Filmkommentaren

DocsBarcelona 2018

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

DocsBarcelona 2018

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

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Elvira Lind: Bobbi Jene/ 2

Written 17-04-2018 11:24:18 by Tue Steen Mller

Elvira Lind: Bobbi Jene/ 2

Med mere end 50 filmfestivaler på sit cv – og flere i vente bl.a. Ciné-doc i Tbilisi og DocsBarcelona i maj måned – får den fremragende danske dokumentarfilm ”Bobbi Jene” af Elvira Lind biografpremiere i Danmark den 19. April. I dagens Politiken er der et fint baggrundsinterview med instruktøren og filmens hovedperson. Gå ind og se den film, som har energi i hver eneste scene. Det er en sjælden smuk og usædvanlig oplevelse! Et citat fra pressematerialet:

Elvira Lind: "Da jeg mødte Bobbi Jene, stod hun som kvinde og kunstner konfronteret med et dilemma, og jeg så muligheden for at fortælle historien om en kompromisløs kvindelig kunstner, der ikke var bange for at skubbe grænser. Hun var aldrig bange for at være sårbar, samtidig med at hendes styrke og uafhængighed blev opretholdt. Jeg havde selv lyst til at se en film om nogen som hende."

Jeg så filmen i Vilnius Litauen for et halvt år siden på stort lærred og med de studerende lavede vi en anmeldelse, som jeg citerer fra:

… The love she feels for the 10 year younger Or… of course we talked about that. She is so open about it and she expresses her feelings constantly. Her smiles, her doubts, her disappointment when he does not want to stay with her in NY. I am not ready, he says and Israel is my country.

A student referred to Pina Bausch. Dancing is healing. I don’t know if the artist Bobbi Jene, who works so hard ”to get to a place where there is nothing to hide”, would formulate it like that. Her dancing is so strong and expressive, sculptural, naked both literally and as a metaphor for her search for freedom in all aspects. Her nakedness, even her voice has this fragility that you could call naked, one student said.

What a drama, what a film. I explained the students that we at filmkommentaren work with a rating system. How many pens would they give? Strong majority for 6… The best!

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4030/


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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Veronika Kaserer: berall wo wir sind/ 2

Written 16-04-2018 18:43:47 by Tue Steen Mller

Veronika Kaserer: berall wo wir sind/ 2

Veronika Kaserer graduated from the Zelig school in Bolzano/Bozen in Italy in 2010. Since then she has done many non-film activities and some shorter works. At the Berlinale she came with the feature duration documentary that won the festival’s

Compass-Perspektive-Award. I know Veronika from teaching at Zelig, she asked me to watch the film, I did – and want to share with you the fine, reflective jury motivation for the award. So well formulated it is:

Veronika Kaserer has made a film about grief, which at the same reminds us that life is worth living. With an astonishing closeness, unconventional montage, and many surprising moments, she portrays the last weeks and days of Heiko Lekutat, a 29-year-old Berlin dance instructor, and, most notably, his wonderful, big-hearted family. Does the film cause us pain because the family’s sorrow distresses us so, or do we suffer because we feel that the great intimacy to those grieving oversteps a line and in doing so impinges on our own sense of well-being? The editing constantly flashes back and forth between “before” and “after” Heiko’s death. Is it legitimate to disrupt the process of dying in this way in order to arouse, on an abstract level, empathy for the psychological and emotional process of grieving? The fact that a film triggers fierce sentiments and debates is a fine quality. We congratulate director, producer, and camerawoman Veronika Kaserer.

I wrote to Veronika…: It’s a very emotional film, it goes very close, you use the family archive material beautifully, you give the viewer time to breathe - I am amazed that the family gave you such an access and when we meet one day I would like to hear about your relation to Heiko, what you talked about, what shooting agreements you made with him; you show a lot of respect and you really catch the feeling of what it meant for the parents and the sister to go through all this.

I think you and Kathrin Dietzel (love that you stick together - with her and with Jakob Stark as Cameraperson, both former Zelig students) have chosen a daring editing structure. To comment on the jury’s comments above, it feels right to go before and after death, but is also means, my small criticism, that towards the end it feels a bit too long and repetitive some times. It’s a detail in comparison with what you have achieved.

There must be many festivals waiting for your film.

Germany, 2018, 92 mins.


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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Camilla Magid: Land of the Free

Written 15-04-2018 20:49:29 by Tue Steen Mller

Camilla Magid: Land of the Free

Time, yes, again Time means everything for many documentaries. And the other big T, Talent. And of course the most important quality for the documentarian, who cares… curiosity and compassion, maybe that is a big word, but in this case also a word that fits to the work done by a group of people, an NGO of volunteers, in Los Angeles, a priest, a psychologist/therapist and other social workers, who want to help people and families suffering from longer or shorter emprisonments. Camilla Magid, caring and compassionate, share the ambition to take strong human stories to the audience and she does it so well, because she has taken her time – the film is shot over a period of two years – and because she has a strong filmic talent as she already showed in her 2012 documentary ”White Black Boy”.

The film is structured around meetings in this Continuum, where



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Visions du Rel Starts Tomorrow

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

Visions du Rel Starts Tomorrow

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

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

FilmHotel und FilmUni Konrad Wolf

Written 06-04-2018 17:12:08 by Tue Steen Mller

FilmHotel und FilmUni Konrad Wolf

I live for several days at the Hotel am Griebnitzsee, which is wonderfully situated – as the name indicates – and the last two day I have been breakfasting in the terrasse of the hotel. Frühling is hier – in Potsdam, where the hotel is full of film: old cameras, photos. I pass every morning ten photos of the one and only ”die Asta” (Nielsen), Danish film star, who was acting in many films in Germany (1881-1972) before WW1 and after up to the end of the thirties, where she returned to Denmark. The only true film star we ever have had in Denmark.

At the Film University I have met 10-15 (depending on the days) dedicated film students (camera and direction and one from animation). They have seen and discussed films like ”Cameraperson” by Kirsten Johnson and ”Wongar” by Andrijana Stojkovic. The latter was awarded the other day in Belgrade, I am happy to say that it worked fine with the young German students, who have also heard their teacher talk about Agnès Varda, Frederick Wiseman, Miroslav Janek, Kossakovsky, Loznitsa, Pennebaker, Robert Frank, Herz Frank, Juris Podnieks, Maysles… and many others. And pitching and market.

This third day, however, has been the day of student films to be shown and discussed. Have to say it has been both joy- and fruitful, open discussions and constructive criticism. Tomorrow is the last day, we are to see Stasik`s ”21 x New York” and wrap up trying to define what is a documentary today.

Thanks to Peter Badel and Daniel Abma, who got me here and have treated me so well.

PS. Forgot to say that Rahul Jain passed by yesterday to show his masterpiece ”Machines” in one of the big cinemas that the school has. Rahul is excellent in talking about his film and where the inspiration came from.


Categories: TV, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Martovski Festival Awards Andrijana Stojkovic

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

Martovski Festival Awards Andrijana Stojkovic

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

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

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

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

http://martovski.rs/en/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Film History/ France

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

Film History/ France

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

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

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

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

www.evropafilmakt.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Film History/ Ukraine

Written 01-04-2018 11:04:04 by Tue Steen Mller

Film History/ Ukraine

Exciting it was to visit Dovzhenko Film Studios in Kiev, originating from 1927, carrying the name of Alexander Dovzhenko (1894-1956). And sad as well as the buildings stand alone (apart from a couple of sound studios and a fantastic store with props) and deserted – as I have experienced in other former Soviet republics, Latvia being one of them. But you can easily imagine the studio, that is like a small city in itself, with everything needed space-wise for big productions, flats for the important directors – and Dovzhenko was here.

Just to remind us, a text clip I googled:

”Along with Dziga Vertov, Sergei Eisenstein and Vsevolod Pudovkin, Alexander Dovzhenko is one of Soviet cinema’s early masters. Best known for his silent films, Zvenyhora (1928), Arsenal (1929) and Earth (1930), Dovzhenko holds a dominant place among avant-garde directors. It has generally not been recognized that Dovzhenko’s early canon was also an integral part of the Ukrainian cultural renaissance. This work looks at Alexander Dovzhenko’s Soviet Ukrainian trilogy in the light of the silent cinema’s early aesthetic and presents an analysis of the silent trilogy in the context of the Ukrainian Cultural Renaissance (1917-31)[2] and its dialogue with a wider modernist avant garde.”

The studio is today owned by the Ukraine state.

Photo taken by Roman Bondarchuk: Ellen Fonnesbech-Sandberg, Dar’ya Averchenko and me.  

http://rayuzwyshyn.net/dovzhenko/Introduction.htm


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Civil Pitch Winners at Docudays

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

Civil Pitch Winners at Docudays

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

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

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



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Arunas Matelis Class with a Master

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

Arunas Matelis  Class with a Master

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

New Top Portraits

Written 26-03-2018 23:10:18 by Tue Steen Mller

New Top Portraits

After a long time with three male directors, three female directors go to the top of the filmkommentaren.dk:

Maite Alberti, Agnès Varda, Giedre Zickyte.

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

Giedre Zickyte from Lithuania, who made the beautiful love story ”Master and Tatyana” in 2014, introducing to us the superb photographer Vitas Luckus and his dramatic life in Soviet Lithuania. Before that, in 2011, she had made ”How We Played the Revolution” that goes back to 1984, the beginning of perestroika in the USSR, where the rock group Antis had an impact on the fall of the empire…

Agnès Varda is in the middle, 89 years old master of cinema, who needs no further introduction for her volume of short films, fiction and documentaries, the latest – together with photographer JR – ”Faces, Places”, full of energy and originality.


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Docudays TV and Documentaries

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

Docudays  TV and Documentaries

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

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

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

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

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

docudays.ua/eng/2018/events


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Docudays: Looking for Lenin

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

Docudays: Looking for Lenin

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Warscape Winner Work-in Progress

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

Warscape Winner Work-in Progress

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Last Men in Aleppo..in Kiev

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

Last Men in Aleppo..in Kiev

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

http://docudays.ua/eng


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX 2018/ 12 Days

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

CPH:DOX 2018/ 12 Days

RAYMOND DEPARDON: 12 DAYS

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

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

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

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

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

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



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DocuDays Kiev Ukraine: Equality/ 2

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

DocuDays Kiev Ukraine: Equality/ 2

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

http://docudays.org.ua/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Awards at CPH:DOX

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

Awards at CPH:DOX

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

The jury states:

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

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



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CPH:DOX 2018/ Dreaming Murakami

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

CPH:DOX 2018/ Dreaming Murakami

NITESH ANJAAN: DREAMING MURAKAMI

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

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

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

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



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CPH:DOX 2018/ Giants

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

CPH:DOX 2018/ Giants

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

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

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

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



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Doker Moscow Russia

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

Doker Moscow Russia

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

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

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

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

https://www.midff.com/


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Marie-Clmence Andriamonta Paes: Fahavalo

Written 17-03-2018 14:10:49 by Tue Steen Mller

Marie-Clmence Andriamonta Paes: Fahavalo

”I’ll try to tell you the story”, says the weak old man in a blue shirt with a hat on his head. He is adressing the camera crew. ”I was 22 in 1947”, the year that is the focus of the film, the year when a rebellion took place led by the ”Fahavalo”, the enemies it means, against the French who had colonised Madagascar. An uprising against the Vazaha, the French, the Europeans. He was one of the freedom fighters and he paid his price, 8 years and 9 months in prison. The rebels were hiding in the forests and long after they were defeated, many of them were still there.



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Tsymbal & Smoljanski: Two Painters

Written 13-03-2018 14:20:05 by Tue Steen Mller

Tsymbal & Smoljanski: Two Painters

… Oscar Rabin and Valentina Kropivnitskaya, their lives and their art. I knew the name Rabin in beforehand and that he is exiled, living in Paris now, 90 years old, but I had never really heard the story about him as an artist in the USSR and I did not know that his wife Valentina was such an excellent artist. All that was clarified because I met Alexander Smoljanski at DOK Leipzig, who invited me to watch the two films about the artist couple. The film are introduced like this on the website:

”This is a film project in two parts showing the story of the leader of the Soviet underground artists, painter Oscar Rabin, and his wife, painter Valentina Kropivnitskaya. It is a story of painters who never betrayed their artistic principles and always fought to show how powerful a weapon nonviolent resistance can be – it’s a story of love, art and human dignity.”

I learned a lot from the two films. About the Lianozovo group of so-



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East Doc Forum 2018

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

East Doc Forum 2018

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

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

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



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The Winning Projects at EDP in Prague

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

The Winning Projects at EDP in Prague

- EDP standing for East Documentary Platform.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Modern Times Review Spring 2018

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

Modern Times Review Spring 2018

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

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

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

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

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

www.moderntimes.review


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EDN Award to DOC Lab Poland

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

EDN Award to DOC Lab Poland

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

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

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

Photo: Adam Slesicki right, Ove Jensen EDN left.

www.edn.dk


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New Resistance..in the streets of Prague

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

New Resistance..in the streets of Prague

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



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Czech Docs Coming Soon

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

Czech Docs Coming Soon

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

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



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East Doc Calls for New Resistance

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

East Doc Calls for New Resistance

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

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

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

https://dokweb.net/cs/


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Thessaloniki Doc Festival 20 Years

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

Thessaloniki Doc Festival 20 Years

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

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

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

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

http://www2.filmfestival.gr/en

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


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Awards at ZagrebDox

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

Awards at ZagrebDox

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



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Oscar Doc Nominations/ 2

Written 02-03-2018 11:05:03 by Tue Steen Mller

Oscar Doc Nominations/ 2

The Oscars are to be given out in a couple of days. The media are full of articles, where film journalists and reviewers tell the readers, who their favourites are and who they think will be the winners. It’s all about feature/fiction films and actors. Very seldom documentaries are mentioned. Although the Oscars is not the most important event for the it should be said that the selection of the films nominated as I wrote late January includes ”good and very good films”.

At that time I had only seen two of the films, ”Last Men in Aleppo” by Feras Fayyad with Søren Steen Jespersen and Kareem Abeed as producers. Happy to read that Abeed now has got his visa so he can take part in the ceremony. In her review (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3858/)

Sara Thelle praises the cinematography and editing and writes ” it is documentation of war crimes and crimes against humanity, right there in front of your eyes. It is extremely disturbing and hard to watch.” An obvious candidate for the Oscar.

The other film I had seen was ”Icarus” by Bryan Fogel and Dan Cogan (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3242/), the weakest of the five nominated films.

Whereas ”Faces, Places” by Agnès Varda & JR is such a warm and charming personal film made in the loose essayistic style, also an obvious candidate, read the review (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4161/)

The same goes for ”Strong Island” by Yance Ford. On the website of the film it is characterised precisely as ”intimate and meditative”, it is brilliantly constructed, it never goes sensationalistic even if the film is about a murder (of the brother of the director), it has the most fantastic mother of the murdered and the way it holds back information for the viewer stresses that this is a film about a family and an unbearable loss. If the Oscar should go to a film because of its aesthetic qualities – cinematography, editing – ”Strong Island” stands out.

Steve James finally was nominated with his fine ”Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”, a warm portrait of the Chinese family Sun and their bank problems. I loved to be with them in NY Chinatown but was a bit disappointed after having seen he director’s previous films – ”Hoop Dreams”, ”The Interrupters”, ”Life Itself”.

http://oscar.go.com/nominees


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DocuDays Kiev Ukraine: Equality

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

DocuDays Kiev Ukraine: Equality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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DocuDays in Kiev Ukraine

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

DocuDays in Kiev Ukraine

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

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

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

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

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


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Wonderful Losers and DocuDays UA

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

Wonderful Losers and DocuDays UA

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

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

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


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Marie Wilke: Aggregat

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

Marie Wilke: Aggregat

REVIEW WRITTEN BY GEORG ZELLER

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

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

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

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

Germany, 2018, 92 mins.


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Docs & Talks/ 8

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

Docs & Talks/ 8

ALICE DIOP: ON CALL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

France, 2016, 90 mins.


Categories: Cinema, Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Vladimir Kara-Murza: Nemtsov

Written 21-02-2018 15:49:34 by Tue Steen Mller

Vladimir Kara-Murza: Nemtsov

According to NY Times, journalist, tv-host and political activist Karza-Murza, was in coma one year ago due to, what could have been an (the second one) attempt to poison him. Performed by Russia. He survived. The journalist, who is vice chairman of the Open Russia movement, and chairs the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom, published January 12 an article in Washington Post, where he touches upon the actual ban of Alexei Navalny to run for president this year… and in the paragraph before he writes:

”Two prominent opposition leaders were planning to run against Vladimir Putin in this year’s presidential election. One was Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister and regional governor, four-term member of parliament, and the only authentic opposition politician who won an election in Putin’s Russia, becoming a regional legislator in 2013. He was planning a return to the Russian parliament in 2016 and considering a challenge to Putin in 2018. The plans came to an end when Nemtsov was gunned down in the center of Moscow on the evening of Feb. 27, 2015. That, of course, disqualified him from the ballot.”

Karza-Mura is in Copenhagen tomorrow, where he shows his tv-portrait of Nemtsov and presents his view on Russian politics today.

It takes place in Cinemateket thursday at 16.15

Photo: Nemtsov and Kara-Murza

Russia, 2016, 66 mins.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/06/world/europe/russia-vladimir-kara-murza-putin.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/democracy-post/wp/2018/01/12/if-putin-is-so-popular-why-is-he-so-afraid-of-competition/?utm_term=.c94169fdecdf


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Docs & Talks/ 6

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

Docs & Talks/ 6

ZANBO ZHANG: THE ROAD

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Corneliu Porumboiu: Football Infinite

Written 20-02-2018 16:18:12 by Tue Steen Mller

Corneliu Porumboiu: Football Infinite

Here comes the website description of this original Romanian documentary, so precise that there is no reason for me to add anything, after that my thoughts about the film:

They talk about the beautiful game, but for Laurențiu Ginghină, it’s not enough. Football must be modified, streamlined, freed from restraints; corners are to be rounded off, players assigned to zones and subteams, norms revised. In retrospect, he first realized that the rules of football were wrong when he was tackled during a game in his youth, in the summer holidays, on another pitch now covered in snow, but in Vaslui, not Bucharest. The tackle hit so hard it fractured his fibula, a year later his tibia broke too, on New Year’s Eve 1987, he had to walk home in the snow and no one helped him. Today he’s a local bureaucrat with an uninspiring job, it’s no wonder he prefers to talk about the game, his own version of it, to Porumboiu, his friend, the director, who’s always listening, asking questions, nearly always in frame. Ginghină’s monologues



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Agns Varda & JR: Faces Places

Written 19-02-2018 14:28:14 by Tue Steen Mller

Agns Varda & JR: Faces Places

The title in French is Visages Villages – more precise than the English one, as it is mostly villages the two artists visit to meet locals, take their photos, make them grand format, large scale and paste them on big walls. The name of the mobile photo booth of JR is Inside Out Project – a project it is, that the two perform and the result is the creation of a charming and warm meeting between the two of them – she 88 and he 33 – who travel to make homage to people they meet, and to places that are abandoned in the French countryside.

There is the touching sequence from the former mining town, where only one woman lives. Varda and JR put photos from the good mining times on the walls, of miners, and of the lonely woman, who is touched to see herself in that scale.

Each photo tells a story, says Varda, who as a true documentarian declares in the beginning of the film in her home/studio in Rue Daguerre in Paris that ”chance has always been my best assistant”, so let’s go. And they do and invite the audience to meet farmers, goats with and without horns, lots of cats, she is a cat lover Varda, dockworkers and their wives, a postman who is no longer coming by bike and many others.

But the film also turns its perspective towards Varda, who remembers, goes to the tiny graveyard where Henri Cartier-Bresson is buried, to Normandy where she took photos of the photographer Guy Bourdin, we are with her to the eye doctor, which is no problem for her – cut to Bunuel and his ”Un Chien Andalou” – and she wants to honour Jean-Luc Godard and make JR take off his dark glasses as she made Godard do in a short film from 1961.

This review is written with a smile on the face, I have just seen a playful essayistic documentary by a master, masterly co-directed by JR, who as Varda says is very good with old people – together they go to his grandmother, who is over 100 years old.

France, 2017, 89 mins.


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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Democrats Ban Lifted in Zimbabwe

Written 19-02-2018 11:01:16 by Tue Steen Mller

Democrats Ban Lifted in Zimbabwe

This text is taken from the newsletter that came out some days ago from Doc Society with the headline “Victory for Freedom of Speech in Zimbabwe”:

We’ve just heard great news that in a groundbreaking court order, Zimbabwean High Court Judge Justice Muremba has lifted the ban on the internationally acclaimed documentary Democrats . The award-winning film chronicles Zimbabwe’s writing of its first democratic constitution during 2010-2013. In the photo is Democrats director Camilla Nielsson with Chris Mhike, from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, and MP Brian Chuma.
Bertha grantee and Good Pitch Europe alumni Camilla Nielsson had full access to the political process behind the 2013 constitution-making, led by a Parliamentary Constitutional Committee. After her resulting film, Democrats, was released in 2014, it toured the world to win more than 30 international awards for its honest fly-on-the wall account of how Zimbabweans from across the political divide worked together to produce a progressive democratic constitution. The New York Times called the film “Outstanding, urgent, vivid. Finally a film that deserves to be called necessary.” Zimbabweans, however, were not allowed to see the film as the Censorship Board banned it as “Not suitable for public viewing.”

The case was argued by human rights lawyer Bellinda Chinowawa, who called the High Court order: “A great victory for all Zimbabweans” which will assist in expanding media freedom in Zimbabwe – as intended in the Constitution. Camilla Nielsson said: “After a 3-year delay, we can now finally distribute the film in the country where it was made.”

hello@docsociety.org


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH: DOX 2018/ 20 Films

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

CPH: DOX 2018/ 20 Films

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

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

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

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

Mikala Krogh: A Year of Hope

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



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CPH:DOX 2018/ Intro

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

CPH:DOX 2018/ Intro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://cphdox.dk/en/

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Veronika Kaserer: berall Wo Wir Sind

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

Veronika Kaserer: berall Wo Wir Sind

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

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

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

Germany, 2018, 92 mins.

www.berlinale.de


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Zalmanson-Kuznetsov:Operation Wedding

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

Zalmanson-Kuznetsov:Operation Wedding

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

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

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

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

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

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

Israel, Latvia, 2016, 63 mins.

www.dfi.dk


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Cineuropa Interviews EDNs Paul Pauwels

Written 09-02-2018 11:28:44 by Tue Steen Mller

Cineuropa Interviews EDNs Paul Pauwels

Cineuropa is a good source if you want to know, what happens in the film world. In the latest edition of the newsletter you will find a brief but informative interview with EDN director Paul Pauwels, who talks about the Media and Society initiative that he and the organisation has launched, including meetings with professionals - next week one is announced at the European Film Market of the Berlinale. I steal a quote from the interview, link to the whole text below:

PP: For 20 years, EDN has been supporting the European documentary sector, and I dare say that we have done this very successfully. However, digital technology has allowed new players to enter the market, and this has turned the power structures within the media environment around. The result is that the "old" business model has been disrupted; the model that for decades has allowed independent documentary producers and directors to contribute in a significant way to the European media landscape. Increasingly, we have noticed that the model that worked so well in the past is now being challenged, and the position of the independent creative documentary is under pressure. This is happening at a time when the media's influence on the audience's thoughts, values and behaviour is stronger than ever. We are experiencing a paradigm shift that forces us to reflect on how to protect the position of the independent documentary in a global, mediatised society. EDN is not impervious to this challenge: we, too, have to think about the needs of our community and how best to serve it. We are convinced that we can only successfully protect the interests of the independent European documentary community if we have accurate facts and figures at our disposal, something that our community has never been good at providing. Taking stock of the current situation of the European documentary environment and preparing to defend its position within the European audiovisual landscape are what made us decide to launch Media & Society.

http://cineuropa.org/it.aspx?t=interview&l=en&did=346968


www.edn.network


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

ZagrebDox 2018 Program Ready

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

ZagrebDox 2018 Program Ready

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

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



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Docs & Talks/ 3

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

Docs & Talks/ 3

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

MARC EBERHARDT: MEUTHEN’S PARTY

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

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

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

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



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Sergei Loznitsa to Receive Award in Krakow/ 1

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

Sergei Loznitsa to Receive Award in Krakow/ 1

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

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

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

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

http://www.kff.com.pl


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sergei Loznitsa to Receive Award in Krakow/ 2

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

Sergei Loznitsa to Receive Award in Krakow/ 2

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

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

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

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

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

http://loznitsa.com/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Magnificent7 Gets Support

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

Magnificent7 Gets Support

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Docs & Talks/ 2

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

Docs & Talks/ 2

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

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

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



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Protest from Magnificent7 Festival Belgrade

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

Protest from Magnificent7 Festival Belgrade

Dear audience, dear friends of the Festival,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Belgrade, January 19, 2018.

Festival Directors
Svetlana and Zoran Popović



Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Orwa Nyrabia Artistic Director of IDFA

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

Orwa Nyrabia Artistic Director of IDFA

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

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

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

In 2012, Nyrabia was arrested in Damascus for his political



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Oscar Doc Nominations

Written 23-01-2018 22:21:38 by Tue Steen Mller

Oscar Doc Nominations

Sooo, today was the day where the 15 documentaries on the shortlist that we brought in December, link below, was to become the 5 to be nominated. No Ai WeiWei, no Wiseman, no Matthew Heinemann but good and very good films.

Facebook has been full of congratulations to those, who have gone that far, and from here comes the same.

Here is the list, alphabetical order:

ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL

Steve James, Mark Mitten and Julie Goldman

Steve James is a great director (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters and Life Itself that we reviewed here: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3242/

FACES PLACES

Agnès Varda, JR and Rosalie Varda

Hmmm, feel ashamed that we have written so little about Varda during the years and this one has been praised everywhere!

ICARUS

Bryan Fogel and Dan Cogan

Available on Netflix, saw it, one of those where “content is King” but as a Film, well. Read few words here: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3242/

LAST MEN IN ALEPPO

Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed and Søren Steen Jespersen

Happy to see this awards-all-over film also for the Oscars. The film is produced by Larm Media and Aleppo Media Center. Review here: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3858/

STRONG ISLAND (photo)

Yance Ford and Joslyn Barnes

Also on Netflix and on top of my viewing list, recommended by many, including the one with whom I share the subscription – and of course another BRAVO to the coproducer FinalCut for Real, its manager Signe Byrge Sørensen and editor, master Janus Billeskov Jansen.

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4107/

http://oscar.go.com/nominees


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Phie Ambo Retrospective at DocPoint

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

Phie Ambo Retrospective at DocPoint

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://docpointfestival.fi/en/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Wajda at Work

Written 18-01-2018 20:52:53 by Tue Steen Mller

Wajda  at Work

He died in 2016, Andrzej Wajda, 90 years old. A quote from Guardian’s obituary: ”Polish cinema burst upon the world in the 1950s with Andrzej Wajda’s war trilogy, A Generation, Kanał and Ashes and Diamonds, with the director becoming the voice of disaffected postwar youth. A generation later, Wajda, who has died aged 90, was the voice of Poland again, as the country struggled to survive political and economic turmoil.”

And why this text now… simply because I first now got to watch the film about him, ”Andrzej Wajda – Let’s Shoot”, filmed during the shooting of ”Katyn” that came out in 2007, the film about the Soviet massacre in 1940, where about 22.000 Polish prisoners of war were killed in the forest Katyn in Western Russia.

The film about Wajda making the film, however, is not about the



Read more / Ls mere

Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Andrijana Stojkovic: Wongar

Written 17-01-2018 12:17:17 by Tue Steen Mller

Andrijana Stojkovic: Wongar

Some films do not need the pressure of actuality that many broadcasters and festivals want for their audience. Many films would benefit from resting in the editing phase for the maker(s) to come back and look at the material with fresh eyes. Deadlines for delivery block this most of the time.

My dear friend Serbian Andrijana Stojkovic went to and fro the editing room for her film “Wongar”. For years. Well, for the decade it took, she did a feature film, “The Box”, she has been teaching documentaries, she has been part of the team behind the Magnificent7 festival in Belgrade, she has been editing with Syrian directors, she is producing… but she has also been hesitating. She has been doubtful how to finish the film.

Now it is there, finished and waiting for festivals to pick it up for a world premiere. Photography: Portuguese master Joao Ribeiro, producer Jelena Stankovic.

I am happy for her. The film is good. It shows that the



Read more / Ls mere

Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Dragon Award Best Nordic Documentary

Written 15-01-2018 14:56:07 by Tue Steen Mller

Dragon Award Best Nordic Documentary

It’s a period of nominations for awards here there and everywhere. The national ones, the international ones. ”Who can bear to be forgotten”, as a line in a famous classic documentary goes. It means something to be on a list, to be appreciated, it’s not only red carpet and glamour. It helps get the films to an audience. Let’s mention the award given to a documentary at the Göteborg Film Festival in February. The quality focus is here obvious, when you see who got the award the three previous years:



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Juln & Alexievich: Luybov Love in Russian

Written 12-01-2018 11:08:25 by Tue Steen Mller

Juln & Alexievich: Luybov Love in Russian

Julén with the first name Staffan, experienced Swedish documentarian, shares the same appreciation for Svetlana Alexievich as I do. Click the link below for a text I wrote about her after reading her beautiful book ”Second-Hand Time” during the summer of 2017. In that text she describes her documentary working method as a writer:I don't just record a dry history of events and facts, I'm writing a history of human feelings. What people thought, understood and remembered during the event. What they believed in or mistrusted, what illusions, hopes and fears they experienced… That made her book one of the best if you want to understand the Soviet Man.

Staffan Julén has for years followed Alexievich, when she is



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Arunas Matelis: Wonderful Losers/ Poster

Written 09-01-2018 19:29:24 by Tue Steen Mller

Arunas Matelis: Wonderful Losers/ Poster
It's not only because he is Danish... but also because it is such a good poster that reflects, what the film is about, the hard job that Chris Anker Sørensen (nickname in Danish: Oksen fra Hammel) and many others have as road bicycle riders. "Wonderful Losers" yes, who don't give up easily. Arunas Matelis, the director of this already two times awarded film found a part of the dialogue that Sørensen has in the film with the doctors in the car that follows:
Doctor (in driving doctors car) : Ask him if he hit his head…   Did you hit your head? He’s not even answering! Hold on! - Do you have a problem?  
Sørensen (next to the car) : Just... I don’t remember anything.  
D: You don't remember?
S: No. 
D: Does your head hurt?  Are you hurt? Stop! No, it doesn’t hurt very seriously, but he doesn’t remember anything.  
Hold on! Do you remember falling?
S: Yes... I fell... I remember…  
D: What? 
S: Only a small part…  
D: Do you remember only a small part? 
S: Yes, yes, yes.  
D: Can you see well or foggy? What about eyes? Can you see well?
S:  Yes, yes, well. I remember my name…
D:  Ok.
S:  I also remember my daughters… 
D: He remembers his daughters names. Good. If anything changes, if you feel sick, tell us! If you feel like vomiting… Well, he says he remembers what his daughters are called.  
... Arunas Matelis: About Chris Anker Sørensen - Although his role in the film is small, it is essential to me. When Mark Olexa captured him with his camera, I was convinced - I can do the film. Paradoxical as it may seem, the man keeps on pedalling even confused, having no recollection of falls, and maybe - the direction to where he's going. He keeps on moving, never stops even for a little break to clean up the wounds or to reassure the doctors in the medical car that everything's all right. All he remembers is his children's names. This could only happen in a documentary!
Photographer Gintas Berzinskas, poster designer Justinas Dadonas.

Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Kissinger and Giedre Zickyte

Written 30-12-2017 16:53:41 by Tue Steen Mller

Kissinger and Giedre Zickyte

“It was the last shooting for our upcoming documentary THE JUMP, starring former United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Dr. Henry Kissinger. It was a huge honour to have the opportunity to conduct this interview for our film.

THE JUMP is a retelling of a famous Cold War incident in which a Lithuanian sailor jumped from the Soviet onto the US ship and sought political asylum, only to be refused sanctuary and handed back to the Soviets. This incredible story, full of twists and turns, reverberated throughout the world in the 70’s and is still relevant today.”


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Lars Feldballe Pedersen: Prsidenten fra Nordvest

Written 27-12-2017 19:10:08 by Tue Steen Mller

Lars Feldballe Pedersen: Prsidenten fra Nordvest

It’s a Dane writing this review. Important to say as the main character of this film, Ahmed Dualeh, is Danish, well he is born in Somalia but has been living in Denmark for 47 years – and he speaks the most perfect, classic Danish. An accent is there but the vocabulary is huge, which is heard, when he in first person tells the amazing story about his life in the country he loves and where he settled in 1967. He became a captain of ships at Maersk, he set up his own company and became a millionaire, he established a family… but he has his heart in Somalia, where he was born in poverty, adopted by an Italian family, and where he – voted by exile Somalis – became the president of Jubaland in 2012, the republic in the South of Somalia. As it turns out there are many other, who want that job, and also a position as prime minister is not reachable for the charismatic idealistic man, who wants to help his native country and dedicates a lot of time to go to political meetings and to meet people in the streets. Most of the time outside Jubaland, in Mogadishu or in neighbouring Kenya as Jubaland still is a dangerous place because of warlords.

The structure of the film goes from here to there, from Denmark to Somalia, from the family to politics. Very simple and efficient. His wife Zhara is worried about him – and their life together - as he is so much away from home. In a scene she is packing her suitcase, cut to him trying to catch her by phone, no success, cut to a daughter who tells him to stop all that travelling, cut to him and wife on what is said to be the last tour, where he is bringing computers and other technical equipment to a school in his native region in Somalia.

Apart from the drama, which is actually not described as a drama, of the couple who has been together for 45 years, the film lives through the way he – and she – is described. An almost constantly smiling, well formulated positive Danish Somali and his adventurous life with Zhara. You will be in a good mood watching this film, which of course also in a Denmark of today full of restrictions towards foreigners is a very timely documentary.

Denmark, 2017, 65 mins.


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Categories: TV, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Best Documentaries 2017/ Intro

Written 25-12-2017 18:50:04 by Tue Steen Mller

Best Documentaries 2017/ Intro

Per tradition I have gone through the texts on this site to find, what I see as the best documentaries of 2017. I stopped at 16 titles – half of them come from the Eastern part of Europe. Am I one-sided? Many will probably say ”yes you are”, but it is a fact that in 2017 – contrary to another fact: that funding is much less in Eastern Europe compared to for example in France and Germany – creative, personal cinematographic works came from directors in Poland, Serbia, Lithuania, Romania, Czech Republic/Slovakia and Russia. Let me remind you that it was a Romanian film (”Licu”) that won first prize at DOK Leipzig and a Serbian at IDFA (”The Other Side of Everything”)

Another positive aspect of the list is that new names mingle with well known as Leonard Helmrich, Talal Derki, Arunas Matelis, Vit Klusak, Elvira Niewiera/Piotr Rosolowski and Ai WeiWei. I refer to Marta Prus, Simon Lereng Wilmont, Mila Turajlic, Mohamed Siam, Mindaugas Survila, Ana Dumitrescu, Elvira Lind, Ní Chianáin and David Rane. Julia Bobkova, Ana Dumitrescu.

I stopped at 16. I could have added Frederick Wiseman and his film on the New York Public Library, which was loved by me, who was once long long ago educated librarian. And I am sure that if I had seen Agnès Varda’s ”Faces Places” or the new film by Raymond Depardon, they could have been candidates.

But veterans have to wait – and let me just remind you that if you miss Raoul Peck’s masterpiece ”I’m not your Negro”, Rahul Jain’s ”Machines” that is on most hit lists coming out right now, ”Cameraperson”, ”Austerlitz”… they were on the 2016 list that you can check here:

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3782/

Photo from "The Distant Barking of Dogs" by Simon Lereng Wilmont.


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Best Documentaries of 2017

Written 25-12-2017 18:12:59 by Tue Steen Mller

Best Documentaries of 2017

Marta Prus: Over the Limit

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4091/

Leonard Helmrich:The Long Season

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4092/

Talal Derki: Of Fathers and Sons

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4094/

Simon Lereng Wilmont: The Distant Barking of Dogs

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4099/

Mila Turajlic: The Other Side of Everything

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4096/

Mohamed Siam: Amal

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4087/

Mindaugas Survila: The Ancient Woods

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4086/

Arunas Matelis: Wonderful Losers

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

Ana Dumitrescu: Licu – A Romanian Story

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4076/

Ai WeiWei: Human Flow

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

Elvira Lind: Bobbi Jene

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4030/

Niewiera/Rosolowski: The Prince and the Dybbuk

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

Julia Bobkova: The Last Waltz

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

Vit Klusak: The White World According to Daliborek

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3959/

Kasper Collin: I Called Him Morgan

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4046/

Ní Chianáin and Rane: In Loco Parentis

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3821/


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Yulia Grigoryants. Photographer/ 2

Written 22-12-2017 20:01:10 by Tue Steen Mller

Yulia Grigoryants. Photographer/ 2

In the beginning of this month, December 2017, the Armenian photographer published a slate of photos and a text for ajjazeera, click the link below and you can see and read it all.

Here is some of Grigoryants text: In Gyumri time is measured as "before" and "after" the earthquake. On December 7, 1988, an earthquake measuring a magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter scale struck northern Armenia, killing at least 25,000 people and injuring hundreds of thousands more. A countless number of people were left homeless as high-rise apartment blocks collapsed like dominoes. Gyumri, Armenia’s second largest city, suffered much of the damage… the photo: Syuzanna, aged 9, plays inside old rusty cars in front of the abandoned building, where she lives with her family. Ten days ago, Syuzanna's father committed suicide because of debts he was unable to repay…

Copyright: Yulia Grigoryants/ al jazeera

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/forgotten-survivors-gyumri-earthquake-171004083707018.html


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Yulia Grigoryants. Photographer

Written 21-12-2017 14:20:19 by Tue Steen Mller

Yulia Grigoryants. Photographer

The times they are a changing… Years ago I met Yulia Grigoryants several times in the Caucasus region. In Tbilisi and in her own country Armenia’s capital Jerevan. She worked with local Bars Media and was the producer of the film ”The Chosen Ones” that ended up having the title ”One,Two,Three”. I already then knew her as an excellent documentary photographer so when I met her again in Paris last week – she is married to a French film producer and they live in Paris – I asked if she would be so generous to let us show you readers a couple of her photos. Here is the first one that has this text to follow:

Yazidi Gyozal (34 y.o.) bakes bread in the traditional bread house "tonratoon" in Yazidi village Rya Taza in Armenia. Gyozal hasn't seen her husband for the last 10 years. He emigrated to France and even hasn't seen his youngest son. Together with her 4 children Gyozal waits for the moment when he will be able to take them to France.

Photo Copyright: Yulia Grigoryants.


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Important Questionnaire from EDN

Written 20-12-2017 12:13:36 by Tue Steen Mller

Important Questionnaire from EDN

Ahhh again! Someone asking you to fill in a questionnaire – were you happy with the festival, the workshop, the hotel you stayed at, the dinner you enjoyed and paid for… You know it and you don’t like it. And if you don’t answer, be sure they will come back.

The same as director of EDN (European Documentary Network) Paul Pauwels (PP) and his office in Copenhagen has done again and again. BUT WITH QUITE A DIFFERENT AIM that points to the future. I have always been sceptical when it comes to studies, especially to academic ones, but having been pushed gently by PP, I clicked on the link below and went quickly to the questionnaire, that is actually very well put together showing that ”they” know what they are talking about.

It’s part of the EDN’s ”Media and Society” survey that EDN and partners want to be the fundament for setting up a policy for the future of the documentary genre, in all its aspects.

The questionnaire is NOT ONLY FOR EDN MEMBERS, who are primarily producers/productions companies and institutions. I would strongly advice also directors, camerapersons, editors etc. to take a look at the questionnaire.

And if I may be ”geographical”: EDN has far too few members from the Eastern part of Europe – and their situation is quite different from the (rich) countries in the West of Europe like France, Germany, the Nordic … so come on Baltic makers, Polish, Belorussians, Czech, Slovaks, Hungarians, Croats, Serbs, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Slovenians, Russians, Georgians, Ukrainians… take a look, give your answers, make your voices heard! How do you see the documentary world today and tomorrow? About 30 minutes online, it’s nothing!

http://edn.network/activities/media-and-society-initiative/


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Best of DAFilms 2017

Written 18-12-2017 13:46:24 by Tue Steen Mller

Best of DAFilms 2017

… DA standing for DocAlliance, “the creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals…”. We do it again, recommend our readers to sign up for a subscription for this unique quality vod. €5 per month!

“The end of the year is a perfect time for retrospection, evaluation and best of charts. In December, we at DAFilms traditionally give our program selection over to you, our viewers. The Curated Program includes the films that you liked and watched the most in the past year. Plus, as a Christmas bonus, we added a few new films that were successful at festivals and now receive an online premiere at DAFilms!

Our Christmas selection includes a whole range of documentaries. If you love animals, don’t overlook Do Donkeys Act? about the life of donkeys; narrated by Willem Dafoe! However, if you don’t come to DAFilms for animals, watch for instance El Sicario – Room 164, a portrait of a hitman who speaks on camera in strict anonymity…”.

Let me mention some of the gems among the 20 films mentioned in this x-mas greeting: Chris Marker (PHOTO) with “Lettre de Siberie” (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3983/) (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3946/), Ognjen Glavonic’s “Depth Two” (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3475/),

Salome Jashi’s “The Dazzling Light of Sunset” (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3525/). The two latter were both on this site’s “Best of 2016”.

And Viktor Kossakovsky’s “The Belovs” (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3371/)

Two classics and two neo-classics, can one put it like that?

www.Dafilms.com


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Web

Miroslav Janek: Universum Brdecka

Written 15-12-2017 23:57:02 by Tue Steen Mller

Miroslav Janek: Universum Brdecka

Got the newsletter from Czech IDF (Institute of Documentary Film) yesterday. One of the news highlighted was that Miroslav Janek has made a new film that will be released December 21. Janek is one of the heroes of filmkommentaren.dk, we have posted a lot of texts about him and his work and his portrait is with Robert Frank and Herz Frank on top of the site.

The new film is made together with Tereza Brdeckova, journalist and author and daughter of Jiri Brdecka - the artist the film is about, as the title says: ”Universum Brdecka”.

Marta Jallageas has made a fine mini-interview with Janek about the film – an interview that makes me curious to see the film and know about another fine Czech ”screenwriter, author and artist”, who made ”Lemonade Joe, The Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, Dinner for Adele, The Emperor and the Golem... These are just a few of the successful films written by Jiří Brdečka”, as the interview says.

The film has over five thousand cuts, says Janek, who again worked with his wife Tonicka as editor. ”We spent five months in the editing room… It seems like we were trying to break some editing world record here but that’s obviously nonsense. It’s about the way we tell the story. We picked a style that requires a lot of cuts but many would be hard to notice even for professionals… The key to selecting material was simple. Excerpts from Brdečka’s movies are not used to illustrate or inform about his work. Instead, we used them to create meaning so that they fit in with the subject discussed in individual scenes and enhance them both emotionally and aesthetically…”

Always interesting to read Janek’s thoughts on filmmaking, can’t wait to see the film about an artist I have never heard about. And the article includes the trailer of the film, very inviting, in Czech language, but does not matter, you get an idea of the man and the style of the film.

www.dokweb.net


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Macedonia Cuts Film Funding

Written 14-12-2017 22:34:08 by Tue Steen Mller

… by 25% in 2018, according to a headline in FilmNewEurope of today. If I get it right there will be 5m€ for film in 2018 – in 2017 it was 6m€, in 2016 6,5m€. No details are put forward, maybe Macedonian filmmakers know more…

So – as previous posts have revealed – it goes down in Catalunya for the television station, it goes up in Serbia via the Film Centre and down in the country just south of Serbian border.

… in France there is via the CNC 80m€ for documentaries…

http://filmneweurope.com


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Zhong Weixing Photos in Paris

Written 14-12-2017 21:46:42 by Tue Steen Mller

Zhong Weixing Photos in Paris

If you are interested in photography it is always a good idea, when you are in Paris, to visit Maison Européenne de la Photographie, a building in three floors with interesting exhibitions. We were there today and apart from a huge collection of portraits and reportage photos with Marlene Dietrich (the best is the one taken by Cecil Beaton, link below) there is – until beginning of January – an extraordinary exhibit of portrait photos by Chinese Zhong Weixing, who presents artistic interpretations of what he considers to be the best photographers in the world. ”Face à Face” is the name of the series. He is playing with light and shadows, many of them are in movement, he proves stylistical excellence. Names: Raymond Depardon, Salgado, William Klein, Yann Arthus-Bertrand and as you can see Robert Frank. And many others.

https://www.mep-fr.org/

http://www.zhongweixing.cn/

http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/39801/cecil-beaton-marlene-dietrich-british-1932/


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

ArtDocFest in Moscow

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

ArtDocFest in Moscow

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

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

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

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

Read the rest on this link:

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Shamira Raphala: Lenno and the Angelfish

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

Shamira Raphala: Lenno and the Angelfish

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

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

The Netherlands, 19 mins.

www.idfa.nl 


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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Bakar Cherkezishvili: Apollo Javakheti

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

Bakar Cherkezishvili: Apollo Javakheti

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

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

Georgia, 16 mins.

www.idfa.nl


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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Serbian Docs Positive News

Written 10-12-2017 13:15:53 by Tue Steen Mller

Serbian Docs Positive News

What a nice publication to have in hand: Serbian Docs 2017/18. There is a spirit of optimism in the catalogue, not only from the list of the many documentaries that are already out there but also from the list of upcoming works. The catalogue editor Nenad Miloševic calls it ”a new chapter”, the director of the Film Centre Boban Jevtic stresses the substantial support from the cinemagoers, reflected in the many festivals which show documentaries… I can only confirm the interest from the audience from my experience with the Magnificent7 festival in Belgrade through 13 editions. Seldom the amount of audience has been under 1500!

And the President of DOKSERBIA, the association of filmmakers and the publisher of the catalogue, Jovana Nikolic, uses the phrase ”finally united” and outlines the work DOKSERBIA does and intends to do, to make the documentary genre established as an independent art form.

Most important, however, are the figures presented in the catalogue: The Film Center Serbia allocated €307.048 for documentaries in 2014, in 2017 it was €811.350.

Reasons for optimism, indeed, of course also helped by the recent international recognition of ”On the Other Side of Everything” by Mila Turajlic and ”In Praise of Nothing” by Boris Mitic.

www.dokserbia.com


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

European Film Award to Polish Communion

Written 10-12-2017 00:34:25 by Tue Steen Mller

European Film Award to Polish Communion

No surprise and well deserved… the Polish documentary ”Communion” by Anna Zamecka was the winner of the documentary award of EFA, European Film Academy, announced in Berlin Saturday night. I am not a member of EFA but having talked to 5 voting members, who had seen all the films and who all said that ”Communion” was the film they liked most, I could guess that it could possibly be ahead of ”Austerlitz” by Sergey Loznitsa, ”La Chana” of Lucija Stojevic, ”Stranger in Paradise” by Guido Hendrix and ”The Good Postman” by Tonislav Hristov.

The film that is produced by Anna Wydra, Anna Zamecka, Zuzanna Krol, Izabela Lopuch & Hanka Kastelicova – in this case too many cooks apparently did NOT spoil the meal – was also very well promoted on the social media, it has already received several awards and it has a very competent outreach promoter, Dimitra Kouzi from whom – to exemplify – I just received valuable press material after the decison was made to give the award to the film.

We have written about the film several times, always bringing the same photo from the film. This time it will be a photo of the director, Anna Zamecka, congratulations, and again a Polish documentary on top of it all!. All that, and the involvement of HBO, will bring the film to a large audience.  


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Irving Penn at Grand Palais

Written 09-12-2017 16:08:11 by Tue Steen Mller

Irving Penn at Grand Palais

Grand exhibition at Parisian Grand Palais to be strongly recommended. Irving Penn, a photographer who was a true believer of the strenght of form and arrangement, but who also had the documentary curiosity, when he travelled for the fashion magazine Vogue. Especially when he was in Peru in Cuzco. And oh his portraits of Picasso, Marlene Dietrich, Hitchcock, Francis Bacon, Spencer Tracy, Joe Louis… Light and shadow, composition, framing, elégance!

”2017 marks the centenary of the birth of Irving Penn (1917-2009), one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century. This exhibition, organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and The Réunion des musées nationaux– Grand Palais, in collaboration with The Irving Penn Foundation,is the first major retrospective of the American artist’s work in France since his death. It looks back over his seventy-year career, with more than 235 photographic prints, all produced by the artist himself, as well as a selection of his drawings and paintings. The Irving Penn exhibition offers a comprehensive vision of the range of genres he worked in: fashion, still life, portraits, nudes, beauty, cigarettes and debris. With his fine arts background, Irving Penn developed a body of visual work that is defined by its elegant simplicity, a taste for minimalism and an astonishing rigour, evident from the studio to the darkroom, where he perfected his unique photographic prints…”

From the website, link below.

The exhibition is open until January 29 2018.

http://www.grandpalais.fr/en/event/irving-penn


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Oscars Shortlist Feature Documentaries

Written 08-12-2017 10:04:22 by Tue Steen Mller

Oscars Shortlist Feature Documentaries

From 170 to 15 and then on January 23 down to 5 nominations. Here are the 15 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title and director:

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail” (Steve James)

“Chasing Coral” (Jeff Orlowski)

City of Ghosts” (Matthew Heineman)

Ex Libris — The New York Public Library” (Frederick Wiseman)

Faces Places” (JR & Agnès Varda)

Human Flow” (Ai WeiWei)

“Icarus” (Bryan Fogel)

“An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” (David Guggenheim)

“Jane” (Brett Morgan )

LA 92” (Daniel Lindsay & T.J. Martin)

Last Men in Aleppo” (Firas Fayyad)

Long Strange Trip” (Amir Bar-Lev)

One of Us” (Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady)

Strong Island” (Yance Ford)

Unrest” (Jennifer Brea)

http://www.indiewire.com/2017/12/oscar-documentary-features-15-shortlist-1201905181/


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Astrid Bussink: Listen

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

Astrid Bussink: Listen

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

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

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

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

www.idfa.nl

The Netherlands, 2017, 15 mins.


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There is An Audience!

Written 06-12-2017 09:47:56 by Tue Steen Mller

There is An Audience!

Of course the previous post about the financial cuts of the TV3, the Catalan public television makes you sad as you know that there is an audience for creative documentaries in Catalunya and Spain in general. Which makes me praise the Documental del Mes, Documentary of the Month, that is an initiative by DocsBarcelona, born as a CinemaNet Europe’s project, in 2004. Since 2007, the development in Spain is led exclusively by Parallel 40. This piece of fine film culture politics is ”creating” an audience!

Quality documentaries are shown in 94 places ”in its original version subtitled in Catalan (for the audience of Catalunya, Comunitat Valenciana, and Illes Balears) and subtitled in Spanish for the rest of Spain, Chile and Colombia. Latest addition is El Salvador.

I asked Laia Aubia, ”Cap de Projecte”, to give me some figures. She mentioned that the Colombian ”Amazona” by Clare Weiskopf, produced by Nicolas van Hemelryck has had 77 screenings in Spain – around 12 more to come – with 5.115 spectators with 1551 online, and more than 32.000 at Colombian screenings, whereas the Danish ”Venus” by Lea Glob and Mette Carla Albrechtsen attracted 4.300 in Spanish cinemas and 8000 online.

Take a look at the website and you will see titles like Sean McAllister’s ”A Syrian Love Story”, Maite Alberdi’s ”Tea Time”, ”The Promise” by Karin Steinberger and Marcus Vetter and 2018 starts with Rahul Jain’s masterpiece ”Machines”. Almost all films that goes for the Documentary of the Month has been at the DocsBarcelona festival. The 2018 edition of the festival will take place May 16 till 27.

https://eldocumentaldelmes.com/en/


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Huge Crisis for Catalan Documentaries

Written 05-12-2017 10:58:33 by Tue Steen Mller

Huge Crisis for Catalan Documentaries

Below follows a translated article from the Catalan newspaper Ara´s online version written by journalist and critic Xavi Serra, who is also covering the festival DocsBarcelona. is one of the main Catalan newspapers:

"During the feast of the candidates for the Gaudí of the Catalan Film Academy that was held Tuesday at the Old Damm Factory, not everything was smiles, kisses and hand-held people among the people of cinema.

The presentation of the films registered in the 10th edition of the Gaudí awards revealed a reality that the sector knew was already coming for months: the general decrease in Catalan audiovisual production and, in particular, the great decline in the documentary , that of the 19 candidates of 2016 this year had only 9 enrolled, almost half of titles.

A bucket of cold water for Catalan non-fiction... and all the consulted voices in the sector agree to point out one main reason: the sharp decline in the economic contribution of TV3 to the co-production of documentaries.



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Serbian Documentaries in Paris

Written 02-12-2017 21:28:43 by Tue Steen Mller

Serbian Documentaries in Paris

It’s a pleasure to see that Serbian documentarians get international recogniiton. They deserve it. And I know what I am talking about. Since the beginning of this century I have had the privilege to go to Belgrade to help Svetlana and Zoran Popovic to make selection for the Magnificent7 film festival, that will happen for the 14th time in 2018.

Through the festival I have kept contact with talented and skilled filmmakers, who have fought to raise funding for their films, and for several of them they have also been instrumental to make the festival happen. Four of them will next week be in Paris. Their



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Boris Mitic: In Praise of Nothing

Written 01-12-2017 11:45:56 by Tue Steen Mller

Boris Mitic: In Praise of Nothing

Boris, I watched it two times

your film, so full of rhymes

I was not stressed,

felt actually quite impressed

I loved the voice of Iggy Pop,

does that make me an intellectual snob?

The cabaret music made me glad,

I could not sit still where I sat

The images are sooo fine,

enjoyable as the best wine

Your texts are sometimes crazy

really pleasing this viewer lazy

I see the film as a tribute to everything

from your alter Ego Mr. Nothing

… and to Glawogger our master

who fought against disaster

But why sarchastic to the genre docu

I don’t think it suits you

But happy that you are not a journalist,

not so happy when you are a moralist

That would be my main objection,

to a film that does not want perfection

but that wants to question it all, through fun,

and a beauty that sometimes made tears run

Trust your image elegance

and your verbal eloquence

Big hug

from a clumsy text in blog

Serbia and many other countries, 2017, 78 mins.

More about the film on http://dribblingpictures.com/slatko-od-nista/praise/


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Niels Pagh about Ai WeiWei & Human Flow

Written 30-11-2017 17:20:28 by Tue Steen Mller

Niels Pagh about Ai WeiWei & Human Flow

Documentary director Fredrik Gertten (the two Bananas films, Bikes vs. Cars, Zlatan) left his editing room in Malmø last night to go and see Ai WeiWei’s ”Human Flow” at a preview screening – the film premieres tomorrow theatrically in Sweden. Fredrik was so kind after the screening to take a photo of the editor of the film, Niels Pagh Andersen, together with me, who talked with Niels.

We had more than an hour to have Niels give background to why he was working with the world famous artist, how that work was organised, the aesthetic choices, the message that the Chinese artist wanted to send and much more.

Let me mention a couple of the things that came up:



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Simon Lereng Wilmont: The Distant Barking of Dogs

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

Simon Lereng Wilmont: The Distant Barking of Dogs

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

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



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Machines and Communion

Written 26-11-2017 17:19:03 by Tue Steen Mller

Machines and Communion

The Copenhagen audience will next week be treated with the best of the best of documentaries next week. “Machines” by Rahul Jain will have a two week run from wednesday in Empire Bio. My review, highest marks, can be read on http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3772/

Here is a quote: ...here is one more film that gives us evidence that you can tell in images…mentioning Michael Glawogger.

And the Polish film “Communion” by Anna Zamecka, nominated for the documentary award of EFA (European Film Award), will have a screening in Grand Teatret on wednesday as well, 21.15, the director will be there. Joshua Oppenheimer has said this about the film that “…(it) took my breath away, brought me to tears, left me contemplating mysteries of family…”


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Srgio Trfaut: Treblinka

Written 26-11-2017 12:25:46 by Tue Steen Mller

Srgio Trfaut: Treblinka
The portuguese director Sérgio Tréfaut/ Serge Tréfaut (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3388/) was back in Copenhagen with the film Treblinka. The screening took place at the Cinématheque at the Film House.
The Cinématheque that we so often have praised on this site for its excellent programming  and that I (Allan Berg lives in Randers hours away from Copenhagen) visit far too little even if it is only 10 minutes walk from home. Well, not totally right, we often go with the grandchildren to watch the morning screenings of mainly animation films.
Back to Tréfaut saturday night 7pm. Almost full house, a majority invited through the culturally active Portuguese embassy. Jesper Andersen.
programmer, who like me admires Tréfaut and his work, had chosen “Treblinka” knowing that the director also is a great speaker, which he
demonstrated before and after the 61 minutes long film.
About the background for the film he told the audience that he had had long conversations with the French director and writer AND holocaust
survivor Marceline Loridan-Ivens (born 1928); her last name refers to her long life with legendary documentarian Joris Ivens. He was impressed
by her will to life - “this small woman is like a bomb” - and had read her memoirs and heard her talk about her relations to trains. She is still
scared to enter a train… the trains to the camps…
That was one of the reasons why Tréfaut chose to let his film take place in trains passing though foggy or snowy Eastern European landscapes, with images that are most often doubled, with naked men and women sitting in the trains, some of them reciting the text, with the constant train sound. The images, composed by João Ribeiro, and the editing, create a dreamerish atmosphere, something horrible that happened in the past, the ghosts are still there for the survivors whatever they do to enjoy the Life.
The film essay, yes that’s what it is, is based on the memoirs of Chil Rajchman (Treblinka: A Survivor’s Memory), a Polish Jew, who was arrested
with his younger sister in 1942 and sent to Treblinka - a death camp where more than 750,000 were murdered before it was abandoned by German soldiers.
It took Tréfaut only weeks to film in the trains but a year to edit the work, that has been to festivals in 20 countries.
I had seen the film before on my computer, I can not recommend that. Was happy to watch it on a big screen with the brilliant aesthetic choice of
image and sound to convey an almost unbearable theme. No more holocaust films, it has been said many times especially at pitching sessions. Nonsense, you think, when you see Sérgio Tréfaut’s masterly done piece of Cinema.
 
Portugal, 2016, 61 mins.

Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Winners 2017

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

IDFA Winners 2017

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



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IDFA Notes on Four More Films

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

IDFA Notes on Four More Films

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

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



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Talal Derki: Of Fathers and Sons

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

Talal Derki: Of Fathers and Sons

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



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Bernadett Tuza-Ritter: A Woman Captured

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

Bernadett Tuza-Ritter: A Woman Captured

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

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

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

www.idfa.nl


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Leonard Helmrich: The Long Season

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

Leonard Helmrich: The Long Season

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

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

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

The Netherlands, 2017, 115 mins.

www.idfa.nl 


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Marta Prus: Over the Limit

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

Marta Prus: Over the Limit

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

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

Poland, 2017, 74 mins.

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

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


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Mila Turajlic: The Other Side of Everything

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

Mila Turajlic: The Other Side of Everything

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serbia, 2017, 104 mins. 

http://www.othersideofeverything.com

www.idfa.nl 


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Finlay Pretsell: Time Trial

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

Finlay Pretsell: Time Trial

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.timetrialfilm.com/ 


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Being at IDFA

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

Being at IDFA

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


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