Filmkommentaren

The 60th Krakow Film Festival will take place!

Written 31-03-2020 11:21:21 by Tue Steen Mller

 The 60th Krakow Film Festival will take place!

It was expected... alas... but cheers to the festival team and the filmmakers that the festival will take place... online. I had expected - in my selfnishness - with my wife - to have celebrated our silver wedding in Krakow and follow the fine festival in persona. It will be at home in Copenhagen. Here is the press release that came in this morning:



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Yasmin Fedda: Ayouni

Written 30-03-2020 10:22:51 by Tue Steen Mller

Yasmin Fedda: Ayouni

First the short synopsis of the film, explaining the title and introducing…”Noura and Machi (who) search for answers about their loved ones – Bassel Safadi and Paolo Dall’Oglio, who are among the over 100,000 forcibly disappeared in Syria. Faced with the limbo of an overwhelming absence of information, hope is the only thing they have to hold on to. ‘Ayouni’ is a deeply resonant Arabic term of endearment – meaning ‘my eyes’ and understood as ‘my love’. Filmed over 6 years and across multiple countries in search of answers, Ayouni is an attempt to give numbers faces, to give silence a voice, and to make the invisible undeniably visible…”

… take a look at the photo above: Happiness. Noura and Bassel. A couple in 

 



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David Osit: Mayor

Written 28-03-2020 09:17:04 by Tue Steen Mller

David Osit: Mayor

Musa Hadid is the mayor in Ramallah. A busy man, who goes around in his city, talks to his citizens, tries to solve smaller and bigger problems. With a focus on the smaller. He wants the city to be welcoming foreigners on visit and first of all a nice place to live in. We are not replacing political leadership, he says, referring to what is the job of the President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen). The film, shot in 2017, follows the mayor when he and his city council prepare for the xmas celebrations – how should the xmas tree look like, how is his fountain outside the City Hall to be lit, in colours, with music. But Musa Hadid can not avoid the occupation – and he does not, when a German delegation visits with proposals on how to solve the everlasting conflict with the Israelis suppressors ! And it does not get better when the message from Donald Trump is announced : We are are going to have an embassy in Jerusalem. The consequent demonstrations and confrontations with the Israeli army entering Ramallah give the film a dramatic shift with the e-cigarette smoking mayor behind the glass walls of his city hall looking at youngsters throwing stones with the usual answer from the occupiers : tear gas.

The film follows the sympathetic mayor closely, you can only respect him at the same time as you understand his more than difficult job. At a point he talks about « dignity ». How is that possible if I am asked to undress by a 16 year old soldier from the occupying country, when I am travelling outside Ramallah. 

USA, 87 mins., 2020


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CPH:DOX 2020 Awards

Written 27-03-2020 19:19:01 by Tue Steen Mller

CPH:DOX 2020 Awards

Just watched the online award ceremony of CPH:DOX, very well performed with the festival director Tine Fischer and the two programmers Mads Mikkelsen and Niklas Engstrøm guiding the viewer from one competition category to another, with juries giving their motivations and filmmakers thanking - and with clips of films that will be seen in the coming days. Bravo!

The award winners - read https://en.cphdox.dk/nyhed/cph-dox-announces-its-2020-award-winners, the still is from the film that received, very well deserved, two awards: "Songs of Repression". 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Projects awarded first ZagrebDoxPro online edition

Written 27-03-2020 17:37:15 by Tue Steen Mller

Projects awarded first ZagrebDoxPro online edition

Copy-Paste of a press release from a couple of days ago, written so well by Petra Blaskovic, who also worked for IDFA 2019. Here we go:

Hungarian project Queen of Chess by Bernadett Tuza-Ritter won the HBO Europe Award, the Al Jazeera Balkans Award went to The Other Side of the Pipe by Marko Kumer Murč from Slovenia, Ever Since I Know Myself by Maka Gogaladze from Georgia received the ZagrebDox Pro Online Mentor Award, and Forbidden by Anelise Salan from Romania picked up the DAE Mentoring Pitch Award. 

This also concludes the first online edition of Zagreb Pro that took place from 15-23 March. 

Following a four-day online workshop and the Pitching Forum at which the 



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Natalija Yefimkina: Garage People

Written 26-03-2020 14:13:28 by Tue Steen Mller

Natalija Yefimkina: Garage People

I remember when it was pitched at the Baltic Sea Forum in Riga. My positive reaction was with a smile of surprise. And expectation to what the director would get out of it in the final film. Now the film is there and it keeps what it promised:

This is how Russian men in the snowy North of the country escape from the daily boredom to nurse a passion, to do something they like, to dream, to have a parallel life in a harsh mining area. The doors are opened to the garages and there you have the man, who suffers from the Parkinson disease but goes to work in his workshop. And there you have the group of friends, who have formed a band to play loud heavy-metal kind of music. And the grandson and grandfather at the garage, where the latter for decades – as his father - has dig out below to reach… yes, to reach what in the underground? And the ones who have turned the garage into a fitness centre! And the man (photo), who lost two wives but – we see that in the film – has a date that seems to turn out successful. 

Not to forget the man, who makes wooden icons and gets a visit from the priest, who wants an art piece for his church. As the only one we follow him (the artist!) to his home, where his wife scolds him for drinking too much. And yes, there is always a bottle in the garage.

There is a lot of vodka in the film; understandable under these weather and the poor living conditions you can imagine!?

This is a film, where no fingers are pointed. The director observes, she shows, but the way she shows, the building of the film, the cinematic choices she has made reveals clearly that she loves the protagonists, the characters, the participants.

Not long ago a filmmaker asked me why I am so fond of documentaries. My very banal short answer was: People, Life… This is one of those fims that gives me People and Life. Awarded at the Berlinale.     

Germany, 2020, 95 mins.


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Magnus Gertten: Only the Devil Lives Without Hope

Written 22-03-2020 19:22:31 by Tue Steen Mller

Magnus Gertten: Only the Devil Lives Without Hope

Dilya. That’s her name, the protagonist who has given the title to the film. She does not give up in her fight to get Iskandar, her brother, out of prison in Uzbekistan. The prison is Jaslyk. He was sent to this infamous prison in 1999 accused of being a terrorist involved in a bombing in Tashkent. She says a couple time that only the devil… She does not want to give up.

Dilya. Nickname for Dilobar. Close-up after close-up invites the audience to read her emotions. There are smiles and tears and expressions of wondering. She lives in Sweden with her parents, she had to leave her country; with her family, it is sometimes unbearable to watch the father and his constant pain waiting for news from the Uzbekistan that most of us know very little about except for the name of the brutal president Karimov, who ran the country with an iron fist for decades. He died in 2016...

 



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Ala'A Mohsen: A New Beginning

Written 21-03-2020 17:46:59 by Tue Steen Mller

Ala'A Mohsen: A New Beginning

”I will not let Kais feel my sadness”. Words from the father in this small gem of a film. Father and son. From Syria. Coming to Norway for a new beginning.

But we, the audience, feel the sadness of Rabeea. Thanks to the gentle way the director sets the tone, letting us read the face of the father, who has one reason to live: Creating a future for Kais, his son, who towards the end of the film, where he is 7 years old and has started in first class in school, is told (some of) the story of the journey they have taken from Syria to Lebanon to Turkey and through Europe to a welcoming Norway.

Bravo Dad, Kais says, in a wonderful sequence where the two are out skiing in snowy Norway. Kais learns Norwegian quite quickly contrary to the father, who also fights with his health. In the beginning we see him in a wheelchair in Copenhagen Central Station, in Norway he gets an operation of his damaged leg, he ought to have one more on his back but says no: Kais gets scared if I say the word “operation”. He kills the pain with pills.

It is never sentimental, but touching it is to see father and son. There is so much love in their relationship – that the film conveys with respect without pushing for emotions. Absurd it is to see Syrian boy Kais celebrate the Norwegian national day on the 7th of May singing with a flag in hand. He will adapt to the new country with the energy and openness his loving father passes on to him. The father… What a world we live in. 

Denmark, 2020, 78 mins.


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Jenni Kivist & Jussi Rastas: Colombia in My Arms

Written 20-03-2020 14:27:26 by Tue Steen Mller

Jenni Kivist & Jussi Rastas: Colombia in My Arms

This fine – in aesthetics as well as in content – documentary won The Dragon Award for Best Nordic Documentary at the Göteborg Film Festival beginning of February this year. The jury‘s motivation is so precise and well written that I will use some of the words as starting points for this review’s recommendation to show the film on big screens, when festivals ”open” again.  

This award is given for the curiosity of the directors in observing vastly different opposing groups, resulting in a polyphonic portrait of a country in which peace doesn’t seem welcome. The precise use of photography and editing submerges us in the differing realities presented and creates a stark contrast between the political sensibilities at play in the natural and urban environments, and the associated poverty and luxury. This film goes beyond being an intimate portrait of a country, and makes us reflect upon colonialism and post-colonialism, capitalism and anti-capitalism, and what keeps us going as humanity.

…Observing vastly different opposing groups. The film takes its beginning in the 2016 peace agreement between the government (when the President was Santos) and FARC. There is a focus on the strong young and sympathetic soldier from FARC, Ernesto, who is to be a leading character through the film. He believes in the peace, believes in putting down the weapons after more than 50 years of war, believes in the right movement for FARC from guerilla to political party. He ends up being disappointed, when all hope for peace is crashed; the government sends soldiers to stop the farmers from picking coca leaves to end their sole possibility for having an income; brutality reigns, paramilitary groups operate, the war continues. Another character is a man from the decadent upper class, who says that he would never allow a FARC person to enter his palazzo, and who has no sympathy for the political class – that also includes a right-wing female politician, who express her philosophy more or less like this: the poor are happy with their lives and so are the rich. No problem!

 The precise use of photography. I would go further in my characterisation: The camera work is excellent, lots of close-ups, energy in the scenes with an editing that lets some of them (the scenes) be loose and develop like those with Ernesto and his friend in the tent in the jungle. Funny they are.

… beyond being an intimate portrait of a country. Yes, definitely there is this clear sense of classes, in that way the filmmakers have succeeded in creating a drama as good as any fiction.

2020, Finland, 90 mins.


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DokuFest Short Films Online

Written 19-03-2020 21:24:29 by Tue Steen Mller

DokuFest Short Films Online

I was at the DokuFest(ival) in Prizren in 2016. Great experience with good films and an atmosphere of generosity in a beautiful place. Since then I have followed the program set up through the fine communication from the organisers. In that respect Eroll Bilibani is a key person. The other day he announced on FB: I will be sharing 1 film from Dokufest production, each day during the #COVIDー19 #QuarantineAndChill #OneFilmADayKeepsDoctorAwayFilm #5 WHOSE FLAG IS IT? by Barış Karamuço. All films will be available on Dokufest.com's Sweet & Short Quarantine.

I asked Eroll to pick one film for me to watch and he took the mentioned ”Whose Flag is it?” because “although produced 4 years after Kosovo’s independence the film is still very actual as there are mixed feelings about state flag vs. national flag, which ads to dilemmas of national identity and ethnicity”.

I watched the lively 14 minutes long film that is far from taking the issue (too) serious as it invites you – in 2012 on the 17th of February, the day where Kosovo celebrates its independence – to be with kindergarten children and their teacher, who talks about the flag and asks the kids to draw it on their own. As you can see on the photo. The stay with the children is cut with statements from people with quite different opinions, some saying that the result of the competition was influenced by the EU to others, who like the flag and its stressing that the 6 stars represent 6 ethnic groups.

DokuFest is the producer of many short films, does film teaching during the year, is a strong cultural factor in the young country. Respect!   

https://vimeo.com/57599879?fbclid=IwAR0MWZR57MerLbiTButsng4FT7AsexO-isIGCVg5_vct6Batj4jNzCvUgTE (the film)

https://dokufest.com/2019/ (other films)

https://vimeo.com/user10268202/videos (Dokufest productions)


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX Online/ Notes

Written 19-03-2020 17:32:42 by Tue Steen Mller

CPH:DOX Online/ Notes

There is a lot of recommendations for the Cph:Dox Online Festival. Here are some more – from my viewing at home yesterday. In English, as many non-Danish film lovers follow what goes on in the digital documentary festival world – where many other festivals give similar access possibilites, like the IDFA in Amsterdam and others.I will try to catch up with some of them on this site. Most of them as notes, some as reviews.

The (yester)day started with an old friend, Charles Aznavour - I have tormented my wife with my versions of ”La Bohème” and ”She” since we saw ”Aznavour By Charles”, a film based primarily on footage, Charles himself shot all over the world with a fine, like his songs, passionate text read in first person by an actor in a film directed by Marc Di Dominico. Plus around twenty songs. Entertaining and informative, breathless rythm.

Lauren Greenfield’s ”The Kingmaker” is in quite another genre with Imelda Marcos as the one in the centre, born in 1929, away from her country after the death of her dictator husband – together they ran the country and built up a fortune placed in banks and buildings all over the world. She is back doing her best to get her son installed BongBong in the presidential entourage. You shake your head watching this story about a ruthless Marcos family. Scary and entertaining to watch, political history from a poor country full of corruption.

And then a film about Jørgen Leth. One more. And a very good one. „Tilfældets Gaver” (English title: „Gifts of Chance”) is the title in a film that could have been called „Masterclass with Jørgen Leth”, who is vigorous and precise, when he talks with enthusiasm about the early films, and his methods, he made with Ole John: „Stopforbud” with Bud Powell, „Motion Picture” (PHOTO) with Torben Ulrich… and going to the bicycle race films… and the fiction „The Good and the Evil”… and his adventure with Lars von Trier and the obstacles. Pure inspiration. A pleasure for all of us JL fans, and a must for all emerging filmmakers. The film is produced by Louisiana Channel, director Kasper Bech Dyg.

And why writing this the festival press releases that the 40 films available will be added by 60 more… chapeau as Aznavour would have said!

https://www.cphdox.dk/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX Online 2020

Written 18-03-2020 11:53:16 by Tue Steen Mller

CPH:DOX Online 2020

The initiative of the CPH:DOX to put documentaries online for the audience in Denmark can only be described as IMPRESSIVE, FANTASTIC, BRAVO – support it by buying tickets, there are so many fine films to watch until March 29. The 7 films on the list marked like this are films, we have written about on www.filmkommentaren.dk OR films we have seen and can recommend. Have a good film festival at home!  

Kampen om Grønland - Kenneth Sorento

Lever elsker savner - Sine Skibsholt

Songs of Repression - Estephan Wagner & Marianne Hougen-Moraga
Show Dancer - Laurits Flensted-Jensen
A Colombian Family - Tanja Wol Sørensen
En Splittet Familie - Mira Jargil
Being Eriko - Jannik Splidsboel
A New Beginning - Ala'a Mohsen
Et År For Evigt - Pauline Merrilgaard
I Love You I Miss You I Hope I See You Before I Die - Eva Marie Rødbro
Tove i stykker - Peter Lopes Andersson & Sami Saif
Prelle – Lytter til mig selv - Anita Beikpour
Tilfældets Gaver – En Film om Jørgen Leth - Kasper Bech Dyg
Love Child - Eva Mulvad
Little Girl - Sebastien Lifshitz
The Kingmaker - Lauren Greenfield
Caught in the Net - Vit Klusak & Barbora Chulipová
Crazy, Not Insane - Alex Gibney
Citizen K - Alex Gibney
This is Not A Movie - Yung Chang
Aznavour By Charles - Marc Di Dominico
Meet the Censors - Håvard Fossum
Robolove - Maria Arlamovsky
Andrey Tarkovsky: A Cinema Prayer - Andrey A. Tarkovsky
Martha: A Picture Story - Selina Miles
The Edge of All We Know - Peter Gallison
Oeconomia - Carmen Losmann
iHuman - Tonje Scheel
Vivos - Ai Weiwei
Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets - Bill & Turner Ross
Self Portrait - Margreth Olin
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life - Ric Burns
Wood - Monica Lazurean-Gorgan, Michaela Kirst & Ebba Sinzinger
Collective - Alexander Nanau
Last and First Men - Johann Johansson
Acasa, My Home - Radu Ciorniciuc
Margaret Atwood: A Word after a Word after a Word is Power - Nancy Lang & Peter Raymont
Disclosure - Sam Feder
The Earth Is Blue As an Orange - Iryna Tsilyk (PHOTO)
Martin Margiela: In His Own Words - Reiner Holzemer

https://www.cphdox.dk/online


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Dana Budisavljević: The Diary of Diana B.

Written 17-03-2020 18:04:16 by Tue Steen Mller

Dana Budisavljević: The Diary of Diana B.

The Filmkommentaren posts about this film goes back to 2010, where Dana B., the Croatian director of the film, presented the project at the Greek Storydoc. I was part of the Ex Oriente 2011, when Dana took part, searching for a way to tell the amazing story about an amazing woman, a true hero. Finding new material again and again. Researching for years. ”I wanted to make a true and honest film”. In 2008 at the Sarajevo FF, she came to show the solutions, she had found, I repeat myself: 

 



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Serhiy Bukovsky: V.Silvestrov

Written 15-03-2020 16:46:18 by Tue Steen Mller

Serhiy Bukovsky: V.Silvestrov

Acclaimed Ukranian director Serhiy Bukovsky has made a film that invites me – and an audience - to meet the composer Valentyn Silvestrov. I knew the name but not the person and just a little about his quite impressive work. When I saw that the film was to be premiered in Kiev during the DocuDays festival, I contacted Dar’ya Averchenko, who on FB had posted a text about a press screening of the film. She was so kind to send me a link. As the DocuDays festival is postponed, I guess the film has not yet had its official premiere. Until then and until I can see – and hear ! - the film in a cinema, these words of recommendation:

 



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Tamara Stepanyan: Village of Women

Written 07-03-2020 14:39:07 by Tue Steen Mller

Tamara Stepanyan: Village of Women

Tamara Stepanyan films her characters with warmth, asks questions with respect and out of curiosity… words picked from the review of ”Embers” written more than 6 years ago on this site, link below. A true documentarian she is.

Her latest film, premiered at DOK Leipzig 2019, can be characterised by the same words. She has gained the trust of the women in the film… as well as the old men, who live in the village while their sons, the husbands of the women, the fathers of the children we meet in the film, work in Russia to come home only for the winter.

It is so obvious, why she has gained that trust. She has been there (the village is Lichk) for a long time: All seasons are in the film. But time is not enough, you also have to be caring and attentive – and a good filmmaker, to frame in the right way, to make the pauses when needed, and to let us viewers into a world of hard work for the women, in the fields, at home, in the kitchen baking bread.

Yes, there is sadness in the film, when the talk is about the poor living conditions, but there are also joyful moments around tables with food and drinks and songs that reflect the lives they lead. 

Characters, there are many with a focus on... the often crying woman, whose husband has not been home for years, he stays in Russia with their son and grandson. Maybe he will come home to stay? There is the woman – in a wonderful scene – who suggests  that her husband has affairs, while he is in Moscow. There is the woman, who sits there in the sofa with her husband, a shining couple, while he is at home. The husband who is also a boxing trainer when he is at home. All women live in arranged marriages if I got it right.

... and there is dancing, full of grace and elegance, in front of the television set – they all have television, the outside world – do you mind that I dance, she says to Tamara Stepanyan in front of a music program, in the room where two kids are already asleep.

Thank you Tamara for coming here to show the world, how we live, one of the old men say. I can only second that; I am happy to have visited a village through an open-minded and skilled director/cinematographer. And happy to see the director thanking the village women at the end of the film – for their generosity and openness.

Armenia/France, 2019, 92 mins.

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/2510/


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Docudays Ukraine 2020/2

Written 05-03-2020 10:03:34 by Tue Steen Mller

Docudays Ukraine 2020/2

A follow-up copy paste from the site of the festival in Kiev:

The RIGHTS NOW! award is given to creative documentary films which explore the contemporary world and make a significant contribution to the discussion of human dignity, freedom and equality. Ten films from all the film programmes of Docudays UA are nominated for it. 

The winners in the RIGHTS NOW! nomination will be determined by the Ukrainian filmmaker and writer Oleh SentsovOlena Rozvadovska, a specialist in children’s rights advocacy; and Enver Djuliman, an education activist and writer.

Moreover, the television platform Current Time TV will reward its favourite with a $3,000 prize.

Here is the list of films nominated for RIGHTS NOW! Award:

  • War Note, dir. Roman Liubyi
  • What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire?, dir. Roberto Minervini
  • One Child Nation, dir. Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang
  • Overseas, dir. Sung-A Yoon
  • Midnight Traveler, dir. Hassan Fazili
  • Buddha in Africa, dir. Nicole Schafer
  • Angels on Diamond Street, dir. Petr Lom
  • La Causa, dir. Andres Figueredo
  • Eye to Eye, dir. John Webster
  • Collective, dir. Alexander Nanau (Photo)
  • https://docudays.ua/eng/

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Docudays Ukraine 2020

Written 03-03-2020 10:29:49 by Tue Steen Mller

Docudays Ukraine 2020

I was invited to come back to Kiev to one of the festivals that I have loved to attend – but I can’t make it this year. I will miss the atmosphere created by a team of committed and knowledgeable film lovers. I will miss the opening ceremony that differs from the ones at other festivals, where speech follows speech before an opening film. At the opening of Docudays an unexpected festive show is performed – followed by a speech by a representative from the Swedish Embassy. Chapeau for the Swedish support to a festival that carries ”the subtitle”: International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, a festival with a social and political aim that has screenings all over the country and makes a strong international promotion of Ukrainian documentaries. And I will miss to say hello to the lovely girls of Dar’ya Averchenko and Roman Bondarchuk…

Before getting too sentimental I will give the floor to the proud Programme Director, Viktoria Leshchenko:  

“It won’t be an exaggeration to say that our team has done an enormous amount of work: of the 1,034 films submitted for the DOCU/WORLD programme and the 281 submissions for the DOCU/SHORT programme, we chose 25 incredible films. These documentaries combine professional excellence with a unique director’s perspective. We dare say that this is the strongest part of this year’s programme. Another victory is that DOCU/WORLD includes two Ukrainian films which simultaneously compete in the national competition. These are Iryna Tsilyk’s feature debut The Earth Is Blue as an Orange and Oksana Karpovych’s feature debut Don’t Worry, the Doors Will Open.”

Let me stay a moment with the selection for the Docu/World, where you also find Romanian Alexander Nanau’s masterpiece “Collective”, Alison Klayman’s “The Brink” with Steve Bannon – like “The Earth is Blue as an Orange” these two films are reviewed on this site, as well as Petr Lom’s beautiful American epos “Angels on Diamond Street”, shot in Philadelphia with three wonderful women “fighting for social justice”. And a new film by Finnish veteran John Webster, “Eye to Eye” and Georgian “A Tunnel” by Nino Orjonikidze, Vano Arsenishvili that I will watch in Tbilisi end of April. The jury includes prominent French director Claire Simon, of course accompanied by a retrospective of her films.  

And there is so much more to say about Docudays that also has developed a strong Industry Section – headed by Darya Bassel and Viktoria Khomenko – click below and get much more information.

The photo is from the French film „Black Hole“, in the competition programme.

https://docudays.ua/eng/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

ZagrebDox 2020

Written 28-02-2020 10:39:07 by Tue Steen Mller

ZagrebDox 2020

It’s become a nice tradition that I praise the ZagrebDox for its programme put together, as always, with Nenad Puhovski as director. Having seen the selection for the 16th edition, 112 films to be shown between the 15th and 22nd of March, announced a couple of days ago, I can only say that the documentary lovers and professionals in Croatia also this year have the chance to see the best of the best. ZagrebDox does not work with rules of exclusivity – world or international premieres – meaning that award winning films and gems like Finnish Reetta Huhtanen’s ”God of Molenbeek”, Rachel Leah Jones and Phillipe Bellaiche’s ”Advocate”, Ksenia Okhapina’s ”Immortal”, Feras Fayyad’s ”The Cave”, Mehrdad Oskouei’s ”Sunless Shadows”, Waad Al-Khateab and Edward Watts ”For Sama”, Michael Bielawski’s ”The Wind”, Audrius Mickevicius and Nerijus Milerius ”Exemplary Behaviour”, Susanne Kovacs’ ”It takes a Family” are in the international competition section. 9 out of 17 films, all seen and written about on this site – to compete with 8 films, also coming from all over the world. Won’t be an easy choice for the jury…

In the Regional competition I see new films by Srdan Sarenac, Jasmila Zbanic and Damir Cucic to compete with the masterpiece of Alexander Nanau, ”Collective”.

… and if you don’t find what you want in the competition programme, there are Biographies, Music documentaries, Masters (our Danish hero Jørgen Leth is there with ”I Walk”), Eco docs and a section called ”State of Affairs”, where Swedish Fredrik Gertten is with his important ”Push”… and more.

Click link below and you will also be able to read good descriptions and trailers for the films.

Not to forget the ZagrebDoxPro that involves 12 projects, new talents and experienced directors. Link below.

http://zagrebdox.net/en/2020/home

http://zagrebdox.net/en/2020/zagrebdox_pro/zagrebdox_pro_news


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Dragon of Dragons Award to Pter Forgcs

Written 26-02-2020 09:38:43 by Tue Steen Mller

Dragon of Dragons Award to Pter Forgcs

Absolutely no objctions to this choice of the Krakow Film Festival that will take place on May 31 – June 7, 2020:

“Every year, the Krakow Film Foundation Programme Council grants the Dragon of Dragons award for the exceptional contribution to the development of the international cinema. During the anniversary 60th Krakow Film Festival, the award will go to Péter Forgács – the outstanding Hungarian documentary filmmaker and a world-famous multimedia artist.

The extraordinary works of Forgács are based on the original technique of making films from ready-made materials, shot by other authors. The artist devoted many years to collecting, archiving, reconstructing and editing old, damaged, amateur film tapes, giving them new meanings. The images set in the realities of the dramatic fates of Hungary and Europe of the 20th century, seem to remind that the history of the world is a collection of ordinary people’s personal stories.

The official award ceremony of the Dragon of Dragons is held on the 2nd of June, 2020, at the 60th Krakow Film Festival. In the programme of the Festival, within the frames of the retrospective, there will be many special works by the artist, among others, “The Danube Exodus,” (PHOTO), “Hunky Blues. The American Dream,” and “Miss Universe 1929 – Lisl Goldarbeiter. A Queen in Wien.” The viewers will also have the unusual opportunity to watch fragments of the audiovisual installation “Letters to Afar,” which Forgács prepared specially for the opening of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews POLIN in Warsaw in 2013. Traditionally, the award-winner of the Dragon of Dragons will also give a master class open to filmmakers, but also to all fans of documentary cinema.“

https://www.krakowfilmfestival.pl/en/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

One World Festival Prague

Written 24-02-2020 14:31:36 by Tue Steen Mller

One World Festival Prague

Some of the best new documentaries are in competition at the big One World Festival in Prague, that has this subtitle “international human rights film festival” and takes place March 5-14.

Let me mention Alexander Nanau’s ”Collective » (PHOTO) and « The Earth is Blue as an Orange » by Iryna Tsylik, both reviewed on this site:

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4662/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4702/

The main competition includes 13 films. From the North of Europe you find works by veterans like Finnish John Webster (“Eye to Eye») and Swedish Peter Tornbjörnsson (“Ninosca”), who has returned to Nicaragua – “For forty years, Peter Torbjörnsson has  been filming life in the village of San Fernando/ Nicaragua. What began as a portrait of a village became the story 

 



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX Movements

Written 21-02-2020 17:39:24 by Tue Steen Mller

CPH:DOX  Movements

March 18-29 – are the dates for the CPH:DOX festival programme, that was announced today. I am copy-pasting from the newsletter I received. It is amazing. I will ”dig in” as the organisers write and come back with comments. Website, see link below. A film festival that is committed to show and support social and political movements in the world we live in:

”The full programme for CPH:DOX is ready and online, including the entire line-up of competition titles. Please dig in!

The festival enters its 17th year with a new record; of the 65 films in the five competitions, a total of 43 films will have a world premiere. Additionally, this year’s competition programme includes 16 international premieres and 6 European premieres.

Following up on the festival’s 50/50 by 2020 gender commitment, no less than 52% of the 65 titles in the competition programme are directed by one or more female directors. But the gender equality representation doesn’t stop here - of the 409 experts and panel debate participants, CPH:DOX has invited for it’s no less than 160 debates and film events, 207 are female…

« Micropolitical and activist movements are at the core of CPH:DOX 2020 from Hong Kong to Greenland people are uniting in social movements demanding political actions to declare independence, limit global warming or fight for their data. Many movements are on the rise, and this year we dedicate a whole section to the competition titles that and explore the multiple  ways social or political movements are shaping the world of tomorrow.

The section, called Movements, features titles such as ‘Now’ by Jim Rakete following young climate activists from Greta Thunberg to Extinction Rebellion; ‘Feels Good Man’ by Arthur Jones, featuring a cartoon frog hijacked by the alt-right movements; and Lech Kowalski’s ‘Blow It to Bits’, where French factory workers stand up against globalisation.

Movements are all over the sections. You can’t miss them, but you sure can join them! »

https://en.cphdox.dk


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Roy Andersson at CPH:DOX

Written 21-02-2020 11:02:15 by Tue Steen Mller

Roy Andersson at CPH:DOX

A new film is on its way by Swedish master director Roy Andersson. ”About Endlessness” will be premiered this year, maybe at Cannes? The director has said that this will be his last film. Alas.

Until then there is a chance to watch a film about Roy Andersson at CPH:DOX.

The director is English. Fred Scott is his name, I found information on him here: https://archersmark.co.uk/director/fred-scott/

The title is ”Being a Human Person”, the duration is not mentioned on the site of the festival, does’nt matter, I will be there at one of the four screenings. 

Click below and you will see three stills from the film. At one of them Andersson sits at a museum watching paintings. A reminder of the constant inspiration he gets from art history.

https://www.cphdox.dk/program/being-a-human-person


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Iryna Tsilyk: The Earth is Blue Like an Orange

Written 17-02-2020 18:56:22 by Tue Steen Mller

Iryna Tsilyk: The Earth is Blue Like an Orange

It is an emotional journey that director and writer Iryna Tsilyk takes the viewer on. For 74 minutes. One full of beauty. Very much because of the mother in the film, Anna, the protagonist, whose face expresses, what it means to live in the war zone in Eastern Ukraine with four children, and her mother. You see her alone in the kitchen, worried, in a melancholic mood, that is understandable on the background of the war – she decided to stay with the family; they could have moved. You see her smilingly telling one of her small boys how to pull out a rock tooth! You see her fighting with the stove to make the house warm. You see her taking the train with one of her daughters, Myroslava, who wishes to study cinematography. They come to an eximanation – in Kiev it must be - the girl thinks she failed. They get a phone call, she did not fail, daughter and mother cries of happiness. So did this viewer!

The house of the family is full of life with stairs to the cellar, where they go 

 



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D Like Documentary, D like Denmark

Written 14-02-2020 18:08:40 by Tue Steen Mller

D Like Documentary, D like Denmark

A quick copy-paste (almost) note on the fact that the wonderful Krakow Film Festival, in its celebration of its 60th edition (!), dedicates its special section to documentaries from Denmark. The programme director of the festival, Barbara Orlicz-Szczypula, has this comment in the press release:

 



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Festivals in Stockholm & Copenhagen

Written 13-02-2020 15:20:24 by Tue Steen Mller

Festivals in Stockholm & Copenhagen

The Oscar event is over – and we can be happy that all five documentaries nominated this year were of high quality in cinematic terms, and dealt with important themes of our time. 

Let’s leave the glamour and the red carpets, and go back to all the great initiatives that aim at getting the audience to go to the cinema to watch documentaries. This post puts the focus on doc festivals in Stockholm and Copenhagen.

Let me start in the capital of Sweden, where the Tempo Documentary Festival, 



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Tabitha Jackson to be Sundance Festival Director

Written 02-02-2020 20:26:57 by Tue Steen Mller

Tabitha Jackson to be Sundance Festival Director

The IndieWire brings a fine article yesterday about Tabitha Jackson, who at Sundance «will replace John Cooper as festival director, bringing 25 years of experience in the arts and non-fiction film to the position». Read the whole article (written by Eric Kohn), who « is the first woman, the first person of color, and the first person born outside the United States to head the festival.» Jackson spent 6 years as director of the documentary film program : « “I was perfectly happy doing the job I was currently doing and engaging with artists in the messy business of documentary filmmaking,” she said. She had started to get involved with programming off-screen events at the festival when a producer in the business asked her if she planned to apply for the position. “Then it was like a little brain worm,” Jackson said. “What won out was what gets me out of bed in doing this work. Arts as a public good and as a catalytic force as a deeply necessary thing in understanding the human condition. Why wouldn’t I want to be given the trust to run a festival like this, which is a huge opportunity to direct people’s attention to exciting new voices?”

 

On this site Tabitha Jackson has been written about on several occasions – in connection to her presence at pitching fora in Europe and when she started at the Sundance Institute. Here is another quote from 2016 (also from IndieWire), love that approach : "When we look at how documentaries are discussed, too often it's a focus on what they are about and whether the main character is sympathetic," Jackson told Indiewire in a recent interview. "I’d just like the conversation around nonfiction film to be as exciting as the form itself. When we think about literature, poetry, fiction, or music, it's not about what is being said, it's about how it is being said and who is saying it, that's what makes things last and that's what makes things have cultural value."

 

And in 2014 she talked at the documentary film festival in New York – about Herz Frank : … she found a rallying cry for sensitive and artistically compelling documentary practice in the work and words of Latvian filmmaker Herz Frank, whose 10 Minutes Older, an excerpt of which she screened, contained for Jackson “every emotion you might experience in an entire lifetime” in the single shot of a child watching a puppet show. »

 

And allow me to express a BIG congratulation to Tabitha Jackson and Kirsten Johnson… from later in the IndieWire article from yesterday :

 

Jackson’s 2020 festival experience was unique on several fronts. In addition to finalizing the deal for her new job, she got married on the first day of the festival to filmmaker and documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson, whose intimate diary film “Dick Johnson Is Dead” premiered at the festival. Jackson admitted that it would be the last time Johnson, whose “Cameraperson” was a Sundance breakout in 2016, would screen at the festival during her new wife’s tenure. “Kirsten Johnson is an incredible filmmaker and legendary cinematographer,” Jackson said. “Unfortunately, because we just got married — which is the good news — we’ve made the agreement that she can’t submit work to the festival, which is deeply distressing, but definitely the right thing to do.”

 

https://www.indiewire.com/2020/02/sundance-film-festival-tabitha-jackson-director-1202207494/?fbclid=IwAR3BmVwO0ESPlZ9emnQWSDNEBjxdmm0VNyNXCXu97Dk7ybZzqTsALWRD1z0

 

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3426/

 

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/2956/

 

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3869/

(about Kirsten Johnson and her Cameraperson)

 

 



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Docs & Talks 2020 /5 The Brink

Written 29-01-2020 12:34:01 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Docs & Talks 2020 /5 The Brink

Alyson Klayman: The Brink

Errol Morris goes to Venice with “American Dharma” – no description but the fact that Steve Bannon (!!!) is the character. Very actual, indeed. (Tue Steen Müller, på Filmkommentaren, 2018)

“The Brink”, a very much talked about documentary with Steve Bannon as protagonist, “Is Steve Bannon a dangerous demagogue, a brilliant strategist or a megalomaniac loser? The American filmmaker Alison Klayman leaves it up to us to make the judgement…”. The New Right is the theme of the Talk. (Debatten efter visningen på Docs & Talks) (Tue Steen Müller, på Filmkommentaren, 2020)

Jeg så filmen med fornøjelse, optaget og uden sidespring, blev i dens verden. The Brink er underholdende og har fremdrift noterer jeg uden jeg er spor imponeret over dens research, instruktion og klipning som vist er ok, jeg fæstner mig ikke ved det. Det er i ét og alt Steve Bannons indsats som medvirkende som jeg - i dyb afstandtagen fra hans synspunkter og hans arbejde forankret i dem – altså trods dette i én og en halv time har som min helt, min filmhelt som jeg holder med inde i filmens verden, der lukker den virkelige verden ude, den verden som journalistikken i filmen vist nok tager sig af, den del som vil interessere den efterfølgende debat i Docs & Talks, som man sådan skal glæde sig til.

Når jeg om lidt læser anmeldelser og omtaler af The Brink vil jeg selvfølgelig finde en optagethed af verdenen uden for filmens verden, først og fremmest af Bannons biografi, hans politiske synspunkter, hans forsøg på at samle højrekræfterne i Europa, men nok ikke en optagethed af Bannons uafbrudte tilstedeværelse som fascinerende og kraftfuld person i samtalerne og ved møderne hans scenebeherskelse, alt sammen det som for mig peger hen mod filmfortællingens kerne, som jeg ikke helt stramt kan indkredse, men som er en koncentration af charme, intelligens og evne til at fremstille sin analyse og sin vision, som er at samle de partier som henvender sig til de miserable som han kalder denne store gruppe vælgere i USA over Frankrig, Italien, Tyskland. Og til Polen og Ungarn hvor de er grundlag for højreregeringerne.



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

Docs & Talks 2020 /3 Born in Evin

Written 19-01-2020 14:28:37 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Docs & Talks 2020 /3  Born in Evin

Maryam Zaree: Born in Evin. "Personal. Touching. Director was born in an Iranian prison… Saw it in Sarajevo." (Tue Steen Müller)

Det begynder med en nynnen, en vuggesang tror jeg, en mor til sit lille barn. En stemme lægger sig over, en fortællende kvindestemme, men en anden end den nynnende, det er jeg sikker på, en stemme som ganske kort gør rede for filmens arbejdsopgave som er en udredning, en undersøgelse af undertrykkelsen, torturen, henrettelserne dengang, begivenheder som fortrænges af vidnerne, de overlevende politiske fanger, men i detaljer slipper ud i sproget og tilsammen tegner et for mig et forfærdende billede af livet i fængslet Evin i Teheran i 1980-erne, de hårde år under og lige efter krigen med Irak.

Det er så mærkeligt. Maryam Zaree er en aldeles charmerende fortæller på lydsiden og medvirkende i hver eneste filmscene. Måske var det hendes mor jeg hørte i titelsekvensen, og hun var i krybben, men jeg ser hende først som vel seksårig ivrig genert i en privat familiefilm der overstyret i lyden er klippet lige på efter titelskiltet, et genert barn som overspiller sin rolle, introducerer sig selv: ” Maryam Zaree, 2. klasse i skolen, Frankfurt… med et blik til moderen… skal jeg også sige Tyskland?” Netop så charmerende som hun herefter som voksen og empatisk filminstruktør er i billedet, i scenen, spørgende, lyttende, reflekterende filmen igennem. Hun er charmerende fra den første voice over i filmens nutid til det første billede i første scene. Den voksne kvindes stemme, den helt unge kvindes, faktisk er det barnets stemme, barnet som snart vil være voksen.



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Docs & Talks 2020 /2

Written 15-01-2020 19:16:47 by Tue Steen Mller

Docs & Talks 2020 /2

”Today truth is being more and more frequently questioned when it comes to news and the constant stream of information. This makes the dissemination of research-based knowledge more important than ever in order to separate the wheat from the chaff, fake news from facts.”

Docs & Talks is a unique festival that carries the subtitle « Film and Research Days”. From Sara Thelle, who together with Tobias Havmand from DIIS (The Danish Institute for International Studies) and Rasmus Brendstrup from Cinemateket stand behind the festival, Filmkommentaren has received a press release that includes English descriptions of the films that are screened January 30 – February 5 at the Film house in Copenhagen. The quote above is from the release. READ MORE



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Docs & Talks 2020 /1

Written 29-12-2019 08:37:57 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Docs & Talks 2020 /1

Den fine lille festival Docs & Talks atter med alvorlige og smukke film om frygtelige emner som undertrykkelse, politisk vold, krig, byers udslettelse og de langtrækkende følger af dette begynder 30. januar sin 2020 udgave i Cinemateket i København. Den arrangeres hvert år af DIIS (Dansk Institut for Internationale Studier) i samarbejde med Cinemateket. Filmkommentaren.dk har hvert år fulgt denne begivenhed med særlig opmærksomhed. Det vil vi også gøre i år.

Her skriver festivalens redaktør, Sara Thelle således om åbningsfilmen og samtalen efter filmen:

"Festivalen Docs & Talks åbner med den iransk-tyske instruktør Maryam Zarees meget personlige fortælling om at vokse op som barn af forældre med en fortid som politiske fanger i Iran.

Maryam finder som voksen ud af, at hun er født i det berygtede Evin-fængsel i Teheran. Hendes mor flygtede til Tyskland med hende, da hun var lille, og har aldrig siden ønsket at tale om tiden før. Da Maryam begynder at opleve angstanfald, prøver hun at få sin mor til at bryde tavsheden for at få svar på de mange spørgsmål, der plager hende.

Den dybt bevægende film blev modtaget med stående klapsalver efter premieren på Berlinalen sidste år og modtog efterfølgende prisen som festivalens bedste tyske film.

Efter filmen vil instruktør Maryam Zaree tale om nogle af de mekanismer og mønstre, der er forbundet med kollektiv vold og dens eftervirkninger. Det sker i samtale med seniorforsker ved DIIS Robin May Schott, og psykolog ved Læger uden grænser Mozhdeh Ghasemiyani. Bliv klogere på, hvordan traume bevæger sig videre til den næste generation, og hvad der sker, når man bryder tavsheden – både på det individuelle plan, i familien, og mere overordnet i samfundet i form af sandhedskommissioner.

Debatten foregår på engelsk og varer cirka 50 minutter. Billetpris: 95/65 kr. Efter filmen byder den Østrigske Ambassade på et glas vin til festivalens åbningsreception i Asta Bar. Arrangementet præsenteres i samarbejde med Goethe-Institut Dänemark og den Østrigske Ambassade. 

https://www.dfi.dk/cinemateket/biograf/filmserier/serie/docs-talks-30-januar-5-februar-2020 


Categories: Cinema, Festival, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Ny Litauisk Film

Written 09-12-2019 13:21:15 by Tue Steen Mller

Ny Litauisk Film

Litauiske film bliver vist i Cinemateket i København fra i morgen. Her er et copypaste af beskrivelsen. To af filmene - de dokumentariske - har været anmeldt på filmkommentaren, links forneden:

Med filmen 'Frost' tager den litauiske instruktør Sarunas Bartas os med på en odyssé gennem Østeuropa og ind i hjertet af den tilsyneladende endeløse konflikt mellem Rusland og Ukraine. 'Motherland' foregår i 1992 – efter Sovjetunionens sammenbrud – og følger Viktorija, der samen med sin teenagesøn forsøger at vende tilbage til Litauen efter mange års fravær. I 'Invisible' giver Jonas sig ud for at være blind for at kunne deltage i en danseshow på tv, men han bliver forfulgt af spøgelser fra fortiden. 

'Acid Forest' og 'Animus Animalis (A Story About People, Animals and Things)' føjer sig fornemt ind i rækken af fremragende litauiske naturdokumentarer, jævnfør 'The Ancient Woods', som vi viste i maj under festivalen Baltic Frames. Disse film skildrer forholdet mellem mennesker og natur fra nye, øjenåbnende vinkler. 

Den litauiske serie åbner den 10. december med filmen 'Sasha Was Here' og besøg af instruktøren Ernestas Jankauskas. Efter filmen er du inviteret til et glas vin i Asta Bar.

Filmserien er arrangeret i samarbejde med Lithuanian Film Centre (Dovile Butnoriute) og Litauens Ambassade. 

Billetter: https://llk.dk/rqabce eller på tlf. 33 74 34 12.

Acid Forest: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4379/

Animus Animalis: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4476/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

The IDA Awards

Written 08-12-2019 21:04:12 by Tue Steen Mller

The IDA Awards

More awards: From the International Documentary Association, under the leadership of Simon Kilmurry: Here is some more info on the winners of the IDA Documentary Awards:

BEST FEATURE

For Sama
Director/Producer: Waad al-Kateab
Director: Edward Watts

DIRECTOR

American Factory

Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Honeyland

Cinematographers: Fejmi Daut and Samir Ljuma

EDITING

Midnight Family

Editor: Luke Lorentzen. Co-Editor: Paloma López Carrillo

MUSIC

The Raft (photo)

Composer: Hans Appelqvist

WRITING

The Cave

Writer: Feras Fayyad

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/lists/2019-ida-documentary-awards-winners-list-full-1258853/item/feature-documentary-ida-awards-winners-2019-1260549


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sundance Film Festival 2020

Written 05-12-2019 16:11:16 by Tue Steen Mller

Sundance Film Festival 2020

…announced yesterday: 118 feature-length films, representing 27 countries and 44 first-time feature filmmakers. Of the 65 directors in all four competition categories, comprising 56 films, 46% are women, 38% are people of color, and 12% are LGBTQ+. In the U.S. Dramatic Competition, 47% of the directors are women; 53% are people of color; 5% are LGBTQ+. In this year’s U.S. Documentary Competition, 45% are women; 23% are people of color; 23% are LGBTQ+.

44%, or 52, of all films announced today were directed by one or more women; 34%, or 40, were directed by one or more filmmaker of color; 15% or 18 by one or more people who are LGBTQ+. 23 films announced today were supported by Sundance Institute in development, whether through direct granting or residency Labs. 107 of the Festival’s feature films, or 91% of the lineup announced today, will be world premieres.

These films were selected from a record high of 15,100 submissions including 3,853 feature-length films. Of the feature film submissions, 1,698 were from the U.S. and 2,155 were international; 29% were directed by one or more women; 40% were directed by one or more filmmaker of color; 15% by one or more people who identify as LGBTQ+.

https://www.sundance.org/blogs/news/2020-sundance-features-announced


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Audience Award 2019

Written 30-11-2019 12:33:36 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Audience Award 2019

Of course it is something special to win an audience award. At IDFA, that is indeed (also) an audience festival apart from being the place, where documentary professionals meet every year. Here is how the award is decided, from the press release of the festival:

The winner of the VPRO IDFA Audience Award is determined by festival visitors who, after an IDFA film screening, rank their appreciation for the film by way of a voting card. Now in its fourth year, the VPRO IDFA Audience Award is made possible by VPRO...



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IDFA: Love Child

Written 27-11-2019 20:11:17 by Allan Berg Nielsen

IDFA: Love Child

Eva Mulvads Love Child kan ses som et studium af det politiske systems produktion af ventetid ind i den enkelte families virkelighed, ind i det enkelte menneskes liv. Her har vi et barn, en mor og en far på flugt og landet i Istanbul og vi har tiden som går. Først mærker jeg det blot ved årstallene som skrives ind i billedet, i eftertanken tvinges jeg til at prøve at huske hvad jeg har set, for jeg må da have set efter, detaljerne, forskydningerne, dramaets tydeligheder.

Ja, de var der, de er der i Eva Mulvads nye værk, men alt dette er ligesom tonet ned i lavmælthed, ned i et smukt halvanden times billede af den menneskelige værdighed som er det politiske systems fjerne opgave, en opgave som vi ofte tror glemmes.

Jeg ser en almindelig familie. Barnet er i begyndelsen forstyrret og urimelig til det irriterende, forstår ikke rejsens karakter af flugt og uafvendelighed, faderen er angst for straffen, pisk på gaden, måske til døden, jeg ser en kort reportage af dette modbydelige på hans telefon, moderen er skrækslagen ved tanken om steningen som ville vente hende.

Deres forbrydelser er affæren, forelskelsen, kærlighedsforholdet, den dobbelte utroskab. Og de er begge mærkeligt skamfulde, for deres moral og deres handlinger er bundet i deres familiers syn på den slags og i deres samfunds, det iranske stats brutale lovgivning og grusomme straffe.

Men det afstår Eva Mulvad fra at lade sin film skildre og tage stilling til. Sammen med Adam Nielsen som har klippet og sin række af assisterende fotografer skildrer hun ventetiden, som FN flygtningeorganisationen producerer. Faderen forklarer og forsvarer over for moderen, manden over for kvinden: de har titusinder ansøgninger at tage stilling til.

Eva Mulvads Love Child er en vibrerende, fint sansende film om ventetid – og filmen er i sin tyste tankerigdom ganske meget mere…


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Categories: Festival, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

IDFA: Life Achievement Award to Jrgen Leth

Written 27-11-2019 13:03:03 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA: Life Achievement Award to Jrgen Leth

… to be given tonight at the Amsterdam festival, where his new film, ”I Walk”, has its world premiere. In an interview on the IDFA website –

https://www.idfa.nl/en/article/130885/finding-a-new-balance

the director says:

“In observing life, I've always been very frank in dealing only with the things I'm interested in, not what anyone else told me was interesting. I always tell film students they should make personal films, and I've done that all my life. I've always been egocentric in that way—all my stories are my own stories. I've always been part poet and part journalist. I'm very interested in that connection. I don't much enjoy films that are just information, devoid of sensuality. Sensuality is the main thing; that's the driving force for me. There should always be a dialogue between the two. Journalism brings a framework of real curiosity, which is then treated with the sensuality of poetry.”

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/2198/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA: I Walk

Written 24-11-2019 12:04:34 by Allan Berg Nielsen

IDFA: I Walk

Når det gælder Jørgen Leth er det altid, og i høj grad i denne meget store og aldeles vigtige film, umuligt at skille manden fra værket. Og jeg, som i min ungdom var opdraget i det autonome værks ånd, jeg som dog trods dette har læst biografier og selvbiografier med begejstring, men vist som underholdning, ikke som nøgler til værkerne, jeg anbringer nu tryg I Walk på hylden med verdenslitteratur, de uomgængelige film og bøger: Godards framinger (Asger Leths bemærkning et sted), Herzogs vilde bjergbestigning (synopsens association et sted), Rilkes elegier og Inger Christensens sonetter (mine private tanker undervejs i mit møde med Jørgen Leths nye storværk). 

LILLE FESTTALE

Kære Jørgen, hele tiden mens jeg ser din film og hører din ustandselige, smukke og kloge stemme tænker jeg på Rembrandts tror jeg nok sene selvportrætter, hensynsløst fortvivlede, og skridt for skridt dybere erkendende det som ikke bliver væk, dette vigtige, du skriver til sidst i din seneste bog:

Det bliver ikke væk jeg har skrevet det ned det bliver / ikke væk Jeg skriver det ned så det er der / Så står det der Det behøver ikke være en blank side / Det forsvinder hele tiden / Det skal bare puttes på plads / Det må ikke blive væk / Og det er vigtigt at huske / Tankerne er gode men de forsvinder / De skal indfanges under glas, ligesom insekter / Pilles fra hinanden ligesom insekter

Nej, Jørgen. Du har ret, det bliver ikke væk, for det ligger længere fremme og venter. Din digterkollega Lea Marie Løppenthin kommer dig nemlig til undsætning: "Det var først for nylig, at jeg undersøgte etymologien for det korte, skrappe ord ”væk”: Fra middelaldertysk wech, afledt af weg ’vej’, jævnfør norrønt á veg ’på vej, bort, væk’ beslægtet med vej.

Det lykkelige ved opdagelsen sidder stadig i mig – / Det der er væk, er altså bare nede ad vejen. / Det, der er væk, er bare et andet sted end her."

Løft højre fod og tag med din vilje et skridt frem og løft venstre fod og tag med vilje et skridt frem. Du Går…

I Walk har verdenspremiere i Amsterdam i aften, på IDFA festivalen. Det bliver din fest i aften. Tillykke Jørgen!


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Categories: Cinema, Festival, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

IDFA: Talks. Advice. And a Film Called Faith!

Written 23-11-2019 15:18:25 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA: Talks. Advice. And a Film Called Faith!

After Thursday’s film-watching, friday was the day to meet documentary friends, catching up on what they are working on and saying sorry “can’t make it for your screening, I am back in Copenhagen at that time“. I said so several times. “Can I have a link”?

Had a good talk with Adriek van Nieuwenhuyzen, head of the IDFA Forum,



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IDFA: Y in Vyborg

Written 22-11-2019 09:09:27 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA: Y in Vyborg

Film History. And History. Vyborg, once Finnish, now Russian. Next time I am in St. Petersburg I must go to the city. Thanks to Patricio Guzman, who picked Pia Andell’s wonderful archive-based love story as one of his favourites to be screened at IDFA. It had only one screening, yesterday, but it must be possible to get to it online somewhere? I chose to watch it because of my interest in Russia and Pieter and found a documentary classic even if it is only 15 years old, so well mastered, to be enjoyed, what a life they had Y and Mirri. Here is the IDFA description:  

”In 1938, a young Finnish couple, both of them architects, bought an 8mm camera. A year after this purchase, Finland was attacked by the Soviet Union. The husband, given the name “Y,” was appointed as the architect of the city of Vyborg, and he worked closely together with his wife, nicknamed Mirri. The story is told from the perspective of their daughter, whose first memory was of marching soldiers. Her observations are voiced sometimes by a child and sometimes by an adult.

This creative documentary is constructed entirely from amateur films—some of them in color—shot by the couple between 1938 and 1949. Initially, the footage paints a picture of life as usual, with people swimming and new children being born. Increasingly, however, the war starts to intrude on their existence. Then comes the moment that Y gets separated from his family for a long period of time. The couple’s correspondence and the films of this period offer some intimate insight into the lives of normal citizens affected by the war, and the unique perspective of an architect who must rebuild his ruined city adds a telling layer.”

Pia Andell: Y in Vyborg, Finland, 2005, 51 mins.

www.idfa.nl


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IDFA: That Which Does Not Kill

Written 22-11-2019 08:25:27 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA: That Which Does Not Kill

The English title of this superbly staged French language documentary is a bit complicated, I prefer the simple original „Sans Frapper“. Below you find the IDFA website description ending with „listen carefully“; yes do so, the stories are amazing, but this is a Film that includes perfectly composed images: Woman after woman, young and younger, and a couple of men, filmed in their homes, most of them smoking cigarettes, talking to the director, who sometimes asks a question or two, „are you ok“ or words to that effect. The director makes it easy for the viewer to stay with the beauty that contrasts the stories the beautiful characters in the beautiful images tell us. This is an example of how to deal with a film with talking faces, how to make pauses, to let the image stand alone after a story. It is obvious that the director has rehearsed with the involved to have the stories come out with a strong intensity and precision. Reminds me of Pawel Lozinski’s „You Have No Idea How Much I Love You“.  

„He was someone she knew, and she didn’t resist. And then it happened twice more that week. Ada was 19. Her testimony is central to this film, but many share her history: people of all ages, black and white, men and women.

Director Alexe Poukine finds a sensitive way to make it possible to talk about the consequences of rape: the pain, the coping mechanisms, or indeed the lack of them. Ada’s story is interwoven with the experiences of others, from different perspectives, but in essence barely different. The result is a collective introspection that connects compellingly with us – which are the questions that come to our minds, and which are the ones that we forget to ask?

Although the narrative style often misleads us, it also creates space for the universality of the story. It's one that's neither simple to express nor easy to hear. The best you can do is listen carefully.”

Alexe Poukine: That Which Does Not Kill (Belgium/France, 2019, 85 mins.)

www.idfa.nl


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IDFA: Collective

Written 22-11-2019 07:47:03 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA: Collective

This is definitely a film that I want to watch again. A must-see film for busy IDFA visitors. And notice that on tuesday there will be a meeting with the director and protagonists. Would have loved to be there, maybe it will be recorded?

Shocking, touching, a Romanian Watergate-story with brave journalists (from a daily Sport’s newspaper!), balanced between the investigation and the digging out of terrible facts of corruption, cynicism and surviving victims and the suffering of relatives of victims, who did not survive. With a character focus on the journalists and – towards the end – a minister of Health who tries his best to change a rotten hospital system framed by an equal rotten political system. Romania! Here is, taken from the IDFA website, the story:

“On October 30, 2015, a serious fire broke out at the Colectiv nightclub in Bucharest. It was one of the worst disasters in recent Romanian history, with an initial 27 people killed and 180 injured. Within a few days, fierce protests erupted, leading to the resignation of the Social Democratic government.

Director Alexander Nanau follows a number of key figures in the aftermath of the disaster, from the point where we learn that 37 of the injured died of bacterial infections in local hospitals. We hear from newspaper journalists who discover that the hospitals use diluted disinfectants, the minister of health in the temporary technocratic government, and the victims of a corrupt health care system in a dysfunctional state.

Nanau avoids sensation and remains detached from the powerful emotions that surround the story, exposing the grim face of the corruption that plagues his country all the more.”

Alexander Nanau: Collective (Romania, 2019, 109 mins.)

www.idfa.nl


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IDFA Opening Night 2019

Written 21-11-2019 09:41:00 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Opening Night 2019

The opening night at the beautiful Royal Theatre in Amsterdam, Carré, was very well put together. As an homage to D.A. Pennebaker, who died this year, 94 years old, his five minutes long jazzy (Duke Ellington) ”Daybreak Express” from 1953 was shown. Lovely, reminded me of his colleague Richard Leacock’s ”Jazz Dance” that came out the year after. Both full of ambition, full of enthusiasm for their medium, full of desire to find their voice as documentary directors, curious, loving life. Pennebaker was 28, young, at the beginning of a long carreer. A founding father and an important filmmaker in the history of IDFA.

As said Orwa Nyrabia, the artistic director of the festival, who enters the



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IDFA Tips from Filmkommentaren

Written 14-11-2019 21:29:43 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Tips from Filmkommentaren

When 300+ films are to be screened, how do you decide where to go. This is the situation for those going to Amsterdam very soon. IDFA is a big festival and you/I need help. And help is given.

The festival does a lot to help editorially through making thematic sections like “Life in Europe”, “People and Planet”, “iWorld”, “It’s a Woman’s World”, “Profession Journalist”, “Believe me”… or “Best Of… Audience Favourites, “Must-Sees”, “Award-Winners” and broadcasters and newspapers get the chance to give advice.

I take the liberty to join the group of advisers on films that you could go and see. Some of them I have not seen myself yet, but as the Germans say,  vonhörensagen is also a way.

I pick 10 from the first 5 days, that’s enough on a blogpost:

Maryam Zaree: Born in Evin: Personal. Touching. Director was born in an Iranian prison… Saw it in Sarajevo.

Dina Naser: Tiny Souls: Was at DocsBarcelona. Syrian children in a refugee camp in Jordan. Followed over several years. Excellent.

Patricio Guzmán: The Cordillera of Dreams: IDFA’s Guest of Honour – his newest work. Must-see for me.

Andres Veiel: Black Box BRD: It’s from 2001, want to see it again. History. Germany. RAF.

Alan Berliner: Letter to the Editor: Berliner is one of the most original documentarians of today, here with a love letter to the newspaper.

Andrey Tarkovsky. A Cinema Prayer: The son about his father, it’s lovely and it’s for us many Tarkovsky fans. Clips from films, archive clips with him. Lot of Phatos!

Feras Fayyad: The Cave: Saw it in Copenhagen! Shocking. Syria again. Main protagonist Dr Amani is a true hero with colleagues in the underground hospital in Ghouta. Masterly done.

Jørgen Leth: I Walk: Have of course been an admirer of our Danish icon since I met him and his films decades ago. He is a phenomen in Danish cultural life and internationally among cinéphiles. Again autobiographical… have not seen it yet… (PHOTO)

Andrés di Tella: Private Fiction: Argentina is close to my heart, I have had many fine moments with Andrés, and have enjoyed his original truly authored films, veeery curious about this new one, indeed!

Chris Marker: La Jetée (1962) & Pia Andell: V in Vyborg (2005): Two films picked by Patricio Guzman in his Top 10. The one of Marker is a classic that I can see again and again, the one of Andell I have heard about and now is the chance to see it…

For that and for all films mentioned, go to www.idfa.nl to find more. An Amazing program it is.


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Zelig Film School Film Festival

Written 10-11-2019 11:10:15 by Tue Steen Mller

Zelig Film School Film Festival

10 films were screened Friday and Saturday, November 8 and 9, at the Capitol cinema in Bolzano. The graduation films of the students, who had been studying at the Zelig School for Documentaries, Television and New Media. For three years, 2016-2019 with three lines: Direction, Camera and Editing.

The atmosphere was festive. Fellow students, friends, family and in some cases protagonists were there to celebrate – and there were Q&A sessions after each film. And diplomas and a rose were distributed to the now former students.

Contrary to (some) other film schools the films coming out of the Zelig are not made according to a pre-given format or theme; there is freedom for the students to find their own theme and style, of course under the supervision of filmmakers from the professional world, they are now to enter.

Themes – a quote from the Zelig invitation to the fest:

„From the snowy Scandinavian landscapes of the North of Europe to the heart of our Mother Earth in Central Africa; from the remote islands off the coast of Scotland to the Azores in the Atlantic, and – closer to us – in the Italian province and in the rest of Europe as well...“

Yes, the students have travelled and put all their energy into making creative documentaries. The overall quality is impressive and several of the films have already been to festivals, and even won awards. Like the one on the photo, „Theodor“, did at Festival dei Popoli.

Information about the 10 films can be found on, watch out for them, festival programmers:

https://film.zeligfilm.it/en/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOK Leipzig Makes a Summing Up

Written 07-11-2019 13:36:27 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig Makes a Summing Up

... which by all means is positive. 48.000 spectators, many full houses as I heard and saw for myself, good atmosphere. In the newsletter the press department asks ”How have the media experienced DOK Leipzig?” and below they highlight the presence of Cineuropa, fine enough. As the press department apparently does not know that www.filmkommentaren.dk was present, I list what has been written from my side:

Reviews of

Space Dogs - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4651/

The Royal Train – http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4650/

Exemplary Behaviour – http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4648/

Reports about

Quay Brothers –

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4653/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4632/

The festival program/and the retrospective http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4643/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4636/

And here comes what the press department writes:

Vladan Petkovic was here this year, not only as a panellist, but also as the author of a number of reviews of our films for our media partner Cineuropa. Read more about THE FORUMNEVER WHISTLE ALONEand IT TAKES A FAMILY. Additionally, Cineuropa ran an interview with our festival director, Leena Pasanen.

Describing the film EXEMPLARY BEHAVIOUR, which received the Golden Dove in the International Competition Long Documentary, Petkovic wrote for Cineuropa: “It is a work of extraordinary poetics and aesthetics, and has numerous ambiguous layers that are impossible to penetrate with sheer common sense, requiring the viewer to let go and give in to the more oneiric side.”

Modern Times Review also saw and reviewed a lot of our films, including FAMILY RELATIONS and DEEP WATERS, and conducted an interview with the guest of our Homage, Tan Pin Pin.

Screen Daily picked up on the award-winning film EXEMPLARY BEHAVIOUR, and the International Documentary Association’s (IDA) Documentary Magazine ran an article about our programme DOK im Knast just in time for the festival.

https://www.dok-leipzig.de/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Quay Brothers at DOK Leipzig

Written 04-11-2019 18:48:59 by Tue Steen Mller

Quay Brothers at DOK Leipzig

It started at 7pm and ended at 10.30pm with half an hour break. 90 minutes talk with Stephen and Timothy Quay followed by the screening of their live action film (105 minutes) ”Institute Benjamenta”. (PHOTO)

It was an entertaining night with the two famous world artists – only 50 people came! You can do better than that Dok Leipzig! Was it because you



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DOK Leipzig - History

Written 04-11-2019 11:46:45 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig - History

With History two meanings, both of them personal related to film and film people. The first one came to me just after arriving to the Festival Centre Thursday late afternoon. I was waiting at the bar to be served and so was a man next to me. ”I think we have met before”, I said to him, ”mehrmals” he said, ”on Bornholm”, I asked, ”yes, I was there” said Jochen Wisotzki, with the film ”Komm in den Garten” that I made with Heinz Brinkmann… It must have been in 1991 that it was shown at the Balticum Film & TV Festival, and I still remember the film about three friends, ”artists in life”, outsiders in GDR. The film received the Silverne Taube in 1990. Later it came to my mind that Wisotzki was the one who invited Andreas Steinmann and me to a film gathering in Rügen. Or was it Eduard Schreiber?

I did not meet Wisotzki again during the few days in Leipzig. But I had a good talk with Heribert Schneiders, former MDR commissioner and always good in panels at pitch sessions. He was not – of course - happy with the political situation in the three Länder, where the Afd (Alternative für Deutschland) is having 25% support from the voters. ”Are they fascists”, I asked him, ”Yes, the party leaders say things that you can’t believe is true…”. His ”old” party, SPD, is doing bad, so now he goes for ”die Grüne” as many others, I guess.

Good friend, who by the way was at the above mentioned festival on Bornholm in the 90’es, when he was making films, Claas Danielsen, had the same opinion as Schneiders, yes the Afd includes people with fascist points of view.

Opposite the hotel where we were staying is the mural of optimism with slogans like ”Freiheit”, ”Wir sind das Volk”. No optimism these days… nach der Wende.

http://member.agdok.de/de_DE/members_detail/8314/vita


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Elsa Kremser & Levin Peter: Space Dogs

Written 04-11-2019 10:56:06 by Tue Steen Mller

Elsa Kremser & Levin Peter: Space Dogs

„Das ist Laika. Am 3. November 1957 wurde die sowjetische Straßenhündin in einem Sputnik in die Erdumlaufbahn geschossen und war damit das erste Lebewesen im Weltall. Überlebt hat sie diese Mission nicht. Doch es gibt die Legende, dass sie als Geist auf die Erde zurückgekehrt ist und seitdem durch die Straßen Moskaus streift.“

Yes, that is what the two filmmakers do: follow stray dogs, Laika is maybe one of them, in Moscow, their drifting around, their barking, their showing teeth and aggression towards each other, their acting with brutality but also with care and love... Lebewesen in a metropole behaving like us human beings?

The film is constructed masterly in sound and image and editing; I read that the filmmakers are born in 1985. They demonstrate an amazing maturity, mixing the following of the stray dogs with Soviet science archive material of the preparation of dogs for space trips as well as (touching) footage of the dogs (those who survive) coming back. Colour and black&white images in a film, which is not really fun to look at: what we do with the animals in the name of science, and what they do to each other, the dogs in the constant „survival of the fittest“ game. But as a tense film essay, remarkable! Indeed also because of the narration, a fine factual(!) fairytale-like text in Russian, matching images and sound perfectly.

Watch out for that Dogumentary!

Photo of Laika.

https://www.raumzeitfilm.com/film/en-spacedogs

Austria, Germany, 2019, 91 mins.


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Johannes Holzhausen: The Royal Train

Written 04-11-2019 09:38:41 by Tue Steen Mller

Johannes Holzhausen: The Royal Train

The daughter of King Michael 1 of Romania (who died in 2017), Princess Margareta, and her husband Radu, travel in the train of her father to meet the people and have them remember him and the good old monarchy that came to an end in 1947, when the communists took over. The train stops at small stations, where the local authorities are nervously preparing the royal welcome. Red carpet and all that. And the royal staff prepares equally how to arrive, a scenario is needed.

That’s the red thread of a film, that with humour and warmth takes the viewer to the venues of the couple in Bucharest introducing the staff that helps them to keep the memories of the monarchy and the King alive. The most important person in that respect is for me the young man, Adrian, who searches for documents and artefacts of interest for the Princess. He is a passionate monarchist searching/ hoping for the return to old times – you are a Don Quichote, an old lady says to him, if you need a Sancho Panza, I am there for you - he is the one, who visits the old ladies, who remember the King and the royalty with big love.

In scenes like that the director manages – with his flair for creative storytelling - to balance all the wonderful absurd scenes of royal protocol, like how to approach the Princess in a correct way. Three steps backwards, when you have got your diploma and then you can turn around… like if it had been the Danish queen. It’s still very much alive and popular. What is most interesting in this film is, when the old royalists remember the time, where they were not allowed to celebrate the monarchy during the time of Ceaușescu.

Austria, Germany, 2019, 90 mins.


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Mickevičius & Milerius: Exemplary Behaviour

Written 02-11-2019 22:56:03 by Tue Steen Mller

Mickevičius & Milerius: Exemplary Behaviour

I knew Audrius Mickevičius from several meetings in his wonderful Vilnius. As I remember it, he lived in the ”freetown” of the Lithuanian capital, Uzupis. He made in 2006 the film ”Man – Horse” that he pitched at Baltic Sea Forum with the most radical teaser I remember to have seen. And I knew very well this film project ”Exemplary Behaviour” from my time as a reader for Eurimages, where the detailed script written by Audrius Mickevičius and Nerijus Milerius was submitted and given funding because of its professional cinematic presentation, the fascinating approach to the subject and the multi-layered narration.

Yes, I write about Audrius Mickevičius in the past tense. He died in 2017 and



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Ji.hlava IDFF 2019 Conclusions

Written 30-10-2019 15:51:02 by Tue Steen Mller

Ji.hlava IDFF 2019 Conclusions

The 23rd edition of the annual Ji.hlava IDFF closed its doors yesterday. The festival programme showcased 277 films in nine screening halls, hosting almost two hundred discussion sessions. The overall attendance again exceeded 40,000 visitors; with 5,330 accredited visitors and guests.

“I am very proud of our quality festival programme, unveiling especially the face of the up-and-coming filmmaking generation raising new topics and techniques in the context of filmmaking. It is enriching to see this concentration of creative diversity at a single place. Our aim was to have this year’s Ji.hlava IDFF reflect the world around, provoke us to become active and open up a space for a dialogue. And we are pleased to see it happen”, says Festival Director Marek Hovorka.



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Awards at Ji.hlava Documentary FF

Written 28-10-2019 23:38:17 by Tue Steen Mller

Awards at Ji.hlava Documentary FF

Below a link to the awards that were given at the 23rd edition of the festival in Ji.hlava. There were many. I take the liberty to mention only a handful of them, films that I know about:

● Best Czech Documentary Film 2019:

Solo (Artemio Benki, Czech Republic, France, Argentina, Austria, 2019)PHOTO

Jury statement:

We appreciate the lightness, nonviolence and concentration used by the author to portray a strong human story of a suffering person and to get as close as possible without disturbing formal effects and pathos.

The winner will receive an award of 10,000 EUR

A brilliant film, read http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4542/

● Best Central and East European Documentary Film 2019:

TEACH (Alex Brendea, Romania, 2019)

Jury statement:

This is an essential film that needs to be seen around the world. A math teacher working on the fringes of a failing educational system becomes a transformative mentor for a group of young students. Through his dedicated tuition, these young people discover the most important lesson in life: you must fall "tragically in love with what you do". For its celebration of the unconventional, for its embrace of messiness, imagination and passion in teaching Between the Seas award goes to TEACH.

The winner will receive an award of 10,000 EUR

I met the film-to-be in Romania 4 years ago, when it was a project, at the One World Romania workshop. Here is what I wrote: „...The pitching ended with an award ceremony, where Ana Alexieva (co-tutor) went to the stage to invite Alex Brendea to take part in the Rough Cut Boutique at the Sarajevo Film Festival, where he can have his rough material evalutated. His ”Teach” about a charismatic, energetic excentric teacher of mathematics, who lives alone with cats and dogs, and does his teaching at this his home is very promising and the choice was very well received by colleagues at the ”Cooking a Doc”.“ Love that film that was also awarded at the Astra Film Festival recently.

CONTRIBUTION TO WORLD CINEMA AWARD

● Sergey Dvortsevoy

● Silver Eye Award feature length category:

Transnistra (Anna Eborn, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, 2019)

Jury statement:

Beautifully shot on 16mm, this is a powerful film that captures an in-between moment, at the end of adolescence, a play of youth and light located in a rural place, in an unrecognized country. A very loving view on a dynamic group focused around an unusual and unforgettable female character.

I agree, read http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4475/

● Special mention:

The Wind. A Documentary Thriller (Michal Bielawski, Poland, Slovakia, 2019)

Jury statement:

Through mystical images and enigmatic protagonists the filmmaker suggests an extreme connection between human faith and fortune, nature and the weather. Often Lynchian, the director's filmmaking achieves a true thriller as the title suggests.

Again I agree, read

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4555/

https://www.ji-hlava.com/novinky/23-ji-hlava-udelena-oceneni


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ArtDoc Fest Winners + One More

Written 27-10-2019 20:48:13 by Tue Steen Mller

ArtDoc Fest Winners + One More

Awards were given in Riga last night for the International FF and for the ArtDoc Fest. I mention the awards in the latter, which, as the name says, include documentaries plus a special mention to a documentary in the Feature Film Competition of the intl. festival, see below. Several have been reviewed/reported upon on this site, links are given:

Grand Prix
Immortal, dir. Ksenia Okhapkina (Photo)
http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4572/

Best Director
Maxim Shved, Pure Art

Jury award
School of Seduction, dir. Alina Rudnitskaya

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4485/

Special mention
Daymohk, dir. Masha Novikova

Special mention
State Funeral, dir. Sergei Loznitsa

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4642/

Special Mention in Feature Film Competition of the festival:

Animus Animalis (A story about people, animals and things), dir. Aistė egulytė

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4476/

https://rigaiff.lv/2019/lv/


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DOK Leipzig Starts Monday

Written 26-10-2019 17:04:03 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig Starts Monday

… and will continue untill the 3rd of November. With films, many excellent industry activities, film talks here there and everywhere. The ticket counters are open, I am sure there will be full houses for many films and there will be a great atmosphere at the festival centre in the Museum of Fine Arts – the impressive Museum der bildenden Künste that hosts the film market and discussions and receptions BUT also has interesting exhibitions, right now „Point of No Return... Transformation and Revolution in East German Art“. I will for sure watch that – and films from thursday the 31st, where I will be at the festival. Press releases are coming from Leipzig these days. I have edited/shortened and copy-pasted some of them:



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Loznitsa opened the Astra Film Festival

Written 25-10-2019 10:53:33 by Tue Steen Mller

Loznitsa opened the Astra Film Festival

The fine Astra Film Festival in Sibiu in Romania placed Sergey Loznitsa’s “State Funeral” as the opening film. The Head of Programming Csilla Kató explains why in an interview with Cineuropa, below a link to the whole interview, made by  Stefan Dobroiu.

Cineuropa: The 26th edition of the Astra Film Festival has ended. What would you consider to be the strong points of this edition?
Csilla Kató:
 For example, the fact that we selected as our opening film Sergey Loznitsa’s State Funeral [+]. In my opinion, it is a sign of maturity, as at every festival, the opening film is chosen with great care – it is, after all, a statement about the festival’s spirit and agenda. A movie with a running time of 135 minutes, made entirely from archive footage, in which the soundtrack is the only intervention by the director, proved to be the right choice for us. In State Funeral, Loznitsa plays with both the conventions of cinema and the expectations of the audience: the audience is allowed to get lost among archive-footage sequences and is also left to interpret what they see according to their own background and personal perspective. This example of documentary cinema could not have been imagined by any screenwriter and would have been impossible to make within the conventions of fiction cinema. And the film worked well for the audience gathered to attend the opening of this edition.

https://cineuropa.org/en/index/


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IDFA Announces Competition Selection

Written 24-10-2019 12:50:07 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Announces Competition Selection

I missed the live streaming of the IDFA press conference yesterday afternoon, where artistic director Orwa Nyrabia was on stage to tell the documentary community, which films he and his programmers had chosen. But the website says it all – also that ”64% of the competition titles are by female filmmakers, with 47% in the total program”.

Having mentioned this important point for festivals around the world, let’s go to the films. I will surf a bit on the lists of selection, where it is obvious that Nyrabia’s ambition of also showing films that are not from the US or from the UK, is fulfilled:



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DOC NYC

Written 22-10-2019 17:02:56 by Tue Steen Mller

DOC NYC

I was happy with the many positive reactions on Russian director Alina Rudnitskay, who was the one I praised in the post yesterday. Danish producer Sigrid Dyekjær told me that Rudnitskaya’s fine ”School of Seduction” was to be screened at DOC NYC, the festival in New York that runs November 6-15 (and at DocPoint in Helsinki January 2020). My knowledge of the New York festival is almost zero so I asked Dyekjær, who recommended it, and made me check the website:



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DOK Leipzig Retrospective BRDDR

Written 12-10-2019 16:15:54 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig Retrospective BRDDR

There are films by Andrew Thorndike, Harun Farocki, Heynowski/Scheumann, Eduard Schreiber, Alexander Kluge, Thomas Heise, Thomas Harlan… among others.

The focus of the 10 programme retrospective is explained in this fine text from the festival:

“There’s nothing still standing and no one still alive”. The roof of Hitler’s bunker is detonated in August 1988. There’s no longer even a single stone in front of the Theatre of the Jewish Cultural Association either. Eduard Schreiber’s TRACES (1989) explores what remains of the Second World War, but first and foremost what no longer does.

With this year’s Retrospective, DOK Leipzig turns its attention to the four



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Jrgen Leth

Written 08-10-2019 12:54:09 by Tue Steen Mller

Jrgen Leth

The shortest but most eye-catching and heart-warming paragraph in a press release that came in some minutes ago goes like this:

”Lifetime Achievement Award: Jørgen Leth
From his influential short film The Perfect Human (1967) through to today, Jørgen Leth inspired generations of filmmakers with his strong auteur voice and fearless perspective on reality. Based in Denmark and Haiti, Leth was never hampered by concerns of veracity and fact. In celebration of his extraordinary filmmaking, IDFA is delighted to award the 83-year-old director with a Lifetime Achievement Award during the festival.”

And if you want to read (more) about Jørgen Leth, click here:

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/2198/

articles in Danish (use google translate, works ok) and English


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOK Leipzig: The Brothers Quay

Written 08-10-2019 12:24:23 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig: The Brothers Quay

Bravo DOK Leipzig! Having a special program with The Brothers Quay is a scoop. They come to the festival, they meet the audience to talk about their work and they have made three trailers for the festival, click below and you can watch them. Fascinating pieces of art they are. 30 seconds each, entitled CYCLOPS, MATHS and ZAMECZNIK, the latter must be a reference to the Polish artist with the first name Wojciech.

I am old enough to have seen the films of the Brothers on several occasions – when I was selecting films for the Odense Film Festival together with documentary director Jørgen Roos and journalist Mogens Damgaard Rasmussen, at the festival in Clermont Ferrand and when Cinemateket in Copenhagen 10 years ago had a retrospective of their works. On that occasion we wrote an article, that introduces the Brothers, link below. Here is a quote:   

Stephen and Timothy Quay, born in 1947 (good year to be born in…), ”Influenced by a tradition of Eastern European animation, the Quays display a passion for detail, a breathtaking command of color and texture, and an uncanny use of focus and camera movement that make their films unique and instantly recognizable…”

“During the Brothers Quay Night*footnotes event on 01 November at the Schaubühne Lindenfels, the artists will provide personal insights into their work. I will be there!”

Apart from the program of this night, the Brothers have selected 8 of their films and curated a special program of films, where you find films by Matthias Müller, Vera Chytilova, another great animation artist Polish Jerzy Kucia – and, surprise, Swedish Arne Sucksdorff’s 18 minutes long masterpiece (also from 1947) “Människor i Stad” (“Rhythm of a City”).

https://www.dok-leipzig.de/en/festival/festival-news/view/festival-trailers-2019

https://www.dok-leipzig.de/en/festival/sonderreihen/brothers-quay/brothers-quay

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/871/


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Patricio Guzmn on Arvo Prt

Written 04-10-2019 16:14:58 by Tue Steen Mller

Patricio Guzmn on Arvo Prt

IDFA has chosen Chilean director Patricio Guzmán as Guest of Honor. His films will be shown and he has been asked to make his Top Ten. At the link below you will find all 10 choices. To our pleasant choice he has chosen ”Arvo Pärt: 24 Preludes for a Fugue” that is a wonderful visit to the world of the world famous composer. Made by Dorian Supin in 2002, an Estonian as well, who is close to Pärt about whom many other documentaries have been made, in general superficial ”homages”. Guzmán writes this about Pärt:  

”This is one of many films that show the complex process of “artistic creation.” It’s a topic I often deal with in my film classes, because everyone wants to know the “secrets” of creation in general. And anyone who sees this documentary is fascinated. Arvo Pärt is a portrait of a mysterious man, who has the eyes and beard of a 12th-century prophet. The film follows Pärt over several years, during a particularly productive period of his life. He’s filmed while composing or practicing with the orchestra, and during various concerts, workshops and meetings. The director Dorian Supin has constructed the film in chapters that list the different nuances of the composer. He thus explores Pärt’s musical thoughts and inner world, and the way he conceives his music, trying to discover the secret of what makes it so captivating. Pärt was born in Estonia in 1935 but lives in Berlin. He has always sought to compose music steeped in a spirituality that seems to go back to the Middle Ages, without regard to contemporary trends. He has built a universe of sound outside of the present era. The film contains excerpts from masterpieces such as Tabula Rasa, Passio, Fratres, Orient et Occident, Cecilia, vergine romana and Como anhela la cierva.”

More Arvo Pärt is to be found in the film by Andy Sommer, Adams Passion, about the performance made by Robert Wilson and Arvo Pärt and  Günther Atteln’s The Lost Paradise, on the creation of this work. Colleague Allan Berg watched the films in 2016 and wrote three knowledgeable and enthusiastic blogposts in Danish. NB: Google Translate works fine from Danish to English.

Links to Guzmán’s Top Ten, to ”Adams Passion” and ”The Lost Paradise” and to the three texts by Allan Berg:   

https://www.idfa.nl/en/article/118859/my-selection-of-ten-films

http://www.adamspassion.de/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3495/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3504/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3508/


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IDFA: The Inheritance of War/ Thomas Heise

Written 02-10-2019 19:42:51 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA: The Inheritance of War/ Thomas Heise

News from Amsterdam: A focus program at IDFA is called “It Still Hurts”. It ”presents a selection of 17 films from the last 35 years that cinematically explore the psycho-social-economic-political fallout of two world wars in particular, and the more concentrated (and clandestine) ones occurring on every continent.”

A quote from the always brilliant Pamela Cohn, who has written about the program, that is put together by IDFA’s artistic director Orwa Nyrabia. Later I will write about the program and its films. The reason for now is that Cohn writes such a precise description of one of Thomas Heise’s many cinematic solutions:

”In Thomas Heise’s brilliant, monolithic film Heimat Is a Space in Time (2019), trains are the leitmotif throughout the fractured biography of Heise’s own Jewish intellectual heritage, starting with the expulsion of family members from Vienna in the late 1930s. Heise films train after train moving back and forth across the landscapes of his memories, the machines that moved millions of soldiers and prisoners to their deaths. Eventually, they morph into conveyances for modern industry, as trainloads of new automobiles take the place of human cargo, running on the very same tracks, the very same routes, relentlessly observing strict timetables of delivery and receipt…”

Two links below, one for the series and one for Cohn’s article, read it !

https://www.idfa.nl/en/selection/118587/focus-it-still-hurts

https://www.idfa.nl/en/search?page=1&type=all&q=pamela%20cohn%20inheritance


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Nordisk Panorama Forum Day 2

Written 24-09-2019 15:44:03 by Tue Steen Mller

Nordisk Panorama Forum Day 2

I met Kim Christiansen  from DR TV Sales before the Forum started its second day at Amiralen in Malmö. I asked him which film was his best sell recently. To my pleasant surprise he said ”Cold Case Hammarskjöld” by Mads Brügger, a film with a non-mainstream storytelling, controversial also in subject, indeed a very good film, that Christiansen has sold to both broadcast and theatrical release. Brügger is a documentary director, who is mixing journalism and cinema and who likes to play with the medium.

Christoffer Guldbrandsen was the excellent journalist behind the first project



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Ellen Fiske & Ellinor Hallin: Scheme Birds

Written 23-09-2019 22:38:45 by Tue Steen Mller

Ellen Fiske & Ellinor Hallin: Scheme Birds

Just came back from a screening of a wonderful film about Gemma from Motherwell in Scotland – and her friends and family who happen to live in a place, where ”there is nothing”; well once there was a steel industry but when that was closed during Thatcher nothing came instead and the young ones grow up without work in terrible skyscrapers that will be taken down. In these surroundings drug and alcohol abuse florish.

It is a sad and heartbreaking social story with Gemma as the one, who survives all the obstacles as the young mother of Liam, whose father does not see his child; well he did in the beginning but then he dropped out and Gemma kicked him out. Pat is the name of the father of Liam, JP is their friend who is one day attacked seriously, taken to hospital, lies in coma, comes out having a head operation, paralysed and now 24/7 taken care of by his mother. And there is Amy, JP’s girl friend, who does not think he will ever survive the attack, so she meets another guy and gets pregnant…

Gemma… it is first of all a film about Gemma, the girl with fear in her eyes, fragile but also strong and dedicated. She observes and analyses her own situation, cuts links to her family or rather is cut out by her family, i.e. her ”papa”, grandfather, who runs a small boxing club and whose passion is pigeons. He sets them free, he holds pigeon beauty contests, he is a warm and caring person. The one Gemma can lean on.

A social documentary made with warmth and no finger-pointing, skillfully told, totally emotional, had to take away tears from my eyes many times during the film. Ken Loach would have chosen fiction to tell this story, the Swedish female directors let reality write the dramatic and moving script.

Sweden, 2019, 90 mins.

https://nordiskpanorama.com/en/festival/festival-2019/docs-in-competition-2019/


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Nordisk Panorama Forum Day 1

Written 23-09-2019 21:30:45 by Tue Steen Mller

Nordisk Panorama Forum Day 1

”Karaoke is the best thing that has happened to Finland” was the point made in the humorous pitch that was the last one of this first pitching day at the Nordisk Panorama Forum in Malmö. The presentation had the show element that you are longing listening to 12 projects being pitched. You can’t avoid that some of the 15 minutes presentations become a bit boring and full of klichés, so the Finnish team from Napafilms (Marianne Mäkelä and Einari Paakkanen) gave the day a good ending with ”Mother Karaoke” about a handful of characters, who sing for different reasons. The team entered the room singing, “Stand by Me” of course, that dramaturgical take of the day was perfect.

It was the 26th edition of the Nordisk Forum in Malmö (the festival celebrates



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Nordisk Panorama: dok.incubator

Written 22-09-2019 17:26:52 by Tue Steen Mller

Nordisk Panorama: dok.incubator

Full house at 9.30 in the morning at Panora Cinema in Malmö. As in previous years dok.incubator offered the audience of festival people, sales agents, broadcasters and fellow filmmakers « an exclusive showcase of eight outstanding documentary features just before their premiere” as it is written at the site of ”the institution”. Because this is what Czech Andrea Prenghyova and her team has made the dok.incubator. An institution… that with help of excellent editors and developers help films to be finished. She proudly told the audience about what films participating in previous editions have achieved in terms of distribution all over the world. Amazing it is and no doubt that a film that has been at dok.incubator has good chances to get into IDFA to mention an example of a festival every young and new filmmaker wants to be at.

That does not mean that all was appreciated by this blogger. Andrea Prenghyova, with whom I worked for many years within the Ex Oriente



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Nordisk Panorama Sunday and a Look Back

Written 22-09-2019 08:14:10 by Tue Steen Mller

Nordisk Panorama Sunday and a Look Back

Checked in at Scandic Hotel last night, 16th floor, amazing look at Malmö, which is not the case this morning, where fog is covering the view. Today I am going to the DocIncubator presentation as usual. Always interesting to see what is coming up and there might be films that fit in the Magnificent7 or DocsBarcelona, the two festivals where I am part of the programming. And later – see post below – at the hotel there will be the archive one-hour seminar “Getting Creative with Archive”, with the two Finnish filmmakers Laura Horelli (Newstime) and Arthur Franck (The Hypnotist), accompanied by Swedish editor Hanna Lejonquist (I Called Him Morgan) and me as moderator. Join the discussion!

Nordisk Panorama (NP) celebrates its 30th anniversary! I am not sure how many of them I have attended but looking at the list of winners, brings good memories. Among the many awarded in 1990, the first edition, were the animated masterpiece by (late) Lejf Marcussen “The Public Voice”, built on a painting by Belgian surrealist Paul Delvaux – it was produced by DR (Danmarks Radio), Marcussen was employed and the broadcaster gave him time and salary to make this film. Later on, in the process of cutting down in finances that still goes on in DR, he was sacked. “Too expensive to have this luxury” were the words not expressed.

If you go to https://nordiskpanorama.com/en/festival/news/winners/ you will find the list of winners and if I continue the nostalgic look on 1990 there is also documentaries like Ulla Boje Rasmussen’s „1700 Metres from the Future” from the Faroese Islands and Sigve Endresen’s „For Your Life” about drug abuse, both of high quality. The two shared the main award.

NP gives you the chance to look back, go to festival centre and pick your VHS-cassette at the Nordisk Panorama Time Machine. Great idea, I will check it out.

https://nordiskpanorama.com/en/festival/programme-2019/

The festival started a couple of days ago, „my” festival starts today.  


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Elita Klavina: Zoryana Horobraya

Written 20-09-2019 16:10:38 by Tue Steen Mller

Elita Klavina: Zoryana Horobraya

When in Riga for the Baltic Sea Docs, producer Antra Gaile told me about a film that she and Liga Gaisa joined as co-producers, directed by actress Elita Klavina, whose diploma work from the Latvian film school it is. I received a link as I could not attend the Message2Man Festival in Saint Petersburg, where the film had its world premiere this week:

It is a fine piece of observational documentary. Through several seasons the director has returned to the house in the countryside, where Zoryana Horobraya lives with her husband, a boy, and later one more little boy, and her mother, who is the one, who built the house and set up a small paradise for herself and her family, the right place for children to grow up, close to nature with huge acres as their playground. But it is far away from the city and to bring up a family you need money, and money you earn in the city… A classic conflict, city-countryside, becomes in the film, where you are very close to the family, precisely a conflict in the family. Granny is not happy that the family - her daughter-the husband-the two small kids – moves to Riga.

You get very close to the family. The camera catches all the details of the house and the naked kids running around among cats and dogs and goats. The grandmother talks with passion about the freedom she enjoys away from the crowded, stressed city-life, she is proud of her place, and afraid, without saying so, to be left alone, actually quite bitter when they leave.

Here is the catalogue description from the festival M2M, that ends tomorrow : “Young Zoryana lives in the countryside with her husband Edgars and her mother. She does the housework, plays the piano, raises a child and works at a computer. This idyll has to end, though: the family wants to move to Riga, where her husband works at a fast food joint and urban conditions allow raising children “like everyone else.” Zoryana’s Russian mother dissuades her from living “in cages.” Zoryana is torn between the wishes of her husband and her mother…”.

The Russian festival also notes that the film unfolds the cultural differences, where the granny represents Russia and the daughter and her family the Latvia of today. Could be, but I don’t see that, I see a universal theme popping up.

Latvia, 2019, 61 mins.


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NP Talk: Two Finnish Directors and an Editor

Written 19-09-2019 12:01:43 by Tue Steen Mller

 NP Talk: Two Finnish Directors and an Editor

… invite you to the fascinating world of creative archive documentaries. Clips from their films will be shown, comments will be given and questions asked. I will be the moderator, looking forward to that, as I have been very much occupied by this sub-genre that flourishes thanks to many – Sergey Loznitsa and Asif Kapadia are two directors, who have recently demonstrated their creative skills with “State Funeral” and “Diego Maradona”. Those days are gone, where archive was “only” used to illustrate the words of a (most often) historical tv documentary.  

I have seen the two Finnish documentaries, which have been selected for the Nordisk Panorama competition programme, exactly for their surprising way of using archive to have the directors say something about a time and/or a phenomenon. Are there any limits, are there ethical questions to be raised… how was the process, the research, the editing. I am happy to have Swedish editor Hanna Lejonqvist to help put a perspective on the discussion – she worked on award-winning film as “Palme”, “The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975” and “I Called him Morgan”. From the latter, directed by Kasper Collin, a clip will be shown.

Here is the festival’s introduction to the talk:

 ”Using archival footage to create a story is no easy feat. Archival material reflects the perspective of the era in which it was shot, which can present storytelling challenges.

The directors Laura Horelli (Newstime) and Arthur Franck (The Hypnotist) created their films solely from archival material. Both films are in competition for the Best Nordic Documentary Award at this year’s festival. They will be in discussion with award-winning editor Hanna Lejonqvist (I Called Him Morgan, The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975, Palme).”

”Getting Creative With Archive” takes place at Scandic Triangeln, the hotel, 3 minutes walk from the metro station.

Sunday September 22 at 15.00 – 16.00.

Everyone is welcome.

More about the films you can find on

https://nordiskpanorama.com/en/festival/festival-2019/docs-in-competition-2019/


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Boris Benjamin Bertram: Krigsfotografen

Written 14-09-2019 13:39:27 by Tue Steen Mller

Boris Benjamin Bertram: Krigsfotografen

Jan Grarup er en fabelagtig fotograf. En billedkunstner som har rejst til verdens brændpunkter og er kommet hjem med billeder, som er både informative og fortolkende. Det er billeder, der huskes fra avisen, fra hans fotobøger og fra udstillinger som den jeg så i Riga for nogle år siden. Billeder der kan tåle at blive sat op i størrelse.

Og billeder der kan tåle at blive gengivet på film som her i Boris Bertrams imponerende og imponerede dokumentarfilm, hvor han har fulgt sin helt Grarup på job i Mosul i Irak og andre steder med død og ødelæggelse. Grarup i løb væk fra eventuelle snigskytter, Grarup på hug ved et gadehjørne i skudsikker vest og hjelm med op til flere kameraer om halsen, Grarup der tager sig en lille lur i en ruin mens bomberne drøner udenfor – ”ingoing or outgoing bombs”, seeren bliver klogere på sproget hvor krigen raser – Grarup der tager billeder af lig… Når hans billeder gengives i filmen, bliver de stående så man får tid til at orientere sig i dem. Tak for det. De er i det hele taget elegant klippet ind i de krigsscener, som fotografen Henrik Bohn Ipsen har filmet. Jeg skriver Ipsen for det er ham, som Grarup henvender sig til et par gange i filmen, når de er ude i helvede på jord. Der er flere fotografer.

Og alligevel er det historien om familiefaren og de fire børn, der stjæler billedet. Grarups tre børn flytter ind hos ham, da moren får en hjernetumor og er skidesyg, som Grarup siger det. En ny rolle som er beskrevet med megen omsorg og gennem små anekdotiske forløb (Grarup vasker en hvid jakke lyserød, far beder teenagepigen om at komme hjem i ordentlig tid, far laver lagkage, spiser med knægten mens de ser fodbold, ”de har fået for lidt…”, kartoflerne eller kødet osv. osv.)

Elias hedder han, knægten, som er til fodbold i Parken med far. Han rejser sig, går væk fra sin plads, forlader fodboldkampen, klip til et foto af drengen og hans syge mor, klip til Elias der flyder i en swimmingpool… klip til Grarup, der sætter ord på, hvordan familien prøver at komme over sorgen. Og så begravelsen. Den sekvens, de øjeblikke er de smukkeste i filmen, gribende fordi de er nænsomt filmisk sat sammen.

Og hvordan kommer man så videre i filmen, hvordan løser man op for den knugende sorg-stemning? Bertram lader Grarup og den ældste datter Olivia være sammen med kameraer ude ved en grusgrav – ”det skal squ da ikke være to tosser, der står og fotograferer hinanden”, siger hun. Et godt valg.

Det er også Olivia, der skal til eksamen i fotografi og billedkunst, og far er med i den første men ikke i billedkunst… ”Er jeg ikke…”, siger han, fortørnet eller overrasket, ”det var satans”.

Det er en rig film og den holder en intens atmosfære hele vejen. Fordi den er så godt lavet, helt ned i detaljen og jeg skal ikke glemme musikken, der spiller godt med på det rette tidspunkter, komponeret af Tobias Wilner.

Grarup… en tatoveret gadedreng, en gudsbenådet fotograf, en kærlig far, en hård negl, en dokumentarkunstner… i en, for at bruge fotografens egne ord, vildt fed film!

Danmark, 2019, 78 mins.

I biografer over hele landet fra den 19. september

International premiere: Nordisk Panorama, Malmø, den 20. september


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Pitching Some Thoughts After Baltic Sea Docs

Written 09-09-2019 17:03:23 by Tue Steen Mller

Pitching Some Thoughts After Baltic Sea Docs

Pitching … has come to stay. Many say that there are too many pitching sessions. And there are many! There should be less is a sentence ofte heard. But more and more are organised. Also on a national basis, where film funds and institutes invite filmmakers to present their ideas in a public forum. Before decisions on funding are being made.

I write this after the 23rd session of the Baltic Sea Docs... A succesful one, I think, I am biased as I am a proud part of a team and has been that from the beginning. Part of the furniture, some will say.

As one who has attended, I guess, almost a hundred of pitching sessions, I also sometimes feel a fatigue but always end up, like in Riga,  having a positive reaction: GOOD. When an old cat like me, who experienced the first big IDFA Forum in Amsterdam and have been responsible for the set up of sessions all over, during my time at the EDN and elsewhere: the moment when I see filmmakers express passion and ambition, I am hooked. They agree to try to present their project within the internationalised time standard of public pitching – 7 minutes for the presenter/the filmmaker(s) with the same time for the reactions from broadcasters, sales agents and distributors.

That’s how it was in Riga last friday and saturday with a panel of 19 men and women to respond, coming from quite different parts of the world. From Tokyo and Qatar, from Helsinki and London, from Vilnius and Amsterdam. Some of the people at the table had experience, some were there for the first time. Some were able to express their opinion within the limited time, ask questions, give advice – others had problems in doing so. That’s how it is.

Pitching: Of course it is absurd – how can you present a film project, that you have worked on for many months or even years, in 7 minutes! Therefore the pitches are normally followed by individual meetings, where more deep conversations can take place. And I think that everyone will agree, that no financing come up immediately after the pitch has been made. It is a dialogue that you start between the filmmakers and their eventual funders. Where you expect respect from both sides – the funders towards the filmmakers and  vice versa.

Except for one or two all 24 film projects, that were on stage in Riga at the Baltic Sea Docs, had attended a couple of days of discussion with colleagues and trainers to be ready to do their presentations. During these days trailers and teasers had been worked on. To follow the words from (in most cases) director and producer. For many of the projects from this Eastern European pitch session, the filmmakers had been at other workshops, for instance at the B2B (https://www.b2bdoc.se/news) or at festivals like Cinédoc (http://www.cinedoc-tbilisi.com/) and DocuDays UA (http://docudays.ua/eng/). And several will for sure bring their "babies" to other events. It's about creating interest, finding partners, networking. The colleagual atmosphere at events like the one in Riga is wonderful to experience. Thank you filmmakers, broadcasters and sales agents for this approach.

http://balticseadocs.lv   


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Baltic Sea Docs Pitching

Written 08-09-2019 09:04:09 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Sea Docs Pitching

Yesterday where the news broke that Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov is free and back in Kiev, the pitching of the 23rd Baltic Sea Docs ended. The photo (taken by Latvian producer Guntis Trekteris) shows three smiling Ukrainian filmmakers around the time, where the information went viral; at lunch time when they had finished their succesful project presentation. From left the director Olga Zhurba of ”Roma” and one of her producers Darya Bassel and to the right the producer of ”Roses. Film Cabaret”, Oleksandra Kravchenko. Both film projects were met with applause by the panel and I am sure with contacts to broadcasters and sales agents that can further the development of the films.

I knew both film projects from March this year, where the „Ukrainian Doc Preview“ took place at the DocuDays in Kiev, http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4492/; Olga Zhurba did yesterday the most touching presentation of the two days of pitching talking



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Baltic Sea Docs 2019

Written 04-09-2019 18:28:59 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Sea Docs 2019

Two days into the workshop and mini-festival in Riga - the 23rd edition of a forum that starts with preparation of 24 documentary projects for pitching Friday and Saturday with a parallel screening of films. September 1st the BSD opened in the cinema K-Suns with the film « The Greenaway Alphabet”, directed by his partner, artist Saskia Boddeke, and with his teenage daughter as the one who asks the 75 year old father questions, that, as the film goes forward, more and more deals with death. Greenaway is, as film critic and professor Viktors Freibergs said before the film, surprisingly frank and less self-centered than in his latest films, obviously because of the daughter, who knows how to « tackle » him...



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Tarkovsky on Tarkovsky

Written 02-09-2019 11:12:28 by Tue Steen Mller

Tarkovsky on Tarkovsky

The always up-to-date Cineuropa brought yesterday a review of «Andrey Tarkovsky. A Cinema Prayer, written by Marta Bałaga. Here is the intro, a quote, click below and read the whole review plus an interview with the director, the son:

Andrei A Tarkovsky, as in the son of a certain Andrey Tarkovsky, as in the son of a certain Arseny Alexandrovich Tarkovsky, as in I promise to stop now, arrived on the Lido with a curious little documentary this year. In "Andrey Tarkovsky. A Cinema Prayer" [+], shown in Venice Classics at the Venice Film Festival, he doesn’t do “talking heads”, nor does he invite an endless parade of experts and aficionados to talk about his father’s films. Instead, he just allows him to speak for himself, courtesy of hours and hours of recordings in which he analyses his own work. So thoroughly does he do this, that it would undoubtedly bring any college student to tears and numerous dissertations on the subject to an untimely, violent end…

https://cineuropa.org/en/film/376940/


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Emil Langballe: Qs Barbershop Vollsmose Forever

Written 01-09-2019 14:29:52 by Tue Steen Mller

Emil Langballe: Qs Barbershop  Vollsmose Forever

I had only seen one of Emil Langballe’s previous films, his graduation film from the National Film School in England, ”Beach Boy”, a well balanced, cinematic non-moralistic portrait of a young black man and his relationship to a middle-aged British woman in Kenya.

His film from Vollsmose – quote from Wikipedia – ”… Its (Vollmose’s) many social issues cause it to be officially classified as a ghetto by Danish authorities…” – is full of warmth and joy and humour in its description of the barbershop, where Somalian Qasim is the one, who meets kids and youngsters and grown-up’s from the Somalian community, who come to have the hair cut and to have a talk with the smiling, mild man, who gives advice on how to behave and also talks about – alas – how we Danes meet him with scepticism and prejudices. Many of that kind of stories are brought to the barbershop by his clients, who are met by him as if they belong to one big family.

It’s – like the one mentioned above – a well balanced film, you can’t help love Q for his human qualities, he is a role model as one of the clients say, who is far away from his roots – I would love to go back and live by the sea, he says. The Danish approach to ”the ghetto” is conveyed through the radio, that communicates that buildings in Vollsmose are to be taken down. But the director refrains from involving the film and its characters directly in that discussion, he gives no answers but raises indirectly questions to the ongoing discussion about the Danish immigration policy…

The film was recently shown on Danish television and is the opening film of Nordisk Panorama in Malmö mid September. A good choice!


Vurdering:

 
Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

MakeDox Awards

Written 30-08-2019 21:32:38 by Tue Steen Mller

MakeDox Awards

At the 10th edition of the MakeDox festival in Skopje in North Macedonia the awards were given in a non-competitive festive atmosphere as you have been able to witness through the huge photo coverage the festival has given its FB friends, including me, who was at the festival a couple of years ago, and it IS like that: warm in temperature and hospitality, and focused on bringing the best of the best to the audience. That is from my point of view conveyed perfectly in the jury choices:



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Kaspars Goba: Inga Can Hear

Written 28-08-2019 17:31:30 by Tue Steen Mller

Kaspars Goba: Inga Can Hear

Jeg har kendt Kaspars Goba i mere end et årti. Måske før, måske mødte vi, da hans fremragende ”Seda. People of the Marsh ”(2004) kom ud. Senere havde jeg fornøjelsen at følge “Homo @ lv” fra 2015, hvor hans partner Ieva Goba var producent.

Fra hjemmesiden:… Kaspars Goba arbejdede på denne film i fem år. De omfattende optagelser, der er indsamlet gennem årene, giver tilskuerne mulighed for at få en ekstraordinær dyb indsigt i individers meninger og livshistorier på både 'Pride' og 'NoPride' fronterne. Den forbløffende afsløring af stolthed i Riga som vist i Kaspars Gobas arbejde, der startede fra starten i 2005 og frem til meddelelsen om, at Pride ikke blev afholdt i Riga i 2010, gør det muligt for seeren at overveje disse begivenheder fra et andet perspektiv. Det får en til at overveje den rolle, politikerne spiller i at manipulere folks idealer, og spørge: hvad er prisen for demokrati i Letland? ... Ikke "kun" en dokumentar, men lige så meget en dokumentation af et kontroversielt emne i det baltiske land.

Jeg mødte Ieva Goba i sidste uge i Sarajevo, og vi talte om det kommende

 



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Vurdering:

 
Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

European Film Academy Documentary Shortlist

Written 27-08-2019 11:51:24 by Tue Steen Mller

European Film Academy Documentary Shortlist

… was announced today with 12 candidates to compete for the final 5 seats, from where the winner of the Documentary Award will be chosen and published on December 7.

“Aquarela” (Viktor Kossakovsky) is there, “Honeyland” (Tamara Kotevska & Ljubomir Stefanov), “Putin’s Witnesses” (Vitaly Mansky), “Advocate” (Rachel Leah Jones, Philippe Bellaiche), “Push” (Fredrik Gertten), “The Disappearence of My Mother” (Beniamino Barrese) – all films that have been noted/reviewed on this site.

“Heimat is a Space in Time” by Thomas Heise and “For Sama” by Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts will be watched and reviewed in the near future – I have always been fond of Thomas Heise’s work, I am extremely curious to see his almost four hour long film, that have gained several awards already.

The ones I have never heard about are “Delphine and Carole” (Callisto Mc Nulty), ”M” (Yolande Zauberman), ”Scheme Birds” (Ellen Fiske, Ellinor Hallin) and “Selfie” (Agostino Ferrente).

https://europeanfilmawards.eu/en_EN/selection-documentation-current?fbclid=IwAR2zDaly00tgUb56pPJgkvtldvxL6WdH9l11fIyVzI-tHEqsV472bCWPCs0

Photo from “Advocate” - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4553/



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Message2Man Festival in Saint Petersburg

Written 26-08-2019 22:14:56 by Tue Steen Mller

Message2Man Festival in Saint Petersburg

By this time, end of August, I am always pleasantly bombarded on FB with Messages from the (sorry!) Message2Man festival (September 14-21) in Saint Petersburg, a festival that I have attended so many times, enjoying the city and the rich programme. This year it is the edition number 29 and the FB information bombardment is a daily professionally presented – title by title – presentation of the films in the International Competititon of full-length documentaries, the short documentaries, short fiction, short animation, the National Competition of documentary films and the unique „In Silico Experimental Short Film Competition“. Contrary to much other communication through Google Translate, or do the Russians use better translation tools?, maybe translators?, the English text that follows the Russian is ok and the Danish thereafter is understandable contrary to the google translate’s often nonsense translation.

The three curators of the programme, all people with a strong film knowledge, also of what happens outside the big country are Alexei Medvedev, Mikhail Zheleznikov and Eugenia Marchenko.

To mention some films I know from the Intl.section, again again „Honeyland“ by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov, lovely „Los Reyes“ by Chilean directors Bettina Perut and Iván Osnovikoff and impressive Polish The Wind. A Documentary Thriller by Michał Bielawski.

… and two films in the National section, both of them I saw at IDFA in Amsterdam: „The Potato Eaters“ by Dina Barinova, a tough social document and „How Big Is the Galaxy?“ by director Ksenia Yelyan, a charming film on kids in Arctic Siberia. There are twelve films in this section, I count on friends at the festival to tell me if there are titles I should watch.

The President of the festival is director Alexei Uchitel, the founder is wonderful “Misha”, Mikhail Litvyakov, who of course is always at the festival, although not totally involved but enthusiastic and warm in his approach to cinema and people of cinema.

I have many fine memories from the festival, I will not be there this year but as before: Respect and good luck!

https://message2man.com/en/news/xxix-kinofestival-poslanie-k-cheloveku-objavil-konkursnuju-programmu/

Photo from one of the opening ceremonies of M2M at the Winter Palace!

 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

SFF Awards for Documentaries

Written 26-08-2019 15:33:10 by Tue Steen Mller

SFF Awards for Documentaries

A CopyPaste from the website of the Sarajevo Film Festival, click the titles of the winners and you will get the description/synopsis:

HEART OF SARAJEVO FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM

WHEN THE PERSIMMONS GREW / XURMALAR YETIŞƏN VAXT

Azerbaijan, Austria

Director: Hilal Baydarov

Award in the amount of 3,000 €, sponsored by Government of Switzerland.

SPECIAL JURY PRIZE

STACK OF MATERIAL / GOMILA MATERIJALA

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Director: Sajra Subašić

Financial award in the amount of 2,500 €.

HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD



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Top Docs to be Screened in Riga

Written 22-08-2019 19:40:54 by Tue Steen Mller

Top Docs to be Screened in Riga

Or you could say the best of the best of current international documentaries will be screened in the mini-festival that per tradition runs parallel to the Baltic Sea Docs development and pitching workshop.

8 films, Riga, Cinema K-Suns, from September 3-8.

The ones I have already seen and written above are Dutch master Heddy Honigmann’s ”Buddy” that for sure must appeal to dog lovers in the Latvian capital. Far from that in style is Danish journalist and documentarian Mads



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Sarajevo FF: True Stories

Written 20-08-2019 19:04:36 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo FF: True Stories

Here we are after the presentation of 4 stories that take its start in the past: From Left Nataša Damnjanovic (tutor and editor of visuals), Ishak Jalimam (organiser), me (tutor), the four storytellers Mirna Buljugic, Senija Jakupovic, Iva Radic and Aleksandar Zolja, Robert Zuber (tutor and moderator). Staša Bajac (tutor) and the mother of the Dealing with the Past project at the festival Maša Markovic were missing.

After… 90 minutes of emotionally strong stories presented in a full house Atrium in Hotel Europe: festival participants, filmmakers, who might be interested in picking up the stories and develop them into films.

For four days we were together talking about the stories and about how to



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Sarajevo FF: Pawlikowski and Documentaries

Written 19-08-2019 08:58:52 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo FF: Pawlikowski and Documentaries

It’s not every day that one Oscar-winner takes a photo of another Oscar-winner. It happened the other day, where my friend, photographer and filmmaker Georg Zeller sat behind Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman, The Revenant), who was in the first row in a totally packed Meeting Point cinema in Sarajevo, where the audience had enjoyed the four documentaries Pawel Pawlikowski made in the 1990’es: FROM MOSCOW TO PIETUSHKI: A JOURNEY WITH BENEDICT YEROFEYEV (1990), DOSTOEVSKY’S TRAVELS (1991), SERBIAN EPICS (1992) and TRIPPING WITH ZHIRINOVSKY (1995). I was the lucky one to be the moderator of the 40 minutes long Q&A in a room full of energy and interest. There was no fatigue even if the audience had been there for four hours watching the programme!

The four films were made for BBC, Pawlikowski praised the commissioning editor Nigel Williams, who gave him free hands to make the films within the strand “Bookmark” – so the films had to deal with literature one way or the other. The documentary about Benedict Yerofeyev, the first he made, is fabulous, I had never heard about the writer before - Pawlikowski had, sharing his novel with his father, a film made with no script, “I made these films by observing, filming (on 16mm), going to the editing room seeing what I was missing, and then back to filming”. For the two last films, the director had the renowned Polish cinematographer, Bogdan Dziworski, to help him.

Of course there were several questions to “Serbian Epics” that was, at that time, during the war, accused of being propaganda for Serbian nationalism, which people in the audience said they could not see today. On the question on how he felt filming Karadzic up in the mountains during the bombing of Sarajevo, the director answered that these were terrible moments in his life that he will never be able to forget.

“For you, what are the characteristics of a good documentary”, the moderator asked the director… “I have no idea”… but mentioning our common hero, Russian Sergey Dvortsevoy, he responded anyway, did he not?

https://www.sff.ba/novost/11156/honorary-heart-of-sarajevo-award-to-pawel-pawlikowski


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Current Time TV Also at Sarajevo Film Festival

Written 17-08-2019 16:39:00 by Tue Steen Mller

Current Time TV  Also at Sarajevo Film Festival

Note the little ”also”… because when it comes to Current Time TV, they have been here, there and everywhere in Central and Eastern Europe, a great new player in the documentary community, in pitching panels, active and enthusiastic. I have met them in Riga, in Tbilisi, in Kiev, in Prague and now they are also here in Sarajevo being part of the Docu Talent presentation that takes place tomorrow at Sarajevo’s Hotel Europe, quote from the organisers, the Jihlava Film Festival:



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Categories: TV, Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sarajevo: Docs Go Big!

Written 17-08-2019 09:43:26 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo: Docs Go Big!

Documentaries at the Sarajevo FF is Rada Sesic. She selects the competition program, she runs the Docu Rough Boutique (together with Martichka Bozhilova), the DocuCorner, running from place to place… And she is semper ardens as you can read in the special catalogue/poster, she has made for the documentaries in order to avoid the genre to be hidden in all the feature films that fill the catalogues here.

Full of superlatives she presents the films under the headline ”Women Shine on the Documentary Scene in Our Region ». She explains that ”out of 16 films (in the competition section), 10 are directed or co-directed by women. Hooray for the strong talented She directors from the region”. Voila!

The competition program opens today with – of course – ”Honeyland” by Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska, the Bosnian premiere of a film that also opened Magnificent7 in Belgrade, CinéDoc in Georgia and won man yawards including the main award at DocsBarcelona. Definitely – together with Kossakovsky’s ”Aquarela” – the documentary of 2019.

Also I want to mention the wonderful Greek film by Marianna Economou, ”When Tomatoes Met Wagner” and the 13 minutes long ”In Between” by Samir Karahoda from Kosovo. To be mentioned for sure is Rada Sesic passion for the short film.

The majority of the jury for the competition, however, is male: Nenad Puhovski, ZagrebDox & Orwa Nyrabia, IDFA together with Emilie Bujes from Visions du Réel in Nyon.

Lots to watch, lost of magical documentary moments.

www.sff.ba


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sarajevo Mon Amour

Written 16-08-2019 18:29:07 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo Mon Amour

Well, I have not yet been through all the catalogues to find out, why the festival speaks French! But indeed it sounds and looks nice!

I am here again at the big festival for features and documentaries and shorts with a very strong industry section. It opens tonight and goes on until August 23. Competition programmes, a Human Rights Day, Honorary Hearts to Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, Isabelle Huppert and Pawel Pawlikowski.

For the latter I have been asked to moderate a Q&A with the Polish director, who in the 90’es lived in England and made films for the BBC. At a time where the broadcaster apparently still were open to non-formatted documentaries. To be prepared I enjoyed the four documentary films that will be screened here in Sarajevo tomorrow Saturday: Dostoevsky’s Travels, From Moscow to Pietushi: A Journey with Benedict Yerofeyev, Tripping With Zhirinovski, and Serbian Epics. Films that are still interesting to watch today because of their humour, the often satirical approach and playfulness. Far away from the fictional masterpieces the director made in Poland, Ida and Cold War, that will also be screened at the festival as well as other feature films by the director.

The Pawlikowski documentaries are part of the ”Dealing With the Past” program that also includes films like ”Meeting Gorbachev” by André Singer and Werner Herzog and ”Privacy of Wounds” by Dalia Kury. AND a section, the True Stories Market, where a handful of stories from the Yugoslav Wars will be presented to filmmakers, who are invited ”to execute a project inspired by one of the selected stories”, as Maša Markovic, the manager of the program says in the catalogue. I have been invited to take part in the project preparation for preparation, we had the first meeting today, amazing stories – I will tell you about them later but my first impression is like the one I had last year:

” Back in Copenhagen. Thinking of the many documentary adventures I take with me from the Sarajevo Film Festival. To be part of the training team of representatives from ngo’s and human rights organizations was the experience for me. Engaged, committed people who every day deal with human beings who suffer from the consequences of the wars in the 1990’es – and try to help them. Respect!”. Written in August 2018.

Will report more from this inviting and well organised festival.

www.sff.ba


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DokuFest Winners Announced

Written 15-08-2019 11:02:39 by Tue Steen Mller

DokuFest Winners Announced

Prizren, Kosovo. The 18th edition of a documentary festival (it ended four days ago) that filmkommentaren has covered since 2010. Always with words of praise and in persona  in 2016, where I was invited to be a juror in the Human Rights Section, where the extraordinary 5 hour long “Homeland, Iraq Year Zero” got the award; director is Abbas Fahdel, who I had the pleasure to meet on that occasion and who is one of those (too few) who constantly brings photos and texts from film history to the FB pages. But that’s another story!

This year the Human Rights Dox winning film was Dina Nasser’s “Tiny Souls”,



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Makedox Number 10

Written 14-08-2019 00:33:36 by Tue Steen Mller

Makedox Number 10

It’s in Skopje end of August (21-28) and it’s organised by Petra Seliskar and her family. Those who have been to the festival will agree with my impression: The hospitality is second to none, the atmosphere is relaxed, there is all the time to talk long and deep, and there are outdoor screenings late at night as being outside during the day is not a good idea because of the heat. Screenings of the best of the best!

It’s number 10 and a bit to my surprise, Seliskar has introduced a Forum, i.e. a commercial element to a festival that is non-commercial in its heart. Anyhow, the purpose is simple and fine: Better Regional Co-Production of Documentary Films. Invited are film projects from the Balkan countries, who will meet representatives from 11 regional funds (are there really that many), 3 Scandinavian funds and 2 major televisions… Wishing the festival all the best luck with this first initiative, new for the festival.

But film art is also represented, indeed, ”Aquarela” by Viktor Kossakovsky will be screened and the director will be present to give a masterclass. Knowing him, he will love to come to North Macedonia, and if the audience does not like the film, it’s their own fault!  

http://makedox.mk/mk/en/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CinDOC Summer School Talent Development

Written 03-08-2019 10:11:24 by Tue Steen Mller

CinDOC Summer School  Talent Development

They have just left the room, the nine students and filmmakers, who have been sharing their projects, their ideas, their visuals, five of them are from Konrad Wolf Filmuniversität, taken here by teacher and cameraperson Merle Jothe, who talked to us yesterday about two films that she has been working on, the second one the award-winning ”Berg Fidel – A School for All”, directed by Hella Wenders, wonderful kids, fine situations, would love to watch the whole film.

It’s been (so far) 4 full days, 3 more to go, and now the participants want to



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In the Cinema in Gori Georgia

Written 01-08-2019 21:39:07 by Tue Steen Mller

In the Cinema in Gori Georgia

... Well, actually there is no cinema in Gori so the Cinédoc-Gori Mini Festival takes place in the big theatre that was built in 1937-38 to honour Josip Stalin, who was born in Gori… he never visited the theatre, it is being said.

BUT I did this afternoon to attend the screening of one of my darlings from the last years, Ukrainian Roman Bondarchuk’s “Dixieland”, written by Dar’ya Averchenko and produced by Latvian Ilona Bicevska. The film was screened as part of the CinéDOC MiniFestival for documentaries, this one in the section for young people. A clip from a previous post about the film written at its premiere in Kiev at the DocuDays:

“The film about jazz music performed by kids in a band in Kherson Ukraine, led by their old teacher, who founded the band just after WW2, picking up homeless children to give them the chance to develop their skills, gave them a life, simply - is a warm, so well made - Bondarchuk has indeed a documentary-eye - interpretation of a happy childhood, where kids have a good time developing their creative skills. As it is written in the catalogue: We all live once in Dixie Land – the country where politics, money and death do not exist at all. But over time this country is disappearing… yes, we are in Ukraine of today.”

I introduced the film and asked the young audience to give me comments after the film that I can forward to the Ukrainian/Latvian team.

Indeed the seven-eight commentators liked the film. They found it wonderful to see a film about real people, happy people one said, much more happy than we are here in Georgia! Others also praised the film saying that it was realistic and emotional. And one wanted to know what the director had done, I mentioned „Ukrainian Sheriffs“ and „Volcano“. It was great to feel that the audience appreciated the initiative to screen documentaries that they normally don’t have a chance to access.

I asked Anuka from the organising CinéDOC team to address a sweet looking girl to ask her if she plays an instrument. No, she said. Would you like to? Yes. Which instruments? Piano... and violin. Oh, yes, films can inspire, also when you are seven year old.


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CinDOC Summer School in Gori

Written 31-07-2019 16:11:13 by Tue Steen Mller

CinDOC Summer School in Gori

It's too hot to be outside during the day, and the organisers of the CinéDOC Summer School know that. The brilliant team from CinéDOC has made the 15 participants (10 from Georgia, Armenia and Azerbadjan plus 5 students from Konrad Wolf Filmuniversität in Babelsberg Germany) meet 4 tutors (editors Albert Elings (Holland) and Dana Bunescu (Romania), cameraperson Merle Jothe (Germany) and myself from morning till evening, where we all go to the cinema, where the Cinédoc-Gori Mini Festival takes place. It opened last night with the sweet and charming "Transparent World" by Vakhtang Kuntsev-Gabashvili was shown. It won the Caucasus award at CinéDOC two years ago. I wrote an enthusiastic note on the film on that occasion - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4226/ and I enjoyed to watch the film again, Beka and his father making a film. Lovely!

The film programme also includes films for children - like "Dixieland" from Ukraine - and this year's winner at CinéDOC in Tbilisi, "The Disappearance of My Mother". Read more about it on

http://www.cinedoc-tbilisi.com/?lang=ge

And again a salute to the CinéDOC people, who organise regional screenings all over Georgia, very well organised with regional coordinators, it's film cultural policy!


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sergei Loznitsa: State Funeral

Written 26-07-2019 21:30:29 by Tue Steen Mller

Sergei Loznitsa: State Funeral

There he goes again, the master of dealing creatively with archive, Sergei Loznitsa. His new film, to be premiered at the Venice International Film Festival (August 28 – September 7), entitled ”State Funeral” is – I have copy-pasted from Screen Daily, link below for the whole article -

… about the “grandiose, terrifying and grotesque” spectacle of the funeral of Joseph Stalin.

It will be the latest of Loznitsa’s montage films based on archive footage following Blockade, Revue, The Event and The Trial…

“I have been working with footage which was shot between March 5-8, 1953 for a film called The Great Farewell by directors including Sergei Gerasimov and Ilya Kopalin,” Loznitsa explains. “But the film was banned after people in the Soviet government saw it and so it was never released. The film only appeared during the period of perestroika in the 1990s.”

Berlin-based Loznitsa worked with 100 reels of material he found in the Russian state archive, which includes footage of the four-day event in Berlin, Warsaw and Prague as well as the major Soviet cities.

“The film will follow the chronology of the four days – from the announcement of Stalin’s death to the funeral in the Red Square,“ Loznitsa explained. “I want to present audiences with the opportunity to be inside that time and feel it.

“My generation can now start to talk about this time because for previous generations like that of my parents, there are still the painful memories,“

https://www.screendaily.com/searchresults?qkeyword=loznitsa

Review of «The Trial»: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4393/

Review of “The Event”: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4148/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Luke Moody Leaves Sheffield Doc/Fest

Written 25-07-2019 19:03:51 by Tue Steen Mller

Luke Moody Leaves Sheffield Doc/Fest

In a very interesting article, written by Nick Bradshaw, in Sight & Sound, the head programmer of the Sheffield Doc/Fest Luke Moody reveals why he decided to leave the festival after 20 months as director of programming. Bradshaw writes about films shown in the programme films that are far away from the British television tradition, many films from Latin America…

Two years ago, on this site, in another interview, Moody explained what his vision was for the festival, link below. And now he says goodbye.

A couple of quotes from the article indicate why «… Such visions are hardly British broadcast television fare, and for Moody that’s reason to question the dominance on the Doc/Fest board of the British factual TV departments, who since the festival’s founding have increasingly retreated from international film co-production and turned to formatted entertainment. (The BFI also has one seat on the board; Moody counted it as an exception to his complaint.) “The only thing I hear from them is self-interest: ‘Where’s my commission?’,” he said when we met this year. “They’re not performing a job to take the festival forward and accept new partnerships or grow the festival, or support a programme that is progressive. They’re from a tradition that is a dinosaur – the likes of Netflix, Amazon, HBO and Hulu are far more progressive and will take their audiences…”

Quite som criticism… and he continues « … the day after the festival ended, Moody resigned from his role. “This festival needs to find a new vision and I’ve tried to bring that – for the programme to be international, and representative of a broader spectrum of what documentary and nonfiction can be,” he wrote to me. “But their anchor is the festival as it was 10, 20 years ago – putting forward colonial forms of filmmaking, annually offering and pressuring to include content only relevant to a domestic market and directed by white men over 40. The chimney needs sweeping before a fire can be lit…”

Colonial forms of filmmaking…!

Read the whole article, link below.

https://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/sight-sound-magazine/comment/festivals/sheffield-doc-fest-2019-film-programme-latin-american-outreach-luke-moody-resignation

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3951/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IceDocs Iceland Documentary Film Festival/2

Written 21-07-2019 17:22:01 by Tue Steen Mller

IceDocs Iceland Documentary Film Festival/2

From FB I copy who were the winners of the new documentary festival in Iceland:

In our closing screening we didn't only see a wonderful documentary, The Human Shelter (by Danish director Boris Bertram, ed.), but also gave awards to the winners of the festival. Here are the winners:

Shorts competition: All Inclusive (dir. Corina Schwingruber Ilić)
Mid-length competition: Haunted (dir. Christian Einshøj)
Main competition: Bruce Lee & the Outlaw (dir. Joost Vandebrug)
Mainland Special Mention: Honeyland (dir. Tamara Kotevska & Ljubo Stefanov)

Congratulations to all the winners - your films were simply stunning!

PHOTO from The Human Shelter, colleague Allan Berg reviewed it: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4223/ in Danish.


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IceDocs Iceland Documentary Film Festival

Written 21-07-2019 12:12:14 by Tue Steen Mller

IceDocs Iceland Documentary Film Festival

This is how the organisers introduce the festival:

Welcome to IceDocs!

“The first ever edition of Iceland Documentary Film Festival takes place in Akranes on 17th-21st of July 2019. Our mission is to introduce quality documentaries to local audience and visitors alike as well as connecting filmmakers and industry people from all over the world. The event will take place in the small and quaint industry town of Akranes, just 45 minutes outside of Reykjavik.”

According to good friend, Italian Claudia Tosi, whose film “I Had a Dream” was in the program, the festival was (from FB) ”an amazing experience”, that ends today with many sections and according to the films being there absolutely ”quality documentaries”.

44 films, at the festival, the following have been reviewed/written about on this site:

Animus Animalis - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4476/

Aquarela - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4408/

Home Games - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4258/

Honeyland - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4449/ (Photo)

How Big is the Galaxy - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4523/

I Had a Dream - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4389/

In Praise of Nothing - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4102/

http://icedocs.is


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Yamagata

Written 12-07-2019 17:54:16 by Tue Steen Mller

Yamagata

… in Japan hosts a bi-annual documentary film festival of high quality. I have previously – see http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/1684/ – praised the festival for its modest pr activity and seriousness. Old-fashioned some might say, I would say refreshing that in the middle of festivals with colourful promotion and many times repeat of ”we are the best” or ”we want to be the best”, there is a festival that stands out by taking a different low-key way, check for yourself, click the website below.

In the selection for the festival taking place October 10-17, you wil find films by Wang Bing, Frederick Wiseman and Anand Patwardhan, all big names but it warms my heart to see that the festival has fallen for “Cachada – The Opportunity”, the film by Marlén Viñayo from El Salvador, her first film, that won an award at DocsBarcelona and has earned many positive words from critics, including the one, who writes these words, link below.

The same goes for Anna Eborn’s “Transnistra”, also a young female director, who now takes big steps on the international scene. The film, shot on 16mm film, is a true auteur film, if you like, click below and read words that include the name Truffaut.

https://www.yidff.jp/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4540/ (Cachada)

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4475/ (Transnistra)


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DokuFest Announces Its Program

Written 08-07-2019 11:46:37 by Tue Steen Mller

DokuFest Announces Its Program

”More than 100 wonderful documentary films as well as a great array of short fictions and experimental cinema representing 40 countries, is what characterizes the film competition…”, are words from the press release sent out a couple of days ago by the festival in Prizren Kosovo, that takes place August 2-10. The artistic director of the festival, Veton Nurkollari, is a happy man:

“Bold and innovative, timely and important, is how I’d identify many of the films from this year’s competitions. “DokuFest continues its mission to bringing the best and the brightest in contemporary filmmaking to Kosovo and we are thrilled to welcome a number of first-time directors as well as many returning ones to the festival.”

There are no less than six competition sections: Balkan Dox, Intl. Dox and Feature & Shorts, Intl. Shorts, Human Rights Dox, Green Dox, National Competition.

Several of the films have been highlighted on this site, let me mention five of them:

Artemio Benki: Solo - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4542/

Reetta Huhtanen: Gods of Molenbeek - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4454/

Rachel Leah Jones & Philippe Bellaiche : Advocate http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4553/

Dina Naser: Tiny Souls - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4543/

Viktor Kossakovsky: Aquarela - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4408/

As usual, the festival in Prizren offers high quality – and I can add that the festival atmosphere is friendly and relaxed with much time to digest and discuss what you have seen.

https://dokufest.com/2019/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Ksenia Okhapkina: Immortal

Written 05-07-2019 16:11:50 by Tue Steen Mller

Ksenia Okhapkina: Immortal

This film had its world premiere at the Karlovy Vary Festival that ends tomorrow, July 6. It has had three screenings, and let me start this review of a film, that will conclude with the highest marks on this site by quoting the catalogue text of the festival:

” How do the mechanisms of political power directly influence the lives of a country’s inhabitants? In seeking an answer to this difficult question, this cinematic essay looks at everyday life in a small Russian industrial city, uncovering along the way how dangerous and furtive an all-permeating ideology can be.”

… saying that there is nothing wrong in the text, it is also about indoctrination and building up patriotism, but not about everyday life, the text is a simplification that makes you think that here comes another social documentary from Russia, one of the many that fills festival programs all over. No, this is Cinema far away from information and much closer to interpretation of human life through sound and image and editing and point of view. It is seldom that I see a film that so precisely invites you into a world conveyed via symbols and sequences that has a flow of scary beauty that hits your eyes. Russian Sergey Dvortsevoy once said that for him every image, every sequence must have energy – in Ksenia Okhapkina’s film this is the case. The film is a composition, you are linked to the film with your eyes and ears, it is brilliant.

It takes place in the area, where there used to be Gulag camps and where there now live people, where coal is transported in containers attached to trains in an Arctic landscape, where the ice is burnt away from the pavement and where kids are trained to use rifles, girls are doing ballet and march – 1,2,3,4 – and where a golden tree stands with appartment buildings in the background. Where pilot training is talked about in a museum of heroes, who died for the Fatherland. You have a focus on kids listening and watching a propaganda film, where we the audience hear the sentence “the path to immortality”. Hence the title. Where people are filmed like shadows from behind, they are anonymous individuals, who have given up… no let me refrain from my interpretations to avoid simplifications… in a film that has the total ambition to let the images and the sound speak for what you take from it. Don’t say it, show it! And yet the lonely snow-covered dog barking represents of course, what the director and her excellent crew of camerapersons and editors and sound people and composers want to tell the audience, bringing with extraordinary cinematic skills a tone and a point of view the film to a thematically existential level. As did Pirjo Honkasalo years ago with her “Three Rooms of Melancholy”. It’s in that category, wrote the overwhelmed Danish reviewer.

Estonia/Latvia, 2019, 60 mins.


Vurdering:

 
Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Laila Pakalnina: Spoon

Written 29-06-2019 18:23:05 by Tue Steen Mller

Laila Pakalnina: Spoon

… her 65 minutes long documentary has its premiere in Karlovy Vary tonight. The play- and colourful Latvian director is very busy on Facebook, where she for a long time has posted great photos, the last couple of days also from Karlovy Vary, where she is with her cinematographer. She is one of few veteran directors, who is always able to surprise the audience.

In an interview before the premiere at the festival’s documentary competition, the director said to ScreenDaily’s Laurence Boyce : « The first important thing to understand was not where to film but with whom to film. It was a very important decision to work with cinematographer Gints Berzins with whom I’d studied with at Moscow Film School (VGIK). We had created our common understanding about what film is and made many films together. »

… a guarantee for something special, which she already promised us at the Baltic Sea Docs pitch in 2017, where she showed stunning images created by Berzins and by the way also, as the show-woman she can be, threw plastic spoons to the panelists at the table. Berzins has also made several films with another Latvian director, Viesturs Kairiss, where the camerawork is far from mainstream.

« (the dialogue-free film is) a deceptively simple affair in which Pakalnina charts the creation of a meagre plastic spoon. But within this simplicity lies a nuanced commentary on both the wastefulness of human society and the magnificent spectacle of human endeavour. »

Looking forward to see the film on a big screen somewhere at a festival or in Riga in September ?


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Ex Oriente First Session 2019

Written 24-06-2019 21:56:05 by Tue Steen Mller

Ex Oriente First Session 2019

… with the subtitle ”Find Your Way – Vision – Space and Storytelling” here in Banská Stiavnoca in Slovakia – is going to its end. Two more program points, exiting both of them, and then a summing up tomorrow. First one: I have just listened to Bosnian director Alen Drljevic talk about his "Men don't Cry" that we saw yesterday, a fiction film with a documentary background on a group therapy session with former soldiers in the different armies during the Yugoslav war.  

I am writing this in the cinema, where I am to watch ”Forman vs. Forman”, a private screening for the Ex Oriente participants of the film by Jakub Hejna and Helena Trestikova, the film about Milos Forman that premiered in Cannes and has its Czech premiere at the upcoming Karlovy Vary Film Festival. I just saw a clip of the master, he will be on screen in half an hour...



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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