Filmkommentaren

The 60th Krakow Film Festival will take place!

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

 The 60th Krakow Film Festival will take place!

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



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Yasmin Fedda: Ayouni

Written 30-03-2020 10:22:51 by Tue Steen Mller

Yasmin Fedda: Ayouni

First the short synopsis of the film, explaining the title and introducing…”Noura and Machi (who) search for answers about their loved ones – Bassel Safadi and Paolo Dall’Oglio, who are among the over 100,000 forcibly disappeared in Syria. Faced with the limbo of an overwhelming absence of information, hope is the only thing they have to hold on to. ‘Ayouni’ is a deeply resonant Arabic term of endearment – meaning ‘my eyes’ and understood as ‘my love’. Filmed over 6 years and across multiple countries in search of answers, Ayouni is an attempt to give numbers faces, to give silence a voice, and to make the invisible undeniably visible…”

… take a look at the photo above: Happiness. Noura and Bassel. A couple in 

 



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David Osit: Mayor

Written 28-03-2020 09:17:04 by Tue Steen Mller

David Osit: Mayor

Musa Hadid is the mayor in Ramallah. A busy man, who goes around in his city, talks to his citizens, tries to solve smaller and bigger problems. With a focus on the smaller. He wants the city to be welcoming foreigners on visit and first of all a nice place to live in. We are not replacing political leadership, he says, referring to what is the job of the President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen). The film, shot in 2017, follows the mayor when he and his city council prepare for the xmas celebrations – how should the xmas tree look like, how is his fountain outside the City Hall to be lit, in colours, with music. But Musa Hadid can not avoid the occupation – and he does not, when a German delegation visits with proposals on how to solve the everlasting conflict with the Israelis suppressors ! And it does not get better when the message from Donald Trump is announced : We are are going to have an embassy in Jerusalem. The consequent demonstrations and confrontations with the Israeli army entering Ramallah give the film a dramatic shift with the e-cigarette smoking mayor behind the glass walls of his city hall looking at youngsters throwing stones with the usual answer from the occupiers : tear gas.

The film follows the sympathetic mayor closely, you can only respect him at the same time as you understand his more than difficult job. At a point he talks about « dignity ». How is that possible if I am asked to undress by a 16 year old soldier from the occupying country, when I am travelling outside Ramallah. 

USA, 87 mins., 2020


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CPH:DOX 2020 Awards

Written 27-03-2020 19:19:01 by Tue Steen Mller

CPH:DOX 2020 Awards

Just watched the online award ceremony of CPH:DOX, very well performed with the festival director Tine Fischer and the two programmers Mads Mikkelsen and Niklas Engstrøm guiding the viewer from one competition category to another, with juries giving their motivations and filmmakers thanking - and with clips of films that will be seen in the coming days. Bravo!

The award winners - read https://en.cphdox.dk/nyhed/cph-dox-announces-its-2020-award-winners, the still is from the film that received, very well deserved, two awards: "Songs of Repression". 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Projects awarded first ZagrebDoxPro online edition

Written 27-03-2020 17:37:15 by Tue Steen Mller

Projects awarded first ZagrebDoxPro online edition

Copy-Paste of a press release from a couple of days ago, written so well by Petra Blaskovic, who also worked for IDFA 2019. Here we go:

Hungarian project Queen of Chess by Bernadett Tuza-Ritter won the HBO Europe Award, the Al Jazeera Balkans Award went to The Other Side of the Pipe by Marko Kumer Murč from Slovenia, Ever Since I Know Myself by Maka Gogaladze from Georgia received the ZagrebDox Pro Online Mentor Award, and Forbidden by Anelise Salan from Romania picked up the DAE Mentoring Pitch Award. 

This also concludes the first online edition of Zagreb Pro that took place from 15-23 March. 

Following a four-day online workshop and the Pitching Forum at which the 



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Natalija Yefimkina: Garage People

Written 26-03-2020 14:13:28 by Tue Steen Mller

Natalija Yefimkina: Garage People

I remember when it was pitched at the Baltic Sea Forum in Riga. My positive reaction was with a smile of surprise. And expectation to what the director would get out of it in the final film. Now the film is there and it keeps what it promised:

This is how Russian men in the snowy North of the country escape from the daily boredom to nurse a passion, to do something they like, to dream, to have a parallel life in a harsh mining area. The doors are opened to the garages and there you have the man, who suffers from the Parkinson disease but goes to work in his workshop. And there you have the group of friends, who have formed a band to play loud heavy-metal kind of music. And the grandson and grandfather at the garage, where the latter for decades – as his father - has dig out below to reach… yes, to reach what in the underground? And the ones who have turned the garage into a fitness centre! And the man (photo), who lost two wives but – we see that in the film – has a date that seems to turn out successful. 

Not to forget the man, who makes wooden icons and gets a visit from the priest, who wants an art piece for his church. As the only one we follow him (the artist!) to his home, where his wife scolds him for drinking too much. And yes, there is always a bottle in the garage.

There is a lot of vodka in the film; understandable under these weather and the poor living conditions you can imagine!?

This is a film, where no fingers are pointed. The director observes, she shows, but the way she shows, the building of the film, the cinematic choices she has made reveals clearly that she loves the protagonists, the characters, the participants.

Not long ago a filmmaker asked me why I am so fond of documentaries. My very banal short answer was: People, Life… This is one of those fims that gives me People and Life. Awarded at the Berlinale.     

Germany, 2020, 95 mins.


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Magnus Gertten: Only the Devil Lives Without Hope

Written 22-03-2020 19:22:31 by Tue Steen Mller

Magnus Gertten: Only the Devil Lives Without Hope

Dilya. That’s her name, the protagonist who has given the title to the film. She does not give up in her fight to get Iskandar, her brother, out of prison in Uzbekistan. The prison is Jaslyk. He was sent to this infamous prison in 1999 accused of being a terrorist involved in a bombing in Tashkent. She says a couple time that only the devil… She does not want to give up.

Dilya. Nickname for Dilobar. Close-up after close-up invites the audience to read her emotions. There are smiles and tears and expressions of wondering. She lives in Sweden with her parents, she had to leave her country; with her family, it is sometimes unbearable to watch the father and his constant pain waiting for news from the Uzbekistan that most of us know very little about except for the name of the brutal president Karimov, who ran the country with an iron fist for decades. He died in 2016...

 



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Humbert & Penzel: Step Across the Border

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

Humbert & Penzel: Step Across the Border

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

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

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

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

Nicolas Humbert und Werner Penzel

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

Switzerland, 1990, 84 mins.


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Ala'A Mohsen: A New Beginning

Written 21-03-2020 17:46:59 by Tue Steen Mller

Ala'A Mohsen: A New Beginning

”I will not let Kais feel my sadness”. Words from the father in this small gem of a film. Father and son. From Syria. Coming to Norway for a new beginning.

But we, the audience, feel the sadness of Rabeea. Thanks to the gentle way the director sets the tone, letting us read the face of the father, who has one reason to live: Creating a future for Kais, his son, who towards the end of the film, where he is 7 years old and has started in first class in school, is told (some of) the story of the journey they have taken from Syria to Lebanon to Turkey and through Europe to a welcoming Norway.

Bravo Dad, Kais says, in a wonderful sequence where the two are out skiing in snowy Norway. Kais learns Norwegian quite quickly contrary to the father, who also fights with his health. In the beginning we see him in a wheelchair in Copenhagen Central Station, in Norway he gets an operation of his damaged leg, he ought to have one more on his back but says no: Kais gets scared if I say the word “operation”. He kills the pain with pills.

It is never sentimental, but touching it is to see father and son. There is so much love in their relationship – that the film conveys with respect without pushing for emotions. Absurd it is to see Syrian boy Kais celebrate the Norwegian national day on the 7th of May singing with a flag in hand. He will adapt to the new country with the energy and openness his loving father passes on to him. The father… What a world we live in. 

Denmark, 2020, 78 mins.


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Jenni Kivist & Jussi Rastas: Colombia in My Arms

Written 20-03-2020 14:27:26 by Tue Steen Mller

Jenni Kivist & Jussi Rastas: Colombia in My Arms

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

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

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

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

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

2020, Finland, 90 mins.


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DokuFest Short Films Online

Written 19-03-2020 21:24:29 by Tue Steen Mller

DokuFest Short Films Online

I was at the DokuFest(ival) in Prizren in 2016. Great experience with good films and an atmosphere of generosity in a beautiful place. Since then I have followed the program set up through the fine communication from the organisers. In that respect Eroll Bilibani is a key person. The other day he announced on FB: I will be sharing 1 film from Dokufest production, each day during the #COVIDー19 #QuarantineAndChill #OneFilmADayKeepsDoctorAwayFilm #5 WHOSE FLAG IS IT? by Barış Karamuço. All films will be available on Dokufest.com's Sweet & Short Quarantine.

I asked Eroll to pick one film for me to watch and he took the mentioned ”Whose Flag is it?” because “although produced 4 years after Kosovo’s independence the film is still very actual as there are mixed feelings about state flag vs. national flag, which ads to dilemmas of national identity and ethnicity”.

I watched the lively 14 minutes long film that is far from taking the issue (too) serious as it invites you – in 2012 on the 17th of February, the day where Kosovo celebrates its independence – to be with kindergarten children and their teacher, who talks about the flag and asks the kids to draw it on their own. As you can see on the photo. The stay with the children is cut with statements from people with quite different opinions, some saying that the result of the competition was influenced by the EU to others, who like the flag and its stressing that the 6 stars represent 6 ethnic groups.

DokuFest is the producer of many short films, does film teaching during the year, is a strong cultural factor in the young country. Respect!   

https://vimeo.com/57599879?fbclid=IwAR0MWZR57MerLbiTButsng4FT7AsexO-isIGCVg5_vct6Batj4jNzCvUgTE (the film)

https://dokufest.com/2019/ (other films)

https://vimeo.com/user10268202/videos (Dokufest productions)


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX Online/ Notes

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

CPH:DOX Online/ Notes

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

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

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

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

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

https://www.cphdox.dk/


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CPH:DOX Online 2020

Written 18-03-2020 11:53:16 by Tue Steen Mller

CPH:DOX Online 2020

The initiative of the CPH:DOX to put documentaries online for the audience in Denmark can only be described as IMPRESSIVE, FANTASTIC, BRAVO – support it by buying tickets, there are so many fine films to watch until March 29. The 7 films on the list marked like this are films, we have written about on www.filmkommentaren.dk OR films we have seen and can recommend. Have a good film festival at home!  

Kampen om Grønland - Kenneth Sorento

Lever elsker savner - Sine Skibsholt

Songs of Repression - Estephan Wagner & Marianne Hougen-Moraga
Show Dancer - Laurits Flensted-Jensen
A Colombian Family - Tanja Wol Sørensen
En Splittet Familie - Mira Jargil
Being Eriko - Jannik Splidsboel
A New Beginning - Ala'a Mohsen
Et År For Evigt - Pauline Merrilgaard
I Love You I Miss You I Hope I See You Before I Die - Eva Marie Rødbro
Tove i stykker - Peter Lopes Andersson & Sami Saif
Prelle – Lytter til mig selv - Anita Beikpour
Tilfældets Gaver – En Film om Jørgen Leth - Kasper Bech Dyg
Love Child - Eva Mulvad
Little Girl - Sebastien Lifshitz
The Kingmaker - Lauren Greenfield
Caught in the Net - Vit Klusak & Barbora Chulipová
Crazy, Not Insane - Alex Gibney
Citizen K - Alex Gibney
This is Not A Movie - Yung Chang
Aznavour By Charles - Marc Di Dominico
Meet the Censors - Håvard Fossum
Robolove - Maria Arlamovsky
Andrey Tarkovsky: A Cinema Prayer - Andrey A. Tarkovsky
Martha: A Picture Story - Selina Miles
The Edge of All We Know - Peter Gallison
Oeconomia - Carmen Losmann
iHuman - Tonje Scheel
Vivos - Ai Weiwei
Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets - Bill & Turner Ross
Self Portrait - Margreth Olin
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life - Ric Burns
Wood - Monica Lazurean-Gorgan, Michaela Kirst & Ebba Sinzinger
Collective - Alexander Nanau
Last and First Men - Johann Johansson
Acasa, My Home - Radu Ciorniciuc
Margaret Atwood: A Word after a Word after a Word is Power - Nancy Lang & Peter Raymont
Disclosure - Sam Feder
The Earth Is Blue As an Orange - Iryna Tsilyk (PHOTO)
Martin Margiela: In His Own Words - Reiner Holzemer

https://www.cphdox.dk/online


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Dana Budisavljević: The Diary of Diana B.

Written 17-03-2020 18:04:16 by Tue Steen Mller

Dana Budisavljević: The Diary of Diana B.

The Filmkommentaren posts about this film goes back to 2010, where Dana B., the Croatian director of the film, presented the project at the Greek Storydoc. I was part of the Ex Oriente 2011, when Dana took part, searching for a way to tell the amazing story about an amazing woman, a true hero. Finding new material again and again. Researching for years. ”I wanted to make a true and honest film”. In 2008 at the Sarajevo FF, she came to show the solutions, she had found, I repeat myself: 

 



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Martin von Krogh: Cinema Pameer

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

Martin von Krogh: Cinema Pameer

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sweden, 2020, 80 mins.


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Serhiy Bukovsky: V.Silvestrov

Written 15-03-2020 16:46:18 by Tue Steen Mller

Serhiy Bukovsky: V.Silvestrov

Acclaimed Ukranian director Serhiy Bukovsky has made a film that invites me – and an audience - to meet the composer Valentyn Silvestrov. I knew the name but not the person and just a little about his quite impressive work. When I saw that the film was to be premiered in Kiev during the DocuDays festival, I contacted Dar’ya Averchenko, who on FB had posted a text about a press screening of the film. She was so kind to send me a link. As the DocuDays festival is postponed, I guess the film has not yet had its official premiere. Until then and until I can see – and hear ! - the film in a cinema, these words of recommendation:

 



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Agns Varda: Varda by Agns

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

Agns Varda: Varda by Agns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

France, 2019, 115 mins.


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Tamara Stepanyan: Village of Women

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

Tamara Stepanyan: Village of Women

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Armenia/France, 2019, 92 mins.

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


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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Docudays Ukraine 2020/2

Written 05-03-2020 10:03:34 by Tue Steen Mller

Docudays Ukraine 2020/2

A follow-up copy paste from the site of the festival in Kiev:

The RIGHTS NOW! award is given to creative documentary films which explore the contemporary world and make a significant contribution to the discussion of human dignity, freedom and equality. Ten films from all the film programmes of Docudays UA are nominated for it. 

The winners in the RIGHTS NOW! nomination will be determined by the Ukrainian filmmaker and writer Oleh SentsovOlena Rozvadovska, a specialist in children’s rights advocacy; and Enver Djuliman, an education activist and writer.

Moreover, the television platform Current Time TV will reward its favourite with a $3,000 prize.

Here is the list of films nominated for RIGHTS NOW! Award:

  • War Note, dir. Roman Liubyi
  • What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire?, dir. Roberto Minervini
  • One Child Nation, dir. Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang
  • Overseas, dir. Sung-A Yoon
  • Midnight Traveler, dir. Hassan Fazili
  • Buddha in Africa, dir. Nicole Schafer
  • Angels on Diamond Street, dir. Petr Lom
  • La Causa, dir. Andres Figueredo
  • Eye to Eye, dir. John Webster
  • Collective, dir. Alexander Nanau (Photo)
  • https://docudays.ua/eng/

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Docudays Ukraine 2020

Written 03-03-2020 10:29:49 by Tue Steen Mller

Docudays Ukraine 2020

I was invited to come back to Kiev to one of the festivals that I have loved to attend – but I can’t make it this year. I will miss the atmosphere created by a team of committed and knowledgeable film lovers. I will miss the opening ceremony that differs from the ones at other festivals, where speech follows speech before an opening film. At the opening of Docudays an unexpected festive show is performed – followed by a speech by a representative from the Swedish Embassy. Chapeau for the Swedish support to a festival that carries ”the subtitle”: International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, a festival with a social and political aim that has screenings all over the country and makes a strong international promotion of Ukrainian documentaries. And I will miss to say hello to the lovely girls of Dar’ya Averchenko and Roman Bondarchuk…

Before getting too sentimental I will give the floor to the proud Programme Director, Viktoria Leshchenko:  

“It won’t be an exaggeration to say that our team has done an enormous amount of work: of the 1,034 films submitted for the DOCU/WORLD programme and the 281 submissions for the DOCU/SHORT programme, we chose 25 incredible films. These documentaries combine professional excellence with a unique director’s perspective. We dare say that this is the strongest part of this year’s programme. Another victory is that DOCU/WORLD includes two Ukrainian films which simultaneously compete in the national competition. These are Iryna Tsilyk’s feature debut The Earth Is Blue as an Orange and Oksana Karpovych’s feature debut Don’t Worry, the Doors Will Open.”

Let me stay a moment with the selection for the Docu/World, where you also find Romanian Alexander Nanau’s masterpiece “Collective”, Alison Klayman’s “The Brink” with Steve Bannon – like “The Earth is Blue as an Orange” these two films are reviewed on this site, as well as Petr Lom’s beautiful American epos “Angels on Diamond Street”, shot in Philadelphia with three wonderful women “fighting for social justice”. And a new film by Finnish veteran John Webster, “Eye to Eye” and Georgian “A Tunnel” by Nino Orjonikidze, Vano Arsenishvili that I will watch in Tbilisi end of April. The jury includes prominent French director Claire Simon, of course accompanied by a retrospective of her films.  

And there is so much more to say about Docudays that also has developed a strong Industry Section – headed by Darya Bassel and Viktoria Khomenko – click below and get much more information.

The photo is from the French film „Black Hole“, in the competition programme.

https://docudays.ua/eng/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

ZagrebDox 2020

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

ZagrebDox 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Dragon of Dragons Award to Pter Forgcs

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

Dragon of Dragons Award to Pter Forgcs

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

One World Festival Prague

Written 24-02-2020 14:31:36 by Tue Steen Mller

One World Festival Prague

Some of the best new documentaries are in competition at the big One World Festival in Prague, that has this subtitle “international human rights film festival” and takes place March 5-14.

Let me mention Alexander Nanau’s ”Collective » (PHOTO) and « The Earth is Blue as an Orange » by Iryna Tsylik, both reviewed on this site:

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

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4702/

The main competition includes 13 films. From the North of Europe you find works by veterans like Finnish John Webster (“Eye to Eye») and Swedish Peter Tornbjörnsson (“Ninosca”), who has returned to Nicaragua – “For forty years, Peter Torbjörnsson has  been filming life in the village of San Fernando/ Nicaragua. What began as a portrait of a village became the story 

 



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX Movements

Written 21-02-2020 17:39:24 by Tue Steen Mller

CPH:DOX  Movements

March 18-29 – are the dates for the CPH:DOX festival programme, that was announced today. I am copy-pasting from the newsletter I received. It is amazing. I will ”dig in” as the organisers write and come back with comments. Website, see link below. A film festival that is committed to show and support social and political movements in the world we live in:

”The full programme for CPH:DOX is ready and online, including the entire line-up of competition titles. Please dig in!

The festival enters its 17th year with a new record; of the 65 films in the five competitions, a total of 43 films will have a world premiere. Additionally, this year’s competition programme includes 16 international premieres and 6 European premieres.

Following up on the festival’s 50/50 by 2020 gender commitment, no less than 52% of the 65 titles in the competition programme are directed by one or more female directors. But the gender equality representation doesn’t stop here - of the 409 experts and panel debate participants, CPH:DOX has invited for it’s no less than 160 debates and film events, 207 are female…

« Micropolitical and activist movements are at the core of CPH:DOX 2020 from Hong Kong to Greenland people are uniting in social movements demanding political actions to declare independence, limit global warming or fight for their data. Many movements are on the rise, and this year we dedicate a whole section to the competition titles that and explore the multiple  ways social or political movements are shaping the world of tomorrow.

The section, called Movements, features titles such as ‘Now’ by Jim Rakete following young climate activists from Greta Thunberg to Extinction Rebellion; ‘Feels Good Man’ by Arthur Jones, featuring a cartoon frog hijacked by the alt-right movements; and Lech Kowalski’s ‘Blow It to Bits’, where French factory workers stand up against globalisation.

Movements are all over the sections. You can’t miss them, but you sure can join them! »

https://en.cphdox.dk


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Roy Andersson at CPH:DOX

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

Roy Andersson at CPH:DOX

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Iryna Tsilyk: The Earth is Blue Like an Orange

Written 17-02-2020 18:56:22 by Tue Steen Mller

Iryna Tsilyk: The Earth is Blue Like an Orange

It is an emotional journey that director and writer Iryna Tsilyk takes the viewer on. For 74 minutes. One full of beauty. Very much because of the mother in the film, Anna, the protagonist, whose face expresses, what it means to live in the war zone in Eastern Ukraine with four children, and her mother. You see her alone in the kitchen, worried, in a melancholic mood, that is understandable on the background of the war – she decided to stay with the family; they could have moved. You see her smilingly telling one of her small boys how to pull out a rock tooth! You see her fighting with the stove to make the house warm. You see her taking the train with one of her daughters, Myroslava, who wishes to study cinematography. They come to an eximanation – in Kiev it must be - the girl thinks she failed. They get a phone call, she did not fail, daughter and mother cries of happiness. So did this viewer!

The house of the family is full of life with stairs to the cellar, where they go 

 



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D Like Documentary, D like Denmark

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

D Like Documentary, D like Denmark

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

 



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Festivals in Stockholm & Copenhagen

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

Festivals in Stockholm & Copenhagen

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

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Tabitha Jackson to be Sundance Festival Director

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

Tabitha Jackson to be Sundance Festival Director

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

(about Kirsten Johnson and her Cameraperson)

 

 



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Laila Pakalnina: Spoon

Written 27-01-2020 11:22:11 by Tue Steen Mller

Laila Pakalnina: Spoon

You never know what to expect from Latvian director Laila Pakalnina. She makes short films, she makes fiction and she makes documentaries, which are far from mainstream, with quite their own language and definitely Cinema. Like this one, ”Spoon”, she calls it, and yes, there are spoons in the film, plastic spoons but the film is much more than indicating, how spoons are made: It is a highly sophisticated black&white visual essay on the industrial world we live in. It sounds very serious, and in a way it is, but it’s not a doomsday film. You don’t feel it like that, when you watch the fantastic tableaux created by the cameraman Gints Bērziņš. What an image composer he and his director is! There are no words needed, the images invite you to enter the scene that is set up for you, see and understand/interpret for yourself. Here is the opening one:

… that is enigmatic in many ways. A woman is instructed to sit at a table with some papers in front of her. In a room with a big machine – I have no idea what it is. But there is a display on this machine, that the woman worker looks at after she has put on protective glasses and helmet, and after some men have given her advice on what her job is. The sound score is strong, mechanic and metallic, with sounds from the room but not only that, also music elements. The scene stays long, it’s a slow cinema film genre, the woman looks in the direction of the camera, smiles, puts her hand to her hair, wants to look good; it’s an amazing start of an amazing film.

Some minutes later a text appears on the screen: ”Everything here connects to everything else. Really.” Said by Leonardo da Vinci… did he really say that? A hint from the director, cut to a scene where a boy is eating with a plastic spoon, in a scene that is not clear to see as it is filmed through a window or some plastic… And then the title comes up “Spoon”.

And from there you are taken around the industrial world of our times – factories, urban landscapes, tubes, trains transporting chemicals, movements from right to left within the image, like people entering the stage, the theatre of Life, in (I read at the end credits) Azerbadjan, China, Norway, Latvia. It’s not a world you want to be in, but it’s part of our world, people are there, are working there, no working man’s death, they are protected, producing they are, it’s not fun you think and are supported in that feeling by the electric sounds in the sound score, electro music, I don’t know how to characterise it. Multilayered, a film open for interpretation and reflection, a film for everyone who loves to see how image and sound and editing, without a word being said, can be put together, Cinema! 

Latvia, 2019, 66 mins. 


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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Docs & Talks 2020 /4 Putin's Witnesses

Written 25-01-2020 13:59:56 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Docs & Talks 2020  /4 Putin's Witnesses

Vitaly Mansky: Putin’s Witnesses

… A good point I think, Mansky masters the personal commentary and it is nothing but a scoop that he is using material he made at the beginning of Putin’s period as president, where he, Putin – they are talking to each other as if they were old buddies – (Tue Steen Müller) Læs hele den meget opmærksomme kommentar her: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4390/

KOSTBAR SJÆLDENHED

Jeg har bragt dette billede på min Facebookside og kort efter kommenterer Sara: ”Fantastisk scene i filmen!” (Jeg ville hurtigt have taget det ned igen, ville blot have det konverteret til et format, jeg kunne bruge på Filmkommentaren, så jeg svarer): ”Måtte bruge Facebook for at åbne billedet. Der skal nok komme tekst på...” (Så nu må jeg jo lade det det blive siddende og tænke mig om for Sara replicerer): ”Spændende, så har du set filmen:-) ”… ”Ja, for søren, jeg har haft en rigtig god oplevelse med denne gedigne film sat sammen af først og fremmest en række kostbare sjældenheder i Manskys arkiv”… ”Det er jeg glad for at høre Allan.”

HJEMLIGT

Jeg kan godt lide når der er en stemme ind over, en fortællende stemme, en kommenterende stemme. Jeg kan helt bestemt godt lide Manskys stemme ind over hans konstruktion af udvalgte arkivoptagelser fra hans tætte dækning af Putins tidlige gennembrud som Ruslands præsident, fra det her årtusindes første dage.

Jeg mærker i stemmen den sikkerhed og ro som gør at jeg overgiver mig til en stor film. Og konkluderer at dette ER en stor film.



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

Docs & Talks 2020 /2

Written 15-01-2020 19:16:47 by Tue Steen Mller

Docs & Talks 2020 /2

”Today truth is being more and more frequently questioned when it comes to news and the constant stream of information. This makes the dissemination of research-based knowledge more important than ever in order to separate the wheat from the chaff, fake news from facts.”

Docs & Talks is a unique festival that carries the subtitle « Film and Research Days”. From Sara Thelle, who together with Tobias Havmand from DIIS (The Danish Institute for International Studies) and Rasmus Brendstrup from Cinemateket stand behind the festival, Filmkommentaren has received a press release that includes English descriptions of the films that are screened January 30 – February 5 at the Film house in Copenhagen. The quote above is from the release. READ MORE



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Oscar Doc Nominations 2020

Written 13-01-2020 15:19:09 by Tue Steen Mller

Oscar Doc Nominations 2020

Sooo, here they are the five nominated in the category for long documentaries, director(s) and producer(s) mentioned. The links will bring you to the reviews on the filmkommentaren site:

American Factory (Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert and and Jeff Reichert) - have not reviewed it, saw it on Netflix, absolutely a fine documentary

The Cave (Feras Fayyad, Kirstine Barfoed and Sigrid Dyekjær) - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4687/

The Edge of Democracy (Petra Costa and Joanna Natasegara, Shane Boris and Tiago Pavan) - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4638/

For Sama (Waad al-Kateab & Edward Watts) - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4626/

Honeyland - (Tamara Kotevska, Ljubomir Stefanov and Atanas Georgiev) http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4449/

The latter - AMAZING - is also nominated in the category International Feature Film together with Parasite...

That's why I chose a still from Honeyland, featuring Hatidze, for this post.

https://www.oscars.org/oscars/ceremonies/2020


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Red Carpet for Docs

Written 11-01-2020 15:54:38 by Tue Steen Mller

Red Carpet for Docs

and Nordic films, is the headline for an interview brought by the Nordisk Film & TV Fond, link for the whole text below. Kim Foss, director of the art house cinema Grand in Copenhagen since 2006, AND through the associated Camera Film distributor. I quote some of the comments Foss brings forward concerning documentaries:

”Other genres that have been winning bets in the past few years for Camera Film are documentaries. In 2019, the company distributed seven documentaries (out of 18 titles), including Norway’s The Men’s Room and the Danish docs Cold Case Hammarskjöld by Mads Brügger (6,228 admissions), Fall of Kings by Mads Kamp Thulstrup (6,793 admissions) and Photographer of War by Boris B. Bertram, second biggest Danish documentary in a decade with 13,643 admissions, according to Foss. 

“We believe strongly in Danish documentaries and this is where we will put a greater emphasis in the future,” he says. “Danish docs allow us to create in-depth marketing campaigns in conjunction with directors, local production companies, backed by the Danish Film Institute and documentary is where I come from,” said Foss who co-founded CPH:DOX in 2003. 

That’s very good news at the beginning of a new year, where Camera is taking care of the distribution of the Oscar short-listed film The Cave by Feras Fayyad, premiered two days ago. 

http://www.nordiskfilmogtvfond.com/news/stories/camera-film-rolls-out-red-carpet-for-docs-and-nordic-films?utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter#newsletter-link


Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Feras Fayyad: The Cave

Written 06-01-2020 19:46:33 by Tue Steen Mller

Feras Fayyad: The Cave

Filmens åbning er formidabel. Intet mindre. For øjne og øre. Fra krigens helvede på jord, fra billedet af den ene ødelæggende bombe-eksplosion efter den anden i syriske Ghouta. Til kameraet bringer tilskueren ned og atter ned i én glidende bevægelse, ned til det underjordiske hospital, ned til sårede børn og voksne, som trænger til hjælp. Blødninger skal standses, splinter skal tages ud af kroppene, der er brug for medicin, for ilt – for omsorg, for trøst.

Som fantastiske Dr. Amani Ballour og hendes medarbejdere, ligeså fantastiske, giver. Smukke mennesker i en forrygende film, som ryster sin tilskuer, også bogstaveligt talt, ned i den mindste detalje – i billederne, i klipningen, i lyden, i det humanistiske budskab – hold op hvor er der arbejdet på denne kunstneriske vision fra den 36-årige syriske instruktør Feras Fayyad. Som skrevet et eller andet sted: ”It’s a film about war and terror but also about the beauty of humanity”... LÆS VIDERE



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Best Documentaries 2019 Intro

Written 31-12-2019 10:55:36 by Tue Steen Mller

Best Documentaries 2019 Intro

On this last day of 2019, and of a decade, Filmkommentaren wishes you all the best in the new year.

It’s been a pleasure for us to give you news and opinions about the (mostly) documentary world. We intend to continue in the same way in 2020.

To close 2019, below you will find a list of 16 documentaries that was seen and highly appreciated by us.

Like last year we ended up with 16, that follow in a random order.

If you wonder… where are “Aquarela”, “Bridges of Time”, “Putin’s Witnesses”… – they were on the 2018 list, the year they premiered.

If you think… why not this or that one… the reason could be that we have not seen the film! Or we did not like it! Or we had to make the limit by 16.

Filmkommentaren is run by Allan Berg and Tue Steen Müller, our policy with this con amore blog is to first of all write about what we like.

Hope you enjoy the list, and the links that will bring you to the reviews.

Photo - from the MakeDox festival in Skopje - of director Artemio Benki, who won an award at the festival, and whose "Solo" is on our list.


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Best Documentaries 2019

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

Best Documentaries 2019

Thomas Heise: Heimat is a Space in Time

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

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

Alexander Nanau: Collective

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

Tamara Kotevska & Ljubomir Stefanov: Honeyland

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

Artemio Benki: Solo

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

Sergey Loznitsa: A State Funeral

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

Feras Fayyad: The Cave

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

Waad al-Kateab & Edward Watts: For Sama

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

Jørgen Leth: I Walk

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

Ksenia Okhapkina: Immortal

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

Rachel Leah Jones & Philippe Bellaiche : Advocate

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

Audrius Mickevicius & Nerijus Milerius: Exemplary Behaviour

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

Alex Brendea: Teach

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

Enrico Cerasuolo: The Passion of Anna Magnani

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

Ellen Fiske & Ellinor Hallin: Scheme Birds

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

Anna Eborn: Transnistra

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

Arthur Sukiasyan: Wound

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


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Oscar Thoughts

Written 22-12-2019 18:43:24 by Tue Steen Mller

Oscar Thoughts

The other day I read that Ingmar Bergman had returned his Oscar Nomination Certificate for ”Smultronsstället”. He apparently did not like the competitive circus. Nor did Francois Truffaut when he expressed no interest in sitting in film juries. To judge colleagues, to compete in arts…

You may have many opinions about this but these days, when we are – as the Americans call it – in the middle of the award season, statuettes and diplomas are given out to films and filmmakers, and pictures of happy people flourish on the internet. Who will win, who has won in all the competitions that lead up to the Oscar. Of course it is a circus and money is so much involved and even if it will always be an American film that wins, in the documentary section, that I am following, a shortlist and/or a nomination help good films to be seen by a big audience?

The announcement of 15 shortlisted documentaries, to mention the genre we mostly focus on at filmkommentaren, has taken place. I have seen 9 of them (Advocate, American Factory, Aquarela, The Cave, The Edge of Democracy, For Sama, The Great Hack, Honeyland, Knock Down the House), and apart from The Great Hack and Knock Down the House, the films mentioned do confirm that documentaries are very strong today. The two that to my opinion do not qualify to be among „the best of the best”, I watched on Netflix, no doubt that this label has helped the films to be shortlisted.

Which brings us back to the money. Many of the 159 films, from where the15 were selected, did not have financial resources to perform the necessary campaign to make the voting members of the Academy see the films at screenings in the USA.

Money… I was almost falling down the chair, when producer/editor of ”Honeyland”, Atanas Georgiev from North Macedonia, as it is called nowadays, gave me numbers on what it had cost to do the campaign for this wonderful documentary around the world. Yes, around the world because this film has really travelled – to festivals, to theatrical releases. ”It’s a once in a lifetime we experience”, he said when we met in Copenhagen, ”we are just going to enjoy it”. ”We” meaning the whole crew and Hatidze, the bee-keeping protagonist. It started with three awards at the Sundance Film Festival in January and now the film is close to be nominated for an Oscar. And if that does not happen, the film has had and will continue to have a fantastic life.

With many awards…     


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

El Clsico

Written 18-12-2019 08:29:34 by Tue Steen Mller

El Clsico

”It’s exactly one week until el clásico and, like all fans, I am already counting down the days until the big date of December 18. A clásico is always a special match, and in the weeks before the game it shows in the atmosphere. 

They are things that I have experienced as a footballer. And not only when I was at Barça or Madrid. Also in Italy, Holland and Denmark. They are matches which evoke very strong feelings and the supporters make you feel that way. That you have a great responsibility…”

The words come from Michael Laudrup, the best football player Denmark has ever had. He played in both FCBarcelona and in Real Madrid and had more than or was it close to 100 matches for the national team of Denmark. On the website of FCBarcelona he writes – brilliantly – about his experiences as a player, who several times played THE match in Spain…

Which will again be played tonight at 8pm at the Camp Nou in Barcelona. If… the demonstrators allow it. And if they do so there will be a strong expression of Independencia from the 90.000, who are expected to come tot he stadium.

I will be watching on television – Messi please, show your genius again, but I will also enjoy Karim Benzema, this great centerforward from Madrid, and I will cross fingers that the man who should not be allowed to enter a football pitch, Sergio Ramos from Madrid, will behave and stay away from his normal dirty attacks on the opponent.

Here is the link to the Michael Laudrup article, read it before the match:

https://www.fcbarcelona.com/en/football/first-team/news/1526527/in-my-own-words-michael-laudrup


Categories: TV, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Richard Brody in New Yorker

Written 17-12-2019 11:33:10 by Tue Steen Mller

Richard Brody in New Yorker

To read critic Richard Brody is always a pleasure. In this article – link below – he brings forward his Best Films of the year, 35, whereas 11 of them have NOT been theatrically released, which brings him to reflect on the streaming services changing the whole situation for the artistic film: „...What’s different is that streaming is taking over, and, as a result, theatrical releases are declining—not numerically but qualitatively. We’re seeing a return to the bad old days of the nineteen-nineties, when many of the best international and independent films weren’t released at all…”

Brody starts his article in this way:

„It’s the year of apocalyptic cinema of the highest order, the year in which three of our best filmmakers have responded with vast ambition, invention, and inspiration to the crises at hand, including the threats to American democracy from a wannabe tyrant, the catastrophic menaces arising from global warming, the corrosive cruelty of ethnic hatreds and nationalist prejudices, and the poisonous overconcentration of money and power. The sheer enormity of the times has contributed to a sense of existential fury—of a challenge to modern life as a whole—in the year’s best movies...“

Agnès Varda is on the list (Photo).

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/2019-in-review/the-best-movies-of-2019


Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Zelig: Essays on What is a Documentary/ 3

Written 15-12-2019 19:19:27 by Tue Steen Mller

Zelig: Essays on What is a Documentary/ 3

In November I was at the Zelig Film School in Bolzano to meet the new students. I organised a small game: Which three words come to your mind, when I say DOCUMENTARY.

We put the words on the whiteboard: Freedom Willing Choice Poetic Detail Glimmer Accidential Case Patience Strings Impact Storytelling Memorable Curiosity Connection Testimony Creative Chance Vessel Sensibility Instinct Relationship Perspective Feel Aesthetic Subjective Respectful Visual Empathy Recognition Heritage Job Mediation Responsibility Game Trade Cheating Time Place POV Unpretentious Free Personal Quest Passion Opinion Teamwork Observing Informing Meaning Intense Identity Summerbreeze Evidence Pursuit Intuition Honest Pure Humanity Thoughtprovoking Contact Problems Forgotten Improvisation Discovery Growth Research Portrait Listening Memory Cinema Art Microcosmos Serendipity Nuance Undermine Exposure Life Love Lagrein.

And three students agreed to write a small essay inspired by the words and our discussions during this first week of their three year stay at the school: Lucija Ilijić wrote in English, Kaspar Panizza in German and Matilde Ramini in Italian.

Here comes the essay of Matilde Ramini:



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Essays

Zelig: Essays on What is a Documentary/ 2

Written 14-12-2019 14:07:55 by Tue Steen Mller

Zelig: Essays on What is a Documentary/ 2

In November I was at the Zelig Film School in Bolzano to meet the new students. I organised a small game: Which three words come to your mind, when I say DOCUMENTARY.

We put the words on the whiteboard: Freedom Willing Choice Poetic Detail Glimmer Accidential Case Patience Strings Impact Storytelling Memorable Curiosity Connection Testimony Creative Chance Vessel Sensibility Instinct Relationship Perspective Feel Aesthetic Subjective Respectful Visual Empathy Recognition Heritage Job Mediation Responsibility Game Trade Cheating Time Place POV Unpretentious Free Personal Quest Passion Opinion Teamwork Observing Informing Meaning Intense Identity Summerbreeze Evidence Pursuit Intuition Honest Pure Humanity Thoughtprovoking Contact Problems Forgotten Improvisation Discovery Growth Research Portrait Listening Memory Cinema Art Microcosmos Serendipity Nuance Undermine Exposure Life Love Lagrein.

And three students agreed to write a small essay inspired by the words and our discussions during this first week of their three year stay at the school: Lucija Ilijić wrote in English, Kaspar Panizza in German and Matilde Ramini in Italian.

Here comes the German language essay by Kaspar Panizza, quite a text:



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Poetics, Essays

Zelig: Essays on What is a Documentary/ 1

Written 13-12-2019 13:31:50 by Tue Steen Mller

Zelig: Essays on What is a Documentary/ 1

In November I was at the Zelig Film School in Bolzano to meet the new students. I organised a small game: Which three words come to your mind, when I say DOCUMENTARY.

We put the words on the whiteboard: Freedom Willing Choice Poetic Detail Glimmer Accidential Case Patience Strings Impact Storytelling Memorable Curiosity Connection Testimony Creative Chance Vessel Sensibility Instinct Relationship Perspective Feel Aesthetic Subjective Respectful Visual Empathy Recognition Heritage Job Mediation Responsibility Game Trade Cheating Time Place POV Unpretentious Free Personal Quest Passion Opinion Teamwork Observing Informing Meaning Intense Identity Summerbreeze Evidence Pursuit Intuition Honest Pure Humanity Thoughtprovoking Contact Problems Forgotten Improvisation Discovery Growth Research Portrait Listening Memory Cinema Art Microcosmos Serendipity Nuance Undermine Exposure Life Love Lagrein.

And three students agreed to write a small essay inspired by the words and our discussions during this first week of their three year stay at the school: Lucija Ilijić wrote in English, Kaspar Panizza in German and Matilde Ramini in Italian.

The first one by Lucija Ilijić comes here, the other two will follow Sunday and Monday.



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Essays

Ny Litauisk Film

Written 09-12-2019 13:21:15 by Tue Steen Mller

Ny Litauisk Film

Litauiske film bliver vist i Cinemateket i København fra i morgen. Her er et copypaste af beskrivelsen. To af filmene - de dokumentariske - har været anmeldt på filmkommentaren, links forneden:

Med filmen 'Frost' tager den litauiske instruktør Sarunas Bartas os med på en odyssé gennem Østeuropa og ind i hjertet af den tilsyneladende endeløse konflikt mellem Rusland og Ukraine. 'Motherland' foregår i 1992 – efter Sovjetunionens sammenbrud – og følger Viktorija, der samen med sin teenagesøn forsøger at vende tilbage til Litauen efter mange års fravær. I 'Invisible' giver Jonas sig ud for at være blind for at kunne deltage i en danseshow på tv, men han bliver forfulgt af spøgelser fra fortiden. 

'Acid Forest' og 'Animus Animalis (A Story About People, Animals and Things)' føjer sig fornemt ind i rækken af fremragende litauiske naturdokumentarer, jævnfør 'The Ancient Woods', som vi viste i maj under festivalen Baltic Frames. Disse film skildrer forholdet mellem mennesker og natur fra nye, øjenåbnende vinkler. 

Den litauiske serie åbner den 10. december med filmen 'Sasha Was Here' og besøg af instruktøren Ernestas Jankauskas. Efter filmen er du inviteret til et glas vin i Asta Bar.

Filmserien er arrangeret i samarbejde med Lithuanian Film Centre (Dovile Butnoriute) og Litauens Ambassade. 

Billetter: https://llk.dk/rqabce eller på tlf. 33 74 34 12.

Acid Forest: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4379/

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

The IDA Awards

Written 08-12-2019 21:04:12 by Tue Steen Mller

The IDA Awards

More awards: From the International Documentary Association, under the leadership of Simon Kilmurry: Here is some more info on the winners of the IDA Documentary Awards:

BEST FEATURE

For Sama
Director/Producer: Waad al-Kateab
Director: Edward Watts

DIRECTOR

American Factory

Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Honeyland

Cinematographers: Fejmi Daut and Samir Ljuma

EDITING

Midnight Family

Editor: Luke Lorentzen. Co-Editor: Paloma López Carrillo

MUSIC

The Raft (photo)

Composer: Hans Appelqvist

WRITING

The Cave

Writer: Feras Fayyad

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/lists/2019-ida-documentary-awards-winners-list-full-1258853/item/feature-documentary-ida-awards-winners-2019-1260549


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

EFA Doc Award to "For Sama"

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

EFA Doc Award to

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

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


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sundance Film Festival 2020

Written 05-12-2019 16:11:16 by Tue Steen Mller

Sundance Film Festival 2020

…announced yesterday: 118 feature-length films, representing 27 countries and 44 first-time feature filmmakers. Of the 65 directors in all four competition categories, comprising 56 films, 46% are women, 38% are people of color, and 12% are LGBTQ+. In the U.S. Dramatic Competition, 47% of the directors are women; 53% are people of color; 5% are LGBTQ+. In this year’s U.S. Documentary Competition, 45% are women; 23% are people of color; 23% are LGBTQ+.

44%, or 52, of all films announced today were directed by one or more women; 34%, or 40, were directed by one or more filmmaker of color; 15% or 18 by one or more people who are LGBTQ+. 23 films announced today were supported by Sundance Institute in development, whether through direct granting or residency Labs. 107 of the Festival’s feature films, or 91% of the lineup announced today, will be world premieres.

These films were selected from a record high of 15,100 submissions including 3,853 feature-length films. Of the feature film submissions, 1,698 were from the U.S. and 2,155 were international; 29% were directed by one or more women; 40% were directed by one or more filmmaker of color; 15% by one or more people who identify as LGBTQ+.

https://www.sundance.org/blogs/news/2020-sundance-features-announced


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sergei Loznitsa: State Funeral

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

Sergei Loznitsa: State Funeral

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



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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Audience Award 2019

Written 30-11-2019 12:33:36 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Audience Award 2019

Of course it is something special to win an audience award. At IDFA, that is indeed (also) an audience festival apart from being the place, where documentary professionals meet every year. Here is how the award is decided, from the press release of the festival:

The winner of the VPRO IDFA Audience Award is determined by festival visitors who, after an IDFA film screening, rank their appreciation for the film by way of a voting card. Now in its fourth year, the VPRO IDFA Audience Award is made possible by VPRO...



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA: Life Achievement Award to Jrgen Leth

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

IDFA: Life Achievement Award to Jrgen Leth

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

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

the director says:

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA: Talks. Advice. And a Film Called Faith!

Written 23-11-2019 15:18:25 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA: Talks. Advice. And a Film Called Faith!

After Thursday’s film-watching, friday was the day to meet documentary friends, catching up on what they are working on and saying sorry “can’t make it for your screening, I am back in Copenhagen at that time“. I said so several times. “Can I have a link”?

Had a good talk with Adriek van Nieuwenhuyzen, head of the IDFA Forum,



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA: Y in Vyborg

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

IDFA: Y in Vyborg

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

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

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

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

www.idfa.nl


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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA: That Which Does Not Kill

Written 22-11-2019 08:25:27 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA: That Which Does Not Kill

The English title of this superbly staged French language documentary is a bit complicated, I prefer the simple original „Sans Frapper“. Below you find the IDFA website description ending with „listen carefully“; yes do so, the stories are amazing, but this is a Film that includes perfectly composed images: Woman after woman, young and younger, and a couple of men, filmed in their homes, most of them smoking cigarettes, talking to the director, who sometimes asks a question or two, „are you ok“ or words to that effect. The director makes it easy for the viewer to stay with the beauty that contrasts the stories the beautiful characters in the beautiful images tell us. This is an example of how to deal with a film with talking faces, how to make pauses, to let the image stand alone after a story. It is obvious that the director has rehearsed with the involved to have the stories come out with a strong intensity and precision. Reminds me of Pawel Lozinski’s „You Have No Idea How Much I Love You“.  

„He was someone she knew, and she didn’t resist. And then it happened twice more that week. Ada was 19. Her testimony is central to this film, but many share her history: people of all ages, black and white, men and women.

Director Alexe Poukine finds a sensitive way to make it possible to talk about the consequences of rape: the pain, the coping mechanisms, or indeed the lack of them. Ada’s story is interwoven with the experiences of others, from different perspectives, but in essence barely different. The result is a collective introspection that connects compellingly with us – which are the questions that come to our minds, and which are the ones that we forget to ask?

Although the narrative style often misleads us, it also creates space for the universality of the story. It's one that's neither simple to express nor easy to hear. The best you can do is listen carefully.”

Alexe Poukine: That Which Does Not Kill (Belgium/France, 2019, 85 mins.)

www.idfa.nl


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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA: Collective

Written 22-11-2019 07:47:03 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA: Collective

This is definitely a film that I want to watch again. A must-see film for busy IDFA visitors. And notice that on tuesday there will be a meeting with the director and protagonists. Would have loved to be there, maybe it will be recorded?

Shocking, touching, a Romanian Watergate-story with brave journalists (from a daily Sport’s newspaper!), balanced between the investigation and the digging out of terrible facts of corruption, cynicism and surviving victims and the suffering of relatives of victims, who did not survive. With a character focus on the journalists and – towards the end – a minister of Health who tries his best to change a rotten hospital system framed by an equal rotten political system. Romania! Here is, taken from the IDFA website, the story:

“On October 30, 2015, a serious fire broke out at the Colectiv nightclub in Bucharest. It was one of the worst disasters in recent Romanian history, with an initial 27 people killed and 180 injured. Within a few days, fierce protests erupted, leading to the resignation of the Social Democratic government.

Director Alexander Nanau follows a number of key figures in the aftermath of the disaster, from the point where we learn that 37 of the injured died of bacterial infections in local hospitals. We hear from newspaper journalists who discover that the hospitals use diluted disinfectants, the minister of health in the temporary technocratic government, and the victims of a corrupt health care system in a dysfunctional state.

Nanau avoids sensation and remains detached from the powerful emotions that surround the story, exposing the grim face of the corruption that plagues his country all the more.”

Alexander Nanau: Collective (Romania, 2019, 109 mins.)

www.idfa.nl


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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Opening Night 2019

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

IDFA Opening Night 2019

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Tips from Filmkommentaren

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

IDFA Tips from Filmkommentaren

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Latvian National Film Awards

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

Latvian National Film Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Zelig Film School Film Festival

Written 10-11-2019 11:10:15 by Tue Steen Mller

Zelig Film School Film Festival

10 films were screened Friday and Saturday, November 8 and 9, at the Capitol cinema in Bolzano. The graduation films of the students, who had been studying at the Zelig School for Documentaries, Television and New Media. For three years, 2016-2019 with three lines: Direction, Camera and Editing.

The atmosphere was festive. Fellow students, friends, family and in some cases protagonists were there to celebrate – and there were Q&A sessions after each film. And diplomas and a rose were distributed to the now former students.

Contrary to (some) other film schools the films coming out of the Zelig are not made according to a pre-given format or theme; there is freedom for the students to find their own theme and style, of course under the supervision of filmmakers from the professional world, they are now to enter.

Themes – a quote from the Zelig invitation to the fest:

„From the snowy Scandinavian landscapes of the North of Europe to the heart of our Mother Earth in Central Africa; from the remote islands off the coast of Scotland to the Azores in the Atlantic, and – closer to us – in the Italian province and in the rest of Europe as well...“

Yes, the students have travelled and put all their energy into making creative documentaries. The overall quality is impressive and several of the films have already been to festivals, and even won awards. Like the one on the photo, „Theodor“, did at Festival dei Popoli.

Information about the 10 films can be found on, watch out for them, festival programmers:

https://film.zeligfilm.it/en/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Zelig: What is a Documentary

Written 08-11-2019 14:56:06 by Tue Steen Mller

Zelig: What is a Documentary

I was invited to give a pep talk to the new Zelig students by showing documentaries, talk about them and have them talk. They did, I enjoyed the four days a lot bombarding them with names of directors and film titles that they must be inspired by. AND this morning we made the small game: Which three words come to your mind, when I say DOCUMENTARY. Here is the result and a photo of the lucky students, who are to study at Zelig in Bolzano for the next three years:

Freedom Willing Choice Poetic Detail Glimmer Accidential Case Patience Strings Impact Storytelling Memorable Curiosity Connection Testimony Creative Chance Vessel Sensibility Instinct Relationship Perspective Feel Aesthetic Subjective Respectful Visual Empathy Recognition Heritage Job Mediation Responsibility Game Trade Cheating Time Place POV Unpretentious Free Personal Quest Passion Opinion Teamwork Observing Informing Meaning Intense Identity Summerbreeze Evidence Pursuit Intuition Honest Pure Humanity Thoughtprovoking Contact Problems Forgotten Improvisation Discovery Growth Research Portrait Listening Memory Cinema Art Microcosmos Serendipity Nuance Undermine Exposure Life Love Lagrein


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOK Leipzig Makes a Summing Up

Written 07-11-2019 13:36:27 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig Makes a Summing Up

... which by all means is positive. 48.000 spectators, many full houses as I heard and saw for myself, good atmosphere. In the newsletter the press department asks ”How have the media experienced DOK Leipzig?” and below they highlight the presence of Cineuropa, fine enough. As the press department apparently does not know that www.filmkommentaren.dk was present, I list what has been written from my side:

Reviews of

Space Dogs - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4651/

The Royal Train – http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4650/

Exemplary Behaviour – http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4648/

Reports about

Quay Brothers –

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4653/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4632/

The festival program/and the retrospective http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4643/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4636/

And here comes what the press department writes:

Vladan Petkovic was here this year, not only as a panellist, but also as the author of a number of reviews of our films for our media partner Cineuropa. Read more about THE FORUMNEVER WHISTLE ALONEand IT TAKES A FAMILY. Additionally, Cineuropa ran an interview with our festival director, Leena Pasanen.

Describing the film EXEMPLARY BEHAVIOUR, which received the Golden Dove in the International Competition Long Documentary, Petkovic wrote for Cineuropa: “It is a work of extraordinary poetics and aesthetics, and has numerous ambiguous layers that are impossible to penetrate with sheer common sense, requiring the viewer to let go and give in to the more oneiric side.”

Modern Times Review also saw and reviewed a lot of our films, including FAMILY RELATIONS and DEEP WATERS, and conducted an interview with the guest of our Homage, Tan Pin Pin.

Screen Daily picked up on the award-winning film EXEMPLARY BEHAVIOUR, and the International Documentary Association’s (IDA) Documentary Magazine ran an article about our programme DOK im Knast just in time for the festival.

https://www.dok-leipzig.de/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Quay Brothers at DOK Leipzig

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

Quay Brothers at DOK Leipzig

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

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



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DOK Leipzig - History

Written 04-11-2019 11:46:45 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig - History

With History two meanings, both of them personal related to film and film people. The first one came to me just after arriving to the Festival Centre Thursday late afternoon. I was waiting at the bar to be served and so was a man next to me. ”I think we have met before”, I said to him, ”mehrmals” he said, ”on Bornholm”, I asked, ”yes, I was there” said Jochen Wisotzki, with the film ”Komm in den Garten” that I made with Heinz Brinkmann… It must have been in 1991 that it was shown at the Balticum Film & TV Festival, and I still remember the film about three friends, ”artists in life”, outsiders in GDR. The film received the Silverne Taube in 1990. Later it came to my mind that Wisotzki was the one who invited Andreas Steinmann and me to a film gathering in Rügen. Or was it Eduard Schreiber?

I did not meet Wisotzki again during the few days in Leipzig. But I had a good talk with Heribert Schneiders, former MDR commissioner and always good in panels at pitch sessions. He was not – of course - happy with the political situation in the three Länder, where the Afd (Alternative für Deutschland) is having 25% support from the voters. ”Are they fascists”, I asked him, ”Yes, the party leaders say things that you can’t believe is true…”. His ”old” party, SPD, is doing bad, so now he goes for ”die Grüne” as many others, I guess.

Good friend, who by the way was at the above mentioned festival on Bornholm in the 90’es, when he was making films, Claas Danielsen, had the same opinion as Schneiders, yes the Afd includes people with fascist points of view.

Opposite the hotel where we were staying is the mural of optimism with slogans like ”Freiheit”, ”Wir sind das Volk”. No optimism these days… nach der Wende.

http://member.agdok.de/de_DE/members_detail/8314/vita


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Elsa Kremser & Levin Peter: Space Dogs

Written 04-11-2019 10:56:06 by Tue Steen Mller

Elsa Kremser & Levin Peter: Space Dogs

„Das ist Laika. Am 3. November 1957 wurde die sowjetische Straßenhündin in einem Sputnik in die Erdumlaufbahn geschossen und war damit das erste Lebewesen im Weltall. Überlebt hat sie diese Mission nicht. Doch es gibt die Legende, dass sie als Geist auf die Erde zurückgekehrt ist und seitdem durch die Straßen Moskaus streift.“

Yes, that is what the two filmmakers do: follow stray dogs, Laika is maybe one of them, in Moscow, their drifting around, their barking, their showing teeth and aggression towards each other, their acting with brutality but also with care and love... Lebewesen in a metropole behaving like us human beings?

The film is constructed masterly in sound and image and editing; I read that the filmmakers are born in 1985. They demonstrate an amazing maturity, mixing the following of the stray dogs with Soviet science archive material of the preparation of dogs for space trips as well as (touching) footage of the dogs (those who survive) coming back. Colour and black&white images in a film, which is not really fun to look at: what we do with the animals in the name of science, and what they do to each other, the dogs in the constant „survival of the fittest“ game. But as a tense film essay, remarkable! Indeed also because of the narration, a fine factual(!) fairytale-like text in Russian, matching images and sound perfectly.

Watch out for that Dogumentary!

Photo of Laika.

https://www.raumzeitfilm.com/film/en-spacedogs

Austria, Germany, 2019, 91 mins.


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Johannes Holzhausen: The Royal Train

Written 04-11-2019 09:38:41 by Tue Steen Mller

Johannes Holzhausen: The Royal Train

The daughter of King Michael 1 of Romania (who died in 2017), Princess Margareta, and her husband Radu, travel in the train of her father to meet the people and have them remember him and the good old monarchy that came to an end in 1947, when the communists took over. The train stops at small stations, where the local authorities are nervously preparing the royal welcome. Red carpet and all that. And the royal staff prepares equally how to arrive, a scenario is needed.

That’s the red thread of a film, that with humour and warmth takes the viewer to the venues of the couple in Bucharest introducing the staff that helps them to keep the memories of the monarchy and the King alive. The most important person in that respect is for me the young man, Adrian, who searches for documents and artefacts of interest for the Princess. He is a passionate monarchist searching/ hoping for the return to old times – you are a Don Quichote, an old lady says to him, if you need a Sancho Panza, I am there for you - he is the one, who visits the old ladies, who remember the King and the royalty with big love.

In scenes like that the director manages – with his flair for creative storytelling - to balance all the wonderful absurd scenes of royal protocol, like how to approach the Princess in a correct way. Three steps backwards, when you have got your diploma and then you can turn around… like if it had been the Danish queen. It’s still very much alive and popular. What is most interesting in this film is, when the old royalists remember the time, where they were not allowed to celebrate the monarchy during the time of Ceaușescu.

Austria, Germany, 2019, 90 mins.


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Mickevičius & Milerius: Exemplary Behaviour

Written 02-11-2019 22:56:03 by Tue Steen Mller

Mickevičius & Milerius: Exemplary Behaviour

I knew Audrius Mickevičius from several meetings in his wonderful Vilnius. As I remember it, he lived in the ”freetown” of the Lithuanian capital, Uzupis. He made in 2006 the film ”Man – Horse” that he pitched at Baltic Sea Forum with the most radical teaser I remember to have seen. And I knew very well this film project ”Exemplary Behaviour” from my time as a reader for Eurimages, where the detailed script written by Audrius Mickevičius and Nerijus Milerius was submitted and given funding because of its professional cinematic presentation, the fascinating approach to the subject and the multi-layered narration.

Yes, I write about Audrius Mickevičius in the past tense. He died in 2017 and



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Ji.hlava IDFF 2019 Conclusions

Written 30-10-2019 15:51:02 by Tue Steen Mller

Ji.hlava IDFF 2019 Conclusions

The 23rd edition of the annual Ji.hlava IDFF closed its doors yesterday. The festival programme showcased 277 films in nine screening halls, hosting almost two hundred discussion sessions. The overall attendance again exceeded 40,000 visitors; with 5,330 accredited visitors and guests.

“I am very proud of our quality festival programme, unveiling especially the face of the up-and-coming filmmaking generation raising new topics and techniques in the context of filmmaking. It is enriching to see this concentration of creative diversity at a single place. Our aim was to have this year’s Ji.hlava IDFF reflect the world around, provoke us to become active and open up a space for a dialogue. And we are pleased to see it happen”, says Festival Director Marek Hovorka.



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Awards at Ji.hlava Documentary FF

Written 28-10-2019 23:38:17 by Tue Steen Mller

Awards at Ji.hlava Documentary FF

Below a link to the awards that were given at the 23rd edition of the festival in Ji.hlava. There were many. I take the liberty to mention only a handful of them, films that I know about:

● Best Czech Documentary Film 2019:

Solo (Artemio Benki, Czech Republic, France, Argentina, Austria, 2019)PHOTO

Jury statement:

We appreciate the lightness, nonviolence and concentration used by the author to portray a strong human story of a suffering person and to get as close as possible without disturbing formal effects and pathos.

The winner will receive an award of 10,000 EUR

A brilliant film, read http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4542/

● Best Central and East European Documentary Film 2019:

TEACH (Alex Brendea, Romania, 2019)

Jury statement:

This is an essential film that needs to be seen around the world. A math teacher working on the fringes of a failing educational system becomes a transformative mentor for a group of young students. Through his dedicated tuition, these young people discover the most important lesson in life: you must fall "tragically in love with what you do". For its celebration of the unconventional, for its embrace of messiness, imagination and passion in teaching Between the Seas award goes to TEACH.

The winner will receive an award of 10,000 EUR

I met the film-to-be in Romania 4 years ago, when it was a project, at the One World Romania workshop. Here is what I wrote: „...The pitching ended with an award ceremony, where Ana Alexieva (co-tutor) went to the stage to invite Alex Brendea to take part in the Rough Cut Boutique at the Sarajevo Film Festival, where he can have his rough material evalutated. His ”Teach” about a charismatic, energetic excentric teacher of mathematics, who lives alone with cats and dogs, and does his teaching at this his home is very promising and the choice was very well received by colleagues at the ”Cooking a Doc”.“ Love that film that was also awarded at the Astra Film Festival recently.

CONTRIBUTION TO WORLD CINEMA AWARD

● Sergey Dvortsevoy

● Silver Eye Award feature length category:

Transnistra (Anna Eborn, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, 2019)

Jury statement:

Beautifully shot on 16mm, this is a powerful film that captures an in-between moment, at the end of adolescence, a play of youth and light located in a rural place, in an unrecognized country. A very loving view on a dynamic group focused around an unusual and unforgettable female character.

I agree, read http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4475/

● Special mention:

The Wind. A Documentary Thriller (Michal Bielawski, Poland, Slovakia, 2019)

Jury statement:

Through mystical images and enigmatic protagonists the filmmaker suggests an extreme connection between human faith and fortune, nature and the weather. Often Lynchian, the director's filmmaking achieves a true thriller as the title suggests.

Again I agree, read

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4555/

https://www.ji-hlava.com/novinky/23-ji-hlava-udelena-oceneni


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ArtDoc Fest Winners + One More

Written 27-10-2019 20:48:13 by Tue Steen Mller

ArtDoc Fest Winners + One More

Awards were given in Riga last night for the International FF and for the ArtDoc Fest. I mention the awards in the latter, which, as the name says, include documentaries plus a special mention to a documentary in the Feature Film Competition of the intl. festival, see below. Several have been reviewed/reported upon on this site, links are given:

Grand Prix
Immortal, dir. Ksenia Okhapkina (Photo)
http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4572/

Best Director
Maxim Shved, Pure Art

Jury award
School of Seduction, dir. Alina Rudnitskaya

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

Special mention
Daymohk, dir. Masha Novikova

Special mention
State Funeral, dir. Sergei Loznitsa

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4642/

Special Mention in Feature Film Competition of the festival:

Animus Animalis (A story about people, animals and things), dir. Aistė egulytė

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4476/

https://rigaiff.lv/2019/lv/


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Enrico Cerasuolo: The Passion of Anna Magnani

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

Enrico Cerasuolo: The Passion of Anna Magnani

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

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



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DOK Leipzig Starts Monday

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

DOK Leipzig Starts Monday

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



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Loznitsa opened the Astra Film Festival

Written 25-10-2019 10:53:33 by Tue Steen Mller

Loznitsa opened the Astra Film Festival

The fine Astra Film Festival in Sibiu in Romania placed Sergey Loznitsa’s “State Funeral” as the opening film. The Head of Programming Csilla Kató explains why in an interview with Cineuropa, below a link to the whole interview, made by  Stefan Dobroiu.

Cineuropa: The 26th edition of the Astra Film Festival has ended. What would you consider to be the strong points of this edition?
Csilla Kató:
 For example, the fact that we selected as our opening film Sergey Loznitsa’s State Funeral [+]. In my opinion, it is a sign of maturity, as at every festival, the opening film is chosen with great care – it is, after all, a statement about the festival’s spirit and agenda. A movie with a running time of 135 minutes, made entirely from archive footage, in which the soundtrack is the only intervention by the director, proved to be the right choice for us. In State Funeral, Loznitsa plays with both the conventions of cinema and the expectations of the audience: the audience is allowed to get lost among archive-footage sequences and is also left to interpret what they see according to their own background and personal perspective. This example of documentary cinema could not have been imagined by any screenwriter and would have been impossible to make within the conventions of fiction cinema. And the film worked well for the audience gathered to attend the opening of this edition.

https://cineuropa.org/en/index/


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IDFA Announces Competition Selection

Written 24-10-2019 12:50:07 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Announces Competition Selection

I missed the live streaming of the IDFA press conference yesterday afternoon, where artistic director Orwa Nyrabia was on stage to tell the documentary community, which films he and his programmers had chosen. But the website says it all – also that ”64% of the competition titles are by female filmmakers, with 47% in the total program”.

Having mentioned this important point for festivals around the world, let’s go to the films. I will surf a bit on the lists of selection, where it is obvious that Nyrabia’s ambition of also showing films that are not from the US or from the UK, is fulfilled:



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DOC NYC

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

DOC NYC

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



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Alina Rudnitskaya on School of Seduction

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

Alina Rudnitskaya on School of Seduction

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

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

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

Festival people, check out the filmography of Alina Rudnitskaya.

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

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

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


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Petra Costa: The Edge of Democracy

Written 20-10-2019 13:20:22 by Tue Steen Mller

Petra Costa: The Edge of Democracy

”There is so much to say about this first feature documentary by young Brazilian director Petra Costa. So much positive because of its visual brilliance and so much because of the way it treats its painful theme…”.

This was written almost 7 years ago after I had seen ”Elena”, a film that toured the festival circuit and created expectations for Costa’s next film. Which was excellent as well. ”Olmo and the Seagull” came out in 2014, a film she wrote and directed together with Danish Lea Glob – a work that Allan Berg praised on this site in his analysis, link below, for its portrait of a creative process, with references to theatre, to Chekhov, and to Virginia Wolf. Berg expressed his content that here was a Film and that he did not have to write about documentary or fiction. Words to that effect.

If you substitute ”first” with third in the quote above, Petra Costa’s third film



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Sommer og Svendsen: Mandskoret

Written 15-10-2019 15:55:01 by Tue Steen Mller

Sommer og  Svendsen: Mandskoret

Instruktørerne har disse fornavne: Petter og Jo Vermund...

Jeg havde min kone med til pressevisningen i Grand Teatret, som skal have megen ros for at vise dokumentarfilm på det store lærred. Og det var netop, hvad Ellen sagde, da vi rejste os efter 74 minutter. 

Virkelig en film, der skal ses i biografen. Og hun fortsatte sine begejstrede udtalelser, da vi drog nedad Strøget i dejligt efterårsvejr. Fremragende, jeg har overhovedet ingen indvendinger. Velorkestreret (!), man kan godt høre at de ikke professionelle sangere, men det er en film fuld af midaldrende, charmerende mænd, der har det godt i hinandens ugentlige selskab, og når de optræder og kommer med frække tilbud til damerne (der ligger en puleliste I kan skrive jer på!)

Som filmen skrider frem, ser vi den ene rørende scene efter den anden, hvor korets karismatiske leder og dirigent Ivar kæmper med sin kræft - vil han nå at optræde med koret som opvarmning til Black Sabbath på Tons of Rock festivalen?

Som korets medlemmer bliver berørt af, hvad vej det går med Ivars sygdom, blev vi berørt af de gribende scener mændene imellem. Kom ikke og sig at mænd ikke kan udtrykke følelser. Disse scener er filmisk skildret med stor nænsomhed. De to mænd bag kameraet fylder biografoplevelsen med kærlighed og respekt - og humor.

Norge, 2018, 74 Minutter.


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DOK Leipzig Retrospective BRDDR

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

DOK Leipzig Retrospective BRDDR

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

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

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

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



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Dmitry Kabakov: Present Simple Tense

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

Dmitry Kabakov: Present Simple Tense

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

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

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



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Jrgen Leth

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

Jrgen Leth

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

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

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

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

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


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DOK Leipzig: The Brothers Quay

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

DOK Leipzig: The Brothers Quay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Thomas Heise: Heimat is a Space in Time/ 2

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

Thomas Heise: Heimat is a Space in Time/ 2

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

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

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

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

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



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Patricio Guzmn on Arvo Prt

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

Patricio Guzmn on Arvo Prt

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.adamspassion.de/

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

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

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


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IDFA: The Inheritance of War/ Thomas Heise

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

IDFA: The Inheritance of War/ Thomas Heise

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Thomas Heise: Heimat Is a Space in Time/ 1

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

Thomas Heise: Heimat Is a Space in Time/ 1

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

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

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

Germany, 2018, 218 mins.


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Waad al-Kateab & Edward Watts: For Sama

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

Waad al-Kateab & Edward Watts: For Sama

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

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

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

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

USA/UK, 2019, 95 mins.

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

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

https://www.forsamafilm.com/


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Nordisk Panorama Forum Day 2

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

Nordisk Panorama Forum Day 2

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

Christoffer Guldbrandsen was the excellent journalist behind the first project



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Ellen Fiske & Ellinor Hallin: Scheme Birds

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

Ellen Fiske & Ellinor Hallin: Scheme Birds

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

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

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

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

Sweden, 2019, 90 mins.

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


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Nordisk Panorama Forum Day 1

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

Nordisk Panorama Forum Day 1

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

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



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Nordisk Panorama: dok.incubator

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

Nordisk Panorama: dok.incubator

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

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



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Nordisk Panorama Sunday and a Look Back

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

Nordisk Panorama Sunday and a Look Back

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Elita Klavina: Zoryana Horobraya

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

Elita Klavina: Zoryana Horobraya

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

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

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

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

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

Latvia, 2019, 61 mins.


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NP Talk: Two Finnish Directors and an Editor

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

 NP Talk: Two Finnish Directors and an Editor

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

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

Here is the festival’s introduction to the talk:

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

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

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

Sunday September 22 at 15.00 – 16.00.

Everyone is welcome.

More about the films you can find on

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


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Boris Benjamin Bertram: Krigsfotografen

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

Boris Benjamin Bertram: Krigsfotografen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Danmark, 2019, 78 mins.

I biografer over hele landet fra den 19. september

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


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Goran Radovanovic: The Makavejev Case

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

Goran Radovanovic: The Makavejev Case

or Trial in a Movie Theatre, the subtitle.

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

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



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Robert Frank (1924 - 2019)

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

Robert Frank (1924 - 2019)

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

 

THE PHENOMENON ROBERT FRANK

By Tue Steen Müller

1

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

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

2

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

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

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

3

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

The Americans

 

IT SOUNDS WILD AND IT IS

By Sara Thelle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Post 26-06-2015)

 

DON’T BLINK: ROBERT FRANK (2015)

By Tue Steen Müller

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

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

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

Don’t Blink: Robert Frank

 

THE FORM / THE COMPOSING / THE AESTETICS

By Tue Steen Müller

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

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

 

DON'T BLINK IN NEW YORK

af Tue Steen Müller

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

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

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

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

 

ME AND MY BROTHER

by Tue Steen Müller

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

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

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

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

USA, 1968, 85 mins.

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

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

 

A BRILLIANT CONVERSATION

by Tue Steen Müller


Robert Frank: Me and My Brother/ 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Photos: Steidl and Maria Briese

FOTO (ved overskriften)

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

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


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

Pitching Some Thoughts After Baltic Sea Docs

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

Pitching Some Thoughts After Baltic Sea Docs

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://balticseadocs.lv   


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Sea Docs Pitching

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

Baltic Sea Docs Pitching

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Sea Docs 2019

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

Baltic Sea Docs 2019

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



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Tarkovsky on Tarkovsky

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

Tarkovsky on Tarkovsky

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Emil Langballe: Qs Barbershop Vollsmose Forever

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

Emil Langballe: Qs Barbershop  Vollsmose Forever

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

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

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

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


Vurdering:

 
Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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