Filmkommentaren

DOK Leipzig Retrospective BRDDR

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

DOK Leipzig Retrospective BRDDR

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

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

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Dmitry Kabakov: Present Simple Tense

Written 10-10-2019 16:54:42 by Tue Steen Mller

Dmitry Kabakov: Present Simple Tense

Looking down from the sky. Moving over an area with houses accompanied by the director’s voice telling the viewer that this is my place, a kind of brief prologue in a melancholic maybe nostalgic tone. Existential questions raised. And then down to earth, to a smiling happy boy on bike, driving around a town with glimpses of happy gatherings, old women dancing, and driven by lovely energetic music by Evgenyi Kadimsky. It’s a dynamic optimistic start.

The title: ”The simple present tense is when you use a verb (here a film, ed.) to tell about things that happen continually in the present, like every day, every week, or every month. We use the simple present tense for anything that happens often or is factual.”

… explanation for a complicated English title chosen by Russian director Dmitry Kabakov. I met him in Riga a month ago and he sent me a link to this new film by him. Thank you for that, I enjoyed it. Because of the director’s good documentary eye for situations and details in everyday life in his Zvavoronki, where he has lived since he was three years old. Because he takes his time, let scenes stand long and because he has a position:



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Jrgen Leth

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

Jrgen Leth

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOK Leipzig: The Brothers Quay

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

DOK Leipzig: The Brothers Quay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Thomas Heise: Heimat is a Space in Time/ 2

Written 06-10-2019 18:56:42 by Tue Steen Mller

Thomas Heise: Heimat is a Space in Time/ 2

Colleague Allan Berg tells me that if he loves a book, when finished he often starts reading it again immediately. My mentor Niels Jensen (who died in 2010) said the same: I often, if I love a film, leaves the cinema and walks in again to have a ticket for the next screening. Jensen, who also left a screening if he found the film boring and/or without quality... Why stay till the end?

I would have loved  to watch Thomas Heise’s film essay again right away. But I will wait for the second screening to be on a big screen, in a cinema, if not before (DOK Leipzig?) then at IDFA in Amsterdam. I want the full cinema screen with its image and sound as it was thought from the director’s side.

There is so much I want to (re)discover, so many cinematic decisions that are far from main-stream documentary storytelling.

With the whole overall ambition, to take the viewer through the history of a family, through generations from the beginning of the 20th century till today. What an ambition and what an original and succesful result!

Like a written biography it is a film in 5 chapters, indeed a piece of literature



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Patricio Guzmn on Arvo Prt

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

Patricio Guzmn on Arvo Prt

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.adamspassion.de/

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA: The Inheritance of War/ Thomas Heise

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

IDFA: The Inheritance of War/ Thomas Heise

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Thomas Heise: Heimat Is a Space in Time/ 1

Written 02-10-2019 09:27:40 by Tue Steen Mller

Thomas Heise: Heimat Is a Space in Time/ 1

HEIMAT IS A SPACE IN TIME picks up the biographical pieces of a family torn apart through the end of the 19th and into the 20th century. It is about people who by chance found each other, only then to lose each other. Now it is their descendants, their children and grandchildren who are beginning to disappear.

This is all about speaking and silence. First love and happiness lost. Fathers and mothers, sons and brothers, the affairs, the hurt and the joy in landscapes of transition – each bearing the intertwining, hallmarks of their times. A collage of images, sounds, letters, diaries, notes, voices, fragments of time and space.

HEIMAT IS A SPACE IN TIME is a journey of reflection of time and the love held within using sounds, images and language. Yet some of it shall remain forever lost. The material used in this film is what remains of my family. The remnants of those I knew, whose circumstances I had been part of or had otherwise experienced. Remnants that mirror history. A history that is just as much my own. (Thomas Heise)

Germany, 2018, 218 mins.


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Waad al-Kateab & Edward Watts: For Sama

Written 28-09-2019 12:35:09 by Tue Steen Mller

Waad al-Kateab & Edward Watts: For Sama

Waad al-Kateab, director and the woman behind the camera, the one who filmed and produced this film, puts a question to a nurse, who sits alone in the hospital in Aleppo. What’s wrong? After a while he responds: Children have nothing to do with this! He does so a bit into a heartbreaking documentary from hell on earth, Aleppo 2016, where child after child are being rushed in to be treated after they have been hit by bombs during the siege of the city. Many of them are dead. What did children have to do with these massacres? Nothing of course. Two brothers follow their dead third brother, with despair in their eyes. Their mother arrives. Another mother shouts to her dead child “I have milk for you”. Turning around to the camera “film, film this”.

Waad al-Kateab’s husband, the doctor Hamza – what a man, one of many heroes who help the injured 24/7 – worked in one hospital that was bombed, they move and find another place to set up a hospital, in constant danger. I dream red, Waad al-Kateab, says at some point – the images show blood being swept away from the floor. Doctor Hamza is reporting to the media, Waad is a journalist, who has been sending news to Channel4. They fall in love, get married and Sama is born, to whom the mother adresses her love and hope, an intelligent storytelling solution. As a viewer you are with the little girl and her parents hoping the best for her, even if “you Sama never cries like a child normally does”. And the camera follows another family as well, where a boy does not want to leave Aleppo at the same time as he talks about the many friends, who are not there any longer. The word is kliché… but the film is full of fine poetic moments that communicate “we want to survive” and of course “we want to fight the regime of Bashar al-Assad”.

“We won’t make it”, says Doctor Hamza, the father, “the regime is only one street away”. But they do get away with the last convoy out of Aleppo after a phone call to the Doctor from a UN representative, who conveys to them “the offer” from the Russians that they can leave Aleppo. They have no choice, Waad al-Kateab is pregnant again, “our future is no longer in our hands”, “saying goodbye is worth than death”, for once you see Doctor Hamza in tears, you understand why having watched an extraordinarily strong film that jumps in time to balance the dark and the light, to make the film bearable to watch one could also say. How much horror can a viewer cope with?

The film has already received 20 awards and has just been released in the UK. Below there is a link to a fine interview with the two directors and the Doctor. In this the latter mentions that what we experienced in Aleppo is now being repeated in Idlib. “The world is just ignoring us”, “where did we go wrong”!  

USA/UK, 2019, 95 mins.

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/aug/25/for-sama-documentary-interview-waad-al-kateab

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbmULjz1e6U

https://www.forsamafilm.com/


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Nordisk Panorama Forum Day 2

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

Nordisk Panorama Forum Day 2

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

Christoffer Guldbrandsen was the excellent journalist behind the first project



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Ellen Fiske & Ellinor Hallin: Scheme Birds

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

Ellen Fiske & Ellinor Hallin: Scheme Birds

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

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

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

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

Sweden, 2019, 90 mins.

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


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Nordisk Panorama Forum Day 1

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

Nordisk Panorama Forum Day 1

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

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



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Nordisk Panorama: dok.incubator

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

Nordisk Panorama: dok.incubator

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

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



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Nordisk Panorama Sunday and a Look Back

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

Nordisk Panorama Sunday and a Look Back

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Elita Klavina: Zoryana Horobraya

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

Elita Klavina: Zoryana Horobraya

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

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

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

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

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

Latvia, 2019, 61 mins.


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NP Talk: Two Finnish Directors and an Editor

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

 NP Talk: Two Finnish Directors and an Editor

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

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

Here is the festival’s introduction to the talk:

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

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

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

Sunday September 22 at 15.00 – 16.00.

Everyone is welcome.

More about the films you can find on

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


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Boris Benjamin Bertram: Krigsfotografen

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

Boris Benjamin Bertram: Krigsfotografen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Danmark, 2019, 78 mins.

I biografer over hele landet fra den 19. september

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


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Goran Radovanovic: The Makavejev Case

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

Goran Radovanovic: The Makavejev Case

or Trial in a Movie Theatre, the subtitle.

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

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



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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Robert Frank (1924 - 2019)

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

Robert Frank (1924 - 2019)

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

 

THE PHENOMENON ROBERT FRANK

By Tue Steen Müller

1

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

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

2

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

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

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

3

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

The Americans

 

IT SOUNDS WILD AND IT IS

By Sara Thelle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Post 26-06-2015)

 

DON’T BLINK: ROBERT FRANK (2015)

By Tue Steen Müller

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

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

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

Don’t Blink: Robert Frank

 

THE FORM / THE COMPOSING / THE AESTETICS

By Tue Steen Müller

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

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

 

DON'T BLINK IN NEW YORK

af Tue Steen Müller

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

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

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

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

 

ME AND MY BROTHER

by Tue Steen Müller

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

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

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

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

USA, 1968, 85 mins.

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

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

 

A BRILLIANT CONVERSATION

by Tue Steen Müller


Robert Frank: Me and My Brother/ 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Photos: Steidl and Maria Briese

FOTO (ved overskriften)

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

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


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

Pitching Some Thoughts After Baltic Sea Docs

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

Pitching Some Thoughts After Baltic Sea Docs

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://balticseadocs.lv   


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Sea Docs Pitching

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

Baltic Sea Docs Pitching

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

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



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Baltic Sea Docs 2019

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

Baltic Sea Docs 2019

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



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Tarkovsky on Tarkovsky

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

Tarkovsky on Tarkovsky

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Emil Langballe: Qs Barbershop Vollsmose Forever

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

Emil Langballe: Qs Barbershop  Vollsmose Forever

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

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

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

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


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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

MakeDox Awards

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

MakeDox Awards

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



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Kaspars Goba: Inga Can Hear

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

Kaspars Goba: Inga Can Hear

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

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

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

 



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European Film Academy Documentary Shortlist

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

European Film Academy Documentary Shortlist

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

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

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

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

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

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



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Message2Man Festival in Saint Petersburg

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

Message2Man Festival in Saint Petersburg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

SFF Awards for Documentaries

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

SFF Awards for Documentaries

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

HEART OF SARAJEVO FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM

WHEN THE PERSIMMONS GREW / XURMALAR YETIŞƏN VAXT

Azerbaijan, Austria

Director: Hilal Baydarov

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

SPECIAL JURY PRIZE

STACK OF MATERIAL / GOMILA MATERIJALA

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Director: Sajra Subašić

Financial award in the amount of 2,500 €.

HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD



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Top Docs to be Screened in Riga

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

Top Docs to be Screened in Riga

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

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

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



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Sarajevo FF: True Stories

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

Sarajevo FF: True Stories

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

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sarajevo FF: Pawlikowski and Documentaries

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

Sarajevo FF: Pawlikowski and Documentaries

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Current Time TV Also at Sarajevo Film Festival

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

Current Time TV  Also at Sarajevo Film Festival

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



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Categories: TV, Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sarajevo: Docs Go Big!

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

Sarajevo: Docs Go Big!

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

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

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

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

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

Lots to watch, lost of magical documentary moments.

www.sff.ba


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sarajevo Mon Amour

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

Sarajevo Mon Amour

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

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

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

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

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

Will report more from this inviting and well organised festival.

www.sff.ba


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DokuFest Winners Announced

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

DokuFest Winners Announced

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

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



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Makedox Number 10

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

Makedox Number 10

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Don Edkins: Creating an African Voice

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

Don Edkins: Creating an African Voice

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

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



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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Leaving CinDOC Summer Film School in Gori

Written 07-08-2019 15:02:52 by Tue Steen Mller

Leaving CinDOC Summer Film School in Gori

Istanbul airport, gosh it is big. Lot of walking from gate to gate. And the two times I have been going to/from Tbilisi via Istanbul, gates have been changed – and flights delayed. But this has given me the time to think about the week in Gori at the Summer Film School and the film projects and rough cuts, which were presented there – from Georgia, Armenia, Aserbadjan, and Germany, the five students from the Konrad Wolf Film School in Babelsberg. I have in a previous post on FB praised their contribution, a 15 mins. docu short on Gori. Well done, entertaining, with atmosphere and you could see that they enjoyed making this one-day excercise.

Monday was the day where the rough cut participants presented the results



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Pennebaker 1925-2019

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CinDOC Summer School Gori Bunescu and Ceaucescu

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

CinDOC Summer School Gori  Bunescu and Ceaucescu

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

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



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CinDOC Summer School Talent Development

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

CinDOC Summer School  Talent Development

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

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



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In the Cinema in Gori Georgia

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

In the Cinema in Gori Georgia

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CinDOC Summer School in Gori

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

CinDOC Summer School in Gori

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sergei Loznitsa: State Funeral

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

Sergei Loznitsa: State Funeral

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Welcome to the Documentary World

Written 26-07-2019 09:58:19 by Tue Steen Mller

Welcome to the Documentary World

29 film Zelig students got their diplomas recently, as last moment of the three years professional course in documentary filmmaking, edition 2016-2019, which just ended at the end of June.

The final exams have been conducted by a commission formed by external experts in the three school specialisations (Valerio Moser for Directing/Project Development, Martin Rattini for Photography/Light, Cornelia Schöpf for Editing/Postproduction) and by a member of the school staff. The graduates presented and discussed their graduation films and a significant piece of work realised in these years.

Their final films are now being submitted to International Film Festivals and will be presented in a local event in Bolzano which will take place in November.

Here the list of the graduates:

DIRECTING / PROJECT DEVELOPMENT
Maria Benedetta Boldrin
Giuseppe Crudele
Clara Delva
Antonio Di Biase
Erald Dika
Caterina Ferrari
Julie Iris Hössle
Linda Nyman
Thomas Saglia
Martin Telser

PHOTOGRAPHY/LIGHT
Tamara Diepold
Simone Endrizzi
Julian Giacomuzzi
Annachiara Gislimberti
Mark Modric
Mattia Ottaviani
Philipp Rubatscher
Marcus Zahn
Luca Zontini

Andrea Bertoldi

EDITING/POSTPRODUCTION
Emma Baruffaldi
Iain Thomas Beairsto
Aaron Beitz
Gabriella Cosmo
Claudia Gerstl
Giulia Micheli
Lorenzo Misia
Petra Pirandello
Nadja Werner

www.zeligfilm.it


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Luke Moody Leaves Sheffield Doc/Fest

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

Luke Moody Leaves Sheffield Doc/Fest

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

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

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

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

Colonial forms of filmmaking…!

Read the whole article, link below.

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Jola Dylewska: Marek Edelman and there was Love

Written 24-07-2019 18:28:01 by Tue Steen Mller

Jola Dylewska: Marek Edelman and there was Love

in the Ghetto… made in cooperation with Andrzej Wajda and Agnieszka Holland

Marek Edelman (1919-2009): Holocaust survivor and the last leader of the Warsaw Ghetto. When being interviewed – close up of his face, smoking one cigarette after the other – he appears to be a grumpy old man apparently not liking all the questions, at the same time as he enjoys, and he does that very well, to talk about the women he knew, the couples he remembers. No talk about the horror in the ghetto, there was (also) love in the ghetto. That’s what Edelman wants to remember. There is a text at the end credits: “He always said: “It’s easy to hate, but love requires effort and dedication”.

It’s about Love in the Ghetto in a film that is built up in a very simple way: Edelman talking, b/w archive from the ghetto, love songs, and staged scenes mostly with no dialogue, love scenes, well made, mostly without dialogue, co-written by Holland and co-dramatised by Wajda.

It sounds schematic but it works, it is touching, there is a fine never bombastic editing from Edelman to the staged scenes to the strong archive photos from the ghetto. There is Tosia, the nurse, Dola the red-haired beauty, Pola who leaves her boyfriend to go with her mother to the Umschlagplatz, where the wagons were waiting for them.. as they were for the blond Hendusia Himelfarb, who could have been saved, Edelman said to her, but who chose to walk with the children from the sanatorium…

Umschlagplatz - Edelman stood there watching the crowds – thousands of people – passing by, waiting to see if some of his pals came that way. “What could you see in their eyes”, the director asks him,”Nothing, it was one big crowd passing me”.

It is painful for him to talk about it, he responds irritated and he refuses to say yes to the director, when she says that the wagons were going to the gas chambers. ”I don’t know”. He himself was working at the hospital, he had a card to show, so he was not deported. In a scene from the hospital white cards are distributed, a woman gets one but wants it to be passed on to her daughter…

There is a monument in Warsaw, where the Umschlagplatz was. You see it in the film. On the wall it is written: Between 1942 and 1943, more than 300,000 Jews from the ghetto that had been established in Warsaw went to the Nazi death camps along this path of suffering.

Poland, Germany, 2019, 80 mins.


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Alexander Mihalkovich: My Granny from Mars

Written 22-07-2019 17:11:45 by Tue Steen Mller

Alexander Mihalkovich: My Granny from Mars

Yevpatoria, Crimea, Ukraine, occupied by Russia since 2014. A song from the film about the city:

“Here the sea gives me so much tenderness and love and health for years to come. Gardens and wonderful colors are all around, the joy of life is here to stay…”

And the film shows you, how attractive Yevpatoria is at the seaside, where the granny Zina lives, Ukrainian she is, being visited by Sasha, the director of the film, 30 years old – and by her children and grandchildren as well as neighbours and her sister, who all come to join the celebration of her 80th birthday.

Zina with her beautiful face, combing her hair… some fine sequences in what I



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IceDocs Iceland Documentary Film Festival/2

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

IceDocs Iceland Documentary Film Festival/2

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IceDocs Iceland Documentary Film Festival

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

IceDocs Iceland Documentary Film Festival

This is how the organisers introduce the festival:

Welcome to IceDocs!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://icedocs.is


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Artemio Benki: Solo/ 2

Written 19-07-2019 21:32:02 by Tue Steen Mller

Artemio Benki: Solo/ 2

Via the FNE (FilmNewEurope) I find a good interview with the director of ”Solo”, the Czech/French director and producer Artemio Benki, who reflects on being a French, yet living in Czech Republic for quite some time, chosing a theme for his film taking place in Argentina. For me I am happy every time I see this great film, premiered in Cannes, being selected for a festival, next one in Prizren, DokuFest. Here is a clip from the interview, read it all, link below, and read the enthusiatic and personal review I made, link also below. And hopefully I will have the chance to meet the protagonist Martin one day… Here is a quote:

How much of the result were you able to predict before you started shooting?
I spent a month with Martin before I brought any cameras. I decided first I need to know him as a person. During this time, I created some expectations about his behavior in different situations. I still can’t read his mind but I can predict his actions to some extent as you might be able to with your lover after six months of living together. For example, when he plays before his first serious audience after long time, I couldn’t predict he would fall off his chair but I knew him enough to be prepared for some kind of a complication – I know him to be a clumsy, anxious person. In this sense, I was often surprised but surprised to a degree I was able to predict.

When you work with people who have mental issues, it brings some moral and ethical dilemmas for you as a filmmaker.
When I was kid, I had my own experience with mental health care so I was drawn to this topic for personal reasons. It’s never been something sensational for me. And I spent enough time with my characters that I saw them as “my people”, they were close to me. So I think I never really was afraid that I would treat them in an ethically questionable way – I trusted my sense of empathy. I mean, documentary filmmakers, in a way, always “use” their protagonists but I knew I wouldn’t cross the line. Of course, I explained to Martin and everyone else what my intentions were and I included them only once they felt comfortable. I also felt a big amount of responsibility because Martin trusted me a lot. Had I wanted to shoot him masturbating, he’d probably have let me. But why would I do that? What would it add to the film? I respect the truth of a character – and I don’t want to muck it up with some gratuitously shocking scenes.

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

http://www.filmneweurope.com/news/czech-news/item/118447-fne-idf-docbloc-director-artemio-benki-i-like-strong-personal-stories-that-are-a-bit-extreme


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Sea Docs 2019 Announces Selected Projects

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

Baltic Sea Docs 2019 Announces Selected Projects

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

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



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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Yamagata

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

Yamagata

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

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

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

https://www.yidff.jp/

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DokuFest Announces Its Program

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

DokuFest Announces Its Program

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://dokufest.com/2019/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Ksenia Okhapkina: Immortal

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

Ksenia Okhapkina: Immortal

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

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

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

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

Estonia/Latvia, 2019, 60 mins.


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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Marco Gastine: As Far as the Sea

Written 01-07-2019 12:24:21 by Tue Steen Mller

Marco Gastine: As Far as the Sea

It’s a strong piece of observational public service documentary, Greek/French director Marco Gastine has made. “Public Service” reminding us about, what legendary Scottish John Grierson thought should be the role of documentaries: to make the audience, the civil society understand the importance of public institutions. In this case the K.A.T. hospital in Athens Greece, where a section is treating patients, who have experienced serious accidents, paraplegics. But Grierson also stressed that these documentaries, apart from having an informative goal, should be made by filmmakers with a creative and artistic interpretation.

For 108 minutes the film takes the audience to the hospital with the staff and



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Laila Pakalnina: Spoon

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

Laila Pakalnina: Spoon

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Beniamino Barrese: The Disappearance of My Mother

Written 28-06-2019 15:29:51 by Tue Steen Mller

Beniamino Barrese: The Disappearance of My Mother

This film that I first got to watch yesterday having heard and read about it, only positive words… Here is the annotation from IDFA’s Docs for Sale:

“Benedetta (Barrese) wants to disappear. An iconic fashion model in the 1960s, she became a muse to Warhol, Dali & Penn and Avedon. As a radical feminist in the 1970s, she fought for the rights and emancipation of women. A fight against the manipulating world of images and against her son’s camera, who filmed her since he was a child, despite her resistance.”

And in the CinéDoc Festival in Tbilisi, where I was in the Caucasus jury, the international jury gave the film the main award with the following motivation:



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Joris Ivens

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

Joris Ivens

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

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

Set out on a documentary journey with globetrotter Joris Ivens!

www.dafilms.com


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Ai Weiwei on Documentary

Written 26-06-2019 10:44:54 by Tue Steen Mller

Ai Weiwei on Documentary

The BFI Doc Society publishes a very good newsletter. In the one I received yesterday, there was a text about the presence of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, whose last film ”The Rest” was screened at the Sheffield Documentary Festival. He was interviewed by Jess Search, here is a bit of what he said about documentary:

"Documentary is always a challenge. it's very close range. If it's fighting, it's like boxing. You have to take all those punches and you have to feel the pain… and about the medium… “You cannot hide, you expose yourself and also you have no excuse about any mistakes. So I love it because it's so truthful and clear and direct. It's a very honest form, as honest as it can get. So that's why it attracts me so much. Because it requires observation, understanding and passion, it requires a lot of passion."

His previous documentary, edited by Danish Niels Pagh Andersen, « Human Flow », was praised on this site:

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4066/


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Images

Written 25-06-2019 21:36:19 by Tue Steen Mller

Images

At the first session of the Ex Oriente the directors taking part were asked to write a text "I am your character" in a couple of hours. I used the two hours before meeting the directors with their texts to write about some images that stayed on my mind from what I had seen. For you readers I have made some notes below so you know just a little bit of what I am talking about. Here is my small image-poetry:

The view from my hotel window.

Three angles, the church next door, the green and more green, the man packing his car. For a Sunday drive ?

Football – Dani Alves making a great goal on my apple computer last night, they say he is 36 years, no no, he is young as ever. 1)

Football without ball. Jan Gogolas clip with the kids, who are bored of the match going on, talking about the teeth that they are losing and getting...

The intellectuals as Gogola called them in conversation about Vaclav Klaus breaking a pen somewhere far away from the stadion. 2)

… and the little boy crawling into a cupboard or whatever it is in the flat in Pilsen. Unforgettable. 3)



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Ex Oriente First Session 2019

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

Ex Oriente First Session 2019

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Kirchhoff & Remunda: Steam on the River

Written 22-06-2019 14:01:12 by Tue Steen Mller

Kirchhoff & Remunda: Steam on the River

It was a very entertaining afternoon experience yesterday in Banská Stiavnica attending the screening of the 2015 documentary by Robert Kirchhoff and Filip Remunda (they call each other Robo and Filo!) followed by a masterclass with the two that gave us, the Ex Oriente audience, an insight to the making of the film. And you could sense, from the film and the class afterwards, that it had been quite as fun to make the film, as it was to watch it. Let me tell you what the film is about through the annotation from the distributor’s catalogue:

„The story of three extraordinary but aging jazzmen coming from former Czechoslovakia: Laco Deczi now lives in New York, Jan Jankeje in Stuttgart and Lubo Tamškovič used to live in Paris. Laco’s close friend Chris DePino, a musician as well as a politician close to George W. Bush, is attempting to put on a concert of the Czechoslovak Jazz Stars commemorating the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Of course the concert may never be organized… A film about the transience of fame which is fleeting, just like the steam that silently appears and disappears over a flowing river.”

And yet this text is not covering what we saw. As Kirchhoff said the film is



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Jan Gogola on Dusan Hanak

Written 21-06-2019 09:37:16 by Tue Steen Mller

Jan Gogola on Dusan Hanak

I am in Banská Stiavnica in Slovakia, where the first session of the Ex Oriente workshop takes place. I have been invited as a substitute for Iikka Vehkalahti and I am happy to attend at the workshop of which I was part from the beginning, was it in 2002?, until I stopped in 2009. 12 projects with director and producer present from the CEE countries take part, in a later post I will mention some of them.

Last night Jan Gogola, director/dramaturg/script writer/teacher, a clever man, who was also at Ex Oriente from the beginning, had been asked to talk about and show clips from films by the two legendary directors, Slovak Dusan Hanak and Czech Karel Vachek. A very fine session that took place in the Cinema Akademik here in the Kulturstadt Banská Stiavnica. He showed fragments from ”Pictures of the Old World” from 1972 by Dusan Hanak, a film that I have adored and used several times at different schools. And from Vachek’s ”Moravian Hellas” from 1963.

Gogola thought that Hanak had chosen to make his film four years after 1968 to remind the audience of human values forgotten after the normalisation process started with the occupation of Czekoslovakia by the Warsaw pact countries. The fragments, around 20 minutes of the hour long documentary, reminded me of a tradition for philosophical reflections, old people and their faces, a man with a microphone asking ”what are the values of life”, it is sooo moving and so wonderfully filmed with close-ups and sometimes still photos. Gogola said that the film is not a document, it is a monument. Normalisation… meant that the film was ”kept out of public space for 20 years”.

Have to confess that I am not able to ”enter” Vachek’s films, there are too many references to history and culture of Czekoslovakia. Sorry.

After the presentation I talked football with Gogola, he is a connaisseur, we talked Nedved, Masopust, Hamsik, Peter Czech… and Panenka, who is the character of the great film Gogola has made.

www.dokweb.net


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Orwa Nyrabia Talks about IDFA Changes

Written 20-06-2019 11:49:23 by Tue Steen Mller

Orwa Nyrabia Talks about IDFA Changes

Readers of filmkommentaren will know that I am very happy with Syrian Orwa Nyrabia being the artistic director of IDFA. Step by step he is changing the festiwal together with his competent Staff. This post aims at making you read the fine interview with Nyrabia, for cineuropa made by Vladan Petkovic. Here is a clip:

… The strong presence of films made by northern filmmakers about the rest of the world is not enough any more. This is interesting: it's not necessarily a bad thing, but being limited to it is certainly a relic of the past. We know today that we can't just be watching films about the Balkan war, about the Syrian war or about the Congo, without giving a serious platform and due respect to filmmakers from these societies who are telling us their stories in their own way. This way may not exactly be designed to triumph at box offices in the West, but they are there to add to our own cultural awareness and to the development of our understanding of the world, as well as to challenge our own prejudices. This is, to me, the core of this job and of documentary festivals in general, not only IDFA…

https://cineuropa.org/en/interview/373908/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Jakob Brossmann & David Paede: Listen to the Radio

Written 16-06-2019 10:25:38 by Tue Steen Mller

Jakob Brossmann & David Paede: Listen to the Radio

With the Austrian title: «Gehört, Gesehen – Ein RadioFilm“...

5 years after maestro Nicolas Philibert made his „Maison de la Radio », here is another equally fascinating visit to a radio broadcasting channel: Ö1, part of the ORF in Austria, a Kulturradio, praised for its quality and suffering from budget cutbacks like similar radio stations in many countries. Contrary to the French documentary the two directors put the focus on how the staff, led by the boss of Ö1 Peter Klein, looks for solutions to keep the existing loyal listeners and find some new ones in times, where many politicians want to drop the license fee and want to have (indirect) influence on the program profile...



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Yuriy Shylov: Projectionist

Written 14-06-2019 21:13:37 by Tue Steen Mller

Yuriy Shylov: Projectionist

I have met Valentin, the projectionist, on screen, at several workshops and presentations, and I have seen how fragments, all these clips, of his life slowly have become a film that now – bravo – is to have its premiere in the competition at the festival in Karlovy Vary beginning of July. Ukrainian producer Gennady Kofman was so kind to send me a link so I could see the final result of a work on its way for some years.

Sometimes you get disappointed, when you see a final result, after numerous pitches and presentations. In this case no; On the contrary I enjoyed to see how the director has succeeded to let the viewer into the projection room of a cinema, a place that has been Valentin’s second home for more than 40 years. In his private home he takes care of the mother, who is in bed and close to the end of her life. As the cinema is also close to have THE END. A fire helped it go that way and now the cinema is hosting events, light shows and other modern activities. Seen from Valentin’s point of view. With the director’s fine sense of creating atmosphere.

Long live the art of cinematography he says to his friend and collaborator in the cinema, Volodymyr. With vodka in the glass and irony in the voice. You can’t help love Valentin for his appetite on life – more enigmatic is Volodymyr, the side character, who takes the last word and a little dancing step in the film, addressing the director/cameraman in a very moving way. I won´t say more, but what I can say is that Valentin survives an illness and enjoys the stay in the sanatorium at the sea, where he is recovering to end up good looking, dancing with the women.

There are many Valentins in the world. And Volodymyrs. Who live a life behind the scene with their passion for film and the place for films to be seen, the cinema. As Herz Frank says in the Baltic „Bridges of Time“, when they are no longer among us, they are still alive on film, like this one. That is luckily wonderfully unpretentious.

Ukraine, Poland, 2019, 72 mins.


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Kristof Bilsen: Mother

Written 08-06-2019 17:29:55 by Tue Steen Mller

Kristof Bilsen: Mother

”Me No Worry, Me No Care, Me Go Marry a Millionaire, If He Dies Me No Cry, Me Go Marry Another Guy”… are the words Pomm uses to wake up Elisabeth, who reacts with a smile. Pomm calls Elisabeth mother or granny, she is her caregiver in the centre in Thailand, where Western alzheimer patients stay and are given care by Thai women like Pomm.

Who is the central character of the film. And who has been given a camera by the director to make video diaries that are included in a film that deals with a theme of importance to all of us. Before the mentioned warm and touching scene, up front in the film, before the title credits, Pomm has filmed her house and the youngest of three children, Nadia, with words of sadness: I gave birth to three children but I can not take care of them. She has to earn money away from home to support them… Alas, the eternal story of rich and poor, the lack of equality in the world we live in.

Yes, Pomm, the young woman on the photo, is a MOTHER. The old woman



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Michal Bielawski: The Wind. A Documentary Thriller

Written 04-06-2019 20:25:26 by Tue Steen Mller

Michal Bielawski: The Wind. A Documentary Thriller

The Halny? Shocking film! Says someone coming from a flat country after having watched a film about the power of the wind in a mountain area.

I had never heard about the halny before so I made a visit to Wikipedia and got this answer:

Halny is a warm windstorm that blows through the valleys. It is often disastrous; ripping off roofs, causing avalanches and, according to some people, can have some influence on mental states.

Precisely what this film shows.…”The Wind. A Documentary Thriller” is an interpretation of our situation : when nature in this form takes action, we have no chance. We have to face the consequences of the catastrophies that we create ourselves, some say, others refer to destiny, God´s will…

Nevertheless the people living in the Tatra mountains fight to survive. They try to stabilise their houses, when the wind is coming, they cut up the trees that have fallen on the roads, blocking the traffic, including the ambulances that hurry to help people with serious problems, some of them suicidal.

My hero in the film is the woman, who writes poems that are celebrating the forest. Like Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, known all over the world for his fairy tales, wrote in one of his books, she does like him, embracing a tree in one of the best scenes of a film that in a fragmented, powerful style conveys an overall drama with several fine parallel stories, and a soundscore that with the wind justifies the characterisation, “a documentary thriller”.

Fear, life and death, father and daughter: His house burns down, he has breathing problems, he goes to the doctor, he continues the lost battle against the evil power. She, the poetess, wants to buy a piece of forest, it’s beautiful to watch her emotions, as it is to watch the young ambulance nurse taking care of the victims.

Michal Bielawski’s film reminds me, with its own competence in content and cinematic skills, about current films about man and nature – Kossakovsky’s “Aquarela”, “The Earth” by Nikolaus Geyerhalter. Hate the word but films like these seem to be trendy – and yes, documentaries are raising the crucial questions our planet is facing, they do so in different styles, with different voices, make us think when we are given a visual statement and a visual artistic comment to the time.

Poland, 2019, 74 mins.


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Sheffield Doc/Fest Opens With Maradona

Written 03-06-2019 12:56:22 by Tue Steen Mller

Sheffield Doc/Fest Opens With Maradona

... the new film by Asif Kapadia („Amy“ and „Senna”), one of the masters in archive based documentaries, „The movie melds personal recordings with omnipresent reportage to portray the turbulent years of a gifted footballer burning brightly in late 1980’s Napoli“, the festival website says. Gosh, I am looking forward to that film about legendary „Diego Maradona“, the title of the film that was shown in Cannes.

The festival in Sheffield runs from June 6 – 11 with films from 47 countries and with 57% of the competition titles directed or co-directed by female filmmakers.

Competition titles, the festival has several categories, where films are nominated. There is a Grand Jury Award, where the film on Maradona is listed, as well as the highlighted „For Sama“ by Edward Watts. There is an Art Award, where I find the film by Susana de Sousa Dias „Fordlandia Malaise“ – the website has a fine list of trailers, look at the one by Susana. There is the Tim Hetherington Award, where I find the excellent „Dark Suns“ from Mexico, by Julien Elie. There is the International Award, where „Earth“ by Geyerhalter is as well Belgian Kristof Bilsen’s „Mother“, executive produced by Kirsten Johnson... and a couple of more award sections.

„Ways of Seeing“, good selection as I see it from festival director Luke Moody and his team.

https://sheffdocfest.com/


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Krakow Film Festival - And the Winners Were

Written 01-06-2019 23:34:04 by Tue Steen Mller

Krakow Film Festival - And the Winners Were

- a copy paste from the festival's FB page:

Having watched all the competitive films the International Documentary Jury of the 59th Krakow Film Festival consisting of: Jacek Petrycki – chairman (Poland), Talal Derki (Germany), Marja Pallassalo (Finland), Shane Smith (Canada), Ágnes Sós (Hungary) has decided to award the following prizes:

THE GOLDEN HORN for the director of the best film – Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche for Advocate (Israel, Canada, Switzerland)

THE SILVER HORN for the director of the best medium-length documentary film - David Ofek and Tal Michael for Around the Bed of a Dying Collaborator (Israel)

THE SILVER HORN for the director of the best feature-length documentary film – Àlex Lora and Adán Aliaga for The Fourth Kingdom (Spain, USA, Mexico)

The FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) Jury consisting of: Irena Kotelovich (Belarus), Nino Kovačić (Croatia), Nachum Mochiach (Israel) has decided to award the International Film Critics Prize to Àlex Lora and Adán Aliaga for The Fourth Kingdom (Spain, USA, Mexico)


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Krakow Film Festival - Who Will Win

Written 01-06-2019 19:24:07 by Tue Steen Mller

Krakow Film Festival - Who Will Win

I was not in Krakow for the festival this year, but I saw the films in the main international competition and gave my points together with other film journalists - and made 4 texts for the Daily Newspaper, which is edited by kind and competent Anna E. Dziedzic from the festival. My last text delivered yesterday was my overall impression of the films in the category mentioned. Here it comes and when the awards are given later this evening, I will make a post and you can see if my impressions match those of a jury. Here is my text:

Comments to our time. Interpretation of subjects that touch world-wide. Creative documentaries. Character driven… it’s all there in the 2019 selection for Krakow Film Festival, the international section with 16 titles. Diversity, also in quality, from my point of view, take a look at the critic’s mark system, where some get high and some low marks.

Were there any extra-ordinary films. Any that stood out ? In terms of subject and cinematic interpretation? “Of Animals and Men” did for me. The film by Łukasz Czajka, 56 mins., touched me because of the shocking story about how the German invasion and occupation during WW2 destroyed the life of the Warsaw Zoo. For men and animals – telling at the same time about the bravery of the couple Antonina and Jan Żabińskis, who let Jews hide in the empty zoo, where the animals had stayed, or at their own home. As the brutality of the Germans increased, the risk of being captured became bigger for those hiding. Jan helped providing documents for the Jews, getting many out from the ghetto, Antonina likewise, and she was the one, who played Offenbach on the piano when dangerous situations came up, and Chopin when the Germans had left again. The film is well made mixing archive, interviews and a fine voice-over based on Antonina’s memoirs. And no, I have not seen the fiction film based on this amazing story.

Dutch “But Now is Perfect” (Photo) by Carin Goeijers also impressed me. The fate of a refugee... nothing new, unfortunately, in that, but the director has made an aesthetical choice that makes content and style match each other perfectly. You move around in the Calabrian town that has set up a good model for having refugees integrated in its life in a story that is told backwards. With a Nigerian woman as the lead character, full of life, charismatic, hoping…

From Italian Calabria to New York, to follow the life of another refugee, René from Mexico, in “The Fourth Dimension”. He lives in a small community, “Sure We Can”, where, under the supervision of Ana, formerly UN employed, homeless and alchoholics (like René who is now sober) end up and can calm down, away from the rough life outside the metal curtain, that is taken down every night. The film has several layers, the fine social initiative is one but the inner life of René, his yearning for another life, his interest in aliens from other planets, his dreams and hopes, his quiet life with cats, kittens and chicken is conveyed in a cinematically skilled tone by the two Spanish directors Àlex Lora Cercós and Adán Aliga.

Krakow Film Festival has always had Israeli documentaries in its program, this year is no exception. I was touched by the silent drama of the dying old Palestinian man in “Around the Bed of a Dying Collaborator” by David Ofek and Tal Michael. “Forgive me”, he says to his sons, for working for the Israelis, having sold Palestinian land to Jews making the family’s life a true hell. AND the big international coproduction “The Advocate” by Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche about the Israeli hero lawyer Lea Tsemel, who for decades have taken lost cases for Palestinians, who have committed murder or other criminal attacks to be punished by the Israeli state. Bellaiche, also the cameraman, again shows, like in the films he did for Avi Mograbi, his talent for bringing the audience close to subject and character.

Will any of these films be awarded, or will „The Wind. A Documentary Thriller“, that I wrote about in the first daily, or «Wongar“ or „Pariah Dog“, mentioned in the second newspaper.

A jury will decide.

https://www.krakowfilmfestival.pl/en/59th-kff/festival-newspaper


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocAviv Awards to Honeyland and Advocate

Written 30-05-2019 20:23:32 by Tue Steen Mller

DocAviv Awards to Honeyland and Advocate

A lot of awards were distributed last night in Tel Aviv at the 21st edition of DocAviv. Let me mention the two main awards and give you the link – below – to the festival website.

Winner of Israeli Competition

Advocate by Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Ballaiche

Jury Motivation:

The Best Israeli Documentary Film is a thought-provoking project that combines an important issue with high quality cinematic skills, particularly an innovative and clever use of animation. Just as importantly, the film profiles an unforgettable, powerful, and inspiring woman of deep conviction in all her complexity. For their ability to capture this exceptional figure, who sees hope where others find only futility, the Best Israeli Documentary Film Award goes to the film Advocate by Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Ballaiche.

Best International Film Award

Honeyland by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov

Jury Motivation:

The Best Israeli Documentary Film is a thought-provoking project that combines an important issue with high quality cinematic skills, particularly an innovative and clever use of animation. Just as importantly, the film profiles an unforgettable, powerful, and inspiring woman of deep conviction in all her complexity. For their ability to capture this exceptional figure, who sees hope where others find only futility, the Best Israeli Documentary Film Award goes to the film Advocate by Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Ballaiche.

www.docaviv.co.il/2019-en 


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DocsBarcelona The Baltic Way

Written 27-05-2019 10:37:50 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona The Baltic Way

He said many clever things, Audrius Stonys, at DocsBarcelona, where his film ”Bridges of Time”, directed with Latvian Kristine Briede, at two screenings had a good audience as had the masterclass with the Lithuanian director.

Festival director Joan Gonzalez, whose knowledge about Stonys until then was very little, asked Viktor Kossakovsky if the Lithuanian is good, ”oh yes”, the Russian director had said – and Kossakovsky is not known to give away many compliments. Gonzalez picked up what Stonys, a brilliant talker and inspirator, had said after the first screening of ”Bridges of Time”. ”I saw my film again today and when I saw the woman, who had watched the film she took part in as a child, hearing her say that she was so happy to see her mother again, alive in the film… I thought this is why we make documentaries, to keep people alive. In other words: Life After Death.

Gonzalez quoted Stonys at the closing ceremony, much appreciated, as it was



Read more / Ls mere

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DocsBarcelona Botero

Written 24-05-2019 10:32:07 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona Botero

Fernando Botero... all art interested people know him from his paintings and sculptures. I have been reminded of him again and again when arriving to the airport in Barcelona, where his horse sculpture is a meeting point. Don Millar, the director of the film "Botero" was at DocsBarcelona last night with the daughter Lina and the son Fernando to show the film and talk to the audience at the European premiere at the Aribau cinema. A very generous film biography full of information about the life of an artist, his artistical development, his going against the mainstream, his artistic comments to what is going on in this world, his personal tragedy, when his fourth child Pedro was killed in a car accident, his getting through that trauma by making art, him being the patriarch of a family that gathers once a year in Pietrasanta in Italy, the opposition he has met from art critics (for me that takes too much time in the film), his generosity to donate his art collection, and a lot of his own works to his native Colombia, where you can find it in museums in Bogota and Medellin.

The film equals the volumen of Botero's work with a strong music side and the archive - still photos, interviews - is very interesting with the three children, the two mentioned plus Juan Carlos, talk so passionate about their father taking care of his enormous work. And he talks with a fine portion of humour.

Photo: Botero on Abu Ghraib.

www.docsbarcelona.com


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EDN Bylaws Violated . Action Needed/ 3

Written 23-05-2019 23:30:20 by Tue Steen Mller

Cecilia Lidin, member of EDN and former director of the association from 2009-2011, now film consultant at the Danish Film Institute writes today on FB :

Calling all EDN Members! Tomorrow the EDN office will be moved from Copenhagen to Amsterdam. It might seem insignificant where a pan-european association resides, but the facts remain the same: EDN is in practical and legal terms a Danish association - can the self-installed management please explain how this move is possible?? And equally important: according to the by-laws, the association can only be moved after it has been brought to a vote by the members. We are dealing with a management that are working in total disregard to rules and regulations - with the sole argument, that if they had not acted, EDN would not have survived. If EDN cannot survive following the by-laws on which it was founded - then it should die.

And a reaction from Orwa Nyrabia, IDFA’s artistic director:

It seems that the new management and board of EDN ignored all public critique and are still moving forward with steps that violate by-laws and the core of it being a members association. Violating by-laws, taking decisions that require members voting, not calling for an exceptional GA, is unacceptable.

Former posts on this subject :

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4537/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4530/


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DocsBarcelona Public Pitch

Written 23-05-2019 14:25:03 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona Public Pitch

Let me remind you that when DocsBarcelona started 22 years ago all pitching sessions were public. When the EDN launched the workshops in The South of Europe, with the support of the EU Media Programme, the first one took place in Granada. Joan Gonzalez, director of DocsBarcelona, was there, he pitched (not really a success!) and took the event to Barcelona. 10 years later a festival was started after years of screenings and meetings with filmmakers, that is what today is called masterclasses.

After years of speed meetings between filmmakers and decision makers the public pitch is back - in a combination with speed meetings. This morning - professionally moderated by Catherine Olsen and in a fine set up with 25 panelists sitting at tables and an (not that big) audience attending, creating atmosphere by supporting those who present their fllm projects on stage. There were 9 of them - 6 more will perform tomorrow - and should I highlight, from my biased seat in the audience, a couple, it would be "They Call me Torero" directed by Inma de Reyes and produced by Aimara Reques, the first one a student from Edinburgh with Emma Davie as teacher, the second "the mother" of Viktor Kossakovsky's marvellous "Aquarela", that opened the DocsBarcelona more than a week ago. AND the Brazilian "Samuel and the Light" by Vinicius Girnys, the director's first film about kids at a place, where electricity arrives. Poetic touch in the trailer. The Public Pitch started with a safe card, Peter Torbiörnsson's "Ninosca" from Nicaragua produced by another veteran, Stina Gardell. Swedish Torbiörnsson has charisma, he does not pitch the usual way, he adresses the audience in a personal way. That film about the troubled life a woman growing up in a macho culture will definitely be good.

The panel... some with good comments, some just said "thank you for the pitch, we can talk later...". That was the same 22 years ago!

www.docsbarcelona.com


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DocsBarcelona - Jordi Cuixart

Written 22-05-2019 09:58:51 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona - Jordi Cuixart

DocsBarcelona is making a political statement. The festival showed "Avec un Sourire, la Revolution" by Canadian Alexandre Chartrand, on the 19th to an audience of around 700 people, who gave the film and its message a standing ovation. AND the festival chose to use a photo of one of the emprisoned politicians, actually the one who is not a politician. I take a text from wikipedia on: 

Jordi Cuixart i Navarro (Santa Perpètua de Mogoda, province of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, 1975) is a Catalan businessman and political and cultural activist. He is the president of Òmnium Cultural,[1] a non-profit cultural organisation founded in 1961 with more than 160,000 members and 40 local branches in Catalonia.[2] As part of his role in the pro-independence demonstrations prior to the Catalan independence referendum of 2017, he has been imprisoned since October 2017 under charges of sedition and violent rebellion brought by the Spanish prosecutor's office. Amnesty International believes his detention constitutes a disproportionate restriction on his rights to free speech and peaceful assembly, and urges Spain to free him.

http://www.docsbarcelona.com/en/doc/avec-un-sourire-la-revolution/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Audrius Stonys at DocsBarcelona

Written 21-05-2019 14:42:06 by Tue Steen Mller

Audrius Stonys at DocsBarcelona

I have made a copy paste of the fine text from the DocsBarcelona website, presenting the presence of Lithuanian documentary master director Audrius Stonys:

7 SHOTS 7 is the annual proposal of DocsBarcelona to a personality in the audiovisual world. This year, due to the premiere in Barcelona of Audrius Stonys’ latest and acclaimed documentary Bridges of Time (thursday at 18.15, Aribau 4), winner of the Best Documentary Award at Latvian National Film Award in Latvia and Special Mention of the Jury of Batumi International Art -house FF in Georgia, the Lithuanian filmmaker will reflect on the language of cinema with 7 shots or sequences specially chosen for the occasion.

Audrius Stonys is visiting DocsBarcelona again after presenting here in 2017, his film Woman and the Glacier, ​​a poetic story about a solitary woman and an everlasting glacier, and receiving the ex-aequo What the Doc Award. The festival audience will be able to enjoy the screening of his latest work, Bridges of Time and the presence of the director, who will take part in post-screening discussions.

We have invited him to talk about his films in a master class format through a very personal selection of fragments and sequences. A unique opportunity to get to know the cinematography of one of the most internationally-renowned documentary makers. Through this selection of seven shots, we will discover what inspires him to make films, what stories and characters have captivated him throughout his life, what motivates him to create new documentaries and how he manages to take his ideas to the big screen. The master class (CCCB at 19) will be moderated by DocsBarcelona’s head of programming, ​​Tue Steen Müller.

Audrius Stonys, Lithuanian film director and producer with a long career, has won numerous international awards. He studied Film Direction at the Jonas Mekas Anthology Film Archive in New York. His documentary Earth of the Blind was recognized by the European Film Academy as the best documentary of the year and also won the Félix Award. His documentary Ramin, created in collaboration with VFS Films, received the Lithuanian nomination for the Oscars in 2012. He has given conferences and lectures around the world.

www.docsbarcelona.com


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DocsBarcelona & Len Siminiani

Written 21-05-2019 08:19:50 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona & Len Siminiani

At the DocsBarcelona today, at a special session the first episode of a new Netflix original documentary series will be screened. Normally I would say, all right and so what, but as the director is León Siminiani I am interested. Siminiani was at the festival in 2013, where he pitched ”Mapa”, a film that I have praised, link below – and a film with a trailer that I have used again and again at workshops because of its crazy and personal anti-trailer presentation of a film, that held its promise and became a film by a true auteur. Curious to see how he has brought his talent into a Netflix documentary that has the following content:

El caso Alcàsser is a documentary series composed of 5 episodes that analyse and investigate one of the most controversial cases in the Spanish history. The triple assassination of three teenagers in 1992 shook the foundations of the Spanish society, trespassing limits not only due to its harshness but also because of its impacting mediatic retransmission. 25 years after, the resolution of the case and its consequences still cause controversy.

At the CCCBh at 19.00 with the presence of the director. Language: Spanish.

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/2250/

www.docsbarcelona.com


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DocsBarcelona Many Full Houses & Tiny Souls

Written 20-05-2019 08:56:20 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona Many Full Houses & Tiny Souls

Joan Gonzalez, director of the festival this morning, in Catalan: Bon dia! Ahir amb mes de 2100 espectadors va ser el dia amb mes afluència de públic de totes les edicions del @DocsBarcelona No podem començar millor la segona setmana del festival. Moltes gràcies!

Did you get it: Sunday, the best day in terms of audience in the history of DocsBarcelona... a happy man, who loves statistics, and of course it is good news, when the audience responds positively to the programming we did, we meaning Pol Roig Turró, Martina Rogers, Dani Jariod, Diego Mas Trelles, Joan Gonzalez with me at the head of the table.

I was in the Aribau cinema, where there were full houses for "Aquarela" and "The Ancient Woods"... and of course for "Avec un sourire, la revolution" by Canadian Alexandre Chartrand, synopsis "What happened on October 1st? An unprecedented look at the self-determination process from the director’s subjective point of view brings us to the forefront of the fight. Grass-roots activists, street protesters, Catalan leaders and spontaneous mobilizations are the testimonies of a cinematographic portrait depicting civil disobedience in Catalonia, where repression is fought with a smile.

My personal experience, however, was to be at the screening to introduce and moderate the extended Q&A of "Tiny Souls" by Palestinian/Jordanian Dina Naser. 50-60 spectators watched a film with a warm heart and a dedicated director, who followed three siblings - Marwa, Aya and Mahmoud - and their life in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. For four years the director was in contact with the family and what we spectators got was a beautiful film with several layers: this is how it looks in a refugee camp, this is what kids from Syria talk about, when their country is at war, this is childhood, this is how children act everywhere BUT the background is sooo different from that of my grandchildren back in Copenhagen. Marwa is the central character growing up from being the little child to being the girl, who has boyfriend(s) with whom she secretly talks on the cell phone. Dina Naser gave the kids a camera, they filmed, it increased the authenticity of the film. Marwa and her family are now back in Syria, the director has lost contact with her. With a fine voice-over Dina Naser refers to what her father told her about 1948 and his staying in refugee camps in Palestine. Great film that had its premiere at CPH:Dox but was rejected by IDFA, whose Bertha Fund supported the film!

A sad film of course but full of life, wishing the best for Marwa and her family!

http://www.docsbarcelona.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Artemio Benki: Solo

Written 19-05-2019 14:51:21 by Tue Steen Mller

Artemio Benki: Solo

Towards the end of the film, Martìn Perino is in a school class with his friend, the dancer Solé. He talks to the students: ”Solé and I would like you to write down, what you feel or think, when you listen to the music, I am going to play. Please put your words down on a piece of paper”.

They do so. Now it is my turn to put down, what I feel and think after having watched ”Solo” – for the second time. I feel that I have been given the gift of getting very close to a man with an extraordinary musical talent. For playing and composing. A very generous move from a fragile man, who spent 3 years at el Borda, the psychiatric hospital in Buenos Aires, gets out from there but is still under treatment. He lets me suffer with him, be happy and enjoy, when he is at the piano. And a very – towards him – respectful and compassionate



Read more / Ls mere

Vurdering:

 
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DocsBarcelona is Green..

Written 19-05-2019 10:02:21 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona is Green..

The wonderful photo above from the opening of DocsBarcelona some days ago does not represent the whole truth. Green should have been more dominant. At least according to my experience yesterday, where I was in the cinema for 6 hours attending three screenings, where two of them were with "a green message": Mindaugas Survila's magnificent visual poem, "The Ancient Woods" and the equally magnificent "Honeyland by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubo Stefanov. If you add - ok same superlative - "Aquarela" by Viktor Kossakovsky and Greek Marianna Economou's "When Tomatoes Met Wagner" you have a collection of advocates for "we have to do something for our planet before it's too late...". From different angles.

This sounds very political correct but first and foremost the selection of films for DocsBarcelona has been done from cinematic criteria. And they were appreciated by the audience, I can confirm from being in the cinema hall. Colleague of Mindaugas Survila, the director of "The Ancient Woods", Gintė ulytė from Lithuania, made a fine introduction to the film and answered questions about the patience it takes to film animals - waiting for the moose to appear - how the sound design was constructed for a film without words, how she (Ginté) had helped with the script writing as the film has a dramaturgy like any other film. The film sold around 55.000 cinema tickets in Lithuania and a good part of that income is saved for buying ancient woods to keep it for the animals and to keep us humans away... That message made the audience applaud.

As it did after the screening of "Honeyland", where cameraman Samir Ljuma and director Tamara Kotevska charmed the audience talking about wonderful Hatidze and her life in the mountains of Macedonia. "Honeyland" has been praised on this site so no more words about its qualities, but click the link below and support what the filmmakers and Hatidze are doing... Honey with the right taste, original, as many of the spectators experience last night at the Aribau cinema at DocsBarcelona...

... where I also attended the premiere of Èric Motjer's "Beirut - la vie en Rose", a visit to the tormented capital of Lebanon, where the - as John Lennon would have said it - filthy rich rattle their jewels. The director has found some interesting characters, who take him to glorious parties in music video style sequences contrasted to a sympathetic Englishman, who talks about the past accompanied by his mother: those were the days. The son has not given up, he has plans for the future, and Mauricio, a super rich man sets up a shopping mall: The war in Syria is good for business in Lebanon. Oh yes!

The three screenings gave (almost) full house so I walked home to the hotel with a smile on my face. DocsBarcelona in full swing, indeed!

https://honeyland.earth

http://www.docsbarcelona.com/en/


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DocsBarcelona in Full Swing

Written 18-05-2019 10:19:53 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona in Full Swing

Indeed, that was a lovely Friday at the cinema – in Barcelona on the second day of full program. As one of the programmers of the DocsBarcelona festival, it is a pleasure to sit with the audience to see how it reacts to what we have selected. There were 8 screenings yesterday, I was at two and a half… no I did not walk out from one but screening schedules overlap.

Sooo… lovely it was to watch and enjoy Marlén Viñayo’s „Cachada” with a numerous enthusiastic audience, that was totally seduced by the women, who take part in a theatre workshop, where they live out their traumas from childhood, the domestic violence and abuse they have experienced. Girls, they call themselves, the wonderful passionate big women with humour and the wish to share their feelings, to open their wounds to each other and the audience to whom they convey their stories in a theatrical version. Yes, films are appealing to your emotions and the old documentary addict, who is writing this text, was in tears at the end of the film, as were many in the CCCB theatre.

Marlén Viñayo, whose first film it is, was at the DocsBarcelona rough cut session two years ago, and from a film point of view it was great to see how the young director has managed to find her way of storytelling, her dramaturgy. The film has its European premiere at DocsBarcelona. It will travel!

Premiere – the same goes for ”Operation Globus” by another young female director Ariadna Seuba Serra, produced by Guillermo F. Flórez with the local broadcaster TV3 as partner. I popped in to watch the beginning of a film, that was also at the DocsBarcelona rough cut session – and afterwards I had the pleasure to look at several versions of a film about men from my generation, who wanted to explore the world, 40 years ago. Great archive material, a looking back on an adventure and a friendship from the young years. They were all there, the protagonists, it is always interesting to see those, who took their time to be in a film… will catch up on their reactions as I had to hurry for

… ”Privacy of Wounds”, which is a Norwegian production with Palestinian/Jordanian Dalia al-Kury as the director being present. ”I am happy if there are a bit more than 20 spectators”, she said to me – there was three times 20, if I am not mistaken, who in total silence and concentration was watching and listening to three Syrian men, who in a cell in Oslo, made for the film, with the director as the prison guard (!), with 3 days of shooting, convey how it was to be in a detention centre in Syria. The film is excellent, with an amazingly intelligent approach that works, an aesthetic choice she had made to give us horrible stories that touches the heart and makes you think… how long is this going to continue. Oufff!

www.docsbarcelona.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Viktor Kossakovsky at His Best

Written 17-05-2019 10:34:13 by Tue Steen Mller

Viktor Kossakovsky at His Best

… and when that is the case, like last night at DocsBarcelona, the participants get a memorable treat at a masterclass from a master, who has a lot to say about filmmaking. And who is a performer, who knows how to entertain.

I was the moderator of the almost two hour session, an easy job. I started reminding Kossakovsky about Bornholm, the Danish island in the Baltic Sea, where in 1997 he showed «Wednesday» at the Balticum Film & TV Festival, the film where he finds people born in Leningrad on the same day and the same year as himself: 1961. He remembered it and he also remembered that I was hesitant to say if I liked the film or not... right he was, it is not my favourite film from Kossakovsky. But what a memory he has!

And it was on Bornholm that «Aquarela» was born. The director was editing „Pavel and Lalya“ there, the film about one of his heroes, director Pavel Kogan, and his wife, shot in Tel Aviv, where they lived at a moment, where Pavel was about to leave this world. The editing took place in Svaneke, where the Baltic Media Centre was situated at that time, the organisation behind the festival and workshops for Baltic and Russian filmmakers and journalists.

Kossakovsky told us last night that in Svaneke he was looking at the Baltic sea from his window, fascinated by the waves and the changing colours of the sea. He told BBC’s  Nick Fraser, who was helping him a lot at that time, about it – Fraser said that noone will watch a film like that! I would probably have said the same...

Viktor Kossakovsky went home to Saint Petersburg looking out another window, the one from his flat, which became the film «Tishe!».

From these flashbacks Viktor Kossakovsky, with the help of several questions, went to «Aquarela» and the many stories he could tell about how he «read» the nature. The speed of the icebergs, how to film them, how to stabilise the cameras on board the boat in stormy weather, and a long talk about the cars on the ice and the one, who falls into the water, gets up and is helped by the director’s first assistant, who was on stage at the opening night, Ainara Vera. Very moving.

He also talked about the sequence with the waterfall – and shocking to me and others, he said that the editing of the film, which he had «learned by doing» at his time at film school and by helping Russian director Sokurov – the editing of «Aquarela» took 2 weeks! Whereas the sound & music editing took half a year!

It was great to hear the director talk warmly about his team, carefully «casted» for the job, their professionalism and dedication – and how they had to cheat a bit the producer to make more risky things out their in the wilderness, the beautiful planet that we are so good in destroying.

There are two more screenings of “Aquarela” at the festival, check this

http://www.docsbarcelona.com/en/doc/aquarela/

... and the film goes on a cinema in the USA, starting in August – and a Danish premiere, sorry for being “red & white”, will take place in September.


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Viktor Kossakovsky Opens DocsBarcelona

Written 16-05-2019 08:51:14 by Tue Steen Mller

Viktor Kossakovsky Opens DocsBarcelona

Full house, of course, for the opening screening of "Aquarela" by Viktor Kossakovsky, who was there on stage answering a few questions, asking his first assistant director and editor on the film, Ainara Vera, to come to the stage and receive an applause for her contribution to the film, a fine gesture from the side of the Russian director.

The director of the festival Joan Gonzalez welcomed Kossakovsky with some Russian phrases and Roger de Gràcia, toastmaster for DocsBarcelona opening and closing ceremonies, created a fine atmosphere in the cinema playing with the colours of the festival: Green for Nature (many films), Yellow for Politics (several films) and Red for Women (many female directors and films about women). Political correct, yes, but conveyed in an unpretentious manner.

Back to Kossakovsky, who has been closely followed on this site. Colleague Allan Berg has made "Collected Posts on Viktor Kossakovsky":

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4425/

and if you want to read the review of "Aquarela": http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4408/

http://www.docsbarcelona.com/en/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

EDN Bylaws Violated - Action Needed/2

Written 15-05-2019 23:09:18 by Tue Steen Mller

First there was this one - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4530/ - "EDN Bylaws Violated..."

Then there was a letter from the (self-appointed) interim director Flore Deroose sent to EDN members via EDN Admin System, if you did not get it, ask her on flore@edn.network

Then there was this response to what the interim director wrote from my former EDN colleague at the time, where EDN was built up, Cecilia Lidin:

In response to the email sent by interim director Flore Deroose (that incidentally unfortunately did not reach all EDN members) the following issues were not correctly explained: It was not one member that stepped down, it was the whole board. Jan Riemen’s election as Chair was an interim measure, the rest of the new board was not appointed by the former board.

Jan Rofekamp was not in the former board (and not in the first board after the old board stepped down) and is therefore not a ‘remaining member’.
The wording in §7 ‘If a member of the Board during a term decides to step down, the remaining members of the Board may continue with a minimum of three members to act as a transitional until the next General Assembly’ is therefore no valid.

Furthermore the following issues were not addressed :

For a period there were only two board members.

‘The board may appoint an Executive director from outside the board’ §8, so Flore Deroose cannot be part of the board.

Three out of four members of the board needs to come from different countries.

Moving the office is against §1.

The termination of the old staff members contracts was executed by Paul Pauwels but while Jan Riemens was head of the board. As far as we know only one from the previous staff has a new contract with EDN, and this is one that is not working with content.

The main argument seems to be that an extreme situation called for extreme measures. But this is unacceptable. With a management (and I maintain that they are self-installed) that acts in total disrespect to the associations by-laws, how on earth can we trust that they work in the best interest of the paying members? And besides, what they are doing is basically against the law...


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DocsBarcelona Festival

Written 15-05-2019 12:05:37 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona  Festival

Yes, it is tonight that DocsBarcelona opens with the screening of "Aquarela" by Viktor Kossakovsky, a dear friend of the festival and a true master of cinema. The festival runs until the 25th with films in the CCCB, cultural centre, and in the Aribau Cinema. After being in airplanes for six hours travelling from Tbilisi in Georgia, I reached Barcelona last night ready to introduce and talk with some of the 25 directors, who will be attending. First nice challenge is to have a talk with Kossakovsky tomorrow at the CCCB Theatre at 19.30.

As you have seen on the FB link, I had a haircut and a shave in Tbilisi for CinéDoc festival and DocsBarcelona.

Click below to see the good programme we have put together.

www.docsbarcelona.com


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Winners of CinDOC-Tbilisi 2019

Written 15-05-2019 11:17:24 by Tue Steen Mller

Winners of CinDOC-Tbilisi 2019

International Competition

Best Film –The Disappearance of My Mother (Photo) - by Beniamino Barrese

Jury statement - “This film openly talks about respect, dignity, beauty and honesty. The film makes us think about how we treat privacy and who has the right to use it, which is a very important question for any documentary film. An emotional insight into a relationship between mother and son.”

Beniamino Barrese, Director of The Disappearance of My Mother - “A million times thank you for this great uplifting warming cinematic and human experience. It was so great! Looking forward to meet you all again and hopefully share more cinematic and human experience... We are full of the beauty of the last days, travelling to Poland. I haven't seen my mum so happy for a while and I'm so thankful of that to you all.”

Current Time TV Award - My father is My Mother’s Bother” by Vadim Ilkov

Kenan Alyiev, Executive Editor of Current Times TV – “The award goes to My Father is My Mother's Brother by Vadim Ilkov. In this touching and intimate documentary the director shows the fragility of parental bonds, and the mystery that imbues the relationship between a child and an underground artist in a family struggling for happiness and normality. With this award we recognize the power of the director to speak about current realities with an artistic approach, and the deep understanding he brings to the characters.”

Special Jury Mention – Honeyland by Lubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska

Jury Statement–“Exceptional images in a simple story that opens many



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Arthur Sukiasyan: Wound

Written 14-05-2019 05:52:19 by Tue Steen Mller

Arthur Sukiasyan: Wound

Csilla Kato, member of the Caucasus Jury at Cinédoc Tbilisi wrote this longer version of motivation for the winner:

Earthquake shakes our basic security feeling and the basic assumption, belief, that we can accommodate comfortable life on a supporting and peaceful earth.

Wound brings us into a human world where the Armenian earthquake stricken town people integrated this experience of living with open wounds of earthquake tragedy for a long run.

It is a state of being that can be spiritually rewarding, as one of the protagonists states, referring to the example of Job from Bible.The film builds up a special time world, with the slowly changing rhythm of the sequences, long takes with still images, as well as the rhythm of the movement of the people in the film. The jury appreciated the craft of minimalist cinema used by Arthur Sukiasyan, through which he succeeds to evoke the state of being of people on the edge of existence.

Armenia, 2019, 25 mins.

http://www.cinedoc-tbilisi.com/


Vurdering:

 
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Civil Pitch Tbilisi 2019

Written 13-05-2019 09:55:01 by Tue Steen Mller

Civil Pitch Tbilisi 2019

10 projects were part of the Civil Pitch in Tbilisi, one of the activities of the Industry section of Cinédoc Tbilisi festival in the capital of Georgia.

After a couple of days of training led by Daniel Abma and Brigid O’Shea, both from the DOKLeipzig, the NGO representatives and filmmakers were ready to present their projects to a panel including representatives from IDFA Bertha Fund, Baltic Sea Docs, Current Time TV, Golden Apricot Festival in Jerevan, One World Festival in Prague, DOK Leipzig…

The idea of the Civil Pitch is great: The NGO’s bring the subjects, the filmmakers the film skills. More or less, because many of the filmmakers were quite young and unexperienced – learning by doing.

They all did a good presentation, verbally, with passion and enthusiasm, more difficult with the visuals – the trailers/teasers – as many of the projects were very young as the filmmakers. What impressed me was the quality of language skills and that the NGO’s and filmmakers matched each other in a way that I sometimes had difficulties in understanding, who is who.

For me, who had the pleasure of moderating the session, the Civil Pitch gives me a fine inside to the troubles of the country, the issues needed to be discussed – like transgender, to be a young activist, to have lost a son in the war, people with disabilities, hate groups, pollution (yes, it’s terrible on the Rustaveli Boulevard) and North Ossetia that is a melting point of different cultures, the Ossetian, the Georgian and the Russian. Not to forget a project about a silent monk worshipped by thousands of people outside the official religious circles.

The venue – as previous years – was at the Open Society Georgia Foundation. Great hosts.

http://www.cinedoc-tbilisi.com/


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Nicolas Philibert in Tbilisi

Written 10-05-2019 06:28:42 by Tue Steen Mller

Nicolas Philibert in Tbilisi

After the screening of a beautiful 2018 restored copy of “Etre et Avoir”, the film by Nicolas Philibert, that he made in 2001 to be premiered in 2002, to be an amazing audience success in cinemas in France, 2 mio. spectators (!) and elsewhere – a conversation (see photo taken by Georgian film director Nino Orjonikidze) took place at the Cinédoc festival in Tbilisi between Philibert and me. One hour of talk with a master about the film just shown and about filmmaking as Philibert sees it after having been making documentaries since the mid of the 1970’es.

He is such a generous and thoughtful cinéaste which is easy to see if you know (some of) his films, let me just mention wonderful films like ”Nénette” (the orangutang who is soon celebrating her 50th birthday!), ”Every Little Thing”, ”La Maison de la Radio”, ”In the Land of the Deaf”, ”Louvre City”…

The conversation was recorded and will later be found on the site of the festival.

When my wife and I saw the film the first time, in 2003 I think is was, we were talking about the film and the method, the pedagogics of the teacher, now 15 years later we were talking mostly about the children in the film, who enter the school for the first time as do “our” grandchildren back in Copenhagen. Oh, childhood… and thanks for conveying all these magic and poetic moments of curiosity and innocence to us, monsieur Philibert!

http://www.cinedoc-tbilisi.com/ 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

EDN Bylaws Violated - Action Needed

Written 10-05-2019 05:41:52 by Tue Steen Mller

Calling all EDN members!!
It has come to our attention that dramatic changes have happened within the EDN organization – and as the members have not been notified, we hereby take it upon ourselves to point out a number of actions that are in direct violation of the EDN By Laws.

In § 6 of the EDN By Laws it is stated ‘The General Assembly annually elects the Board from candidates suggested by the sitting Board of the Association’.
The current board has not been elected by the members.

According to the EDN website the current board consists of 3 members – where 2 of them resides in Holland . 
According to the EDN By Laws, no less than 3 out of 4 members of the board must reside in DIFFERENT European countries.

The EDN office is in the process of moving from Copenhagen to Amsterdam.
In the EDN By Laws it is stated in §1 that ‘The association has its principal place of business in Copenhagen, Denmark with the right of having offices in different places elsewhere in Europe.’ To change this it needs to be brought to a vote amongst the members. Again, this has not happened.

Finally, we understand that all the EDN staff members that have worked with content at EDN, will stop during this summer.

Why have the EDN members not been informed of the abovementioned actions, and by this been stripped of our democratic rights as EDN members to vote on such essential issues? With this total lack of transparency, how can we as members trust that EDN as an organization represents the values and the needs of the members that for many years have supported the organization and its goals faithfully?



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CinDOC-Tbilisi Opened Last Night

Written 09-05-2019 13:54:50 by Tue Steen Mller

CinDOC-Tbilisi Opened Last Night

... in the Capital of Georgia. It was an unpretentious presentation with two skilled presenters and - unlike many international festivals - it happened in both Georgian and English language. With clips from all competitive sections (for the young, the Caucasus and the international competition) and from the Red Soul section that includes films by Vitaly Mansky, Dziga Vertov, Werner Herzog and others. A small section consequently includes a Red Soul Party with vodka, beer and Soviet food! Tonight. I am happy, see the photo, to be in the Caucasus jury, with Kenan Aliyev and Csilla Kato. Aliyev works with Current Time TV, that is sponsoring 3 awards at the festival (Intl. competition, Civil Doc and New Talent presentation), the channel is truly supporting new film people here and in other parts of Eastern Europe, bravo for that. Csilla Kato is from the reputed Astra Film festival in Sibiu in Romania. Which has been written about several times on this site - here is one of the links: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4372/

The opening film was "Honeyland", full house in the cinema for this masterpiece from North Macedonia. If you want to know more about that film, use the "search" and you will get there. Has been praised numerous times on this site.

http://www.cinedoc-tbilisi.com


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Time Trial as Doc of the Month

Written 05-05-2019 20:18:49 by Tue Steen Mller

Time Trial as Doc of the Month

DocsBarcelona starts in 10 days. I have written about the upcoming festival, link below.

But DocsBarcelona has many other rooms. One of them is the Documentary of the Month that includes one film being shown at 75 venues in Spain and later on in countries in Latin America. In cinemas, in culture houses, in libraries… check the link below.

It is an amazing film cultural initiative.

In the month of May, it is the Scottish director Finlay Pretsell’s “Time Trial” that is offered to the audience. Here is what the site says about the film:



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Laila Pakalnina in Paris

Written 03-05-2019 11:07:36 by Tue Steen Mller

Laila Pakalnina in Paris

So well deserved an honour – Latvian Laila Pakalnina has a big retrospective of her mostly short documentaries at Centre Pompidou in Paris, to be more precise, organised by La Cinématheque du Documentaire at the Bibliothéque Publique d’Information. 20 films will be shown. 2 weeks starting tonight.

Entitled ”Laila Pakalnina, Drôle de Réel”, ” La première rétrospective consacrée à cette cinéaste lettone en France, en sa présence..."

"Si le cinéma n’existait pas, je serais devenue marchande de glace (le premier métier dont j’ai rêvé). Mais le cinéma, c’est mieux que les glaces !" On peut d'abord se féliciter du choix de carrière de Laila Pakalnina, mais aussi tenter de définir son art à partir de son propos farceur… »

I know the films of Pakalnina since the 1990’es, where her b/w - with no words – short films like The Ferry, The Postman came out. Pakalnina’s films later on are very different, one from the other but always with her own special signature and always surprising and many times full of humour. She has indeed this « drôle » look at life.

For our French reading filmkommentaren visitors there is a long fine article on the site of the Cinématheque, link below. Here is a small quote from an article on this site, caption « Fishing in the River of Time » :

– Every film for me means risk. I am not craftsman; I am not delivering certain product. I am making film and that means breathtaking balancing between shit and art. I hope for art of course. And I admire this risk. As for me this is the only way how to make film… – I call my method of work “Fishing in the river of time”. As life is extremely talented, we just put camera, set composition and wait. And life happens. So film happens. Sometimes immediately, sometimes in hours and even days…

https://www.facebook.com/events/452694762202174/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4318/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/2435/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Forum Changes

Written 01-05-2019 08:52:06 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Forum Changes

… ”goes tailor-made, expands cross-media Market for 2019”, the festival announced yesterday, April 30, talking about pitch setups needed in a ”rapidly changing documentary industry”.

In the text, click below and read it all in details, it is stressed that the focus will be „more centered towards the specific needs of the pitching teams, paying attention to the uniqueness of each project and team, and inviting the teams to present their projects in the way that best suits their work and stage of development”. With feedback of course from financiers and THIS I LIKE VERY MUCH: ”to allow room for in-depth conversations about the artistic intentions and goals of the team.”

If I get it right there are three steps in the new pattern: Public pitch followed by feedback from a hand-picked panel and then individual meetings.

And, THIS I LIKE VERYMUCH AS WELL: ”… the Forum is adjusting to changing financing structures, while opening up to also include films with less clear-cut narratives and new ways of storytelling.” Meaning less boring formatted projects, more surprises, more experiments… hope I am right.

https://www.idfa.nl/en/


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How Big is the Galaxy?

Written 25-04-2019 19:43:01 by Tue Steen Mller

How Big is the Galaxy?

… is the title of the wonderful film by Ksenia Elyan, who won  the Best Feature Documentary Award at the Doker Festival in Moscow. I have seen it pitched on several occasions and the promises planted on these occasions were held. Charming boys, scenes full of energy and humour. Here is the synopsis:

“Zakhar lives among the vast Arctic spaces of Siberia, 100 miles away from human dwellings. He is 7, but he has his own reindeer and tundra for pasture. One day his nomad family is joined by a teacher, sent by the authorities to explain to the kids why why they need math and Putin. It’s the 1st grade for Zakhar and the 3rd for his brother Prokopy. The teacher is supposed to give them a standard set of knowledge, but Zakhar craves answers to millions questions about the world.” 

At the award ceremony in Moscow the director, asked the audience to stand up to honour Alexander Rastorguev, who was co-producer of the film – together with cameraman Kirill Radchenko and reporter Orhan Dzhemal he was killed while making a film in the Central African Republic on Russian mercenaries. It was a moving moment full of dignity. “Without him the film would never have been made”, she and Estonian producer Max Tuula said.

I saw the film at IDFA - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4411/

www.midff.com


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Krakow Film Festival

Written 24-04-2019 09:36:28 by Tue Steen Mller

Krakow Film Festival

Let me leave the floor to this very inviting and good festival itself with this quote from the website: KFF is one of the oldest events in Europe dedicated to documentary, animated and short feature films. Its core consists of four competitions of equal rank: documentary film competition, short film competition, national competition and music documentary film competition DocFilmMusic. During the eight festival days, the viewers have a chance to watch about 250 films from Poland and from around the world. They are shown in competition sections and in special screenings. The festival is accompanied by exhibitions, concerts, open-air shows and meetings with artists. Every year, the festival is visited by approximately 700 Polish and international guests: directors, producers, festival programmers and numerous Krakow audience...



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