Filmkommentaren

CPH:DOX Artists and Auteurs

Written 19-04-2021 21:01:18 by Tue Steen Mller

CPH:DOX  Artists and Auteurs

The CPH:DOX programme is launched. The festival runs from April 21 to May 12. The cinemas are scheduled to re-open in the beginning of May so the festival intends to be part of this (cross fingers…) festive celebration of watching (also) documentaries on a big screen. Otherwise the festival’s 177 films will be available (for those who are in Denmark) online as well as an enormous line-up of events. Check the website: https://cphdox.dk/film/

On this site – www.filmkommentaren.dk – we will follow the festival from now on with recommendations of films to be watched. It will be in English as many of the films will show up to be watched at other festivals around the world.

… this one will not recommend individual titles as such but stress that the festival pays respect to the masters of the documentary genre as it unfolds right now: Fred Wiseman is there with City Hall (classic duration from Wiseman: 275 mins., already mentioned in a previous post is Kossakovsky and his Gunda, Sergey Loznitsa is the master of historical event interpreted through his unique and creative treatment of archive like in State Funeral, Avi Mograbi is back at his best with The First 54 Years. An abbreviated Manual for Military Occupation, not to forget Notturno by Gianfranco Rosi and Ulrike Ottinger’s Paris Calligrammes (Photo).

There are many other auteurs and artists in this section, the ones I mentioned are all established filmmakers who keep the flag high for the documentary. Check it out.

 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX Virpi Suutari: Aalto

Written 10-04-2021 16:10:50 by Tue Steen Mller

The CPH:DOX programme is launched. The festival runs from April 21 to May 12. The cinemas are scheduled to re-open in the beginning of May so the festival intends to be part of this (cross fingers…) festive celebration of watching (also) documentaries on a big screen. Otherwise the festival’s 177 films will be available (for those who are in Denmark) online as well as an enormous line-up of events. Check the website: https://cphdox.dk/film/

On this site – www.filmkommentaren.dk – we will follow the festival from now on with recommendations of films to be watched. It will be in English as many of the films will show up to be watched at other festivals around the world.

Finnish director Virpi Suutari is a true auteur. At the Belgrade festival Magnificent7 we had the pleasure to screen “Entrepreneur” and “Garden Lovers” with the presence of the director. Now she presents – for the Danish audience - ”Aalto” that CPH:DOX presents in this way:

”Scandinavian architecture and design are known and loved for their clear lines and consideration for the individual human being. The couple Alvar and Aino Aalto deserve much of the credit. In an exquisite film which – just like their own life works – brilliantly combines aesthetics and humanity, we are not only told the story of how the architect and the designer set new standards in their respective fields. Through the letters they sent each other, we also get an unusual insight into the love life of the two highly gifted people, as well as their work and shared family, and not least their unique personalities, which at times collided in a way that sent sparks flying.”

And I add a couple of words: Suutari’s personal style is one of élegance, the film is simply a pleasure to watch and again composer – although not mentioned on the festival website – Sanna Salmenkallio must be praised for her extraordinary film music.


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocuDays Ukraine 2021 Online

Written 02-04-2021 23:37:07 by Tue Steen Mller

DocuDays Ukraine 2021 Online

Yes, online again this year for the 18th International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival that I have visited several times with many memories in and outside the cinema. Yesterday Ileana Stanculescu from CinéDoc Tbilisi reminded me and Lithuanian Audrius Stonys of our common experience in Kiev 8 years ago where the snow was a true challenge for many, including me who was almost carried up the hill to the hotel Rus by the young and fit filmmaker and festival director Roman Bondarchuk…I arrived, many did not, many came late. But we had a great time.

This year I have no idea how the festival weather in Kiev has been as I have been sitting in my armchair in Copenhagen – I attended with my laptop. 



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Copenhagen Jewish Film Festival

Written 22-02-2021 22:34:23 by Tue Steen Mller

Copenhagen Jewish Film Festival

… is in its second day, it’s online, it goes on until March 1st and it has an interesting programme of fiction and documentaries. The films can be streamed in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the Faroese Islands. For that reason I might as well continue in Danish…

og starte med at prise festivalen for sit valg af film, som omfatter nye og ældre film, som det fremgår – mere ros – af den klart oplysende og fint layoutede hjemmeside med adressen https://www.cjff.dk

Det er som skrevet online det foregår, jeg har set to film, begge i fin kvalitet og ved alle film er der enten en introduktion og/eller en Q&A tilknyttet, hvor kompetente navne som Hanne Foighel (nyder hende altid i DR’s Orientering), oversætterparret Jørgen Herman Monrad og Judyta Preis, overrabbiner emeritus Bent Melchior optræder ligesom der er samtaler med instruktørerne bag filmene. Jeg overværede én her til aften, hvor instruktøren Itzik Lerner talte om ”Crossings”, der først og fremmest følger unge mænd og kvinder som gennemgår den ofte hårde basis-uddannelse, som skal gøre dem til gode checkpoint-soldiers. Jeg havde nok forventet mig mere af Lerner efter hans bosætter-film fra 2015, ”God’s Messengers”.

Så var der mere bid i ”Paradise Lost” af Ibtisam Salh Mara’ana, en film fra 2003, produceret af instruktøren og producenten Duki Dror. Filmen tog mig til ”Landsbyen Fureidis (Paradis), (som) er den eneste palæstinensiske landsby ved Middelhavet, der ikke blev jævnet med jorden, da staten Israel blev oprettet i 1948. Her er instruktøren Ibtisam Salh Mara’ana født og vokset op. Fureidis er fattig, afsondret fra de øvrige arabiske israelske byer og omgivet af israelske landsbyer og kibbutzer.” Instruktøren er i billedet, taler med familie og andre borgere i landsbyen, som alle vægrer sig ved at tale om Suaad, som blev arresteret af israelerne for at ”vifte” med det palæstinensiske flag i aktioner for datidens PLO. Instruktøren opsøger Suaad, som er bosat i London og en fin og følsom dialog føres mellem de to om konservatismen og angsten for at sige israelerne imod i den lille landsby. Om at stå op imod magten. Fin film med en ægte tone. 

Andre film: ”Mayor” af David Osit, anmeldt på dette site, http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4728/, ”Ruth: Justice Ginsburg in Her Own Words” fra 2021, Ada Ushpiz (som er aktuel med filmen ”Children”, premiere i DOKLeipzig) og hendes ”Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt” fra 2015 – eller Margarethe von Trotta’s spillefilm ”Hannah Arendt”, eller Polanskis Dreyfuss-film, eller (!) Orson Welles ”Processen” efter Kafka. Det er et vidtspændende program. Spillefilm og dokumentarfilm. 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

John Webster: Donner Private

Written 10-02-2021 14:19:44 by Tue Steen Mller

John Webster: Donner  Private

 I am hooked from the very first moment. Director John Webster puts a pillow behind the back of Jörn Donner (1933-2020) as the start of the last interview Donner did. He sits in an armchair, it’s December 2019, he has a tumor in his lungs, nothing can be done about it, he dies end of January 2020. He is visibly in pain but not more than he is able to talk to Webster behind the camera in sharp and precise sentences, interesting from start till end. There is never a dull moment in this documentary where Pirjo Honkasalo contributed with a script and the planning of this last interview...



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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Dusan Hanak Retrospective

Written 28-01-2021 10:48:49 by Tue Steen Mller

Dusan Hanak Retrospective

This is a copy-paste of a press release from DocAlliance's excellent platform DAFilms, written by Martin Černý:

The DAFilms streaming portal is paying tribute to Dušan Hanák, one of the most important Slovak directors, by presenting thirteen digitally restored films in what is the first online retrospective focused on his work. Hanák’s creative start dates to the 1960s, when the Czechoslovak New Wave began to attract interest with the films of Miloš Forman, Věra Chytilová, and Jiří Menzel at the head of the list. He made his first feature-length film – 322 – in 1969, one year after Czechoslovakia was occupied by Soviet-led troops. Despite the exceptional international success of his debut film, his next two works – Pictures of the Old World and Rosy Dreams – were relegated to the censor’s vault for many years. They were not acknowledged until after 1989, when they once again became accessible to public audiences. Originally condemned to be forgotten because of how they depict the raw reality of life under a totalitarian regime, today these films are admired for the filmmaker’s experimentation with documentary methods and how he portrayed life without any embellishment.

 

 

 



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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Web

Bar Mario Closed

Written 20-01-2021 15:54:23 by Tue Steen Mller

Bar Mario Closed

I got a mail this morning that made me sad but also made me think of many many good visits to the bar next door the Zelig Film School in Bolzano. The mail came from Stefano Lisci, here is the beginning: 

… Ciao Tue, It's Stefano Lisci from Zelig. How are you? Here in Bolzano I am a little bit tired for the corona...but good! I write to tell you that Bar Mario had to close! Marina and Paolo had the corona virus, it was a long convalescence, especially for Paolo that was positive for 3 moths. Now they are good…

”Those who have visited the film school know what I am talking about, for those who don’t know: The Bar Mario is next door to the Zelig film school and for students, staff and teachers this is the place you go in the breaks to have a coffee, or where you drink a beer at the end of the day. And where you will meet the captain Marina, the cook Roberto and Paolo – who live there behind the door on which ”privato” is written.

Here is a quote from an article on this site written in 2016, where the film ”Bar Mario” that Stefano directed, had its premiere:

”Bar Mario” is a film that enters to the ”privato”, to the world of the three, in a chaptered, visually impressive story that takes us viewers on board a ship that has crossed mountains to be here, among mountains. The father of Marina, Mario, was a sailor and she has taken over his job to conduct the ship of life in good and harsh weather. She, and the film, does so in a warm, sweet and compassionate way. And with the fun and atmosphere that reigns in the Bar.” The film went to several festivals in Italy, well deserved, and now, as the bar is closed (and the cook Roberto has passed away last year) – and small local bars like this all over have to close due to the pandemic – I can only recommend you to watch it – Stefano had put it on line, price a bit more than 3$:

https://vimeo.com/ondemand/barmarioilfilm/499952078

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3746/


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Nicolas Philibert Interviewed

Written 17-01-2021 14:52:55 by Tue Steen Mller

Nicolas Philibert Interviewed

… In le Monde by Jacques Mandelbaum, film critic at the newspaper since 1995. You have to be a subscriber of le Monde to read the whole interview. I have taken the liberty to quote from the excellent meeting with the great French filmmaker:

« Nicolas Philibert, 70 ans, est une figure tutélaire du documentaire en France après quarante ans d’activité dans le domaine. A toutes fins utiles, un rappel de son parcours pour la route. Démarrage en 1978 avec La Voix de son maître, coréalisé avec Gérard Mordillat, entretien avec douze grands patrons de l’époque et chronique discrète de la mutation capitaliste en cours, pas suffisamment toutefois pour n’être pas censurée durant treize ans. »

« … Nicolas Philibert a pris la direction régulière, depuis quelques mois, du quai de la Rapée, dans le 12earrondissement de Paris, où est accostée la péniche de l’Adamant, centre psychiatrique de jour dépendant des hôpitaux de Saint-Maurice (Val-de-Marne). »

« Filmer le désordre mental : Rien d’évident toutefois, pour beaucoup de raisons. La première, naturellement, consiste à filmer le désordre mental. Terrain instable, souffrance humaine, fragilité de tout, risque avéré du pittoresque. La seconde, non moins prégnante, est la pandémie qui sévit depuis dix mois. Nicolas Philibert, qui habite à Paris, s’estime à cet égard relativement chanceux : « Contrairement à beaucoup de mes collègues qui se sont arrêtés au milieu d’un tournage, la période du premier confinement a été pour moi celle de l’isolement nécessaire à l’écriture du projet. Je n’ai donc pas trop souffert. J’ai programmé mes journées. Une heure de marche rapide le matin, puis lecture et écriture. J’ai aussi mis à profit ce temps libre pour filmer ma mère, qui a eu 100 ans en avril 2020. Ça a été très important pour moi d’aller la voir régulièrement, même si je ne sais pas encore le devenir de ces images. » »

« Moi, je me fous de faire un film de plus. Faire un film avec de l’acquis, ça ne m’intéresse pas. Je veux être dérouté, questionné. Je veux qu’un tournage m’attire et me fasse peur. Et affronter cette peur en filmant . »

« La pandémie touche le quotidien de tout un chacun. L’activité du centre en est, pour le moment, fortement impactée. Par ailleurs, la maladie a, pour certains patients, de fortes répercussions psychiques. J’intègre naturellement ces éléments à mon écriture. »

https://www.lemonde.fr/culture/article/2021/01/11/nicolas-philibert-je-veux-qu-un-tournage-m-attire-et-me-fasse-peur_6065920_3246.html

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/1931/


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

dok.incubator 2021

Written 15-01-2021 17:22:07 by Tue Steen Mller

dok.incubator  2021

Andrea Prenghyova wrote me a couple of days ago, asking if I could mention that the 10th edition of her dokincubator is coming up. Really, 10th edition (!), I thought, and I dare say that Prenghyova has managed to put the training initiative on the map of popular workshops in Europe. I don’t recall having met filmmakers, who have been critical to the content of the workshops that have high class professionals as tutors, not only editors but also a marketing specialist like Freddy Neumann and the producer Christine le Goff. But for those who want to know more than, what can be read on the website of dokincubator I have picked a quite from one of the interviews Prenghyova has made, one published today: 

In an interview with Steve Rickinson from Modern Times Review, published today, link below, Andrea Prenghyova says:

„There are two most important things that distinguish us from other training programmes and workshops. First thing is that we are the workshop which is coming quite late to the filmmakers – at the stage of the rough cut. Therefore, we are able to work with the real material and to participate in the real creative process. This is very important…

The second thing that distinguishes us is our quite special methodology, we are learning through doing – we are a very pragmatic workshop, but at the same time, we cover various aspects. On one side you get a very high quality of your creative process and on the other, you also get quite a wide perspective on your film – you test your film…”

https://www.moderntimes.review/we-are-simply-looking-for-good-films/

https://dokincubator.net/introduction-to-applications/?utm_source=sendinblue&utm_campaign=submission_deadline_January_27th_2021&utm_medium=email#.YAG56uB7nOQ


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Michael Apted 1941 2021

Written 09-01-2021 14:30:35 by Tue Steen Mller

Michael Apted 1941  2021

“I wanna be a jockey…” is a sentence that my wife and I always remember, when we talk about and recall the UP series by Michael Apted, who passed away yesterday. We got acquainted with the series at a festival in Cork, Ireland in the 1990’es, where we could not stop talking about the children, who have been filmed since 1964, 9 episodes, with 7 years in between, and with 63UP as the last one from Apted’s hands, a magnificent piece of documentary film history – about Life lived and about the English class society. The 14 children were chosen from upper and working class, it is fascinating to follow their journeys. Tony (on the poster) had a short carreer as a jockey, went on to become a taxi driver keeping his charm and cockney accent. Andrew became a solicitor, John a barrister – and Bruce, touching Bruce, who from the start wanted to be a missionary « to help the poor people in Africa » and did not think he would ever get married, did get into charity work and did get married and did have children. Jackie, Lynn, Sue are the women in the series, Suzy took also part but did not want to be in the 63UP. In the enormous amount of articles about the series – and also in the films – you often hear the children as grown-ups reflect on what it has meant for them to be on television every seven years. Apted regrets in many interviews the lack of gender equity – and says that made him be very careful when selecting female stars for his many fiction films.

Neil, however, is the most exciting person to follow in the series. A lively energetic kid with a bright future, we assume, leaves the society, wanders around as homeless, has mental problems, but comes back, becomes a politician and wants to help others as his close friend Bruce, who helped him, when he was down. Does voluntary work at the church.

I had the privilege to be a juror with Michael Apted at the Moscow International Film Festival – for the documentary competition when that started in 2011 – with Russian Alexander Gutman as the third man in the jury. We watched 7 films, were invited to stay 10 days in the Russian capital, so my wife and I had lot of time with Apted and his wife Paige Simpson. He was a true English man with the most wonderful voice (as you can hear it in the series) and with a typical sense of humour. Without me saying so the organisers of the festival called me “expert”, which made Apted salute me every morning at breakfast with “Good Morning Expert”.

5 years later we visited Paige and Apted in Venice California in their beautiful funkis house. The 63UP was on its way, the expert and his wife were trying to get information about what had happened since 56UP. A wedding, an illness, a new place to live for the jockey… We have not yet seen the 63UP that came out in 2019. Was that the last episode as Michael Apted is no longer among us? RIP.

“'Give Me the Child Until He Is Seven and I Will Show You the Man'.

You can buy the series on Amazon.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Up_(film_series)#Andrew

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2012/may/07/56-up-its-like-having-another-family

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iKOrjqEb5I


Categories: TV, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Lithuanian Documentarians Honoured

Written 29-12-2020 14:52:08 by Tue Steen Mller

Lithuanian Documentarians Honoured

… well, they are so far nominated « For Promoting Lithuania Globally », the directors and producers Arunas Matelis and Giedre Zickyté, by an organisation GLL (Global Lithuanian Leaders), that  is a non-profit association for professional individuals that identify with Lithuania and care about its future. If you click below you will find more information about the categories, where Lithuanians who have done something important for the country and its culture are listed as nominees to awards being given out in the month of January.

This information gives me the chance to salute two good friends I have known for one and two, almost three decades. Arunas from the time of Balticum Film & TV Festival in the 1990’es, Giedre from this century. Both of them filmmakers with an international network, ready to overcome all the trouble making coproductions gives, for their own works and ready to step into helping colleagues to make their film sas Arunas did with “Lobster Soup” and Giedre with “The Earth is Bleu as an Orange”. Two films from Spain and Ukrainia. It’s a generosity that many other filmmakers could learn from, commitment and the ambition to get the films out to as many as possible whatever country. Here follows the motivation for the nomainations:       

Arunas Matelis: For the first Lithuanian representation on global film distribution platforms with documentary “Wonderful Losers. A Different World“. This year, the documentary of Arūnas Matelis “Wonderful Losers. A Different World'' was uploaded to online film distribution platforms of more than 90 countries including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Kanopy. In the USA, the film has reached TOP 3 among iTunes documentaries. The film features the backstage dramas of cycling competition Giro d’Italia, it has been awarded at 14 international film festivals, in 2017 it received the title of the best Lithuanian film, and in 2018 it represented Lithuania in two categories of Academy Awards.

Giedre Zickyte: For captivating story-telling of dramatic history of Lithuania through the documentary "The Jump" and its victories at Warsaw, Rome and New York film festivals. The Documentary “The Jump" tells the story of Lithuanian soviet sailor Simas Kudirka who during the Cold War made an attempt to escape the Soviet Union by jumping from the Soviet to the American ship. The film captivated the global audience by the thrilling story and the way it is told. At the international Warsaw A Class festival, it was awarded as the best documentary. Documentary “The Jump" has become the first Lithuanian film invited to Rome Film Fest and DOC NYC 2020 in New York.

https://gllawards.lt/en/nominees-2020/?fbclid=IwAR3um3y5B9hpO6L8Jip4oz_iXj9Bu4c1omM53znWrwqVSne_hUAK5ZO1vhU


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Magnificent 2020 Belgrade/ 2

Written 23-12-2020 11:33:00 by Tue Steen Mller

Magnificent 2020 Belgrade/ 2

Just a quick note of enthusiasm. They had less than a week to announce the 16th edition of Magnificent7 that is running right now in Belgrade. I am not there as at the 15 first editions but contrary to pandemic scepticism from the two festival directors the three screenings so far ("Gunda", "Patrimonium", "Bitter Love") have had audiences from 100 to 200 people in the Dombank Hall Theatre where you can keep distance - and watch films on a big screen. On the photo you see Svetlana and Zoran Popovic celebrating the 100th film screening, which was the film by Audrius Stonys and Kristine Briede, "Bridges of Time". 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Best of DAFilms 2020

Written 17-12-2020 13:47:34 by Tue Steen Mller

Best of DAFilms 2020

The https://dafilms.com/ is an excellent vod for documentary lovers. Not only bringing new documentaries to their subscribers but also giving us a chance to go back in film history to pick important works. The seven members of DocAlliance, all of them festivals, deserve much credit for standing behind the vod, they are CPH:DOX, Doclisboa, Docs Against Gravity FF, DOK Leipzig, FIDMarseille, Ji.hlava IDFF, Visions du Réel. DAFilms celebrate its 15th year and have made a... "special program "Best of DAFilms" is created by the DAFilms viewers themselves according to what they watched and searched for the most this year. The year’s most highly rated films will be complemented by significant new releases handpicked from the catalogue by DAFilms curators as well as personalised recommendations for exceptional titles that you don’t want to miss. Among twenty select films include No Home Movie by Chantal Akerman and Walden by Jonas Mekas. The works of both these filmmaking celebrities were presented as part of two rare retrospective programs in 2020."

"2020 has been an exceptional year for the film industry in every way imaginable, from new productions and festivals to online distribution. Although this stress test brought upon the cultural sector by the pandemic continues, we still had the chance to see a lot of prominent titles and present retrospective programs in homage to several filmmakers. Among the most successful of them were screenings of films by Brazilian filmmaker Petra Costa and Canadian director Peter Mettler. And thanks to online distribution, several short films such as All Inclusive and Shooting Crows have managed to pique audience interest,” says the program’s curator, Veronika Likov, weighing in on this year’s activity.

And here is the list, go to the website and then to the titles to watch, it's pretty much cheap. Here is the list, I have highlighted those I would recommend you to watch. Make your own film festival:



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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Web

IDFA Awards for Feature-Length Docs

Written 26-11-2020 20:15:44 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Awards for Feature-Length Docs

 

 



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Awards Today!

Written 26-11-2020 13:41:16 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Awards Today!

Yes, IDFA awards today. Many, really many and bravo for also giving awards to editing, directing, cinematography... Here is the list of awards to be given in two of the main catagories:

In the Competition for Feature-Length Film, four awards will be presented: IDFA Award for Best Cinematography, the IDFA Award for Best Editing, the IDFA Award for Best Directing and IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary. In the Competition for First Appearance, two awards will be presented: the IDFA Award for Best First Appearance and the FIPRESCI Award in First Appearance.

Luckily there are still many days for me to watch films... I had hoped to be able to "have done" the 10 in the Feature-Length category. I have watched these 5:

Renzo Martens "White Cube", Claire Simon's "The Grocer's Son...", "Inside the Red Brick Wall" by the Hong Kong Documentary Filmmakers, "Nothing but the Sun" by Arami Ullón, "Radiograph of a Family" by Firouzeh Khosrovani... All films of good/high quality, some for the content, some for the treatment, for the aesthetic solution. So far I have not said to myself "why is this film selected?".  

For the First Apperance I have - so far - seen "This Rain will Never Stop" by Ukrainian Alina Gorlova. She just received an award at the Festival dei Popoli in Florence, the film is amazing in content and form, I must be a favourite!

In the archive section I have seen: "The Foundation Pit" by Andrey Gryazev, "Irradiated" by master Rithy Panh, "Paris Caligrammes" by Ulrike Ottinger, "Radiograph of a Family" by Firouzeh Khosrovani... Of course Rithy Panh's horror story is unique in creative treatment of archive but it is so hard to watch, unbearable. Readers of this blog will know how much I loved Ottinger's film as well as "Radiograph of a Family".

In mid-length I saw only "Anny" and Helena Trestikova is one of the best documentarians of our time.

www.idfa.nl


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Ulrike Ottinger: Paris Calligrammes

Written 23-11-2020 12:01:10 by Tue Steen Mller

Ulrike Ottinger: Paris Calligrammes

Loved that match. Watching the film, more than two hours from Paris. Images of today, images from the city in the sixties, accompanied by Ottinger’s voice unfolding her personal memoirs. AND then one hour talk – with a couple of clips – with the director (born 1942) and film critic Pamela Cohn analysing and asking questions. „It’s the most difficult film, I’ve ever done“, Ottinger said, „here I had to be direct personal, contrary to my many other films“. For the film Ottinger made a huge research in archives, public and private, she mentioned, she had seen 400 films (!) and spent two years in the editing room with Anette Fleming – „my wonderful editor“.

Ulrike Ottinger had a great time (1962-69) in Paris, were she met painters, 

 



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Andrei Ujica: Things We Said Today

Written 18-11-2020 17:30:22 by Tue Steen Mller

Andrei Ujica: Things We Said Today

... "then I will remember things we said today". Beatles. "The influence they had on our generation", as said Ujica, who is from 1951, I am four years older, and also I grew up with Beatles. And enjoy very much to remember those days in the beginning of the 60'es, where I met with my friend listening to and talking about John, Paul, Ringo and George. It's a brilliant film project that Ujica has, "A time capsule of New York between August 13-15, 1965, framed by The Beatles' arrival in the city and their first concert at Shea Stadium, narrated from the perspectives of two teenagers." I have never met Ujica personally, but I have met his editor and sound editor Dana Bunescu at a workshop in Gori Georgia. Already there she mentioned that she was working with Ujica on this film AND they had worked together before, a quote from the blogpost I wrote:

"Did you see it : ”The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceaucescu” (director : Andrei Ujica, editor and sound designer Dana Bunescu) from 2010, 3 hours long, a true masterpiece. You have to ! Archive the whole way through, no commentary, no explanations of where we are and when and why. Chronological.

Dana Bunescu, who is here as an editing tutor, a scoop to have her, open-minded and direct in her approach to the young filmmakers. Bunescu was working on the film for three years and what a material she had and put into a film, that is never boring but takes you in, because of its sense of rythm and use of sound, of music – Bunescu is a master in sound and it’s been an eye-opener to see her here in Gori talking about sound but also putting a recorder on the table to catch sounds that she might be able to use on another film occasion!"

At the pitch at IDFA, Ujica and his producer showed material, please show more, this is a film that will have an enormous success, I am sure, and not "only" for "our" generation. Ujica and Bunescu, archive masters!

... and to complete this hommage to the two, let me remind you that Ujica made two other films before "Ceaucescu" in his Romanian trilogy, "Videograms of a Revolution" (1992), "Out of the Present" (1995), and that Bunescu is the editor of several of the feature films of the "Romanian Wave" and also took part in the editing of the new excellent documentary "Collective" by Alexander Nanau. 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Documentary Poetry/ DunaDock

Written 15-11-2020 15:02:00 by Tue Steen Mller

Documentary Poetry/ DunaDock

The other day I was in Budapest for the DunaDock workshop... well online of course, me sitting in Copenhagen. I was invited by the engaged Hungarian documentarians Diana Groo, Julianna Ugrin and Klára Trencsényi and their helpers. To do tutoring at the workshop and a talk, as part of the (also online, cinemas are closed in Hungary) Verzio International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival. Klára Trencsényi was my host at the talk; I have known her for many years and have praised her films on this site – ”Corvin Variations” www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/2162/, ”Birds Way” http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/1056/, ”Train to Adulthood” http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3395/. Right now Klára Trencsényi is in the editing of ”Wardens of Memory”, shot in India and about the Cochini Jews – and much more. The film project was pitched at DocsBarcelona this year, online, by the director and Julianna Ugrin, who has a long filmography, including ”A Woman Captured” by Bernadett Tuza-Ritter.

Anyway, for the talk I chose the title ”Documentary Poetry” and the participants in the festival and in the DunaDock workshop (more about that below) got the chance to watch in beforehand ”Bridges of Time” by Kristine Briede and Audrius Stonys, produced by Lithuanian Arunas Matelis, Latvian Uldis Cekulis and Estonian Riho Västrik. There are several texts on this site about this remarkable film on poetic documentary cinema.

I had 90 minutes, where I showed clips with words in between making again a lot of reference to the Balticum Film & TV Festival that was held in the 1990’es on the island of Bornholm in the middle of the Baltic Sea. It was here during a decade that my interest in and love for the Baltic documentary filmmaking and filmmakers were born. And for Russian and Polish…

I showed a clip from ”Paradise” – the boy eating his morning porridge and falling asleep – the graduation film by Sergey Dvortsevoy, whose four documentaries I consider to be outstanding and whose second feature film ”Ayka” is equally excellent. And then I went to Audrius Stonys – clips from ”Antigravitation” and ”Uku Ukai” – before the two clips from ”Bridges of Time” with Uldis Brauns, the man behind the masterpiece ”235.000.000” from 1967, of which a director’s cut is now being restored and digitized. If you want to watch the class, there is a link below, English spoken and clips with English subtitles.

About the DunaDock workshop that was run via Zoom: five projects, three tutors (Hanka Kastelicova, HBO Europe, Noemi Schory Israeli producer, and me), and a pitch session that included Christian Popp from FIPADOC and Brigid O’Shea from DAE, Documentary Association of Europe, who awarded two of the five projects. Go to the FB of the DunaDock and read much more, link below as well. 

DunaDock is for sure one of many workshops/training sessions, where talent is found and advised on how to enter the documentary community. In this session there were – behind the five projects – participants from Moldova, Kosovo, Pakistan, Germany and Hungary. Again go to the FB page to see who were the winners.  

https://www.facebook.com/dunadock

https://www.verzio.org/hu/node/3302


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Vadym Jendreyko: The Woman with the 5 Elephants

Written 06-11-2020 18:34:36 by Tue Steen Mller

It’s from start till end beautiful. It is seldom that form and content go so well together. Because the director succeeds to catch the charisma of Swetlana Geier, the translator of Dostoyevsky (and many other big Russian authors) from Russian into German. Her life story, born in Ukraine 1923, living in Freiburg in Germany from the mid 40’es until her death in 2010. Her travel to Ukraine with her granddaughter. And first of all her approach to translation and the works of Dostoyevsky. To language, read this quote from the film:

"My teacher always said: ‘Nose up in the air when you translate.’ That is to say, one doesn’t translate from left to right, following the text, but only after one has made the sentence one’s own. It first has to be internalised, taken to heart. I read a book so often that my eyes ’gouge holes’ in pages. I basically know it by heart. Then the day comes when I suddenly hear the melody of the text."

The scenes on the first floor of the house, she lives in, are magnificent. She sits with Hannelore Hagen on each side of the table at a window that opens to a view of a tree outside. Hannelore Hagen types what Swetlana Geier dictates. And later comes in – to sit in the chair of Geier - Jürgen Klodt, who knows about language, the musicality of German language. He comes up with suggestions for change to the old lady on the other side of the table, who uses her pencil to make marks in the manuscript that Hannelore Hagen has typed. It’s wonderful. Old-fashioned. Conversations. "You could also use conjunctive!". It has a calmness of poetic dimensions. The director pays respect to the profession – and her life. We get to know the tragic death of her son, and she speaks so touching about how she was there at his coffin. Her face, her eyes, her way of conveying fascination, you can imagine how good a teacher she must have been. Strength. Wisdom.

No more from me, the film is a must, and it is easy to get hold of it. Click the website (with excellent articles) below to see how to get hold of it.

https://5elefanten.ch/en/

Germany/Switzerland, 2009, 92 mins.


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Message2Man

Written 02-11-2020 19:29:24 by Tue Steen Mller

Message2Man

You might ask why there is a photo of Fellini on top of this post about the St. Petersburg festival that starts tomorrow. The answer is simple, the festival wants to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of Federico Fellini. To send that message to its audience, simply, even if the main focus is on documentaries, as usual. Good choice!

The festival is super-active on facebook posting photos and texts on the films that are in the competition and out of competition. The best you can do is to check the fine website - https://message2man.com/en/.

Nevertheless the festival – like so many of us – is depending on the google 

 



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Artdocfest/ Riga Announces Competition Films

Written 30-10-2020 11:06:22 by Tue Steen Mller

Artdocfest/ Riga Announces Competition Films

Zane Balčus, film critic and journalist, colleague and manager of Baltic Sea Docs, writes for the FNE, Film New Europe, that I can only recommend warmly you to subscribe to if you want daily film news from Eastern and Central Europe. With her permission I copy paste the article:



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IDFA Academy Announces Program

Written 26-10-2020 20:22:29 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Academy Announces Program

I have copy-pasted a FB post coming from the Head of the IDFA Academy Meike Statema.The IDFA Academy program is as always very inviting – the 60 selected young filmmakers, even if all is online, will get food for thought as you can see from this clip:

…Highlights of the program reflect this approach. In addition to the Opening Session by the always-exciting French director Claire Simon and Gianfranco Rosi's highly anticipated masterclass, discussions and lectures will focus on issues such as filmmaking in a limited space with the UK director Marc Isaacs, or on numerous initiatives created by cinema collectives and digital platforms in order to support arthouse theaters during the pandemic. 

Other events will deal with more traditional topics. For instance, Mila Turajlić and Carine Chichkowsky, director and producer of the 2017 IDFA winner The Other Side of Everything,(PHOTO) who are taking part in IDFA Forum with their new project, will lead a session on how to get financing partners on board for a project while still maintaining artistic independence. Aswang producer Armi Rae Cacanindin will speak about international co-productions, and directors Maite Alberdi and Firouzeh Khosrovani will provide insight into writing and researching for project proposals. Finally, sales agents Anaïs Clanet of Reservoir Docs and Liselot Verbrugge of Deckert Distribution will tutor the participants on topics related to sales and distribution…

www.idfa.nl


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Heddy Honigmann and Marln Viayo

Written 21-10-2020 12:36:24 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA  Heddy Honigmann and Marln Viayo

In August 2007 Allan Berg and I started filmkommentaren. The first post/review of a film published was „Forever“ by Heddy Honigmann, a lovely film where the director takes the viewer to the cemetery Père Lachaise in Paris. An essayistic film about Life and Death made by the Dutch master, whose films I have followed with pleasure during decades – do you remember ”Metal and Melancholy”, ”Oblivion”, ”O Amor Natural” and the recent ones ”Buddy” and ”Around the World in 50 Concerts”? And many more.

So it is wonderful to see that the director has a world premiere coming up at the IDFA (16 November – 6 December), placed together with 7 other in the Dutch Competition category.

The title is ”100UP” and the life affirming website description goes like this:

”A doctor from Lima still works in the hospital, in New York a sexologist still sees clients, while elsewhere in the city a student attends lectures at the university. On the other side of the world, a spry Norwegian helps with lambing and a distinguished Dutchman is working fanatically on an online platform for human rights. What do they have in common? They’ve all passed their 100th birthday.

In this documentary, seven colorful centenarians give us a glimpse into their lives today and their rich pasts. All are still very active, even though the clock is ticking, bodies sometimes fail to cooperate, the loss of loved ones is painful, and some worry about the world’s future.

Heddy Honigmann visits these very old citizens of the world and asks them about life. What do they expect of it? Each tells their story in their own way, sometimes with humor, occasionally with a touch of melancholy, but always with the wisdom reserved only for the very eldest of us.”

A very promising annotation and I am going to watch it, unfortunately not in Amsterdam as the Dutch government does not allow Copenhageners to enter due to the pandemic, but online as most of my film watching is now.

Yesterday IDFA also announced other competitive sections – student films, kids and docs and short documentaries. In this category I find with pleasure a new film by Marlén Viñayo entitled ”Unforgivable”. The director is from El Salvador and charmed us with ”Chacada” at many festivals, including DocsBarcelona, where it won an award, ”a touching story – full of humour – about five women, single mothers, poor, who have quite some stories to get rid of in the theatre play, they are performing together.” Was what was written on this site.

”Unforgivable” (36 mins.)… here is a clip from the website: ”Geovanny is incarcerated at the San Francisco Gotera prison in western El Salvador, which is exclusively dedicated to detaining gang criminals. In 2017, almost all inmates converted to evangelical Christianity. Like them, Geovanny has withdrawn from his gang. But while the church has no difficulty accepting his violent past, the fact that he loves another man is regarded a sin for which he can’t be forgiven.”

A veteran and a newcomer at IDFA. That’s how it is with this festival. As the artistic director Orwa Nyrabia wrote on FB: So much to see, so much to hear, so much to talk about, so much to just stay silent after. This year in documentary film is tremendous… Indeed, I will come back with more information about the IDFA program later.

www.idfa.nl


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Sergei Loznitsa:The Natural History of Destruction

Written 20-10-2020 15:17:09 by Tue Steen Mller

Sergei Loznitsa:The Natural History of Destruction

I take the liberty to copy-paste from the excellent Filmneweurope – a news note by Aukse Kancereviciute. It goes like this:

VILNIUS: Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa is starting production on his archive documentary project The Natural History of Destruction / Natūrali naikinimo istorija. The film is produced by Germany‘s LOOKS Filmproduktionen GmbH in coproduction with Lithuania‘s Studio Uljana Kim and Atoms & Void (the Netherlands).

The Natural History of Destruction is inspired by German writer W.G. Sebald’s 1999 book of the same title. Sebald describes the phenomenon of mass destruction of the German civilian population and German cities by massive Allied air raids during World War II. In particular, he examines the perception and processing of this phenomenon in European post-war literature.

Loznitsa often deals with 20th century European history and the memory of the greatest tragedies of that time. His 2012 film In the Fog won the FIPRESCI prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and he won Best Director in Cannes Un Certain Regard for Donbass (2018). In 2013 Sergei Loznitsa launched the film production and distribution company ATOMS & VOID. 

The film was awarded a grant in the Eurimages October 2020 round. It is supported by the Lithuanian Film Centrewith 77,000 EUR; the Netherlands Film Fund with 50,000 EUR; and German entities RBB / MDR with 90,000 EUR, MDM with 100,000 EUR grant, Medienboard with 70,000 EUR, and BKM with 80,500 EUR.

The production is planned to be finished in September 2021 with no premiere date announced yet.

Photo from his previous ”Donbass” 

https://www.filmneweurope.com


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Ji.hlava Festival Goes Digital with Big Program

Written 15-10-2020 20:03:51 by Tue Steen Mller

Ji.hlava Festival Goes Digital with Big Program

I got a press release from Prague/Jihlava yesterday. It’s about the 24th edition of a festival that I have visited several times – in connection with the Ex Oriente workshop organised by IDF (Institute of Documentary Film) and once to be a juror. This year it’s all online as you can read below in the clip from the press release. Read and go to the website to check the quite exciting program of new films and of classics, thematically organised. 

”Ji.hlavaIDFF kicks-off in two weeks! Despite the recent forced shift of the event to digital space, the full-fledged festival programme with over 59 world and 26 international premieres remains. What can the viewers look forward to? The programme features over 220 films: from the latest of Czech and international documentary crop, SouthKorean film retrospective, comprehensive showcase of Afro-American docs as well as new documentaries focusing on topics that are more than relevant these days:coronavirus pandemic, China and HongKong, climate change,and films asking the fundamental question–where is our home?

The 24th Ji.hlava IDFF will take place between October 27 and November 8, 2020. “We are sorry that we can’t screen the films in cinemas but we want to see the current situation as an opportunity. One positive aspect is that everyone will be able to get to see the films,” says Marek Hovorka, the Festival Director. “Fifteen years ago, the same year when YouTube was launched, Ji.hlava IDFF founded the first VOD portal dedicated to documentaries. Today, DAFilms.com is one of the leading European VOD platforms,” describes Hovorka the partnership with DAFilms, which will be the festival’s this year’s streaming platform.“The uniqueness of this programme is in the fact that apart from over 220 films available to the Czech viewers, we will offer more than 80 films from Ji.hlava’s competitions to audiences worldwide, released in their World, International or European premieres, ”says Diana Tabakov, the Executive Director at DAFilms. This year’s Ji.hlava will not only focus on films. “In order to bring the unique atmosphere of Ji.hlava to online audiences, we have prepared several simultaneous live streams, all-day live service from the festival’s Lighthouse studio at the Ji.hlava’s central Masaryk square as well as an interactive environment interconnecting the audience with the filmmakers,” concludes Marek Hovorka.”

www.ji-hlava.com


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Patricio Guzmn: The Cordillera of Dreams

Written 13-10-2020 12:23:04 by Tue Steen Mller

Patricio Guzmn: The Cordillera of Dreams

He speaks slowly. With a calm voice. The totally mastered personal text of Patricio Guzmán takes the viewer back to the Chile that he left after the coup d’état in 1973. All his films, he mentions in this third part of a trilogy (Nostalgia for the Light and The Pearl Button are the two first) deals with his beloved country. This time with the „Cordillera de los Andes” as the metaphoric background – with stunningly beautiful images of the mountains, the rocks with or without snow, a wall as he says, a mystery as one of his interviewes says, where stories are hidden; history, the traumatic past of a country that is still suffering from the dictatorship of Pinochet.

 



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Benoit Felici: The Real Thing

Written 08-10-2020 13:43:26 by Tue Steen Mller

Benoit Felici: The Real Thing

- with the subtitle: Real Life in Fake Cities.

I met Benoit at a café in Paris, in lively rue Montorgueuil. For a good long talk about Life, politics and Cinema. We know each other from way back, when he was a student at Zelig Documentary Film School in Bolzano. It was in February so no words about pandemic.

Benoit made a very succesful graduation film at Zelig, “Unifinished Italy” (2010) that travelled the world and won many awards for its originality in style and subject (“Italy, home of ruins: A foray into the unfinished, Italy's most prominent architectural style between the end of WW2 and the present day.”). Now he lives in Paris, has a child, teaches film at a university and makes film.

He told me that his newest film, “The Real Thing – Real Life in Fake Cities”, where he worked (again) with colleagues from Zelig, Bastian Esser on camera and Philipp Griess as production manager, was invited to be screened at the Copenhagen Architecture Film Festival. Great, I said, we can meet and I can show you Copenhagen. The festival was scheduled for April/May but was postponed because of the pandemic – till now where the film will be shown at the festival on Saturday at the Danish Cinemateket. Sold out. And there has been a screening in Aarhus October1st.

As original as “Unfinished Italy”, with superb camerawork, this film has also toured all over – festivals like HotDocs, BAFF (Buenos Aires), Ambulante Mexico and as you can maybe see on the poster several broadcasters have picked it. Including arte. So he has reached an audience. Here is the director’s own film description from his website, link below: “The Real Thing is a journey into a copy of our world, Seeking the monumental copycat architecture of China and other countries around the world, Residential areas where people live an everyday life in places simulating other places… mirrors in which a certain image of the world is reflected…”

As written on this website Copenhagen Architecture Festival has a strong focus on films, so Benoit Felici is in good company with directors like Pedro Costa and Patricio Guzman.

The two websites are excellent, with photos, teasers, production notes – super-informative.

http://www.benoitfelici.com/?portfolio=archi-faux

http://therealthing.film/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Marc Isaacs: The Filmmakers House

Written 07-10-2020 14:07:44 by Tue Steen Mller

Marc Isaacs: The Filmmakers House

”My headline is ordinary people”. Director Marc Isaacs is behind the camera skype-talking with his producer, who gives him the information that the broadcasters of today only want to give money for more commercial/sensational stories. Not ordinary people stories. Isaacs decides to make his film anyway, in his own home. The result is “The Filmmaker’s House” that premieres at the Sheffield Doc Fest in ten days, and later goes to IDFA in Amsterdam, where his film is in the Masters Section together with works of, among others, Viktor Kossakovsky, who years ago in a similar no funding situation made a film not in but from his house, “Tishe!” Don’t give up, don’t take no for an answer, just take your camera” as I heard Portuguese Pedro Costa say the other day.

 



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Gianfranco Rosi at IDFA

Written 05-10-2020 13:37:03 by Tue Steen Mller

Gianfranco Rosi at IDFA

No doubt, Gianfranco Rosi is one of the most interesting directors of our time. And a very good choice it is to make a retrospective of his films at the upcoming IDFA in Amsterdam. And according to tradition to have the director make his Top 10. Very appealing it is, click the IDFA link below and you will get the whole list.

Pleases me so much to see that Rosi also favours Robert Kramer’s 255 minutes long ”Route One/USA” that was quite an eye-opener for me, when I was at the celebration of the National Film Board’s 50 year anniversary in 1989 in Montréal. 

And Bunuel’s ”Los Olvidados”, and de Seta’s ”Banditi a Orgoloso”, watched decades ago at the Danish Film Museum – loves that Rosi also includes ”10 shorts by de Seca” from the 1950’es. They will for sure be on my list, when/if I can visit the festival (right now it does not look so good…).

Happy to see Susana de Sousa Dias ”48” on the list. The Portuguese director does not get the attention, she deserves for her amazing archive films. But – see link below – she has been an important director for the editors of this site. 

Final great words from Orwa Nyrabia, IDFA’s artistic director:  "Rosi handles every shot like a jeweler would treat a unique pearl, with great care, patience, and with utmost respect, like a sacred object. Then he puts his pearls into a hidden thread, he keeps on examining the way they are ordered, the dialogue between each one of them and the others. What we see in the end is a film, a creature that seems so coherent you cannot see the thread anymore, you cannot imagine that a complex matrix of artistic choices was behind what you see, you even have to think: did he just find the film somewhere? Has it always been there, this way, on its own?"

The photo of a younger Rosi is taken from the catalogue of the Magnificent7 festival in Belgrade 2010, where Rosi came to present his ”Below Sea Level” in the Sava Centre in front of more than 1000 spectators.

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/1938/ (About Works of Susana de Sousa Dias)

https://www.idfa.nl/en/article/134787/gianfranco-rosi-hoofdgast-op-idfa-2020


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Pedro Costa/ 2

Written 04-10-2020 16:28:35 by Tue Steen Mller

Pedro Costa/ 2

Contrary to colleague Allan Berg, who sat in jury with the Portuguese director in Bilbao in 2003, I have never met Pedro Costa.(See link below). I had hoped to do so last night at Cinemateket in Copenhagen, where he was announced to be present to introduce and talk about two of his films, ”Colossal Youth” and ”Vitalina Varela”. But he did not come for family reasons. Instead a young man from Cinemateket, Oscar Pedersen made a good introduction. Obviously he knows about Costa and his many films that are now being shown in Copenhagen. 8 films.

BUT – most important – I saw the two films, all together I was in the cinematic universe of Pedro Costa for almost 5 hours. Which was quite a unique experience. In the cinematic universe that he has created around Fontainhas, the now-vanished Lisbon neighbourhood that he first began chronicling over two decades ago. In the cinematic universe with non-professional actors. Vitalina Varela, who Costa met in connection with “Horse Money” (2014) is the protagonist in the film that carries her name – it’s her story (she came from Cap Verde to Lisbon to meet her husband but she came too late, the husband had died 3 days before her arrival) that is the starting point for the film and she is the one who has – so to say – made the script.

I know that because I decided to meet Pedro Costa virtually, where there are 

 



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Audrius Stonys Conversation

Written 30-09-2020 12:40:36 by Tue Steen Mller

Audrius Stonys  Conversation

There is only 4 hours drive from Vilnius in Lithuania to Riga in Latvia… but the pandemic prevented us to meet face to face for the conversation organised by the Baltic Sea Docs Zane Balcus during the event in the beginning of this month. But everything was – like the conversation with local producer Uldis Cekulis – recorded and now you have the chance to get acquainted with the documentary film poet Audrius Stonys and (some of) his work. Stonys is a constant inspiration when he talks about the background for the 7 films we picked for the conversation. Films like “Antigravitation”, “Uku Ukai”, “Flying over Blue Fields”, “Ramin”… and the latest work that he did with Kristine Briede, “Bridges of Time”. He mentions three directors who have inspired him, Jonas Mekas, Henrikas Sablevicius and Herz Frank. The latter “opens” the conversation – that lasts around 80 minutes and is introduced by Zane Balcus.

Here is the link: https://vimeo.com/463029306/e3924b411c

Photo: Agnese Zeltina. 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Patricio Guzmn

Written 27-09-2020 11:07:52 by Tue Steen Mller

Patricio Guzmn

PATRICIO GUZMÁN

by Tue Steen Müller

2010. Patricio Guzmán in Damascus. The great director behind the film historical classic The Battle of Chile from the beginning of the 1970’es met the audience of young wannabee filmmakers and older people, who remember the dramatic period where the government of Salvador Allende and ”la pouvoir populaire”, as the French speaking director put it, tried to unite the Left and introduce democracy in Chile. We all know how that went.

In 1973 Guzmán films The Battle of Chile, the 5-hour documentary on the end of Allende’s government. After the military coup, Guzmán is threatened to be executed and spends two weeks arrested inside the national stadium, unable to communicate his whereabouts to anyone. He leaves the country in November 1973. He lives in Cuba, Spain and then France, where he makes In the Name of God (Grand Prize, Festival of Popoli, 1987), The Southern Cross (Grand Prize, Festival Vue Sur les Docs, Marseille, 1992), Chile, Obstinate Memory (Grand Prize Festival of Tel Aviv, 1999), The Pinochet Case (International Critic’s Week, Cannes, 2002), and Salvador Allende(Official Selection, Cannes, 2004). In 2005, he makes My Jules Verne

THE BATTLE OF CHILE

About The Battle of Chile Guzman in his Damascus address to the young filmmakers said that it is a film on words. It is a film on the quality of the politics of the people from the base – the working class. The five hour long film had an editing time of three years. Cuban film people came to watch at the editing room and said that they had never seen such a high political culture. The films deals with the period from 1970 and to the military coup and is about ”le pouvoir populaire”. Guzman referred to the East german political filmmakers, who were filming in Chile at the time, Heynowski & Scheumann, and told that their cameraman filmed the bombing of the presidential palace, whereas Pedro Chaskel, the editor of Guzman, filmed the flight over the palace. The two teams exchanged footage... (for buying dvd’s of the films, consult the site of Guzman).

The attack on La Moneda was watched by Salvador Allende surrounded by his guards and is a iconic scene in Guzman's film. "How could a team of five - some with no previous film experience - working with one Éclair camera, one Nagra sound recorder, two vehicles and a package of black-and-white film stock sent to them by the French documentarian Chris Marker produce a work of this magnitude?” (Pauline Kael in The New Yorker).

NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT

In an article to be read on the website of the BFI, 2012, critic Geoff Andrew writes: “A couple of years ago, at the Cannes Film Festival, I fell in love. The object of my affections was a film – Nostalgia for the Light (Nostalgia de la luz), by Patricio Guzmán, the exiled Chilean documentarist famous for the three-part 1970s epic The Battle of Chile (La batalla de Chile) – and my desire was to programme it in an extended run at BFI Southbank. It took a while, but my dream came true, thanks to the UK distributor New Wave Films; not only that, but we’re accompanying the run with a retrospective of Guzmán’s earlier work and welcoming the director on-stage for an interview with the season’s curator, Michael Chanan. What, you may ask, were the characteristics that gave rise to this love at first sight? My first response, admittedly somewhat predictably, would be beauty; visually, Nostalgia for the Light is quite wonderful to behold. But rest assured that its beauty is more than skin-deep; it is notable for its quiet, deeply compassionate humanity. Still, many films are beautiful, and I don’t fall in love with each and every one of them. The real reason for my ardour, I suspect, was the fact that the film stood out from the crowd, from its mysterious opening scene to its profoundly moving ending; in short, it immediately struck me as unique. That’s extremely rare in an artform as genre-oriented as the cinema. And what more could one possibly ask of a love-object?...

Guzmán is often considered as a political filmmaker but in connection with the release of Nostalgia for the Light he writes: "I'm not a sociologist. Neither am I a politician. I make films that are metaphorical and poetic; I interpret reality through my own personal way of looking"…”

The opening of film festivals is something that veterans like me normally avoid because of boring official speeches and/or a moderator trying to be funny and/or blonds or brunettes in high heels being there for their looks, knowing nothing about what the film festival is there for.

In Leipzig 2012 it was different because of the ambition of the festival director to make a long and reflective and personal statement. The year before Claas Danielsen attacked television for their poor programming and funding of the creative/artistic documentary and this year he had chosen a more soft approach asking the audience "to see and hear with the heart" - and act. The emotional speech was given with passion, commitment and point of view. He referred to strong films in the programme and the debate they raise - Danish Armadillo and Into Eternity were the ones mentioned. Names coming up were Sarkozy and Gert Wilders... in connection with the profiling of the festival programme that has a lot of political films as well as films touching upon the xenophobia of today´s Europe.

An opening night that continued in an atmosphere of seriousness and dignity by the showing of Patricio Guzmán's masterpiece Nostalgia for the Light. Like Joris Ivens did in China with his last film, L´Histoire du Vent, where he placed himself in the open land desert. Guzman goes to Atacama desert in his native country to visit the astronomical observatories, to examine the light with the aim to make an essay on the past and on memories. An intelligent reflection, total beauty in camerawork and touching when he meets women, who look for the remains of the dear ones, killed an buried during and by the Pinochet regime. A woman tells how she found the foot of her brother, the foot with the sock, and his teeth forming a smile that she remembered.

Under arkitekturfestivalen i Kødenhavn CAFx 2020 vises i Cinemateket tre af Patricio Guzmáns film som en trilogi:

Lysets Nostalgi (2010) / 12. oktober kl 14:15 

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6VDlxFYmKg

Perlemorsknappen (2015) / 11. oktober kl 14:00

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPnbCuGKohU

The Cordillera of Dreams (2019) / Dansk premiere / 12. oktober kl 16:45

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpMbsXuQs7Q  

CAFx 2020
Læs mere om festivalen på www.cafx.dk - Copenhagen Architecture Festival 2020 rummer 100 arkitektur-arrangementer i København, Aarhus og Odense fordelt på film- og debatvisninger, udstillinger, guidede ture, workshops, konferencer, talks. 

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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Hubert Sauper and Awards Tonight

Written 24-09-2020 13:56:03 by Tue Steen Mller

Hubert Sauper and Awards Tonight

A film is written four times. When a script is made. When the film is shot. When the material is edited. When the audience sees it… Words from Hubert Sauper, who was invited to have a conversation with festival programmers Cecilia Lidin and Martijn te Pas at Nordisk Panorama. One hour with clips from his “Darwin’s Nightmare”, “We Come as Friends” and the most recent “Epicentro” from Cuba. Well prepared by the moderators, who during the session were trying to come in with questions – difficult but no problem as the director talked so well and interesting, especially about “We Come as Friends” that (as “Darwin’s Nightmare”) is available online, for free, for the audience in the Nordic countries. The fine thing about the talk was that he related to the clip, gave the context and told how it was shot: A naked black boy is given white socks by missionaries, who ask the black people to dance… Sauper told us that he was about to break down watching this colonialist humiliation, this “moment of truth”; a friend who was with him grapped the camera and shot the scene. A mild and generous Hubert Sauper invited us to experience some of his ways of filmmaking. And I have to see “We Come as Friends”.

Tonight I have been invited to put on my festive slippers for the Award Ceremony. Online. Will do my best. Wonder who will win the main award, Best Documentary. „The Cave“ by Feras Fayyad must be the clear favourite, but it could also be „Songs of Repression“ by Estephan Wagner and Marianne Hougen-Moraga or „The Painter and The Thief“ by Benjamin Ree. Or could I hope for „Bitter Love“ by my old friend Jerzy Sladkowski who with cameraman Wojciech Staron has created another lovely story from Russia. I have not seen all 14 films in this competition so there could be a dark horse somewhere.

https://nordiskpanorama.com/en/festival/programme/competition-films-2020/docs-in-competition-2020/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Pedro Costa

Written 22-09-2020 13:46:40 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Pedro Costa

PEDRO COSTA

Efterhånden gik det op for mig, hvad det var for en kapacitet af indsigt og erfaring jeg og Marc Recha sad i jury med, Pedro Costa fra Lissabon og dengang lige så meget fra Paris. Det var på festivalen Zinibi i Bilbao november 2003, dokumentarfilm konkurrencen og vi tre havde travlt med at se film og snakke længe om dem.

Omsider om lørdagen fik jeg mulighed for at se en stor del af Costas arbejde som var en præsentation uden for konkurrencen, først hans No Quarto da Vanda som en installation, som en udstilling af en stor del af det optagne materiale, No Quarto da Vanda x 2, i alt 120 min. Det var i en dvd-projektion i en lille udstillingssal over for museets biograf. Og derefter så jeg så den tre timer lange film. Den var berømt, og jeg havde da hørt om den. I Paris eller Amsterdam? I Paris, vil jeg tro. Den havde da vist også været vist på en Natfilmfestival i København.

Men jeg fik den ikke set, og lige nu forbandt jeg den ikke med den mand lige overfor, hvis kloge og lange taler, når han omsider sagde noget, jeg begærligt lyttede til. Sjældent mødte og møder jeg mennesker, som i det præcise udtryk og vældige omfang udtrykker, hvad jeg troede og tror eller ønskede jeg selv tænkte. Costa er et højt begavet, meget følsomt, ansvarligt, præcist og muntert menneske. Og hans film, de to, jeg nu havde set og som jeg nu igen kan se under arkitektur festivalen, No Quarto da Vanda om den hårde virkelighed for en narkoman som bor i et fattigt Lissabonkvarter som er ved at blive fjernet og Où gît votre sourire enfoui? om klippearbejdet ved det tredje gennemklip af Danièle Huillets og Jean-Marie Straubs Sicilia! De to film, indså jeg, hørte nu for mig til de store dokumentarfilm i verden. Det gør de stadigvæk. Sådan er det med Pedro Costas egensindige film.

Det kan jeg få bekræftet når Pedro Costa kommer til København 3. og 4. oktober til arrangementer i Cinemateket i forbindelse med CAFx 2020, Copenhagen Architecture Festival. 

http://cafx.dk/program/



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Categories: Cinema, Festival, Film History, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Dokufest Prizren 2020

Written 26-08-2020 13:35:43 by Tue Steen Mller

Dokufest Prizren 2020

It is a post-festum post this one. I was in the jury at the Sarajevo FF, I was writing a bit about the lovely MakeDox in Skopje so I had no time to follow DokuFest in Prizren, a festival I visited in 2016 and has followed and written about from distance since 2010 : The festival ended August 25.

„I was at the DokuFest(ival) in Prizren in 2016. Great experience with good films and an atmosphere of generosity in a beautiful place. », I wrote on this site in 2016.

I met the generosity again this year as Eroll Bilibani gave me online access to watch films. I did so for a couple of days and was very much impressed by the winner of the competitive section „Balkan Docs“:

 



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Jrgen Roos: Johannes Larsen

Written 28-07-2020 12:53:04 by Tue Steen Mller

Jrgen Roos: Johannes Larsen

For those who can travel in Denmark: I Kerteminde ligger et dejligt museum, Johannes Larsen Museet med værker af Larsen selv og Fritz Syberg og andre af Fynboerne. Dejligt sted med en have, adgang til malerens hjem hvor han boede med sin kone Alhed, som også var kunstner. I 1957 lavede vor største dokumentarist Jørgen Roos en 12 minutter lang film om Larsen og Møllebakken, i anledning af maleren og bogillustratorens 90-års fødselsdag. Filmen kan ses på filmcentralen.dk, gratis og tilgængelig for alle. Jørgen Roos, døde i 1998 - som jeg skylder meget af min viden og begejstring for dokumentarfilmgenren - tog fotografier af Johannes Larsen. Dem har jeg hugget til denne lejlighed. Jeg er sikker på at Jørgen Roos ville have sagt ok til det!

(tsm)

Jeg holder meget af dit blogindlæg Tue, af tonen, af historien, af henvisninngen til Jørgen Roos' film på det umistelige streamingsite filmcentralen.dk: 

https://filmcentralen.dk/museum/danmark-paa-film/film/johannes-larsen 

(abn)


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Ivars Seleckis at Baltic Sea Docs 2020

Written 13-07-2020 12:42:17 by Tue Steen Mller

Ivars Seleckis at Baltic Sea Docs 2020

A new film project by veteran documentary director and cinematographer Ivars Seleckis will be presented at the 24th edition of Baltic Sea Docs that starts on the 29th of August. The brief description goes like this: ”The documentary “The Land” will reveal the countryside of the 21st century through the individual and personal stories of the five protagonists living in the Latvian countryside and farming their land.” Producer is Gints Grube, Mistrus Media, who also stood behind Seleckis last big success ”To be Continued”.

”Ivars Seleckis began his career the same way many film people do – from the ‘bottom’. Though he had university education, he spent months lugging ‘boxes’ and the heavy film camera around the Riga Film Studio until he was allowed to switch it on. The first scenes he shot that appeared on film were in 1960 – in the documentary, “My Riga” – a film that became the first timid step away from the official propaganda and towards a more humanly intimate poetics. (source: http://nkc.gov.lv/en/uncategorized/ivars-seleckis-2/)”.

Since then, as cinematographer and later on as director, Seleckis name has 

 



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Baltic Sea Docs 2020

Written 11-07-2020 12:57:07 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Sea Docs 2020

Riga, Latvia. 29.08 - 4.09.2020. The 24th Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries. For “professional filmmakers from the Baltic Sea region, as well as from Eastern and Central Europe”. It started in Denmark, had some years in the Baltic capitals before it found its permanent home in Riga in 2005. I have been “part of the furniture” since the beginning. With pleasure.

There is a film program to be announced later as well as seminars and list of tutors and decision makers, who will take part in an event that this year will be hybrid with some people based in Riga and many people attached to the Zoom presentations and questions and answers.

Project manager Zane Balcus and her team have made the selection of projects, 24 as usual, you can see them all via the link below.

Let me mention names that I already know from previous gatherings:

 



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Krakow FF Puts a Focus on Denmark

Written 31-05-2020 18:43:51 by Tue Steen Mller

Krakow FF Puts a Focus on Denmark

Tonight the opening of the Krakow Film Festival takes place at 7pm. 

The festival 2020 goes online – with the same high quality in selection as always. Competition programmes, thematic sections, a Dragon Award for the master Peter Forgacs, films for kids, industry events and much much more.

Including a very generous gesture towards Denmark: “Special guest of this year’s festival is Danish cinema. In Focus on Denmark section we will see the latest documentary and short films from Denmark, as well as a special programme for kids and youth and a selection of student films.” A fine bravo to Danish documentary in the 60th edition of the prestigious festival. An honour.

On that occasion you - whereever you live, for free, with English as the language - will have the chance to meet 4 Danish top documentary producers, who have contributed to the current success of Danish documentary worldwide. The producers who will talk about coproduction are Sigrid Dyekjær, Kathrine Sahlstrøm, Signe Byrge Sørensen, Malene Flindt Pedersen – who will be joined by Ane Mandrup, Head of Documentaries at the Danish Film Institute and Kim Christiansen from DR Sales (Danish Broadcasting Corp.), executive producer. It’s my job to be the moderator.

The conference has a duration of 90 minutes and takes place Tuesday June 2nd at 12-13.30 via the link below, You can put question to the panel (write mail@tuesday.dk). Photo: Eva Mulvad's A Modern Man 

https://www.krakowfilmfestival.pl/en/industry/industry-zone/panels-conferences/focus-on-denmark-presentation/

 

 

 


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DocsBarcelona: Filmmaker's Window

Written 26-05-2020 11:42:25 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona: Filmmaker's Window

3 months ago a state of alarm forced us to leave the office from where we always produce DocsBarcelona. In this context, this edition has been prepared: looking out the window to see the few things that were happening in a world that had completely stopped.

We believe it is important to remember everything we have been through. That is why we have asked directors and friendly directors of DocsBarcelona to share with us how they experienced this confinement beyond the window of their home. Sharing the hard moments, and the beautiful moments, and these looks outward and at the same time inward. We asked them, to the extent that they could and under the conditions we already knew, to send us an audiovisual piece that reflected this moment as only documentaries do.

And now, it seems that everything is being left behind (including this new edition of the Festival that is already ending) we present the result of these pieces, which we have also had the honor and pleasure of preparing for this digital projection with the help of the Victor Kossakovsky, from whom we got the idea through his masterpiece, TISHE. It is thanks to his sensitivity, and to that of Èric Motjer, Laura Àlvarez, Ariadna Seuba, Anna Petrus, Pepe Rodríguez, Alexandre Chartrand, Oscar Moreno and Clare Wiekopf, from the friendly filmmakers who have lent themselves. Now we can open this filmmaker's window to everything we experienced a few weeks ago around the world. We hope you enjoy it!

The premiere will be next Saturday, May 30th at 12pm (Spanish time). You can follow it through the web or social networks of @DocsBarcelona. Do not miss it!

Photo from  Kossakovsky's TISHE.


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Niels Pagh Andersen at DocsBarcelona

Written 23-05-2020 21:04:50 by Tue Steen Mller

Niels Pagh Andersen at DocsBarcelona

Yesterday a masterclass was held with Danish editor Niels Pagh Andersen in conversation with me. I was happy to see that almost 130 attended the class with ”the Skinny Romantic”, as he has been called by Ai WeiWei, whose ”Vivos” is one of the films at the online DocsBarcelona 2020. The other film at the festival edited by Andersen is Danish ”Songs of Repression” by Marianne Hougen-Moraga and Estephan Wagner. The film that won two awards at the Cph:Dox festival recently, produced by Final Cut for Real that also stood behind ”Act of Killing” and ”Look of Silence”, also edited by the storyteller from Hans Christian Andersen’s country.

Among the themes: Emotional dramaturgy, Director and Editor, Holding back Information, Empathy for the characters, Good and Evil, Order in chaos and much much more.

If you were not among the viewers yesterday, you can see and hear by clicking, it’s for free and in (some kind of) English:

https://me.docsbarcelona.com/events/1/live/5

 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Laila Pakalnina: The First Bridge

Written 19-05-2020 15:06:11 by Tue Steen Mller

Laila Pakalnina: The First Bridge

“Krāslava bridge is the first bridge built over the river Daugava in the territory of Latvia—a gate for the Daugava river from Belarus to Latvia”, explains Laila Pakalniņa. “Every film is about time, but ours maybe a bit more than others as it was shot on Kodak Eastman Plus-X Negative Film 5231, acquired in the year 1997 and discovered intact in 2018. So, we are dedicating The First Bridge to film stock”.

Words from a director, who again (like she did with ”Spoon”) surprises with static shots by Gints Berzins and adorable sound work by Anrijs Krenbergs put together in a way that invites you to enjoy the study of a bridge from many angles, most often behind withered branches and bushes, close by or from a distance. The Daugava river with calm water movements, a woman walking from right to left within the image, a woman walking from left to right, steps, cars being heard – and (pure beauty) snow where there is no sound and then suddenly you hear the snow sweeping. Berzins and Pakalnina are playing with the angles, drawing lines as if they are inspired by the Russian avantgarde artists?

In the Visions du Réel catalogue the film is chategorised as a social documentary. Well, why not, time stands still, houses are not at their best, the tone and atmosphere are like the short documentaries Pakalnina made in the middle of the 1990’es – example, «The Ferry», «The Post»…Life outside what we normally are invited to see.

Waiting for the next film by Pakalnina and Berzins. 

Latvia, 2020, 12 mins.


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Latvian Documentaries

Written 18-05-2020 15:01:21 by Tue Steen Mller

Latvian Documentaries

… coming up. Grants were given by the National Film Centre. For 8 documentaries, most of them to be realised by producers and directors I have met and valued during the many years, I have followed the documentary scene in the Baltic country.

Super-productive Laila Pakalnina, whose “Spoon” recently was praised on this site, is there with a project called “Homes”, veteran Peteris Krilovs (the wonderful “Klucis”) is there as well with vfs studio (Uldis Cekulis) as production company, Davis Simanis (“Escaping Riga”, Chronicles of the Last Temple”…always testing the aesthetic possibilities of the film language) works again with Guntis Trekteris (Ego Media), title “Frankenstein 2.0” (!!!), Kristine Briede (who made the successful “Bridges of Time” with Audrius Stonys from Lithuania) got funding for “Fluctuations”, whatever hides behind that title and the title “Podnieks par Podnieku / A Man and His Time” is a film to be about legendary Juris Podnieks (“Is it Easy to be Young” and many other classics in Latvian documentary history) of course to be produced by the company that carries his name, Juris Podnieks Studio (headed by Antra Cilinska) with Anna Viduleja as director.

Three other directors/companies were granted: Kārlis Lesiņš (company Mistrus Media, Gints Grube), Una Celma and Andrejs Verhoustinskis.

The whole list of grants (also with fiction and animation) can be found on

https://www.filmneweurope.com/grants/latvia-grants/item/119963-latvian-production-grants-may-2020

Total: 1,768,327 EUR – 371,500 € for documentaries, a bit more than 20%. 


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Tomasz Wolski: An Ordinary Country

Written 16-05-2020 21:02:46 by Tue Steen Mller

Tomasz Wolski: An Ordinary Country

Agnieszka from Fine Day Promotion invited me to watch a new film by Tomasz Wolski, ”An Ordinary Country” - look at the great film poster above, which reveals the content of the film perfectly, surveillance, not of today (could it be?… I have the feeling that the Danish authorities today could know everything about me, if they wanted. As the GDR people, when I went to Berlin and Leipzig in communist times. As the Polish when I went to Krakow and Warsaw FF’s before 1989?).

According to Tomasz Wolski I went, back then, to An Ordinary Country, where surveillance was being performed. A quote from the well written press material:  

 



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Atahualpa Lichy: The Mystery of Lagoons

Written 14-05-2020 13:32:59 by Tue Steen Mller

Atahualpa Lichy: The Mystery of Lagoons

I met – on skype – Atahualpa and Diana Lichy last week for a conversation about ”Memorias de un Tiempo Eterno” that is selected, as one of four, for the Rough Cut Pitch at the upcoming DocsBarcelona, taking place May 28. Lichy – I knew his name from when he was running a documentary festival in Lille in France, where he has also worked at the Quantaine des Réalisateurs in Cannes. His filmography is long including the wonderful visual poem ”The Mystery of Lagoons” that has been shown at numerous festivals. Atahualpa Lichy has generously offered the film free of charge – Until June 15. Here is the link for a film full of music, small intro from th edirector: … "The Mystery of the Lagoons, Andean Fragments" (Venezuela) directed by Atahualpa Lichy, selected in more than 50 important international festivals. Great Venezuelan singers sing the commentary. In these moments of anxiety, a little bit of poetry and optimism, it's good. Film for all audiences. From 3 to 103 years old… and there is actually a fine old man of 103 and an energetic child of 21/2 ,to be precise:

"El Misterio de las Lagunas. Fragmentos Andinos" est libre sur Vimeo, jusqu'au 15 juin:

With English subtitles : https://vimeo.com/181958877

Avec sous titres en français: https://vimeo.com/182328861

 


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Baltic Sea Docs 2020 announces call for projects

Written 11-05-2020 17:30:54 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Sea Docs 2020 announces call for projects

Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries (BSD) is the most important documentary training and pitching event in the Baltic countries, taking place in Riga, Latvia. The 24th edition is scheduled to take place from 1 – 6 September. The call for projects is open now and will close on 8 June.

Every year BSD gathers over 100 filmmakers from the Baltic Sea region, Eastern Europe, and Caucasus. Participation in the preparatory workshops, public pitching sessions and seminars is an opportunity for filmmakers to find funding for the production of their projects and to ensure that their films reach a wide audience across Europe and beyond.

BSD is looking for applications from independent production companies from the wider Baltic Sea region countries (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Sweden), Eastern Europe and Caucasus region, and from other countries if the documentary subject relates to the region. The main focus of the BSD is on full-length creative documentary projects, but cross-media applications are also welcome to apply.

Guidelines and application form is accessible on BSD website: http://balticseadocs.lv/industry/submission_guidelines-2020/

Participation at BSD is free of charge. The selection results will be announced by 10 July.

To name just a few of the films presented in the previous edition of the BSD – Immortal (Ksenia Okhapkina, 2019, EE/LV, Grand Prix at Karlovy Vary IFF), The Earth is Blue as an Orange (Irina Tsilyk, 2020, UA/LT, Best Director award at World Cinema section at Sundance IFF).

BSD is organised by the National Film Centre of Latvia, with financial support of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, Creative Europe Media programme, and Riga Municipality. In parallel to the industry event, BSD is presenting a film programme of recent documentaries.

BSD organizers are following the developments of the restrictions due to the pandemic in Latvia and internationally, and in case physical event is not possible, it will be held online on the same dates.

More information:

Zane Balčus

Project Manager of the Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries

Phone + 371 26054287

E-mail: balticforum@nkc.gov.lv

 


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Rough Cut Service Editing Sessions

Written 09-05-2020 16:12:00 by Tue Steen Mller

Rough Cut Service Editing Sessions

This is a very good offer for those interested in editing. Copied from the FB of the Service:

RCS - Rough Cut Service presents 5 online sessions on the art of editing from Monday to Friday May 11. – 15. each day at 5 PM (GMT) / 7 PM (CET).
In the sessions members of RCS will explore key questions on editing of documentary films based on their vast and diverse experiences. The masterclasses are 70 min each and will take place on Zoom. During the sessions questions can be sent via the Zoom chat... 
Sign up for one or more sessions by sending an e-mail to roughcutservice@gmail.com and we will send you the link for the zoom session/s.
Please note that a voluntary payment for 5-10 euros per session can be paid through PayPal to roughcutservice@gmail.com.



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Anders stergaard: Winter Journey

Written 06-05-2020 19:15:53 by Tue Steen Mller

Anders stergaard: Winter Journey

When Anders Østergaard received the Carl T. Dreyer Award five years ago, these were accompanying words on this site: Østergaard has developed his own original and playful take on how to treat creatively the past… it was just after he and Hungarian Erzsébet Rácz had premiered ”1989” that in an excellent way brings back, what happened when the iron curtain fell, told with the young Neméth, prime minister in Hungary, as the main storyteller. 

I remember that the two directors were part of a small Danish film delegation visiting Saint Petersburg, where film students were surprised that you could do documentaries in that way… They loved how the film’s archive scenes with among others Honecker and Gorbatjov – and with words taken from official meeting documents – had the leaders lip-synced to bring the audience the authenticity. So what Gorbatjov said was right but the students could also hear that it was notGorbatjov himself, who spoke. No problem for them but the teacher, an old friend of mine, said to me: You can’t do that, that’s not documentary...



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The future of Festivals after Covid-19

Written 04-05-2020 21:13:18 by Tue Steen Mller

The future of Festivals after Covid-19

Just watched the one hour online discussion initiated by DocuDays ua, here is the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZUMw3nEwF0&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR3kxqPXIBBRRAelRQLkO-e6Fu8-sFTzXgDTQDModXkGbFPzzmV6XNphuR0

with these people taking part: Ondřej Kamenický - director of International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival One World; Melanie Iredale - deputy Director of Sheffield Doc/Fest; Victoria Leshchenko - programme director of Docudays UA; Iryna Tsilyk - filmmaker, writer; Tine Fischer - a founder and festival director of CPH:DOX. Martin Horyna - programmer of Karlovy Vary International Film Festival; Orwa Nyrabia - moderator, artistic director of IDFA...



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Peter Mettler Online

Written 02-05-2020 12:09:42 by Tue Steen Mller

Peter Mettler Online

Being on many mailing lists… these days I get bombarded with online offers for films to watch, conferences to follow, from festivals or production companies or distributors. It is indeed overwhelming, and lovely at the same time. Overwhelming, because how do you navigate, how do you organise your screening time. Lovely, because it shows how energetic a generous documentary community is to share, what is to watch out there – so much quality.

Yesterday I decided to meet Canadian/Swiss director Peter Mettler. Online. On the Visions du Réel website. In conversation with two film critics, Jean Perret (former festival director) and Emmanuel Chicon (from the festival selection committee). The two in Switzerland, Mettler in Toronto.

 



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DocsBarcelona 2020/Tretkova/stergaard/Ai Weiwei

Written 01-05-2020 15:56:50 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona 2020/Tretkova/stergaard/Ai Weiwei

I have copy-pasted a part of the press release text about the competitive Panorama program, naming the top director names that will have their film presented in the online festival – reserved for the Spanish audience. Check the festival page for when the films are available. Between the 19th until the 31st of May. Here is the text, more about the program in the following days:

”13 works will compete for the DocsBarcelona Best Documentary Award in the Official Panorama Section: titles such as Vivos, by the Chinese artist, activist, and dissident Ai Weiwei, stand out. After focusing on the issue of migration in Human Flow (2017) and The Rest (2019), the filmmaker now travels to Mexico to report systemic corruption in institutions by focusing on the disappearance of some forty students who one September morning in 2014, while travelling to Mexico City to commemorate the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre, were attacked by police.

Renowned for her original and poignant look at the subjects she deals with in her films, the Czech filmmaker Helena Třeštíková is the co-creator of Forman vs. Forman along with Jakub Hejna. A documentary about the figure of the Oscar-winning director of Amadeus and Someone flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which is also a look at communism, the American Dream and the Czech independence process. Also a portrait of an artist is the first feature film (and film testament) of the recently deceased producer Artemio Benki: Solo accompanies the composer and pianist Martín Perino, witness of the struggle between his own genius and the effects of the mental illness he was diagnosed with .

Another centrepiece of the festival is Winter Journey, by Danish filmmaker Anders Østergaard. A hybrid, a fiction disguised as a documentary or vice versa, which reveals the existence of the Jüdischer Kulturbund, or Jewish Cultural League with which in the early 1930s Goebbels' Nazi Ministry of Propaganda allowed Jewish artists to perform for Jewish audiences. A film about the meaning of being German, and how the children of the generation that lived through the war had to face its consequences. And with an added bonus: the legendary Swiss actor Bruno Ganz (Downfall, Wings of Desire) shines through in the dramatisations that the story incorporates, in what was his last film work.”

The photo above is from the film “Zona Arida” by Fernanda Pessoa, also at the festival.

https://docsbarcelona.com/en/noticies/descobreix-tota-la-programacio-del-docsbarcelona-2020

 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Tatjana Kononenko & Matilda Mester: Budynok

Written 12-04-2020 20:51:16 by Tue Steen Mller

Tatjana Kononenko & Matilda Mester: Budynok

English title: The Building - Excellent film. A work on constructivism that is superbly constructed… Soviet history. Architecture. With lovely portraits of and episodes with Ukrainians of today, who work in The Building in Kharkiv that was meant to the symbol of communism. To give you a good background here is the description from the DocuDays festival (April 24 – May 3), where it will be part of the now online festival:



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The 60th Krakow Film Festival will take place!

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

 The 60th Krakow Film Festival will take place!

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



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Humbert & Penzel: Step Across the Border

Written 22-03-2020 13:43:52 by Tue Steen Mller

Humbert & Penzel: Step Across the Border

I needed a break from watching new documentaries and through the Swiss https://www.artfilm.ch/de/dokumentarfilme (many films for free streaming) I was brought to watch this Swiss classic from 1990. The title was familiar but I could not remember if I had seen it before. I had not. 30 years old but still fresh and fun to watch, because of its energy, of its constant surprises in its narrative construction; „let’s try it all” as the leading music genius Fred Frith does, FF being (indeed when you watch his ”instruments”) multiinstrumentalist, composer and improviser. He is here, there and everywhere, in the studio, at a concert, in the countryside playing with friends, in a cellar improvising, in landscapes – in NY and very much in Japan where a good deal of the film is shot. Rainy streets, Japanese sleeping in the train, FF and colleague discussing at a Japanese outdoor kitchen. ”I am happy if just one person comes to me after a performance saying that it meant something for him or her”.

… and I remember the creative collaboration that FF has had with German filmmaker Thomas Riedelsheymer – “Touch the Sound” (2004), a true masterpiece with the nearly deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie and FF. 

The sound/music is great, you will listen, like it or dislike it. There is a movement in this powerful film, and for the fans of Jonas Mekas and Robert Frank there are small bits with them to enjoy.

Love what the directors say, quote: "In unserem Film treffen sich zwei verwandte künstlerische Ausdrucksformen: Improvisierte Musik und Cinema direct. In beiden Fällen geht es um den Moment, um das intuitive Begreifen, was in einem Raum vor sich geht. Musik und Film entstehen aus der verschärften Wahrnehmung für das Augenblickliche, nicht aus der Umsetzung eines gedanklichen Plans."

Nicolas Humbert und Werner Penzel

The film can be watched for free via the link above.

Switzerland, 1990, 84 mins.


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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX Online/ Notes

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

CPH:DOX Online/ Notes

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

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

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

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

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

https://www.cphdox.dk/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Martin von Krogh: Cinema Pameer

Written 16-03-2020 18:24:54 by Tue Steen Mller

Martin von Krogh: Cinema Pameer

«Attention! The cinema belongs to all of us. Please help us maintain the cinema by taking care of it. Keep it clean...” Cinema Pameer is in Kabul, Afghanistan. “Come on in, the film is about to start”. Two voices, two different employees of this rare place in a country, where there was no films shown during the years of Taliban. 

The first belongs to the General, as he is called, Dagarwal, who tries his best to have the audience behave – no hashish, no smoking at all, keep quiet during the film etc. He has – like all of them actually, salute to the Swedish director – charisma, he is quite a character, who has opinions about what he sees as a lost generation of illiterate youngsters after the many dark years. The influence from Taliban and Daesh is still there. The second voice belongs to Naqib, the barker who invites people in the street to go and see a film, and who sells water and candies during the screenings. That are well attended, the film shows. His personal story is terrible: „They poured boiling oil over the left side of my face, that’s why I am wearing a hat to hide that I lost an ear“.

„Cinema Pameer“ is a good film with a deep respect for the people working in the cinema. A film that also brings the audience outside to the streets of Kabul, to the Afghan Film, that is the governmental institution performing censorship of the films, that are imported from Pakistan as well as Afghan films to be shown. Nafiza, the only woman in the film, works there, she loves films and explains calmly what kind of scenes, she wants to be taken out before public screening – more daring dancing scenes for instance. Noor Aqa is the boss who buys the films for the cinema, like all of them he hopes that entertainment and culture can be rebuilt in the scarred country.

The two, however, whose dedication to their jobs you fall for, totally, are Said, the manager, and Ewaz, the projectionist. Said, chain smoker, always positive, asks the cleaner to pick up the cigarette butts that are thrown to the stage just in front of the beautiful curtain. Films are like books, you can learn from them, he says. Ewaz, old man, is equally enthusiastic, when he talks about the moment, after Taliban rule ended, when they came to take him back to the projection room. They are gentle people the two, with hope for the future of the country, and they bring a lot of humour to the film. And poetry – as when Said tells us, how he met his wife in the cinema. Pure beauty.

„Cinema Pameer“ is in narrative terms building up to the screening of a controversial Afghan film, “Farkhonda”, by Salim Shaheen, the story about a young woman, who was burned to death due to accusations of her burning the qoran in public. A story that went all over the world – at the screening in Kabul there was extra security at the entrance and several woman attended the screening.

The film was shown at the festivals in Gothenburg and Stockholm (Tempo Film Festival) this year. It deserves to travel around to high quality festivals. Keep an eye on it, programmers! 

Sweden, 2020, 80 mins.


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Agns Varda: Varda by Agns

Written 14-03-2020 15:46:41 by Tue Steen Mller

Agns Varda: Varda by Agns

It’s not even a year ago Agnès Varda passed away after a long and productive film-life. This film, from 2019, has been called her swan song and indeed it is a beautiful hommage to the director and what she has left behind of short documentaries, short fiction, long fiction, installations, visual art… what an oeuvre and what a fine piece of film history, it represents. Made by herself.

There she sits in her chair in a theatre with an audience of young people talking Cinema, showing clips from her films, giving comments or a better word encouragement to those in the audience, who want to make films. She starts by saying that for her there are three important words connected to her filmmaking: ”Inspiration, Creation and Partager” – the last one in English ”sharing”, ”you don’t make films for yourself”.

I enjoyed the many clips, some being from « Daguerretopies » from 1976, a documentary with the people in Rue Daguerre in the 14th arrondissement in Paris, where Varda was living. A true documentary and one she talks about with love. We let the scenes develop our of respect for the people being filmed. I have many times used this film when teaching : « look around you, find something/someone close to you », « everything is interesting if you have the curiosity ». Varda had it in documentary after documentary, for instance in the 2000 documentary « Les glaneurs et la glaneuse », from which she in the film shows a clip with a man, she often met picking up left over fruit at the market. A man with is own dignity. In that film and many others she makes references to art history, she breaks all academic narrative rules ; inspiring it is to hear her talk about the small digital cameras and how it changed her film carreer. "I became a visual artist". 

My most famous film, however, she says (PHOTO) is « Cléo from 5 to 7 » from 1962. Legendary American critic Roger Ebert wrote about the film in 2012 : … Varda is sometimes referred to as the godmother of the French New Wave. I have been guilty of that myself. Nothing could be more unfair. Varda is its very soul, and only the fact that she is a woman, I fear, prevented her from being routinely included with Godard, Truffaut, Resnais, Chabrol, Rivette, Rohmer and for that matter her husband Jacques Demy. The passage of time has been kinder to her films than some of theirs, and "Cléo from 5 to 7" plays today as startlingly modern. Released in 1962, it seems as innovative and influential as any New Wave film…

She talks about being a woman in a man’s world in this cinematic autobiography, « I am a feminist », she says in a rich documentary that is full of humour and unpretentious from A to Z.

We have on this site written several texts about Agnès Varda – you might want to read them before or after having watched one of the 17 films by the director available on http://dafilms.com/

”Varda by Agnès” is available on dvd and blueray. 

France, 2019, 115 mins.


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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Tamara Stepanyan: Village of Women

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

Tamara Stepanyan: Village of Women

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Armenia/France, 2019, 92 mins.

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


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ZagrebDox 2020

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

ZagrebDox 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Dragon of Dragons Award to Pter Forgcs

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

Dragon of Dragons Award to Pter Forgcs

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Roy Andersson at CPH:DOX

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

Roy Andersson at CPH:DOX

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

D Like Documentary, D like Denmark

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

D Like Documentary, D like Denmark

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

 



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Festivals in Stockholm & Copenhagen

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

Festivals in Stockholm & Copenhagen

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

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

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



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Tabitha Jackson to be Sundance Festival Director

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

Tabitha Jackson to be Sundance Festival Director

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

(about Kirsten Johnson and her Cameraperson)

 

 



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Best Documentaries 2019

Written 31-12-2019 10:48:17 by Tue Steen Mller

Best Documentaries 2019

Thomas Heise: Heimat is a Space in Time

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4628/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4631/

Alexander Nanau: Collective

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

Tamara Kotevska & Ljubomir Stefanov: Honeyland

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4449/

Artemio Benki: Solo

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4542/

Sergey Loznitsa: A State Funeral

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4671/

Feras Fayyad: The Cave

Review with top marks will follow – in Danish – in connection with the cinema release in Denmark in a few days

Waad al-Kateab & Edward Watts: For Sama

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4626/

Jørgen Leth: I Walk

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4667/

Ksenia Okhapkina: Immortal

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4572/

Rachel Leah Jones & Philippe Bellaiche : Advocate

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4553/

Audrius Mickevicius & Nerijus Milerius: Exemplary Behaviour

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4648/

Alex Brendea: Teach

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4646/

Enrico Cerasuolo: The Passion of Anna Magnani

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4644/

Ellen Fiske & Ellinor Hallin: Scheme Birds

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4624/

Anna Eborn: Transnistra

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4475/

Arthur Sukiasyan: Wound

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4534/


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

EFA Doc Award to "For Sama"

Written 08-12-2019 09:24:26 by Tue Steen Mller

EFA Doc Award to

A week after it won the Audience Award at the IDFA festival in Amsterdam "For Sama" by Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts was on the top in the EFA Documentary category. In strong competition with films like "Honeyland" by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov and "Putin's Witnesses" by Vitalyi Manski. No objections as you can read in the review on this site: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4626/

What's next for "For Sama" - an Oscar nomination?


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sergei Loznitsa: State Funeral

Written 03-12-2019 20:18:33 by Tue Steen Mller

Sergei Loznitsa: State Funeral

March 1953. Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin dies. The great leader is to be mourned all over the Soviet Union. For five full days. Cameramen are sent to all republics to catch the well orchestrated mise-en-scène of the State Funeral. Loads of film material is shot, since then some of it has been shown in official films, most of it was archived. And of course not only visuals but also radio broadcasts transmitting officlal homages to the Genius, the Immortal, the one who will, even if he has died, lead the communist workers all over the world to victory in the spirit of Lenin and Stalin. Speeches, poems, music...



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IDFA: Life Achievement Award to Jrgen Leth

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

IDFA: Life Achievement Award to Jrgen Leth

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

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

the director says:

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA: Y in Vyborg

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

IDFA: Y in Vyborg

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

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

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

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

www.idfa.nl


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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Opening Night 2019

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

IDFA Opening Night 2019

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Tips from Filmkommentaren

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

IDFA Tips from Filmkommentaren

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Latvian National Film Awards

Written 13-11-2019 22:16:27 by Tue Steen Mller

Latvian National Film Awards

...were distributed the other day in Riga. I mention the documentary awards – many of them have been reviewed/noticed on this site. They are still strong in documentaries in the country of Herz Frank, Uldis Brauns, Ivars Seleckis, Juris Podnieks…!

Here they are, added with some” comments from Zane Balcus, critic (in the upcoming IDFA in the Fipresci jury) and manager of Baltic Sea Docs:

Best full-length documentary – ”Putin's Witnesses” by Vitaly Manski

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4390/

Best documentary director - Kaspars Goba for "Inga Can Hear" (Inga dzird)

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4609/

Best documentary cinematographer - Valdis Eglītis for "The Sixth Day" (Sestā diena) - Valdis is very experienced cinematographer, but for quite some time now is more engaged with teaching. ”The Sixth Day” is a very nice film - an observational documentary about one small farmers' market, which is held on Saturdays, it has a very good atmosphere and interesting characters. 

Laila Pakalniņa for "Spoon" received a special jury mention on her strong creative vision, the film also received the best sound design award.

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4569/

From the documentaries jury a special mention also went to the film "2018", it is like an homage to Brauns' "235 000 000". The film is pieced together from 15 short films made by different directors, and combined now into a unified film by Dainis Kļava (produced by VFS). The jury statement read that this is for the continuation of the poetical tradition of Latvian documentary cinema.

Gints Grūbe and Jaak Kilmi for "My Father the Spy" received the best editing prize.


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Quay Brothers at DOK Leipzig

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

Quay Brothers at DOK Leipzig

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Max Kestner og Roos Prisen

Written 03-11-2019 14:54:27 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Max Kestner og Roos Prisen

Max Kestner modtog den 31. oktober på dokumentarfilmdagen, branchetræffet i Filmhuset årets Roos Pris. Roos Prisen påskønner en særlig bemærkelsesværdig indsats for dokumentarfilmen i Danmark, og priskomiteen bestod af sidste års prismodtagere, Mira Jargil og Christian Sønderby Jepsen af Claus Ladegaard og Ane Mandrup fra Filminstituttet.og priskomitéen motiverer så smukt valget af Max Kestner på den her måde:
" ’Kunst er, at man gennem et værk lader andre se på verden med kunstnerens blik’. Sådan har årets prismodtager defineret sin metier som filminstruktør. Og hvilket blik på verden, vi beriges af med Max Kestners øjne! Et altid åbent, nysgerrigt, generøst blik med glimt i øjet og en stor overbærenhed over for menneskets fejlbarlighed og dårskab.
Uanset om Kestners hovedpersoner er fabriksarbejdere, raketbyggere, polarforskere, fiktive fremtidsmennesker, børn eller kunstnere som han selv, kredser filmene om grundlæggende filosofiske spørgsmål: Hvordan skal du leve dit liv? Hvad er meningen med det hele? Er alting tilfældigt? Er alting forudbestemt? Hvad er sandhed?
Max Kestner iscenesætter sine film med omhu og sætter en ære i, at også dokumentarfilm er instruerede. Historier er ikke noget, der ligger ude i virkeligheden og venter på at blive hentet ind og fortalt. En god film er et resultat af bevidste valg. Det er et ansvar, man må påtage sig, mener han…”

Vi her på FILMKOMMENTAREN vil gerne deltage i påskønnelsen af Max Kestners til nu samlede filmværk. Vi har skrevet om nogle få af hans film og når jeg kigger efter i mine anmeldelser ser jeg dem faktisk i tråd med priskommiteens samlede oplevelse. Men vi er filmkritikere, og min kollega ser anderledes på det et enkelt sted.



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Categories: Cinema, Film History, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Enrico Cerasuolo: The Passion of Anna Magnani

Written 27-10-2019 11:26:02 by Tue Steen Mller

Enrico Cerasuolo: The Passion of Anna Magnani

It was shot in 1945, “Rome – Open City”, director Roberto Rossellini, with Anna Magnani in the role as Pina. I am sure you know the scene, where she is running after her husband Francesco, who has been arrested by the Nazis to be taken away in a van. Pina runs after him and is shot down in the middle of the street. A priest takes her in his arms. Visually a piéta. A film-historical scene from one of the true masterpieces in world cinema, one of many from the neorealistic wave in Italian cinema.

The film on Anna Magnani is such a pleasure to watch. Normally I hesitate,



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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOK Leipzig Starts Monday

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

DOK Leipzig Starts Monday

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



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOC NYC

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

DOC NYC

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



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Alina Rudnitskaya on School of Seduction

Written 21-10-2019 17:06:22 by Tue Steen Mller

Alina Rudnitskaya on School of Seduction

I have followed the career of Alina Rudnitskay and will continue to do so. Below you find links to films she has made and about which I have written. This post deals with her latest production, “School of Seduction”, that was given highest marks on this site, click below – the reason to come back tot he film is an interview with the Russian director, where she talks about the film and her disappointment, when many did not understand the context of the film, she says – read the whole interview:

“I started this project ten years ago – I wanted to make a film about women. It was a time when everybody was trying to learn how to be a “bitch”: this successful, powerful female. That’s how I came across a place called the Bitch Academy. I started to go there and talk to the teachers, and in 2007, I made a short film about it. It was successful at film festivals, and everywhere, people would ask me about these women: “How is their life right now?” I suggested that maybe we should continue. We agreed that if something important were to happen in their lives, they would call me…

I ended up finishing the film in Denmark, and people struggled to understand the context of this story. “Why do they go to these classes? Why do they behave like this?” They didn’t understand the reason, and the reason is that Russia is still a patriarchal country, where men come first. To be successful, for a woman, means having a rich husband. It’s really important. Your status depends on the status of your husband. My idea was that Putin would represent this view. We started to look for anything he might have said about women, and yes, we found out that he talks about them a lot [laughs]. We were really surprised! His approach is very traditional, like all of his ideas, I think…”

Festival people, check out the filmography of Alina Rudnitskaya.

https://www.cineuropa.org/it/interview/379081/

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

Blood (2014), Victory Day (2015), I will forget this day (25 mins.) (2011) , Bitch Academy (29 mins.) (2008), Besame mucho (26 mins.) (2006), Civil Status (29 mins.) (2005), Communal Residence (13 mins) (2002)


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOK Leipzig Retrospective BRDDR

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

DOK Leipzig Retrospective BRDDR

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

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

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Jrgen Leth

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

Jrgen Leth

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOK Leipzig: The Brothers Quay

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

DOK Leipzig: The Brothers Quay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Patricio Guzmn on Arvo Prt

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

Patricio Guzmn on Arvo Prt

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.adamspassion.de/

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA: The Inheritance of War/ Thomas Heise

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

IDFA: The Inheritance of War/ Thomas Heise

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Nordisk Panorama Forum Day 2

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

Nordisk Panorama Forum Day 2

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

Christoffer Guldbrandsen was the excellent journalist behind the first project



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Nordisk Panorama Forum Day 1

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

Nordisk Panorama Forum Day 1

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Nordisk Panorama Sunday and a Look Back

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

Nordisk Panorama Sunday and a Look Back

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Goran Radovanovic: The Makavejev Case

Written 12-09-2019 18:15:46 by Tue Steen Mller

Goran Radovanovic: The Makavejev Case

or Trial in a Movie Theatre, the subtitle.

It’s film history and it’s Yugoslav history. But it is also indirectly a reflexion on the censorship and fight for freedom of expression today, where many artists are imprisoned or exiled or…

And it’s a scoop. Brief background: Dušan Makavejev’s “WR: Mysteries of the Organism” from 1971 was celebrated at the Cannes Film Festival and was to



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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Robert Frank (1924 - 2019)

Written 12-09-2019 08:29:15 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Robert Frank (1924 - 2019)

 ... it becomes indirectly an adaption of Ginsberg’s poem. And at the same time it is a film about Frank’s doubts about filming this. It sounds wild and it is. It is radical and most unique. Avant-garde and uncompromising, not as a stylistic or artistically experimental take, but because it is necessary for a purpose: a search for truth. (Sara Thelle)

 

THE PHENOMENON ROBERT FRANK

By Tue Steen Müller

1

I read somewhere that NYTimes plans to cut down in their movie reviews policy that so far has been working in the way that ALL films released theatrically in NY are reviewed. What that means remains to be seen, but it will not make me give up my subscription that includes the newspaper and the thursday/friday ”Movies Update” that is a pleasure to read for a documentary addict as well.

For instance the one from today: more documentaries are reviewed – and there is a long and informative, and superbly illustrated, article on the phenomenon Robert Frank, “The Man Who Saw America” (link) (Post 02-07-2015)

2

Calling all documentarians: Take a look at the NY Times site page that brings 11 of the photos that are exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York until January 3 2010.

Robert Frank is celebrated on the occasion of the 50th year of the publication of his classic ”The Americans”, the exemplary evidence of what a documentary interpretation of reality can be. In the review of the exhibition today in International Herald Tribune his work is characterized as an expression of ”mournful tenderness”.

Frank has been an inspiration for filmmakers all over the world. In Denmark the films of Jørgen Leth (”66 Scenes from America” and ”New Scenes from America”), to mention a couple that comes to my mind, would not be as they are if not for Frank. (link nytimes.com) (Post 29-09-2009)

3

Artistic repetitions and variations of the same theme in documentary films... Where do we find them? I had this thought when I watched Picasso. I thought of Jørgen Leth and his two America-films, "66 Scenes from America" and "New Scenes from America". The camerawork of Dan Holmberg is in both cases much more linked to visual art than to narrative (literary) structures. I thought of Steen Møller Rasmussen, also a Danish documentarian, who has searched to catch New York, inspired heavily by Leth as a filmmaker and Robert Frank as a filmmaker and photographer. I thought of Sergey Dvortsevoy and his Russian images, full of atmospheres and different moods, as are the Danes I mention above. And as are Picasso´s variations. Could it be possible to talk more about film and (visual) art? (Post 13-10-2008)

The Americans

 

IT SOUNDS WILD AND IT IS

By Sara Thelle

Thank you to Cinemateket in Copenhagen who, in collaboration with the Copenhagen Photo Festival and Danish writer, filmmaker and beat expert Lars Movin, organised the Robert Frank program here in June. And thank you to Lars Movin for sharing his knowledge and his personal anecdotes with us when introducing the films. This was the first big Robert Frank retrospective and also the first official screening of the legendary Rolling Stones documentary Cocksucker Blues (1972) on Danish ground. 15 of Robert Frank’s films and 3 about him.

I was in for a small marathon last Saturday. First the documentary Leaving Home, Coming Home – A Portrait of Robert Frank (2005) by Gerald Fox, a rare intimate portrait, since Robert Frank has never been keen to being filmed or interviewed. Then the feature-length hybrid film Me and My Brother (1968) and last, a collection of his later short films The Present (1996), I Remember (1998), Paper Route (2002), True Story (2004/2008) and Fernando (2008).

Me and My Brother was a slap in my face. It opens up with a very disturbing scene that takes you right to the bottom of a deep and complex matter. Soon it is turned into a film within the film and becomes a sort of meta-reflection and investigation into the questions: how do you film other people, how do you use others in your art, how do you use yourself, what do you make money from, how does it feel to be filmed, what does it do to you, when are you yourself and when are you acting. It is a hybrid film, mixing real life with staged acting, colour with black & white, at times the characters are “played” by themselves and at other moments by actors.

Originally, Frank was set out to make a film adapting Allen Ginsberg’s poem Kaddish, written about his mentally ill mother. But over time, the project becomes a film about Ginsberg’s partner Peter Orlovsky’s brother Julius, who after having spent 15 years in a psychiatric hospital is let out and left in care of his brother. So the setting is Julius, a catatonic schizophrenic, living with Peter Orlovsky and Allen Ginsburg. The film is about how to live with and among mental illness, about how the brother Peter deals with it, and in this way – maybe – it becomes indirectly an adaption of Ginsberg’s poem. And at the same time it is a film about Frank’s doubts about filming this.

It sounds wild and it is. It is radical and most unique. Avant-garde and uncompromising, not as a stylistic or artistically experimental take, but because it is necessary for a purpose: a search for truth.

Suisse photographer Robert Frank (born 1924) emigrated to America in 1947. He became friends with the Beat Generation and famous with the groundbreaking photographic book The Americans (1958). He then starts to make films. The short film Pull My Daisy (1959) is the first, written and narrated by Jack Kerouac.

Robert Frank uses himself in his work, but in a way where the private and personal never becomes confessional. His family plays an important role, his two children, Andrea and Pablo, in particular. He lost them both; Andrea died 20 years old in a plane crash in South America in 1974, Pablo, who suffered from schizophrenia, died in 1994. His later work explores the themes of loss, pain and memory, the past and the present.

Lars Movin used a Dylan-quote referring to Robert Frank setting aside all rules with Me and My Brother: “To live outside the law, you must be honest” (hinting that this is not always the case, especially nowadays). And honest is maybe the most precise word to describe this immense oeuvre that has now been opened up to me.

“It has to do with life more than with art” says Robert Frank himself in an interview in connection with his exhibition at the Jeu de Paume in Paris in 2009 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6CVyWCVgFg

Cinemateket closed up for the summer showing Candy Mountain (1988), Robert Franks only feature-length fiction film made together with Rudy Wurlitzer. A perfect road-movie, pure joy and quite a bit of wisdom too…

If you can’t wait for the next retrospective, here are some shortcuts:

A great part of Robert Frank’s films, writings and photo books are edited by the distinguished German publisher Steidl. Among them Me and My Brother, a book with stills and dialogue and a DVD inside:

https://steidl.de/Books/Me-an-My-Brother-0409414457.html

Conversations in Vermont (1969), where Robert Frank visits his two children at their boarding school, is made available to the public online through the brilliant Internet Archive:

https://archive.org/details/cbpf_000051_p2#  

Candy Mountain exists in a French DVD edition released by Blaq Out in 2013. Please check out the trailer, it’s a gem!:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pOu9piFAIg

http://www.blaqout.com/film/candy-mountain-2

(Post 26-06-2015)

 

DON’T BLINK: ROBERT FRANK (2015)

By Tue Steen Müller

A very nice email came in yesterday from New York from Laura Israel, who I met at IDFA in Amsterdam years ago. She told me that – as for decades editor and close collaborator of Robert Frank, and a director herself – she was wondering if a film about Robert Frank made by her would be interesting. Are you kidding, we want as much as possible on this great artist… what else could I have answered?

I am so happy to hear that the film, ”Don’t Blink: Robert Frank” is now finished and even more so, Laura Israel tells me that it has ”been selected to play in the New York Film Festival’s main slate this October”. The festival runs from September 25-October 11 and here is the description of the film from the festival site:

“The life and work of Robert Frank—as a photographer and a filmmaker—are so intertwined that they’re one in the same, and the vast amount of territory he’s covered, from The Americans in 1958 up to the present, is intimately registered in his now-formidable body of artistic gestures. From the early ’90s on, Frank has been making his films and videos with the brilliant editor Laura Israel, who has helped him to keep things homemade and preserve the illuminating spark of first contact between camera and people/places. Don’t Blink is Israel’s like-minded portrait of her friend and collaborator, a lively rummage sale of images and sounds and recollected passages and unfathomable losses and friendships that leaves us a fast and fleeting imprint of the life of theSwiss-born man who reinvented himself the American way, and is still standing on ground of his own making at the age of 90.” (Post 15-08-2015)

Don’t Blink: Robert Frank

 

THE FORM / THE COMPOSING / THE AESTETICS

By Tue Steen Müller

If you read the post ”Viktor Kossakovsky at IDFA” (link), you will discover his insisting on the form, on the composing of the image, on the aesthetics. If you want to see how this can be done, please go and see Laura Israel’s film ”Don’t Blink: Robert Frank” here at IDFA. It was screened at the Stedelijk Museum thursday night and is an excellent introduction to the now 91 year old legendary photographer and filmmaker made by his editor and collaborator in many films, a warm and generous portrait and a look into the creative process of a lovely man, a great artist, who has suffered personal tragedies in his life, that is very much present in his work, but who has also demonstrated how to catch moments in the lives of ”The Americans”, the title of his masterpiece. There was a retrospective of his work – and there is right now at IDFA, including his Rolling Stones film, ”Cocksucker Blues” – in Copenhagen, Sara Thelle wrote about it on this site and this blogpost. (Post 21-11-2015)

 http://www.filmlinc.org/nyff2015/daily/the-new-york-film-festival-sets-26-films-for-the-2015-main-slate/ 

 

DON'T BLINK IN NEW YORK

af Tue Steen Müller

I got an email from Laura Israel this morning, the director of the film on Robert Frank, with whom she has working for years as an editor. “Getting the Word Out” she wrote and told that the film is running at the wonderful New York cinema Film Forum July 13-26 = from tomorrow. Later today the producer Melinda Shopsin posted a reference to an enthusiastic review of the film by Matthew Eng, Tribecafilm.com. It deserves a quote, see below and remember that we have several texts on Frank on this site. I also want to recommend the website of the film.

…Don’t Blink is the rare documentary — and Israel the rare documentarian-cum-cinematic curator — that understands that the best way to elicit both appreciation and understanding for an artist’s creations is to allow us to see these creations first-hand. And when the creations in-question are as electrifying and contextually-profuse as Frank’s, it’s especially hard to look away. His famously era-specific photography is so striking in the direct spontaneity of its gritty Americana, the scattered snippets of his films so arresting in their shaggy ecstasy, that as each of his works slips and seeps into one another, one can’t help but struggle to keep up…

https://tribecafilm.com/stories/don-t-blink-robert-frank-is-one-of-the-most-original-art-documentaries-in-years-laura-israel

http://www.dontblinkrobertfrank.com (Post 12-07-2016)

 

ME AND MY BROTHER

by Tue Steen Müller

The editors of this site, Tue Steen Müller and Allan Berg, met in Randers where Berg lives. It is a tradition that we watch films together, when we meet and as Berg had a fine script publication of Robert Frank’s “Me and My Brother” including a dvd with the film, this was an obvious choice. The famous publisher Steidl is behind the publication that was given to Berg by Sara Thelle, who in 2015 wrote about the film after a retrospective of Frank’s film at the Cinemateket in Copenhagen:

Me and My Brother was a slap in my face. It opens up with a very disturbing scene that takes you right to the bottom of a deep and complex matter. Soon it is turned into a film within the film and becomes a sort of meta-reflection and investigation into the questions: how do you film other people, how do you use others in your art, how do you use yourself, what do you make money from, how does it feel to be filmed, what does it do to you, when are you yourself and when are you acting. It is a hybrid film, mixing real life with staged acting, colour with black & white, at times the characters are “played” by themselves and at other moments by actors.

Originally, Frank was set out to make a film adapting Allen Ginsberg’s poem Kaddish, written about his mentally ill mother. But over time, the project becomes a film about Ginsberg’s partner Peter Orlovsky’s brother Julius, who after having spent 15 years in a psychiatric hospital is let out and left in care of his brother. So the setting is Julius, a catatonic schizophrenic, living with Peter Orlovsky and Allen Ginsberg. The film is about how to live with and among mental illness, about how the brother Peter deals with it, and in this way – maybe – it becomes indirectly an adaption of Ginsberg’s poem. And at the same time it is a film about Frank’s doubts about filming this.

It sounds wild and it is. It is radical and most unique. Avant-garde and uncompromising, not as a stylistic or artistically experimental take, but because it is necessary for a purpose: a search for truth…

USA, 1968, 85 mins.

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3200/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3392/ (Post 28-04-2018)

 

A BRILLIANT CONVERSATION

by Tue Steen Müller


Robert Frank: Me and My Brother/ 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the blogpost below you find a text of what Allan Berg and I did the other day: Watched the film by Robert Frank from 1968, with a quote from the text of Sara Thelle, when she saw the film three years ago. We also referred to the fine Steidl publication of the script. After a closer look at that we found that the fascinating ending of the film includes a brilliant conversation between Frank, the director and Julius Olovsky, the man who after many years is released from a state institution to be taken care of by his brother Peter. In the following we present the two final pages of the script that indeed is about making films, about acting, and about the camera and what it can represent:

Photos: Steidl and Maria Briese

FOTO (ved overskriften)

Barry Kornbluh: Robert Frank indstiller (uden for billedrammen) sit kamera. Kornbluh fortæller på sin hjemmeside om optagelserne, hvoraf denne er en:

http://www.barrykornbluh.nl/Robert%20Frank/Robert%20Frank.html 


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

Baltic Sea Docs 2019

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

Baltic Sea Docs 2019

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



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Tarkovsky on Tarkovsky

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

Tarkovsky on Tarkovsky

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Kaspars Goba: Inga Can Hear

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

Kaspars Goba: Inga Can Hear

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

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

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

 



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Top Docs to be Screened in Riga

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

Top Docs to be Screened in Riga

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

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sarajevo FF: Pawlikowski and Documentaries

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

Sarajevo FF: Pawlikowski and Documentaries

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Don Edkins: Creating an African Voice

Written 10-08-2019 14:41:13 by Tue Steen Mller

Don Edkins: Creating an African Voice

Variety (July 20) brought an article (written by Christopher Vourlias) from Durban Intl. Film Festival, where Don Edkins was talking. Characterised in the article as « veteran filmmaker and executive director of non-profit group Steps », I can only add from many – but still too few – meetings with Edkins that he stands out as a pioneer, when it comes to production and distribution of documentaries in Africa, but also internationally, a true gentleman, who has been a wonderful visitor, when he came to Copenhagen, mostly together with his Finnish friend and collaborator Iikka Vehkalahti.

I pick a couple of quotes from the article that you should definitely read in its total length, link below :



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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Pennebaker 1925-2019

Written 05-08-2019 07:23:59 by Tue Steen Mller

You can find many obituaries on D.A. Pennebaker, who passed away August 1. I have chosen to copy-paste from this site a text I wrote when in Syria for the DoxBox Festival:
Dox Box Damascus 6

This is one of the highlights of Dox Box 2010, Orwa Nyrabia said as a proud and enthusiastic introduction to the masterclass with D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, moderated by idfa director Ally Derks. And it turned out to be a very pleasant couple of hours with the renowned filmmakers who made film history together with other big names like Albert Maysles, Richard Leacock and Robert Drew, the Direct Cinema/Cinéma Vérité directors. At the festival, among others, the Bob Dylan film ”Don’t Look Back” was shown and the young filmmakers had a lot of questions to that film and especially to the method connected to the filmmaking style.

The best way to reflect what was said during the masterclass is to quote Pennebaker and Hegedus for many wonderful sentences that may inspire our readers, Hegedus being the analytical and Pennebaker the one full of stories, loving the anecdote, both of them being very generous and warm in their approach to the audience:

Am I a master, ”No I was not the first person to put my foot on the beach”. Subject, how do you find them, ”We don’t, they find us, we are very depending on our friends to give us hints, people come to us”. Story?, ”You don’t know what is going to happen when we start”. Hegedus and Pennebaker is a couple privately: ”We get divorced four or five times during a film”. Where does the inspiration come from, ”Creative energy can’t be stored!”. ”A documentary is like the stories you heard as a child, once upon a time...”. Film crew?: ”The smaller the better”. Agreements? ”We go for a handshake agreement”. A fly on the wall? ”No, I can not take an invisible pill... I watch, I am like a cat, you can not see what I think”. ”The money always comes”. ”I don’t feel like a director”. Observation, Objectivity? ”No, how can one’s person’s observation be all people’s observation?”. ”We are following the action, and is very often led by the sound”. ”You are like a detective, because you don’t know what happens”. ”Style is driven by technology”. ”You are filming for an audience”. ”Look for accuracy”.


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CinDOC Summer School Gori Bunescu and Ceaucescu

Written 04-08-2019 22:21:37 by Tue Steen Mller

CinDOC Summer School Gori  Bunescu and Ceaucescu

Did you see it : ”The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceaucescu” (director : Andrei Ujica, editor and sound designer Dana Bunescu) from 2010, 3 hours long, a true masterpiece. You have to ! Archive the whole way through, no commentary, no explanations of where we are and when and why. Chronological. Probably difficult to follow for a younger audience, easy for me because of my age, having followed what happens in the world – and in Romania. I remember that Ceaucescu was welcomed in Denmark as well, he got a medal from the Danish queen, and we Danes were not the only ones welcoming or visiting him as you see in the film, where plane after plane lands in Bucharest with leaders of the world ; de Gaulle, Nixon, and of course the friends from GDR, Honecker and USSR, Brezhnev, and later the one he broke with, Gorbachov.

And for me personally touching to see my hero Dubcek, smiling he was, this



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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Luke Moody Leaves Sheffield Doc/Fest

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

Luke Moody Leaves Sheffield Doc/Fest

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

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

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

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

Colonial forms of filmmaking…!

Read the whole article, link below.

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Sea Docs 2019 Announces Selected Projects

Written 15-07-2019 18:12:57 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Sea Docs 2019 Announces Selected Projects

The Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries (BSD) is the most important documentary training and pitching event in the Baltic countries, taking place in Riga, Latvia, from September 3 to 7 and mostly focusing on the projects from a greater Baltic Sea region as well as EU border countries. This year it will celebrate its 23rd edition. BSD is organised by the National Film Centre of Latvia, with financial support of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, Creative Europe Media programme, and Riga City Council.

BSD this year has selected 25 documentary film projects from 20 countries (out of more than 120 submitted), which will be provided with training



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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Laila Pakalnina: Spoon

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

Laila Pakalnina: Spoon

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Joris Ivens

Written 28-06-2019 11:24:40 by Tue Steen Mller

Joris Ivens

“The film screen is not a window through which you look at the world, it is a world in itself.”

DAFilms.com presents yet another documentary film classic, Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens. Recall his works from the golden collection of European cinema. Watch his films from the 1960s following his travels across the world: "17th Parallel" directly from the Vietnam War, "A Valparaíso" and "Le petit chapiteau" from Latin America’s Chile, and "Rotterdam Europort" painting a portrait of a city in his native Netherlands.

Set out on a documentary journey with globetrotter Joris Ivens!

www.dafilms.com


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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