Filmkommentaren

DocsBarcelona 2018

Written 18-04-2018 14:34:56 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona 2018

DocsBarcelona has existed for more than 20 years. As an industry event, a market, where documentary projects are developed and pitched, where professionals meet to exchange ideas and push films further.

The DocsBarcelona as a festival, however, started small scale in 2007, getting growing to be what it is today with 40 films, competitions, an official Panorama section, a section called Latitude (”a selection of the best documentaries made in the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America”), a section called ”What the Doc” for ”the most radical and innovative films of the current documentary scene..” Plus special sections and Doc-U, films made by local universities.

The selection is great, hmm - I can say so as I took part. But having films in



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Visions du Rel Starts Tomorrow

Written 12-04-2018 13:21:10 by Tue Steen Mller

Visions du Rel Starts Tomorrow

… and seems to keep the high quality for ”auteur” documentaries that was the profile created by Luciano Barisone. The festival, in Nyon Switzerland, now with Emilie Bujès as artistic director, goes on until April 21, and announces on its website the following numbers: 174 films from 53 different countries, 78 world premieres, 23 international premieres, 2 European premieres, 42 Swiss premieres, 139 film directors attending the Festival. The last numbers are important… 139 out of 174, important!

There is a special focus on Serbia this year with 18 documentaries, including of course newer titles as ”Depth Two” by Ognjen Glavonic, ”In Praise of Nothing” by Boris Mitic, ”The Other Side of Everything” by Mila Turajlic, but also older ones like Dragan Nikolic’s ”The Caviar Connection” and ”Dragan Wende – West Berlin” by Dragan von Petrovic and Lena Müller, both of them important films.

Also to be mentioned: French Claire Simon is ”Maitre du Réel” with



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Frames i Aarhus

Written 03-04-2018 17:25:14 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Frames i Aarhus

Det her skrives på dansk for vi skal have folk i Aarhus og omegn i biografen, hvor de skal se baltiske film. Det foregår i kunstbiografen Øst for Paradis og det er ifølge arrangøren Det Danske Kulturinstitut i de baltiske lande ”(en) perlerække af rørende, morsomme og dybsindige film”, som er valgt ud, (også) for at lykønske de baltiske lande med 100-årsjubilæet. Endnu et citat: “For 100 år siden, i 1918, kunne Estland, Letland og Litauen for første gang erklære sig selvstændige stater. Filmfestivalen Baltic Frames 2018 er en dansk markering af dette vigtige jubilæum for tre lande, der de seneste 100 år har gennemlevet radikale omvæltninger. Et konstant element i de tre landes udvikling har været fornemme filmtraditioner, der også helt aktuelt fostrer medrivende og nyskabende produktioner.”

Det er sandt, hvad såvel Allan Berg og jeg, redaktører af filmkommentaren.dk har erfaret siden vi mødte baltiske film på Bornholm for 25 år siden på festivalen Balticum Film & TV Festival. Efterfulgt af ture til de dejlige lande.

Festivalen Baltic Frames åbnes på fredag 6. april med en af verdens bedste



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Martovski Festival Awards Andrijana Stojkovic

Written 03-04-2018 11:42:05 by Tue Steen Mller

Martovski Festival Awards Andrijana Stojkovic

Two days ago Martovski Festival = The March Festival, 65th edition = Belgrade Documentary and Short Film Festival gave the main award for Best Long Documentary to Andrijana Stojkovic for “Wongar”. If you click below you can read what I have written about this extraordinary film that had the director go to and fro the editing room for years. It was worthwhile and my hope is now that the film will have the festival life it deserves – and maybe one or two tv stations as well, if they dare celebrate a high quality creative documentary. Here is the English translation of the jury motivation:

Out of the thematically strong selection the jury decided to award the film that distinguished itself by its minimalism, modesty, wisdom, cinematic value and a purposeful and rounded film form. A film about a foreigner in a foreign country, who, after his life spent in recording and fighting for the voice and rights of those who are systematically abolished, is seen in the old age. Old age marked by attention and calmness devoted to the dingos with whom he lives, wild dogs in which he recognised and found his mysteriously missing family, wife and children.

By making a conscious decision the author Andrijana Stojković does not explain to us the film, does not impose an attitude and an opinion about her hero, does not use the medium as a platform to hold historical or moral lessons to the audience. The director decided only to show us - without external interventions - to hand us over the universe she deals with in the film. This she accomplishes with long, melancholic and static shots that carefully capture the details of that world, at the same time submerging us in its rhythm, rules and values.

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4137/

http://martovski.rs/en/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Film History/ France

Written 02-04-2018 19:30:44 by Tue Steen Mller

Film History/ France

From Ukraine to Paris where the festival ”L’Europe autour de l’Europe” with a program of European films took place from March 14 till yesterday April 1. A celebration of the author film it is, the film d’auteur, with hommages to masters like the actor Jean-Pierre Léaud, born in 1944 with an early debut in 1959 in the legendary new wave film by Francois Truffaut, ”Les Quatre Cent Coups”; Antoine Doinel he is and we met him again in that role in several films by Truffaut, who is said to have seen Léaud as his alter ego. Léaud has played in films by Jean-Luc Godard and Jacquette Rivette – you remember the masterpiece ”La Maman et la Putain”? – and in the festival in Paris, he is in the latest film by Catalan director Albert Serra, ”La Mort de Louis XIV”.

The festival is run by Irena Bilic, it is the 13th edition of an impressive festival that runs in 13 different Parisian cinemas, including a couple of cultural institutes and an American university’s ”Arts Arena”, where I had the pleasure of presenting Danish Phie Ambo’s ”When You Look Away”, that was very well received by an educated audience of primarily Americans living in Paris.

Bilic also celebrated the Baltic cinema. Lithuanian Audrius Stonys had put together a program of films by Jaak Kilmi from Estonia, Viesturs Kairiss from Latvia, Arunas Matelis and himself from Lithuania.

I was not there but the organisers told me that it had been quite difficult to draw an audience to the Baltic films, as it was for the films in the Prix Sauvage competition, 8 fictions films and 1 documentary. I was in the jury with fine people like Polish Rafael Lewandowski and Bulgarian Ralitza Petrova. We gave the award to ”Colo”, a beautiful film by Portuguese Teresa Villaverde. Our jury motivation goes like this: « For the humanity and deepness with which it treats its subject matter and for the precision of its formal choices, while always remaining sincere, the Prix Sauvage goes to Colo by Teresa Villaverde. »

www.evropafilmakt.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Civil Pitch Winners at Docudays

Written 30-03-2018 17:55:21 by Tue Steen Mller

Civil Pitch Winners at Docudays

I had the privilege to moderate the final pitch session of the Civil Pitch at Docudays festival in Kiev Ukraine. 8 projects were presented to a panel of documentary producers, festival people and distributors. Projects which were quite young but pretty much alive and kicking. Read what Roman Bondarchuk from the festival rightfully said:

“It’s incredible that these projects didn’t even exist as recently as two weeks ago. That filmmakers and activists exist each in their own worlds and rarely cross paths,” says Bondarchuk, a member of the competition jury. “And it is also incredible that for me personally some topics presented by the participants were absolute discoveries, and they made me want to engage these topics myself. In the end, although we have selected only four projects as winners, all of them had a great opportunity to meet renowned professionals of the European film industry and receive consultations about their projects.

I can only agree with him and hope that the film projects, most of them aiming at 20-25 minutes, will be realized. 4 of them will be helped by start money, each of the winning projects will receive $5,500. The funds for producing these short documentaries are



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Arunas Matelis Class with a Master

Written 29-03-2018 18:48:43 by Tue Steen Mller

Arunas Matelis  Class with a Master

Confession: I insisted to be the one to talk to Lithuanian Arunas Matelis in the class that the organisers of Docudays in Kiev had set up to celebrate the director and his work for the last 25 years with his short documentaries, his ”Before the Flight Back to the Earth” and the new one, ”Wonderful Losers”. As you can see from the photo he was also in the jury – one of them – of the festival, watching 6 Ukrainian feature documentaries and a short film program.

Insisting… as I have known Matelis since the beginning of the 1990’es where he with Audrius Stonys came to Bornholm to the Balticum Film & TV Festival as young talents impressing us all with their word-less visual poems, a word Matelis used at the class, where around 25 people attended – many more will have the chance to see what we talked about, when Docudays put the recorded talk online.

I put two short films into the program: ”Flight Over Lithuania” that he made with Stonys for an Expo Exhibition in 2000 and ”Ten minutes Before the Flight of Icarus” from 1990, a film that was shot just before the country, the beautiful country described in ”Flight Over…”, became independent.

Arunas Matelis is a man of reflection, a man who – now he does more than when I met him 25 years ago – does not like to talk about his films because words take away from the images, the visuals that he put so much emphasis on. I am in Paris now coming from Kiev this morning and I see with great pleasure that some of his films – as well some made by Audrius Stonys – are shown in the festival I attend, Festival des Films Autour de l’Europe. It is therefore more than appropiate to say that Arunas Matelis is un grand auteur. 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Docudays TV and Documentaries

Written 26-03-2018 22:27:05 by Tue Steen Mller

Docudays  TV and Documentaries

Angelina Kariakina from Hromadske (google it, interesting online channel) was the moderator and she did a good job, keeping the panel engaged:

Olga Zakharova from Media Group Ukraine that includes a big commercial tv channel, Ivan Bukreev from NLO TV channel, also a commercial channel and Kenan Aliyev from the Russian language TV channel (started in 2014) Current Time TV.

The questions for the three dealt with the possibility of matching the documentary film sector and its productions with television. The two Ukrainian channel representatives mentioned what they had done in terms of documentary broadcast, not a lot, but some series and the sentence ”our audience is not interested in documentaries” came back again and again; the audience go to our channel to get away from problems of social and political nature – words to that effect.

Whereas Kenan Aliyev told the audience that his channel buys into 100 documentaries per year, being an alternative to the official Russian tv channels, ”a project of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) in cooperation with the Voice of America” with a budget to be approved by the American Congress. We have to prove that we reach an audience, Aliyev said, being proud to say that the documentaries are more watched by his audience than the news.

Aliyev, based in Prague, has set up shorter documentary shows called ”Unknown Russia” and ”Unknown Ukraine”, and he has a slot called ”Real Cinema”, where Vitaly Manski presents the documentaries coming to the channel. The same Manski is now finishing a film, supported by Current Time TV, called ”Putin’s Witnesses” dealing with how Putin came to power. He showed a clip from the film and on the screen waiting to be shown as well, but there was no time for that, was ”Lida” (PHOTO) by Anna Eborn, bravo, a fine piece of creative documentary. I have met Aliyev several times now, in Riga for the Baltic Sea Docs, in Prague for the East Doc Platform and now here. He is very interested in collaboration with festivals. Good news in times where public broadcasters in Europe are cutting down, playing a minor role in support of documentaries.

docudays.ua/eng/2018/events


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Docudays: Looking for Lenin

Written 26-03-2018 07:01:04 by Tue Steen Mller

Docudays: Looking for Lenin

Up, up, up the slippery street Andriyivskyy Uzviz to the fine Triptych Gallery together with Da’rya Averchenko and Roman Bondarchuk to watch the exhibition ”Looking for Lenin”, Da’rya chose the photo to accompany the text: Gagarin, Stalin and Lenin watching television! And here comes a copy paste of a text from the website of the festival, more to be found via link below:

”Ukraine’s Leninfall is perhaps the most sensational of symbolic purges in the contemporary world, but not the only one. Swiss photojournalist Niels Ackermann and French journalist Sébastien Gobert travelled extensively across Ukraine in the wake of the Revolution of Dignity in search of the fragments of the crumbling Soviet past. Myroslava Hartmond, a contributor to their joint book of the same name, which was published in 2017, and managing director of the Triptych: Global Arts Workshop gallery in Kyiv, reflects on the importance of taking stock of fallen Lenins in the context of this year’s theme of equality. The project is supported by the Swiss Embassy in Ukraine and the Journées francophonie 2018 programme.

Niels Ackermann and Sébastien Gobert’s ‘Looking for Lenin’ is a snapshot of a country in crisis that captures Ukraine at war with its past, its Russian neighbour, and its identity. The series, which reveals the different fates of statues across the breadth of the country, had great success in the global media, became the basis of a book of the same name published in the UK and Switzerland, and has been exhibited in France, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Lebanon. All over the world, Ukrainian Lenin was cited as an example. Because this series resonated with the reassessment of the symbolic vocabulary of cities worldwide – the Rhodes Must Fall campaign in South Africa and the UK, the removal of Confederate monuments in the US, as well as heightened sensitivity to Belgian colonial statues…”

http://docudays.ua/eng/2018/news/docu-info/photo-exhibition/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Warscape Winner Work-in Progress

Written 26-03-2018 06:35:29 by Tue Steen Mller

Warscape Winner Work-in Progress

At Docudays 2017 the winner of the Warscape competition was a film project with Valeriya Treshchova as the director. A film about herself living in Kiev with her father and mother living in Donetsk. In other words, in the war zone. When she pitched the project, she had very little material, first and foremost some skype conversations with her father, who suffered from amnesia. I am writing this in the past as her father passed away a couple of months ago. This is how the director presented the film a year ago:

“This film is a "message about hopelessness”. Hopelessness of war will be shown through the story of my father, whom I knew totally different before this war. Now I learn to show my feelings and to forgive, because ‘tomorrow’ can never occur. The war reminds us about it every second. My dad is trying to regain his life, being trapped into double isolation between his lost memory and new uneasy reality of his hometown”.

I was invited to attend a rough cut screening at the festival the other day together with representatives from the Red Cross, who has supported the film as has the festival, and the teacher of young Treshchova, acclaimed Ukrainian director Sergey Bukovsky. The screening was hosted by Darya Bassel from the festival.

What we saw was very promising. The film, right now with the working title ”Double Trap”, portrays the father in a beautiful way, a charismatic smiling man with a daughter, who goes back home to mum and dad, to a place, where there is reason to be scared. The father enjoys his music, Jethro Tull, John Mayall etc., takes his daughter to his childhood’s school, does the dishes in the kitchen, sits there and gets his pills from his wife, remembers back in time but has no comments to the war going on, which could be the reason for his amnesia. Bukovsky told us about the family archive that could be part of the film as well, bringing back a time where reality was quite different. The ambition is to make a feature documentary.

Look out for this film, representatives for autumn doc festivals.


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Last Men in Aleppo..in Kiev

Written 25-03-2018 21:31:03 by Tue Steen Mller

Last Men in Aleppo..in Kiev

I have just come back from giving an introduction to a screening of "Last Men in Aleppo", written and directed by Feras Fayyad, produced by Kareem Abeed and Søren Steen Jespersen Larm Film Denmark, co-directed by Steen Johannessen. A screening in Ukraine Cinema in Kiev within the program of the Docudays ua festival. Full house = close to 500 people in the cinema. Most of them young people. The reason for me giving this introduction was that the Danish ambassador could not be present - I did not mind saying some few words about the film that is winning awards all over = meaning, much more important, that it is shown globally. And I passed some words about my personal experience being in Damascus for the DoxBox documentary festival until it had to stop in 2011, alas. The director of the festival, Orwa Nyrabia, is now appointed director of IDFA festival Amsterdam! There IS an audience for documentaries, also in Kiev at the Docudays festival, I have attended three screenings with full houses and one with 300 spectators, Arunas Matelis, "Wonderful Losers", this afternoon. It's all very professionally organised. More will follow, and on behalf of the Embassy of Denmark and Danish documentary it's nice to see not only "Last Men in Aleppo" but also "Distant Barking of Dogs" by Simon Lereng Wilmont, "Lida" by Anna Eborn and "Bobbi Jene" by Elvira Lind.

http://docudays.ua/eng


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX 2018/ 12 Days

Written 25-03-2018 09:50:06 by Sara Thelle

CPH:DOX 2018/ 12 Days

RAYMOND DEPARDON: 12 DAYS

Wow – Raymond Depardon’s latest film 12 Days made a deep impression. It is simple, powerful, sober and precise.

In France, a citizen who is involuntarily committed to psychiatric treatment has, within 12 days, the right to have his case overlooked by a judge, and it is this meeting between the patient, the mental health system and the system of justice Depardon examines in his documentary.

The film opens up with the camera moving slowly through the empty corridors of the closed ward of a psychiatric hospital ending up in front of the locked door, immediately installing the claustrophobic sense of being deprived of one’s freedom. It sounds like a cliché as I write it, but in the film it’s an important and very powerful scene.

When we are in the small court room with the patient, his or her lawyer and the judge, every case opens up to poignant, universal and fundamental questions of ethical, societal and political order.

No one is being judged or demonized and there are no easy answers, but the imbalance of power within the system is clearly visible.

How do you oppose when authority has decided what is “in your interest”? Are the lines blurred between incarceration and forceful psychiatric commitments? Is the system reacting adequately when there are children involved? Why medicalization and not psychotherapy? What if symptoms of work harassment are mistaken for a psychiatric diagnosis of the individual? Should you have the right to decide whether you want to live or not? These questions are put forward by the psychiatric patients themselves who, in their own words and in a language so different from that of the medical and jurisdictional officials, arguments clearly and rationally.



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Categories: Cinema, Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocuDays Kiev Ukraine: Equality/ 2

Written 24-03-2018 10:39:26 by Tue Steen Mller

DocuDays Kiev Ukraine: Equality/ 2

Look at the photo, an elderly couple studying the program waiting for the opening of the 15th edition of DocuDays UA. My wife, Ellen, and I have been here several times, the hospitality is always warm and generous and the program, 62 films this year and masterclasses, pitchings, photo exhibitions, you can not have any objections to. For the first time there is a special competition for Ukrainian feature films, 6 of them, I will try to watch as many as possible. The opening included great live music to accompany trailers for the many sections, good speeches around the theme of equality, again, alas, all of us standing up with yellow papers saying "Free Oleg Sentsov", and the very obvious choice of an opening film "A Woman Captured" by Hungarian Bernadett Tuza-Ritter. With a fine Q&A afterwards. The opening took place at the new Zhovten Cinema that has - hope I am right - 4 cinema halls and meeting places. The festival people are committed, they have something to say about their country and the world and human rights. And Bravo again to Sweden that is the main sponsor of the festival. And it is not pocket money! The sun is shining outside Hotel Rus where I am right now waiting for the day program to start. I'll be back with reports and reviews.

http://docudays.org.ua/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Awards at CPH:DOX

Written 24-03-2018 09:57:56 by Tue Steen Mller

Awards at CPH:DOX

The winner of Dox:Award 2018 is ‘The Raft’ ( PHOTO) by the Swedish director Marcus Lindeen, which tells the story of one of the strangest social experiments of all times - told by those who took part in it.

The jury states:

“The winner of the DOX:AWARD 2018 is a film about an endless curiosity for the world and the characters who try to survive in it. Its great accomplishment lies in the equal measure of conceptual and emotional elements in the construction, in which feelings and emotions get literally elevated. Two very different forms are intertwined and merge surprisingly well: we see love, companionship and stamina triumph over darker sides of human behavior. We applaud the director for his stamina to continue working on this extensive and complex project until it reached a form where it looks deceptively effortless to the innocent eye. This jury is not innocent but we were nevertheless captivated and very moved by this film.

The jury perceives the film as a unique record of time and



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX 2018/ Dreaming Murakami

Written 21-03-2018 09:09:13 by Mikkel Stolt

CPH:DOX 2018/ Dreaming Murakami

NITESH ANJAAN: DREAMING MURAKAMI

As a writer and film maker who is quite interested in (and even feel an affinity for) the Japanese author Haruki Murakami, I felt almost obliged to be disappointed and a bit bitter after watching this film. I just knew that about myself because I’m petty and jealous.

But lo and behold: I found that this is a good film and that you should see it.

The film discreetly and knowingly follows Danish translator, Mette Holm, and her work on one of Murakami’s first novels (first published in Denmark last year). At the same time an alternative world is introduced in different ways. Most prominently by a giant frog (inspired by the Murakami-story “Super-Frog Saves Tokyo” from the collection “After the Quake”) and for instance more subtly by adding another moon in a couple of scenes (inspired by the three-volume novel “1Q84”).

It actually works surprisingly elegant due to very convincing VFX. As we follow Holm, her thoughts and her talks with colleagues in a somewhat “normal” documentary style and therefore are forced to activate our cognitive skills, we are also introduced to that special other-world, which is so prominent – but feels truly “natural” – in his novels. So not only are we getting closer to the work of the translator (I actually prefer Holm’s translations and has stopped reading him in English), we are also getting a sense of the special characteristics of the authorship.



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Categories: Cinema, Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX 2018/ Giants

Written 20-03-2018 12:55:38 by Tue Steen Mller

CPH:DOX 2018/ Giants

ALEXANDER RYNÉUS, MALLA GRAPENGIESSER, PER BIFROST: GIANTS AND THE MORNING AFTER

I saw a clip of this Swedish documentary in Malmø at the DocIncubator presentation of new projects in connection with the Nordisk Panorama. Promising it was and I was not disappointed, when I saw the final result, a warm and beautifully shot documentary from the small community Ydre; quite right decision of the organisers to put the film in the main competition of CPH:DOX.

There he is, Sven-Inge, the mayor who welcomes new citizens to Ydre by going to the parents and the baby with a small welcome gift for the latter – encouraging the parents to continue to make babies in a town suffering from depopulation. Around 3000 they are but there is a slight increase, which makes the old white-bearded man happy. You see him often in the film studying the population statistics, when he is not taking part in the many activities that the film crew has caught so well during filming over several seasons.

And there are other characters of importance – the owner of the



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Doker Moscow Russia

Written 19-03-2018 10:50:57 by Tue Steen Mller

Doker Moscow Russia

In a break of the Danish television 3 hour long coverage of the re-election of President Putin - instead of falling asleep - I checked facebook and saw that the organisers of the independent documentary festival in Moscow had chosen the opening film, Polish Marta Prus ”Over the Limit”, for festival that runs April 12-17. A fine choice of course – the film is excellent and the characters are Russian.

I have since the first edition of the festival been a fan of what Irina Shatalova and Nastia Tarasova, and their team, have set up. This is the fourth edition and it includes a main competition of feature docs, a short film competition, docs for kids, masterclasses, discussions.

Other films in the main competition are ”A Woman Captured” by Hungarian Bernadett Tuza-Ritter (shown these days at CPH:DOX and is the opening film on friday 23rd at DocuDays in Kiev), the touching Dutch film ”Alicia” by Maasja Ooms, the equally moving Belorussian film about women in prison, ”Debut” by Anastasiya Miroshnichenko and French Emmanuel Gras Congo-film ”Makala”. 14 films are shown in the main competition.

High quality, a focus on how people live around the world.

https://www.midff.com/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX 2018/ Exit

Written 16-03-2018 10:45:41 by Allan Berg Nielsen

CPH:DOX 2018/ Exit

KAREN WINTHER: EXIT

"How do you get out of the closed and often violent milieu among extremists without risking your life? Norwegian filmmaker Karen Winther has taken the journey herself. With her past as a right-wing extremist, she visits other defectors in the United States, Germany and Denmark, where she meets the former Danish left-wing activist Søren Lerche and the Frenchman David, who spent six years in prison as an accomplice in a terrorist attack in France. Jihadis, Nazis and violent Antifas: All the people whom Winther meets on her journey have broken with their past and are now living with the consequences. 'Exit' is an exploratory firsthand account about de-radicalisation and about the tough exit which leaves those involved looking back and asking the same question: Why me? The excitement and the clear sense of identity as a rebel and as a part of a group on a mission are among the obvious answers. But the truth is often more complex, and what they most often have in common is regretting the bitter mistakes of the past." (CPH:DOX programme)

KOMMENTAR

Det er en beslutsom films beslutsomme slutscene. Manuel har skåret igennem sin tøven og har pakket det nødvendigste og er på flugt med sit barn til et nyt hemmeligt sted, fordi de tidligere venner i organisationen har fundet ham. Han er igen på flugt i sit eget land, i Tyskland, han er nødt til at beskytte barnet og sig selv. Jeg har ved gennem 80 minutter at være med Karen Winther på hendes gentagne møder lært ham at kende, og er med hende og hendes film faktisk kommet til at holde af ham, dette voldelige og fredelige menneske.

Det er en rigtig god film, det er en aldeles vedkommende og sober tv-dokumentar, en tilbageskuende jeg-fortælling i filmens nutid med en undersøgelsesrejse efter lignende fortællinger og samtaler med vigtige velformulerede vidner som denne de-radikaliserede mand. Alt skildret i et ordentligt og tvivlende og tænkende journalistisk essays form. Filmen er beregnet til tv, tror jeg, og den vil bestemt kunne findes på tv den kommende tid, men jeg vil lige så bestemt anbefale at se den i en biografs mørke koncentration nu det, er vil jeg igen tro, enestående muligt. Der er meget at lytte intenst til, fine nuancer i sjældne formuleringer at opfatte og vende og dreje i billedsidens vignetters korte hvile. Mine fordomme om moralsk og politisk radikalisering er blevet grundigt rystet.

Karen Winther: Exit, Norge, 2018, 83 min. Præsenteres på CPH:DOX 2018, som har visninger tirsdag, torsdag og følgende søndag: https://cphdox.dk/program/film/?id=571 (Datoer, tider, steder, billetter)


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Categories: Cinema, TV, Festival

CPH:DOX 2018/ Lost Warrior

Written 14-03-2018 13:48:28 by Allan Berg Nielsen

CPH:DOX 2018/ Lost Warrior

NASIB FARAH OG SØREN STEEN JESPERSEN: LOST WARRIOR

Mohammed was just three years old when he was sent away from Somalia without his parents to a better life in England. As a teenager in London he got involved in crime and ended up in prison where he became radicalised. As a 19-year-old he was extradited to Somalia, where he landed straight in the arms of the terrorist organisation Al-Shabab. But when Mohammed finds out that Al-Shabab is not a liberation movement, but kills innocent people, he decides to flee. As a 23-year old he is living undercover in Mogadishu in the hopes of hiding from Al-Shabab. Here, he meets Fathi who was born in London, but sent to Somalia to be 'reeducated'. They get married and when Fathi returns home to London she is pregnant with their child. 'Lost Warrior' follows the young couple's attempt to be united as a family and to create a future for themselves and their son, Yassir. But Fathi and Mohammed are caught in the global politics of the day. Where to go? And what are his options now? They are also caught in their own culture, where the demands to maintain traditional and religious patterns is not at all consistent with being a young person in a modern world.

KOMMENTAR

Jamen det er jo en kærlighedshistorie og den fortælles sådan. Der er forhindringer, politiske, juridiske, administrative, kulturelle, familiemæssige, og i denne umulighed er der alligevel korte løsninger og øjeblikke af mulig lykke, i en scene snakker de tæt sammen om farverne på europæiske pas, og i den smukkeste scene forsøger han at placere et øresmykke med sine fumlende hænder så nær hendes ansigt og hvisker genert undskyldende: det er min første gang. Det er regulært spændende og det er meget ungt. Der er de to og der er deres barn, som både er sammenhængskraften og udmattelsen. Fortællingen begynder midt i det hele og slutter der, fortællingen er en række kapitler i de tres dannelseshistorier kombineret til en familiehistorie. Hele tiden i to byer, i to verdener, i to kulturer, hvor de tre er én historisk fremspirende kultur, dannet i det nye moderne, det nye modernes unge familie, som er bundet i det globale, men med en længsel mod det nye lokale sted.

Det er et stærkt hold, som fortæller den historie: filmen åbner i fotografisk skønhed, et vidunderligt gadebillede med mange filmhistoriske mindelser om stedet for handlingen med det samme roligt defineret, fortsætter i lutter regelbundet billedskønhed med lange scener på række, alle med Henrik Bohn Ipsens tydelige signatur, vel at mærke ikke påskrevet, men indarbejdet sammen med Anita Hopland. Et filmfotografisk mesterværk.

Filmoptagelsernes fortælling skrider roligt og omhyggeligt frem i klart afgrænsede scener, som alle holder deres intensitet til sekundet før de dør og så bringes videre i en ligesom umærkelig intens, stadigt stigende spænding, et drama af overblik og ro, endnu et klippekunstnerisk mesterværk af Steen Johannessen.



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Categories: Cinema, Festival

CPH:DOX 2018/ The Cleaners

Written 11-03-2018 11:25:31 by Allan Berg Nielsen

CPH:DOX 2018/ The Cleaners

HANS BLOCK OG MORITZ RIESEWIECK: THE CLEANERS

”What responsibility do Facebook, Google and YouTube have for what is being posted on their sites? And what power do they have to shape the public discourse through censorship? Two questions that are currently preoccupying legislators and politicians. But who are the people who actually try to keep the internet clean? Meet five Filipino 'content moderators' who have the unrewarding job of keeping social media free from offensive content, but who also work full-time in a legal and ethical grey zone between freedom of expression, censorship and commercial interests. 'The Cleaners' brings us into the underworld of the internet, where the debates are already raging. 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube and 2.5 million posts created on Facebook. Every minute. Every day. And the media giants' influence on everything from presidential elections to the number of likes for one's status updates is now so enormous that legislation can no longer ignore it.” (CPH:DOX programme)

KOMMENTAR

Han her på et still fra dokumentaren er content moderator, han er anonym, men dog ikke sløret som et andet mere forsigtigt vidne. Han er fra Manila, han arbejder der i et firma, der næsten som et almindeligt rengøringsfirma tilbyder de store på nettet som Facebook og You Tube og dem en smule nedefter i almægtighed at fjerne brugernes snavs fra deres sider beregnet til social medieaktivitet i det vældige og ufattelige betydningsfelt mellem frie ytringer og utallige økonomiske, politiske og moralske begrænsninger og hensyn. Utugtige billeder, frygtelige billeder, falske nyheder, politiske spamangreb og visse uacceptable gruppers agitation: Ignore or delete. Simpelthen skelne mellem ondt og godt, som en af hans kolleger fra arbejdsboksen ved siden af i firmaets værksted udtrykker det. Man kan, synes jeg, se Hans Blocks og Moritz Riesewiecks dokumentar alene for de filminspirerede afsnit med ham og hans kollegers skyld.



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

East Doc Forum 2018

Written 10-03-2018 19:14:22 by Tue Steen Mller

East Doc Forum 2018

Huge cinema for the highlight of the East Doc Platform 2018. After masterclasses, presentations, individual meetings at the market, receptions – all held in the good atmosphere that the IDF (Institute for Documentary Film) is so good in creating, and has been doing since the start of this century – it was show time for 24 projects, many of them coming from the 3 week long development programme EO, Ex Oriente.

The two main tutors of EO, Finnish Iikka Vehkalahti and Danish Mikael Opstrup, were again the presenters of the projects, an enjoyable and easy job for the two football aficionados, who maybe suffered a bit after having seen Tottenham lose to Juventus at ”our” Indian restaurant ”The Londoners”!

On the 8th of March, International Women’s Day, Vehkalahti welcomed the first pitching team, Polish



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

The Winning Projects at EDP in Prague

Written 10-03-2018 19:04:23 by Tue Steen Mller

The Winning Projects at EDP in Prague

- EDP standing for East Documentary Platform.

Photo: The Last Relic (d. Marianna Kaat (to the left), p. Dorota Roszkowska) and Angels of Sinjar. Yazidis - 21st Century Genocide (d. Hanna Polak, p. Simone Baumann (to the right). Photo: Michal Hančovský.

East Doc Platform Award
 The Last Relic - Marianna Kaat Producers: Marianna Kaat, Dorota Roszkowska Production companies: Baltic Film Production (Estonia), Arkana Studio (Poland)

HBO Europe Award 
Angels of Sinjar. Yazidis - 21st Century Genocide - Hanna PolakProducers: Hanna Polak, Simone Baumann Production companies: Hanna Polak Films (Poland), Saxonia Entertainment GmbH (Germany)

Czech TV Co-production Award
 Angels of Sinjar. Yazidis - 21st Century Genocide

The Current Time TV Award
 Holy Culture! - Ksenia GapchenkoProducer: Maria Chuprinskaya Production company: Ethnofund (Russia) 

The Place of Love - Liuba Ziamtsova
Producer: Maria Yahorava 
Production company: Illusion Film Company (Belarus)

Golden Funnel
 Amoosed! - Hana Nováková 
Producer: Kateřina Traburová 
Production company: GURU Film (Czech Republic)

IDFA Forum 
Journey to the End of the Night - Ksenia Elyan Producers: Max Tuula, Maria Gavrilova, Alexander Rastorguev Production company: Marx Film (Estonia)

Speed Meetings at DocsBarcelona
 Wishing on a Star - Peter Kerekes
Producers: Erica Barbiani, Ralph Weiser, Peter Kerekes, Petra Oplatková
Production companies: Videomante (Italy), Mischief Films (Austria), Artcam Films (Czech Republic), Peter Kerekes Film (Slovakia)

DOK Leipzig Co-Pro Meetings Lessons of Love - Malgorzata Goliszewska, Katarzyna Mateja 
Producer: Anna Stylinska 
Production company: Warsaw Film Center (Poland) 

DOK Preview Presentation
 Hacking Friendship - Oleksiy Radynski Producer: Lyuba Knorozok Production company: Lyuba Knorozok (Poland) 

Sheffield Doc/Fest Award
 In the Name of Allah - Francesco MontagnerProducer: Pavla Janoušková Kubečková Production companies: nutprodukceFAMU Prague (Czech Republic) 

If/Then Short Pitch Award
 Blackandwhite - Zoe Eluned Aiano, Anna BennerProducers: Linda Dedkova, Martin HůlovecProduction company: Punk Film (Czech Republic)


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Modern Times Review Spring 2018

Written 10-03-2018 17:28:00 by Tue Steen Mller

Modern Times Review Spring 2018

… with the subtitle ”The European Documentary and Non-fiction Magazine” is out with its 3rd printed version, and let me start with a strong promotion of what is ridiculously cheap, 28€ per year:

”A yearly subscription gives you the spring and fall issues of Modern Times Review, full access to all (soon 1000 articles from the last 20 years) online articles, and the monthly documentary screenings.”

I met the chief-editor Norwegian Truls Lie in Prague the other day, where he brought the magazine to the big documentary community attending the East Doc Platform and the One World Festival. He told me that this spring issue of the magazine comes out with a focus on films that are being shown at the festivals in Thessaloniki, Prague, Oslo, Copenhagen, Nyon, Krakow. Within the 24 pages there are small interviews with the festival directors of the mentioned festivals to give you an idea of where their focus lies. It’s nice and informative.

Otherwise - and most important – the quality of the reviews and articles are high. Let me mention two excellent writers, Nick Holdsworth and Neil Young. The first has an impressive analysis of the controversial Czech documentary ”The White World According to Daliborek” (PHOTO) by Vit Klusak, the latter, Neil Young, gets a whole page to write a beautiful article on short films based on his visit to the International Film Festival Rotterdam. ”Short documentaries has a capacity to dazzle and delight”, he writes and reviews in details two Ukrainian short films, Tobias Zielony’s ”Maskirova” and Anna Jermolaewas ”Leninopad”. It is a scoop that Lie has Neil Young to write about shorts in the magazine. I am sure many readers know Young from his (long) documentary reviews in Hollywood Reporter… And he gets around, Neil Young, who told me that he was at 28 festivals last year. Gosh!!!

Again a big Bravo to Truls Lie for continuing what was done with the DOX Magazine. A tribute to the documentary genre. SUBSCRIBE!  

www.moderntimes.review


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EDN Award to DOC Lab Poland

Written 07-03-2018 17:57:00 by Tue Steen Mller

EDN Award to DOC Lab Poland

Adam Ślesicki and Katarzyna Ślesicka receive the 2018 EDN Award for their work in establishing and running DOC LAB POLAND, which is the largest and most multi-faceted program for documentary filmmakers organized in Poland for Polish projects. The initiative supports auteur-driven creative documentary filmmaking and features a comprehensive program for the development of film projects. In addition to development support, DOC LAB POLAND also connects the European documentary industry to the Polish documentary scene, thereby making the strong creative tradition of Polish documentary more widely known and accessible.

With regards to the selection of DOC LAB POLAND for the 2018 EDN Award, EDN Director Paul Pauwels states: “In times where national authorities and state structures seem to care less about freedom of expression, democratic values and creative artists, it is essential that we have initiatives fighting for the rightful existence of the documentary genre as an artistic expression and cornerstone of our democratic society. It is important to have organisations that create European collaborations and bridges to other national industries, especially in times where political structures tend to focus more on national preferences. I therefore believe it is a logical step to recognize DOC LAB POLAND through the EDN Award 2018 for their outstanding contribution to the European documentary culture".

The award was presented to Adam Ślesicki at The EDN Award ceremony on March 6, 2018 during the Docs in Thessaloniki pitching forum organized by EDN in the framework of the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival – Images of the 21st Century.

Photo: Adam Slesicki right, Ove Jensen EDN left.

www.edn.dk


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

New Resistance..in the streets of Prague

Written 07-03-2018 17:40:15 by Tue Steen Mller

New Resistance..in the streets of Prague

There was not a lot of power in the panel discussion at the Institut Francais yesterday where a panel discussion was held with good people like Estonian Max Tuula, Bulgarian Vesela Kazakova, Kenan Aliyev from Current Time TV, local hero Filip Remunda and Polish Konrad Szolajski. They gave each one of them a brief on what kind of stir their controversial films had given, the censorship they had met - it has all been written about on this site if you search the names mentioned. And of course, as said by Aliyev, investigative journalism is dangerous right now, referring to the murder of the Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak and his partner.



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Czech Docs Coming Soon

Written 07-03-2018 11:26:50 by Tue Steen Mller

Czech Docs Coming Soon

We had to put it as the last film to be presented, ”In Mosul” by war photographer and cinematographer Jana Andert, who for 8 months was following the battle of Mosul with Golden Division, an elite Iraq squad. Jan Macola, who produced Mira Janek’s ”Normal Autistic Film”. With Tonicka Jankova as the editor the plan is to make a 70 minutes long documentary out of the 15 hours material, Jana Andert brought home. The 10 minutes presented at the Czech Docs… Coming Soon session at the Cervantes Institute here in Prague was very hard to watch: corpses, crying mothers, a small child heavily injured, explosions, constant tension. After the films from Aleppo and Homs here is another horror story from the crazy world we live in.

5 films were presented, four of them in post-production, one in



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

East Doc Calls for New Resistance

Written 06-03-2018 12:25:36 by Tue Steen Mller

East Doc Calls for New Resistance

I am in Prague for the East Doc Platform, organised by Institute of Documentary Film. It is as always a very welcoming and generous tribute to the documentary, where projects are being presented and discussed – and parallel the festival One World has started. In other words Prague is full of professionals within the documentary community and many viewers are expected – as usual – for the festival.

On the East Doc Platform catalogue and on posters (see photo) the text goes like this: ”New Resistance: Critical filmmaking is a risky business. Keep your brain safe!” This afternoon there will be a discussion on this theme, I will be there and come back to you with a report. In the panel is Estonian Max Tuula, Bulgarian Vesela Kazakova, Kenan Aliyev from Current Time TV, local hero Filip Remunda, Polish Konrad Szolajski. All people who have been involved in films, which have raised hard discussions.

What was the ”Old Resistance”, I asked one of the organisers, 1989 Tue, of course, and what about the 1968… Also that but you know what happened… and what happens now, where the President is very positive towards Russia and the communists are in government!

https://dokweb.net/cs/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Thessaloniki Doc Festival 20 Years

Written 06-03-2018 11:38:17 by Tue Steen Mller

Thessaloniki Doc Festival 20 Years

Oh, really… The documentary film festival in Thessaloniki has existed for 20 years! I remember with pleasure, during my time at the EDN (European Documentary Network) the collaboration we had with the founder of the festival Dimitri Eipides. A man with a big heart for the artistic documentary and for films that deal with human rights.

And it is an equal pleasure to see how alive and professional the EDN Docs in Thessaloniki is, the development and pitching session. And the occasion for giving out the yearly EDN Award – actually that happens today. Name tomorrow.

The festival ha of course an international competition section, it has tributes to Agnès Varda and to Véréna Paravel & Lucien Castaing-Taylor, who gave us the innovative masterpiece "Leviathan". And like at every doc festival right now discussions about human rights are being held after screenings. In Thessaloniki after the film "The Cleaners". 

Third pleasure is that there is a special tribute to commissioning editor Madeleine Avramoussis from arte with a screening of the Greek documentary success, "Dolphin Man". Madeleine, with Greek roots, has always supported the festival and Docs in Thessaloniki - I have so many good memories, as moderator of pitching session, of Madeleine being a sharp and constructive critical voice in the panel.

http://www2.filmfestival.gr/en

http://edn.network/activities/edn-activities-2018/docs-in-thessaloniki-2018/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX 2018/ A Year of Hope

Written 05-03-2018 13:22:36 by Allan Berg Nielsen

CPH:DOX 2018/ A Year of Hope

MIKALA KROGH: A YEAR OF HOPE

“A year with 20 children and youths from Manila, who must find a path back into life after a harsh existence on the streets of the Philippine megalopolis, is it possible to change the lives of abused street children and give them hope for the future?

The Stairway programme makes an attempt in the Philippine capital, Manila, where they give twenty vulnerable street children one year away from the slum. One year in the name of hope – and one year with a bed to sleep in, proper food and a schooling process that aims to bring them back to life after the severe sexual assaults they have all endured and reacted to very differently. 13-year-old Justin's greatest wish is to become a true ladyboy, and 15-year-old Pablo has forgotten how to smile after witnessing his family being killed.

Mikala Krogh is there during the whole year in her latest film, which gives images and voices to the most vulnerable youths in a society where every third child is sexually abused, and where thousands of children live alone on the streets. A both gripping, politically urgent and cinematically refined film about how you can actually make a difference for some of them.” (CPH-DOX programme)

KOMMENTAR

Mikala Krogh er på dette still med sit kamera på det daglige arbejde blandt sine medvirkende, de 20 gadedrenge fra Manila på et års rehabilitering og deres lærere på Stairway skolen langt væk fra storbyen på en stille ø syd for. Hun er i gang med gennem et år på dette sted at fotografere sine skildringer af begivenheder, som bredt illustrerer skolens arrangementer, et af filmens enkle og klart definerede lag. Her er drengene vist i gang med et keglespil mellem dagens undervisnings lektioner og samtaleterapi møder, hvor kameraet er med mange gange. Det er som hos etnografernes og socialantropologerne et feltarbejde med deltagerobservation og Mikala Krogh solidariserer sig ved at leve med sin familie på stedet så drengene må opleve et forbillede, en fungerende far, mor og børn familie.



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Awards at ZagrebDox

Written 04-03-2018 14:32:08 by Tue Steen Mller

Awards at ZagrebDox

Finally I get the chance to bring to you a still from one of my favourite scenes in ”The Other Side of Everything” by Mila Turajlic: Srbijanka Turajlic, the mother of the director and the protagonist, is polishing the silver in the flat, where it all takes place. It warms my heart that the Serbian film, winner of main award at IDFA, yesterday got three (!) awards at ZagrebDox: Best film in regional competition, the Fipresci Award and the Audience Award + eight screenings at the festival. Let me give you the motivation texts from the two first ones, two different ways to approach the film it is:



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DocuDays Kiev Ukraine: Equality

Written 28-02-2018 21:40:12 by Tue Steen Mller

DocuDays Kiev Ukraine: Equality

Every year the festival in Kiev picks a theme that is reflected upon in the festival programme – and at the opening of the festival that has always been a fest in itself… This year – according to the organisation committe, as it is put – ”the topic of equality is related to many social problems and challenges. Human dignity, freedom, justice and equality are the values which underpin the concept of human rights.

Meanwhile, the value of equality is accepted by only a half of the population of Ukraine. So equality requires action by human rights advocates. This year, we would like to talk about what equality is and how we can profess it in our everyday lives. What is it, anyway — an abstract, intellectual concept or a practical value, which can help us achieve respect, harmony and security?...

This statement is visually interpreted in a festival symbol, see photo:

…This time, our festival poster is a labyrinth. An optical illusion made of high-rise buildings with attached balconies, omnipresent parking lots and squads of armed men in black — they appeared on our streets recently, it is unclear whom they report to, and they carry their own special ideas about equality.

It is a metaphor of insanity which we are descending into, because we do not stick to the value of equality. First of all, equality before the law. We resist changes and modernisation. We paint an arch in rainbow colors and then, scared of who-knows-what, repaint it back in gray. We worship makeshift structures with crosses, which used to be tents, but year by year they petrify and expand in length and width. We worship an iron woman with a sword. As a symbol of simple female happiness.

The concept of equality is multifaceted, and we invite you to the festival journey to look, compare, discuss, and try to understand how to build life, city, our country, how to search for an exit from the labyrinth…

http://docudays.org.ua/eng/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocuDays in Kiev Ukraine

Written 28-02-2018 21:27:58 by Tue Steen Mller

DocuDays in Kiev Ukraine

… is a festival that I like a lot – because of its atmosphere, its dedication to what is going on in the world, its always innovative set-up, and critical approach to its own country and its social and political conditions - and because of the people, who stand behind the festival with a good nose for good films. I will be there again this year: March 23 is the opening.

The content of this year’s film programme has been revealed step by step. For the first time there will be an Ukrainian feature length competition, DOCU/UKRAINE, with 6 films, there is a DOCU/WORLD with 12 films and a DOCU/SHORT with 12 films as well. Not to forget, not in competition as the sections mentioned, DOCU/BEST with 5 films ”about struggle”. About that the following great text is taken from the website of the festival, written by one of the brave women of the festival, Viktoriya Leshchenko:

”Birth, struggle, death, rebirth are the climax points for each human being who resists, who fights, who never gives up, who is ready to smile in the face of the predetermined hopelessness. The media world whispers: we are masters of our own fate, and as soon as you start to believe in success, the hard shell of circumstances will give in under the pressure of social media calls. Let us now dive into a less popular truth about how courage is the only life measure. Kierkegaardian courage, with which every protagonist of these films accepts their challenges every moment, deserves admiring attention. This year, let us focus our eyes on the Philippines, Ukraine, Congo, Aleppo and Tel Aviv, on the places where people constantly meet challenges regardless of their sex, gender, status and the documentary filmmaker who records their difficult struggle.”

The five are ”Delta” (PHOTO) by Oleksandr Techynskyi, ”Bobbi Jene” by Elvira Lind, ”Makala” by Emmanuel Gras, ”Last Men in Aleppo” by Feras Fayyad and ”Motherland” by Ramona S. Diaz. More on

http://docudays.org.ua/eng/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Wonderful Losers and DocuDays UA

Written 28-02-2018 21:00:10 by Tue Steen Mller

Wonderful Losers and DocuDays UA

From wintercold Copenhagen it looks good - the documentary community performs well in many corners of the world. Facebook and newspapers bring back news from the Berlinale, where a hybrid doc/fiction, Romanian "Touch me Not" takes the Golden Bear, ZagrebDox has opened with Marta Prus fine "Over the Limit", veteran festival in Paris Cinema du Réel has announced its program (we will get back to that), here on www.filmkommentaren.dk we have covered intensely the Docs&Talks festival, soon Copenhagen will be filled with CPH:DOX documentaries, the Oscars are close, the Americans - shame on you - will not let in the Syrian producer and a main protagonist from "Last Men in Aleppo"...

Let's stop for a moment in Lithuania that celebrates its 100 year right now, where dear friend Arunas Matelis has his "Wonderful Losers-a Different World" running in cinemas. I was in contact with him and he told me that the film has an attendance of 9000 viewers, quite a lot for a documentary and quite a lot for a small country - he hopes, he says to me in a mail from Dublin, where the film has been shown these days, to reach around 12000. The film has found its place in commercial cinemas and Matelis is a master in promotion. Look at the photo of one of his protagonists, Danish Chris Anker Sørensen, who is carried around in the streets of Vilnius.

Arunas Matelis will at the end of this month be in Kiev for the DocuDays festival that starts March 23 and includes a retrospective of Matelis film - "Before the Flight Back the Earth", the bicycle films and a collection of his great short films. More about the festival above.


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Marie Wilke: Aggregat

Written 28-02-2018 12:41:50 by Tue Steen Mller

Marie Wilke: Aggregat

REVIEW WRITTEN BY GEORG ZELLER

„Democracy. Ever heard about?“ asks the guide to the visitors of the German parliament. They have. But through little role plays and corny jokes, they are taught in a more practical way how the MP’s job influences the German society.

And the viewer of Marie Wilke’s AGGREGAT - shown at the Berlinale’s Forum section - learns how democracy works in times of political disenchantment and the reign of populism. According to her documentary, the key is the intense work of single individuals who don’t get tired of doing little steps on an everyday basis.

Wilke’s sober observations show politicians participating in workshops where they learn to reply to racist arguments, journalists who elaborate how to reach their target with the message they want to propagate,  members of regional parliaments trying to create personal contact to the population, or the political institutions opening their doors to the public in order to counterargument populist convictions.

Similar to her earlier work „Staatsdiener“ (Civil Servants, 2015), Wilke doesn’t add any kind of direct comment to her mostly rigid observational images. Strong and long black frames lead from one scene or situation to another and Alexander Gheorghiu’s camera often leaves important elements of the scene deliberately outside the frame, the viewer understands it anyway. With this stylistic approach, there is some strong resemblance to the works of one of Wilke’s teachers, Harun Farocki. But differently from many of his films, she doesn’t present her protagonists as small cogs in the machine of capitalism, but actually underlines their pro-active role in the shaping of society.  And doing so, the film even touches the viewer in a strong emotional way: leading from desperation when facing nationalist masses shouting foamy slogans, to some sort of hope, for example when a politician with Senegalese roots convinces a journalist, that being German and being member of a leading political party, he doesn’t identify himself as a minority.

Germany, 2018, 92 mins.


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Docs & Talks/ 8

Written 22-02-2018 13:16:12 by Tue Steen Mller

Docs & Talks/ 8

ALICE DIOP: ON CALL

Monsieur Mamadou Diallo. Doctor Geeraert calls for the next patient at the Avicenne Hospital in Bobigny. The patient comes into the small consultation room, where he sits for hours listening to the migrants, who come to get help, migrants without papers.

Mamadou Diallo is in pain. He is from Guinea and has been beaten up by the military. Thats all we get to know about his story and we dont need more. He has stitches in his head, he has chest and back pains, he has no place to sleep, no support.

Doctor Geeraert helps him, as he helps all the other patients, who enter the small room, where there is always a psychologist or a social worker present as well. And the camera is there to look at the patients or at the doctor, and sometimes with a cut to the third person in the room.

Its a brave film. The director has made her aesthetic choice. She invites us viewers to look at faces for 90 minutes. She stays in the room. She does not interfere.

Faces from countries outside France - Guinea, Sri Lanka, South Africa and many others appear on the screen. Faces of pain, eyes without hope,silent cries for help. Or the face of the doctor, who does what he can: making certificates that state whats wrong with the patient, giving them advice where to go for turther help and first of all making prescriptions for pills that can make them sleep, or antidepressants, or painkillers, or appointments for x-rays. Sometimes a patient walks with the psychologist to a room next door for a more intimate talk.

Bureaucracy yes indeed, doctor Geeraert does indeed look at the patients but actually his eyes are focused more at the keyboard of his computer to get his paperwork done. This is an important part of the sound design of the film.

The man on the photo is from Sri Lanka, his English is pretty bad, he knows few words, and his French is non-existent. But visits to the cosultation room are important for him and one day he brings a gift to the doctor and his assistant: the Eiffel Tower!

Also monsieur Mamadou Diallo comes regularly to the doctor. The last time we see him, he brings good news - he has been given asylum status. Oh, what a wonderful scene it is as you can sense the happiness of the doctor - you are now a free man. Yes, but he has still a strong headache, his family is in Guinea and he has nowhere to sleep. But he can now get welfare support. And he puts on a big smile, you get the feeling that he does so because the doctor is happy!

The film puts itself in the fine tradition of French observational cinema and makes you think about Raymond Depardon and of course Frederick Wiseman or the films made by Arne Bro and Anne Wivel in Denmark.

As a Docs & Talks event the film was followed by a panel debate, which mostly was too general in its approach - it was good that Maja Lvbjerg Hansen was there, she is a lawyer and gave the debate a bit power by explaining about the many, many different groups of migrants she has met - and by saying that the political discussion on beggars in Denmark was based on a lie: There are the same amount of beggars in Denmark today as there was in 2001. We look at migrants without work as criminals, she said. The bureaucracy we see in the film, we have the same. I was with a Romanian at International House to have her registered, she as sent from one to the next, and said that this reminded her of Ceaucescu times back home And it seems like the French system is better that ours - they can direct the migrants to other offices for eventual help. We can not do so.

France, 2016, 90 mins.


Categories: Cinema, Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Docs & Talks/ 7

Written 22-02-2018 09:57:38 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Docs & Talks/ 7

DIEUDO HAMADI: MAMA COLONEL / MAMAN COLONELLE

How do you ensure law, order and justice in a country that is deeply marked by decades of war and conflict? This award-winning Congolese documentary follows police officer Honorine Munyole, called Mama Colonel, a widow and mother of four. She fights an tireless struggle for women and children in a society where the police are facing cases of rape, witchcraft and child abuse - and where the men bear the visible scars after the war and are therefore seen as the primary victims. The film is a Danish premiere:

THUR 22/02 TO-DAY ! 16:30

Maman colonelle / Dieudo Hamadi, 2017, 72 min. / Eng. subtitles / 122 min. incl. debate. Postdoc at DIIS Peer Schouten and Professor at the Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala Maria Eriksson Baaz talk about their field work in DR Congo and discuss the challenges of building civilian institutions in a war-torn country. The debate is in English. (Docs & Talks programme)

KOMMENTAR

Det mishandlede barn har scenen der det fattige sted, hvor politichefen Honorine Munyole med sine folk er kommet til stede for at gribe ind, redde børn og kvinder fra vold og vanrøgt. Hun udspørger barnet, som står i en gruppe naboer, andre børn og tilskuere, og barnet fortæller sin forfærdende historie. Og så er det kameraet ser tåren begynde at pible frem og glide ned ad kinden og blive til én mere, blive til flere, og kameraet holder fast, og barnet fortæller, giver sig ikke hen i gråden, mærker den ikke, fornemmer ikke fugten i øjet, på kinden.



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Categories: Cinema, Festival, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Docs & Talks/ 6

Written 21-02-2018 12:20:55 by Tue Steen Mller

Docs & Talks/ 6

ZANBO ZHANG: THE ROAD

It worked very well: The screening of the Chinese film followed by a talk with a good panel and an interested audience. There was full house in the cinema last night at Cinemateket in Copenhagen for the opening of the festival, that continues in the coming days.

For three years the director had followed the construction of a highway in the Hunan province – a highway that was opened in 2013. As one of the panelists, third from right on the photo, Yang Jiang, who works at DIIS (Danish Institute for International Studies) said, ”it’s a thriller and a dark comedy”, a very precise characterisation of a film that puts its focus on the people involved in the building; those who had to move from their house – the locals – those who work their – the laborers – and those who fight to get recompensation for their lost work because of assaults from hired gangsters – the fighters. The locals, the laborers, the fighters, this is how the film is chaptered, a film that has many layers and many protagonists. Mr. Meng is the man from the



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH: DOX 2018/ 20 Films

Written 17-02-2018 16:04:03 by Tue Steen Mller

CPH: DOX 2018/ 20 Films

I went for the link (see post below) that presents the programme titel-wise a-z to give you 20 recommendations, could easily have been more. Allan Berg and I will review and report when we get closer to the festival that starts in a month, March 15:

Raymond Depardon: 12 Days. RD is one of the classical socially committed French documentarians.

13, a Ludodrama about Walter Benjamin. Have no idea about this film, no director is mentioned but this made me interested: Seven years in the life of one of the 20th century's greatest thinkers, while Europe slowly falls apart around him. An adventurous essay in the spirit of Benjamin.

Bernadett Tuza-Ritter: A Woman Captured. http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4093/

Mikala Krogh: A Year of Hope

Extraordinary interpretation of the life situation of homeless children in the Philippines.



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX 2018/ Intro

Written 17-02-2018 14:48:25 by Tue Steen Mller

CPH:DOX 2018/ Intro

Well, how can I introduce the 15th edition of CPH:DOX that takes place March 15-25, with a programme that was launched yesterday? It’s impossible to give you the full picture of such a huge event, an hommage to the documentary genre.

The best for you is of course to make you check it yourself on one of the links below… More than 200 films with more than 100 being premieres with visiting directors. And an industry section with information on a forum for projects to be pitched, another forum dedicated to science documentaries, a conference on film related themes, training, the doc-lab, VR etc. etc.

It is overwhelming, you can spend a lot of time surfing on the internet links offered to you to try to find out where and what to do!

Profile? The best to get closer to that is maybe to quote the loglines for each of the competition programmes:

DOX:AWARD is our international main competition for the best and brighest in contemporary filmmaking. The F:ACT Award is dedicated to auteur filmmaking in the field between research-based, investigative journalism, activism and cinema. The Nordic:Dox Award is a selection of the best and brightest in cinema from the Nordic countries.

The New:Vision Award is dedicated to artists’ films in the field between documentary and visual art. Take a walk on the wild side! Our brand new Next:Wave Award is dedicated to emerging filmmakers with the courage to take chances.

Films nominated for the Politiken Audience Award in support of artistic freedom.

It’s difficult to disagree with what is in bold – auteur filmmaking, thanks for putting these words in to give a historical perspective and stress the personal and that documentary is an art form.

https://cphdox.dk/en/

https://cphdox.dk/en/programme/program-a-z/

https://cphdox.dk/en/competitions-2018/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Veronika Kaserer: berall Wo Wir Sind

Written 15-02-2018 11:39:04 by Tue Steen Mller

Veronika Kaserer: berall Wo Wir Sind

- with the English title “Everywhere We Are” has this catalogue description:

Heiko, 29, is a fun-loving dance teacher from Berlin. For the past seven years he has battled with a fatal illness. Just when his family and his friends had begun to get used to Heiko’s continued survival in spite of all the prognoses, he receives the diagnosis that he does not have much longer to live. He decides to return to his parents’ house to die. But even now, Heiko and especially his father, Jürgen, refuse to give up hoping for a miracle. His mother, Karin, on the other hand tries to prepare him for what is to come. She would like to tell her son about her own near-death experience but can’t seem to find the right moment. Day and night, so many of Heiko’s friends and relatives come to the house to spend time at his bedside, wanting to be near him again, to cry, but also to laugh together. Heiko’s sister preoccupies herself with the organisational side of things and tries to hold up by keeping her distance. The ways in which all of these people cope with loss and grief are as diverse as they are.

Screenings 21st and 25th of February as part of Perspective Deutsches Kino

Germany, 2018, 92 mins.

www.berlinale.de


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Zalmanson-Kuznetsov:Operation Wedding

Written 14-02-2018 14:04:42 by Tue Steen Mller

Zalmanson-Kuznetsov:Operation Wedding

Master of documentary film Herz Frank made in 1989 “There were Seven Simeons”, a film that deals with a famous jazz family, who during Soviet time hijacked a plane to get out of the USSR.

They were not the only ones as shows the fine first film of Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov, “Operation Wedding”. The director tells the dramatic story about her parents, who were part of a group of Russian Jews who planned to kidnap a plane and get out of the USSR. From Leningrad. In 1970. They were arrested before getting into the plane, the parents were sentenced to be sent to Siberia (the mother) and the father got death penalty.

The daughter/director tells the story by talking to them in their homes in Israel and by going with the mother to Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, and to the disgusting prison in Riga, where she was before being sent to the Gulag.

Archive material are introduced that reveal how international protests freed them - Golda Meir played an important role in an exchange deal with the Soviets - and - very interesting - there are clips from recent Russian propaganda tv shows, where the parents and the other members of the group are characterised as “terrorists”. The last of these "documentary fairy tales" as the father calls them was made in 2010.

The film is emotionally strong first of all because of the mother whereas the charismatic father is the one who comes up with the sarchastic analytical comments, while he is pouring another good glass of vodka.    

The film will be screened as Documentary of the Month at
the Cinemateket in Copenhagen February 20 - March 2. In a
collaboration with Copenhagen Jewish Film Festival.

Israel, Latvia, 2016, 63 mins.

www.dfi.dk


Vurdering:

 
Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Docs & Talks /5

Written 12-02-2018 10:56:18 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Docs & Talks /5

PABLO IRABURU OG MIGUELTXO MOLINA: WALLS

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 raised hopes of a world with no more concrete borders dividing populations. But today we see the exact opposite, and walls have been erected all over the world to set the boundaries between poverty and prosperity. On the U.S.-Mexican border, we meet a Vietnam vet placing crosses where Mexicans lost their lives trying to find a better life. On the other side, a Mexican couple is waiting for the right moment to attempt a climb over. A sentry patrols the banks of the Limpopo River along the border of Zimbabwe and South Africa, where many refugees drown trying to cross. At the Moroccan-Spanish border, we see a woman carrying huge packages on her back. The border scenes flow effortlessly into one another. Directors Pablo Iraburu and Migueltxo Molina add new meaning by placing the tableaux in split-screen compositions such as a Mexican tunnel placed beneath an African baobab. Meanwhile, a voice-over explaining the situation in Mexico accompanies scenes from the Moroccan border. The countless partitions all over the world form a universal problem. (Docs & Talks’ programme)

KOMMENTAR

Jeg har disse dage når jeg fulgte den flittige lancering af arrangementerne i Docs & Talks festivalen været så mærkelig optaget af dette still med de to unge ved hegnet, tænkt over det, hver gang jeg så det. Jeg havde ikke egentlig ondt af dem, for deres gensidige energi og målrettethed så jeg eller digtede jeg, var jeg i hvert fald sikker på. De forblev mine udtryksfulde og sikre helte.



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Categories: Cinema, Festival, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

ZagrebDox 2018 Program Ready

Written 08-02-2018 18:06:04 by Tue Steen Mller

ZagrebDox 2018 Program Ready

It’s the 14th edition of ZagrebDox that starts in the Croatian capital February 25th to run until March 4. And it is as usual well edited, the best of the best for the audience, with an international and a regional competition, and under the umbrella “Official Program” biographies, music documentaries, “happy dox” (seven this year out of 125 films!) and a masters program with films by Claude Lanzmann (“Napalm”, that I have not seen), Alex Gibney (“No Stone Unturned”, not seen), Joe Berlinger (“Intent to Destroy”, seen, good), Erik Gandini (“The Rebel Surgeon”, good, but is Gandini a master, sorry!) and Frederick Wiseman’s masterpiece “Ex Libris - the New York Public Library” - Wiseman who recently published that all his films will be available through an online service. Bravo! More sections can be discovered on the fine website of the festival that provides you with trailers to watch.

1386 films came in for consideration, 125 were taken, 21 of them for the



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Docs & Talks /4

Written 04-02-2018 17:00:06 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Docs & Talks /4

VIVIANE CANDAS: ALGÉRIE DU POSSIBLE / A POSSIBLE ALGERIA

French director Viviane Candas grew up in Algiers, where her father, the lawyer and anti-colonialist Yves Mathieu, worked for the Algerian government after the country’s independence in 1962. Following eight years of war against France, one of the most brutal in colonial history, the reconstruction of Algeria was a political experiment striving to create a fair and equal society, notably through extensive land and school reforms. Yves Mathieu died under mysterious circumstances in a car accident in 1966, shortly after Ben Bella’s revolutionary regime had been overthrown by a military coup. Guided by her personal story and through the superb editing of rare archive material and recently recorded interviews with key figures, Candas introduces us to the unique moment of Algerian history just after the revolution.

Senior researcher at DIIS Rasmus Alenius Boserup introduces us to the subject before the film, and after the screening, the director and he will discuss the significance that French colonial history has had and still has for both Algeria and France even today – and they will talk about the role the Algerian revolution played at the time. This is the film’s Danish premiere. The debate is in English. Tickets: 95/65 kr. The event is supported by the Institut français. (Docs & Talks’ programme)

Algérie du possible / Viviane Candas, 2016 / eng. subtitles / SUN 25/02 14:00 / Cinemateket, Copenhagen

KOMMENTAR

Filmen bygger på stemmen, filminstruktørens egen stemme. Den fortæller historien. Det kan jeg altid godt lide, det er reelt, det er litterært, tæt på skrift, tættere end en ren billedside. Og Viviane Candas stemme gør mig tryg og lyttende selv om, hvad den fortæller mig er forfærdende. Dernæst bygger hendes film på arkivmaterialet, en sjælden samling historiske optagelser klippet sammen med et privat arkiv. Det kan jeg også næsten altid godt lide, i hvert fald, når det er poetisk konstruktion som her og ikke et formidlende pensum. I Candas’ værk er det selve forbindelsen mellem verdenshistorie, Algeriets historie, Frankrigs historie og undertitlens Yves Mathieus biografi. Han var Viviane Candas’ far, fransk som hun, men dybt forbundet med Algeriet i landets skæbnetime. I titlens og undertitlens indhold ligger filmens fortælling, og i modstillingen samfund / nation / folk og person dens ekstistentielle drama, dens identitetsovervejelse. Endelig bygger filmværket på Candas’ enestående følsomt ærlige interviews med nogle få af fortællingens nøglepersoner, som i den litterære ånd mere er søgende samtaler end faktuelle spørgsmål/svar scener. De er lavet helt uensartede, og de vidner om en langvarig indsamling af filmens optagelser, som kædes sammen af vignetter fra researchrejserne i en rekonstruktion, som har en fast billedmæssig ensartethed, som et eftertankens hvilerum. Men mærkeligt nok gør det dem ikke til filmens, fortællingens nu. Det gør Candas’ fortællestemme, og det gør de medvirkende, som fører ordet i interviewscenernes samvær, samtaler hvor instruktørens stemme oftest er klippet fra, men mærkeligt er hun meget til stede. Det bliver til mit møde med disse mennesker, og mødet med en gammel Ahmet Ben-Bella er et emotionelt chok. Her er filmværkets nu, her er selveste verdenshistorien til stede i denne skrøbelige krop, som taler om sig selv som socialist. I dag, nu…



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Categories: Cinema, Festival

Docs & Talks/ 3

Written 03-02-2018 18:04:11 by Tue Steen Mller

Docs & Talks/ 3

DYLAN BANK, DANIEL DiMAURO, MORGAN PEHME: GET ME ROGER STONE

MARC EBERHARDT: MEUTHEN’S PARTY

There are still some weeks before the kick-off of Docs & Talks but I have had the chance to watch two of the films, that will be shown at the festival accompanied by talks. They are both on politics of today. In the US and in Germany.

One – ”Get Me Roger Stone” -  with a debate before, in English, where one of the participants is the competent Niels Bjerre Poulsen, who is often on Danish television to talk Trump. It’s on the 21st.

The other – ”Meuthens Party” – where the debate is in Danish after the film: Seniorforsker ved DIIS Cecilie Stokholm Banke og forfatter og journalist på Weekendavisen Jesper Vind debatterer baggrunden for højrefløjens fremgang i Tyskland og resten af Europa og forsøger at give svaret på, hvorfor flere af højrepartierne er plaget af fløjkrige, efter de har etableret sig. It’s on the 22nd.

”Get me Roger Stone” (100 mins.) is not only a portrait of the flamboyant dandy, who for decades have ”made” presidents like



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sergei Loznitsa to Receive Award in Krakow/ 1

Written 02-02-2018 17:32:03 by Tue Steen Mller

Sergei Loznitsa to Receive Award in Krakow/ 1

A press release came in from Krakow Film Festival two days ago. Here comes the essence of it, followed by a post of some references, we have made to films of a very productive and excellent director of short and long documentary and fiction films:

This year, the Krakow Film Foundation Programme Council decided to honour the eminent director of documentary films, Sergei Loznitsa, with the Dragon of Dragon award in recognition of his exceptional contribution to the development of the international cinema. The 21st laureate of this prestigious award is at the same time the youngest winner of the award in history… big names like Jonas Mekas, Werner Herzog, Marcel Lozinski, Albert Maysles are among previous winners as are Priit Pärn, the Quay Brothers, Jerzy Kucia and Paul Driessen – remember that the festival is also the place for artistic animation films.

The President of the Programme Council, the film critic and film theorist, Prof. Tadeusz Lubelski, gave three main reasons for the nomination: "First, the consistent, extremely original and fruitful explorations of the form. Loznitsa created his own style of documentary film, resulting from patience and distance to the world, based on long shots and brilliant soundtrack. Kracauer would have had an insoluble problem with his works, because this is the cinema of pure recording, at the same time completely created. And the end result tends to be worthy of the dramas by Beckett.

Secondly, Loznitsa as a film-maker is an inquisitive and unyielding explorer of Russia. He discovers the weight of its past (often bringing archival tapes to life), but also its unique, sometimes shocking present. To this aim serve him the explorations of the documentary film's form, though he often uses them also in feature films, such as the recent brilliant film "A Gentle Creature." Thirdly, this is a film-maker who is connected with our festival since the very beginnings of his artistic work, that is, for over twenty years. So we can almost view this director - born in Baranavichy, educated in Kiev, residing in Germany for many years – as a film-maker from Krakow."

http://www.kff.com.pl


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sergei Loznitsa to Receive Award in Krakow/ 2

Written 02-02-2018 17:26:32 by Tue Steen Mller

Sergei Loznitsa to Receive Award in Krakow/ 2

… and here are some quotes from Loznitsa films, we have been writing about on filmkommentaren. It’s very few, only documentaries. If you want to see the full filmography go to Loznitsa’s own website, link below.

The Event (2015) - … Loznitsa is not in Moscow in this film, he is in Leningrad and gives me exceptional material from what happened in the streets and the squares, that I love so much today, where people gathered to try to understand what is going on in 1991. +  he gives me the legendary mayor Sobchak and his impressive speeches, “the sea of faces” listening to him, the USSR flag being substituted by the Russian, the slogans used like “fascism will not prevail”, bring the “coup gang to justice” and the name of Yeltsin shouted again and again. Fascinating…

Maidan (2014) - He is distantly observing and not involved (not meaning that he does not have a point of view, indeed he has), he makes the viewer observe and have the eyes go around his images, that are like paintings, as the jury stated in their motivation for giving an honorary award to the film (in Leipzig, ed.). Several long shots included the singing of the Ukrainian anthem, where you let your eyes wander within the frame, as was it a work by Brueghel! Unique moments they are.

My personal favourite is ”Blockade” (2005) about the 900 days siege of Leningrad during WW2. Will watch again and write…

Austerlitz (2017) - Loznitsa´s construction of the sound score is a superb alliance to the black & white images, where there is no camera movement and where every frame is precise and full of meaning in its composition. Back to the sound… it goes on my nerves when I am confronted with the sound of steps of all the tourists, who are visiting the camps – after visiting several, Loznitsa decided to concentrate on Dachau and Sachsenhausen – in their almost naked summer dress with their smart phones clicking all the time, their audioguides linked to the ear, and their selfie-photo-taking.

http://loznitsa.com/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Magnificent7 Gets Support

Written 01-02-2018 17:51:23 by Tue Steen Mller

Magnificent7 Gets Support

Iva Plemic Divjak, one of the many Serbian film people helping to set up the festival has made this English summing up for me and you readers, of the article in blic.rs of today

Members of the Independent Cultural Scene Association of Serbia - ‪NKSS is giving their full support to the ‪Festival "7 veličanstvenih" / Magnificent 7 Festival and are protesting against the decision of the Sava Centre to go full blown commercial and to withdraw from the partnership with the festival after 13 extremely successful years. They are giving an example of one of the Magnificent7 guests, the great German Kral, being astonished by the impressive audience in the full Sava center for the screening of "Un tango mas"... The punch line is the nature of Sava centre's sources of financing (quote): "We'd like to remind you of the fact that Sava centre, being a public institution, is partially financed from the budget of its founder - the City of Belgrade. As stated in the SC's business program, this subvention in 2018 amounts to 43.000.000 Dinars (362.870EUR), while the subvention they are receiving from the Serbian Ministry of Culture is 5.000.000 Dinars (42.190EUR)."

The picture is from the first edition’s first film in the festival in 2005, Thomas Riedelsheimer’s “Touch The Sound”.


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Docs & Talks/ 2

Written 31-01-2018 20:12:47 by Tue Steen Mller

Docs & Talks/ 2

Bravo! It’s quite a festival that the Danish Cinemateket and the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) presents in the Film House in Copenhagen. And yet it is not “only” a festival with high quality documentaries from all over, it is ALSO a so-called event, where screenings of the films are followed by Talks. Connected to international themes of today, inviting us viewers to go deeper via films and discussions than we are used to through the daily news… These were the words welcoming the new festival on this site last year in February. We posted 12 texts about the festival last year and we intend to cover it again through pre-talk, reviews and visits to some of the screenings. Our experience with the festival was very positive, so welcome back - and for those who are not in Copenhagen, follow the program, might give you inspiration to do the same.

12 is a good number - there are 12 films in the program, a couple of them have been reviewed on this site, actually recommended, those are “Mogadishu Soldier” and “Convictions”.

About “Mogadishu Soldier" I wrote: ...Taken from no fewer than 523 tapes,



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Docs & Talks /1

Written 31-01-2018 11:44:29 by Allan Berg Nielsen

 Docs & Talks /1

Docs & Talks 2018 / Film- og forskningsdage 20.-25. februar + 27. februar

I 12 + 3 filmarrangementer kombinerer festivalen Docs & Talks dokumentarfilm med forskningsformidling og debat. 20.-25. februar i Cinemateket i København og 27. februar i Øst for Paradis i Aarhus.

ARRANGØRERNE AF DOCS & TALKS SKRIVER I INDBYDELSEN:

"Hvad sker der, når to soldater i den upopulære fredsbevarende FN-styrke i Somalia får til opgave at filme deres egen hverdag? Hvordan oplever almindelige mennesker Kinas gigantiske infrastrukturprojekter over alt i verden? Og hvordan skildrer man russisk nationalisme gennem en historie om militærnægtere?

Svarene kan du få, når Dansk Institut for Internationale Studier (DIIS) og Cinemateket endnu en gang byder velkommen til DOCS & TALKS – Film- og Forskningsdage fra 20. til 25. februar i København og 27. februar i Aarhus. I en række tankevækkende arrangementer kombinerer vi dokumentarfilm med forskningsformidling og debat.



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Categories: Cinema, Festival

Protest from Magnificent7 Festival Belgrade

Written 30-01-2018 21:02:46 by Tue Steen Mller

Protest from Magnificent7 Festival Belgrade

Dear audience, dear friends of the Festival,

After thirteen magnificent years of the Festival’s continuous growth in quality, after its extraordinary contributions to the Belgrade, Serbian and European cultural landscape, the Festival has faced insurmountable difficulties. These difficulties have unfortunately nothing to do with our will or actions; yet, in such circumstances, the Festival has to find a way to exist in another time and another place – which, we believe and hope, will be the spring of this year.

Since the very beginning and the first Festival in 2005, we had an agreement with Sava Center about a joint organization of the Festival. Throughout the years, this cooperation was very successful, fueled by mutual trust and enthusiasm. We are deeply grateful to all those at Sava Center who persisted with us year after year and who invested their best efforts in helping the Festival take place under the best possible conditions and in the best possible way. When Sava Center celebrated its 40th birthday in 2017, we received recognition for “an extraordinary cooperation and special personal contribution to the affirmation of Sava Center.”

Before signing a new contract for 2018, we were notified, to our great surprise, by the administrative department of Sava Center that all future forms of such cooperation were terminated. The argument claimed that the current situation required Sava Center to begin running its operations exclusively on commercial grounds. This in turn meant the cancellation of the agreement about the co-organization of the Festival.

The Festival was thus given the status of any other commercial client overnight – along with the offer to use Sava Center upon paying very high rental prices. The General Director of Sava Center denied any form of communication or dialogue; his response was one of ignoring, which resulted in resounding silence.

Due to lack of means to accept such conditions – but also due to lack of will, since we strongly believe that the commodification of culture inevitably leads to its destruction – we publicly protest such treatment of the Festival and refuse to allow money and profit to have priority over more important human values and needs.

Encouraged by your loyalty and enthusiasm, we are not giving up the Festival that we have made for you and with you. Just like in the past years, we are ready to fight for the superb beauty, the magic of film, and for the values that this unique anthology of modern documentary – The Magnificent 7 Film Festival – brings together.

We will notify you in a timely manner about further developments.

Belgrade, January 19, 2018.

Festival Directors
Svetlana and Zoran Popović



Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Orwa Nyrabia Artistic Director of IDFA

Written 30-01-2018 10:08:33 by Tue Steen Mller

Orwa Nyrabia Artistic Director of IDFA

Orwa Nyrabia (1977) is the new artistic director of IDFA. Nyrabia, who was born in Syria, is well-known in the documentary world as a producer, festival director, curator and mentor.

Nyrabia started his career as an actor and journalist. In 2004, he started producing independent documentary films, including successful titles such as Return to Homs (which opened IDFA 2013 and was an award-winner at Sundance Film Festival) and Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait (Cannes 2014). 

In 2008, Nyrabia and his partner Diana el-Jeiroudi set up the first documentary festival in Syria, DOX BOX, bringing renowned filmmakers such as D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, Patricio Guzmán and Nicolas Philibert to Damascus. To focus attention on the violation of human rights in his country, in March 2012 and 2013 he organised with his team a Global Day for Syria, with Syrian films being screened in cities around the world.

In 2012, Nyrabia was arrested in Damascus for his political



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Phie Ambo Retrospective at DocPoint

Written 19-01-2018 22:36:40 by Tue Steen Mller

Phie Ambo Retrospective at DocPoint

The Helsinki Documentary Film Festival DocPoint takes place January 29 to February 4. It is as usual a festival that picks the best of the best and of course has a focus on new Finnish documentaries.

But allow us to put on a Danish perspective and salute that the festival had decided to set up a retrospective with Danish director Phie Ambo. DocPoint will screen one of her short films, Songs from the Soil, and five features: Gambler, Mechanical Love, Free the Mind, Good Things Await, …When You Look Away.

Ambo will do a seminar at the festival. I have heard her talk many times, I can assure you it will be good.

We have been writing about/reviewing the films of Ambo since this site was set up. In November 2007, the year we started, I wrote this: … Phie Ambo is one of the most obvious talents in new Danish documentary film. She showed great observational skills in her last film "Gambler" about the filmmaker Nikolaj Refn Winding (the "Pusher" trilogy), skills she is also using in her "Mechanical Love", which is primarily about the robot research and fabrication done in Japan.

And in September 2017, Allan Berg wrote this – in Danish – about ”… when you look Away” (PHOTO) that he found was the best Danish documentary in 2017: … Phie Ambos vidunderlige film træffer mig øjeblikkelig, mens jeg er uforberedt åben et meget personligt ellers næsten glemt sted, en næsten glemt erindring, en erkendelseshemmelighed, min tidligste tanke om kosmos. Juno, filmens første medvirkende, ligger og skal sove, det er åbningsbilledet. ”Er jeg et menneske eller et dyr?” spørger hun Phie Ambo som taler sagte med hende.

We have given highest marks for ”Free the Mind” and ”Good Things Await” as well as for a radio broadcast, where the director talks about film music.

Let me add to this small tribute to Phie Ambo that she follows her films the whole way through to the audience putting a lot of effort on the promotion and distribution of her films – into a cinema release.

https://docpointfestival.fi/en/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

ArtDocFest in Moscow

Written 13-12-2017 23:37:38 by Tue Steen Mller

ArtDocFest in Moscow

I have only this source - The Moscow Times - but no surprise that the festival run by director Vitaly Mansky (photo) can create conflicts due to the programming of Mansky, who has also chosen to show controversial Russian films in Riga Latvia, where he now lives.

This time – quote from Moscow Times, article by Michele A. Berdof of December 11th: ArtDocFest, a popular Russian festival of documentary films in its tenth year, made news in Moscow this weekend — but not on the culture pages…

Ultranationalist supporters of separatists in eastern Ukraine disrupted the screening of a film about the ongoing war in Donbass and caused the auditorium to be evacuated.

Problems began on Saturday with the premiere of “Bullet’s Flight” by Beata Bubenets. The documentary about the Ukrainian Aidar battalion was filmed in a single 80-minute sequence. The battalion, accused of war crimes by Amnesty International, was disbanded by the Ukrainian government in March 2015, a year after the film was shot. A group of activists watched the film and then argued with the filmmaker. They demanded that the festival administrators remove it from the program. Vitaly Mansky, director of the film festival, refused…

Read the rest on this link:

https://themoscowtimes.com/articles/mansky-artdocfest-ukraine-film-59901


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Shamira Raphala: Lenno and the Angelfish

Written 12-12-2017 13:34:04 by Tue Steen Mller

Shamira Raphala: Lenno and the Angelfish

Wow… I fully understand that the jury of IDFA’s Docs & Kids chose this film to be the winner of the far too often overlooked genre of short documentaries, not to talk about docs for kids, who at least until a certain age prefer animation and entertainment. But I am sure that a film like this – with the right introduction – or with grown-ups beside them - will work for kids at the same age as Lenno. And older. My wow goes for the filmic excellent interpretation that the filmmaker performs of the subject. There is the unconventional drumming music, there are the unconventional camera angles to catch Lenno on his bed, there are the beautiful moments, where he communicates with the naughty angelfish, the tense atmosphere when he is with his father, the dialogue with the brother, the mystery around the mother, who is not there but sends him drawings… at the end of the film you wish all the best for Lenno and his family! Here is the annotation text from the IDFA site:

”Ten-year-old Lenno is always getting yelled at for annoying people, but in his mind, it’s the other people who are irritating. Using an impulsive editing style that switches quickly between moments of pleasure and anger, clashes and intimacy, this impression of how Lenno experiences the world stays very close to its subject: a lively boy with a behavioral disorder and a vivid imagination. He boxes with his younger brother, cries when he hurts himself, walks away when he gets criticized and is very pleased with the great coloring books he gets from his mother. Lenno tries to express what's going on in his head. "People think I have a problem because I get angry a lot. I think it’s stupid they say that." In a candid moment, Lenno's father admits that he too wasn’t exactly a model kid. A fanatical swimmer, Lenno empathizes with his angelfish—a species with a reputation for being aggressive, which Lenno thinks isn’t fair. He hopes the angelfish will make friends with the other fish.”

The Netherlands, 19 mins.

www.idfa.nl 


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Bakar Cherkezishvili: Apollo Javakheti

Written 12-12-2017 12:15:58 by Tue Steen Mller

Bakar Cherkezishvili: Apollo Javakheti

The film was at IDFA 2017. Placed in the category Kids&Docs and Student Film Competition. Another very impressive piece of Georgian documentary: One character who has a dream and visualises it for the film. A boy who is occupied 24 hours a day, life is tough for him, from an adult’s point of view. But the film stays away from the social aspect to go with him and his plans for the future with a fast editing rythm to make the day understandable, and the location is made beautiful to watch. Here is the precise annotation from the IDFA site:

”Bandura is growing up with his single mother in the Georgian region of Javakheti. The climate is harsh, the roads are bad and the views are gray and rocky. In the rural village where he lives, time seems to have stood still. The teenager earns extra money herding sheep, helping the local cheesemaker and planting potatoes. Home at the kitchen table, his mother reads aloud from the Bible, but Bandura has other things on his mind: he wants to travel to the moon. Between his daily duties, he begins to build an actual rocket and to plan out his future. By selling sheep, he can make enough money to catch a boat to the United States, where he can start asking around about where to study to become a space traveler. Even though time appears to have come to a halt here, with a bit of fantasy—which our protagonist has plenty of—Javakheti by night really does look like the lunar landscape.” 

Georgia, 16 mins.

www.idfa.nl


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Astrid Bussink: Listen

Written 06-12-2017 15:52:22 by Tue Steen Mller

Astrid Bussink: Listen

”Life can seem pretty overwhelming at times, particularly when you're growing up. And it’s not always easy to talk to your parents or friends about your problems. Fortunately, the "Kindertelefoon" (Child Helpline) in the Netherlands provides a listening ear…” That’s what this short film is about, a truly creative work, warm in its approach to the children, who call – a boy in an asylum centre, a girl whose parents are divorced, she lives with the mother and her new boyfriend but wants to live with the father, but she dares not talk to her mother about this, and a boy who is afraid to become gay…

Cats fill the image quite often, they are of course ones to talk to, when at home.

There is nothing special about the theme and there are helplines like that in many countries, and you don’t really get to know – because of the anonymity of the calls – what answers they children get. Fair enough, when you take into account how good this film will be to create a discussion with the children, who watch the film. It talks to the heart also for us, who are not kids any longer

The film got the Special Jury Award at IDFA this year, where it was in the Docs for Kids section.

www.idfa.nl

The Netherlands, 2017, 15 mins.


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Simon Lereng Wilmont: The Distant Barking of Dogs

Written 28-11-2017 14:15:46 by Tue Steen Mller

Simon Lereng Wilmont: The Distant Barking of Dogs

The location is Hnutove, Eastern Ukraine, war zone for years. A village from where - for the very same reason – many Ukrainian families have moved away. But not grandmother Alexandra and 10 year old Oleg, the main characters of this remarkable, multi-layered film. Grandmother insists on staying. In the best Danish documentary I have seen this year. A film about Childhood, about Fear, about survival, about Love. Made with love. And cinematic skills on how to build a story, compose the images and put them together with a soundtrack that stresses the atmosphere of the scenes, without killing them.

Oleg and his cousin Yarik are like kids everywhere. They do pillow fights, they fight as kids do, they are crawling around wherever



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IDFA Winners 2017

Written 23-11-2017 09:29:10 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Winners 2017

Happy to congratulate Mila and Srbijanka Turajlic, filmmaking daughter and main character of "The Other Side of Everything" with the IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary. As well as the many others around the film - the producer Carine Chichkowsky and the executive producers Iva Plemic Divjak for Dribbling Pictures and Hanka Kastelicovà for HBO Europe. The jury had the following motivation:



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IDFA Notes on Four More Films

Written 22-11-2017 11:29:06 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Notes on Four More Films

I have given high marks for 7 of the 15 films at the IDFA competition for long documentaries. There are four films that I have not seen and four I have seen but nor written about. Here follows the mini-reviews/notes for those four in order of preference:

Zhigi Pan: 24TH STREET. Chinese film about a man in trouble. In the...



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Talal Derki: Of Fathers and Sons

Written 21-11-2017 12:50:59 by Tue Steen Mller

Talal Derki: Of Fathers and Sons

It stands out. I can not avoid superlatives. And I can not express in words, in a language that is not mine, how I feel after having seen Talal Derki's new film. Or how I felt while watching it. It is a film that hurts and makes you depressed, sad is too weak a word; it goes to the heart and to the stomach; two boys and a father who loses a foot - it's all destined by the prophet, he says - the upbringing to Jihad, to kill the enemy, i.e. us, a film that is so well made, with a camera that caresses the face of Osama, the kid, who turns to the camera before he is transported to the sharia school. It's an unbearable scene, he hugs his brother Ayman, who stays to go to school. The film shows, how hate is built up and also how love always looks like between a father and his sons. I stop here full of admiration for a filmmaker, who formulates his ambition in a text taken from the film's website:



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Bernadett Tuza-Ritter: A Woman Captured

Written 21-11-2017 08:41:43 by Tue Steen Mller

Bernadett Tuza-Ritter: A Woman Captured

Unbelievable. Modern slavery. In a country that is a member of the European Union. Shocking. It will be an audience favourite. At the begining of the film I thought "but what is the position of the filmmaker, why does she allow this to happen". She gives me the answers and the story is also about the filmmaker and Marish getting closer to each other. I have to confess that I also thought in the beginning that Marish was a bit disturbed in her head. Not at all. When she gets away from the domestic prison... what a relief for her, and the audience. She, Marish = Edith, is weak and strong, like the rest of us, well formulated, no visible psychological problems, but still: how could this last 10 years…?

And what a debate one can hope for in Hungary! A phone call that Edith makes asking for help reveals that - as it is not within her own family - the society can do nothing.

I was informed by the brave director Bernadett Tuza-Ritter that Edith and her daughter is now at IDFA for the premiere... This film will be the most talked about at IDFA and it will be a very obvious contender for the Audience Award.

www.idfa.nl


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Leonard Helmrich: The Long Season

Written 20-11-2017 14:02:56 by Tue Steen Mller

Leonard Helmrich: The Long Season

Helmrich is using the Single Shot Cinema technique, a style he developed and perfected himself. He chooses to actively engage with his subject rather than remaining a neutral outsider - a position that typifies Direct Cinema. He aims to record events from the inside, not observe from a distance. To achieve this, he created the Steadywing, a construction that allows the filmmaker to move the camera continually in an exceptionally fluid and intuitive way...

These were words we used when Helmrich's "Position of the Stars" won the first prize at IDFA in 2010. He might very well win again this year with "The Long Season", that creates this same "feeling of being there" that Leacock was talking about. Constant in movement, being here and there and everywhere... These were my spontaneous notes after having watched the film:

... a formidable insight to a small community, a refugee camp for Syrian refugees, especially from Raqqa, where ISIS was. He gets very close to the people, you see conflicts between women, between man and woman, between kids and grown-ups, they evolve and develop, and you see love, a marriage and happy children run around like they do everywhere. So easy the kids can adjust to the life in a camp full of hard living conditions, mud all over, and so sad that human beings, who are like you and me have a life like that.

The Netherlands, 2017, 115 mins.

www.idfa.nl 


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Marta Prus: Over the Limit

Written 20-11-2017 08:52:31 by Tue Steen Mller

Marta Prus: Over the Limit

It was presented in the dokinkubator session in Malmø and I had met with the director in Prague, when it was still in development. I saw the finished film here at IDFA in Amsterdam with high expectations. I was not disappointed. Here is - in a brief review - what I think about the finished film about the young Russian gymnast and her fight to go "over the limit":

An almost perfect film. Plays with the classical dramaturgical rules in terms of characters and rythm – positive mood and development, crisis, winning, losing, crisis as a gymnast, crisis because of her father’s illness, music that fits, brilliant camerawork, it’s like an opera or a ballet, great pleasure to look at this film with its universal appeal: Trust yourself, find yourself, the tough and direct coach is right in in much of what she is saying. It’s a possible winner at the festival, for sure. Another masterly done Polish documentary!

Poland, 2017, 74 mins.

http://www.polishdocs.pl/en/films/1671/over_the_limit

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4036/ 


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Mila Turajlic: The Other Side of Everything

Written 18-11-2017 23:06:57 by Tue Steen Mller

Mila Turajlic: The Other Side of Everything

I am biased. I have known the director Mila Turajlic for the many years that I have taken part in the Magnificent7 festival in Belgrade. And I have shared opinions about the films, we have shown at the festival - with her mother, Srbijanka Turajlic, who watches all films at the festival, and is the main character of the daughter's film, that shows the courage of the mother, a university professor in mathematics, whose political engagement brought her to be minister of education, when Milosevic was taken down from power in October 2000. She was a speaker at many huge manifestations against the Milosevic regime.

The film, however, has many layers: It takes place in the fine home of the family, where there are locked doors into some rooms of the apartment, doors which were locked when the communists came to power at the end of the 1940'es. Another family moved in and an old lady lives there, when the film takes its start. A metaphor for the past.

But it is also a film, that questions what revolutions are good for. Srbijanka Turajlic is awarded and says - she has a lot of dry humour - that this is first time she has got an award for a failed revolution, referring to what happened in the country after Milosevic.

Asked about that at the Q&A after the screening tonight here at the IDFA festival, where the film is in the international competition for long films, the strong veteran activist said that of course something changed - we got rid of Milosevic. And asked if daughter Mila - as she says in the film that she wants to leave the country - can do something? Of course she can, we all can and should be engaged to change not only Serbia but also Europe.

The photo for this review/report is not one that I like, but it was what I could find. In the film Srbijanka Turajlic has a cigarette in mouth or hand the whole way through. I love to see her in the big apartment, I love to see her polish silver, I love to see her lying on her bed reading Agathe Christie while the phone is ringing, she does not care, but she cares for her country, she has felt that she should help the students in their protests, I love to see the dinner and lunches she sets up with classical bourgeois plates, forks and knives... the scene for political discussions.

I ought not give marks, I do it anyway, high ones for daughter and mother. I raise a glass for them and the film!

Serbia, 2017, 104 mins. 

http://www.othersideofeverything.com

www.idfa.nl 


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Finlay Pretsell: Time Trial

Written 18-11-2017 12:46:03 by Tue Steen Mller

Finlay Pretsell: Time Trial

Of course you - as a Dane - are sceptical, when someone wants to make a film about one of the superstars of professional bicycling. Our national hero Jørgen Leth has made, what is to say about the suffering, the pain, the different styles, in many films - and he keeps on doing so as a commentator on Danish TV2 every year during the Tour de France. So why another one...

But young Scottish Finlay Pretsell dared to challenge the old master, and according to Pretsell Jørgen Leth likes the film, which he will be able to say to the audience this afternoon, where the film is being screened on a huge screen at the Carré, the national theatre, followed by a panel including the two.

I watched the film yesterday in a smaller cinema, Munt 13, and I was suffering with the protagonist David Millar on screen. My suffering was in solidarity with poor Millar, who fights to get his last Tour de France but loses - and very much due to the music composed by American Dan Deacon, music which is constantly surprising and sometimes a torture to take into the ears.

It has changed my view on music in documentaries, which normally is just filling in holes in weak scenes. Here it goes with the race and the situations, the sequences, the scenes. A great example of music in documentaries - here used for a film, which is so well constructed, full of funny moments, it’s not “only” the tragic fall of a hero.

Look at the photo, David Millar talking to one of his colleagues. A scene of calm contrary to the sequences at the race San Remo-Milan, where Millar should prove that he was good enough for his 13th Tour de France. He was not, as we experience. He is fighting with putting on his gloves in the terrible weather, he has to stop so a helper can get his rain coat in place, it is total misery as the two coaches in the car indirectly communicate to each other. They are wonderful side characters in a film, where also Millar’s room mate, Thomas Dekker, makes one laugh, when he says to Millar “there’s no time for you anymore”!

The beginning of the film showing Millar’s speciality, the time trial, one man against the clock, is breathtaking, maybe a bit to long, but once we are away from that, the film works perfectly in being a Film far away from what we watch on television every summer. Millar gives good information on technical matters like what are the breakaways, he does not want to talk about his doping scandal anymore, “I just wanted to do one Tour de France, I have done 12 and now I am pulled from number 13”.

Pretsell gets very close to Millar, a charismatic sportsman, indeed he is. A free man now! It’s an emotional race, enjoyable, it will go around, be sure of that.

http://www.timetrialfilm.com/ 


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Being at IDFA

Written 17-11-2017 23:38:42 by Tue Steen Mller

Being at IDFA

Look at that picture from a bridge in Amsterdam, where the biggest documentary film festival is taking place these days. It was here that I ran into Ally Derks this afternoon. Are you alone here, she asked, where is your partner? At home I said, remembering great moments my wife and I had with Ally at the It's All True Festival in Brazil, the one run by my cigar-smoking friend Amir Labaki. Lots of documentary talks in Rio and Sao Paolo, lots of caipirinha, fun, warm atmosphere. I am not going to be at the de Balie celebration of Ally Derks tomorrow - as I am working for "her" festival at the IDFA Academy - so I send this verbal hug to her and apologise that I had to to run for a screening, when we met in the street. I have seen 70 films before the festival she said... before we had to run for a screening. And for our lives as you have to in this city, that is governed by those on bikes, some of them pretty aggressive. 


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Mohamed Siam: Amal

Written 17-11-2017 11:00:56 by Tue Steen Mller

Mohamed Siam: Amal

The day after the opening of IDFA the director of “Amal”, Egyptian Mohammed Siam met the participants of the IDFA Academy to talk about the film, which they had all seen the night before or that very same morning. Siam was interviewed by the head of the IDFA Bertha Fund, Isabel Arrate Fernandez, and the two were joined on stage by the editor of the film Véronique Lagoarde - Ségot, praised, very well deserved, by the director, who outlined the process of getting to the final film.

“I had filmed 25 hours (in 6 years, ed.) and had started to assemble scenes… when I showed it to Véronique. She said “what the hell is that?”. She pointed to the fact that I had no rhythm skills, I am far too fast when I put things together”. Véronique Lagoarde - Ségot: “It was a beautiful gift, she was so pure, I had first of all to respect her. And to find the rhythm”.



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Mindaugas Survila: The Ancient Woods

Written 17-11-2017 09:15:44 by Tue Steen Mller

Mindaugas Survila: The Ancient Woods

Thursday was a beautiful evening for the Lithuanian director Mindaugas Survila, who celebrated his world premiere at IDFA with a full hall in the Munt Cinema 9. He was there with his wife, as was the editor Danielius Kokanauskis, who also worked with Survila on his first documentary “Field of Magic” (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/768/). An editor in strong demand by Lithuanian directors, but difficult to get hold of as he is working permanently for Sergei Loznitsa, who is almost constantly in production.

This second film of Survila, “The Ancient Woods”, could also easily have included the word magic. Or maybe better magnificent as the experience was for the viewer with this visit to some woods of Lithuania, that are still full of nature's wonders. There is no narration in the film - contrary to what is normal in nature films - the director, as he said, does not want to point at what we as viewers should see and think. 



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IDFA 2017 Opening

Written 16-11-2017 08:41:25 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA 2017 Opening

It was a brilliant IDFA opening night yesterday at the amazing Royal Theater Carré in Amsterdam. Film and tribute to Ally Derks, who has stepped down from her post as director of IDFA that she co-founded 30 years ago. The hall was full of people, who was more than pleased to join a standing ovation to her after a beautiful speech by Derk Sauer, chairman of the Board of IDFA, who characterised Derks as we know her, energetic, always on the side of the directors, the makers, and not that fond of all the administration and meetings, that follows when a festival has reached the size that has IDFA: 280.000 tickets sold last year! Before the speech to Ally Derks, who received a medal from the royal family, there were acrobats on stage and afterwards the new artistic director, Barbare Visser, introduced the programme of this year highlighting the program section “Visual Voice” which is dedicated to Ally Derks, a whole day at De Balie with the presence of documentary masters, who have grown up with the festival…. and then the opening film, Amal by Mohammed Siam, fine choice for a more than fine film, touching, more about that later.

www.idfa.nl 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

The European Documentary Magazine/ 2

Written 14-11-2017 12:32:03 by Tue Steen Mller

The European Documentary Magazine/ 2

The second print edition of the documentary magazine, MODERN TIMES REVIEW, that took over when DOX was stopped by its publisher EDN (European Documentary Network), is out. It was in the festival bags at DOK Leipzig and it will be at IDFA as will the editor, Norwegian Truls Lie, chapeau for him and his work. 24 pages, lots of reviews, features, opinions – it took me hours to read it all, very good quality.

The magazine says that it deals with ”… keywords could be conflicts, peace work, surveillance, control societies, climate. Ecology, ethics and philosophy…”

Over two pages three of the competition films at IDFA are reviewed: Jessica Gorter’s ”The Red Soul” (PHOTO) (the Stalin cult today and before), Mila Turajlic’s personal ”The Other Side of Everything” from Serbia today and before, and Håvard Bustnes visit to Greece, ”The Golden Dawn Girls”. Watch the films and read the reviews afterwards to see if you agree. There is also a mini interview with IDFA’s artistic director Barbara Visser, who says that IDFA is there ”to promote the cinematic documentary… the cinematic experience is something that many  filmmakers aspire to, and for good reasons: one works on film to create a memorable experience, not just to transfer information”. Agree, but don’t underestimate the information side. Another question to her was ”what do you think about the term ”movies that matter”. Answer: ”All good movies matter”. YES, and let’s get rid of that kind of meaningless slogans!

Take a subscription to the magazine and read about the new films and dig into the archive:

”A yearly subscription gives you the spring and fall issues of Modern Times Review, full access to all (soon 1000 articles from the last 20 years) online articles, and the monthly documentary screenings.”

www.moderntimes.review 


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Masters at IDFA

Written 13-11-2017 16:33:29 by Tue Steen Mller

Masters at IDFA

Not all films can go to the competitive sections, of course not, so festivals arrange strands like Panorama and Masters, at IDFA both are there, with 32 titles in the first and 29 in the latter, where also older films are brought into the spotlight.

As a visitor for five days I know it is impossible to watch all the films, which are listed in the masters section. Luckily there are several that I have already seen and that we have written about on this site, and luckily there are films that we can take a look at later in the long dark winter nights coming up in our part of the world…

This is really gonna be a slate of name-dropping: Malek Bensmail tells the story behind Pontecorvo’s ”The Battle of Algier”, Andres Veiel has made a film on ”Beuys”, Romanian ”The Dead Nation”  by Radu Jude ”is a documentary-essay, which shows a stunning collection of photographs from a Romanian small town in the 1930's and 1940's. The soundtrack, composed mostly from excerpts taken from the diary of a Jewish doctor from the same era, shows us what the photographs do not: the rising of the anti-Semitism and eventually a harrowing depiction of the Romanian Holocaust, a topic which is not very talked about in the contemporary Romanian society.”

I am so much looking forward to seeing Agnès Varda’s ”Faces



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16 Classics and New Docs from the Arab World

Written 12-11-2017 16:34:21 by Tue Steen Mller

16 Classics and New Docs from the Arab World

… at the upcoming IDFA with the title ”Shifting Perspectives: The Arab World” with a clear intention: ”IDFA offers a counterbalance to Western stereotypes that ignore the complexity of the Arabic-speaking world and keep ‘the Arab’ at arm’s length, as ”the other””.

If you want to see this program, which is excellent, you should be in Amsterdam November 17-19, where the films are screened followed in many cases by discussions.

Among the classics are two films by late Syrian documentary master Omar Amiralay, ”A Flood in Baath Country” and ”The Misfortunes of Some”. I met the gentle director when in Damascus for the Dox Box festival, that was organised by Diana El Jeiroudi and Orwa Nyrabia. Here is a text-link written for the opening of the fourth edition of the festival in March 2011 – Amarilay passed away in February that same year: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/1492/

Several of the films have been reviewed on this site:



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Jury at Listapad Minsk Festival Protests

Written 11-11-2017 20:42:02 by Tue Steen Mller

Jury at Listapad Minsk Festival Protests

… like many other festivals have done holding up a sign saying ”Free Oleg Sentsov”, the Ukrainian filmmaker who was arrested by the Russian authorities in March 2014 in Crimea and sentenced to 20 years in jail on suspicion of “plotting terrorist acts”.

The Belarussian media did not want to publish the photo showing the protest, this is how it looked like – www.filmkommentaren.dk


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Wonderful Losers Wins Two Awards in Minsk

Written 11-11-2017 11:13:10 by Tue Steen Mller

Wonderful Losers Wins Two Awards in Minsk

Photo of a happy man, Lithuanian Arunas Matelis, on stage in Minsk at the Listapad Minsk International Film Festival. As I wrote some days ago the selection for the main documentary competition was very strong - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4077/ - so also from that perspective it is a true appreciation of the work by Arunas Matelis that he received not only an award as the best documentary film but also the audience award for the best documentary. The film ”Wonderful Losers: A Different World” (with coproducers from Lithuania, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Latvia, UK, Ireland, Spain!) has now participated in two festivals (first one in Warsaw) and won 3 awards! Matelis is - by the way – used to receive awards. His previous film ”Before Flying Back to the Earth” got the main awards at DOK Leipzig and at IDFA.

The Georgian ”City of the Sun” by Rati Oneli (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3995/) received the Special Jury award and there was a diploma for the Polish masterpiece ”The Prince and the Dybbuk” (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4052/ by Elvira Niewiera and Piotr Rosolowski.

Both of these films are screened at the upcoming IDFA but not the film by Arunas Matelis, why not? However, it is available at the festival's Docs for Sale.

Also to be mentioned: there were a couple of special prizes for the wonderful ”The Last Waltz” by Russian Yulia Bobkova (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3984/ and one for the fine ”Country of Women” by Aliaksei Paluyan (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4071/)

None of them are at IDFA.

Read more on the website, link below.

Photo taken by Lithuanian film critic and festival programmer Edvinas Pukšta. Thanks.

http://listapad.com/en/

PS. The jury for the documentaries – Andrei Zagdansky, Dmitri Makhomet, Zanete Ašcuka, Anna Zamecka and Gennady Kofman – advocated at the festival for ”Free Oleg Sentsov”. Respect! http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3943/


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IDFA Preparations

Written 10-11-2017 12:24:37 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Preparations

Wednesday IDFA, International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam, starts. And I am going there for five nights. Due to being part of the IDFA Academy, this great initiative of the festival, where young filmmakers get the chance to meet each other, share their ideas and projects and get inspiration from cameraperson Kirsten Johnson and directors like Kim Longinotto and Frederick Wiseman to mention the most famous ones. Together with Cecilia Lidin, with whom I worked at the EDN way back in time, I will be available for meetings in the afternoon.

The last couple of days I have been preparing my stay in hopefully not too foggy Amsterdam. The festival is overwhelming with talks, masterclasses, industry screenings (very good as many take place in the mornings) and good friends invite you to premieres of their films. Happy that there is a Docs for Sale, got to find films for a couple of festivals and for writing on this blog.

Let me mention two which are scheduled in my agenda:



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Tereza Nvotov: Mečiar

Written 08-11-2017 14:25:06 by Tue Steen Mller

Tereza Nvotov: Mečiar

”Vladimir Meciar was the first Minister of Interior post Velvet revolution of 1989 and the threetime re-elected Prime Minister of Slovakia. He was an undeniably charismatic politician „ loved by the nation“ and his profound influence on the contemporary political climate of Slovakia cannot be doubted. His final period in government 1994-1998, was marked by an authoritarian almost autocratic rule, misuse of power in the biggest privatisation causes and scandals and unauthorised activities of the secret services. It was this governance which ruled Slovakia out of the process of being accepted in the EU and NATO…”.

These words come from the website of the film about Meciar, link below. The film that has the subtitle ”Lust for Power”, was the opening film at the Jihlava festival recently, understandable as it deals with a politician known, hated and loved in Czech Republic and Slovakia.

I met Tereza Nvotová in March in Prague this year, where she



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Listapad Minsk: Truth Love Beauty

Written 07-11-2017 14:06:26 by Tue Steen Mller

Listapad Minsk: Truth Love Beauty

I was there a couple of times, in Minsk Belarus for the film festival, that has a well chosen documentary program with Irina Demyanova as the responsible. 12 films are competing in the documentary section. I am happy I am not in the jury. Let me point at four films of high quality, written about on this site:

1. Julia Bobkova: The Last Waltz: ”… fascinating film about Oleg Karavaichuk, composer and piano player from St. Petersburg,”

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3984/

2. Elwira Niewiera & Piotr Rosolowski: The Prince and the Dybbuk ”…for me "The Prince and the Dybbuk" is a strong candidate to be my Documentary of the Year.”

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3993/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4052/

3. Miroslav Janek: Normal Autistic Film

”… dynamic and playful documentary, the work of one of the most important European authors when it comes to children, especially children who don’t blend in and who are different from the majority.”

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3816/

4. Arunas Matelis: Wonderful Losers: A Different World

”…deserves to travel the world because of its cinematic qualities”

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4048/

http://listapad.com/en/programm/osnovnoy-konkurs-dokumentalnogo-kino/


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Ana Dumitrescu: Licu a Romanian Story

Written 06-11-2017 22:20:19 by Tue Steen Mller

Ana Dumitrescu: Licu  a Romanian Story

The jury for the long, international documentaries at DOK Leipzig chose Ana Dumitrescu’s ”Licu-a Romanian Story” as the winner of the 60th edition of the festival. I did not watch the film in Leipzig but did so tonight on a computer and I can only nod YES to the decision taken by musician and writer Anne Clark, master documentarian Heddy Honigmann and former arte commissioner Luciano Rigolini. I copy paste their motivation:

"In a humble house, there is a very old man sitting and telling us not only his story but the story of 2 centuries. To make this possible in a film is a very difficult task which requires love for your character and an exceptional cinematic eye. In these days when the only thing that counts is viewing figures a filmmaker with almost no budget dares to say I will do it in another way. This way goes directly to our hearts, creating a filmic journey which lasts only 86 minutes but for us it is a life lesson."

And a copy paste as well of the fine DOK Leipzig catalogue text by Sirkka Möller:



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DOK Leipzig 2017 Ceremony

Written 05-11-2017 11:21:30 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig 2017 Ceremony

… took place at Westbad, a former venue for the citizens to go to swim. Now turned into one big room for concerts, conferences and the prize ceremony of the 60 year old festival. Tables were put up with wine and snacks, very nice, as was the performance of the conferencier, former MDR commissioning editor Claudia Schreiner. Not an easy job – seven Golden Doves and an overall total of 21 awards, comprising €73.500 – and it was not her fault that the ceremony took almost three hours.

One who contributed to the overtime was the spokesperson for the Interreligious Jury. She talked and talked and came up with a harsh criticism of the festival for its selection and lack of political films. Schreiner, as conferencier, opposed her on stage and the producer of ”The Congo Tribunal”, Arne Birkenstock, used his thank you speech for an honorary mention to the film to make a pretty tough attack on the jury spokesperson for saying – in German that many in the audience do not understand – that 11 films out of the 12 in the main competition were bad. His speech was warmly welcomed. Also festival director Leena Pasanen felt that she had to make the comment that the festival does not look for films that directly point to what the filmmaker wants the audience to think. Of course not.

No reason to hide that this incident – a jury member that makes a strong critique of the selection, a jury member from the Interreligious jury! – did take away some of the good atmosphere of the ceremony, especially because we non-fluent-in-German-language did not get what was going on.

Having said so, it was great to have competent filmmakers and –



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DOK Leipzig/ Delta

Written 04-11-2017 17:01:09 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig/ Delta

The introduction of a ”Next Masters Competition” at DOKLeipzig is an excellent idea. I have seen some of the choices for this year and so far one stands out, the Ukrainian ”Delta” by Oleksandr Techynski. It lives up to the reasons I give when asked why I often praise Eastern European documentaries:

It is multilayered, it has a clear aesthetic choice with a skilled camerawork that suits the theme or rather the location, it’s a Film: the delta of the Danube, a kind of Klondyke, where people live under harsh chaotic conditions and where men with worn faces struggle their way through the reed that they harvest to sheaf, to bring in to be sold. They work in all kind of weather – ice cold winters, and under milky foggy skies. Most often on a boat as you can see on the photo, where a man lies dead drunk next to wood that has been cut down to stump. But it is also a place where the transport of a dead body demands quite an effort. There are some moments, where the film takes the viewer inside a house, where a grown-up son has his hair cut by his mother and there are many scenes with vodka being drunk. Lots of focus on faces.

Stylistically there is a move on the film, a flow that is carried by painting-like images superbly composed, no music (thank you for that!). No message, it seems to me that the director wants to say: this is what I saw, he keeps a distance, he interprets with his images, he is not from there, he observes.

http://www.dok-leipzig.de/en/


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DOK Leipzig/ Congo and Russia

Written 04-11-2017 11:57:30 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig/ Congo and Russia

I have not (yet) been able to watch all films in the international competition for long documentaries – there are 12 – but I want to highlight two, which could deserve an award tonight:

Experienced Aliona van der Horst has made a wonderful film, ”Love is Potatoes” (Netherlands, 2017, 90 mins.) that takes place in the countryside in Russia, where her mother grew up before she as a grown-up married a Dutchman and moved with him. Her mother had five sisters. Van der Horst goes to the small house (PHOTO), meets up with cousins as she is inheriting 6 square meters of the house! It’s a film, where she wants to find out what kind of life her mother had in Stalinist Soviet Union. She looks at photos, she talks to cousin Tanya, to aunt Liza, who does not remember any big problems, ”all was normal”, but it was NOT, she slowly finds out – women were dying in the corn fields, 1933, the deadly famine… Van der Horst uses (brilliant) animation by Italian Simone Massi and what is so unique about the film showing the safe hand of the director: the quiet, non-dramatic tone of the film and some unforgettable scenes like the one, where she puts all the shoes on the floor, lots of shoes… why, the male cousin asks, because they did not have shoes, so after the famine… The film has touching scenes: the mother, still alive but not able to talk, to react to the daughter’s questions. The daughter/director looking at photos of her mother as young. Yes, I can identify. Great film.

”The Congo Tribunal” by Milo Rau is an amazing achievement by the film&theatre director. He set it all up, two tribunals, he found his characters to come to one tribunal in Congo, one in Berlin, he shot a lot of material in the country, he has witnesses to the many massacres talk, he has so-called experts analyse the mining industry and its international players. A fictional tribunal, a documentary theatre, but one that brings forward the human atrocities of a country that seldom is on the front pages of the media. It is full of strong moments and characters. After this film I want to know more, to understand better what has happened and what is happening in the tormented country forgotten by the EU and and the UN.

http://www.dok-leipzig.de/en/


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Aliaksei Paluyan: Country of Women

Written 04-11-2017 08:34:39 by Tue Steen Mller

Aliaksei Paluyan: Country of Women

One of the many good things at the DOK Leipzig is the market, where you go with your 300 page catalogue to choose between 272 films from 66 countries! You have your code, you find a film, put on your headphones and you watch a film in good quality on the monitor. All films screened in the festival cinemas are there but you can also find small pearls that did not make it to the competition like ”Country of Women” from Belarus, by young Aliaksei Paluyan, who lives in Germany and in Belarus.

Look at the photo, she is one of the four women in the film, who are introduced one after the other, tell about their lives, sing a song or two, while they take the viewer around in their houses. She lived 56 years together with her husband, ”a peaceful life together”, she is full of life as are the other three, although two of them had a tougher life. One has been a widow for decades, the other says ”I suffered with him for 40 years” – alcohol. It’s memories, it’s survival and it’s put together in a simple montage with shots from the landscape surrounding the village and storks who reside on the houses. And the singing is wonderful.

Go to the website, link below, look at the photos and the trailer; fine film by the director, who prepares a new one, ”People from the Moor”. He asked me if it was a good idea to take it to the training programme Ex Oriente. Indeed! That’s where talents can grow.

Belarus, 26 mins., 2017

http://www.countryofwomen.com/


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DOK Leipzig Opening/ Leena Pasanen

Written 02-11-2017 07:47:24 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig Opening/ Leena Pasanen

Festival director of DOK Leipzig Leena Pasanen regrets the lack of female directors in the German competition for long documentaries. She wants to do something about it, read this from the opening of the festival monday night:

"Women in film business have been in the headlines over the last weeks, but once again not for the reasons they should be there, as celebrated directors.

Unfortunately, our news are not good either. In the German competition for long films, we only have one female director as a co-director.  After a strong year in 2016, we are again in this situation.

We have checked our statistics and we can see, that every second or third year, there is a lack of female directors in German competition for long documentaries. This is the case even when the number of submitted films and the selection criteria stay the same. What is wrong?

It would be easy to blame others, say that we are just the receiving end, and the problem is in funding and production. There surely are structural issues, and we need a proper research to look into the problem. But it is also our duty as one of the leading festivals to push for the change. For the film selection of 2018 and 2019 the head of the selection committee Ralph Eue and I have decided to put a quota in our German Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film for female filmmakers. I’m well aware that there will be strong voices against this quota, also from women filmmakers, but I can only say, sometimes you need strong decisions to break the tradition and push for a change.  We cannot have another year, without female voices in German competition."

http://www.dok-leipzig.de/en/


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Dmitry Bogolubov: The Wall

Written 30-10-2017 12:05:53 by Tue Steen Mller

Dmitry Bogolubov: The Wall

At the Jihlava Intl. FF they have a fine tradition that has been picked up by other festivals: to have a one man/woman jury for one of the competitive sections, the Opus Bonum.

Legendary filmmaker from Latvia Laila Pakalnina was the one to choose this year according to this rule (quote from the festival site): … an outstanding documentary film of the year from a diverse collection representing tendencies in world documentary; since all of the films are significant, the festival suggest the following game; a single juror picks a single film, a “brilliant” work…

The Best World Documentary Film 2017 was – according to Pakalnina: ”The Wall” by Dmitry Bogolubov. Motivation: ”For using the film language to express the inexpressible. For Film”.

The synopsis goes like this: ”The Stalin Cult is once again gaining



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Antalya Film Forum Winners 2017

Written 27-10-2017 08:17:31 by Tue Steen Mller

Antalya Film Forum Winners 2017

For the fourth time the Antalya Film Forum took place. I was here last year as well and can say that the always smiling and positive Zeynep Atakan and her young female team has established an event that has grown and is run with professional generosity.

The documentary has found a place at the Forum – it is still a little brother but one that is taken care of and recognised. The six selected projects were all interesting one way or the other and I had the privilege to get to know the people behind the films to be. Through training and meetings.

The two jurors Sevdije Kastrati from Kosovo and Dennis Wheatley



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Antalya FF Pitch of Turkish Docs & Ai WeiWei

Written 25-10-2017 23:28:52 by Tue Steen Mller

Antalya FF  Pitch of Turkish Docs & Ai WeiWei

The pitching of 6 Turkish documentary projects took place wednesday mid-day with a good audience and two competent jury members Sevdije Kastrati from Kosovo and Dennis Wheatley from the UK. Slightly different from what we are used to in European pitch sessions, the Antalya Film Forum has chosen to give 8 minutes for presentation, including clip plus 5 minutes for the jurors to ask questions and/or give comments. Tomorrow night the two winners of each 8000$ for development will be announced and I will write a bit more about the projects, two of them connected to Cyprus and one dealing indirectly with the Kurds.

And the day ended with the screening of Ai WeiWei’s ”Human Flow”. After the festival had managed to get hold of a copy that was not damaged. The cancellation of the first screening raised a lot of speculations about censorship – the film touches upon the Turkish-Kurdish relationship – which is totally nonsense. There is no reason NOT to believe what is detailed described in the statement of the festival that I referred to in the previous blogpost.

The film is brilliant, an extraordinarily rich 140 minutes long documentation of the world we live in. There are texts on the screen, facts from places full of refugeees and migrants, poetic sentences from writers, a film full of different styles, Ai WeiWei in the picture, reportage style, some fantastic almost surrealistic sequences, stunning images (PHOTO), interviews with many UNHCR representatives, small warm scenes, children children children, it’s masterly put together. It deserves a longer review and that will come the next time I see it on a big screen.

www.antalyaff.com


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Antalya Film Forum 2017

Written 23-10-2017 18:01:16 by Tue Steen Mller

Antalya Film Forum 2017

For the second time I am at the Antalya Film Forum in Turkey that is the industry event connected to the festival that celebrates its 54th edition. Last year I was in a documentary jury that gave awards to two Turkish projects, and did a pep talk on documentaries with clips - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3728/ - this year I have been part of the committee that selected the projects to be pitched this year. There are 6 of them, two will be awarded with $ 8000, each.

I had the pleasure of making a training session for the filmmakers behind the 6 projects that will be pitched on wednesday. With follow-up meetings like the one on the PHOTO, where I am looking at a trailer for a film called ”Ada” (The Island). To the left the director Sevinc Baloglu, to the right the producer Su Baloglu, mother and daughter, who are making a film from Cyprus from a personal point of view and including a 99 year old woman, who is living in the buffer zone in the divided island. She just published a book called ”My First Hundred Years”!

This morning I went to watch AiWeiWei’s ”Human Flow” at 9. But



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Wonderful Winner at Warsaw International FF

Written 22-10-2017 10:37:22 by Tue Steen Mller

Wonderful Winner at Warsaw International FF

”Wonderful Losers” was the wonderful winner in the documentary competition at the international film festival in Warsaw. Here is what I found on the website of the festival, after the award ceremony last night:

DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION Jury: Volia Chajkouskaya - Belarus, Anna Zamecka - Poland, Jude Ratnam - Sri Lanka awarded: Best Documentary Feature: WONDERFUL LOSERS: A DIFFERENT WORLD by Arūnas Matelis, Lithuania, Latvia, Italy, Belgium

… competent jury of filmmakers who made a choice that for sure will help the film of Arūnas Matelis in its future life around the world. This is what the film is about, taken from its website:

”For spectators, cyclists in the back of the race are simply the losers. They are called water carriers, domestics, gregarios, and Sancho Panzas of professional cycling. Moreover, they have no right to personal victories - these sportsmen sacrifice their careers to help their teammates.

We follow the magnificent world of the race from the point of view of the doctors' team situated in a claustrophobically small medical car surrounded with wounded cyclists. The life of the medical team in race reminds one on the frontline of war. Cyclists crash, rise and race again. And amongst this fight, many magnificent things happen.

This film-odyssey reveals the untold world of the wonderful losers, true warriors, knights and monks of professional cycling…”

Lithuania is a country that has a fine tradition in professional cycling with Edita Pučinskaitė as one of the stars. She was in Warsaw for the premiere and she has been helping Arūnas Matelis and Algimantė Matelienė as a consultant and researcher. Read more about her, link below.

topics.revolvy.com/topic/Edita

http://www.wonderfullosers.com/ 


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Andreas Horvath: Helmut Berger - Actor

Written 18-10-2017 17:56:20 by Tue Steen Mller

Andreas Horvath: Helmut Berger - Actor

In the 1970’es my friend Kjell Væring and I went to see Luchino Visconti’s ”Ludwig” about King Ludwig II of Bavaria, 235 mins.(!). A masterpiece that we watched in a big cinema on Champs Élysées in Paris. We wrote about the film for a Danish newspaper and our admiration for the master director was made bigger with that film as with those that followed – ”The Damned” and ”The Conversation Piece”. Very much because of the unique acting by Helmut Berger, the companion of Visconti.

So I expected that Andreas Horvath’s film on Berger from 2015, decades after the films mentioned, would be about how it was to live with and act in films by Visconti. The life of an actor, what is acting… I am sure that was also what Horvath intended to do. It never happened. Well he cuts some times to a signed photo of Visconti on the wall in the flat in Salzburg, where most of the film takes place.



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DOK Leipzig Alvarez, Varda, Kluge, Panh, Rau

Written 15-10-2017 11:42:34 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig  Alvarez, Varda, Kluge, Panh, Rau

Yes, political films, films on political issues, film history. DOK Leipzig offers at its 60th edition 24 short and longer documentaries under the title ”commanders, chairmen, general secretaries”. Which refers to an event at the festival. Catalogue text by Ralph Eue goes like this:

”An experimental application of the thesis of many early theorists of cinematography according to which cinema is less an illusion machine to transport ready-made narratives than a machine to pioneer a new type of thought and narrative. Alexander Kluge gave his nine-hour audiovisual investigation of Eisenstein’s plan to adapt Marx’s “Capital” on film the title: “News from Ideological Antiquity. Marx – Eisenstein – Das Kapital” (2008). Intelligent work on a monument has turned into a monument itself by now. Let us address it by making this appeal: Re-Think!

The media scholar Christian Schulte, co-editor of the “Alexander Kluge-Jahrbuch”, and the publicist Jörg Becker invite us to a joint reading of some passages of this mammoth project (and other, thematically related films, contributions and broadcasts by the director). What is the purpose of this reading? Recovering from ideological antiquity a few clues, even though they may be only fragments, that will help us to better understand the future.”

Otherwise I am tempted to watch and rewatch ”Black Panthers” by Agnés Varda, ”My Brother Fidel” by Santiago Alvarez, ”A Day at the Grave of Karl Marx” by Finnish Peter von Bagh, ”The Missing Picture” by Rithy Panh and ”The Moscow Trials” by Milo Rau.

Rau also has a film in the international competition, ”The Congo Tribunal” (PHOTO) , 2017, 100 mins. Go to the site of the festival to watch the impressive, strong trailer. And check the website of the tribunal and the comments of the director.

https://filmfinder.dok-leipzig.de/en/?&section=236

http://www.the-congo-tribunal.com/film.html#statement


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DOK Leipzig Loves Polish Documentaries/ 2

Written 15-10-2017 10:49:18 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig Loves Polish Documentaries/ 2

Leena Pasanen, director of DOK Leipzig, wrote this to me yesterday:

Dear Tue, bad news from Poland indeed. This is the text i had written for our catalogue to introduce our Polish special programme. Had no idea at that time, that Sroka would be fired a week later:

“It took a decade of constant development, hard work and financial effort to bring Polish films back to their former fame, but it paid off. Today Polish filmmakers are again familiar faces at award ceremonies all over the world and respected and wanted co-producing partners.

How long will it take to vitiate this success, if the shadow of right-wing populism reaches the filmmaking community and puts in danger the current support system? How long will it take, before the market is full of pretty little films of Polish history, if the decision makers are selected by political and not by professional merits? This little programme is to show how much we love these films and how very unfortunately it would be for the whole filmmaking world, if these films would not exist.”

Photo: Communion by Anna Zamecka, part of the programme


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DOK Leipzig Loves Polish Documentaries

Written 14-10-2017 11:37:27 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig Loves Polish Documentaries

… and has put together a special program, ”a declaration of Love to Polish docs”, for the festival. Readers of this site will know that Polish documentaries are highly valued through reports from the Krakow festival, lots of positive reviews (last one being ”The Prince and the Dybbuk” some days ago) and below you will find a link to an article called ”Why I love Polish Documentaires”, a love story that has lasted more than 25 years…

More about the Leipzig program later, first some sad news that makes one wonder if the good period for Polish films is over with the increasing involvement of the government, that through their minister of culture has made the move to dismiss the director of the Polish Film Institute, Magdalena Sroka. You can read all about it on the site of Film New Europe, link below, but here comes some quotes:



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Astra Film Festival in Sibiu Romania

Written 13-10-2017 11:07:44 by Tue Steen Mller

Astra Film Festival in Sibiu Romania

… has existed since 1993 and offers a quality program, of course with a focus on what happens in current Romanian documentary but also with an international scope – the festival takes place October 16 to 22 in nice Sibiu. I was there some years ago and enjoyed the stay and the festival.

Let me quote from the site and urge you to get the whole picture through the link below:

”Voices of Doc is a theme section dedicated to authors whose names have become a synonym of authenticity and creativity in cinema. This section bring the latest works signed by three



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Jihlava International Documentary FF

Written 12-10-2017 23:30:11 by Tue Steen Mller

Jihlava International Documentary FF

… takes place October 24 till October 29, DOKLeipzig starts October 30 and runs until November 5, 10 days later it is IDFA in Amsterdam. It is rather crowded with important documentary festivals within a month, one can say, I have before been able to jump from one to the other, this year I go to Leipzig and Amsterdam.

But let me start by commenting on some of many fine elements of the 21st festival in Jihlava in Czech Republic: 10 competition sections, including ”testimonies” on politics, knowledge and nature. Let me mention one fine title from each – ”Ghost Hunting” by Raed Andoni, ”… when you look away” by Phie Ambo and ”Wilder than Wilderness” by Marián Polák. I saw a clip from Polák’s film in Prague in March, very appealing, here is the synopsis: ”An expedition into the Czech countryside reveals the adventurous stories of plants and animals that take place all around us, and explores fascinating places where nature is returning after being devastated by man. The film, narrated by the filmmaker, captures the true wildness of nature and the course of filming.”

Film history is represented through a retrospective of films by legendary Jean Rouch and I would have loved to be in Jihlava to



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Award at the Aegean Docs festival to

Written 09-10-2017 16:08:40 by Tue Steen Mller

Award at the Aegean Docs festival to

… ”The Beast is Still Alive” by Bulgarian Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova as the best International Documentary of the 5th Aegean Docs in Greece, that was held October 1-6, in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos.

It is a film that I have reviewed on this site as an interview with myself (hmmm!), here is a quote, link for the whole thing below:

”The period of communism is not dealt with in the school books in current Bulgaria. You understand why, when you in the film, person by person, is told what this and this parliament member did during the years of communism and when you see and hear about the concentration camp Belene, where thousands of opposition people ended their lives. This is the strong side of the film, the focus on Bulgaria – present and past…”

The film that has created a lot of debate in Bulgaria (and anger from politicians) has been long on the festival circuit, which proves that the festival life of a film can be longer than the normally mentioned one year.

Go also to the first link to discover more about the fine small Greek festival. 

http://www.aegeandocs.gr/en/?cat=25

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3672/

http://beast-film.com/beast-film_home/index.html


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Arunas Matelis: Wonderful Losers

Written 04-10-2017 21:45:26 by Tue Steen Mller

Arunas Matelis: Wonderful Losers

… with the subtitle ”A Different World”, a film that many of us, who think Lithuanian Arunas Matelis is a great artistic documentary film director, have been waiting for – will have its premiere at the Warsaw International Film Festival that takes place October 13-22, a festival for fiction, shorts and documentaries. Arunas and his wife Alge, from their Studio Nominum in Vilnius, have produced a film of high quality (I have seen it just before final cut) that deserves to travel the world because of its cinematic qualities and its invitation to us viewers to look into – as the subtitle says- a different world. It’s (also) a film on professional cycling that touches upon existential questions. Here is the synopsis from the site of the film, link below:

”For spectators, cyclists in the back of the race are simply the losers. They are called water carriers, domestics, gregarios, and Sancho Panzas of professional cycling. Moreover, they have no right to personal victories - these sportsmen sacrifice their careers to help their teammates. We follow the magnificent world of the race from the point of view of the doctors' team situated in a claustrophobically small medical car surrounded with wounded cyclists. The life of the medical team in race reminds one on the frontline of war. Cyclists crash, rise and race again. And amongst this fight, many magnificent things happen. This film-odyssey reveals the untold world of the wonderful losers, true warriors, knights and monks of professional cycling.”

From a production point of view the credits show an amazing list of co-producers (with 10 cinematographers!) – let me mention them from the credits: Stefilm Italy, Dok Mobile Switzerland, Associate Directors Belgium, VFS Films Latvia, Dearcan Media N.Ireland/UK, Planet Korda Ireland, SUICA Films Spain, Arturas Jevdokimovas for Kino Kontora.

Normally you say that too many cooks spoil the meal – having know Arunas Matelis and his work for more than 25 years I can assure you that this is a film that has his signature.

Wish you luck wth the premiere!

http://www.wonderfullosers.com

https://wff.pl/en/festival-2017/programme


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

3 Documentaries from Netflix

Written 03-10-2017 20:45:25 by Tue Steen Mller

3 Documentaries from Netflix

I have no real overview of what Netflix offers, when it comes to documentaries. Below you find a link to an article that recommends the best documentaries on Netflix and there are many fine names. And titles which you can also find, when you go to Netflix itself and click on the documentary section. You find names like Werner Herzog, AiWeiWei, Banksy, Errol Morris, Marina Abramovic, Nick Broomfield, Albert Maysles and titles like ”O.J. Simpson”, ”Long Shot”, ”Making a Murderer”, ”Amanda Knox”, ”The Promise”, ”Strong Island” – all crime documentaries, not to forget the films on Janis Joplin and Nina Simone... But you have to search carefully as they are listed among a lot of tabloid stuff.

Nevertheless – as we are Netflix subscribers in our household - I assure you that the grandchildren already from age 3 know the name Netflix – I watched three documentaries recently, two of them were at Nordisk Panorama competition in Malmø and the third one I picked up because it was the subject of a double page article in a Danish newspaper.



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DOK Leipzig Loznitsa & Rosenblatt

Written 30-09-2017 16:59:53 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig  Loznitsa & Rosenblatt

One more quote from a DOK Leipzig press release:

Two DOK Masterclasses will cover the topic of archival footage given by world-renowned directors. Sergei Loznitsa will introduce his personal way of working with found footage, talk about the power of montage to shape a film, and discuss how he deals with the boundary between documentary film and fiction. This event is taking place in cooperation with ARTE. Experimental short filmmaker Jay Rosenblatt, to whom the festival dedicates its homage this year, will explain how he assembles his collage and essay films. For his sometimes highly personal films he uses, for example, excerpts from educational, amateur and corporate films.

Various discussion formats address current trends and pressing issues of the documentary film industry. The Industry Talk "North American Distribution Expanded" will explore the distribution opportunities and strategies that the North American market has to offer. Panelists include Orly Ravid (The Film Collaborative, Los Angeles) and Robin Smith (Kinosmith, Toronto). The risks to filmmakers, protagonists and funders when shooting documentary films will be addressed in the talk "Protecting Yourself, Protecting your Protagonists" with Mike Lerner (Nutopia Films; work includes "Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer"), Zeynep Güzel (Yeni Film Fund, Istanbul) and Yulia Serdyukova (producer of "All Things Ablaze" (PHOTO) among others). 

As part of the rough cut presentations "DOK Preview Germany" and "DOK Preview Training" (in cooperation with seven European training initiatives) 13 film projects are set to be presented, all of which are ready for international distribution. Around 80 decision-makers from 30 countries will be present…

http://www.dok-leipzig.de/en/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOK Leipzig Co-Pro Market

Written 28-09-2017 17:18:34 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig Co-Pro Market

DOK Leipzig (October 30-November 5) has a strong market side parallel to the festival. The film selection for the competitive sections will be announced October 10 but already now you can get an impression of which projects to be presented at the DOK Co-Pro Market. From 350 applications, 35 were picked. And from the ones that I know about, I can only say – well done, strong projects, many of them away from the ordinary tv language like:

”The Smuggle Town” from Latvia by director and cinematographer Ivars Zviedris, presented at the Baltic Sea Forum in September, as was ”I’ll Stand by You” by Lithuanian/Italian Virginija Vareikyte and Maximilien Dejoie, both films with high-quality cinematography as you can also expect from another Lithuanian Audrius Mickevicius with his ”Exemplary Behaviour”. It was Mickevicius, who many years ago made ”Man-Horse”, a lyrical wonderfully slow documentary that was actually bought by several tv stations. His new project is different but also with a strong emphasis on the visualisation. And from Ukraine, by Alina Gorlova, the touching project about ”Andrey Suleyman”, who went from one war, in Syria, to another, in Eastern Ukraine. From Serbia comes Dragan Nikolic with his ”The Black Wedding”. Nikolic you will remember as the one, who made ”Caviar Connection” years ago.

Not to forget that Heddy Honigmann will come to Leipzig with her ”100UP”, a portrait of the lucky, or are they, people who reach that age!

And there are film projects from Afghanistan, Russia, Colombia, South Korea, Poland, Czech Republic, Georgia, South Africa, Turkey – and of course some from France and Belgium and Italy.

http://www.dok-leipzig.de/en/industry/co-pro-market/co-pro-projects-2017


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