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

Positive News from Ji.hlava IDFF

Written 15-04-2021 14:04:00 by Tue Steen Mller

Positive News from Ji.hlava IDFF

"After several years of preparations, we started revamping the festival’s competition sections, the jury structure as well as the award categories. The aim is to pay tribute to documentary cinema which has been undergoing enormous changes, at the same time being the real drive behind contemporary filmmaking,” said festival director Marek Hovorka introducing a new festival concept during the opening of Ji.hlava's Echoes on March 11. As of this year’s 25th edition, Ji.hlava IDFF will feature a main competition section comprising up to 18 feature films screened in world, international and European premieres.

In addition to the new competition concept, there will also be an innovation with regard to the award giving. Aside from the main award, the jurors will also hand out awards for the best cinematography, editing, and sound design. At the same time, outstanding formats, such as the best film essay, will be highlighted.

The jury will award a prize to the most significant debut film and film from the region of Central and Eastern Europe but Ji.hlava’s traditional sections First Lights and Between the Seas will become a natural part of the main competition. The main jury will be composed of seven members who will ensure a varied reflection on contemporary cinema.

"I've always considered it a pity how many talented and exceptional professionals have not been rewarded for their documentary work. Documentary cinematographers, editors, sound engineers and producers are only rarely recognized, even at the level of national film awards. And also with regard to American or European Academy Awards, it seldom happens that these professionals are nominated alongside feature filmmakers. This isn’t fair and we are determined to encourage the change,“ explains Hovorka.

In addition to the main competition section, Ji.hlava will offer three other categories: “Fascinations" for the best experimental films, “Testimonies" for the best films with political, ecological or scientific themes, and the traditional national competition "Czech Joy".

The festival takes place 26-31.10


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX Captains of Zaatari

Written 14-04-2021 17:07:54 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.

This is the catalogue text of CPH:DOX:

”Fawzi and Mahmoud are best friends. They are two teenage boys who, like so many others their age, love football and dream of an international career on the pitch. And they live in Zaatari, the world’s largest camp for Syrian refugees. When a scout from a football club in Qatar visits the camp to spot new talents, the boys eye their lives’ opportunity. This becomes a journey that culminates in a finale (literally), which is just as emotional and nerve-wracking as a football match where everything is at stake. And that’s exactly what it is here. The director Ali El Arabi met Fawzi and Mahmoud when they played football in the desert sand with bare feet as young boys, and he has built mutual trust with them over many years. The resulting film was a hit with both reviewers and audiences at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. With its two irresistible protagonists and moments of true friendship, it is also a story that hits you straight in the heart.”

The film was at the Sundance FF, I have not seen it but as one who is a football-idiot and played when a teenager, I am not gonna miss it!


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX Kossakovsky: Gunda

Written 13-04-2021 14:47:49 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.

And of course the festival offers its Danish audience Kossakovsky’s masterpiece ”Gunda”, which did not make it to the final 5 Oscar nominated documentaries – a mistake I think.

”Every year, human beings slaughter about 70 billion livestock. In his latest film, the Russian master Viktor Kossakovsky lets the camera linger on one of these animals -the sow Gunda – and the other pigs, hens and cows in her company. There are no expert interviews in ‘Gunda’, which is just as far from the conventions of documentary filmmaking as the director’s spectacular climate hit ‘Aquarela’. But by letting us look at the behaviour of animals in dazzlingly beautiful black-and-white images, Kossakovsky lets us understand that there is both intelligence and emotions behind the snouts, beaks and muzzles.”

I was in the jury at the Sofia Intl. FF, we decided on a special award for “Gunda” with this motivation:

„Viktor Kossakovsky again is surprising his audience by making a film, which is beautiful to watch - black & white, and has an quite interesting protagonist. A very dramatic and emotional story about what it means to be a mother… It’s about our environment, it’s about our attitude, our connection to nature and animals. Kossakovsky is a master in cinematography and has again done something, which is extraordinary.“

I hope CPH:DOX will show the film on the big screen as ”we” did in Belgrade at Magnificent7 and will do at the upcoming (end of May) DocsBarcelona.


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX Courage Aliaksey Paluyan

Written 12-04-2021 11:37:21 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.

One of those is the Belarussian film “Courage” that premiered at the Berlinale, will be at Visions du Réel in Nyon in competition and here it is in the category ”Change Makers”. At the Baltic Sea Docs 2020 Aliaksey Paluyan pitched the film and apologised that ”if I am not present tomorrow, it is because I have been arrested while filming the demonstrations”. The film has been praised for its, yes, courage; I can only add that is an original approach to the theme that makes it go far beyond reportage.  

”Art, civil disobedience and political protest are three different sides of the same revolution for the Belarusian democracy activists Maryna, Pavel and Denis. In the eastern nation, which is often called Europe’s last dictatorship, president Alexander Lukashenko has been solidly in power since the collapse of the Soviet Union. But now the people have had enough. Since last year’s elections, the protesters have defied the risk of imprisonment and abduction and have gathered to protest. For several years, Maryna, Pavel and Denis have run the Free Theatre for political performing arts. But when peaceful protests take hold on the streets outside, the stage suddenly becomes much larger.”


Categories: Festival, 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

CPH:DOX The Other Side of the River

Written 09-04-2021 14:14:17 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 watche at other festivals around the world.

Here is the first one to be strongly recommended, ”The Other Side of the River” the debut film of German Antonia Kilian as director and camerawoman, and with Arash Asadi and Guevara Namer as editor and co-authors. I met Antonia and Guevara at the Baltic Sea Docs in 2018, and I have great memories of meeting Guevara at the DoxBox in Damascus in the four years before the revolution in 2011. Guevara has also been showing her big talent as a photographer on this site. Here comes the description of the film from the CPH:DOX website:

“19-year-old Hala escaped an arranged marriage by crossing the Euphrates River and finding a new home in the Kurdish Women’s Protection Unit, which soon after liberated her hometown from Islamic State. For her female fellow soldiers, the enemy is not just IS, but the patriarchy in general, with marriage as the ultimate oppressive institution. So Hala decides to free her sisters before it is too late, and whatever the cost – even if this means disappearing from her own film to plan nothing less than an armed attack on her parents’ house. The threat of an arranged marriage and the brutal stories of violent husbands have made many young women like Hala cross the river to get trained in combat. Physically, but also intellectually. But is there still space for freedom and love in Hala’s life when her mission is all-consuming? First-time director Antonia Kilian introduces us to her own thoughts on being a cultural outsider in a situation where the term militant feminism should be understood literally.”

The film has moments of great beauty, it dares have long scenes, it shows what it means to gain trust from its protagonist, who is a more-than-brave young woman meeting an equally brave film team. It’s a world premiere here in Copenhagen but it will for sure travel. 

Trailer can be seen on Cineuropa.


Categories: Festival, 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

DocsBarcelona Offers Creative Feedback

Written 31-03-2021 13:17:04 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona Offers Creative Feedback

… on creative documentaries under the headline “Artistic Consultancies for Rough Cut Projects”. Prominent documentarians have agreed to take sessions – let me do the name-dropping: Salomé Jashi, Gitte Hansen, Noemy Schory, Elena Fortes, Marc Isaacs (PHOTO), Carles Bosch, Pawel Lozinski, Cecilia Lidin, Martijn te Pajs. It’s my privilege to pick the projects and find the right conversation partner for you. Here comes what DocsBarcelona writes on the website:

In this new edition, DocsBarcelona offers the opportunity to carry out creative consultations online for projects at rough cut stage. The aim is for the projects to be shown to international experts with a proven track record, who will help them improve the film’s final result.

Tue Steen Müller, will be the moderator of the sessions and will link each project with an international expert. Up to 3 members of the film crew may attend the sessions.

Each selected project will be eligible for a private consultation lasting 45 minutes. These will be scheduled between May 18th and 28th.

How to submit a project

Register on the DocsBarcelona&Me platform. Once registered, fill out the activity form and please remember to include a link to the rough cut and its password.

If the project is selected, once the information has been reviewed you will receive an email to make the payment and we will contact you regarding the date of the consultation.


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Tal Amiran: Dafa Metti (Difficult)

Written 30-03-2021 11:06:17 by Tue Steen Mller

Tal Amiran: Dafa Metti (Difficult)

3 years ago I posted a positive review of the short film «Sand Men” by Tal Amiran. (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4284/)

Now the director is back with another social engaged, well crafted short film that likewise deserves to be highlighted.

It takes place in Paris, the location is around the Eiffel Tower, a symbol for France, a place where millions of tourists come to take selfies or have photos taken of themselves. They – we – are not the only ones. Illegal Africans are there to sell miniature, glittering Eiffel towers, living a life in humiliation, chased by the police, sleeping in small rooms together with many others, all this to be able to send money back to their families. You don’t see the faces of those (Senegalese), who sell but you hear their voices expressing their life situation. There is nothing new in this documentation but there is a filmmaker behind the camera, who knows how to create an atmosphere of tough sadness.

You can find this and other films by Tal Amiran here: https://vimeo.com/talamiran

UK, 2020, 15 mins.


Vurdering:

 
Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Film Mentoring Caucasus & Central Asia

Written 24-03-2021 19:41:23 by Tue Steen Mller

Film Mentoring Caucasus & Central Asia

I have not talked to anyone, who prefers zoom to face-to-face meetings. On the other hand the zoom or teams or skype make it possible to see and talk to each other in these times of pandemic. And it works well as I experience right now being part of the Film Mentoring Program of the International Documentary Film Festival CinéDOC-Tbilisi. The cast are 15 young and younger filmmakers from Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan – and 5 mentors: Gitte Hansen Schnyder, Audrius Stonys, Sergey Dvortsevoy, Phil Jandaly and me. Organised by Ileana Stanculescu and Artchil Khetagouri, and their excellent team, who I know from the festival and from summer schools, online and physical. It’s super-professional and with warmth and enthusiasm in the spirit of ”we want to help”. 

The set-up is new and exciting for me: Each mentor works with 3 filmmakers 3 x three hours with weeks in between, where the filmmakers write or film or think… So far I – and the other mentors – have had the first round of individual meetings plus two times group meetings  with 3 filmmakers, who are not the ones with whom you have face-to-face meetings.

Face-to-face meetings are the ones, where I first of all find the zoom an excellent tool. You have time, you can watch material together and you can learn. And you are not waiting for your turn to say something! For me I have been privileged to zoom-travel – with the filmmakers – to mountain villages in Georgia and Dagestan, and to Uzbekistan, where the documentary photographer Eryol Nemat lives. He and the two female filmmakers Ana Barjadze and Sofia Melikova have opened my eyes to places and people and situations that I did not know about, and have very little chances to visit. I am waiting for the next meetings… for more conversation and moving images. To put questions and give answers, and listen. To have a dialogue.

The photo is from Tbilisi - taken by me in 2013 at one of the lovely visits to the capital of Georgia. Please Lord let us also meet face-to-face without a screen between us!

https://cinedoc-tbilisi.com/en


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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

Jonas Poher Rasmussen: Flee

Written 04-02-2021 14:48:34 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Jonas Poher Rasmussen: Flee

DANISH FILM INSTITUTE wrote yesterday: "Jonas Poher Rasmussen's Flee and Camilla Nielsson's President took home top prizes at Sundance, as the festival celebrated this year's winners during Tuesday night's awards show. The two films, both produced by Final Cut for Real, have garnered rave reviews from international critics. The 2021 Sundance Film Festival announced their awards Tuesday night, with the list of winners including the two Danish documentaries.

The World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for best international documentary went to Jonas Poher Rasmussen for his animated Flee. The film offers a gripping account of how the director's close friend Amin arrived in Denmark as a young refugee from Afghanistan 25 years ago.

Shortly after its world premiere at Sundance on 28 January, Flee was bought for American distribution by Neon, the indie company behind the Oscar winning Parasite. British actor Riz Ahmed and his Danish colleague Nikolaj Coster-Waldau are set to voice the lead roles as Amin and Jonas Poher Rasmussen, respectively, in an English-language version of the film to debut later this year.



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Camilla Nielsson: President

Written 03-02-2021 16:36:22 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Camilla Nielsson: President

DANISH FILM INSTITUTE wrote yesterday: "Jonas Poher Rasmussen's Flee and Camilla Nielsson's President took home top prizes at Sundance, as the festival celebrated this year's winners during Tuesday night's awards show. The two films, both produced by Final Cut for Real, have garnered rave reviews from international critics. The 2021 Sundance Film Festival announced their awards Tuesday night, with the list of winners including the two Danish documentaries.

The World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for best international documentary went to Jonas Poher Rasmussen for his animated Flee. The film offers a gripping account of how the director's close friend Amin arrived in Denmark as a young refugee from Afghanistan 25 years ago.

Shortly after its world premiere at Sundance on 28 January, Flee was bought for American distribution by Neon, the indie company behind the Oscar winning Parasite. British actor Riz Ahmed and his Danish colleague Nikolaj Coster-Waldau are set to voice the lead roles as Amin and Jonas Poher Rasmussen, respectively, in an English-language version of the film to debut later this year."



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Categories: Festival, 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

Dimitra Kouzi: Good Morning Mr Fotis

Written 26-01-2021 12:08:57 by Tue Steen Mller

Dimitra Kouzi: Good Morning Mr Fotis

In these times of lockdown all over, where kids sit at home meeting their classmates, and their teacher(s), via a computer, this is a film that can show us how important it is that children are together, when they are together in a class at school – and that they have a teacher for whom the profession is a calling. Mr Fotis is his name and he is the teacher that I would have loved to have.

The kids in the multicultural primary school in Athens profit from his passion and ability to make the 6-12 year old girls and boys interested, listen, be creative and first of all take part in their own individual development; maybe without knowing it, but some of them will never forget – and all right I also had teachers wayyyy back who taught me how to navigate in this crazy world.

The observational documentary, the first film of Dimitra Kouzi as director and producer, is one of those that makes you smile through the 70 minutes it lasts. Because of the kids and their energy, sometimes no-energy because they have to stay up late to pray, because of the interaction between them and Mr Fotis, who builds up his teaching step by step with the goal that the class performs a play with references to Greek culture and myths. ”Where will you be in 10 years”, Mr Fotis asks the kids and they answer… none of them will be in Greece, as one puts it ”Greece has a Past but no future”! Strong words from children! 

There are water fights in the schoolyard, there are small episodes where the background of the kids is revealed, there are many fine poetic moments caught by the very active camera. Wonderful. The director knew what she was looking for. And if you wait and are patient, magical moments will come forward. Actually it is lovely to watch Mr Fotis and his smile and whole warm attitude towards the children. A teacher with will and curiosity, who wants to give the children a fundament in life. 

Of course the film has been used as an inspiration for teachers to see what you can achieve with the right attitude and commitment. It has been part of workshops for teachers who have intercultural classes as well as in film education. Happy to read that in material provided by Dimitra Kouzi, and happy to see small clips with some of the children made for the promotion of the screening at Thessaloniki Documentary FF. 

Greece, 70 mins., 2020  

https://goodmorningmrfotis.com/


Vurdering:

 
Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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

abotić & Varushev: Twins Woven from Dreams

Written 07-01-2021 13:46:17 by Tue Steen Mller

abotić & Varushev: Twins Woven from Dreams

The film is co-directed by Sead Šabotić & Lea Vahrušev, the latter is also the producer.

Take a look at the still above. Marko is trying to find out if his new sneakers fit him. His wife has sent them to him. His is not that happy, they are not so comfortable but he does not want to tell her. The scene, in itself it could be seen as insignificant, becomes important as the camera stays with him for a long time, no hurry – as in many other moments in the film. And the scene builds up to the visit of the wife at the Belgrade District Prison, Block 5-1, where the filmmakers have found a handful of young (and younger) inmates, with charisma and well built bodies – and a lot of worries about how to cope with the life outside that is waiting for them; work and family, kids.

The film goes close to the characters. You get a strong impression of how it is to be in the prison, of the friendships, of the very much time they choose to exercise and think and talk openly with each other about what is waiting for them. Outside. They talk with staff and each other.

The film refrains from digging into, why they are there. The camera work is excellent (Milan Petkovic) and the edting (Mina Petrovic) likewise, allowing well framed significant images to be informative mixed with close-ups of heads and bodies. The filmmakers trust the image, bravo for that. And through the narrative approach they express respect towards the inmates and let us viewers see what it means to leave the prison.

The world is full of prison-documentaries. This one is one of the better.

Serbia, 2020, 67 mins.

 

 


Vurdering:

 
Categories: Festival, 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

Oeke Hoogendijk: My Rembrandt

Written 24-12-2020 11:01:17 by Tue Steen Mller

Oeke Hoogendijk: My Rembrandt

This text is written by Svetlana and Zoran Popovic, directors of the Magnificent7 Festival in Belgrade.

A dramatic documentary exclusive insight into the world behind the facades of top art, the author who amazed us with a saga about the reconstruction of one of the largest museums in Europe.

Through masterful direction, Oeke Hoogendijk tells a story about a sensation roaring through the world, the discovery of a new and previously unknown painting of the greatest of the greatest masters, Rembrandt, and transforms it to an exciting thriller that leaves us breathless. This film shows us the world behind the art, the world of collectors, art historians, authenticity experts, those possessed by both true passion and prestige, with discrete dark shades of basic greed. This is a fascinating story about a detective search from the sensing of vague outlines in the shadows and secrets of time, to the brutal penetration of x-rays and flashes in the hunt for the unseen. Balancing between fascination with the subtlest ups and downs of genius and the need to possess or profit, the heroes of this film are constantly torn, revealing the face of the modern world driven by ambition to ceaselessly produce newer and newer things and to raise values on a pedestal which simultaneously degrades and questions them.

A film that truly ‘touches’ for you the original works of masters and leads you into the space of their complex and turbulent existence.

The Netherlands 2019 95 minutes 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Joonas Berghll: The Happiest Man on Earth

Written 24-12-2020 10:55:14 by Tue Steen Mller

Joonas Berghll: The Happiest Man on Earth

This text is written by Svetlana and Zoran Popovic, directors of the Magnificent7 Festival in Belgrade.

The celebrated author of the film about saunas, one of the greatest documentary hits in Finland, reveals in his latest work the world of unrecognized emotions of Finnish men. Talking, above all, about the deep longing for intimacy, made with a virtuoso authorial procedure, this is a film of exceptional strength and beauty.

Starting from the surprising conclusion of the research, according to which Finns are declared the happiest people in the modern world, the author documents a different, exciting, extremely emotional and colorful world of Finland, through the story of several men who reveal their sorrows, disappointments, sufferings and hopelessness. Colored with harsh humor, this film of stunning camera and photography takes us through mysterious and at times surreal landscapes. With complete openness, and as the protagonist of the story, the author masterfully intertwines individual currents, building a broad and complex image without stereotypes about the unusual mentality, misunderstanding, rejection and conflict, but also the universality of the deep sensitivity of Finnish men.

A top representative of always especially inspiring Finnish documentaries.

Finland 2019 85 minutes 


Categories: Festival, 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

German Kral: Our Last Tango

Written 23-12-2020 10:45:24 by Tue Steen Mller

German Kral: Our Last Tango

This text is written by Svetlana and Zoran Popovic, directors of the Magnificent7 Festival in Belgrade.

Buenos Aires nights echo with the sounds of the bandoneon, with stories of love, and with the unique and unmatchable beauty of tango. During such nights one of the greatest dancers in the history of tango, Maria Nieves, and her legendary partner, Juan Carlos Copes, share their memories with a group of young dancers and choreographers, who in turn convert their stories into breath-taking choreographies. These are stunning in their execution, not only supremely sophisticated and masterful, but also powerful in the emotions they embody with their movements. Before our eyes the dances transform into stories of love and passion, of tenderness and pain, of vulnerability and strength imbued by harmony.

Masterful photography and camerawork, echoing unforgettable cinema cast a permanent spell with the scenes and images unfolding on the screen. Equally so, the close-ups of the two charismatic dancers, whose faces still radiate the fullness of emotion and dignity. Also extraordinary are the reconstructions of the milongas of Buenos Aires, those seminal events and places where energies crossed to create tango, where dancers’ steps wrote out its living history, whose essence the participants and authors of the film aim to reach. There is no doubt that German Kral is the ideal author of this documentary – Argentinian by birth, a European filmmaker by education and experience, and long-time collaborator of Wim Wenders, his professor at the Munich film school, whose influence extends beyond the role of executive producer on this film.

An exciting work which interweaves a dramatic love story with unforgettable inspired movements of tango’s finest dancers captured by fascinating and kinesthetic shots.

Germany, Argentina 2015, 85 minutes 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Artemio Benki: Solo

Written 23-12-2020 10:37:28 by Tue Steen Mller

Artemio Benki: Solo

This text is written by Svetlana and Zoran Popovic, directors of the Magnificent7 Festival in Belgrade.

A documentary that tells an equally exciting story about the colorful world and the music that fills and transforms it.

A poignant drama about a hero torn between his extraordinary talent and the dark abyss of mental illness. Discreet, simply recorded scenes of a psychiatric institution and urban spaces without splendor, scenes that are always on the verge of drama, reveal an unusual, charismatic hero in a constant struggle for dignity and preservation of his precious ability to express himself artistically. His contacts with other patients of the psychiatric clinic, or admirers of his virtuoso playing of the piano, reveal complex layers of a person in states of agitation or rare moments of calm. From restraint to victory and vice versa, we follow a story told without prejudice and with the deepest empathy that expands our understanding of the human psyche and condition.

Collisions of existential anguish with music that ennobles and liberates.

Czech Republic, France, Argentina, Austria 2019,  84 minutes


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Carl Olsson: Patrimonium

Written 22-12-2020 14:02:17 by Tue Steen Mller

Carl Olsson: Patrimonium

This text is written by Magnificent7 Festival directors Svetlana and Zoran Popovic:

Awarded a special prize for artistic excellence at a major international festival in Moscow, this film by a young Danish director with its exceptional style is one of the few close to the works of some of the most important film artists. 

This unique documentary is an exclusive journey through the world of the Danish aristocracy as a privileged tour of estates and forests closed to ordinary people and pleasant walks through the rich, luxurious interiors of laird homes. This whole world, precisely determined by inherited protocol and captured by tradition, is presented to us by the author almost as a gallery of exceptional paintings by old masters, painted with modern digital means. A film that creates a view that does not exceed a precisely defined limit of respect, where we perceive the heroes and their dramas with a discreet presence and careful observation. As we enjoy discovering fascinating details, the author develops a story about the burden of birth. 

A documentary in which, in enchanting scenes, history and the modern world meet.

Denmark 2019 74 minutes  


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Jerzy Śladkowski: Bitter Love

Written 22-12-2020 13:46:02 by Tue Steen Mller

Jerzy Śladkowski: Bitter Love

This text is written by the Magnificent7 festival directors Svetlana and Zoran Popovic:

The work of a great master of studies on the finest emotions, the master who charmingly and unobtrusively delves into the deep secrets of the soul, an author who superbly poetizes the cruel everyday life and transforms it into the magic of film.

Chekhov's spirit is revived in a film about a group of people on a cruise in search of love. The bitter-sad, touching-comic atmosphere permeates the encounters of men and women who mourn love or long for it. Lost in the timelessness of the moment, between the beginning and the end of the journey through the gentle landscapes of the wide Volga, at one moment they are filled with hope, and at the next with its loss or reawakening. Extremely discreet, and most deeply connected with the heroes, the poetic camera of Wojciech Staroń, and the sense for understanding the most subtle human feelings of Jerzy Śladkowski, achieve a rarely seen fullness and persuasiveness.

A film that invites you to indulge in an enchanting cinema cruise imbued with music.

Sweden, Finland, Poland 2020, 87 minutes 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Viktor Kossakovsky: Gunda

Written 21-12-2020 12:15:00 by Tue Steen Mller

Viktor Kossakovsky: Gunda

Svetlana and Zoran Popovic, Magnificent7 directors:

A masterful film by one of the most important documentarians in the world. Premiered at the Berlin Festival and the New York Festival. The film that was made for the big cinema screen!

Gunda is a story told in images exclusively created in an extraordinary visual style. The black-and-white photography that evokes the best classical films woven into the series of magical scenes takes us into the world of beautiful, large and small entities in areas ruled by the rhythms of nature. Specially inspired by his own childhood memories, the author Viktor Kossakovsky recorded this visual poem with the idea of directing our attention to the irresistible beauty of beings that together with man make up the precious living world of our planet. Beings capable of making us infinitely happy, but that are often neglected and are suffering because of us and from us. A superb work of art, in the creation of which the celebrated Joaquin Phoenix, as an executive producer, helped with his commitment.

A great cinema holiday, a great visual praise of Nature!

Norway, USA 2020, 93 minutes. 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Magnificent 2020 Belgrade

Written 19-12-2020 15:57:56 by Tue Steen Mller

Magnificent 2020 Belgrade

Words from Svetlana and Zoran Popovic:Here we go again! After a delay due to the pandemic from which we all suffer, and from which we have learnt to take measures into consideration; Where we are, Whatever we are doing. Let’s continue to do so during the Magnificent7, 16th edition in Belgrade.

And words from me, selector together with the mentioned Popovic's: Here we are to again enjoy to be together – respecting distance and wearing masks – in a cinema to see films on the big screen as they were meant to be seen, when they were made.

I have been to many festivals this year. Online. I have even been a juror. Online. Alone in front of my MacBook! So, like many of you in the audience, I look forward the moment when films come back to cinemas, come back to big screens...

And I say so that because we have chosen excellent films for you. Films that 



Read more / Ls mere

Categories: Festival, 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

Sundance Film Festival 2021

Written 16-12-2020 16:07:57 by Tue Steen Mller

Sundance Film Festival 2021

A mail came in with the announcement of the films selected for the Sundance Festival in Utah in the US. That starts January 28. I have been looking at the list of the 10 films selected for the World Cinema Documentary Competition.

And am very happy for seeing films and directors that I have heard of and/or seen some clips/sequences from. On this site the name Salomé Jashi has been mentioned several times because of her previous fine films, “Bakhmaro” and “The Dazzling Light of Sunset”. Her new film, “Taming the Garden” is an exceptional story with a stunning visual interpretation. Ancient trees are uprooted to be taken to a rich man’s garden! See the photo!
 


Read more / Ls mere

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Maite Alberdi & Viktor Kossakovsky

Written 03-12-2020 16:31:14 by Tue Steen Mller

Maite Alberdi & Viktor Kossakovsky

I have had the pleasure – a couple of times -  to present Russian master director Viktor Kossakovsky at festivals. For instance at DocsBarcelona, where I was meant to be the moderator. Not really a possible job as the director takes over immediately, talks with passion and love about what filmmaking means to him. Entertaining. No need to have someone asking questions.

With surprise I saw that Kossakovsky was to be moderator in a Q&A session with Chilean Maite Alberdi as director. It was organised within IDFA by Chiledoc. And the film to be talked about was Alberdi’s newest work „The Mole Agent”, a lovely and playful film. See below if you want to know what else the director has done… She’s is excellent. And that was exactly how Kossakovsky started the Q&A. Declaring his love to the film and the director. Followed by a couple of questions and Kossakovsky:   

„I want to cry now”… „I am very happy for you”… „tell us what you want to say”. Kossakovsky had got answers to his questions, had been touched by scenes in the film and there were not really other questions coming in from the online audience. A bit more than 30 mins. Enough for the passionate moderator – and good answers from the smiling equally charismatic Maite Alberdi. The film – here is a copy paste from the IDFA catalogue  

„In this quirky blend of spy flick and observational documentary, 83-year-old Sergio goes undercover in an old folks’ home. This friendly, elderly man is hired by private detective Romulo to act as the “mole agent” for a client, who suspects that her mother is being mistreated in the home. 

Director Maite Alberdi deploys the film noir tropes convincingly, but Sergio is no natural-born detective. His first obstacle is all the technology—pen cameras, smartphones, and the other devices he’ll need to gather evidence and report back to Romulo. But an even bigger stumbling block is that Sergio, a recent widower, is unable to maintain the emotional distance necessary for carrying out his tasks as a spy. He quickly befriends several other tenants. 

With a wryly comical undertone continuing throughout the film, what begins as a detective yarn gradually evolves into something more intimate, resulting in an original view of affection and loneliness in old age.”

Maite Alberdi, Chilean director, is known for her warm-hearted films, to be mentioned ”Tea Time” from 2014 and ”The Grown-Ups” from 2016, many times awarded, both of them got the main award at DocsBarcelona. She co-directed in 2016 the short film ”I’m Not from Here”, with Giedre Zickyte from Lithuania.


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Award Ceremony

Written 26-11-2020 22:39:12 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Award Ceremony

I enjoyed the show. Professional it was. Festive Onlining. Warm and respectful to the filmmakers. It opened at 17h and closed at 19h. Many awards were to be given. The programmers of the different sections came to the stage, where Ghanese/Dutch Ama van Dantzig was a shining host linking it all, making the introductions and finding “the beat” that is necessary, so we don’t get bored. “We”, in this case of course being us who have been watching films, have our favourites and hope for the best for those makers we know. On the guest list of IDFA we are called professionals.

The show - starting with Orwa Nyrabia, the artistic director, who was asked by Ama van Dantzig how it had been, the festival, answering “as imperfect as Life is…” He saluted his IDFA team for their work, ”everyone has done a massive job” and told that 16.000 had been to the cinemas and 70.000 online – and the festival continues till December 6. The future…, he was asked, “I don’t know. Everyone tells me about what they think should happen with IDFA… I don’t know”. Clever man, this old friend Orwa, who has the word in his power, passionate and inspiring for the documentary community.

The winners were presented – good time for clips and for thank you’s from the awarded directors from everywhere in the world; best when they did not know that they won – to see the spontaneous joy of Alina Gorlova and Firouzeh Khosrovani, when they were told that they had won, was wonderful. Magic documentary moments. I was happy that I had watched “Radiograph of a Family” in beforehand and written a positive review before the world premiere (sorry IDFA!) and to see Ukrainian Alina Gorlova receiving first prize for “This Rain Will Never Stop” warms my heart. In Kiev and in Riga I have followed the development that she and Maksym Nakonechnyi have performed. Teaser after teaser and a story that changed, a film that changed it all, filmmakers looking for their form, the aesthetic choices to be made. They succeeded and this film will travel, for sure. I have told Alina Gorlova a couple of days ago that the film is amazing, and I have promised myself to make a review to explain why I think so. 

And tomorrow I will watch – from the short film section - Marlén Viñayo’s ”Unforgivable”, that was the winner in that category. I know Marlén Viñayo (El Salvador) from DocsBarcelona, where her “Cachada” was awarded in 2019 – a film that travelled for many other awards. Big talent!

And I will watch – from the Kids and Docs section – the awarded “Shadegan”, “Dormant” from the Archive section, special mention, also here “Radiograph of a Family” was a winner. In her “thank you speech” for this award Firouzeh Khosrovani had placed herself in a room with a table full of photos and mirrors on the wall, a true image composer. 

Was happy to see another old friend, the excellent film critic Neil Young (with a tie!) from Sunderland, motivating the winners in the mid-length section and reflecting on this section’s constant dilemma, not being for theatres and not being for television. The host, again Ama van Dantzig, characterised his speech as creative and innovative, I liked that. And I miss talking film and football with Neil Young. Sorry Neil, I did not really get which of the winners I should watch. By the way, happy to see that Audrius Stonys was on the same jury, maybe he can advise me.

And at 19h it was over, the show, and I went to prepare supper on this thanksgiving day. And at 19.02 the press release entered my email from Petra Blašković, the always helpful IDFA press officer, who has advised and directed me around the IDFA internet – and from whom I probably will still need help until the closing of the festival. Thanks Petra!

By the way, you can still watch the award ceremony, click below and find it.

www.idfa.nl


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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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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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Gianfranco Rosi at IDFA

Written 21-11-2020 15:20:56 by Tue Steen Mller

Gianfranco Rosi at IDFA

It was here that it started, Gianfranco Rosi said looking at the almost empty Tuschinsky Theatre, where his very interesting and inspiring talk with artistic director of IDFA Orwa Nyrabia took place. I attended the first part of it and took notes but had to leave to raise a glass for and cry a bit for Valentina Pedicini, who passed away the same morning as the talk took place; it was Rosi, who told Nyrabia, who then communicated the tragic loss to the viewers in the theatre and online.

Going back to Rosi, who claimed that the key words for him as a filmmaker is Time Trust and Encounters. It was here that it started – my first film „Boatman“ (1993) was shown here. It was through making that film that I learned about documentary filmmaking. I graduated from the New York University Film School, went to India, visited the Ganges, met Gopal, the boatman, was there for two months without filming, took my camera for a one-day tourist trip with Gopal, saw the material and discovered that it was not good enough for a film. Went away and came back again and again to shoot with Gopal. I just went, there was no telephone contact, but he was always there on the river.

At that point of the talk Orwa Nyrabia showed a clip from the 50 mins. long – yes it is – magnificent film, shot on 16mm, lovely format (my comment), a clip where Gopal talks about the foreigners, who always come with their “why, why, why, why” related to – that we see – corpses wrapped in white cloth being dropped in the same water, where people take their baths.

I was asking questions, said Rosi, you can see that in the beginning of the film, but I stopped and have since then NOT put any questions from behind the camera. The film actually became an emotional reconstruction of that day, where I was a tourist. With this film I learned what it is about: waiting for the right moment. And Time Trust and Encounters.

Rosi is a classical observational poetic filmmaker. He is at IDFA as a guest of honour with his 6 films and he has put together his Top Ten. For accredited guests you can watch Boatman online – and/or you can go to the DocAlliance vod, where you can stream it for very little Money: https://dafilms.com/film/8918-boatman

Photo from his last masterpiece “Notturno”

www.idfa.nl


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Arami Ulln: Nothing But The Sun

Written 20-11-2020 21:37:57 by Tue Steen Mller

Arami Ulln: Nothing But The Sun

It does not take long in this fine film that you connect to Mateo, the man on the photo, who (from IDFA catalogue) “started recording Ayoreo conversations, stories, and songs in the 1970s, and is still traveling to Ayoreo communities with his now-antique cassette recorder to interview them and collect their voices for his audio archive. Occasionally the device eats a tape, which he fixes with patient fiddling. The conversations express uncertainty about the loss of identity. Is it a problem that a culture disappears in order to adapt to another?”

It’s in Paraguay and the Ayoreo community has suffered since the White people came. A culture is about to disappear. They used, some still do, to live in the forest, a good life as one of Mateo’s interviewes is saying, no illnesses, we could provide for ourselves. But the missionaries came. Mateo is a documentarian, he wants to keep on tape stories, songs and testimonies. And there are some lovely chamanistic scenes in the film. It’s an oral culture, as said Arami Ullón in the conversation with Orwa Nyrabia, artistic director of IDFA. But Mateo is not only collecting memories from his fellow Ayoreos, he also allows himself to start the tape recorder, when he close to his wife asks her, when it was that she fell in love with him… Won’t give you the answer, she gives, watch the film. There are many of these magic moments in the film that lives from its slow rythm and the conversations. «We were shooting blind, we did not understand what was happening », Ullón said in the conversations. “I did not have a plan, the construction happened when we were there”. I was thinking of what Lithuanian director Audrius Stonys once said: “We are making films to keep people alive”, and that is what Ullón does with the help of Mateo.

Making of course also a film about religious oppression, about colonialism, about what happens in a small country like Paraguay – and all over the world.

Paraguay/Switzerland, 2020, 75 mins.    


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Valentina Pedicini 1978-2020

Written 20-11-2020 17:17:01 by Tue Steen Mller

Valentina Pedicini 1978-2020

Obituary for a 42 year old filmmaker. So sad. The last time I saw Valentina was at DocsBarcelona, where she won the main award for her "Faith". The moderator of the ceremony had a short conversation with her, online, before he revealed that the jury found that her film was the best. She jumped from her chair out of joy, so happy for this recognition. One year back I had the chance to meet her at IDFA, where I attended the premiere of the film - full house, I was sitting next to the principal of the Zelig Film School, Heidi Gronauer, and we were proud of Valentina and her work. Valentina graduated from the film school in 2010, I was one of the teachers and had many fine discussions with the director-to-be. As a true artist she was always in doubt of what she did was good enough. I wrote this after the IDFA screening last year:

"To watch the film of a former Zelig student, Valentina Pedicini, “Faith”, a film that actually was already in preparation, when she was in the school in Bolzano. She made a short film at that time, 11 years ago. “I was young at that time, 11 years later I felt mature enough to go deeper, stay longer at the place-“ And she did together with cameraperson Bastian Esser and his assistent Lucia Alessi – both of them also Zelig students.

The equally 11 year older teacher, who still remembers Valentina as the obvious documentary talent during the school time, has at a distance followed the carreer of the filmmaker, who has made a couple of fiction films and the documentary “Dal Profondo” in 2013. This one, “Faith”, shows that she can go close to people, who trust her. “Were there any ethical questions during the shooting”, the moderator asked Valentina Pedicini. “Every day”, was the answer from the very dedicated director, who with the amazing camerawork by Bastian Esser depicts both the violent training scenes with the master and his pupils and the quiet sensible scenes with couples in bed. You can’t avoid to feel claustrophobia watching the film, luckily you as a viewer are let out in the light once in a while… but seldom.

Valentina, RIP.


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IDFA Pitched Rough Cuts

Written 19-11-2020 18:06:52 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Pitched Rough Cuts

I had the pleasure – indeed it was – to observe the online pitch of Rough Cut projects yesterday. There were five of them and the atmosphere was much more relaxed than several of the pitches, where projects were new and comments from the decision makers were included. The sessions included words from director & producer, a teaser or clips – several had 3 of them – so you could imagine how the film would be. And one-on-one were waiting for the filmmakers. I make small remarks to each of them – saying up front that they were all of quality, and as a session put well together geographically: Brazil, Israel, India, Lebanon, Sahel Africa. Here they are:



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IDFA Opens at Tuschinsky...

Written 18-11-2020 23:04:53 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Opens at Tuschinsky...

Two quotes from the opening of IDFA 2020, wise words from a minister and an artistic director of this unique meeting place for people in the documentary community - and for the audience, in the cinemas and online.

Standing in an almost-abandoned Tuschinski theater in the heart of Amsterdam, looking at hundreds of empty red seats is a painful illustration of the impact of the pandemic. At the same time, I am incredibly proud and happy that IDFA is still able to go ahead this year, as are all of the professionals who worked on the many documentaries that will be shown in the coming weeks. Here, live, in dozens of Dutch cinemas, and online, in thousands of living rooms across the globe,” said Ingrid van Engelshoven, Minister of Education, Culture and Science of the Netherlands.

“Art is never measurable. Its value, its impact, and even its very meaning are all living creatures. They change with time, they change with place, they change us and we change them continuously. So, this edition of IDFA is a tribute to you, our filmmakers and artists, and even more to those of you whose accomplishment might not be measurable by the immediate response of the market or the media. We believe in these films and new media works, we know they will live long and they will be discovered and re-discovered again and again,” concluded Orwa Nyrabia, Artistic Director of IDFA.


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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. 


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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

Firouzeh Khosrovani: Radiograph of a Family

Written 10-11-2020 20:47:36 by Tue Steen Mller

Firouzeh Khosrovani: Radiograph of a Family

It’s a scoop to have the constant tableau-like returns to the room in the house in Tehran. It’s beautiful to look at - in the beginning I associated to Danish Hammerhøi and his paintings of interiors - here (except for the ending of the film) without human beings. A white room that changes as the life of the director and her parents change in Iran. A white room of memories. Like a stage where a painting of a naked woman is taken down and the double bed disappears. Where mats for praying become visible and glasses with wine are away from the table. The returns serve as pauses for reflections from the photos and archive footage that form the backbone of a family story that is told voice-off by the director and through constructed dialogues between father and mother.

They married while he was studying in Geneva and she was in Tehran. She moved to Geneva to be with him, where she as a religious person „saw sin all over“ in the happy sixties, refrained from drinking and partying as her Mousieu husband – they speak French in Geneva and she could not find the right pronunciation for Monsieur.

When Firouzeh is born, the couple moves back to Tehran, and if she felt lonely abroad, she now gradually gets involved in the revolutionary movement that led to the fall of the Shah. She became a disciple of Shariati, who was an important revolutionary sociologist. She got important educational positions in the Islamic country, whereas her father found meaning in art and music. And in being with his daughter. 

The film builds very much on photos taken by the father and archive material from Geneva but also from Iran – military training for the mother and other veiled women, riots in the streets. Look at the poster… in a scene you hear the mother tearing photos apart of herself without veil, she wants to destroy memories from her non-religious past… On the wall there is now an imaginative painting of the father holding his daughter, the director…The mother, still alive, sitting in the room asks her daughter to hand her the Quran…

Norway, Iran, 2020, 82 mins. 


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IDFF Artdocfest / Riga postponed to spring 2021

Written 08-11-2020 19:46:26 by Tue Steen Mller

In the situation of sharp increase of Covid-19 cases by the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of Latvia an Emergency Situation is introduced for the period of November 9th - December 6th, 2020.

In this regard we are forced to announce the impossibility of holding IDFF Artdocfest/Riga which was to start at the November 26th.

We also decided not to run the online version of the festival as we claim that only the live connection between the viewers and the filmmakers,  the magic of premieres on the big screen and in-depth discussions of the industry representatives are the true meaning of phenomena we call a real film festival.

Now, 20 days before the IDFF Artdocfest /Riga we have carried out 100% of the preparations but in this situation we have been forced to make a decision to postpone the festival until the spring of 2021.

IDFF Artdocfest/Riga will be held in April, 2021.

All the films selected for both competition programs and out-of-competition screenings remain in our programs and hold the invitation to participate in the festival.

Considering Force Majeure, unfortunately, this year we cannot insist on keeping the status of Latvian premiere. However, we would be grateful if the authors refrain from screening the films in Latvia until April next year.

We are moving the Riga Documentary Symposium along with the festival to April.

We will try to keep everything as planned including the screening schedule and even the jury.

We apologize for the inconveniences caused but we will compensate this fully with great hospitality in the first & joyful spring after “the plague” at the first IDFF Artdocfest/Riga!

Vitaly Manski

The President of Artdocfest


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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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DOK Leipzig 2020 Awards

Written 01-11-2020 20:16:00 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig 2020 Awards

The Golden Dove as well as the Silver have been given out at the DOK Leipzig festival.

”Downstream to Kinshasa” by Dieudo Hamadi won the Golden, a coproduction ” from the Democratic Republic of Congo, France and Belgium that focuses on war-disabled people from Kisangani in the DR Congo. ”The jury motivation goes like this: ”… praised the filmmaker “for bringing intimacy and dignity to a Sisyphean struggle that is invisible in the broader world, here delivered to the screen with the clear trust of its protagonists and the commitment of the filmmaker”. Who is from Kisangani and whose ”Maman Colonelle” I remember clearly for its quality. This one is also a strong and important documentary to remind us of a horrible war of six days in Kisangani twenty years ago. It’s emotional to follow the crippled people on their way to the parliament in Kinshasa to make their case; they want compensation from the government and parliament who do not care. The film has previously been to Cannes and Toronto and will be in the Masters section at IDFA, whose Bertha Foundation has supported it.

And for the Silver Dove the jury chose “The Poets Visit Juana Bignozzi” by Argentinian Mercedes Halfon and Laura Citarella. I saw the film online a couple of days ago, liked it but I had big problems to access it, understanding it all as Juana Bignozzi’s poems were read in Spanish, a language I don’t master. Impossible to really appreciate her poetry with English subtitles. Anyway I agree with the jury pointing at the film with ”a freshness and energy that recall the French Nouvelle vague”. And yet, maybe a bit too constructed for my taste.

AND one more award for Czech ”A New Shift” (winning at Ji.hlava FF as well) by debutant Jindřich Andr, a good film, read http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4843/ The award was given in The Golden Dove in the “Golden Section”, the newly introduced Competition for the Audience Award Long Documentary or Animated Film 

No, actually there were 2 awards for the film about Tomas, the miner who became an IT programmer – the MDR award went to ”A New Shift”. Jindřich Andr must be a happy director with this recognition at two important festivals.

For many other awards go to www.dok-leipzig.de


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Ada Ushpiz: Children

Written 31-10-2020 19:21:28 by Tue Steen Mller

Ada Ushpiz: Children

This is a world premiere of an excellent film, that will travel all over. Shot in the Eastern part of Jerusalem in Palestinian families with the focus on the children. How they cope with living close to settlers and therefore also to the constant presence of Israeli soldiers, who are there to protect the very same settlers. And is often met with rocks being thrown at them. And – the film documents – quite as often provokes kids, laying hands on them. Upon this historical context, quote from one of the texts on the screen up front, in an observational documentary filmed over years:



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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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Lina Soualem: Their Algeria

Written 30-10-2020 10:23:16 by Tue Steen Mller

Lina Soualem: Their Algeria

You don’t know if she is crying or laughing. The grandmother of the director, who came to France from Algeria with her husband in the fifties. She is born in 1937, the two were married for 62 years, then decided to divorce but they are still living quite close to each other. She is still cooking for him, bringing the food, taking care of him, she is active, but she has decided to have her own life for the time she has left.

He is rarely speaking, moves slowly, watches tv and goes to the local cafeteria to just sit there the whole day – according to his wife, who is no longer his wife, but they are still husband and wife as says the director’s father, an actor in numerous films and before that a mime artist. The daughter uses her father to help reveal the past of the grandparents. She wants to know her roots, wants them to tell. It works very well. The film creates a fine atmosphere.

The film is built around the conversations mixed with footage that the father has shot in 1992. Lovely footage that includes Algerian parties with song and dance. Slowly we get closer to the grandfather and the scoop is when the director, the granddaughter, shows material that she shot in their village in Algeria. Grandfather’s face changes expression and he is proud of her filming there. The former cutler in Thiers. Who with his wife left Algeria. They wanted to come back but the war came with all its atrocities.

They remember, grandmother first of all remembers. You ask too many questions, Lina…she covers her face with her hands and we don’t know if the lively old woman is crying or laughing. 

It’s of course a film about the destiny of Algerian immigrants coming to France, about colonialism but it has a universality: Did we have/do we have the talks with our grandparents before it is too late. I envy the director, I never met my grandparents and there are so many questions I will never get answers to as my parents are no longer alive. This film made me think.

France, 2020, 70 mins.

https://www.dok-leipzig.de


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IDFA Final Competition Selections

Written 29-10-2020 12:47:17 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Final Competition Selections

I saw (most of) the IDFA press conference, 2 hours!, with artistic director Orwa Nyrabia on stage in de Balie on Leidseplein, which used to be the main meeting place for IDFA. Nostalgia! Nyrabia presented the sections, also those that are not competitive with – for some films – clips. And he presented the juries and he is good in talking briefly and warmly about the chosen films. There are all together 258 titles for the festival that starts November 18 and goes on until December 6. And here is a quote from Nyrabia:



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Jindřich Andr: A New Shift

Written 28-10-2020 10:19:24 by Tue Steen Mller

Jindřich Andr: A New Shift

It’s a good film. Not because of the theme (a mine is closed, miners are without job, what to do?) that is pretty much known. This time it takes place in Silesia, a region that has also been described before, mostly by Polish filmmakers – No, it is good because of the miner Tomas, who becomes the IT programmer Tomas. The director has followed Tomas for four years in his struggle to get a new education – his doubts, his warm realitionship to his children, his dating to find a new partner, his café talks with friends, his passion for Banik Ostrava, the football team he supports.

I write Tomas as I get close to him and his positive attitude to life. He is himself, when he is at interviews for IT Jobs, grounded and charming and funny, also when he talks to a full theater in Prague at a TED arrangement about him succeeding. It made me for a moment think “is this a corporate film” as it of course puts a positive light on the retraining program Tomas is part of. But why bother as this for once is a positive and authentic film. It is the director’s first film, well told (dramaturg is as always in Czech documentaries Jan Gogola) and being in both DOK Leipzig and Ji.hlava festivals is quite a good start!  

Czech Republic, 2020, 91 mins.


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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

Qutaiba Barhamji: La Terre de Gevar

Written 22-10-2020 12:57:14 by Tue Steen Mller

Qutaiba Barhamji: La Terre de Gevar

… Gevar, Natasha, Shevan. A family. From Syria, now living in France. English title: Gevar’s Land.

The joy of seeing something grow. Plants, vegetables – at home on the balcony and in the garden. In a scene Natasha looks at her phone and tells Gevar that a town in Syria is being bombed. They are in the garden, Gevar puts down his phone and talks about, when to plant garlic onions. Syria is far away and the two try to establish a new life in France. The gardening plays a key role in that respect. It is lovely to see Gevar drawing on a piece of paper, where to plant potatoes, radis, pumpkins, onions, parsley, coriander, okra…He is happy to be in France and expresses this, when the discussion unfolds among the Syrians at parties and gatherings. Where a friend says that he loves French literature but not to be in France! 

Qutaiba Barhamji follows the family over a year. He is behind the camera, he is close to the family but he does not interfer or asks questions. A clever solution, there are so many films that have been dealing with the tormented country. He is present, at their home and in the garden. He helps with some translation from French to Arabic and catches small but important situations. Which are actually identical to (I was thinking when watching), what my wife and I have experienced in our allotment garden : A neighbour who tells us « ignorants » how to do gardening OR the same neighbour informing us that there is a ban on watering the garden – in the film they water anyway, in our community we do the same. Come on, otherwise the garden will die!

Gevar and his family meet the (French) bureaucracy – nothing special, we have do so as well – the difference is, as he says so precisely, Gevar, that “I can’t control my dreams”, the thoughts he has brought along from Syria. Again the film is not going into this issue, not needed, a film comes from the screen to be formed in the head of a spectator.

We see the pumpkins and are happy on behalf of the family. Alas, they are robbed; the director stays respectfully at a distance, when Natasha breaks into tears, she cries, says the little boy. Gevar gets a job far away from the home and the garden, they talk about moving and giving up the garden. Gevar is taking down the barbecue installment he has built, he stands thoughtfully in the picture in the garden, he has to give up. Sounds like a sad ending, maybe, but there is also a wonderful scene towards the end, where Gevar comes home to Natasha and Shevan after being away for work. A scene full of love and happiness. They will manage their new life in their new country. I hope!

France, 78 mins., 2020


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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


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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


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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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ZagrebDox Special Edition/ Awards

Written 12-10-2020 14:26:01 by Tue Steen Mller

ZagrebDox Special Edition/ Awards

When you say A, you also have to say B. So here comes an edited versión of the press release of the ZagrebDox Special edition concerning, who were the lucky winners at the festival that ended last night:

In international competition the jury consisted of the award-winning Croatian documentary filmmaker Goran Dević, the Slovenian director, producer, teacher, artistic director and Makedox programmer Petra Seliškar, and the Czech director and photographer Anna Kryvenko. The main festival award, the Big Stamp, went to the film Froth (PHOTO) by Ilya Povolotskiy. “In a selection of 17 films, the jury was attracted by the minimalist portrayal of an isolated community in the direct film tradition. The director managed to discover the place and its history in today’s scenes of Murmansk,” said the jury. The special mention in this category went to the film Exemplary Behaviour by Audrius Mickevičius and Nerijus Milerius, with the following statement: “For an exceptional and dramatic personal approach to saying goodbye, collective revenge and systematic punishment turning a real life story into cinematic meditation. This film helps us understand the logic of the prison system, as well as people going through it, their lives, families and stories. The director himself faces issues with the system and has to find a way to come to terms with it.”

The Croatian journalist and editor Dean Šoša, the Italian set designer and 

 



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I Pledge

Written 12-10-2020 13:46:42 by Tue Steen Mller

I Pledge

Directed by Nikola Dragovic & Milutin Petrovic. Based primarily on VHS-tapes recorded by Predrag Bata Miloševic with Igor Dikic (Goga) as the protagonist.

A soldier’s story. Could be anywhere, any soldier. A young man’s story. Seen from today, 30 years later. Universal when you think about the film as I did after two screenings. Because even if I have been visiting Serbia once a year during the last 15-16 years, and have heard about/seen films about the end of Yugoslavia and the war and conflicts, there are many details referring to battles and geography that I know too little about. And yet I would argue that this is a universal human story. For you to know before reading this positive review...

 



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Giedrė ickytė: The Jump

Written 10-10-2020 17:01:40 by Tue Steen Mller

Giedrė ickytė: The Jump

As you can see from the photo of the flyer, the new film by Lithuanian director – and producer - Giedrė ickytė premiered yesterday at the important Warsaw Film Festival, with three more screenings. Go if you happen to be in the Polish capital. It is the first stop of a long festival career (next one is Roma Film Festival), I am sure. And she deserves that, Giedrė ickytė, I can say so having followed the film for the years it has been on its way. I just read how Davide Abbatescianni introduced the film in Cineuropa, a very fine introduction with no spoilers, link for the whole article below:

”It’s Thanksgiving Day, 1970. The US Coast Guard sets out to meet a Soviet vessel anchored just off the shore of Martha’s Vineyard. A one-day conference between the two nations has been set to discuss fishing rights in the Atlantic Ocean. While the talks are in full swing, Lithuanian sailor Simas Kudirka jumps across the icy water onto the American boat in a frantic bid for freedom. To his horror, and to the outcry of the world media, the Americans return him to the Soviets and he is tried for treason. The event sets off a series of protests throughout the USA begging for his freedom and all hope seems lost, until new information about Simas’s citizenship surfaces.”

On the flyer the film is launched as “a cold war thriller”, which it is, but it is much more than an ordinary Netflix film with the two super-powers… I am biased as I have seen material and versions several times – and what has amazed me from the very start is the warm and humorous angle with which the director connects to the lively and lovely protagonist, the once young and now old Simas, whose story is second-to-none. It’s about politics way back in the 70’es without minimizing the humanistic approach from both Simas and the American sailors, who had to ”return him to the Soviets”, as written above. And those helping him, Lithuanians in America.

Giedrė ickytė, producer herself and her Latvian producer Uldis Cekulis, and many many others deserve a thank you for never giving up, when it comes to get access to (and pay for!) archive material and people who remember, like Henry Kissinger, a scoop to have him on camera, and on archive at the funeral of President Gerald Ford.

The Jump. The old man goes to have a swim. He walks along the bathing pier, puts his hand into the lake to feel the temperature, stands up and jumps. Beatiful metaphoric beginning and it comes back at the end, where he gets up from the water and goes to his house. He watches the American film based on his life (Alan Arkin as him), ”it’s very American in style”, he says. The film of Giedrė ickytė in much closer to the tradition of Baltic documentary. Thanks for that!

Lithuania, 2020, 85 mins.

https://cineuropa.org/en/newsdetail/393414/

http://www.moonmakers.lt


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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/


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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


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ZagrebDox Special Edition

Written 05-10-2020 10:54:57 by Tue Steen Mller

ZagrebDox Special Edition

This is a copy-paste of a text from the website of ZagrebDox festival that started LIVE (with online possibilities given as well). The 16 films mentioned below are in the international competition. More than half of them have been reviewed and/or noticed on this site. So, here you go:

A special edition of the International Documentary Film Festival ZagrebDox takes place from 4 to 11 October at the SC Cinema and &TD Theatre of the Zagreb Student Centre, with around fifty recent documentary titles. ZagrebDox PRO, the festival’s training programme, was largely held in March online. October gives us a chance to present these fifty titles to a live audience.

The film The Cave by Feras Fayyad has so far won around 15 prestigious international awards, including an Oscar nomination, Critics’ Choice Award and the IDA Award, award for the most valuable documentary of the year and recently two Emmys for creative art. it is a story about the Syrian war from the point of view of doctor Amari Ballour, who runs an impromptu hospital in a cave. The winner of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), the film In a Whisper by the duo Heidi Hassan and Patricia Pérez Fernández is a story about a friendship overcoming geographic vastness, and IDFA’s winner in the medium-length section, Anticlockwise by Iranian 

 



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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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Making a Mountain

Written 01-10-2020 19:11:18 by Tue Steen Mller

Making a Mountain

Directed by Kaspar Astrup Schröder and Rikke Selin Fokdal.

The film had its world premiere today, October 1st and will be screened tomorrow at Cinemateket in Copenhagen at 4.30pm as part of the Copenhagen Architecture Festival. Where there will be a discussion after the 55 minutes long informative corporate film that has been made to give the viewers in the architecture world here and abroad an insight to what it means to build a mountain in a flat country.

I refrain from making a film review, it’s of course amazing images from above and from different angles, the architect Bjarke Ingels is a good lecturer and the CEO (until 2017) of Amager Ressource Center Ulla Röttger conveys the enthusiasm and energy that the film lacks.

Where is the festive celebration of this fantastic new building in Copenhagen? And who decided to use Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov from start till end...

To be fair  - here is the description of the film attached to the link I received:

“Wilkommen, bienvenue,” the CEO sang in 2011 when BIG won the architecture competition for a large waste-to-energy plant with a ski slope on top. A camera has followed the process since the tentative beginnings of what became known – from the very first sod cut – as a visionary project that combines waste management and infrastructure with spectacular architecture and a recreational urban space.

But it is going to be an uphill struggle ...

The challenges soon pile up along with questions: How do you even combine a waste-to-energy plant with a ski slope? How far is a property developer willing to go? And how much can an architect actually push through when all is said and done?

In a cinematic construction site symphony, we follow our main characters from the popping of champagne corks and the vision taking off, through broken dreams about smoke rings and abrasions from artificial snow, to the first trip down the black slope.

Denmark, 2020, 55 mins.


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Festival

Pepe Andreu and Rafael Mols: Lobster Soup

Written 30-09-2020 17:48:14 by Tue Steen Mller

Pepe Andreu and Rafael Mols: Lobster Soup

“Every morning Krilli prepares the many ingredients of Bryggjan’s lobster soup, a tiny cafe in a small town in Iceland. Alli, Krilli’s brother, sits with the old fishermen, the last boxer of Iceland and a writer, who find, every day, a new solution for all the problems of the world.

People from abroad come to Iceland to see the volcanoes, the ice and the genesis of the Earth. And now the tourists and the lava field seem to push the whole town more and more towards the sea. The Bryggjan cafe holds the port, clinging to the ground. It serves as a shelter on the last 3,000 square meters of buildable ground in the harbour for the locals of the town.”

The text is taken from the website of the the production company of the two 



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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

Uldis Cekulis - Conversation

Written 30-09-2020 11:38:20 by Tue Steen Mller

Uldis Cekulis - Conversation

Feature length conversation with Latvian producer and cameraman Uldis Cekulis. It took place during the Baltic Sea Docs 2020 earlier this month. Clips and words about Uldis Brauns, “Bridges of Time” and “235.000.000”, about filming in Georgia, drinking chacha, the collaboration with Laila Pakalnina, about international networking, based on friendships, international coproductions, funding, pitching, Laibach and North Korea, Rossellini, Audrius Kemezys, “every film is like a child, you need to care”. 50% talk, 50% clips. Thanks to Baltic Sea Docs and Zane Balcus for letting me share this – and to Uldis Cekulis.

Photo: Gints Lvuskans

Here is the link: https://vimeo.com/463030546/dc2fa470a4

 

 

 

 

 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Essays

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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Jenni Kivist & Jussi Rastas: Colombia in My Arms

Written 25-09-2020 23:07:08 by Tue Steen Mller

Jenni Kivist & Jussi Rastas: Colombia in My Arms

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

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

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

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

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

2020, Finland, 90 mins.

www.nordiskpanorama.com

 


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Tatia Kkhirtladze: Glory to the Queen

Written 25-09-2020 15:51:04 by Tue Steen Mller

Tatia Kkhirtladze: Glory to the Queen

I had seen it before, in a rough cut version and in a final version. I had made notes but could not find them so I was happy, when the director Tatia Kkhirtladze asked her distributor Christa Auderlitzky from filmdelights in Vienna to send me a link.

And it was as fresh as the first time I met the film, entertaining and well made, full of joy and lovely archive from the time of Soviet Georgia. Because of the four chess masters looking back, reflecting on what chess has meant to them in their lives as stars, world champions, public figures in Georgia and worshipped abroad, especially in Serbia, where Milunka Lazarevic, a grandmaster herself, is the one who says clever words about the four, especially about ”The Queen”, Nona Gaprindashvili, whose first name is carried by a huge amount of Georgians, as the film proves. Nona has this special sports winning gene that kept her on the top for fifteen years and made her a carreer as a sportswoman in Sovjetunion. Her charisma is strong, she talks about FC Barcelona (writes this fan) and she gives the anecdote that astronaut Gagarin stayed away from a friendly billiard match with her, when he heard that she would probably be better than him!

Maia Chiburdanidze was the world champion, after Nona, also for 15 years. She sticks out from the three others in the way she dresses – the others are ”ladies” – and talks. She says that did not feel free before she lost and felt she played her best chess. A woman close to nature and a woman who produces perfume from herbs. And who loves to tease Nona who in her senior championship activity often is the one becoming number four or so. 

Nana Alexandria and Nana Ioseliani are the two other masters, who are also still active in chess clubs, where they teach kids about the sport or they go around beating men in tournaments. 

… and for me who has been there and love the food and drinks – there is so much to enjoy from Tbilisi and the countryside. Via the fine meetings with four women, as young and as mature grown ups, some grannies. You get the impression that chess has given them a good life.

The film had its world premiere earlier this month at the CineDoc 2020 Festival that runs until the end of this month. I don’t see any reason for the film NOT to travel to other festivals – written by someone who knows nothing about chess.

Georgia, 80 mins., 2020


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Nordisk Panorama Awards 2020

Written 24-09-2020 21:07:21 by Tue Steen Mller

Nordisk Panorama Awards 2020

All right. Shit happens! And I know how the organisers, with their sense of professionalism, feel right now after an award ceremony that was supposed to be "a festive Gala" but was spoilt by technical problems. Here in Copenhagen, in my armchair, with my usual slippers that I have also used for many workshops, when these have taken place in hotels where you stay and work, I saw the wonderful host Nadia Jebril alone in the town hall in Malmö, where I was in persona last year. She was presenting one award after the other. I heard her voice, I saw the nominees, I heard the jurors saying who were the winners, but their lips were not moving. It was like a stop motion animation film. The same for the winners in their homes thanking. A classic dramaturgy for an award ceremony, in this case damaged by technical problems. The organisers recognised the mistakes and ask you to go

to https://www.facebook.com/NordiskPanoramaFilm/videos/779104632910601

if you want to see the award ceremony in the right speed and with image and sound synchron.

Please do so! They deserve it. 

And for the awards, "The Painter and the Thief" by Norwegian Benjamin Ree got the main award. No objections!


Categories: Festival, 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

Karl Forchhammer: Last Days of Summer

Written 23-09-2020 21:54:43 by Tue Steen Mller

Karl Forchhammer: Last Days of Summer

«Tamara is a feminist but also a hopeless romantic in love with a Catholic man with whom she shares few beliefs. Sierzput has just won his girlfriend back but is struggling to hold on to her. And out of sheer boredom, Ponek has broken her own rule and has started sleeping with her friends. A love letter to people in their late twenties, where many are waiting for adulthood only to realise it has already arrived.» The words are taken from the catalogue of Nordisk Panorama 2020, about this film that is in the competition section “New Nordic Voice”.

I was puzzled: Why a Polish film in the Nordisk Panorama? I had to go to the Q&A to get the answer. Here Martijn te Pajs, festival programmer and an excellent conversation partner for the young DANISH director, helped me. Karl Forchhammer explained that he had studied in Prague and at the National Film School in England and had filmed «Last Days of Summer» in Warsaw.

I like the Central European culture, Karl Forchhammer said but considers this to be a very Polish film as well. I agree, knowing films by Piotr Stasik and other Polish coming out from the Wajda film school. It has nerve, rythm, it catches moments of intensity and I believe that the world can look like that in a bohemian environment, where cigarettes are smoked constantly, as well as joints, with a lot of bottles in hand and on the tables, with a sex scene, and a lot of sex being discussed, and what is love – «the last days of summer» – what comes after, as the director said in the Q&A. "It was of course a privilege for me – having the same age as the three protagonists – to be able to sit there with them for a week or two without shooting."

Watch the film, it would not surprise me if there is an award for it. Anyway the director shows big cinematic talent and sensibility, support him!

https://nordiskpanorama.com/en/festival/

 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Nordisk Panorama Forum Second Day

Written 22-09-2020 18:06:52 by Tue Steen Mller

Nordisk Panorama Forum Second Day

Two days. 20 projects presented. I attended them all online as an observer. From my armchair. And had fewer sighs and shaking my head in disappointment than when the Forum is alive. Why... Maybe because I had close-ups on my screen of the moderators, the pitching teams and the broadcasters and film fund consultants. Instead of sitting far away from the action, in an observer's seat in a big hall.

The moderators did a very fine job – Gitte Hansen’s face always readable: Here is an emotional project, here is something that could be fun to watch, and sceptical (with good reason), when some of the panelists did not really deliver what she wanted. The same with Mikael Opstrup who also contributed with quick reactions to what was said. Why less irritated... Maybe also, no because it is so important that documentarians meet in tough times, both those who make or support the films and those, who are waiting for good films to be broadcast.

Those pitching were in general well prepared and appreciated that some came 

 



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Nordisk Panorama Forum First Day

Written 21-09-2020 17:49:37 by Tue Steen Mller

Nordisk Panorama Forum First Day

Same procedure as last year – NO:

Online pitching as in many/most of the industry events connected to festivals since March this year. No meetings face-to-face. 10 projects today and 10 tomorrow. 15 minutes per Project. 50% for presentation, 50% for feedback. Business as usual – individual meetings in the afternoon, pre-booked by the Forum staff. And individual meetings later in the afternoon with the North American Decision-Makers, pre-booked as well.

It started at 9 this morning. Moderators were as usual the Danish Gitte Hansen and Mikael Opstrup. Sitting in Malmö. They did not respect the rule of distance, but showed their test results on paper to the camera. Opstrup with the fine Covid-Pass document we make in Denmark, Gitte Hansen with an email from the Swiss authorities; she lives and works in Zürich. Fine to see the two on the screen, much closer than usual. They were fresh, well prepared, enjoying to sit there inviting the filmmakers to present their projects as well as calling for comments from the panelists, i.e broadcasters and film institute/fund consultants. No sales agents or distributors, I guess they will be there for the individual meetings...



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Niki Lindroth von Bahr

Written 21-09-2020 08:00:20 by Tue Steen Mller

Niki Lindroth von Bahr

The Swedish animation director had her last work, “Something to Remember”, shown as the opening film at Nordisk Panorama, that runs until September 27 and is accessable for all citizens in the Nordic countries. For free. The film took me by surprise, a masterpiece, 5 minutes long, so I had to watch the previous 3 films she has made. Which I did with the generous addition of a masterclass with the artist, all available with some small clicks on the link below – and an easy creation of an account.

4 films during 11 years. Animal animation. Small puppets – a fish, monkeys, a rabbit, a snail… - put into human situations, in a musical as ”The Burden” (2017) that has won 82 awards ( !!!), 15 minutes long, a dark look at our civilisation, where – as she said in the masterclass – the surrounding is the main character. Dark, yes, yet the characters in this cold world sing and dance to make the burden bearable. Monkeys performs so you think of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers! Hilarious.

Different is ”Tord and Tord” (2010), 10 minutes, based on a short story by Jorun Jonasson, narrated by Thomas Lindholm. ” One day Tord accidently enters the apartment next to his own. A man, also named Tord, has just moved in. Tord and Tord start hanging out together.” Dark, yes, and sad, yes, but again with a subtle humour bringing my thoughts to Samuel Beckett, when the fox and the hare start to reduce their communication to codes - on small pieces of paper put through the letter slot of their doors. At the end there is nothing to say and do.

In 2014 she made ”Bath House”. In the masterclass she mentioned that this is a true Swedish local phenomenon that nowadays is falling apart – and that’s what you see in the film, when a handful of animals enter the institution to make life difficult for the manager, who wants all to be in order.

In the masterclass Niki Lindroth von Bahr talks about her upbringing in an art family, her education as an artist, her troubles with getting funding for her work, her place in the art world and in the film world, they are so very different. The masterclass was sent from Manchester, where she right now is working on a Netflix production.

https://nordiskpanorama.com/en/activity/masterclass-with-niki-lindroth-von-bahr/


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Benjamin Ree: The Painter and the Thief

Written 20-09-2020 09:52:45 by Tue Steen Mller

Benjamin Ree: The Painter and the Thief

This fascinating film premiered at Sundance, is about to go into theatres in Sweden and Norway , and is in the Best Documentary Competition at Nordisk Panorama, that runs until September 27. It’s an amazing story with extraordinary characters with unusual personal backgrounds – it’s a thriller about stolen art, a psychological drama, a love story, shot over years , with characters that develop, to say the least, a dramaturgy that breaks rules, with several twists, it’s lovely off mainstream documentary storytelling. I was hooked from start till end.

It would be wrong of me to reveal totally, where the story goes, not so say where it ends. So, let me give you the starting point: Barbora, Czech painter living in Norway, has two of her paintings stolen from a gallery. One of the thiefs, Karl-Bertil, is identified via surveillance cameras, and in the courtroom the painter goes to the thief to ask if she may paint a portrait of him. They meet, she paints him, her style is photorealism – and the two builds up a strong emotional relationship. He is a drug addict, he can’t remember, where the stolen paintings went, they stay in contact, she helps him, he helps her; the story is told from the angles of them both. Barbora’s boyfriend, Øystein, who took her away from a violent relationship in Berlin, asks her why she is drawn to the destructive that Karl-Bertil represents, and if she is aware of the moral responsibility she takes helping him. The couple seeks therapy help. The un-chronologically told story gives the viewer surprising background information on Karl-Bertil, and the director of the film succeeds to paint (sorry!) a portrait of a man with many faces. Far from the usual “just another junkie”.

A film full of energetic scenes, touching, entertaining. Watch it!

https://nordiskpanorama.com/en/festival/


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Nordisk Panorama 2020 Opening

Written 18-09-2020 22:33:19 by Tue Steen Mller

Nordisk Panorama 2020 Opening

I was there. Not on the couch, sorry, but in my old armchair (Børge Mogensen, black leather, for you, at least the Danes, to know the quality…) from where I normally watch football on television, with my feet up on a footstool, wearing slippers. Just back from the garden house and the warm September day…

…with my laptop, ready for a festive opening. Anita Reher, the boss of Nordisk Panorama, welcomed with warm words to the filmmakers, the audience, the team behind her and the funders. She then passed the word to Nadia Jebril - Palestinian parents – from Malmö, on her couch, a superb host, who took us through the program in the warming-up for a festival mood, from her couch, including a couple of obligatory talks from funders from the city and the region. All in a very professional and inviting atmosphere...

continue reading...

 



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Ilze Burkovska Jacobsen: My Favourite War

Written 18-09-2020 12:35:24 by Tue Steen Mller

Ilze Burkovska Jacobsen: My Favourite War

Let me start by giving the word to the director:

"My Favorite War" is a personal animated documentary that tells the story of the director's growing up in Latvia, part of the Soviet Union, during the years from 1970 to 1990. The Soviet regime used World War II as a significant ideological weapon to intimidate and oppress the population during the Cold War. When Ilze discovers the remains of a German soldier in her backyard sandbox, she begins looking for other stories buried underneath the propaganda. “I had to make a choice then - who do I want to become and what do I believe in? The same questions young generations are asking themselves today”.

... and let me stay with the word “personal” as this is what makes the film

 



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Boris Bertram: The Human Shelter

Written 15-09-2020 13:24:22 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Boris Bertram: The Human Shelter

MoMA Magazine's streaming of Boris Bertram's The Human Shelter 14-20 september, free & worldwide:

https://www.moma.org/magazine/articles/422 

From the Press release by Boris B. Bertram / Creative Alliance:

"The Danish documentary The Human Shelter by Boris B. Bertram, a universal examination of what our home means to us, will be presented in a free online screening by The Museum of Modern Art from September 14-20.

What does our home mean to us? The topic is as relevant as ever. After most of us have been confined to stay at home for the past many months as the global pandemic has swept around the world radically changing our everyday life, now is a good time to reflect on the universal idea of home.

In 2016 the Danish filmmaker Boris B. Bertram documented the exhibition Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter at The Museum of Modern Art in New York for his film The Human Shelter, curious to examine the question of how we create a home. This was to be the beginning of a longer expedition to four continents visiting the hot spots of a changing world challenged by climate change, migration and growing urbanization.

From September 14-20 MoMA Magazine is streaming The Human Shelterfollowed by the recorded live Q/A with curator Sean Anderson and director Boris B. Bertram, making both the film and the talk available to a broad audience worldwide for free.

Poetically man dwells on this Earth (Friedrich Hölderlin)



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Beldocs in Progress Awards

Written 11-09-2020 10:23:31 by Tue Steen Mller

Beldocs in Progress Awards

The Beldocs festival – in Belgrade – ended yesterday, having run since September 3. I have copy-pasted the following press release regarding awards handed out for documentaries that will be finished this year or in 2021:

During Beldocs in Progress pitching sessions, taking place on 9 September 2020 as a part of Beldocs Industry events, 8 documentary film projects from Croatia, Georgia, Moldova,  Ukraine and Slovenia were presented to a panel of international decision makers – TV broadcasters, sales and distribution companies, festivals, industry platforms and potential co-producers.

The jury consisting of Patrizia Mancini (Sunny Side of the Doc, France) Marek Hovorka (Jihlava IDFF, Czech Republic), Yorgos Krassakopoulos (Thessaloniki IFF/Thessaloniki IDFF, Greece) and Dragan Nikolic (film director, Serbia) decided to give Beldocs Best Project Award for Beldocs in Progress (1000 EUR cash award) to the project Sunny (dir. Keti Machavariani, Georgia). In its motivation for the main prize the jury wrote:

A quietly affecting portrait not just of its main character, a woman conducting interviews for social research organizations, but also that of a society in flux and it’s changing attitudes and views, Sunny offers a look both inwards and outwards with distinct cinematic style and plenty of humanity.

The jury also decided to give a Special Mention the documentary film project Funk Yu (director Franko Dujmić, Croatia). The jury was impressed by the the work of the first-time director and in its motivation said:

Not just an inspired and lively exploration of a niche music subculture that of Yugo-funk, but also a tale of (mild) obsession that also works as a comment on our relationship with material things, told in a distinct visual style, with wit and energy to spare.”

The jury awarded VOD free visibility award by CinesquareVoD platform for movies from the South-eastern European countries to the project The Elf’s Tower (director Polina Kelm, Ukraine). The jury’s motivation for awarding the project says:

Finding poetry, beauty and tenderness in a rather inhospitable place -that of a mental hospital- The Elf’s Tower creates a highly cinematic view of a facet of the real world and forces us to look into the “other” without prejudice or preconceptions.”

The Institute of Documentary Film (IDF, Czech Republic), one of the Beldocs IDFF partners gave an East Silver Caravan Awardto the project The Elf’s Tower (director Polina Kelm, Ukraine). In its motivation IDF wrote:

We decided to support the project, which is a very sensitive story destroying all tabus about mental health. A story is uncovering not only the personal life of the main protagonist but it also introduces us to a specific situation and public status of the clients of the mental health institution. We appreciate the director asks difficult questions, seeks understanding and presents it in a very cinematic way.”

https://www.beldocs.rs/en/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Sea Docs News

Written 07-09-2020 20:37:31 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Sea Docs News

 

 

 

 



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Baltic Sea Docs Pitch Day 2

Written 05-09-2020 15:48:30 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Sea Docs Pitch Day 2

Latvian Masters

One is no longer here, another is alive and kicking: Juris Podnieks and Ivars Seleckis. Names in Latvian and world documentary history. Directors and cameramen who have formed my understanding of what a good documentary is.

“Podnieks on Podnieks” was the first film project to be presented on the second day of the Baltic Sea Docs in Riga. September 4. To be produced by Juris Podnieks Studio, of course, with Juris long time creative collaborator and editor Antra Cilinska as the producer, who has asked feature film director Anna Viduleja to be the director. The couple showed a trailer with photos and footage of the director, with the focus on what most film lovers remember him from, his films depicting the fall of the Empire – and with the shocking scene, where his cameraman Andris Slapins was killed in Riga during a Soviet sniper coup in 1991.

Later that day Ivars Seleckis pitched – together with the Mistrus Media that 



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Baltic Sea Docs Pitch Day 1

Written 04-09-2020 07:40:26 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Sea Docs Pitch Day 1

First day of pitching. 12 projects were presented. From Belarus, Poland, Estonia, Ukraine, Latvia, Sweden, Russia, Finland, Lithuania. All countries around the Baltic Sea – apart from Belarus and Ukraine.

16-20 panelists on the screen, most of the filmmakers equally on the screen, pitching their documentary projects from their homes – could be a sitting room or a kitchen or an office. 

And Latvians and Estonians pitching from the stage of the studio set up by the organisers. All very well planned and organised by the team of BSD headed by Zane Balcus.

On stage to moderate Danish Mikael Opstrup and me. 8 projects for Opstrup, 4 for me, will be the other way around today friday.

Of course we all hope for a change to happen so we can skip the zoom and meet face to face at the 25th Baltic Sea Docs (!) next year. On the other hand it works, the zoom meetings that has become the normal at all industry events connected to festivals.

You can read about the projects on the site of the Baltic Sea Docs, link below, but I want to mention one project connected to the two gentlemen you see on the photo – taken by Agnese Zeltina:

Marko Raat, director, and Ivo Felt, producer from All Films in Estonia, were on stage to present ”Underling in Bird Kingdom”, a film from a remote island close to the Swedish coast, a paradise for birds and horses, as you could see from the magic scenes in the trailer, a place where the writer Tõnu Õnnepalu, also biologist, has moved, a place full of stories/legends. Marko Raat, a true auteur, plans to film there for years – to find his story so to say. What is it going to be panelists asked him. Summing up the presentation, I did the same: Is it going to be a film about nature, a philosophical film, a film about tourist hunting… I don’t know, the director answered. Loved that answer… if you know what kind of documentary you should make, why make it?

http://balticseadocs.lv


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Erlend E. Mo: Rejsen til Utopia

Written 29-08-2020 14:43:52 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Erlend E. Mo: Rejsen til Utopia

Rejsen til Utopia / Journey to Utopia, blev tidligere i år sendt på CPH:DOX's streamingprogram og får nu dansk biografpremiere. CPH:DOX skrev i kataloget om filmens indhold:

“... a Danish-Norwegian family gambles everything and decides to join the fight for the climate, but the choice of a new life in a sustainable agricultural collective is not without its challenges. Everyone is talking about the climate, fewer people are acting on it. But Erlend Mo’s family does. In the shadow of climate change, they move from their idyllic country house in Norway to the new, sustainable agricultural community Permatopia in Denmark. But when they arrive en Permatopia is still under construction and the completion is dragging out. From the outset, the family’s idealism is put to the test several times, and things do not get easier when they can finally move in. Dreams and visions are one thing, another is the reality of the new ecological everyday life. Is an agricultural community also a sustainable solution for a family of five stubborn individualists? One crisis follows another, but the willingness to face them turns out to come from an unexpected place. ‘Journey to Utopia’ is a warm and humane film for a time that puts our own choices in a new light, and gives us plenty to think about and act upon.” 

Erlend Mo fortæller selv historien fra begyndelsen og hele vejen, hans fortællestemme har smertende og lindrende litterære kvaliteter, jeg får lyst til at pille den ud som tekst og læse den omhyggeligt. Han og hans families (hustruen Ingeborg og tre børn, alle medvirkende, alle fremragende spillere, både i de dokumentariske og i de iscenesatte afsnit, som ikke uden videre er til at skelne fra hinanden, deres replikker er dramatisk litteratur, ægte nutidige; og de fem i familien er alle præcise og ægte spillere, som gør dialogen til musik. Klipperen Åsa Mossberg har fundet replikkerne i optagelserne og anbragt dem som de skal være i dramaet og jeg rystes og vil læse dem, altså se filmen igen, alene for sprogets og spillets og de utallige nuancers skyld.

Det vigtige er at jeg holder med min helt, nostalgikeren Erlend, deler hans tilbagelængsel og filmen igennem først håber på at familien bliver boende i de fine træhuse der på den stejle fjeldside. Senere beder jeg til at de fem flytter tilbage til denne smukke gamle gård i det dejlige landskab og netop der lever så miljøorienteret som det er muligt for dem. Kernen i filmen er Erlends tvivl i afgørelsens, i valgets time. Han sidder som Grubleren med hånden under en kind i forgrunden i en guldalderoptagelse med sin dal i mellemgrunden og sine fjelde disede i baggrunden. Han slører og understreger landskabet med sit mismod, sin angst, sin dårlige samvittighed.

Mo's og i høj grad også klipperen Åsa Mossbergs film er en thriller. Jeg sad i uafbrudt stadig spænding halvanden time i går. Rejsen til Utopia er et rystende, hjertesskærende Ibsendrama: Et Drømmehjem eller Erlend flytter ind...

Danmark / Norge, 2020, 90 min. Filmen har forpremiere i Grand Teatret i København den 1. september kl. 18.00 med efterfølgende paneldebat, og der er almindelig biografpremiere den 3. september.


Vurdering:

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

MakeDox 2020 The Winners

Written 28-08-2020 18:26:08 by Tue Steen Mller

MakeDox 2020 The Winners

Onion Award for Best Film in the Main Competition:

Epicentro (Austria, France)
Directed by Hubert Sauper

Young Onion Award for Best Film by First or Second Time Director:

A Tunnel (Georgia, Germany)
Directed by Nino Orjjnikide, Vano Arsenishvili

Onion Seed Award for Best Student Film:

The Rex Will Sail In (Croatia)
Directed by Josip Lukić

Sliced Onion Award for Best Short Film:

The Fantastic (Finland)
Directed by Maija Blåfield 

Moral Approach Award for Best Moral Approach in Film:

Acasă, My Home (Romania, Finland, Germany)
Directed by Radu Ciorniciuc

Special Mention:

Speak so I Can See You (Serbia, Croatia, Qatar)
Directed by Marija Stojnić


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Welcome to CinDOC-Tbilisi 2020

Written 27-08-2020 19:02:35 by Tue Steen Mller

Welcome to CinDOC-Tbilisi 2020

Hybrid Edition... 

How can film festivals survive? How can we adapt to the new reality of 2020? How can we re-define film festivals without crowded cinemas, without vibrant Q&A sessions with international guests, without the dialogue between filmmakers and the audience or without masterclasses and networking events where large groups of creative people enjoyed each other’s presence? 

This year is different for all of us. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was extremely high on cultural public events, such as festivals, most of them getting cancelled or postponed. 

Since January until mid-March 2020, we had worked intensively for the preparation of the eight edition of CinéDOC-Tbilisi (initially scheduled for 23 – 27 April 2020). By mid-March all films were selected, all jury members and international guests invited; almost all venues and cinemas reserved, and all festival events planned. Everything was almost ready… 

However, our plans where changed suddenly, disrupting our final preparation 

 



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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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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Statement of BSD on the events in Belarus

Written 24-08-2020 16:39:03 by Tue Steen Mller

Statement of BSD on the events in Belarus

BSD - Baltic Sea Docs

"We express the support for the people of Belarus, who are witnessing the brutality of the failing regime. We stand for the freedom of expression, human rights, and democratic governing of the state – all of which are being violated in Belarus in the aftermath of the 9 August presidential ‘elections’. 

We stand by the filmmakers of Belarus, who are among those being targeted now, and who have seen the oppression of free speech long before it already.

On the behalf of participants and organizers of the Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries:

Virginija Vareikyte, director, Lithuania

Dagne Vildziunaite, producer, Lithuania

Maria Gavrilova, producer, Russia

Yevgeny Gindilis, producer, Russian Federation

Emma Davie, filmmaker, Scotland

Phil Jandaly, filmmaker, Sweden

Vlad Ketkovich, producer, Russian Federation

Audrius Stonys, film maker, Lithuania 

Taisiia Kutuzova, Ukrainian filmmaker

Sona Margaryan, Armenian filmmaker 

Lilit Movsisyan, Armenian Filmmaker 

Inesa Mkrtchyan, Film producer from Armenia 

Nino Orjonikidze, filmmaker, Georgia

Agnieszka Rostropowicz-Rutkowska, film producer Poland

Marta Dużbabel, Film Producer Poland

More Raça, Writer and director, Kosovo

Zane Balčus, project manager, Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries

Margarita Rimkus, project assistant, Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries

Matīss Kaa, director & producer, Latvia

Una Celma, director & producer, Latvia

Alexander Koridze, filmmaker, Georgia

Max Tuula, producer, Estonia 

Antra Cilinska, producer, Latvia                                                     

Aliaksei Paluyan, film director, Belarus

Natalia Libet, film producer, Ukraine

Mikael Opstrup, Doc Developer, Denmark

Tue Steen Müller, film consultant and critic, Denmark

Ivo Felt, film producer, Estonia

Stasys Baltakis, producer, Lithuania

Malgorzata Prociak, film producer, Poland

Gitte Hansen, distributor, Switzerland

Peter Kerekes, film director, Slovakia

Juha Löppönen, producer, Finland

Elli Toivoniemi, producer, director, Finland

Elīna Gediņa - Ducena, producer

Marina-Evelina Cracana, producer, Sweden

Oscar Hedin, producer & director, Sweden

Vesa Kuosmanen, film director, Finland

Saila Kivelä, film director, Finland

Ieva Ūbele, producer, Latvia

Renato Borrayo Serrano, filmmaker, Guatemala

Diana El Jeiroudi, filmmaker, Syria / Germany

Pertti Veijalainen, producer, Finland

Lelda Ozola, Creative Europe Desk Latvia, Media Office, Latvia

Pāvels Terentjevs, film programme coordinator, Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries, Latvia

Antra Gaile, project coordinator, Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries, Latvia

Ieva Lange, information officer, Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries, Latvia

PHOTO above is taken from a FB post of Belarussian documentary colleague, Anastasiya Miroshnichenko ("Debut") from yesterday. She writes "Overflowing with delight, pride and love! Thanks to each of us! Together we will win!


 

 


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Nordisk Panorama 2020

Written 21-08-2020 17:45:47 by Tue Steen Mller

Nordisk Panorama 2020

 

 

Nordisk Panorama Film Festival celebrates the very best of Nordic docs and short films. With a focus on Nordic films produced over the last production year, the competition programme is the very core of the festival. Out of 541 submitted films 67 were selected to compete for the Nordisk Panorama Film Festival Awards in four competition programmes.

The 31th edition of Nordisk Panorama Film Festival will be a hybrid festival mixing online screenings with selected in-person events in Malmö, Sweden. Audiences in all five Nordic countries will have access to free streaming of the films as well as talks and masterclasses during the festival 17 – 27 September. 

“We are thrilled that the digital festival will expand the filmmakers’ reach and 



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Nordisk Panorama Documentaries

Written 21-08-2020 17:39:34 by Tue Steen Mller

Nordisk Panorama  Documentaries

14 films are to be found in the competitive category “Best Nordic Documentary”, 18 in the “New Nordic Voices”, that also includes fiction and animation films.

This is the focus of this post, won’t bother you with my very little knowledge about today’s short and children films.

In competition: If I were you I would watch Jerzy Sladkowski’s new film ”Bitter Love” (PHOTO) that takes you on a cruise on Volga, where people meet to talk, kiss, pass the time, talk philosophy and literature as the Russians do. I am a fan of Sladkowski and share his obsession with Russia,his films are always full of humour and a fascination that is brilliantly conveyed by his magnificent cameraman Polish Wojciech Staron.

You could also go with Estephan Wagner and Marianne Hougen-Moraga to Chile, were their ”Songs of Repression” takes place at a village in the Andes, where a German colony has been for decades… the film reveals in a fine way, through the characters chosen, abuse and religious fanatism. Great film that was praised when it was shown at the DocsBarcelona.

And ”The Cave” by Feras Fayyad is there… no further introduction needed.

And then some that I look fwd to see: John Webster’s “Eye to Eye”, ”Colombia in My Arms” by Finnish Jenni Kivistö and Jussi Rastas… and many more.

Go to the website and check the trailers. And I heard that you better be quick if you want to get tickets as the number of people who can watch each film is limited.

https://nordiskpanorama.com/en/festival/  


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Documentarians at Nordisk Panorama

Written 21-08-2020 17:32:42 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Documentarians at Nordisk Panorama

… and what a pleasure for a huge fan of Baltic documentaries that – on the initiative of Nordisk Panorama and with the collaboration of the Baltic film institutes/centres and Baltic Sea Docs – a delegation of fine filmmakers from the three countries Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will attend the Forum of Nordisk Panorama. Online.

There is an excellent page on the site of Nordisk Panorama presenting who-is-who from the Baltics. There are producers and directors – and teasers for two films, exciting they are, presented by Estonian Marianna Kaat and Latvian Uldis Cekulis. Very promising projects that will turn out to be good films, I am sure.

The delegation will have its presentation on the 18th of September within „Producers Meet Producers” – I hope to see good matchmaking with the Nordic coming up. Heading the delegation is Zane Balcus, Head  of Baltic Sea Docs, and the one who is getting me and Mikael Opstrup through covid test in Riga in a week, where the Baltic Sea Docs starts!

https://nordiskpanorama.com/en/industry/forum/members-of-the-delegation/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Makedox 2020

Written 18-08-2020 20:34:13 by Tue Steen Mller

Makedox 2020

I have written several posts about the Sarajevo FF and more will follow. But let me leave it for a while to put a focus on the festival 645 km to the South, in Skopje, North Macedonia, MAKEDOX is the name, a darling for those of us who have been there because of its high quality in selection, its debates ”under the fig tree”, its outdoor screenings and the way you are welcomed by Petra Seliskar, her family and friends, who are the hosts and the organisers.

The festival starts tomorrow, the 19th and continues until the 26th.

As usual there are several competitive categories set up. A Main Program with films like the wonderful “Our Time Machine” by Yang Sun and S.Leo Chiang that with its puppet master Maleonn makes me think about the Quay Brothers. And  the investigative Romanian ”Collective” by Alexander Nanau. Another Romanian (gosh, they make good documentaries in that country these years) by Andrei Dascalescu, « Holy Father », the Swedish « Only the Devil lives Without Hope » by Magnus Gertten, and Dutch John Appel’s « Once the Dust Settles ». Appel makes a masterclass during the festival that has a country focus on Holland. 

Newcomers is another section that includes strong films as Ukrainian award winning « The Earth is Blue as an Orange » by Iryna Tsilyk, Romanian (again !) « Acasa,My Home » by Radu Ciorniciuc, winner at Krakow FF – and Danish Susanne Kovács impressive « It Takes a Family », and Georgian « A Tunnel » by Nino Orjonikidze and Vano Arsenishvili. The latter I promised to watch on a big screen but I have not found one yet! 

There are short films, student films, films for kids and youth – and five juries including one for « moral approach », love that ! 

A Forum has been established, projects to be pitched to regional film funds… there is so much positive energy in this festival.

Docs under the Fig Tree… the famous get-together-to-talk-docs of the festival is also on the agenda… I wonder how Petra Seliskar will handle that online? I have seen the themes to be discussed under the tree, fascinating, you have to register, contact the festival if you want to take part and – if I get it right – you will be given a Zoom link.

Good luck!

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Dealing with the Past

Written 17-08-2020 18:15:12 by Tue Steen Mller

Dealing with the Past

...Subtitle: Are there Good People in Terrible Times?

In these unprecedented times, when it seems that the world we used to know will not exist in the future, truth-seeking and fact-checking are more important than ever. But the anxieties of the world we have left behind will trickle into the new order and be triggered again. If we have learnt anything over the past months, I dare say it is that our personal lives can be turned upside-down in a matter of moments. 

The DEALING WITH THE PAST programme has had a clear mission since its start: to conduct honest dialogue about our region’s recent past as a prerequisite to resolving the problems that stem from the Yugoslav Wars, which still strain our societies. Over the last five years, we have shared many gut-wrenching but inspiring stories from around the world. The lives of the protagonists of these stories have been radically altered, while our audiences have at times been rendered speechless or, perhaps more often, hungry for more information. Viewed through the lens of the current pandemic, these topics – the uncovering of personal and national traumas and the examination of reconciliation processes – might seem of secondary importance but in the long run they are essential for healthy and prosperous democratic societies...

Read on...

 



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Essays

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