Filmkommentaren

Kirchhoff & Remunda: Steam on the River

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

Kirchhoff & Remunda: Steam on the River

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

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

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



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Jan Gogola on Dusan Hanak

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

Jan Gogola on Dusan Hanak

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

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

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

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

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

www.dokweb.net


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Orwa Nyrabia Talks about IDFA Changes

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

Orwa Nyrabia Talks about IDFA Changes

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

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

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


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Jakob Brossmann & David Paede: Listen to the Radio

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

Jakob Brossmann & David Paede: Listen to the Radio

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

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



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Yuriy Shylov: Projectionist

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

Yuriy Shylov: Projectionist

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

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

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

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

Ukraine, Poland, 2019, 72 mins.


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Kristof Bilsen: Mother

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

Kristof Bilsen: Mother

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

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

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



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Michal Bielawski: The Wind. A Documentary Thriller

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

Michal Bielawski: The Wind. A Documentary Thriller

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poland, 2019, 74 mins.


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Sheffield Doc/Fest Opens With Maradona

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

Sheffield Doc/Fest Opens With Maradona

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

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

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

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

https://sheffdocfest.com/


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Krakow Film Festival - And the Winners Were

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

Krakow Film Festival - And the Winners Were

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Krakow Film Festival - Who Will Win

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

Krakow Film Festival - Who Will Win

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A jury will decide.

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


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DocAviv Awards to Honeyland and Advocate

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

DocAviv Awards to Honeyland and Advocate

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

Winner of Israeli Competition

Advocate by Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Ballaiche

Jury Motivation:

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

Best International Film Award

Honeyland by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov

Jury Motivation:

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

www.docaviv.co.il/2019-en 


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DocsBarcelona The Baltic Way

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

DocsBarcelona The Baltic Way

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

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

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



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DocsBarcelona Botero

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

DocsBarcelona Botero

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

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

Photo: Botero on Abu Ghraib.

www.docsbarcelona.com


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EDN Bylaws Violated . Action Needed/ 3

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

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

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

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

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

Former posts on this subject :

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

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


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DocsBarcelona Public Pitch

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

DocsBarcelona Public Pitch

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

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

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

www.docsbarcelona.com


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DocsBarcelona - Jordi Cuixart

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

DocsBarcelona - Jordi Cuixart

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

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

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


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Audrius Stonys at DocsBarcelona

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

Audrius Stonys at DocsBarcelona

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

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

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

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

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

www.docsbarcelona.com


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DocsBarcelona & Len Siminiani

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

DocsBarcelona & Len Siminiani

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

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

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

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

www.docsbarcelona.com


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DocsBarcelona Many Full Houses & Tiny Souls

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

DocsBarcelona Many Full Houses & Tiny Souls

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.docsbarcelona.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Artemio Benki: Solo

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

Artemio Benki: Solo

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

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



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DocsBarcelona is Green..

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

DocsBarcelona is Green..

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

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

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

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

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

https://honeyland.earth

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona in Full Swing

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

DocsBarcelona in Full Swing

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

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

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

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

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

www.docsbarcelona.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Viktor Kossakovsky at His Best

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

Viktor Kossakovsky at His Best

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Viktor Kossakovsky Opens DocsBarcelona

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

Viktor Kossakovsky Opens DocsBarcelona

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

EDN Bylaws Violated - Action Needed/2

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

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

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

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

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

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

Furthermore the following issues were not addressed :

For a period there were only two board members.

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

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

Moving the office is against §1.

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona Festival

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

DocsBarcelona  Festival

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

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

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

www.docsbarcelona.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Winners of CinDOC-Tbilisi 2019

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

Winners of CinDOC-Tbilisi 2019

International Competition

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

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

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

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

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

Special Jury Mention – Honeyland by Lubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska

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



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Arthur Sukiasyan: Wound

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

Arthur Sukiasyan: Wound

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

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

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

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

Armenia, 2019, 25 mins.

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


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Civil Pitch Tbilisi 2019

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

Civil Pitch Tbilisi 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Nicolas Philibert in Tbilisi

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

Nicolas Philibert in Tbilisi

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

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

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

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

http://www.cinedoc-tbilisi.com/ 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

EDN Bylaws Violated - Action Needed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CinDOC-Tbilisi Opened Last Night

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

CinDOC-Tbilisi Opened Last Night

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

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

http://www.cinedoc-tbilisi.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Time Trial as Doc of the Month

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

Time Trial as Doc of the Month

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

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

It is an amazing film cultural initiative.

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



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Laila Pakalnina in Paris

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

Laila Pakalnina in Paris

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Forum Changes

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

IDFA Forum Changes

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

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

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

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

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


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How Big is the Galaxy?

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

How Big is the Galaxy?

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

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

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

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

www.midff.com


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Krakow Film Festival

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

Krakow Film Festival

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



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DocsBarcelona Festival

Written 23-04-2019 10:53:22 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona  Festival

In terms of number of films DocsBarcelona is a small festival. 30. Where other documentary festivals invite the audience to choose between 100 or even more films, we make it easier, as we have already made a strong selection among hundred of films to come to this point: “Here you have 30 films, make your choice, we are sure there is something for you”. “There is something for whatever taste you have, except for the bad…”

Yes, we use the buzz words of today: Diversity and Quality. The documentary has many rooms. Those days are gone, where the documentary was considered to be a boring visual lecture meant for the classroom, being the truth about a subject or a theme. Especially...



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CinDOC-Tbilisi Intl. Doc. Film Festival

Written 22-04-2019 18:51:48 by Tue Steen Mller

CinDOC-Tbilisi Intl. Doc. Film Festival

May 8 – 13 in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi, the seventh edition of the documentary festival that I visited the first time at the opening edition as a juror , where the main awards were given to Lithuanian Lina Luzyte for « Igrushki » and Polish Pawel Kloc for « Phnom Penh Lullaby ». Last year the organisers, filmmakers Artchil Khetagouri and Ileana Stanculescu, showed, among many international quality documentaries « Infinite Football » by Romanian Corneliu Porumbolu accompanied by a football match, led by the main character of the film Laurentiu Ginghina, where I had the honour to be the referee ! An experience full of fun !



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Beldocs Belgrade

Written 21-04-2019 12:04:10 by Tue Steen Mller

Beldocs Belgrade

The documentary festival in Belgrade with more than 100 films, and a full-bodied industry program starts in 17 days. The website is not totally up and running – ”coming soon” it says many places – and a lot is in Serbian, that I ought to master after 15 years of the other Belgradian festival ”Magnificent7” festival, but as the organisers and people around them speak so good English…

100 films means many parallel screenings, hope that it does not mean that some screenings are ”cannibalised” by others – on the other hand Belgrade has a formidable audience, when it comes to documentaries.

There is a fine retrospective with the legendary Japanese director Kazuo Hara, Croat Goran Devic shows 9 of his often critical works, there is in collaboration with DocLisboa a series of Portuguese documentaries, there are great films like American ”Minding the Gap” by Bing Liu (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4473/) Norwegian ”Reconstructing Utøya” by Carl Javér, ”My Unknown Soldier” by Anna Kryvenko, (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4473/) who got a mention at the ZagrebDox, ”RBG” by Julie Cohen and Betsy West (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4464/), ”Summa” by Andrei Kutsila (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4410/), ”Doel” by Danish Frederik Sølberg, the dubious ”Meeting Gorbachev” by Herzog and André Singer (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4386/, ”To Be Continued” by Ivars Seleckis (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4075/) , ”The Trial” by Sergei Loznitsa (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4393/ ), and many others that have been noticed on this site.

The festival has an international and a national competition. In the latter there is a new film by Andrijana Stojkovic, “Gipsy Mafia” that has this description „Two brothers – Skill and Buddy – have been making hip-hop for over 10 years and releasing DIY albums. In their native Serbia, they belong to the disadvantaged Roma population and in Germany, where they live now, they are migrant workers with a temporary residence permit. In their songs, they fiercely criticize racism, segregation of Roma and neo-liberal capitalism. They’ve just released their third album and set off on an unusual European tour...“

Considering that her previous film, „Wongar“, was on its way for a decade, it is a sensation that this film is made so quickly, was it during less than a year, the director, a dear friend, told me.

... and after recently having won the main award at the Visions du Réel in Nyon, German master director Thomas Heise is at Beldocs with his “Heimat Is a Space in Time”, 218 mins., longing to watch that film!

Photo from wonderful "Los Reyes" Bettina Perut and Iván Osnovikoff, featuring Chola and Football! Go and see that, dear dog lovers in Belgrade!

https://beldocs.rs/en/filmovi/#


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Documentaries at Moscow Film Festival

Written 19-04-2019 20:24:23 by Tue Steen Mller

Documentaries at Moscow Film Festival

Ten days after the Doker International Documentary Festival (https://www.midff.com) ended, there are more documentaries to enjoy for the Moscow audience. Where the Doker festival is sailing under the flag of being independent, the official Moscow Film Festival operates (quoted from website)

“with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Moscow Government and the Department of Culture of the City of Moscow.” The festival has existed for 41 years, “for many years the President of the MIFF has been the Russian director and actor Nikita Mikhalkov”, it is a Red Carpet festival, that for the seventh year has included documentaries in a



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Stefano Savona: Samouni Road

Written 17-04-2019 09:48:30 by Tue Steen Mller

Stefano Savona: Samouni Road

Zane Balčus has written this review:

Almost a year has passed since Stefano Savona’s “Samouni Road” started its successful run in festivals, having Cannes Directors’ Fortnight as a take-off platform. And it is still around various events, allowing audiences to discover a strong, touching and visually impressive work of filmmaking.  

The film is a subtly evocative canvas of emotional and visual imprints of the past onto the present of the Samouni community in Gaza Strip, following the Israeli army attacks on the enclave in the late 2008, early 2009. The time of the actual events is not explicitly stressed, allowing the film to be a universal story of consequences of suffering, and an instinctive human activity to rebuild its life, to keep on living despite anything. Combining real life footage with black and white animation and 3D reconstructions of drone filming, Savona brings us into the world of an intimate storytelling guided by characters’ memories and delicate visual style.  

“Samouni Road” developed from Savona’s presence in Gaza when he was



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Nikolaus Geyerhalters Earth Closes M7

Written 16-04-2019 10:56:47 by Tue Steen Mller

Nikolaus Geyerhalters Earth Closes M7

Of course it was a scoop for us at the Magnificent7 Festival to have Nikolaus Geyerhalter’s masterpiece as the closing film of the festival. A couple of months after its premiere at the Berlinale. A fine gesture from the director, who knows and loves the festival. It is magnificent in form and it touches strongly on what we are doing to our planet. Contrary to some of his previous films that also has a grandeur in its aesthetical choice, like ”Homo Sapiens”, he in this film includes people working on the locations, he has chosen – in California, in Germany, in Italy… - to talk about what they do and what they think about what they do. When people ask me, what is my job, I answer ”I move mountains”, a big American worker says to Geyerhalter, who is behind the camera asking questions.

His own description of the film taken from its site - http://erde-film.at/english/themovie goes like this:

”Several billion tons of earth are moved annually by humans - with shovels, excavators or dynamite. An observation of people, in mines, quarries and at large construction sites, engaged in a constant struggle to take possession of the planet.”

Yes, to take possession of the planet, most of the workers are not happy about this but we need space and money to survive, to change nature into something profitable.

It is an amazing, mind blowing film that sits in your stomach and makes you think at the same time as you enjoy the images llike the photo above that comes from a sequence where machines perform their killing of the nature in a ballet kind of dance. A film from our planet with images that looks like taken from another planet.

http://www.magnificent7festival.org/en/zemlja.php


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Atos i Amin

Written 15-04-2019 10:23:18 by Tue Steen Mller

Atos i Amin

… is the title that festival directors Svetlana and Zoran Popovic use, much better they say than the English title “Gods of Molenbeek”, right they are, but the film is the same beautiful piece of poetry by first time feature duration director, Finnish Reetta Huhtanen, who was here at the Magnificent7 Festival and will go to HotDocs and DokFest München and CinéDoc Tbilisi. So well deserved. Huhtanen had a fine Q&A, well attended, after the screening last night.

Here are some clips of what we – meaning Svetlana and Zoran Popovic and me – have written about the film:

…The enchanting magic of childhood; the infinite contemplation over a leaf, a frog, a dark hole; accidental encounters that become the most significant ones in the world; the games which are the funniest and the most serious thing; curiosity, laughter, tiers, the unimaginable existence of honesty… (Popovic).

…We are the strongest in the world, they shout in one of their games, indeed they are, Aatos and Amine, who in the end split up, as Aatos is moving to Finland. It gave me a tear in the eye but I trust that a friendship like this will last. Tear in the eye, I had that many times, watching the boys and their happy faces wanting to discover the world. For me here is another tribute to childhood and imagination following – to mention two masterpieces –  films like Marcel Lozinski’s «Anything Can Happen» where the director’s son is running around in a park asking old people questions about God and Life and Death, and JoJo from Nicolas Philibert’s «Etre et Avoir».Please God, be good to Aatos and Amine!... (Müller)

The picture is taken in Helsinki, where I had the privilege to award the film as the best Finnish documentary of the year during the DocPoint festival. Aatos, 9 years, his mother and his little sister.

http://www.magnificent7festival.org/en/index.php


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Strong Female Presence at Magnificent7

Written 14-04-2019 09:11:21 by Tue Steen Mller

Strong Female Presence at Magnificent7

… indeed there is and it was also a woman, who was the first to say thank you for the selection of Claudia Tosi’s „I had A Dream” last night, Srbijanka Turajlic, the protagonist, the political activist and mother of the director of „The Other Side of Everything” Mila Turajlic. And a loyal spectator of the films of the Magnificent7 Festival here in Belgrade.

Great film, she said, and I could only agree. “I Had a Dream” is a film full of energy, and humour, a film that makes you happy seeing that there are women like the protagonists Daniela and Manuela, who try to change politics in Berlusconi’s Italy change with warmth and dedication. And make you sad as this is also a film about Europe today, where anti-European waves are everywhere as well as xenophobia. Claudia Tosi has found an excellent way of telling her story by  having on screen the two women comment, what we and they see during the many years, she has followed them. And Tosi has a fine direct way of  - off-screen – putting questions to the two, and she is there, when they have their political meetings locally and in the parliament. It's a no-bullshit film, an honest film.

Magnificent7 – seven films, where 6 of them this year are directed or co-directed by women.

3 more films will come, today two of them directed by women, Heddy Honigmann’s

“Buddy” and Reetta Huhtanen’s ”Gods of Molenbeek” will be shown.

http://www.magnificent7festival.org/en/index.php


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Serbian Documentary

Written 13-04-2019 12:47:54 by Tue Steen Mller

Serbian Documentary

Of course there has to be a post about Serbian documentaries being here in Belgrade. It’s going well, is my impression. There is a well functioning Serbian Film Centre, there is the association of DOKSERBIA, that in the 2017/18 catalogue announces around 25 film completed, plus a lot of shorts and a lot in development.

During the Magnificent7 two films were screened – the international hits of Mila Turajlic “Cinema Komunisto” and “The Other Side of Everything”

Reviewed on this site: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3125/

and

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

and another good news is that the film of Andrijana Stojkovic “Wongar” (Photo) is travelling to HotDocs in Canada and to the festival in Krakow in June. Review here: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4137/

Let me mention the many talented makers, some experienced, some still with first or second films: Srdan Sarenac, Biljana Tutorov, Boris Mitic, producer Iva Plemic, Jovana and Dragan Nikolic, Senka Domanovic, Mladen Kovacevic, Zejlko Mirkovic, Ognjen Glavonic, Sonja Dekic, Jelena Stankovic (cameraperson) and of course the old master Zelimir Zilnic, who right now has a retrospective at the Pompidou Centre in Paris.

I am writing this on a Saturday at the hotel facing the parliament, where there will be a demonstration in about two hours, the opposition’s demo, expected are 1.5-2 million people, who are not happy with President Aleksander Vucic, to say the least. These demonstrations have taken place every Saturday for weeks. More later…

issuu.com / serbian docs 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Uldis Cekulis: The Story of a Film

Written 12-04-2019 12:19:48 by Tue Steen Mller

Uldis Cekulis: The Story of a Film

It’s been my passion since 1990, the Baltic documentary cinema and I have had so many wonderful moments together with filmmakers from the region, those living and those who have passed away. One more beautiful moment came here in Belgrade, where film number 100 was “Bridges of Time” by Audrius Stonys and Kristine Briede, who were her together with the one and only Uldis Cekulis, producer and cameraman, who for me is what a producer should be: always supportive, looking for solutions, always with his directors. And a perfect storyteller.

He did it with a previous film, “Klucis” by Peteris Krilovs, and he did it yesterday with “Bridges of Time”, telling the audience at the workshop the story of the film, with photos and clips, and documents, shown on the screen, letting in the voices of the two directors to comment.

It was superb and touching for me, who during the years was invited to meet Uldis Brauns, the man behind 235.000.000, the poet of us all as said Herz Frank, when I met him a couple of times in Tel Aviv, not to forget Ivars Seleckis, whose energetic company I enjoyed this year at ZagrebDox, and Mark Soosaar, an old friend from the years of the festival on Bornholm… and Henrikas Sablevicius, who taught me many things about film and 999. I stop here with some tears in eyes.

The screening of Bridges of Time, that is a tribute to poetic Cinema, was the well chosen film number 100 at Magnificent7 Festival here in Belgrade. A festival that is not suffering from bulimia, 7 films per year for 15 years. Thank you Svetlana and Zoran Popovic, whose photo is taken by Kristine Briede.

http://www.magnificent7festival.org/en/index.php


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Masterclass in Belgrade

Written 12-04-2019 11:34:11 by Tue Steen Mller

Masterclass in Belgrade

I have just said goodbye to the Macedonian cameraman Samir Ljuma, who expressed his joy to have been here at the Magnificent7 Festival, where 1300 spectators were totally enthusiastic about ”Honeyland”, the opening film tuesday night. Yes, I said, this is what festivals are for – the famous triangle of a film, the ones who have made it AND the audience.

Samir Ljuma did a workshop session together with Atanas Georgiev giving inside information on the production of the film, the editing, the camera work and of course the relationship with the protagonist Hatidze. Workshop session is a wrong word, it was a masterclass, so precise with one master, who was not there (editor and producer Atanas Georgiev) and one who was very much present, painting the film, Samir Ljuma, because a painting it is, in my review



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Grand Opening of Magnificent7 Festival

Written 10-04-2019 09:07:06 by Tue Steen Mller

Grand Opening of Magnificent7 Festival

A little after 8pm in Belgrade, at the Kombank Hall, Zoran Popovic, together with his wife Svetlana the director of the European Feature Documentary Film Festival that in the coming week celebrates its 15th edition, walks on stage to greet the audience. The applause is enormous, Zoran Popovic has an iconic status, the love to him has no end, he is greeted as a rock star, a lover of documentary films and a man who is able to formulate why documentaries are important and why we have been organising this event for 15 years. I was on stage to tell how proud I am to be part of the selection, to him and to the totally full house of 1300 spectators, yes 1300 spectators!

They came to see a masterpiece according to the producer and editor Atanas Georgiev, and according to me (review here http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4449/) and the audience seemed to agree, you could hear from the clapping of the hands, while the end credits were running. Atanas Georgiev and the cameraman Samir Ljuma had a more than one hour Q&A after the screening. And not be forgotten the beautiful moment, where Macedonian Zafir Hadzimanov was reciting a poem and singing before the film. He is a singer and actor. He played in musicals (like “Fiddler on the Roof”), and feature films.

You could not hope for a better opening of the festival that to night celebrates the screening of film number 100, ”Bridges of Time” by Kristine Briede an Audrius Stonys, who are both here together with one of the producers, Uldis Cekulis.

http://www.magnificent7festival.org/en/index.php


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOKer International Documentary Festival

Written 09-04-2019 14:55:29 by Tue Steen Mller

DOKer International Documentary Festival

It was a very pleasant festival to attend, the DOKer in Moscow. That ended last night. You sense immediately that the organisers are filmmakers, who spread their enthusiasm for the genre and want invited guests, fellow filmmakers to have a good stay in the metropolis. As a jury member you are treated perfectly – meeting questions like these all the time: ”Are you ok, is there anything we can do for you?”

For me it was the right thing to be at the festival during the whole period, watching films in a cinema and not online on a computer.

I was a juror in the short film competition, that had 14 films from 12



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DOKer Short Film Winners

Written 09-04-2019 05:24:17 by Tue Steen Mller

DOKer Short Film Winners

Motivation for the Winning Film

For its ability to create atmosphere through a clear aesthetical choice, through its expressive language using methaphors to convey a personally experienced childhood trauma, the jury has chosen to award

SANATORIUM by Masha Osipova

Motivation for a Special Mention

For portraying a daughter/mother relationship with dignity and honesty, choosing to make a sad family story positive, with humour and warmth, the jury has chosen to give an honorary mention to

FAMILY IN EXILE by Fatima Matousse

Motivation for a Special Mention

For portraying a son/father relationship of great pain, using a powerful cinematic language, including the so-called hybrid, setting up scenes, the film has a therapeutical element and can be seen as a lessonin what cinema can do. The mention goes to

THE DAM by Natalia Koniarz

Motivation for a Special Mention

In this film the main hero had to go. But before that the one in question was  the central character in a family, whose members had very different opinions i in a story full of humour that is not always the case in documentaries.

The mention goes to TUNGRUS by Rishi Chandna

https://www.midff.com


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Sergey Dvortsevoy in Moscow

Written 08-04-2019 10:53:33 by Tue Steen Mller

Sergey Dvortsevoy in Moscow

8 years later… same place, Moscow, I met one of my documentary heroes, who has been written about so many times on this site. I met Dvortsevoy back in the 1990’es. One time on the island of Bornholm at the Balticum Film & TV Festival, where his ”Bread Day” was chosen as the best documentary – still remember that the film copy had not arrived and I had to ask the director if we could show it from a VHS cassette. Ouff! But he won! Since then I have met the director here and there and everywhere, last time 8 years ago when I was here for the Moscow International Film Festival.

I know very few directors, who are so passionate about his profession. Engaged, committed to social and human matters as he shows in his new fiction, « Ayka », that premiered in one version at the Cannes Film festival and in another one months later. Russian premiere in February 2019. I have not seen the film yet. It has brought him to festivals around the globe and the main character, played by Kazahk Samal Esljamova received the award as best female actress in Cannes.

Back to his documentary masterpieces, „Paradise” (1996), “Bread Day” (1998), “Highway” (1999), “In the Dark » - many have asked me where you can get hold of them. The good news from Dvortsevoy is that his films are being digitized in London and there should be fine fresh copies/files ready in a month or so. I have asked him to tell me, when it will happen so I can maybe push retrospectives to happen in Denmark or elsewhere.

Here are a couple of links to what has been written about him on this site :

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4212/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/671/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/1339/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Stefan Bohun: Bruder Jakob, schlfst du noch

Written 06-04-2019 20:14:42 by Tue Steen Mller

Stefan Bohun: Bruder Jakob, schlfst du noch

Is there something wrong in saying that a film is perfect. For me No. What I mean is that it has the right rythm, is balanced in the treatment of in this case a difficult subject, attracts you emotionally, has a lot of fine cinematic solutions, i.e. expressive combinations of sound and picture, holds back information, lets (in this case) its characters develop slowly, uses archive material in a fine way…

I was very impressed by Austrian Stefan Bohun’s film about his and his three other brother’s search for themselves and the fifth brother Jakob. At the screening here in Moscow, where it is in the feature duration competition of the DOKer festival, the director told the audience that the hardest was not the filming in the mountains of Tyrol and in Porto in Portugal or “to write” the film, the pain came when in the editing room with his family on screen.

It is always a challenge for filmmakers to create atmosphere. Bohun makes it with a fine sensibility.

https://www.midff.ru/


Vurdering:

 
Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Italian Director Meets Russian Police

Written 06-04-2019 08:46:36 by Tue Steen Mller

Italian Director Meets Russian Police

Less than 24 hours after she arrived in Moscow Italian documentarian Claudia Tosi (“I had a Dream”, DOKLeipzig winner 2018, http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4389/) ran into trouble… We were having lunch in the Tretyakov Gallery, dumplings, preparing for watching world class art.

Tosi looked at her cell phone, said something in Italian that I did not understand, in English it was the f… word, she explained: Someone has taken money from my credit card, €400. She left the lunch, went to a café on the other side of the street, that had internet, called her father to ask him to contact the bank to block further activity.

Well, that has happened to many of us but when Tosi came back, she knew what had happened! It’s the guy outside the gallery, who is going around with his mobile in his hand. Russian hacking, I said, having no clue how a thing like that is possible. And maybe the Italian director was writing a drama.

But back in the café Tosi met a Russian woman, who understood English, understood and recognised the drama - We have to call the police…

On the photo taken by me you see four policemen, two police cars and two women, the one to the right the helpful woman and the one with her back to the camera, Claudia Tosi.

The young man with the mobile phone was taken to the police car, driven away and Tosi was asked if she would give a statement. Of course!

Our guide, Tatyana Soboleva, came back to us after a tv interview, got the story, we three left the café and the young man was back in action with his phone. How he can access a bypassing foreigner’s bank account, is still an enigma, at least for me.

Reality wrote its script!


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOKer Shorts and Diagnosis

Written 05-04-2019 08:38:51 by Tue Steen Mller

DOKer Shorts and Diagnosis

Getting into the October cinema from the noisy boulevard with the constant traffic jam in Moscow is a blessing. Again a lot of people were there to watch the first competition program of short films, and they were not disappointed. Four films of high quality, that’s all I can write as a member of the jury.

I was thinking back in time, where I attended the short film festival in Clermont-Ferrand year after year, which mostly showed short fiction. Here in Moscow it’s short documentaries that reach the screen and/or hybrid works. Film history has often pointed out that short films are the step to making longer films, feature length, it might be but I did not sense that with the four films I saw yesterday. They were finished works in themselves, strong stories, well shaped with sense of the cinematographic possibilities. Each with their own handwriting. Far from being student films. I congratulated the selector Nastia Tarasova for her choice and look forward to the films of today Friday.

After a good meal into the darkness again to watch a film from Poland, "Diagnosis", a documentary feature film debut of the director Ewa Podgórska and producer Małgorzata Wabińska. From Lodz, and that is an important piece of information as the film ” is a journey into the depths of subconscious of a city formed by human beings”, where some inhabitants undergo sessions on a couch, performed by a Frenchman – and from there the film takes its audience into the lives of the chosen characters, and slowly – in a puzzle-like narrative, where the characters through the editing are put to communicate with each other – you get to know that this is a film about la condition humaine. You are surprised, when watching the film and that’s a compliment, the film director dares to break dramaturgical rules, it plays with emotions, it is fragmented, maybe the form takes over once in while but I was impressed and entertained (company name Entertain Pictures!). I was there with Finnish film couple, Iiris Härma (who made the wonderful ”Leaving Africa” - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3154/ - and Visa Koiso-Kanttila, the latter director and cameraman praising the quality of the cinematography. Agreed! A Q&A afterwards focused on the film as a post-Soviet interpretation, not at all, it's the universal theme of Life and Love that is at stake.

http://en.pisf.pl/news/polish-creative-documentary-diagnosis-goes-to-idfa?wcag=1

https://www.midff.com/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Films at CAFX

Written 04-04-2019 08:44:30 by Tue Steen Mller

Films at CAFX

... which means Copenhagen Architecture Festival that includes a lot of interesting documentary films, two of them can be seen at the art house cinema Grand Teatret in the centre of the Danish capital.

Both have been reviewed on this site. Thomas Riedelsheimer's "Leaning into the Wind" with fantastic landscape artist Andy Goldsworthy was at the Magnificent7 festival 2018 in Belgrade, where Svetlana and Zoran Popovic presented the film as "Riedelsheimer's sophisticated filmmaking proceeds from breathtaking physical matter and goes beyond trying to reveal the ideas that move the artists. And before our very eyes these ideas are transformed into remarkable forms pervaded by the rhythms of nature." http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4266/

And staying in Belgrade I reviewed Nicolas Wagniere's "Hotel Jugoslavia", a quote "...Wagnières says that he during a decade has come back to the city and the hotel and that he has filmed “pour garder and pour regarder”. He conveys his point of view very much through his personal voice off - one of the best sequences is the interview with the mother, who remembers how people stood together after the ww2, eager to build a new society of unity and brotherhood, values that are no longer part of the Serbian society. Wonderful propaganda footage..." http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4301/

The festival has an amazing program to offer, it runs until the 14th of April.

http://cafx.dk


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOKer Opening Day

Written 04-04-2019 00:00:03 by Tue Steen Mller

DOKer Opening Day

… was full of sunshine from early morning in Moscow. I walked from the hotel accompanied by director Tatyana Soboleva. I had asked her to take me to the Pushkin Museum to have a look at the exhibition of Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and The School of London.

On the way we passed the House of Journalists, where the founder Irina Shatalova organised the first public documentary screening of what became DOKer. It was also here, Soboleva told me, that the first edition of the festival took place – it was the one, where I was member of an online jury that had Victor Kossakovsky as the chair. The festival, now having its fifth edition, writes this about itself on the website: «Moscow International Documentary



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DOKer - and Uncle Sasha or One Flew over Russia

Written 31-03-2019 12:36:34 by Tue Steen Mller

DOKer - and Uncle Sasha or One Flew over Russia

I am off to Moscow tuesday to visit the DOKer festival, to be correct the Moscow International Documentary Film Festival, to be a juror for the short film festival. To be honest I pushed for this invitation. In the first edition in 2015 I was in the jury for long documentaries but it was a jury of members, who watched the films on their own at their respective homes and made the decisions via mail and phone. I want to come to the festival, see films in a cinema, feel the atmosphere, I told the organisers and this is what happens, thanks to Irina Shatalova, Nastia Tarasova, Sergei Kachkin and Tatyana Soboleva. The organisers of a festival that is independent of state funding, a filmmaker’s festival with an impressive program: https://www.midff.com

And good filmmakers they are. I have written about “Linar” way back in 2013, http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/2447/ By Nastia Tarasova with Irina Shatalova as the cinematographer.

... and Sergey Kachkin’s “On the Way Home”, http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/1717/

... and Tatyana Soboleva’s “Siberian Floating Hospital”, http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3309/

Today I watched “Uncle Sasha and One Flew Over Russia” by Soboleva, quite a meeting with a man with a big Family as you see in the beginning of the film, a man who would like Russia to be a monarchy, who lives with his wife in a village, that is empty, surrounded by water, an island it is, a charismatic , knowledgeable man with several bon mots, who suddenly starts singing, a man with a big love to his wife, and a filmmaker with a sense for details, who is able to convey the atmosphere at the place, where crooked houses stand alone in snow and sun, and where Alexander Nikolayevich fights to make a connection to the other bank of the river, where relatives live and where he can shop and have a vodka or two like some of his neighbours. A Russia disappearing, thanks for taking me there!

And to Moscow.

2018, 58 mins. Russia


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX 2019 Awards

Written 30-03-2019 20:56:39 by Tue Steen Mller

CPH:DOX 2019 Awards

DOX:AWARD: ‘Ridge’ by John Skoog (Sweden)“We would like to honor a film that takes formal virtuosity to new heights, yet never loses sight of the human experience. If Tarkovsky had played video games and was a Swedish farmer, this might be what his films would have looked like. Sculpting with time and space, this new director creates a unique field of experience for the audience, steering away from familiar dichotomies such as man versus machines, science versus nature, immigrant versus local. Instead this film creates a haunting environment where all of these elements are playfully activated, and the result approaches a uniquely jagged kind of sublime. (PHOTO)

Special Mention: ”Searching Eva” by Pia Hellenthal (Germany) “The jury would like to make a special mention for a film that takes an innovative approach to a profile of an artist. Its cinematographic language is very much in line with the artistic and life experience of a character who continuously searches for alternative approaches to everything, constantly detaching from common reference points and notions of stability. And so does the film, which adopts its own playful ethos, never falling into expectations for how this story, or this life, should be told. Above all, it’s a film of great risk, on screen and behind the camera, and we found that both commendable and compelling.

NEW:VISION: ‘A Moon for My Father’ by Mania Akbari og Douglas White (Iran) “‘A Moon For My Father’ is a complex and generous film about bodies. Bodies of work, bodies of politics and history – an extraordinary artist’s body as host of disease and transformation under pressure – and as the subsequent carrier and giver of life. Like a punch in the gut or a needle in the abdomen, this film demonstrates that as a viewer, the medium of moving images is far more than a retinal and cognitive experience, but one of strong affect and of somatic involvement of your very own body.”

FACT:AWARD: ‘Dark Suns’ af Julien Elie (Canada) “The F:ACT AWARD goes to a film that gives voice to people who have suffered unbearable losses and have been neglected and ignored and forgotten by their government and authorities. In fact, the film convincingly suggests that those very authorities are themselves deeply involved in the immense tragedy that has been quietly unfolding through more than 20 years. The filmmaker has invested almost as many years of his life and work to bring the story to us and he does it with a huge solidarity with his characters and with a patience that gives the audience a deep sense of the complexity of this tragedy. He does not seek easy answers but let one witness after the other take us deep into the heart of darkness.

NORDIC:DOX: ‘The Men’s Room’ af Petter Sommer & Jo Vemund Svendsen (Norway) “We agreed unanimously on the winner. The NORDIC:DOX AWARD goes to a film that made us both laugh and cry. A tribute to friendship and male vulnerability. A film that powerfully conveys the basic human needs for belonging propelled by a clear cinematic vision and a big heart. »

NEXT:WAVE: ‘Kabul, City in the Wind’ af Aboozar Amini (Afghanistan, Holland, Japan, Tyskland) “For us in the jury it’s been an immense pleasure to experience the incredible variety in the NEXT:WAVE category and we’ve been traveling around the world in the cinemas of Copenhagen. Our main award goes to a movie that took us to the heart of a hurt city that we’ve never experienced like this before. An impressive, artistic and breathtaking documentary that goes beyond war and death and is a deep, devastating and deeply moving portrait of life and characters which you won’t forget. This is only the debut feature of the director but it shows an incredible sense of artistic ambition and a brilliant, bold use of cinematography, editing and sound. A wonderful film that shows that hope will survive.”

Politikens Publikumspris: ‘Push’ af Fredrik Gertten (Sweden). Politiken is the primary Danish newspaper for culture and is a strong supporter of the festival. With the award follows 50.000Dkr. https://cphdox.dk/en/programme/film/?id=968 for more about the winning film.

https://cphdox.dk/en/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocuDays UA 2019 Awards

Written 30-03-2019 20:12:16 by Tue Steen Mller

DocuDays UA 2019 Awards

Look at the photo, the awards which were distributed in Kiev on March 28 – the two last days of the festival, that stops today, are called Audience Days, where films from the festival will go to locations i.e. ”cinemas in different Kiev neighbourhoods”.

Tomorrow is also an Audience Day - Presidential election, first round, in Ukraine!

Here follows a copy/paste of the list of winners from a festival that I visited for the seventh time this year and which stays close to my heart because of the program, the atmosphere, the dedication of the staff and their ability to surprise its audience:



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Magnificent7 Belgrade

Written 25-03-2019 12:19:13 by Tue Steen Mller

Magnificent7 Belgrade

So there it is, the program of the 15th edition of the European Feature Documentary Film Festival that takes place from April 9 to April 15 in the Kombank Hall cinema in the centre of the capital of Serbia. As usual I will be there to join my dear friends and co-selectors, the festival directors Svetlana and Zoran Popovic, at the festival that I always talk about as ”7 films, 7 days and 14 restaurants”, the latter referring to the fact that the organisers know how to treat their filmmaker guests as Kings and Queens!

Here you have the list of the films to be screened:

Honeyland, North Macedonia, 2019 – Tamara Kotevska & Ljubomir Stefanov

Bridges of Time, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, 2018 – Kristine Briede & Audrius Stonys

What Walaa Wants, Denmark, Canada, 2018 – Christy Garland

I Had a Dream, Italy, France, 2018 – Claudia Tosi

Buddy, The Netherlands, 2018 – Heddy Honigmann

Gods of Molenbeek, Finland, Belgium, Germany, 2019 – Reetta Huhtanen

The Earth, Austria, 2019 – Nikolaus Geyerhalter

And the list of guests, who will be there at the screenings and take part in the Q&A after, as well as the workshop the day after.

  Atanas Georgiev, producer and editor of the film HONEYLAND

  Samir Ljuma, cinematographer of the film HONEYLAND

  Kristīne Briede, co-director of the film BRIDGES OF TIME

  Audrius Stonys, co-director of the film BRIDGES OF TIME

  Uldis Cekulis, producer of the film BRIDGES OF TIME

  Anne Köhncke, producer of the film WHAT WALAA WANTS

  Claudia Tosi, director of the film I HAD A DREAM

  Monique Lesterhuis, researcher of the film BUDDY

  Reetta Huhtanen, director of the film GODS OF MOLENBEEK

http://www.magnificent7festival.org/en/index.php


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocuDays New Ukrainian Documentaries

Written 25-03-2019 09:12:05 by Tue Steen Mller

DocuDays New Ukrainian Documentaries

During the next year(s) you will see several Ukrainian documentaries at international festivals. It’s moving in the right direction for the country’s filmmakers, who want to express themselves in this film genre. There are – although limited from a Western European perspective – funds like the Ukrainian State Film Agency and the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation to go to, and there is the DocuDays festival that is instrumental for connecting the country’s documentary makers with producers, festival representatives, sales agents and distributors, not to forget producers and directors from all over, actually. They come here to meet local filmmakers, listen to presentations/pitches, watch material and eventually help. Darya Bassel and Viktoria Khomenko who take care of the Industry Section of the festival make the guests work! Yesterday I heard from one of the guests, Mélanie de Vocht from the IDFA Bertha Fund, that she was signed up for more than 30 meetings, in the few days she is here!

I was invited to moderate the new invention of the festival, „Ukrainian Doc Preview“, where seven films close to final cut, or already there, were



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DocuDays 2019 Opening

Written 23-03-2019 08:08:00 by Tue Steen Mller

DocuDays 2019 Opening

Of course, sadly, the opening of the DocuDays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival could only start with the yearly declaration of solidarity with filmmaker Oleg Sentsov and the other Ukrainians held in Russian prisons.

But there was also an audiovisual live project performed by musician Stanislav Ivashchenko in collaboration with Laser Studio: "750 litres of water, lasers, led lights and only one person, whose every beat is synchronised with its own element and its own sound". A lot for the eye and for the ear followed by lots of clip presentations of the sections in the festival, a speech from a representative from the Swedish Embassy - as Sweden again is the main supporter of the festival and its focus on human rights and this year the focus on what the digital world we live in come up with of challenges.

Therefore it was natural that the opening film was the Dutch (director Hans Pool) "Bellingcat: Truth in a Post-Truth World" with a group of journalistic activists, who investigate cases as the MH17 incident where an Ukrainian flight was shot down in the Eastern part of the country. It was interesting to follow how they work - in a film that was more of a reportage than a creative documentary. Fair enough, here you can say that "content is King".

The festival has started, more will follow from the festival in Kiev that runs until March 30.

www.docudays.ua


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Les Films du Balibari is a Winner

Written 22-03-2019 10:35:34 by Tue Steen Mller

Les Films du Balibari is a Winner

… we cover far too little the French documentary situation. I don’t go to Cinéma du Réel any longer and Sunny Side of the Docs is also clashing with other events. And I am not 27 any longer…

But I meet filmmakers here and there and FB is one of the sources to give information. Yesterday I saw this which deserves to be passed on:

« Le jury a récompensé au titre du Producteur français de télévision 2019 dans la catégorie Documentaire, la société LES FILMS DU BALIBARI (Estelle Robin-You, Clara Vuillermoz), en soulignant la qualité et la modernité de la démarche de production allant du local à l’international, l’engagement des productrices dans les combats collectifs autour du documentaire, et leur ouverture au monde (notamment l’Afrique) dans une vision à 360° du métier. En 2018, la société a notamment produit « Debouttes » de Maxime Faure (France 2, SRC), « Libres » de Arno Bitschy (Arte, YLE, Lyon Capitale TV). »

Happy for Estelle and Clara, here is a qoute about the company from their website:



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Lina Alabed: Ibrahim

Written 21-03-2019 21:29:46 by Tue Steen Mller

Lina Alabed: Ibrahim

I det kæmpeprogram som CPH:DOX præsenterer netop nu, er denne film én, som fortjener et ekstra skub frem: den skal I se, I der er interesseret i den mellemøstlige historie, i Palæstina, i forholdet mellem Arafat og Abu Nidal Organisationen, i Livet – som festivalkataloget giver den som tema – som det har formet sig for instruktøren Lina Alabed og hendes familie siden faren, den politisk aktive Ibrahim forsvandt i slutningen af firserne.

Jeg mødte Lina Alabed i Damaskus under DoxBox festivalen, der løb i fire år inden revolutionen, hun var ved at afslutte sin film ”The First Kiss”, men allerede da havde hun planlagt at ville lave en film om sin forsvundne far. Hun ville finde ud af, hvad der skete, hvorfor han forsvandt.

Den er der så nu, filmen bærer hans navn, den er personlig, den følger instruktøren på en rejse i nutiden, hvor hun møder sin mor, en søster og dennes datter, en bror og dennes søn, onkler og tanter – det er en stor familie, en desværre typisk palæstinensisk familie spredt ud i det mellemøstlige og ikke kun her. Moren bor stadig i Damaskus, Lina Alabed i Beirut, søsteren (var det) i Cairo eller Amman, broren i Tyskland osv. osv. Hvad skete der, blev faren dræbt, af sine egne i Abu Nidal organisationen, eller var han spion, var han agent for CIA… Lina Alabed spørger og spørger familiens medlemmer, i deres hjem, i deres køkkener i en stemning, som er præget af intimitet, du føler dig virkeligt ”hjemme hos”, når Alabed sidder i sofaen og spørger, hvad husker du?

Denne hjemlige atmosfære står i modsætning til, hvad der formentlig er sket: faren blev henrettet. Hvorfor?

Og Palæstina… det bedste ved det, siger broren i Tyskland er hummus og falafel, jeg tabte alt for det politiske, da Arafat og Rabin gav hinanden hånden, jeg syntes de forrådte alt, hvad min far stod for. Men hvad er dit hjemland, spørger tante Lina brorens søn: Palæstina, siger han.

Filmen slutter smukt i den palæstinensiske landsby Deir Abu Meshaad, hvor faren voksede op og hvor datteren rør ved oliventræerne.  

Libanon, 2019, 75 mins.

Premiere i Dagmar, 23.3, klokken 19.15

www.cphdox.dk


Vurdering:

 
Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Alina Rudnitskaya: School of Seduction

Written 20-03-2019 14:10:51 by Tue Steen Mller

Alina Rudnitskaya: School of Seduction

It’s a lovely start of a film. Shots from a naval parade in St.Petersburg. Grandiose. People in striped sailor blouses, and people in uniforms. Waving the navy flag in front of the Winter Palace. Suddenly focus on a pretty girl dancing with a navy flag in her hands. Seductive movements. And then a couple kissing behind a column, continuing their caressing somewhere else, sex behind the flag… and a bit later she hits him in his face.

Alina Rudnitskaya starts her film in her native city saying that this is about man and woman in a Russia that is proud of herself or should I say himself. And she does so with her own signature of tragedy and comedy. More about that later.

The title comes up on the screen, « School of Seduction », a Danish



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Vurdering:

 
Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Marie Skovgaard: The Reformist

Written 19-03-2019 22:01:10 by Tue Steen Mller

Marie Skovgaard: The Reformist

Sherin Khankan, 44 year old mother of four, divorced, is a well known name in Danish media for her brave fight for equal opportunities for man and woman within the islam community. She is the founder of the organisation Femimam, set up to secure that women can be imams. She has been interviewed in newspapers and on television and her being the first female imam was a news story that went international.

But noboby has got that close to her as documentarian Marie Skovgaard, who



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Vurdering:

 
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One World Festival Awards Announced

Written 17-03-2019 13:44:54 by Tue Steen Mller

One World Festival Awards Announced

The winners of this year’s One World Festival in Prague have been announced. A total of seven prizes were awarded by juries in the categories of International Competition, The Right to Know, and Czech Competition. New this year is the Regional Jury, made up of three representatives of the cities and towns where the regional One World Festival takes place. Representatives of secondary school students then chose the recipient of the Student Jury Award. Audience members voted after film screenings for the documentary that received the Avast Foundation Audience Award.

One World in Prague screened 117 documentary films in 14 thematic categories. Over 200 filmmakers and protagonists, human rights activists and film festival organizers accepted invitations to attend the festival. In addition to traditional competitions and thematic categories, One World presented twelve virtual reality projects. A new category this year was Short and Concise, in which the festival returned to short documentaries. Two categories appeared in the program aimed at searching for and defining one’s own identity, whether at the personal or the societal level – reflecting the theme of this year’s festival: “Safe Proximity”.

During the festival´s ten days 28 488 viewers attended afternoon and evening



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East Doc Platform Project Awards

Written 15-03-2019 16:45:40 by Tue Steen Mller

East Doc Platform Project Awards

It was much appreciated and welcomed that the main winner yesterday, after the East Doc Forum at the East Doc Platform, was the Serbian/Croatian project “Museum of the Revolution” that has Srdan Keca as director and Vanja Jambrovic as producer. I met the project at ZagrebDox, where it also won an award given by HBO Europe. It is very inviting, the material I have seen, and that Keca is a documentary director with an eye, you can see immediately. In Prague director and producer told me about the plans of building a museum of the revolution in 1961, in Belgrade, it failed because of funding, if I got it right; the architect Richter from Croatia had ambitious construction drawings – in 1978 the idea was put forward again, the foundation of the building was constructed but two years later Tito died and everything about the museum for revolutions around the world collapsed. Keca has filmed at the place, where the museum should have been.

The girl on the photo is Milica, she often lives there with an old woman Mara,



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East Doc Platform Neumann & Turajlic

Written 14-03-2019 11:12:57 by Tue Steen Mller

East Doc Platform Neumann & Turajlic

„Bringing the Past to Life“ was the theme of a masterclass with Stan Neumann and Mila Turajlic, directors I have known for years and whose works I have seen and appreciated. Both work with archive as the title of the class indicate, and both had interesting reflections to convey to the audience, with clips of course.

Some quotes: „We don’t work with archivists, it diminishes the possibility for coincidence, for finding something unexpected that you can use“. Turajlic gave an example – she was at an archive and saw that there was material about „picking tangerines“. As she knew that Tito was fond of tangerines, she looked at it, and there he was – for her „Cinema Komunisto“.

„There is nothing true in an image“. „I want the documentary archive material to work narratively, to tell my truth, not as an illustration“. „The eye on the archive must be new“. „The first thing is to destroy the archive, break it down and make it your own“.

Clips were shown from „Austerlitz“, „Cinema Komunisto“, „On the Other Side of Everything“, Neumann’s film on the Russian revolution, his film on Klemperer and totalitarian language... and more.

Below you find links to know more about the two directors. On filmkommentaren Mila Turajlic was mentioned the first time in 2008, Neumann in 2009.

Mila Turajlic

Links: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4096/ http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4090/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/1346/

Stan Neumann

Links: about “Language Does Not Lie” (Klemperer); about the importance of form; about “The Surrealistic Photo


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

East Doc Platform Karel Vachek

Written 14-03-2019 10:10:24 by Tue Steen Mller

East Doc Platform Karel Vachek

I had the pleasure of introducing 7 new Czech documentaries at the Institut Francais Tuesday afternoon. The last in line was legendary Karel Vachek, teacher at the FAMU film school, a man who was exiled after 1968, by some called the eternal dissident. 25 years he has been at the film school, he has made several interesting- and-difficult-to-grab documentary essays, and it was a film like that he presented helped by his producers Mikulás Novotny and Radim Procházka. ”Communism” is the title as you can see from the photo taken by Filip Remunda. 9 minutes was shown from the upcoming film that will be 5 hours divided into four parts. Looking forward!

Remunda presented his own film that has already premiered at the One World Festival, ”Czech Journal: The Okamura Brothers”, three siblings of Japanese origin with one of them being an extreme right wing politician.

Greta Stocklassa, half Swedish half Czech, has made a film from up North, ”Kiruna 2.0”, that follows the moving of the city because of the mining. A film – taken from the clip shown – with a tone and interesting characters and amazing images of reindeer. It’s her first film and it has been taken for the Visions du Réel.

The same goes for Johana Ozvold and her ”The Sound Is Innocent”, first film, selected for Visions du Réel – ” The music is a game, a playground. And for creating the electronic music the main tool and toy is an instrument, a device, a machine…”.

”Dálava” by Martin Marecek is in good hands with the HBO’s Hanka ​Kastelicová – and judging from the three clips/scenes shown (clever way of presentation) the film with a father and his son will be full of atmosphere.

The same with ”Another Chance“ by Eva Tomanova. You fall for Monika, who is one of many, who has been the victim of Mirek, a marriage swindler – they get a child together, he is in prison, he gets out, how will it develop?

… and Karolina Peroutková, a Famu student of Miroslav Janek, presented “The Call of the Wild” and her relationship to the main character, a young boy, who is breaking the rules of the society: “Michael is twelve years old. He has seven siblings and lives with his parents in a small house in a small town. Michal often hangs around the streets of the small town, where I (the director, ed.) live. “He is a rascal and a rogue,” say the locals…

https://dokweb.net/database/films/synopsis/95428715-e22e-46e1-b761-164373370dac/communism


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

East Doc Platform Lecture on Editing

Written 12-03-2019 08:56:01 by Tue Steen Mller

East Doc Platform Lecture on Editing

EDP (East Doc Platform) characterises itself as the largest industry platform for Central and Eastern European documentaries. From my experience touring documentary meetings in the vast region, I agree. And can add that with the parallel running huge One World Festival, the documentary festival in Jihlava, the vod DocAlliance, the East Silver and a succesful initiative like dok.incubator the Czech Republic is a place, where a lot of good is done for the documentary. With the EDP organised by the IDF, Institute of Documentary Film.

At the EDP filmmakers run from room to room in the Spanish Cultural Institute, Cervantes, to have meetings with experienced filmmakers or sales agents or distributors – to relax once in a while by listening to interesting lectures in the so-called Open Programme.

I was there yesterday to hear what an old friend from the Baltic Sea Forum, Phil Jandaly, had to say about his profession. Editing. Called « From Pre-



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CPH:DOX Films Already Reviewed

Written 09-03-2019 13:01:01 by Tue Steen Mller

CPH:DOX Films Already Reviewed

Here comes a list of films from this year´s CPH:DOX that has already been reviewed on filmkommentaren.dk. As the policy for our independent and self-funded blog-site is that we only review and comment (almost) positively, you can consider these links as recommendations:

An Evening with Ai WeiWei

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

Victor Kossakovsky: Aquarela

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

Emir Kusturica: El Pepe

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4441/

Eszter Hajdú: Hungary 2018

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4405/

Aboozar Amini: City in the Wind

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4398/

Bettina Perut & Iván Osnovikoff : Los Reyes

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4406/

Herzog & Singer: Meeting Gorbachev

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4386/

Vitaly Mansky: Putin’s Witnesses

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

Kim Longinotto: Shooting the Mafia

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4463/

Nicolas Geyerhalter: The Border Fence

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4437/

Anna Eborn: Transnistra

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX 2019

Written 06-03-2019 13:25:04 by Tue Steen Mller

CPH:DOX 2019

It is indeed overwhelming the program of CPH:DOX. Films, now also with a section for fiction films, concerts, the CPH:Forum with 33 projects, including well-known directors being present like Petra Costa, Victor Kossakovsky, Guido Hendrickx, Mila Turajlic, Shaul Schwarz and Ben Rivers… focus on art and innovation in form… the extra-ordinary.

But let me stay with the film program: 200 films, five international competitions, ”Among this year’s new initiatives and highlights are a major theme on Europe including films, talks and an exhibition, a new programme dedicated to fiction films, and guest stars such as Ai Weiwei and Pamela Anderson!”

We will review many of the films, but let me draw your attention to 3 films and filmmakers risking to drown in the big ocean of titles:

Lithuanian ”Animus Animalis” by young Aiste Zegulyte, original in form and theme: People, Animals and Things. Palestinian Lina Alabed’s ”Ibrahim”, ”a cinematic letter to her father, who disappeared during a political mission in 1987 and never returned”. I have heard about that film for a long time, made with Danish help. Russian wonderful director Alina Rudnitskaya’s Danish production “School of Seduction”.

Talking about Denmark – and it is a Dane who writes this – it is good to see many new Danish films announced after a bit meager 2018. There are films by Phie Ambo, Pernille Rose Grønkjær, Eva Mulvad, Andreas Johnsen and new names as Marie Skovgård and Sun Hee Engelstoft.

https://cphdox.dk/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Anna Eborn: Transnistra

Written 05-03-2019 10:31:08 by Tue Steen Mller

Anna Eborn: Transnistra

Yes. Documentary is Cinema. Where the best directors know what they are doing. Have chosen a form for what they want to tell. Before shooting. This is what Swedish Anna Eborn has done with this gem of a documentary film. She is working with video and with 16mm film, she has created a superb sound design and used music so it matches the sequences. The critic has no objections!

Actually this is a quote from my review of Eborn’s previous film ”Lida” from Ukraine but it fits perfectly for the one, she presents now, ”Transnistra”, shot by Virginie Surdej.

The film stands out, it is far away from main stream documentary, let me just point at some of the magic this film delivers:

The opening summer scenes of the youngsters at the river with Tanya in the middle surrounded by, well they are boys, all of them pretty much interested in Tanya, she talking about love all the time – the filmmaker stays long with them creating an atmosphere of waiting and searching. You can see it is shot on film material, it gives a beauty to the image, nothing to do with the often sterile video image.

The river is the point of return in a film that also goes to the poor place, where Tanya lives and to the abandoned houses, where the youngsters hang out, smoking, talking about everything and nothing, being together in a social context that can be only characterised as poverty. They have no education, they have dreams of getting away as many in this part of the world.

And yet, important to stress, this is not a social report, it is a close look at youngsters/teenagers and how they love and don’t love each other, how they create their own little space of life in Transnistria, ”the breakaway republic largely unrecognized internationally, sitting between Moldova and Ukraine, which seems determined to maintain a Soviet lifestyle”.

… and the closing scene with Tanya and Tolya, touching… maybe a farewell moment, Tolya thinks, while Tanya is recording him singing. On her cell phone. Wow, here is a young director who catches a moment of life and love, Truffaut will clap in his hands whereever he is.

The film will be shown at the Tempo Festival in Stockholm, at Docville in Belgium and at CPH:DOX: https://cphdox.dk/en/programme/film/?id=1187 and will be released in Danish theatres in June. And at many other festivals I am sure.

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4027/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outline_of_Transnistria

Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, 93 mins., 2019


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ZagrebDox 2019 Ivars Seleckis and Me

Written 03-03-2019 14:18:51 by Tue Steen Mller

ZagrebDox 2019 Ivars Seleckis and Me

Years ago Nenad Puhovski, founder of and director of ZagrebDox, said to himself: I also want to give an award, I will call it ”My Generation”. (Remember that Puhovski has a competitive category for filmmakers under 35 with an attached Youth Jury). This year Puhovski was happy to award Latvian Ivars Seleckis, whose masterpiece ”To be Continued” was shown at the festival.

At the same – to celebrate the 15th edition – Puhovski gave two honorary awards, one national and one international. The national was given to Hrvoje Hribar, a director and former Croatian Audiovisual Centre managing director, the international to me.

From the press release published on the site of the festival:



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ZagrebDox Winners 2019

Written 03-03-2019 05:46:38 by Tue Steen Mller

ZagrebDox Winners 2019

Last night the winners were announced in  Zagreb, here comes some of them, click below and you will get the whole list:

Nebojša Slijepčević Tue Steen Müller elimir ilnik, Jury International Competition

BIG STAMP FOR BEST FILM IN INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION
UP THE MOUNTAIN (Photo)
Yang Zhang, China - The film captivates with its visual beauty and directing skills, introduces us into the life of a remote community, depicting celebrations, grief, birth and death, spectacular parties and intimate conversations. We can rightfully say that each shot in this film is like a painting, a glorious meditation about true values in life.

SPECIAL MENTION - INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION



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ZagrebDox Seleckis, Loznitsa, Nyrabia

Written 02-03-2019 12:35:37 by Tue Steen Mller

ZagrebDox  Seleckis, Loznitsa, Nyrabia

Her name is Anastasija, she is one of the children in “To Be Continued” by Latvian documentary master Ivars Seleckis, who is here at ZagrebDox, where his film was shown last night. Tonight Seleckis (who will be 85 this year) will receive an award given by Nenad Puhovski, ZagrebDox festival director, who himself at each edtion of the festival chooses a film to be awarded. A ”My Generation” award. I have known Seleckis for more than 20 years, this time I have had time to pass time with him at dinner and breakfasts, together with a dear friend Lelda Ozola from the National Film Centre of Latvia. This morning I learned why the director/cameraman always wears a beret… ask him when you meet him, good story.

Another master at the festival was Sergei Loznitsa, who in a totally crowded cinema performed a masterclass with the title ”Use of Archive Footage Between the Authentic and Constructed”. He had only time to show clips from three of his many archive-based films. Although it is always interesting to listen to Loznitsa – and I loved to have ”Blokada” (2005) on screen, the fantastic film about the siege of Leningrad, as well as ”The Event” from 2015, also archive, from 1991, the coup and the call for freedom shot in Leningrad/St.Petersburg – he should have been given more time, and maybe he should have focused on one film and gone deeper with, for instance, the last archive work, the amazing ”The Trial”. Also shown at the festival.

Orwa Nyrabia, artistic director of IDFA, was at the festival invited and interviewed by Nenad Puhovski – he was as always precise, open for questions, promised that there will be changes at the Forum, which has renewed itself but needs more changes following the changes in the media landscape, where broadcasters are not influential on the development of documentaries any longer, at least in funding terms. The question about why no central and Eastern documentary projects were chosen for the Forum 2018 was raised again, Orwa Nyrabia referred to the answer he gave through filmkommentaren, link below. Re the meeting: It can only be a simplification from the one hour with Nyrabia but the message could be: less mainstream films and projects, more ambitious creative documentaries and projects. Wish him all the best luck with this!

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4376/


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ZagrebDoxPro Awards

Written 02-03-2019 11:19:30 by Tue Steen Mller

ZagrebDoxPro  Awards

Look at the photo – happy award winners of the ZagrebDox Pro announced last night. Below, I have copied a text from the site of the festival. I attended the pitching forum, good atmosphere, good presentations, well trained by Leena Pasanen and Stefano Tealdi, the latter being – for my taste – a too polite moderator with panelists, who had problems in being short and precise. Here comes the text:

Following a four-day workshop and the Pitching Forum presenting the projects to the members of the international panel, the award ceremony of this year’s ZagrebDox Pro training programme took place. The best projects are Museum of the Revolution4 Goodnight Stories and Raising Predators.

The HBO Europe Award, a diploma and 2000 euro for further project development went to the Serbian-Croatian project Museum of the Revolution by Srđan Keča about an unusual friendship between an old woman and a little girl living in the ruins of an abandoned utopian project, presented at ZagrebDox by producer Vanja Jambrović.

The ZagrebDox Pro Online Mentor Award, a diploma and a one-year online mentoring with elimir ilnik went to director Anđelka Vujinović and the co-author and DoP Mija Mujović for the project 4 Goodnight Stories. Closely documenting the life in the biggest nursing home in Serbia, this project explores the meaning of old age and its taboos and captures mood of the last moments.

The best project of this year’s edition of ZagrebDox Pro, according to the joint decision of all the panellists is the Hungarian project Raising Predators by director Réka Ugron and producer László Józs, about Sandra the falconer who has a hard time establishing an emotional connection with her children due to her own dramatic childhood memories. They won the ZagrebDox Pro DCP Award, including a diploma and the professional DCP format material...

http://zagrebdox.net/en/2019/home


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ZagrebDox elimir ilnik

Written 02-03-2019 10:42:34 by Tue Steen Mller

ZagrebDox  elimir ilnik

Tonight the award ceremony will take place at the 15th edition of the ZagrebDox. I have been in the International Competition jury together with Nebojša Slijepčević and elimir ilnik. The results will be announced on this site tonight or tomorrow.

It is always a pleasure to be in a jury. It gives you the chance to have good film talks with your juror colleagues, in this case with two fine filmmakers. Slijepčević, whose ”Srbenka” is on my ”best of 2018” - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4308/ - and Serbian ilnik, whose name was of course familiar to me but I had never really had the chance to see his works and understand the important role he has played in Yugoslav film history.

Thanks to ZagrebDox for closing (a bit of) this gap: ilnik had a masterclass, where he showed “Among the People: Life and Acting”, a 83 minutes long film that demonstrates, what he himself called “my Methodology”. The film is full of clips from his films (documentaries and fiction) mixed with conversations with some of the people, who were in his early works. They talk about, what it meant to them to be invited to be in a film and it shows wonderfully ilnik in action as the director, who gives lines to the non-professional actors. You get very easily the feeling of a true documentarian, who knows how to approach and get the best out of the “protagonists” as he puts it. And does so with humour and respect.

It’s the social and political aspects of a society that interests ilnik, whose works are full of critical comments. Among the many quotes  from his films there is one where the director has invited a handful of homeless people to come and stay in his house – going out in the streets of Novi Sad asking people, what they thought about homeless people and what could be done for them. There is indeed not a lot of understanding and compassion! On the photo another example, a woman looking at a photo from, when she was young and was filmed by ilnik.

Around 20 of his films will be screened at Centre Pompidou in Paris in April.

http://zagrebdox.net/en/2019/home


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Docudays UA The Festival Concept

Written 26-02-2019 20:26:54 by Tue Steen Mller

Docudays UA  The Festival Concept

The following text is a copy paste from the website of DocuDays UA in Kiev, explaining the visual concept refelcting on how

... the new digital world changes us, our way of thinking, habits, ways of communication, our whole consciousness. We’re glad that 3D printing of transplant organs has been invented. Drones have become an everyday reality, and we’re waiting for driverless cars. Smart houses are becoming common, AI robots entertain elderly people, they pick up balls at tennis courts and play chess.

We hope that digital technology will allow us to fight corruption. For example, if Ukraine moves all its government activities online, all the notes, queues,



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Eastern Logic - Documentaries

Written 26-02-2019 13:02:19 by Tue Steen Mller

Eastern Logic - Documentaries

Love the text below - read more and see the great trailer for East Doc Platform on https://dokweb.net/articles/detail/659/east-doc-platform-2019-to-highlight-eastern-logic

This year’s theme, Eastern Logic, refers to the unique identity shared by the countries of the former Eastern Bloc. “Eastern logic” aptly describes thinking that manifests itself in documentary films from this region, not only from a technical aspect, but also thematically. Compared to Western productions, Eastern documentaries are a certain phenomenon, and are set apart by their difference, oddness, and openness. Often technically imperfect, they nevertheless have their own style, and though this differs from country to country, a certain “Eastern” perspective dominates. Eastern Logic is about the search for an identity for a region that over the past thirty years has tried to adapt to newly imposed conditions instead of finding its own identity. Eastern Logic is therefore mainly also about us, about our perspective and acceptance of who we are.


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Docudays UA Ukrainian Doc Preview

Written 24-02-2019 12:19:23 by Tue Steen Mller

Docudays UA  Ukrainian Doc Preview

The festival in Kiev takes place March 22-30 and I am happy to go again, always a pleasure to be at a festival that has an idea, makes a (political or social) statement, know about the documentary world and pick the best of the best for screening.

Darya Bassel, Program and Docu/Pro coordinator at the festival, introduced the other day, on the website of the festival, see link below, a Doc Preview, ”a presentation of post-production stage Ukrainian documentary projects to selectors representing leading international festivals, sales agents and distributors…”the perfect venue to launch their a journey into the international market”.

Of course a good initiative but what struck me was the truth in the first lines



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ZagrebDox 15th Edition

Written 23-02-2019 11:57:17 by Tue Steen Mller

ZagrebDox 15th Edition

The 15th edition of the Croatian international documentary festival starts tomorrow. It is a festival that year by year has grown and developed, with competitions for international and regional films and a lot of side sections. You can’t complain if you live in Zagreb and want to have a quality overview of what happens in the world of documentaries!

On the FB link to this blogpost you could see a photo of the jurors of the first edition of ZagrebDox, sent by festival director and founder Nenad Puhovski. In the middle you see IDFA’s Head of industry then and now, Adriek van Nieuwenhuyzen, to the left Croatian filmmaker and script writer Krsto Papić, who passed away in 2013, and to the right me.

The three of us had the job to award the best in both the international and regional competition. Read what we decided:



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Who Wins the Oscar for Documentaries?

Written 20-02-2019 13:07:58 by Tue Steen Mller

Who Wins the Oscar for Documentaries?

It’s on Sunday the 24th that the Oscars will be distributed. 4 American feature documentaries are among the 5 nominated. The only non-American is “Of Fathers and Sons”. I have seen all five films, here follows some comments on their chances. I mention the directors knowing that on stage to receive the statuette the winner will be accompanied by producer(s):

Of Fathers and Sons, Director Talal Derki: Oh, I would love Talal to get the Oscar. I have seen the film several times, made Q&A’s and masterclass with him… a well told cinematic film that hurts and makes you depressed, sad is too weak a word; it goes to the heart and to the stomach… But a non-American film to win? Probably not, remember the two Joshua Oppenheimer films that were nominated but did not make it.

Free Solo, Directors Elizabeth C. Vasarhelyi & Jimmy Chin: Well, would not be surprised if it wins because of its theme: a man wants to climb the 3,000ft high El Capitan Wall without rope… but Oscars are meant to be for “artistic and technical merit”, this National Geographic product does not live up to the former.

Minding the Gap, Director Bing Liu: This is the one I think will win. And if so, no objections from me. The film is about three young boys (the director being one of them) growing up to be men, skateboarders all of them, friends who all three have suffered in their childhood and who fight to find themselves – it’s dynamically told, it touches racial questions, one is black, one is white, one has Chinese origins, and the three develop in the film that is shot over several years. And it’s a Film, produced by Kartemquin Films that stood behind the classic “Hoop Dreams” by Steve James.  

Hale County Thís Morning, This Evening, Director RaMell Ross: This is a fascinating film, an “auteur” documentary and for that reason it will not win in America! The director plays with style, it has strong poetic moments, it is impressionistic, surprises you and deep down you get the feeling of the Deep South in the US. Absolutely no objections if it wins, but not likely, I am afraid.

RBG, Directors Betsy West & Julie Cohen: If it wins, it is because of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, this fantastic woman who fought and still fights injustice as Supreme Court Justice, lovely to watch, a fine piece of journalistic documentary.

https://oscar.go.com/nominees/documentary-feature


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Betsy West & Julie Cohen: RBG

Written 19-02-2019 13:33:37 by Tue Steen Mller

Betsy West & Julie Cohen: RBG

Hero. Icon. Dissenter… three words heading the FB page of RBG, the film about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. When in New York in December the news broke, that she was hospitalised for one more cancer illness; my wife’s brother who lives there said „oh, bad news, if she does not make it, Trump will put in another conservative asshole“.

She made it, she is still there to make her voice heard, the 85 year old (86 in March) liberal, some say leftist dissenter, who was appointed by President Clinton in 1993. After having been fighting against gender discrimination for decades.

The film tells the story of her life through interviews with her, with her



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Kim Longinotto: Shooting the Mafia

Written 16-02-2019 11:10:53 by Tue Steen Mller

Kim Longinotto: Shooting the Mafia

Kim Longinotto, in her latest film presented at this week’s Berlinale (and already shown at last Sundance), portrays the Italian photographer Letizia Battaglia who has documented the Sicilian mafia over more than four decades. Battaglia happened by chance to become a photographer for the Palermo daily „L’Ora“, when – almost already 40 - she asked for a job as a journalist during the Sicilian summer holidays. After just a few days of work, she had to report her first mafia assassination. Over the years, Letizia Battaglia has become the woman who has seen an immense number of crime scenes, burials and finally court trials. Her mostly black and white pictures have been shown in museums and exhibitions around the world.



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Scott Barley : Sleep Has Her House/ 2

Written 15-02-2019 12:08:35 by Tue Steen Mller

Scott Barley : Sleep Has Her House/ 2

It was one of the magnificent 7 films in the Belgrade festival last year in June and now it goes to ZagrebDox in the Slow Dox section. Go and see it – it is something special as the two texts here underlign, the first one is from the website of the festival, the second one is what I wrote after the screening in Belgrade :

A spectral landscape where human traces have completely disappeared. Only animals under the cover of darkness quietly await the arrival of a mystic spirit diffusing over the forest basins. This feature-length cinematic nocturne is a nightmare, a romantic excursion into unbridled wilderness, and an apocalyptic vision in one. Employing slowly passing images of dusky and seemingly deserted landscapes, Barley envelops nature in a cloak of impenetrable mystery, transcendental repose, and chilling expectation.

Painting with an I-phone! I had the most amazing aesthetic experience for a long time in the cinema yesterday night at the Kombank Dvorana cinema during the Magnificent7 festival in Belgrade. 90 minutes with landscapes, rivers, valleys, woods, sunset, barely visible graphic prints on the film screen, from pleasure to nightmare, no dialogue, cinema pur, a rollercoaster of impressions and associations remembering our Danish master Per Kirkeby seeing some of the colourful images, created by Scott Barley, a visual artist using the film medium, making a visual installation in the dark room that the cinema constitutes, thinking of Casper David Friedrich of course but also of Muybridge and his horses or maybe better of the white horse in Pirjo Honkasalo’s “Three Rooms of Melancholia” – and towards the end it’s Götterdämmerung without Wagner but with lightning and thunder at a sound level that made me want to hold my ears and close my eyes to avoid the epileptic seizures that I could have inherited from my father. I can’t remember being so much physically attacked by the film medium. I read that the director is born in 1992, this Anselm Kiefer of cinema, gosh I was suffering with this nightmarish pleasure!

http://zagrebdox.net/en/2019/program/dox_special/slow_dox/sleep_has_her_house


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ZagrebDox 2019

Written 14-02-2019 14:58:50 by Tue Steen Mller

ZagrebDox 2019

Step by Step is the way that Croatian ZagrebDox festival has followed to announce its program for the 15th edition. The last couple of days the inviting website of the festival – link below – has told its readers what to expect in the competitive sections at the festival that starts February 24 and goes on until March 3. There are 18 films in the regional and 19 in the international category, plus ”Happy Dox“, „Biography Dox”, ”Controversial Dox”, ”Masters of Dox”, ”State of Affairs”… and more.

In the regional competition you will find films praised on this site, Eszter Hajdú’s brave critical film from ”Hungary 2018” and Claudia Tosi’s ”I Had a Dream” (photo) that also deals with politics through two – the word again – brave wonderful women. Also I can warmly recommend the short film ”In Between“ by Samir Karahoda from Kosovo, it has style and message.

From the International program loyal readers of this site might remember the text about Andrei Kutsila’s beautiful and thoughtful ”Summa”, those who can read Danish ”Island of the Ghosts”, reviewed and loved by colleague Allan Berg, the promising 1968-film ”My Unknown Soldier” by Anna Kryvenko and ”The Raft” by Marcus Lindeen.

I will be at the festival – looking very much to be present at a festival that has a high quality – short and long documentaries, award winning films from all over. Read all about it, good texts present the program on the site:

http://zagrebdox.net/en/2019/home


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Torquil Jones & Gabriel Clarke: Bobby Robson

Written 09-02-2019 14:34:43 by Tue Steen Mller

Torquil Jones & Gabriel Clarke: Bobby Robson

--- with the subtitle “More than a Manager” is a well-made classic football documentary about the legendary Englishman, who played football 20 times for England and was a coach/manager for more than 50 years, not only in England but abroad in Holland, Portugal, Spain before he returned to his last job in the club, that was very close to his heart, Newcastle United. With classic I mean, interviews with players who praises Robson, archive with him, clips from games.

Bobby Robson (Sir Robert William Robson) (1933-2009) was a true British gentleman, an old school coach, for several of the players a father figure like for Paul Gascoigne, Gazza, this fantastic player who later on spoilt his carreer through alcoholism. In the film Gazza comes back several times saying how Robson was always checking how he was. To help him. The same for Brazilian Ronaldo, who was 19 when Robson took him to FC Barcelona supported by Danish coach, former star Frank Arnesen, who had discovered Ronaldo and brought him to PSV Eindhoven.

There are wonderful clips from Ronaldo’s stay at Barca in 1996-1997 and this year is in many ways the focus of the film. Robson loved to be in Barcelona but the fans did not like his kind of football, even if the won titles for the Catalan club. He took over from Johan Cruyff and his style was not appreciated. Nevertheless, Pep Guardiola, who was playing for Barca that year, praises him, as does Robson’s “translator”, José Mourinho, who learned from him – well, my comment, the gentlemanship he did not take with him! At a press conference you see Robson, who had just been sacked next to the new coach, Dutch van Gaal... no charisma at all!

If not for him, I would not have had a career, says Gary Lineker (the best coach England has ever had, is another sentence from the brilliant goal scorer), the same goes for another great player Alan Shearer, who stresses that Robson saved Newcastle United.

The private Bobby Robson is also in the film. His widow talks nicely about their life together, and one of the sons, with private archive and information about how he overcome a handful cancer operations, except fort he last one...

England, 2018, 100 mins. Available on Netflix.   


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DocPoint 2019 Summing Up

Written 04-02-2019 19:56:40 by Tue Steen Mller

DocPoint 2019 Summing Up

A total of 107 films were screened at DocPoint Festival in more than 260 screenings, a fifth of which were sold out. The documentary film event for children and young people, DOKKINO, organised in connection with the festival, gained 3 000 visitors. “I am pleased that a diverse festival audience was again inspired by documentary films”, says the Executive Director of the DocPoint-elokuvatapahtumat association Tapio Riihimäki. ”The good vibe and the warm atmosphere at DocPoint screenings is noteworthy and our international filmmaker guests have also remarked upon it.”

The most viewed film during the festival week was GENESIS 2.0 (Photo), the startling journey of the director Christian Frei to the core of cloning and ethics. Among the most popular films at the festival were AQUARELA depicting the power of water, OUR NEW PRESIDENT and FAHRENHEIT 11/9 both analysing Donald Trump’s ascent to power but from different viewpoints, and the poetic CIELO, of which all four screenings were sold out. Of the Finnish premieres, the biggest audiences were drawn by Reetta Huhtanen’s GODS OF MOLENBEEK and Arthur Franck’s THE HYPNOTIST.

The DocPoint audience and Tue Steen Müller, the Danish film critic making this year’s Critic’s Choice, were unanimous: the winner of the Audience Award GODS OF MOLENBEEK is also the Critic’s Choice. Müller says: “The filmmaker has cleverly made a film that puts the magic of childhood in the foreground as a comment to the world around the two boys. It is charming! This film will travel the world.”

Give us feedback!, please We’d love to here from you – and arrange an even better festival again next year! The 19th DocPoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival, it will take place from 27th January to 2nd February 2020. See you there!

https://docpointfestival.fi/en/blog/2019/02/04/diverse-audiences-inspired-by-docpoint-festival/


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Honeyland Wins 3 Awards at Sundance

Written 03-02-2019 09:51:33 by Tue Steen Mller

Honeyland Wins 3 Awards at Sundance

He was right Atanas Georgiev, the producer and editor of the film "Honeyland", when he said that it was close to be a masterpiece and hmmm, I was right when I gave it the highest marks in a review the other day http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4449/ Here is what I took from the Indiewire website:

World Cinema Documentary Competition

Grand Jury Prize – “Honeyland,” directors: Tamara Kotevska, Ljubomir Stefanov

Directing – “Cold Case Hammarskjold,” director: Mads Brugger

Special Jury Award for No Borders – “Midnight Traveler,” director: Hassan Fazili

Special Jury Prize for Impact for Change – “Honeyland,” directors: Tamara Kotevska, Ljubomir Stefanov

Special Jury Award for Cinematography – “Honeyland,” Fejmi Daut, Samir Legume

Three awards out of five, wow! Mads Brügger's film will be reviewed in connection with its Danish premiere February 7.


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Reetta Huhtanen: Gods of Molenbeek

Written 03-02-2019 09:08:53 by Tue Steen Mller

Reetta Huhtanen: Gods of Molenbeek

Oh childhood with all your curiosity and innocence! Where the world is open for you, where you can ask all kind of questions. Where you can wish for everything, which is what the two boys do in Finnish debut director (for long documentaries) Reetta Huhtanen’s remarkable film “Gods of Molenbeek”.

I want a God as Amine, says 6 year old Aatos to his mother, who is Finnish, his father is from Chile. He goes to a French language school, whereas his close friend Amine’s parents are from Morocco. Amine goes to an Arabic



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Talal Derki: Of Fathers and Sons

Written 02-02-2019 08:11:46 by Tue Steen Mller

Talal Derki: Of Fathers and Sons

DOCS & TALKS 2019 / CINEMATEKET 04/02 14:00 / ØST FOR PARADIS 26/2 17:00

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

"fter my film RETURN TO HOMS, which was about the young rebel Basit Sarout and his comrades, I wanted to go deeper. I wanted to penetrate the psychology and the emotions of this war, understand what made people radicalize and what drives them to live under the strict rules of an Islamic state. In the media, war is often portrayed as a chess game and Islam is labeled as evil. If we see the images of war, we get the feeling that it is a unreal parallel world. In OF FATHERS AND SONS, I want to establish a direct relationship between the protagonists and the audience. I would like to take my audience with me on my journey and communicate with them through my camera.

The main characters of my film are Abu Osama (45), one of the founders of Al-Nusra, the Syrian arm of Al-Qaeda, and his two eldest sons Osama (13) and Ayman (12). I have been living with them over the period of 2.5 years and became a part of their family. Although I am an atheist, I prayed with them every day and led the life of a good Muslim to find out, what is happening in my country. Abu Osama is not only a loving father, but also a specialist for car bomb attacks and the disposal of mines. He deeply believes in an Islamic society under the laws of the Shari'ah, the Caliphate, and therefore he also places his children at its service.



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Doc People at DocPoint

Written 01-02-2019 11:34:09 by Tue Steen Mller

Doc People at DocPoint

Lovely to meet documentary colleagues in Helsinki at the DocPoint. You get to talk private matters, food and drinks – and documentaries. Have you seen… ah, you should see… what is your next destination… Already when arriving in the airport I could hug Artchil Khetagouri and Ileana Stanculescu, who are in charge of the CinéDoc-Tbilisi (http://www.cinedoc-tbilisi.com/) in May. I can warmly recommend the festival in the wonderful city with the wonderful cuisine and wine and chacha.

At my age, being around for decades you are happy, when you remember the good old times, where television editors could take , and took risks. And there she was, outside the Savoy Theatre, Eila Werning, who worked for YLE, the Finnish broadcasting company, and who very often at pitching sessions said ”I don’t know where to put it (slot-wise) but I love your project, so I will take it and find a way”. A decision maker, where most of those editors who go to IDFA and other sessions can not make a decision but have to pitch to several other people placed further up in the system. Eila Werning told me that she during xmas time had used a recipe, that she had been given by my wife many many years ago at a documentary event in Skopje. Werning does not live in Helsinki but had come for the festival and had just seen ”Putin’s Witnesses” by Vitalyi Mansky, who came to say hello. I asked him if he was about to break the record of festivals for his film… So far 60 festivals, he said, crazy, but just think what that means in terms of audience! Bravo!

I walked to some screenings with Latvian Zane Balcus, who is film museum director and took part in the Baltic Sea Forum 2018. She is a true film lover and film critic and she promised me to make a follow up on the great story (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4443/) on the finding of the director’s cut version of Uldis Brauns masterpiece ”235.000.000” from 1967. A film that, when a copy is ready, deserves to be at festivals all over.

Yes, film history, and again it was a pleasure to attend Helena Trestikova’s masterclass. As at IDFA 2018 she is the honorary guest of the DocPoint festival. And as usual she was 100% prepared, showing clips from her long-term observation films “René”, “Katka”, “Mallory” and “A Marriage Story”. From the latter clips were shown from first day of shooting, 20 years later and 35 years later. Marvellous. She talked about ethics, the relationship between director and protagonist – the latter with a fantastic dialogue clip from “Rene”. It was a fine masterclass with a small: But the moderator should be told to speak louder and more clear, and address the audience...

That’s all for now. Three more Finnish screenings and I will tell you which Finnish documentary I think is the best one this year.

Photo: Helena Trestikova.

https://docpointfestival.fi/en/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocPoint 2019

Written 01-02-2019 09:23:32 by Tue Steen Mller

DocPoint 2019

The 18th  edition of the Finnish documentary film festival is going on right now and until Sunday in a Finnish capital full of snow – I have been moving very slow from cinema to cinema, luckily they are very close to each other in the centre, to avoid falling. We are not used to that much snow in Denmark any longer.

I was here for the first edition of a festival founded by and still run by filmmakers. Tapio Riihimäki, executive director of Docpoint, tells me that the festival is expected to have around 30.000 spectators – and he says so having already arranged several extra screenings because of sold out films of the over 260 screenings!

107 films, the best of the best from all over the world, masterclasses and two awards, the Audience award for the best Finnish documentary and a critic’s choice. That’s why I am here, as a critic for filmkommentaren.dk to pick the best from my point of view, and write a review to be published this coming Sunday or Monday. 7 screenings, some of them with several films. A nice job to have, a good atmosphere, a couple of full houses I have attended since I came here Wednesday, welcomed by Tapio and an old friend John Webster, who is chairman of the board with a strong filmography. Having three films in the pipeline!

I have met many doc colleagues in the couple of days, I have been here, more about that in another blogpost.

https://docpointfestival.fi/en/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

T. Kotevska & Ljubomir Stefanov: Honeyland

Written 31-01-2019 15:42:45 by Tue Steen Mller

T. Kotevska & Ljubomir Stefanov: Honeyland

… T for Tamara, L for Ljubomir, producer and editor Atanas Georgiev, camerapersons Fejmi Daut and Samir Ljuma.

Composition of the image. Finding the rythm of the film. The tone. It’s all about form that you have to think about before you start filming. Does form come before content. Or said in modern documentary language, does form come before story. But what is story? Is it two bees crawling on a leaf? Or two bees fighting outside the beehive?

It’s all there in this beautiful documentary. Composition knowledge. Superb editing. Excellent camerawork. When you are outside in the vast rocky valley, where Atidze grow bees, and inside when she – born in 1964 – is in the hut with her 85 year old mother, who is lying in her bed and has been doing so for four years. There is no electricity which has given the camerapersons the opportunity to create the most amazing images with light from candles. The faces of daugther and mother, like paintings from Dutch masters.

Atidze knows the presence of the camera. Sometimes a little smile comes to her face as if she is proud to be the protagonist in a film. She is present, when she is caring about her mother and when she is with the neighbours, who come with all their cows – and noise – and children, with whom, at least with one of them, Atidze gets along, when he, the boy, runs away from mum and dad and the other children. He does not run a lot, they are just next door in their camper, trying to survive by growing bees as well. The family does not have the knowledge and understanding as has Atidze, and at the end of the day they are about to destroy her way of surviving. However Atidze cares about the neighbours, especially the kids, there are many magic moments in this film, like when the little girl stands on the doorsteps to the hut with a kitten in her arms. Do you want one, Atidze asks, what colour...

She walks up the mountain, she takes away a piece of stone to see how the bees are, she sings for them, removes the honey to take down and to go to sell in Skopje – far away – or at the marketplace. It’s a unique film!

Macedonia, 2019, 85 mins.


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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Elizabeth C. Vasarhelyi & Jimmy Chin: Free Solo

Written 31-01-2019 08:01:10 by Tue Steen Mller

Elizabeth C. Vasarhelyi & Jimmy Chin: Free Solo

Some words in English and then some in Danish, as the film premieres in the best Copenhagen art house cinema, Grand Teatret, that takes in many documentaries, which means publicity for the genre, press reviews in daily newspapers and an audence that is willing to buy a ticket for a documentary. Bravo for that.

If it is the right place for this film, that is, as it is launched, “a National Geographic Movie », is another question but it is good for someone like me used to creative/artistic documentaries to be challenged with a well manufactured genre film.

Here is the short description of the film taken from IMDB: “Follow Alex



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Simon Lereng Wilmont: The Distant Barking of Dogs

Written 30-01-2019 09:10:05 by Tue Steen Mller

Simon Lereng Wilmont: The Distant Barking of Dogs

DOCS & TALKS 2019 / CINEMATEKET / SØN 03/02 14:00

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

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

there is space to crawl, they go swimming in the river, suntanned, they jump in the beds, they wear football shirts… but their outdoor playground is different. Ruins with cartridges, mortars, unexploded mines… in sometimes a constant sound carpet of bombs and the sight of war as flashes of light on the sky. It’s an understatement to say that this constitutes a fragile childhood for the kids.

The grandmother IS love and the director, who is also the cameraman, knows how to convey that to the viewers: Oleg and grandmother walking in the snow in the beginning of the film, to visit the graveyard of Oleg’s mother. The two boys caressing granny in her bed, when she falls ill, Granny ”educating” Oleg when he comes home having shot a frog with the gun of the elder Kostya.



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Categories: Cinema, Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Duan Makavejev 13.10.1932 25.01.2019

Written 28-01-2019 13:53:59 by Tue Steen Mller

Duan Makavejev 13.10.1932  25.01.2019

Andrijana Stojkovic: I remember when in July 2007 two great film artist – Bergman and Antonioni - “left” during one night… It seemed that the (film) world will never be the same again. And it isn’t. But these last days it gotten even sadder – while the (film) world is reminding of the significance and wonderfully honest art of Jonas Mekas, on Friday we have lost maybe the most free and imaginative film director that ever lived – Dušan Makavejev.

It’s not easy to explain who Makavejev was. His exploration of film art moves through many forms and genres. He’s best known for his fiction films, which included documentary footage, doku-drama, some very unusual work with actors… He played and played and played. Never taking himself too seriously but always provoking us - the audience - and showing us the unexpected.

I travel a lot to film festivals and film markets and listen to film projects in development. Also read many synopses and director’s intentions. In today’s (film) world there is this need to use words like “unusual”, “new”, “original”. We, directors, use it a lot. What I do when I hear this adjectives in someone’s presentation I roll out all Makavejev’s films in my head and it turns out that Makavejev has already used these “unusual”, “new”, “original” approaches in his film(s) maybe 40, 50 or even 60 years ago.

In 2011 I was finishing my debut fiction film and since its script was transformed into a novel, I was invited to a book fair in Pula (Croatia) where I was to show 15 minutes of my still unfinished film. Dušan Makavejev with his wife and long-time collaborator Bojana, were the star guests of the fair. I have invited them to the screening of my film-to-become and they cordially excepted and came. I was so honored and somehow proud to have them in the audience. Especially since my film plays with fiction and documentary forms and uses them in “original” way. And then, during the screening, scenes from Makavejev’s “W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism” and “Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator” came to my mind. He’s already done it! – I thought.

Although, inactive in making films in the recent years, he was tutoring and advising other filmmakers. Joshua Oppenheimer never misses a chance to mention Makavejev’s influence on his films. For us, here in Serbia, Makavejev is the beacon, which reminds us of the way to freedom of expression and importance of artistic freedom.

Dušan Makavejev will be greatly missed.

Andrijana Stojkovic


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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