late Michael Glawogger’s small wonderful film-visit to the National Library in Saint Petersburg.

Wiseman’s film is now to be shown as “documentary of the month” in the Danish Cinemateket, starting tomorrow December 6. I never got to make a review of the film but I agree perfectly with the NYTimes review by Manohia Dargis, here is a quote, link for full text below:

“In his magnificent new documentary “Ex Libris: The New York Public Library,” Frederick Wiseman takes his camera into those (same) halls (see photo) as well as into more humble city branches. He sweeps into atriums and down corridors, pauses in reading and meeting rooms, and lays bare this complex, glorious organism that is the democratic ideal incarnate.”

USA, 2017, 197 mins.

Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

See Ukraine through Cinema and Art

Written 04-12-2018 19:45:12 by Tue Steen Mller

See Ukraine  through Cinema and Art

Through documentary films, exhibitions and discussions Ukrainians from the art world travel Europe to present their country and its search for an identity. It’s “a cultural diplomacy project of HRDFF Docudays UA organized with support from the Open Society Initiative for a Europe (OSIFE)”.

The title “SEE Ukraine: An Empty Pedestal” needs an explanation and is given like this on the website (link below) from where I take my quotes: “Is it necessarily to put new heroes on old pedestals and follow the footsteps of the old ideologies? During the discussion the participants of the project "See Ukraine: An Empty Pedestal" will present a variety of approaches to the search for modern Ukrainian identity…”

And this is what project director Alla Tyutyunnyk says:

Read more / Ls mere

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Wang Bing on Doc Alliance

Written 03-12-2018 11:07:11 by Tue Steen Mller

Wang Bing on Doc Alliance

... with the title "The Landscape of Chinese Everydayness" - An offer you can’t refuse! DocAlliance keeps on the high quality in its program policy on This time with 6 of Wang Bing’s documentaries from China. They are long all of them – I am thinking of getting up earlier than normal or go to bed later. It’s a gift to documentary film lovers. Here is what is in the press release from Prague:

Director Wang Bing is a contemporary film star; his films were screened at most world festivals such as Cannes FF, Berlinale, Venice FF, Toronto IFF, FIDMarseille and Doclisboa. Towards the end of 2018, we present a selection of his films online and invite you to meet the master of Chinese cinema whose films capture everyday life in Asia in diverse environments – in a refugee camp, a remote place in the mountains or a factory.

Do not miss Wang Bing‘s six most renowned documentaries which left a mark on modern film history! Our collection includes Ta’ang following immigrants from Myanmar who are forced to emigrate due to ethnic unrest and cross the borders to China with the hope that one day they will be able to come back to their homeland. The film was premiered at Berlinale. The collection further includes the unique 9-hour opus West of the Tracks about the decline of the industrial Tiexi district in China which is critically acclaimed as one of the best and most significant films of today!

Photo: Tobi Sauer.

Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Web

BlekendaalThe Man Who Looked Beyond the Horizon

Written 02-12-2018 10:40:28 by Tue Steen Mller

BlekendaalThe Man Who Looked Beyond the Horizon

In a way it’s an old fashioned film. In storytelling. And I mean that as a compliment. The director plays with the film medium, jumps around in time, gives references to slapstick movies, Buster Keaton and others, in the search for giving evidence on behalf of the protagonist, the Dutch adventurer, who wanted to cross the Atlantic, which he did or did not, he never came back. Giving evidence that there is no gravity. There is a lot of mystery about his disappearance – did he disappear, did he actually exist, is the whole film a fake, is it the director’s own search for something, for some meaning, could be, I don’t know, what I know is that the film is fascinating and playful using the wonderful tools of filmmaking that is far too often forgotten in nowadays documentary making. Old fashioned – a lot reminds me of films from 1968 where all was allowed and tried out. A documentary, well the sequences with an old lady, the girl friend way back when he left, points in that direction as well as photos of a young man with curly hair.

The film won the IDFA Special Jury Award for Best Children’s Film. The jury said: “A film that choose a non obvious subject for children, one that tickles their imagination, raising philosophical questions, and approaches children as little adults. Through intelligent editing, this film challenges the usual way of storytelling in the children’s documentary genre..”

Indeed “special”, maybe more for youngsters or for adults, who like films with layers, surprising films in storytelling, bringing laughter and a serious theme together in a brilliant way. Lovely!

The first name of the director is Martijn.

Holland, 2018, 28 mins.


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Katarzyna Lesisz: Dancing for You

Written 02-12-2018 10:27:37 by Tue Steen Mller

Katarzyna Lesisz: Dancing for You

Get up Wiktor, says grandmother, you have to go to school. Wiktor, 12 years old, goes to a ballet school, where the teacher trains him, and when not in school he plays with a friend, or is with the caring grandma or with a cell phone in hand talking to his father or trying to, cause father is not around. It’s a simple story that finds its filmic tone. A boy waiting, yearning for his father, having a good time at his grandparents. Dancing, expressing himself.

The film received the IDFA Award for Best Children’s Documentary, the jury said this: “The winning film is a beautifully crafted story, leaving the viewer with lots of room for thought and reflection, without explaining too much. One is able to recognize the loneliness of feeling like an outsider in their own family, while striving to pursue their dreams. We applaud individuality; children who stay true to themselves against all odds. We also want to celebrate documentary filmmakers that push themselves to excel in cinematography, and the winning film does just that.”

Poland, 2018, 18 mins.


Categories: DVD, Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Post-Festival Comments

Written 29-11-2018 14:42:42 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Post-Festival Comments

I was in Amsterdam from Monday till Friday. 4 nights at NH Carlton Hotel, the festival centre close to everything and the place where you meet old and dear friends. Including the busy artistic director Orwa Nyrabia, whose first edition it was. I have not seen films enough to evaluate the film selection, you always leave IDFA frustrated that there were films you did not manage to watch, will catch up later at other festivals. The same goes for the great initiative of publishing videos from the DOC Talks after the film, 4-5 minutes it says, but when you click you can get half an hour with Sergei Loznitsa or the award winning Anand Patwardhan or with Polish master Marcel Lozinski or Nikolaus Geyerhalter… more to come, IDFA writes on the website. Not to forget the podcasts with Avi Mograbi and Audrius Stonys, they are long, going deep I am sure – and subject orientated Industry Talk about “Ethical Ways of Co-Producing”, theatrical distribution and so on, so forth. Lots of possibilities, also full films if you are a subscriber to the Docs for Sale.

I saw many good films as loyal readers of this site will know. On top, however, were two film experiences that will stay in my mind: Dziga Vertov’s “Anniversary of the Revolution”, a brilliant night at the Tuschinski with music, breathtaking singing from the stage and from the gallery, a choir! Read my impressions on

And a film made 100 year later by Viktor Kossakovsky, “Aquarela”,

shown with the intended sound on a big screen in Pathé Munt 3, magnificent.

IDFA is also the Forum, I was not there, I am sure many promising projects were pitched and that the Forum will go on, maybe in new shapes, as Orwa Nyrabia has said, to give the best treat of new talent.

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Three Russian Documentaries at IDFA

Written 29-11-2018 12:49:37 by Tue Steen Mller

Three Russian Documentaries at IDFA

… which all deserve to be mentioned and noticed by other festivals.

“How Big is the Galaxy” (Photo) by Ksenia Elyan (Russia, Estonia, 72 mins.), with Max Tuula and Maria Gavrilova as producers as well as late Alexander Rastorguev for Black and White Cinema, is a gem, with two charming kids Zakhar, 7 years old and the older brother Prokopy. They live far up in North of Siberia with their parents, as – taken from the IDFA website – “belonging to the Dolgan community, one of the last indigenous peoples pursuing their traditional nomadic life in the extreme north of Siberia.” It’s an observational documentary, you follow everyday life with a special focus on the kids, who go to school next door, allowed to have homeschooling. Out of the warmth in the wagon-like house, where the family lives, out in the freezing cold to the next door house that serves as a school with a school teacher and books etc. Zakhar has an eye for the director/cameraman asking her “you take photos”, “is that a job”. Lovely.

“The Potato Eaters” by Dina Barinova (Russia, 51 mins.) from Marina Razbezhkina Studio, a tough social documentation of a village life in awful poor conditions, also featuring two children, who live and play as kids do, jumping in water puddles. They live with their grandparents Svetlana and Victor, the latter deeply alcoholised, Svetlana being the one, who has to take care of everything – without any money. It’s as bad as it could be. Depressing and shocking to watch if not for the kids and Sergei, who is the son of Svetlana and Victor, and the one who moves a bit around and plays vinyl records.

“Dorotchka” by Olga Delane (Russia, 20 mins), who made the fine “Siberian Love”, where she met the 80 year old woman and decided to dedicate a film to her. The IDFA website text is excellent so I quote: “The beautiful, static images of Dorotchka in and around her wooden house, against the backdrop of a relentless landscape in which there’s constant hard work to be done, are reminiscent of 19th-century paintings of romanticized agricultural life. Wringing her hands at the kitchen table, Dorotchka speaks in short sentences peppered with expletives, making it clear that even women like her have their hearts broken. Stylized shots of rural life are combined with comical black-and-white footage of Russian country weddings, folk dancing and singing: a promise of opportunities in a bygone era.” “Siberian Love” is reviewed here:

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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