Filmkommentaren

Magnificent7 Salom Jashi: Taming the Garden

Written 25-09-2021 20:50:20 by Tue Steen Mller

In this text the directors of the Magnificent7 festival in Belgrade (October 2 – 6) gives their reasons for showing the film at a special screening followed by their intro-review for the film that is shown on the last day, October 6 at 6pm.

Nature, the planet and all of us have been hit by numerous tragedies again this year. They continue to threaten to destroy not only our civilization, man as a species, but all life on Earth. Fires of unimaginable proportions and consequences ravaged Greece, destroying in front of them all living beings. Thousands of acres of virgin forests have been destroyed in the north of the island of Evia. Also, an ancient olive grove was burned near the village Rovies, and in it a 2500-year-old olive tree called Nymph, still fruitful. It was described in ancient times by the geographer and philosopher Strabo. It was among the oldest trees in the world. “This 2500 year old three in the Greek island of Evia saw civilizations rise, crumble and fall. It couldn’t survive this one. But perhaps it glimpsed the crumbling.”

We dedicate this special projection to the olive Nymph with the deepest sorrow.

Below the intro/review of the film written by Svetlana and Zoran Popovic:



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Magnificent7 2021 Belgrade

Written 23-09-2021 23:07:22 by Tue Steen Mller

 Magnificent7 2021 Belgrade

”My headline is ordinary people”. Director Marc Isaacs is behind the camera skype-talking with his producer, who gives him the information that the broadcasters of today only want to give money for more commercial/sensational stories. Not ordinary people stories.

For me being involved in the extraordinary festival Magnificent7 I have always been drawn by extraordinary films about ordinarypeople. ”Filmmaker’s House” by Isaacs is a film like that, including warmth and love and respect for its characters. Ahh, I don’t like the word ”characters”… better is human beings caught by the camera in a film that is intelligent, playful, fun to watch, lovely human beings, who are who they are – on the stage of the Real and Extraordinary Life.

Absolutely the same you can say about “Merry Christmas, Yiwu” by Mladen Kovačević: Intelligent, playful, respectful… I don’t recall to get so close to  



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Mads Hedegaard: Cannon Arm and The Arcade Quest

Written 18-09-2021 12:31:17 by Tue Steen Mller

To sit in a cinema watching documentaries! In Malmø where the 32nd Nordisk Panorama takes place. Anita Reher, my colleague from the time where EDN (European Documentary Network) was alive and kicking, invited me to be a juror in the competition for new talents called New Nordic Voice. Thanks. To sit in a cinema… have not done so for a loong time. 

The festival opened Thursday night as always at this Nordic gathering in a good atmosphere.

To be honest I considered not to go to watch a film having read that it dealt with a man, who would beat a record of playing arcade games… what is that?

I went and liked the film a lot. I did not learn anything about arcade games but I met some great personalities, “heroic outsiders”, they are called in the describtion below that I have taken from the website of the Danish Film Institute. I would add artists to characterise them. The protagonist Kim “Kanonarm” Købke who is not, to say the least, a big talker. During the film he mumbles, hmmm, strange sounds come from him while he is playing – and still the line I remember so well is “oh, some wonderful plants” said by the player, while he is out in the dark peeing in a small break from the ambition to beat the record! One of his friends (Michael) Dyst is a writer, who reads some of his fine poems in between the arcade games. Reminds me of Yahya Hassan. And Carsten (Tommy Lauridsen) who has dedicated his life to analyse the music of Johan Sebastian Bach! There are other personalities in the Bip Bip Bar on Fælledvej in Copenhagen and there is a lot beer and music. And fun. The film has a flow with energetic scenes put together in a way so there are also pauses from the sound of the arcade machines. Here is the synopsis: 

 «A film about friendship and arcade games that will put a smile on your face and tug at your heartstrings. With the help from his friends at Bip Bip Bar, Kim Cannon Arm attempts to be the first in the world to play an arcade machine from the early '80s for 100 consecutive hours. With its collection of heroic outsiders, dreams about legendary world records, quirky hairdos and brilliant players, the documentary praises solidarity and the attempt to achieve the sublime.”

Quite a refreshing documentary!

Will come back with more small reports but not about the films from the competition – the jury still have 6 long documentaries to watch before deciding the winner.

Denmark, 2021, 97 mins.


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Baltic Sea Docs 2021: Courage

Written 09-09-2021 08:06:32 by Tue Steen Mller

I wrote this in connection with CPH:DOX festival in April/May this year. The other day it was screened in K-Suns cinema in Riga. First time for me to see it on a big screen. And Aliaksey Paluyan was there on the screen to talk to the audience that gave him a well deserved long applause. Again, what a difference there is to see a film on the big screen:

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

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


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Baltic Sea Docs announces the programme

Written 25-08-2021 15:19:01 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Sea Docs announces the programme

The 25th Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries will run on 1-12 September in Riga and online, with a total of 18 film projects to be presented at the training and pitching forum, as well as a programme of masterclasses and film screenings.

Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries, established in 1997 in Denmark, will be hosted in Riga for the 17th year where the forum for documentary industry professionals has been complemented with a public film programme.

“We are very happy to see that over the 25 years Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries has retained its position as an important and necessary event 



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Stefan Pavlović: Looking for Horses

Written 24-08-2021 11:40:02 by Tue Steen Mller

The film received the Special Jury Award at the Sarajevo FF’s documentary competition. And before that also an award at Visions du Réel in Nyon. The first feature documentary of the director, a gem, a very original work by a young director, who surprised me through the whole film, putting texts on the screen, having a sequence that takes the viewer from the lake that is the main location of the film, to Canada, where the director lived with his family after they moved from Bosnia. The texts on the screen are informative or they express that Stefan does not understand all Zdravko says. As communication is a theme of the film – Zdravko lost one eye and most of his hearing during the war in the beginning of the 90’es, Stefan fights to express himself in Bosnian but fails most of the time suffering from being a stutter due to the many languages he knows – if I get it right.

But it does not matter, they build a beautiful friendship with the camera as the tool and they have wonderful conversations, where Stefan often asks Zdravko „what does ... mean“. What do you think about this film, Stefan asks Zdravko, it will be good, is the answer. Zdravko has been living at and on the lake for 18 years in different places like at the church on the island. He is quite a character knowing how to come up with sounds that make fish come closer, he is followed by a dog, and he knows where the wild horses are. As the director puts it on his website: „Where for the fisherman the lake stands for a withdrawal from a fractured country, a land of war; for the filmmaker it precisely means the return to that broken place, the land of his parents“.

Stefan Pavlović did it all on his own. In one scene he helps Zdravko get his hearing aid correctly set in another with the camera on a tripod he films himself and Zdravko at the table, close together; Stefan puts his head on the shoulder of Zdravko in a scene of joy and sadness, a beautiful and warm moment among many in a film full of poetry, a chamber play set on a lake, a film that caress its viewer – like the horses are caressed. Documentary at its best! 

https://www.stefanpavlovic.com/lookingforhorses.html#img3

The Netherlands, Bosnia & Herzegovina, France, 88 mins., 2021


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Documentary Awards at Sarajevo FF 2021

Written 20-08-2021 11:07:39 by Tue Steen Mller

Documentary Awards at Sarajevo FF 2021

Jury:

Cecilia Lidin (Film Consultant, Denmark)

Jean-Pierre Rehm (General Delegate of FIDMarseille – International Cinema Film Festival, France)

Mila Turajlić (Director, Serbia)

HEART OF SARAJEVO FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM

LANDSCAPES OF RESISTANCE

Serbia, Germany, France

Director: Marta Popivoda

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

The cinematic solution to tell the story about 97 year old Yugoslav partisan Sonja Vujanovic is admirable. And her story is amazing and she talks so well, to the beautiful flow of images created by Ivan Markovic, edited superbly by Jelena Maksimovic. I watched and listened to the powerful old lady’s anti-fascist journey from Belgrade to Auschwitz. What a woman. Courage. The director and co-writer, the grandchild Ana Vujanovic, however, want to link the partisan’s story to their own activism of today. For me it becomes a bit “gemacht”, does not catch my interest… get me back to the old lady, I was thinking. 

SPECIAL JURY AWARD

LOOKING FOR HORSES

Netherlands, France, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Director: Stefan Pavlović

Award in the amount of 2,500 €

SPECIAL JURY MENTION

THE SAME DREAM

Romania

Director: Vlad Petri

HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD

LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES

Turkey, Germany, France

Director: Ahmet Necdet Çupur

Best film of the Competition Programme - Documentary Film dealing with the subject of human rights. Award in the amount of 3,000 €, sponsored by the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Very good choice – a family film made by the director/cameraman who returns to the village in Turkey, where his siblings want to break away from the strict conservatism performed by the father. Made with love and painful understanding. You often feel embarrassed being with the family – that’s strong.


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Stefani: Days and Nights with Dimitra K

Written 18-08-2021 14:07:11 by Tue Steen Mller

Stefani: Days and Nights with Dimitra K

If you want an excellent written and precise analysis of the latest work of Greek filmmaker Eva Stefani, click below and read Neil Young’s text written after the Thessaloniki Doc Festival, where Stefani won an award. As “Uncle Tue” to Eva I can’t lean back and pretend that I don’t know her.and love her work as the fine film documentarian she is, no a film auteur she is, always independent, always taking her time to film, always searching for a film language that fits the subject of her film. So I am biased. Therefore let me write some words on Eva, who deserves much more attention at festivals around that she gets at the moment. 

I have known Eva for more than 20 years. When the Storydoc workshops in Greece, initiated by Kostas Spiropoulos, existed, she was a tutor together with – among others – Czech-French Stan Neumann and Scottish Emma Davie. These three academic filmmakers with quite their own non-academic (maybe except Neumann) way of storytelling bonded so well together. Sometimes irritating the moderator of the sessions – me – who had to say “silence please”, when they small-talked, being bored. It could be the reason for me being called “the uncle”, the one who lifts the finger to create order. Eva has a long filmography but also a career as a visual artist exhibiting at several biennales and places like Documenta. And she has written poetry and books on the documentary genre.

Below you have a link to the website of Eva and you will notice, how she shifts in film durations – there are none of the films that fit the television slots we know – 26 or 52 minutes. Her films have had a good life on festivals like “The Box” from 2004 that got an award at Cinéma du Réel. That film is just of many that communicates Eva’s interest in and sense for people, which is so obvious in the new film about Dimitra, the prostitute she has followed for a decade - as a friend and close observer of the big woman, who likes her job and set up standards for the profession far from today’s tragic trafficking. Eva is there with the camera, asks questions to Dimitra, laughs with the charismatic woman, go with her to conferences about prostitution and prostitutes, to political meetings, sees her with her dozen of cats, hears her family story – in a film that falls in two parts, first one in Dimitra’s brothel, second one in her flat in the middle of the city. The film is a true evidence of how important it is to be close to and like the one you are filming and have curiosity to human life as it unfolds outside normal circles. Eva Stefani wants to learn about life when she films and in this case she gives the audience the wonderful opportunity to meet Dimitra, a strong and yet vulnerable woman taking us around in the streets of Athens. Could you move a bit Dimitra so Acropolis can be seen in the picture… Dimitra, can you turn on some light… they collaborate Dimitra and Eva Stefani, the unique Greek filmmaker.

https://evastefani.gr/bio

https://www.screendaily.com/reviews/days-and-nights-of-demetra-k-thessaloniki-review/5160876.article

Greece, 2021, 72 mins.


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CINDOC-TBILISI 2021 HYBRID EDITION

Written 17-08-2021 10:33:31 by Tue Steen Mller

CINDOC-TBILISI 2021  HYBRID EDITION

From the organisers of CinéDoc-Tbilisi: This year we have fully embraced the hybrid festival format, reaching out to audiences through different platforms (Georgian Public Broadcaster, Adjara Television, DAFilms and virtual cinemas on our website) and selecting the best documentaries from our past editions within a “Best of” – CinéDOC-Tbilisi program.

While we all thought that the pandemic would be temporary and we could continue to organize cultural events as we did in the past, we had to again adapt to a new reality in 2021.

We are very glad to have again the Georgian Public Broadcaster as a partner. After the successful screenings of six documentaries in 2020, this partnership has developed into one with more impact. As a premiere
in the history of our festival, both the opening as well as the opening film “Sunny” directed by Keti Machavariani of CinéDOC-Tbilisi will be broadcast on the 15th of August, by the Georgian Public Broadcaster.

In cooperation with this broadcaster we will also screen a selection of 10 gripping, award-winning creative documentaries, such as “Honeyland”, “The Three Rooms of Melancholia” (PHOTO), “Don Juan”, “Sonita”.

A new partner this year is also the public broadcaster of the Adjara region: Adjara Television. We are so glad to be able to screen 15 creative documentaries on this channel, among them award winning internationalfilms and also many wonderful Georgian documentaries, directed by talented filmmakers like Levan Koguashvili, Nino Orjonikize and Vano Arsenishvili, Giorgi Mrevlishvili, Mariam Chachia, Vakhtang Kuntsev- Gabashvili, Shalva Shengeli, Levan Adamia, Toma Chagelishvili.

A third platform for our “Best of” edition is also the European video on demand website DAFilms. We will screen documentaries via DAFilms embedded onto our website and this platform will dedicate a special focus to our festival.

Last but not least, we will again host the “Focus Caucasus” competition, a competition for the newest documentaries from Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Ten films will compete for the Focus Caucasus Award (7000 GEL) and the Special Jury Award (5000 GEL). All films will be screened online during weekends and will be followed by moderated online discussions.

Our young audience will also have the chance to watch films on our website, within the CinéDOC-Young section. We encourage parents and teachers to recommend the wonderful selection of documentaries to their children and pupils, they are easily accessible and free of charge.

We look forward to meeting you all at our online discussions and we are sure that, despite the difficult situation in the country, documentary films will entertain you, they will make you reflect on many issues around the globe and... they will also bring hope to all of us for a better future in the years to come.


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Parramon & Arzallus: Altsasu

Written 11-08-2021 10:47:54 by Tue Steen Mller

… with the subtitle Gau Hura – That Night.

The film, completed in May 2021, was shown at DocsBarcelona. In a cinema. I could not be there but was told by festival director Joan Gonzalez that the film after the screening was met with a two minute standing applause by the audience. Already when we in the selection committee - in the beginning of this year - chose the still unfinished film for the festival it made a big impression on me, a Dane, who had never heard this scandalous story from a place called Altsasu in Navarra, which is considered Basque even if it formally is not. The work by Marc Parramon and Amets Arzallus is an example of a down to the smallest detail researched piece of investigative journalism turned into an emotionally strong character born documentary about abuse of power from the Spanish authorities. The producer Alejandro García de Vicuña, from Marmoka Films, sent me a link to an English subtitled version. I have watched it a couple of times, amazed of its quality and shocked by its content. Here is a logline quote from the background dossier sent to me by the producer: „ A bar fight in a small town in the Basque Country becomes an act of terrorism. This is the story of the fight for justice of some families against a great political, legal and media construction, which draws from a past of conflict, and from which they cannot escape.“

 

 



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Nordisk Panorama Forum 2021

Written 26-07-2021 13:23:04 by Tue Steen Mller

Nordisk Panorama Forum 2021

A mail arrived this morning : ”We are thrilled to announce the projects selected for Nordisk Panorama Forum and wish to congratulate all who made the cut!”

Sent by the Nordisk Panorama people announcing what is going to happen in Malmö the 20th and 21st September. Selected from more than 100 new documentary projects ”a selection of 24 brand new documentary projects will be pitched to around 70 attending decision-makers and 24 observer+ projects have been selected for special access to meetings with decision-makers.”

As always an inviting and professional presentation – I have looked into the selection and will do some name dropping, first with a link to the previous post about the Baltic Sea Docs (BSD) that takes place a couple of weeks before the Nordisk Panorama. Because a film project from BSD 2020 has been invited to join:

”Podnieks on Podnieks” to be produced by (of course) the Juris Podnieks Studio, run by Antra Cilinska who was the editor of the late legend of Latvian cinema. Anna Viduleja is to be the director of this important homage to Podnieks, who died in 1992 in a drowning accident. Including archive material with the director never seen before. Had he lived he would have been 70 years old in 2020. With this presentation at Nordisk Panorama it is my hope that many more will get to know a man, who should have a well deserved place in film history for his works like the series ”Hello do you Hear Us” that was broadcast on British television.

What else… I am curious to see what Göran Hugo Olsson comes up with ”Israel and Palestine on Swedish TV 1959-1989”, description goes like this ”a feature documentary about how the ”mother of all conflicts” has been depicted on Swedish Television from 1959-1989”. And Magnus Gertten is going to make a film on Cornelis Vreeswijk entitled “Some Walk in Broken Shoes”, I started humming ”Veronica” when I saw this on the list. Otherwise new films by Mira Jargil, Mikala Krogh and Eva Mulvad, Yrsa Roca Fannberg and many others I don’t know. Yet.

https://nordiskpanorama.com/en/industry/forum/forum-projects/?mc_cid=8dd23e7aa1&mc_eid=d1f812251c&type=selected 

   

 


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BSD 25 Years

Written 18-07-2021 12:10:33 by Tue Steen Mller

BSD 25 Years

In Riga, capital of Latvia, a cinematic celebration will take place, September 1-12: For 25 years filmmakers from the countries around the Baltic Sea have gathered at a forum, that started on the island of Bornholm, then toured the Baltic countries to end up, from 1997, in Riga. It will be a celebration of the region’s documentary cinema with screenings, masterclasses and pitchings. Film history it indeed is as I can say having been with the event since the very beginning in 1990, where the Baltic Film & TV Festival started on Bornholm to add in 1997 a so-called industry part for film projects to be pitched, discussed and developed and eventually co-financed.

For this 25th edition 18 projects have been selected to be ”discussed, developed, pitched, and eventually co-financed”. Well known producers, who have been at BSD (Baltic Sea Docs) several times before, will attend and new talents will enter the scene of documentaries. There are projects from the three Baltic countries, of course, but also from Georgia, Armenia, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland – and Uzbekistan. The latter as a result of a collaboration with the CinéDoc Tbilisi Pitch, where the project manager of BSD, Zane Balcus, picked the project of Elyor Nemat, ”Dedovshina”. On top of that because of the growing number of co-productions there are also film projects with Bulgarian, French, Irish and Romanian participation.

Some name dropping: Finnish director Kira Jääskeläinen comes with a project she has been working on for years, ”The Cello”. Giedre Zickyte, who is winning awards all over for ”The Jump”, comes with ”Irena”. Ksenia Okhaphina, who made the masterpiece ”Immortal”, comes back to the BSD with a fascinating title ”Manifesto of Tenderness”, Vlad Ketkovich is producing, a true veteran of BSD. Local master director Laila Pakalnina among many titles the recent ”Spoon”, is with producer Uldis Cekulis to present ”Scarecrows” and producer Guntis Trekteris brings forward ”Stranded” (PHOTO) that has a very inviting logline, ” An attempt to look at the life of a half-million Baltic Russian community in 2020, through the stories of 3 generations of women in the director’s family.” Director is Stanislavs Tokalovs. At the Ex Oriente workshop recently I met Oksana Syhareva and Anna Kapustina from Ukraine, happy to see them at BSD with exciting ”Up in the Air”.

… and for many other strong film projects to be pitched at BSD, click.

https://dokforums.gov.lv/industry/selected-projects-2021/


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The Blunder of Love & Bless You Awarded

Written 13-07-2021 17:26:22 by Tue Steen Mller

The winners of the Doc Alliance Awards have been announced on 13 July at Cannes Docs, the documentary-focused industry programme of the Cannes Film Festival. Doc Alliance is a network consisting of seven of the most influential European documentary film festivals, each of which nominated two films for the awards.

This year’s Doc Alliance Award — Best Feature Film went for the first time to the category nomination by DOK Leipzig: “The Blunder of Love” by Rocco Di Mento, which competed for the Audience Award at the festival in 2020. In his search through family archives, Rocco Di Mento unearths old 8mm home movies, an unpublished novel, various love letters and a whole host of long-suppressed feelings – a mixture that begins to develop a dynamic of its own. The issue becomes not just about the search for the love of one’s life, but also the question of what holds people together beyond their relationship status and degree of kinship.



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Doker 2021 The Winners

Written 28-06-2021 13:42:35 by Tue Steen Mller

Doker 2021 The Winners

The Doker festival in Moscow ended last night. I managed to watch and write about 8 of the films, one short and seven features shown in the main competition. I am a fan of the festival that I have visited once as a juror, and been a juror online (with deliberations via email!) at the first edition of the festival in 2015. Of the flms I saw (online, links from the organizers), 3 of them I have written about, 2 others I have seen but they did not reach the blog in a written form. First the jury’s motivation (the jury: Nikolaus Geyerhalter (Austria), Jordana Berg (Brazil), Maya Kuzina (Russia)): 

 



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Doker 2021 Graboy The War of Raya Sinitsina

Written 26-06-2021 14:26:16 by Tue Steen Mller

Doker 2021 Graboy The War of Raya Sinitsina

They make good documentaires in Israel. Here is one more, awarded at the DocAviv. The Best Director award as well as Best Cinematography. And I understand why: The debutant Efim Graboy works brilliantly with several layers and in different styles and it all comes well together in the good story that Raisa, 94 years old, but strong and not afraid to say her opinion or show her emotions, delivers to Fima, the name she uses for the director.

The language is Russian, the location is Israel (Tel Aviv?) and Raisa´s story goes back to the siege of Leningrad and the WW2, where she was a nurse. There are some, but not many, archive images from Leningrad, we know them from many documentaries, last one Blockade by Sergei Loznitsa. I was not scared in Leningrad, she says, I was young, but I am afraid now, she says, the charismatic war veteran with the many medals, still dedicated to celebrate Victory Day May 9 and still active at the veteran meetings, where fewer turn up. They have died but their faces stay on photos on the wall – and some are at home like the man, who turns 100 and gets a visit from Raisa and two other old Russian women. Raisa is a proud veteran, when she shows the director a greeting from Putin himself but now at the end of her life, she is more and more occupied with her dreams that she reveals to Fima. They bring her back to her youth and closer to Fima, whose camera again and again catches the emotions of Raisa. In many fine poetic situations. It feels like a fine choice, when the director places her in fields of sunflowers. Or at an empty concert hall playing cello for the first time in decades.

I was happy to have met Raisa Sinitsina. And it reminds me about the words of Lithuanian Audrius Stonys : We make documentary films to keep people alive…

Israel, 2021,

https://www.midff.com/main


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Doker 2021 Higgins&Carrier Wandering

Written 24-06-2021 21:15:22 by Tue Steen Mller

Doker 2021 Higgins&Carrier Wandering

… with the subtitle ”A Rohingya Story” takes place in the Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangla Desh, the biggest in the world with 700.000 people from the Muslim minority in Myanmar, before named Burma. They fled from genocide, and ended up here. In a humanitarian catastrophy, where they fight to survive.

The film by Olivier Higgins and Mélanie Carrier is excellent. Heartbreaking in content and brilliant in storytelling. The cinematography is superb, the camera is treating the refugees and their devastating environment and living conditions with beautifully composed and framed images and the film gives the viewer the necessary information through the voice off by Kalam (Kala Miya). The directors (on the Doker website) tells about how the film came about:

 



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Doker 2021 Dr&Haragonics Her Mothers

Written 23-06-2021 13:09:07 by Tue Steen Mller

Doker 2021 Dr&Haragonics Her Mothers

Oh, I Iove that film because it gets so close to the couple Virag and Nora that you can really sense their love to each other and the small and bigger crisis they experience, when they, a lesbian couple, succeed in adopting a girl, two and a half years old, Meli(ssza) and start bringing her up. I love when the directors Asia Dér and Sári Haragonics stay long at a scene, where Nora argues that she does not want to give Meli chocolate when she picks her up in the kindergarten – this is what Virag does. Chocolate or not chocolate, this is a normal situation that everyone can recognise, also this grandfather. The same goes for the goodnight scene, where Meli wants Mommy (Virag) to put her to bed and not Dada (Nora). 

It’s not that easy, words to that effect, says Nora, sad, with lesbian parenting. Especially not in Orban-instan, with a prime minister of Hungary, who is visually quoted with one of his stupid male chauvinistic comments. 

I love that film because I can´t help love the couple thanks to the presence of the camera in the discussions and dialogues in the house that also includes three dogs! They are taking lessons in German, will they end up in Austria… is that a better place to be for lesbian couples? First of all, however, the film conveys the joy and happiness of the two, when they are able to add the motherhood to their love. 

The rythm of the film is calm, no running after dramatic situations except for some footage from demonstrations framing the political landscape in Hungary. Whatever sexual orientation you might have, you can identify with the small or big problems you face in a family.

Hungary, 2020, 75 mins.

https://www.midff.com/main


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Doker 2021 Roman Hodel The Game

Written 20-06-2021 22:11:54 by Tue Steen Mller

In my visit to DOKER online I left the main competition to have a look at the short film competition and my eyes stopped at “Das Spiel”, “The Game” in English, a film for a football fan like me, who right now follows what happens at the UEFA European Championship. With great enthusiasm crossing fingers for Denmark.

The film is Swiss and lets the viewer follow the referee on the pitch and his work with sound access to what he hears from his linesmen and says to them and to the people at the room of VAR, where you find the video assistant referees, who can suggest a change a decision of a refeee, sometimes by letting him run to the screen to study a replay of what could be a foul. Penalty or not penalty.

The focus is on one referee, who runs and runs, talks to the players, gives cards that are red or yellow under great stress having players and fans go against him. There was years ago a feature doc named “Kill the Referee”, this one is a short super-professional film – with the words of the director:

“By closing in on family relationships and on player-referee interactions, the film allows the audience to experience the sheer unbearable pressure of a referee while getting to know the person under the referee jersey: Fedayi San — a human being with fears and doubts.”

(I googled Fedayi San, who is a FIFA referee and has been at international Games, but he is not at the competition that runs right now.)

Will I have more understanding and sympathy for the referee after this film –maybe not all the time, but I am indeed on his side, when the players complain constantly when everyone can see that there is a foul.

“They are like kids”, he says when he picks up his father after the match. 

Switzerland, 2020, 17 mins.

https://www.midff.com/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Doker Jessica Nettelbladt: Prince of Dreams

Written 18-06-2021 15:56:20 by Tue Steen Mller

Doker Jessica Nettelbladt: Prince of Dreams

Let me give you a brief content quote from the Doker website:

”Erik was born as a girl but always felt like a boy. As an 18-year-old, he began the process of gender reassignment. This is where ‘Prince of Dreams’ starts too. Shot over a full 10 years and with no filter. Isolation, bullying and anxiety have followed Erik throughout his life, while he has struggled with recognition from his surroundings and himself…”



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Doker 2021 Andr Jindrich: A New Shift

Written 18-06-2021 15:30:28 by Tue Steen Mller

Doker 2021 Andr Jindrich: A New Shift

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

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

Czech Republic, 2020, 91 mins.

This is an edited repeat of a review from this site.

https://www.midff.com/main


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Doker 2021 Billie Mintz: Portrayal

Written 17-06-2021 11:27:53 by Tue Steen Mller

Doker 2021 Billie Mintz: Portrayal

The Russian documentary film festival has chosen quite a story to open its 2021 festival. Well crafted and told, full of layers and conflicts with several strong characters. With the young Roman Lapshin as the one in focus. He wants to confront the artist Oz Almog, who had a world-wide success with portraits of well known Jews through exhibitions named "Index Judaeorum".

 



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Doker 2021

Written 14-06-2021 15:24:19 by Tue Steen Mller

Doker 2021

 

The festival starts on Friday June 18 and goes on until June 27, the Moscow International Documentary Film Festival, that is close to my heart, because of the dedication, thoughtfulness, independence and competence of those, who are running it, the team, that is described like this on the website:

The DOKer team is a community of like-minded people: directors, cinematographers, sound directors, producers and specialists in other fields, but all passionate enthusiasts for nonfiction cinema…

I was at the festival in 2019 in the short film jury, where awards were given not only to Best film but also to Best Directing, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Sound. Respect!

 



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Biograffilm Festival Bologna

Written 08-06-2021 21:13:56 by Tue Steen Mller

Biograffilm Festival Bologna

With the subtitle “International Celebration of Lives” the festival started June 4 and runs until June 14. It has a section called ”Meet the Masters” and Leena Pasanen and her festival staff earns respect for bringing cinematic ”celebration of lives”, as it is being done by Helena Třeštíková and Heddy Honigmann, the Czech and the Dutch director, who have beautiful films on the their long filmography. In Bologna their films are presented.

Otherwise there is a section for Italian films, one for “art and music” (including Barak Heymann’s film on Dani Karavan, who died last week), ”Larger than Fiction” and of course an international competition. With important films like ”Courage” by young Paluyan from Belarus, Antonia Kilian’s strong ”The Other Side of the River”, IDFA-winner ”Radiograph of a Family” by Iranian Firouzeh Khosrovani, Danish ”Flee” by Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Swedish ”Arica” by Lars Edman and William Johansson Kalén – and ”President” by Danish Camilla Nielsson, her second amazing film on politics in Zimbabwe. Not to forget ”The Last Shelter” by Ousmane Samassékou, winner at the CPH:DOX.

The audience in Bologna can not complain – they get the best of the best. 

https://www.biografilm.it/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Tatyana Soboleva: The Russian Way

Written 04-06-2021 21:51:26 by Tue Steen Mller

Tatyana Soboleva: The Russian Way

”After twenty years abroad, Natalya comes back to Russia and tries to change the life in her native village by using Western experience, but the authorities don't want that and the villagers fear them.”

This brief description is connected to the vimeo link sent to me by Tatyana Soboleva, whose film was premiered a couple of days ago in Moscow. A film that Soboleva has worked on for years with dedication and stubbornness

like her protagonist, who wants change as a true activist on a pretty difficult mission to say the least, in the village Norino. Going from door to door Natalya collects signatures in order to approach the authorities, personified in Detkin, who is briefly seen in the film at a gathering, where the wonderful fatherland Russia is song about and where Natalya is praised for her activities, leaving the meeting sad as she got no chance to address the audience. Together with her companion Mikhail, who later that day – a text is saying on the screen – on the order of Detkin - is arrested for not being long enough in Russia. Would have love that theme to be a bit more developed. 

But the activities… Natalya protests to the cutting down of the forest. She organises cleaning up of trash and garbage that visiting people have thrown in nature. With a few villagers helping. She wants the road going through the village to be paved. And she donates out of her own pocket a medical station.

She is not alone and the scenes from the meetings held in her beautiful wooden house are caught by the camera of Soboleva. Marina and Nikolay are with her as is Oksana, who is to take care of the medical station if I got it right. Marina is a powerful, charismatic character who comments on Natalya’s letter to Detkin and the authorities – “be short and concise”. She is also the one, who has taken care of the collect of money for getting a container to fill up with the garbage. Until a meeting where her husband says that his wife whould not collect and have the money with her. “She’s freaking out”. In the house at the meetings is also Mikhail, who has such a wonderful face sitting there saying nothing being the one driving Natalya around. Their relationship is close and warm – and as the film full of respect and an eye for situations that can illustrate how life is in a remote village, where the car with bread stops at nighttime to sell to the inhabitants.

It’s Natalya’s native village, she wants “to give back” but as an academic living abroad for decades, she does not really fit in any longer as Marina is saying in a scene – and her outsider position is strongly underlined by Tatayna Soboleva, who with her camera films Natalya, who is taking photos with her cellphone. Documenting life. Two observers, the director and the protagonist, depict, in a non-aggressive melancholic tone a piece of life in a place called Norino in Russia.

PS. It’s not easy to make films in Russia if you are a director like Tatyana Soboleva with a “documentary heart”. I was told by her: The film is supported by Current Time TV and if it is to be shown in Russia it has to be marked as “an organization performing the functions of a foreign agent”.!!!!!! 


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sun&Sea (Marina) An Opera-Performance

Written 02-06-2021 11:18:18 by Tue Steen Mller

... by three Lithuanian artists; One of them Rugilė Barzdiukaitė, who stood for the direction and scenography, was to kind to invite me knowing my enthusiasm for art and culture in her country. The texts were made by Vaiva Grainytė, translated from Lithuanian by Rimas Ugiris and the Music and musical direction by Lina Lapelytė. 

It's a one hour show where (in Copenhagen) we the audience were "watching from scaffolding above the stage, looking down on a sandy beach, complete with sunbathing visitors, a mosaic of towels, bright bathing suits, and plastic toys." A quote from the website of the CC, Copenhagen Contemporary, where you may also find the libretto, song by the opera singers lying on the beach - here is the link: 

https://copenhagencontemporary.org/en/sun-sea/?fbclid=IwAR1U2jQrh_Wr8KAK8hLtolHqM9zQ51A3CKY35uknEStBorAnA0no2X_fg2s

Yes, from above, lovely, joyful making us remember our behaviour when at the beach with children, with playing badminton, building sand castles, talking, caressing...

Here are some few words from the libretto:

”Hand it here, I need to rub my legs...‘Cause later they’ll peel and crack, And chap.Hand it I will rub you... Otherwise, you’ll be red as a lobster...Hand it I will rub you...”

”What a sky, just look, so clear!Not a single cloud...What is there? – seagulls or terns?I can never tell... O la vida, la vida”

”What’s wrong with people – they come here with their dogs, who leave shit on the beach, fleas on the sand!...”

”I flew to a Portuguese corrida –A short trip, just for fun.But then the pilot had to land the plane in London:So I called up my friends. And stayed over for a couple of days. And from that day on, Linda and I never been apart.”

The libretto is wonderful - I sang it for my wife this morning (!), the whole performance is amazing. I asked Rugilė afterwards if it was hard for the singers/actors, especially the kids. No, she said, the kids are the survivors, they find new games. When I was there there were 4 shows in a row, no problem the director said but we have had 8 in a row... The opera-performance won at the biennale in Venice.

Yes, the Lithuanians know how to surprise and make poetry out of something ordinary, going to the beach that we aill all do very soon.

PS. I knew Rugilė Barzdiukaitė from her - also original - multilayered documentary "Acid Forest" that I praised here 

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

 


Vurdering:

 
Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona 2021 Awards

Written 30-05-2021 18:19:57 by Tue Steen Mller

DOCSBARCELONA 2021 Awards

DocsBarcelona Award for Best Film : Gunda, directed by Victor Kossakovsky. New Talent Award: Inside the Red Brick Wall, directed by Hong Kong Documentary Filmakers. Latitud Award: El secreto del Doctor Grinberg, directed by Ida Cuéllar. Amnistia Internacional Catalunya Award: Room Without a View, directed by Roser Corella. Audience Award: The Return: Life after ISIS, directed by Alba Sotorra. DOC-U Award: La ermitaña, directed by Anna Hanslik. Docs&Teens Award: El niño de fuego, directed by Ignacio Acconcia. Young Jury Reteena Award: The Return, Life After ISIS, directed by Alba Sotorra. Docs del Mes Award: Honeyland, directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov.

Industry Awards

Public Pitch Award: Unbound, directed by John English and Tom Garner. Speed Meetings Award: Touche, directed by Martina Moor. Doc Series Award: Queen of Chess, directed by Bernadett Tuza-Ritter. Rough Cut Pitch Award: Age, directed by Gustav Ågerstrand, Åsa Ekman, Oscar Hedin y Anders Teigen. Public Pitch Award: Ole mi coño - The Riposte to Digital Violence, directed by Patricia Franquesa. DAE Award: Pepi Fandango, directed by Lucija Stojevic. FipaDoc Award: The Click Trap, directed by Peter Porta. East Doc Platform Award: Unbound, directed by John English y Tom Garner. DokFest Munich - Doc Around Europe Award: Ole mi coño - The Riposte to Digital Violence, directed by Patricia Franquesa. San Sebastian Lau Haizetara co-production forum: The Click Trap, directed by Peter Porta.


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Letitia Popa: What is documentary

Written 30-05-2021 15:33:12 by Tue Steen Mller

Letitia Popa: What is documentary

This essay is written by Romanian film student Letitia Popa. It follows essays written by students from Zelig Film School in Bolzano according to the same exercise described below:

What is a documentary? A few weeks ago, me and my colleagues from the Documentary Department at UNATC Bucharest, participated in a workshop with Tue Steen Müller. We had interesting discussions on what it means to make documentaries and what future prospects we might have, after graduation. He proposed a very interesting exercise; to describe what a documentary is, in only three, firsthand words. Afterwards, I was asked to write an essay reflecting on what it means for me to make documentaries, reflecting on these words. I found it very interesting that after taking a look at what we came up with, I could place these words together in 5 different piles. 

 



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Essays

CinDOC Mentoring & Pitch/1

Written 26-05-2021 17:50:27 by Tue Steen Mller

This is a quote from a text posted here some months ago... when the mentoring program started. At the next post you will find the awarded projects at the pitching session of yesterday, a long and fine day with 66 people on zoom from the very beginning and only a few who had to leave at the end of the day - very pleased to moderate for four hours, an easy job as all is so well prepared by the Cinédoc Team and the pitchers were ready after training by Cecilia Lidin and Martijn de Pas. Chapeau to everyone attending and for the funders of an event of importance - the Swiss SDC and the Civil Society Centre in Prague. And first of all good luck to the filmmakers, there is sooo much talent.



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CinDOC Mentoring & Pitch

Written 26-05-2021 17:17:23 by Tue Steen Mller

This post starts with a quote from a text I wrote, when the Film Mentoring Program of Cinédoc Tbilisi started:

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

The set-up is new and exciting for me: Each mentor works with 3 filmmakers 3 x three hours with weeks in between, where the filmmakers write or film or think… So far I – and the other mentors – have had the first round of individual meetings plus two times group meetings  with 3 filmmakers, who are not the ones with whom you have face-to-face meetings." And then after hours and months of pleasure a zoom pitch took place yesterday - for four hours where the filmmakers presented their projects. 66 (including the filmmakers) were there from the start welcoming projects from Caucasus and Central Asia, and only a few had to leave the session. There were major doc festivals, funds, a couple of producers and one broadcaster, Current Time TV. So no comments on slots etc. Cecilia Lidin and Martijn de Pas had done the pitch training. The Swiss SDC and the Civil Society Centre in Prague gave support. Here comes the list of winners: 



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DocsBarcelona 2021

Written 24-05-2021 09:53:32 by Tue Steen Mller

... has been running for some days and goes on until May 30 in a hybrid version: online and with screenings in cinemas. I was not there last year and the same goes for this year, alas. At the 24th edition. I will for sure do everything to be there next year for the 25th celebration of an event that I have been part of from the very beginning. It has been a true pleasure to be part of the industry sessions for the first many many years, and now also as Head of the Programming committee. This year is my last year in this position, I leave with pleasure the chair to Pol Roig, a true film lover and connaisseur, who these days are busy introducing films and directors - as well as leading Q&A's. Go to https://docsbarcelona.com/ and see the selection we did for this year. 

Anyway, if not in Barcelona, you can take part actively from your home, which I have done introducing seventeen (17) 45 mins conversations between filmmakers with rough cuts of their films asking for feedback. We called it "artistic consultancies" = talk about content and structure and storytelling. Far from the usual pitching. I asked directors, producers and consultants to comment, they did, they were very well prepared for these private meetings as were the filmmakers of course and it is my impression that the latter left with inspiration, encouraged to work on for the next cut. Face to Face. From South America to Europe, from Mexico to Ukraine, from Costa Rica to Georgia, from Copenhagen to NY, from Italy to Switzerland... As a technical analphabet I am now a fan of zoom, it worked so well also because of my partner in crime at DocsBarcelona, Neus Perez. Thank you for your warm professionalism!

https://docsbarcelona.com/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Krakow opens wirh Polański, Horowitz..

Written 20-05-2021 10:55:58 by Tue Steen Mller

The opening ceremony of the Krakow Festival and the international premiere of the film “Polański, Horowitz. Hometown” by Mateusz Kudła and Anna Kokoszka-Romer will be held on the 30th of May at 8 p.m. at the cinema Kino Kijów. The film is a colourful story about childhoods, friendship, the common Jewish fate of the protagonists and, most of all, about Krakow – a place that, despite the passage of time and many changes, remains their home.

For the opening of the festival, we try and select spectacular films, as well as such which constitute a kind of common denominator for the festival programme. In the film “Polański, Horowitz. Hometown” there are many threads that are particularly dear to us — emotions, humour, nostalgia and Krakow as the witness of the events, but also as the setting of the film, explains Krzysztof Gierat, the director of the Krakow Film Festival...

 



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Nordisk Ministerrd: No support for NP in 2022

Written 18-05-2021 10:15:54 by Tue Steen Mller

NP - Nordisk Panorama, held annually, has for the last 30 years been the key venue for promoting and launching Nordic short and documentary films. This reduction equals a 60% cut in NP’s operating budget, which in turn will mean drastic cuts for the film sector at a time when the pandemic has devastated the film industry.

Anita Reher, Director, stated, "We provide the stepping-stone, that lets Nordic filmmakers reach beyond their borders to the world. Filmmakers needed our support in the best of times. Now, as they face endless challenges, the Council’s decision will have a dramatic impact on the industry's most important gathering in our region.” 

Demand is running higher than ever for participation in what the Nordisk Film & TV Fond’s recently released distribution report determined is a “key industry event” in the Nordic Region, the Nordisk Panorama Pitching Forum, which presents new Nordic film projects to financiers. That demand will only grow as the audiovisual industry struggles to get back on its feet again. Most of the companies Nordisk Panorama supports are independent enterprises that rely heavily on Nordic co-financing to realize their films.

Nordisk Panorama’s primary objective is to encourage collaboration and the production of high-quality short and documentary films in the Nordic countries. It was also created to let new voices and new generations of filmmakers enter the film industry. NP’s framework enables independent filmmakers to promote their films and receive funding from public sources in the Nordic region and from the industry at large. NP gathers the resources – creative talent, industry networks, and international financiers from broadcasting, film institutes, streaming platforms, and private foundations – that let Nordic filmmakers succeed on the world stage.

The visual storytellers Nordisk Panorama serves are the ambassadors of Nordic culture for our region and around the world. Nordisk Panorama has enabled Nordic filmmakers to maintain an outsized presence in the global film industry. Documentaries are also at the forefront of raising awareness about critical issues and encouraging public dialogue.


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX 2021

Written 14-05-2021 20:40:07 by Tue Steen Mller

CPH:DOX 2021

Don’t Just Watch. Listen

Since 2003, it has been

the mission of CPH:DOX to reflect

the complexity of our world.

That hasn’t changed

but the world is changing

in unexpected ways.

Reality is being reshaped

Facts are being rejected

We are losing our sense of shared reality.

This makes it more important

than ever to listen.

To each other

To experts

To artists

To those rarely heard.

Documentaries make a difference

Because they invite us to do just that.

They transcend borders,

Offer new viewpoints, inspire change.

This year, CPH :DOX is inviting

a wide range of voices to our festival

We are welcoming a new team of

young co-curators along with

filmmakers, artists, scientists,

and experts from all over the world.

We pass the mike and invite you

To be part of the conversation.

This year, don’t just watch. Listen


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Camilla Nielsson: President

Written 08-05-2021 15:56:56 by Tue Steen Mller

Camilla Nielsson: President

”You’ve got to have love for your characters and do everything you can to give them confidence in the job you’ve been assigned”. Said Camilla Nielsson to me in an interview back in November 2014, published in a Danish Film Institute magazine on the occasion of her film’s showing af IDFA that year. I refer to ”Democrats” that we followed quite intensely on this site on its road to festivals – and awards – around the world.

Love for characters, I was happy to meet again Paul Mangwana and Douglas Mwonzora, the protagonists of ”Democrats”, in Nielsson’s new film ”President”. Their job in ”Democrats” was to create a constitution – Mangwana on behalf of ZANU-PF, Mwonzora for MDC-T. Two very different characters and temperaments I got to like thanks to filmmaker Nielsson and her cameraman Henrik Bohn Ipsen. In ”President” they are side characters, Mangwana furious in a long scene, where the members of ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) is questioned on their impartiality by the opposition party MDC-T, and the elegant cool Mwonzora being present in several scenes as one of the sympathetic strategists working hard to win the presidency for Nelson Chamisa.

 

 



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Sea Docs 2021 announces call for projects

Written 07-05-2021 19:44:10 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Sea Docs 2021 announces call for projects

Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries (BSD) is the most important documentary training and pitching event in the Baltic countries, taking place in Riga, Latvia. The 25th edition is scheduled to take place in a hybrid form from 1 – 12 September 2021, with the industry events held mostly online. The call for projects is open now and will close on 11 June. 

BSD is looking for applications from independent production companies from the wider Baltic Sea region countries (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Sweden), Eastern Europe and Caucasus region, and from other countries if the documentary subject relates to the region. The main focus of the BSD is on full-length creative documentary projects, but cross-media applications are also welcome to apply. The international selection committee will select 18 projects to be pitched for the international broadcasters, sales agents, film funds and other industry representatives. 

 

 



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IDFF Artdocfest / Riga announces winners

Written 04-05-2021 15:46:14 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFF Artdocfest / Riga announces winners

With permission from FilmNewEurope and its Latvian correspondent Zane Balčus, we bring her article about:

Riga: International Documentary Film Festival Artdocfest / Riga run from 28 April to 3 May in Riga and outside the city. The main prize of the Artdocfest competition was awarded to the film Silent Voice, directed by Reka Valerik (a pseudonym of the director to conceal the identity of a filmmaker for the safety reasons). The film focuses on a young wrestler from Chechnya, who faces death threats due to his homosexuality and is forced to relocate to Brussels.

The main prize of the Baltic Focus competition was awarded to Restless Memories by Latvian director Elīna Lange-Ionatamishvili, who created a portrait of two children who live in the 2008 Georgia-Russia war refugee village.

As the cinemas in Latvia are still closed, the films of the programme were screened for a limited number of audiences consisting of one household in various venues (a farm, a film studio, a women’s prison, and others) followed by Q&A with film’s director. The rest of the screenings are planned to be held in August in cinemas. 

The festival has two competition sections – an Artdocfest competition (with 21 films) and Baltic Focus competition (films produced in or co-produced with Baltic countries, 10 films). The main award of the Baltic Focus competition is named Herz, honouring Latvian documentary filmmaker Hercs Franks (1926 – 2013).

The jury of the international competition gathered in Riga. The jury members were Russian film critic, editor of the film magazine Iskusstvo kino Anton Dolin, Latvian film critic, the director of the National Film Centre of Latvia Dita Rietuma, and journalist of music and politics Artemy Troitsky, who is currently based in Estonia. Baltic Focus competition jury worked remotely, and it was formed by documentary film consultant Tue Steen Müller (Denmark), director Alina Rudnitskaya (Russia), and associate professor of University of Cagliari Massimo Tria (Italy).



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CPH:DOX Forum/ 2

Written 30-04-2021 21:10:38 by Tue Steen Mller

I knew it from visits to Kiev, the film project ”Expedition 49”, presented by director Alisa Kovalenko and producer Stéphane Siohan, with film and ArtdokFest festival director Vitalyi Mansky as ambassador recommending. But I had not seen the teaser they had produced especially for the CPH:DOX presentation. Absolutely great, 7 minutes of energy in images and a fine and personal voice-off by the director, motivating why she wants to make this adventurous documentary – adventurous as the five teenagers picked to go to the Himalayas with an old explorer are full of life and will, ”…in search of themselves, stuck in their bleeding little town, Zolote-4, Donbas, a shithole place shaken by the rumble of a lingering war with Russia and the haunting collapse of the coal mines…”. Very charming and dynamic presentation avoiding the usual pitch clichés of events like this: ”We are looking for funding blablabla”. Obvious that is, hope they will be succesful, the talent is, yes, obvious!

And of course I took a look at the pitch trailer of “Handheld”, which is a film about one of my heroes… read this text from the website of CPH:DOX: ”Pioneer of direct cinema, Albert Maysles redefined documentary film in practice and in meaning. With unfettered access to his entire filmography, personal archives, and never-before-seen footage, oldest daughter Rebekah will trace her father’s life.” It is especially the latter I look forward to see, the personal and not-seen-before as I am sure it will confirm the passion and curiosity of the Albert Maysles we have had the pleasure to meet in Denmark on several occasions. Old of age, young in spirit, I remember the tribute Jørgen Leth made to him at the European Film College in Denmark. Lovely, probably not filmed. In the clip there is a wonderful moment with Rolling Stones in the studio where bass guitarist Bill Wyman asks Maysles to leave… it’s disturbing to have you here!


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX Forum

Written 30-04-2021 13:40:27 by Tue Steen Mller

CPH:DOX  Forum

In between watching films, mentoring for the CinéDoc Tbilisi, having the first corona vaccination and being tested in mouth and (luckily not so often) nose… I had the pleasure to check some of the pitches at the CPH:DOX Forum. More than 30 projects, well presented on the website with all necessary information, with an ”Ambassador” to recommend each project and with trailers that included presentations of what the producer/the filmmakers wanted in terms of financial and/or creative support. I have no idea of what happened at the individual meetings, hopefully good contacts were made. Chapeau for the Forum organisers, professionalism at highest level.

… and there he was again the forever young Jørgen Leth, together with talented Andreas Koefoed with an energetic and inviting teaser for their upcoming film on jazz, „Cold and Warm“. A quote from the description of the project, „Cold & Warm“ is like a grand catalogue of great musicians. For them, music is a way of being. Through images, music and words, we discover the art-form that keeps them alive. What does it mean to play? How does it feel to listen? As director Jørgen Leth poses existential questions to the musicians, long pauses occur. Because is it even possible to put the emotions of music into words?...“ Jørgen Leth praises the looseness of jazz and sees the film as a collection of notes. I was totally seduced.

… and Mads Brügger was there with „Double Trouble“ in his usual staged style and with a fascinating project, read this: „A feature length documentary about the secretive world of political decoys. The film explores how various dictators and strongmen have been using doubles as stand ins for themselves. The aim of the film is to find as many former real life political decoys as possible, and bring them all together for a lavish dinner at a luxury hotel, where they will be in character as their old masters.“

Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX Skl

Written 28-04-2021 16:49:47 by Tue Steen Mller

… which means Cheers in Faroese language and is the title of the film by Cecilie Debell & Maria Tórgarð

The CPH:DOX programme is launched. The festival runs from April 21 to May 12. The cinemas are scheduled to re-open in the beginning of May so the festival intends to be part of this (cross fingers…) festive celebration of watching (also) documentaries on a big screen. Otherwise the festival’s 177 films will be available (for those who are in Denmark) online as well as an enormous line-up of events. Check the website: https://cphdox.dk/film/

On this site – www.filmkommentaren.dk – we will follow the festival from now on with recommendations of films to be watched. It will be in English as many of the films will show up to be watched at other festivals around the world.

"Skál" is excellent, simply, full of poetic moments between two young people, who express themselves through music and poetry. The cinematography is including the landscape of the Faroe Islands in the lovely portrait of Dania and Trygvi, who you can read more about in this CPH:DOX text: 

”Dania is 21 years old and grew up in a Christian community in the Faroe Islands’ Bible belt. She has just moved to Tórshavn and is seeing Trygvi, a hip-hop artist and poet locally known as Silvurdrongur (Silver Kid). He comes from a secular family and writes poems and texts about the shadow sides of humanity. Dania herself sings in a Christian band but is fascinated by Trygvi’s courage to write brutally honest lyrics. As she tries to find her place in the world and understand herself, she starts to write more personal texts. Her writings develop into a collection of critical poems called ‘Skál’ (‘Cheers’), about the double life that she and other youths must live in the conservative Christian world. A world she does not want to abandon, but to change. Where do you draw your lines when you are young and Christian? Is it a sin to drink or dance? Is it a sin to have sex before marriage? Is it a sin to have a boyfriend who is not a Christian? And how long can you endure living between two worlds?”


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Welcome to DocsBarcelona 2021

Written 27-04-2021 15:26:36 by Tue Steen Mller

At a press conference today the DocsBarcelona programme was announced. In Barcelona. The Head of Programming – me – living in Copenhagen - was not there but I had in beforehand sent these welcoming words:

Here we go again… No, here we sit again, at home watching documentaries on our computers or i-pads or phones (!), or maybe some have purchased a small projector and created their own cinema with a bigger image? Whatever, the pandemic is here and DocsBarcelona goes online as in 2020.

Good, as last year showed a huge interest from viewers from all over Spain with one of the best attendance statistics among festivals in Europe. Nailing the fact that there is an audience for the documentary genre. And that many outside the “normal” documentary community were interested and joined the party. Reaching a new audience.

Bad, as documentaries are Films and Films should be seen in cinemas. Nothing compares to being seated in a big room full of people watching and listening: Perfect image, Perfect sound. Cross your fingers: Depending on the evolution of the pandemic several films will also be screened in cinemas in Barcelona.

The program committe has done its best to make a strong selection for you. We have watched hundreds of films. There are documentaries from all over the world and about the world we live in. Social, political, historical, personal. There are documentaries that challenge the mainstream way of telling stories - stories that can give you food for thought and make you share a tear. Of joy or sadness. A sow and its piglets, floating trees, lobster soup in Iceland, demonstrations in Hongkong, several films from the Middle East, colonialism in Mexico and Africa, a cuban dancer, Gorbachev, women’s rights, female volleyball players, artists, a kiosk in Paris… films for all tastes, but not for the bad!

We hope you will find time and energy to check out the list of films and find one or more that appeals to you. It’s up to you to make up your mind, what you want to see, we have done our best to offer you the best of the best.

Enjoy! www.docsbarcelona.com including "Gunda" by master Kossakovsky.

OBS! The programme of the festival films, are available solely for the audience in Spain. BUT for professionals there is a unique chance to get acquainted. Read the news I got from the HQ in Barcelona: This year all the accredited professionals will have access to the catalog of our Festival films and the films will be exclusively available for professionals until the end of this year 2021, so people accredited outside Spain not only have access to the activities of Industry but also to the films. early bird registration has a discount: 50 euros until 29th of April. https://docsbarcelona.com/en/industry/edition-2021-industry/accreditations#

 

An offer you can not refuse !


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX Jon Bang Carlsen

Written 26-04-2021 09:23:31 by Tue Steen Mller

CPH:DOX  Jon Bang Carlsen

The CPH:DOX programme is launched. The festival runs from April 21 to May 12. The cinemas are scheduled to re-open in the beginning of May so the festival intends to be part of this (cross fingers…) festive celebration of watching (also) documentaries on a big screen. Otherwise the festival’s 177 films will be available (for those who are in Denmark) online as well as an enormous line-up of events. Check the website: https://cphdox.dk/film/

On this site – www.filmkommentaren.dk – we will follow the festival from now on with recommendations of films to be watched. It will be in English as many of the films will show up to be watched at other festivals around the world.

”The Banality of Grief”… I watched it on the big screen months ago and last night on my mac. It moves me immensely and again – as for decades – reminds me of how important a poetic filmmaker Jon is. For the Danes his last film is right now available at CPH:DOX and it also works online because of its intensity and beautiful images and words. Here is what Jon writes about his love letter to Madeleine:

“Nothing is. Everything is becoming. Even life already lived. After my wife died I tried to quick start my days again by throwing myself into shooting a new film, but when I looked through the viewfinder I felt the motives I was focusing on with my camera were hiding what I really wanted to see. Everything in the little American town reminded me of your absence. Thus this little stammering love letter came into being.”


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX Artists and Auteurs

Written 19-04-2021 21:01:18 by Tue Steen Mller

CPH:DOX  Artists and Auteurs

The CPH:DOX programme is launched. The festival runs from April 21 to May 12. The cinemas are scheduled to re-open in the beginning of May so the festival intends to be part of this (cross fingers…) festive celebration of watching (also) documentaries on a big screen. Otherwise the festival’s 177 films will be available (for those who are in Denmark) online as well as an enormous line-up of events. Check the website: https://cphdox.dk/film/

On this site – www.filmkommentaren.dk – we will follow the festival from now on with recommendations of films to be watched. It will be in English as many of the films will show up to be watched at other festivals around the world.

… this one will not recommend individual titles as such but stress that the festival pays respect to the masters of the documentary genre as it unfolds right now: Fred Wiseman is there with City Hall (classic duration from Wiseman: 275 mins., already mentioned in a previous post is Kossakovsky and his Gunda, Sergey Loznitsa is the master of historical event interpreted through his unique and creative treatment of archive like in State Funeral, Avi Mograbi is back at his best with The First 54 Years. An abbreviated Manual for Military Occupation, not to forget Notturno by Gianfranco Rosi and Ulrike Ottinger’s Paris Calligrammes (Photo).

There are many other auteurs and artists in this section, the ones I mentioned are all established filmmakers who keep the flag high for the documentary. Check it out.

 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Positive News from Ji.hlava IDFF

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

Positive News from Ji.hlava IDFF

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

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

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

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

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

The festival takes place 26-31.10


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX Captains of Zaatari

Written 14-04-2021 17:07:54 by Tue Steen Mller

The CPH:DOX programme is launched. The festival runs from April 21 to May 12. The cinemas are scheduled to re-open in the beginning of May so the festival intends to be part of this (cross fingers…) festive celebration of watching (also) documentaries on a big screen. Otherwise the festival’s 177 films will be available (for those who are in Denmark) online as well as an enormous line-up of events. Check the website: https://cphdox.dk/film/

On this site – www.filmkommentaren.dk – we will follow the festival from now on with recommendations of films to be watched. It will be in English as many of the films will show up to be watched at other festivals around the world.

This is the catalogue text of CPH:DOX:

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX Kossakovsky: Gunda

Written 13-04-2021 14:47:49 by Tue Steen Mller

The CPH:DOX programme is launched. The festival runs from April 21 to May 12. The cinemas are scheduled to re-open in the beginning of May so the festival intends to be part of this (cross fingers…) festive celebration of watching (also) documentaries on a big screen. Otherwise the festival’s 177 films will be available (for those who are in Denmark) online as well as an enormous line-up of events. Check the website: https://cphdox.dk/film/

On this site – www.filmkommentaren.dk – we will follow the festival from now on with recommendations of films to be watched. It will be in English as many of the films will show up to be watched at other festivals around the world.

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX Courage Aliaksey Paluyan

Written 12-04-2021 11:37:21 by Tue Steen Mller

The CPH:DOX programme is launched. The festival runs from April 21 to May 12. The cinemas are scheduled to re-open in the beginning of May so the festival intends to be part of this (cross fingers…) festive celebration of watching (also) documentaries on a big screen. Otherwise the festival’s 177 films will be available (for those who are in Denmark) online as well as an enormous line-up of events. Check the website: https://cphdox.dk/film/

On this site – www.filmkommentaren.dk – we will follow the festival from now on with recommendations of films to be watched. It will be in English as many of the films will show up to be watched at other festivals around the world.

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX Virpi Suutari: Aalto

Written 10-04-2021 16:10:50 by Tue Steen Mller

The CPH:DOX programme is launched. The festival runs from April 21 to May 12. The cinemas are scheduled to re-open in the beginning of May so the festival intends to be part of this (cross fingers…) festive celebration of watching (also) documentaries on a big screen. Otherwise the festival’s 177 films will be available (for those who are in Denmark) online as well as an enormous line-up of events. Check the website: https://cphdox.dk/film/

On this site – www.filmkommentaren.dk – we will follow the festival from now on with recommendations of films to be watched. It will be in English as many of the films will show up to be watched at other festivals around the world.

Finnish director Virpi Suutari is a true auteur. At the Belgrade festival Magnificent7 we had the pleasure to screen “Entrepreneur” and “Garden Lovers” with the presence of the director. Now she presents – for the Danish audience - ”Aalto” that CPH:DOX presents in this way:

”Scandinavian architecture and design are known and loved for their clear lines and consideration for the individual human being. The couple Alvar and Aino Aalto deserve much of the credit. In an exquisite film which – just like their own life works – brilliantly combines aesthetics and humanity, we are not only told the story of how the architect and the designer set new standards in their respective fields. Through the letters they sent each other, we also get an unusual insight into the love life of the two highly gifted people, as well as their work and shared family, and not least their unique personalities, which at times collided in a way that sent sparks flying.”

And I add a couple of words: Suutari’s personal style is one of élegance, the film is simply a pleasure to watch and again composer – although not mentioned on the festival website – Sanna Salmenkallio must be praised for her extraordinary film music.


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX The Other Side of the River

Written 09-04-2021 14:14:17 by Tue Steen Mller

The CPH:DOX programme is launched. The festival runs from April 21 to May 12. The cinemas are scheduled to re-open in the beginning of May so the festival intends to be part of this (cross fingers…) festive celebration of watching (also) documentaries on a big screen. Otherwise the festival’s 177 films will be available (for those who are in Denmark) online as well as an enormous line-up of events. Check the website: https://cphdox.dk/film/

On this site – www.filmkommentaren.dk – we will follow the festival from now on with recommendations of films to be watched. It will be in English as many of the films will show up to be watche at other festivals around the world.

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

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

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

Trailer can be seen on Cineuropa.


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocuDays Ukraine 2021 Online

Written 02-04-2021 23:37:07 by Tue Steen Mller

DocuDays Ukraine 2021 Online

Yes, online again this year for the 18th International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival that I have visited several times with many memories in and outside the cinema. Yesterday Ileana Stanculescu from CinéDoc Tbilisi reminded me and Lithuanian Audrius Stonys of our common experience in Kiev 8 years ago where the snow was a true challenge for many, including me who was almost carried up the hill to the hotel Rus by the young and fit filmmaker and festival director Roman Bondarchuk…I arrived, many did not, many came late. But we had a great time.

This year I have no idea how the festival weather in Kiev has been as I have been sitting in my armchair in Copenhagen – I attended with my laptop. 



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona Offers Creative Feedback

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

DocsBarcelona Offers Creative Feedback

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

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

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

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

How to submit a project

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Tal Amiran: Dafa Metti (Difficult)

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

Tal Amiran: Dafa Metti (Difficult)

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

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

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

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

UK, 2020, 15 mins.


Vurdering:

 
Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Film Mentoring Caucasus & Central Asia

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

Film Mentoring Caucasus & Central Asia

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

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

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

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

https://cinedoc-tbilisi.com/en


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

John Webster: Donner Private

Written 10-02-2021 14:19:44 by Tue Steen Mller

John Webster: Donner  Private

 I am hooked from the very first moment. Director John Webster puts a pillow behind the back of Jörn Donner (1933-2020) as the start of the last interview Donner did. He sits in an armchair, it’s December 2019, he has a tumor in his lungs, nothing can be done about it, he dies end of January 2020. He is visibly in pain but not more than he is able to talk to Webster behind the camera in sharp and precise sentences, interesting from start till end. There is never a dull moment in this documentary where Pirjo Honkasalo contributed with a script and the planning of this last interview...



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Vurdering:

 
Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Jonas Poher Rasmussen: Flee

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

Jonas Poher Rasmussen: Flee

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

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Camilla Nielsson: President

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

Camilla Nielsson: President

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

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Dusan Hanak Retrospective

Written 28-01-2021 10:48:49 by Tue Steen Mller

Dusan Hanak Retrospective

This is a copy-paste of a press release from DocAlliance's excellent platform DAFilms, written by Martin Černý:

The DAFilms streaming portal is paying tribute to Dušan Hanák, one of the most important Slovak directors, by presenting thirteen digitally restored films in what is the first online retrospective focused on his work. Hanák’s creative start dates to the 1960s, when the Czechoslovak New Wave began to attract interest with the films of Miloš Forman, Věra Chytilová, and Jiří Menzel at the head of the list. He made his first feature-length film – 322 – in 1969, one year after Czechoslovakia was occupied by Soviet-led troops. Despite the exceptional international success of his debut film, his next two works – Pictures of the Old World and Rosy Dreams – were relegated to the censor’s vault for many years. They were not acknowledged until after 1989, when they once again became accessible to public audiences. Originally condemned to be forgotten because of how they depict the raw reality of life under a totalitarian regime, today these films are admired for the filmmaker’s experimentation with documentary methods and how he portrayed life without any embellishment.

 

 

 



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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Web

Dimitra Kouzi: Good Morning Mr Fotis

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

Dimitra Kouzi: Good Morning Mr Fotis

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

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

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

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

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

Greece, 70 mins., 2020  

https://goodmorningmrfotis.com/


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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Bar Mario Closed

Written 20-01-2021 15:54:23 by Tue Steen Mller

Bar Mario Closed

I got a mail this morning that made me sad but also made me think of many many good visits to the bar next door the Zelig Film School in Bolzano. The mail came from Stefano Lisci, here is the beginning: 

… Ciao Tue, It's Stefano Lisci from Zelig. How are you? Here in Bolzano I am a little bit tired for the corona...but good! I write to tell you that Bar Mario had to close! Marina and Paolo had the corona virus, it was a long convalescence, especially for Paolo that was positive for 3 moths. Now they are good…

”Those who have visited the film school know what I am talking about, for those who don’t know: The Bar Mario is next door to the Zelig film school and for students, staff and teachers this is the place you go in the breaks to have a coffee, or where you drink a beer at the end of the day. And where you will meet the captain Marina, the cook Roberto and Paolo – who live there behind the door on which ”privato” is written.

Here is a quote from an article on this site written in 2016, where the film ”Bar Mario” that Stefano directed, had its premiere:

”Bar Mario” is a film that enters to the ”privato”, to the world of the three, in a chaptered, visually impressive story that takes us viewers on board a ship that has crossed mountains to be here, among mountains. The father of Marina, Mario, was a sailor and she has taken over his job to conduct the ship of life in good and harsh weather. She, and the film, does so in a warm, sweet and compassionate way. And with the fun and atmosphere that reigns in the Bar.” The film went to several festivals in Italy, well deserved, and now, as the bar is closed (and the cook Roberto has passed away last year) – and small local bars like this all over have to close due to the pandemic – I can only recommend you to watch it – Stefano had put it on line, price a bit more than 3$:

https://vimeo.com/ondemand/barmarioilfilm/499952078

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3746/


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Nicolas Philibert Interviewed

Written 17-01-2021 14:52:55 by Tue Steen Mller

Nicolas Philibert Interviewed

… In le Monde by Jacques Mandelbaum, film critic at the newspaper since 1995. You have to be a subscriber of le Monde to read the whole interview. I have taken the liberty to quote from the excellent meeting with the great French filmmaker:

« Nicolas Philibert, 70 ans, est une figure tutélaire du documentaire en France après quarante ans d’activité dans le domaine. A toutes fins utiles, un rappel de son parcours pour la route. Démarrage en 1978 avec La Voix de son maître, coréalisé avec Gérard Mordillat, entretien avec douze grands patrons de l’époque et chronique discrète de la mutation capitaliste en cours, pas suffisamment toutefois pour n’être pas censurée durant treize ans. »

« … Nicolas Philibert a pris la direction régulière, depuis quelques mois, du quai de la Rapée, dans le 12earrondissement de Paris, où est accostée la péniche de l’Adamant, centre psychiatrique de jour dépendant des hôpitaux de Saint-Maurice (Val-de-Marne). »

« Filmer le désordre mental : Rien d’évident toutefois, pour beaucoup de raisons. La première, naturellement, consiste à filmer le désordre mental. Terrain instable, souffrance humaine, fragilité de tout, risque avéré du pittoresque. La seconde, non moins prégnante, est la pandémie qui sévit depuis dix mois. Nicolas Philibert, qui habite à Paris, s’estime à cet égard relativement chanceux : « Contrairement à beaucoup de mes collègues qui se sont arrêtés au milieu d’un tournage, la période du premier confinement a été pour moi celle de l’isolement nécessaire à l’écriture du projet. Je n’ai donc pas trop souffert. J’ai programmé mes journées. Une heure de marche rapide le matin, puis lecture et écriture. J’ai aussi mis à profit ce temps libre pour filmer ma mère, qui a eu 100 ans en avril 2020. Ça a été très important pour moi d’aller la voir régulièrement, même si je ne sais pas encore le devenir de ces images. » »

« Moi, je me fous de faire un film de plus. Faire un film avec de l’acquis, ça ne m’intéresse pas. Je veux être dérouté, questionné. Je veux qu’un tournage m’attire et me fasse peur. Et affronter cette peur en filmant . »

« La pandémie touche le quotidien de tout un chacun. L’activité du centre en est, pour le moment, fortement impactée. Par ailleurs, la maladie a, pour certains patients, de fortes répercussions psychiques. J’intègre naturellement ces éléments à mon écriture. »

https://www.lemonde.fr/culture/article/2021/01/11/nicolas-philibert-je-veux-qu-un-tournage-m-attire-et-me-fasse-peur_6065920_3246.html

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/1931/


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

dok.incubator 2021

Written 15-01-2021 17:22:07 by Tue Steen Mller

dok.incubator  2021

Andrea Prenghyova wrote me a couple of days ago, asking if I could mention that the 10th edition of her dokincubator is coming up. Really, 10th edition (!), I thought, and I dare say that Prenghyova has managed to put the training initiative on the map of popular workshops in Europe. I don’t recall having met filmmakers, who have been critical to the content of the workshops that have high class professionals as tutors, not only editors but also a marketing specialist like Freddy Neumann and the producer Christine le Goff. But for those who want to know more than, what can be read on the website of dokincubator I have picked a quite from one of the interviews Prenghyova has made, one published today: 

In an interview with Steve Rickinson from Modern Times Review, published today, link below, Andrea Prenghyova says:

„There are two most important things that distinguish us from other training programmes and workshops. First thing is that we are the workshop which is coming quite late to the filmmakers – at the stage of the rough cut. Therefore, we are able to work with the real material and to participate in the real creative process. This is very important…

The second thing that distinguishes us is our quite special methodology, we are learning through doing – we are a very pragmatic workshop, but at the same time, we cover various aspects. On one side you get a very high quality of your creative process and on the other, you also get quite a wide perspective on your film – you test your film…”

https://www.moderntimes.review/we-are-simply-looking-for-good-films/

https://dokincubator.net/introduction-to-applications/?utm_source=sendinblue&utm_campaign=submission_deadline_January_27th_2021&utm_medium=email#.YAG56uB7nOQ


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Michael Apted 1941 2021

Written 09-01-2021 14:30:35 by Tue Steen Mller

Michael Apted 1941  2021

“I wanna be a jockey…” is a sentence that my wife and I always remember, when we talk about and recall the UP series by Michael Apted, who passed away yesterday. We got acquainted with the series at a festival in Cork, Ireland in the 1990’es, where we could not stop talking about the children, who have been filmed since 1964, 9 episodes, with 7 years in between, and with 63UP as the last one from Apted’s hands, a magnificent piece of documentary film history – about Life lived and about the English class society. The 14 children were chosen from upper and working class, it is fascinating to follow their journeys. Tony (on the poster) had a short carreer as a jockey, went on to become a taxi driver keeping his charm and cockney accent. Andrew became a solicitor, John a barrister – and Bruce, touching Bruce, who from the start wanted to be a missionary « to help the poor people in Africa » and did not think he would ever get married, did get into charity work and did get married and did have children. Jackie, Lynn, Sue are the women in the series, Suzy took also part but did not want to be in the 63UP. In the enormous amount of articles about the series – and also in the films – you often hear the children as grown-ups reflect on what it has meant for them to be on television every seven years. Apted regrets in many interviews the lack of gender equity – and says that made him be very careful when selecting female stars for his many fiction films.

Neil, however, is the most exciting person to follow in the series. A lively energetic kid with a bright future, we assume, leaves the society, wanders around as homeless, has mental problems, but comes back, becomes a politician and wants to help others as his close friend Bruce, who helped him, when he was down. Does voluntary work at the church.

I had the privilege to be a juror with Michael Apted at the Moscow International Film Festival – for the documentary competition when that started in 2011 – with Russian Alexander Gutman as the third man in the jury. We watched 7 films, were invited to stay 10 days in the Russian capital, so my wife and I had lot of time with Apted and his wife Paige Simpson. He was a true English man with the most wonderful voice (as you can hear it in the series) and with a typical sense of humour. Without me saying so the organisers of the festival called me “expert”, which made Apted salute me every morning at breakfast with “Good Morning Expert”.

5 years later we visited Paige and Apted in Venice California in their beautiful funkis house. The 63UP was on its way, the expert and his wife were trying to get information about what had happened since 56UP. A wedding, an illness, a new place to live for the jockey… We have not yet seen the 63UP that came out in 2019. Was that the last episode as Michael Apted is no longer among us? RIP.

“'Give Me the Child Until He Is Seven and I Will Show You the Man'.

You can buy the series on Amazon.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Up_(film_series)#Andrew

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2012/may/07/56-up-its-like-having-another-family

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iKOrjqEb5I


Categories: TV, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

abotić & Varushev: Twins Woven from Dreams

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

abotić & Varushev: Twins Woven from Dreams

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

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

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

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

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

Serbia, 2020, 67 mins.

 

 


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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Lithuanian Documentarians Honoured

Written 29-12-2020 14:52:08 by Tue Steen Mller

Lithuanian Documentarians Honoured

… well, they are so far nominated « For Promoting Lithuania Globally », the directors and producers Arunas Matelis and Giedre Zickyté, by an organisation GLL (Global Lithuanian Leaders), that  is a non-profit association for professional individuals that identify with Lithuania and care about its future. If you click below you will find more information about the categories, where Lithuanians who have done something important for the country and its culture are listed as nominees to awards being given out in the month of January.

This information gives me the chance to salute two good friends I have known for one and two, almost three decades. Arunas from the time of Balticum Film & TV Festival in the 1990’es, Giedre from this century. Both of them filmmakers with an international network, ready to overcome all the trouble making coproductions gives, for their own works and ready to step into helping colleagues to make their film sas Arunas did with “Lobster Soup” and Giedre with “The Earth is Bleu as an Orange”. Two films from Spain and Ukrainia. It’s a generosity that many other filmmakers could learn from, commitment and the ambition to get the films out to as many as possible whatever country. Here follows the motivation for the nomainations:       

Arunas Matelis: For the first Lithuanian representation on global film distribution platforms with documentary “Wonderful Losers. A Different World“. This year, the documentary of Arūnas Matelis “Wonderful Losers. A Different World'' was uploaded to online film distribution platforms of more than 90 countries including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Kanopy. In the USA, the film has reached TOP 3 among iTunes documentaries. The film features the backstage dramas of cycling competition Giro d’Italia, it has been awarded at 14 international film festivals, in 2017 it received the title of the best Lithuanian film, and in 2018 it represented Lithuania in two categories of Academy Awards.

Giedre Zickyte: For captivating story-telling of dramatic history of Lithuania through the documentary "The Jump" and its victories at Warsaw, Rome and New York film festivals. The Documentary “The Jump" tells the story of Lithuanian soviet sailor Simas Kudirka who during the Cold War made an attempt to escape the Soviet Union by jumping from the Soviet to the American ship. The film captivated the global audience by the thrilling story and the way it is told. At the international Warsaw A Class festival, it was awarded as the best documentary. Documentary “The Jump" has become the first Lithuanian film invited to Rome Film Fest and DOC NYC 2020 in New York.

https://gllawards.lt/en/nominees-2020/?fbclid=IwAR3um3y5B9hpO6L8Jip4oz_iXj9Bu4c1omM53znWrwqVSne_hUAK5ZO1vhU


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Oeke Hoogendijk: My Rembrandt

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

Oeke Hoogendijk: My Rembrandt

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

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

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

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

The Netherlands 2019 95 minutes 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Joonas Berghll: The Happiest Man on Earth

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

Joonas Berghll: The Happiest Man on Earth

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

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

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

A top representative of always especially inspiring Finnish documentaries.

Finland 2019 85 minutes 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Magnificent 2020 Belgrade/ 2

Written 23-12-2020 11:33:00 by Tue Steen Mller

Magnificent 2020 Belgrade/ 2

Just a quick note of enthusiasm. They had less than a week to announce the 16th edition of Magnificent7 that is running right now in Belgrade. I am not there as at the 15 first editions but contrary to pandemic scepticism from the two festival directors the three screenings so far ("Gunda", "Patrimonium", "Bitter Love") have had audiences from 100 to 200 people in the Dombank Hall Theatre where you can keep distance - and watch films on a big screen. On the photo you see Svetlana and Zoran Popovic celebrating the 100th film screening, which was the film by Audrius Stonys and Kristine Briede, "Bridges of Time". 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

German Kral: Our Last Tango

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

German Kral: Our Last Tango

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

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

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

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

Germany, Argentina 2015, 85 minutes 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Artemio Benki: Solo

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

Artemio Benki: Solo

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

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

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

Collisions of existential anguish with music that ennobles and liberates.

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Carl Olsson: Patrimonium

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

Carl Olsson: Patrimonium

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

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

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

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

Denmark 2019 74 minutes  


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Jerzy Śladkowski: Bitter Love

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

Jerzy Śladkowski: Bitter Love

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

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

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

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

Sweden, Finland, Poland 2020, 87 minutes 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Viktor Kossakovsky: Gunda

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

Viktor Kossakovsky: Gunda

Svetlana and Zoran Popovic, Magnificent7 directors:

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

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

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

Norway, USA 2020, 93 minutes. 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Magnificent 2020 Belgrade

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

Magnificent 2020 Belgrade

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

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

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

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



Read more / Ls mere

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Best of DAFilms 2020

Written 17-12-2020 13:47:34 by Tue Steen Mller

Best of DAFilms 2020

The https://dafilms.com/ is an excellent vod for documentary lovers. Not only bringing new documentaries to their subscribers but also giving us a chance to go back in film history to pick important works. The seven members of DocAlliance, all of them festivals, deserve much credit for standing behind the vod, they are CPH:DOX, Doclisboa, Docs Against Gravity FF, DOK Leipzig, FIDMarseille, Ji.hlava IDFF, Visions du Réel. DAFilms celebrate its 15th year and have made a... "special program "Best of DAFilms" is created by the DAFilms viewers themselves according to what they watched and searched for the most this year. The year’s most highly rated films will be complemented by significant new releases handpicked from the catalogue by DAFilms curators as well as personalised recommendations for exceptional titles that you don’t want to miss. Among twenty select films include No Home Movie by Chantal Akerman and Walden by Jonas Mekas. The works of both these filmmaking celebrities were presented as part of two rare retrospective programs in 2020."

"2020 has been an exceptional year for the film industry in every way imaginable, from new productions and festivals to online distribution. Although this stress test brought upon the cultural sector by the pandemic continues, we still had the chance to see a lot of prominent titles and present retrospective programs in homage to several filmmakers. Among the most successful of them were screenings of films by Brazilian filmmaker Petra Costa and Canadian director Peter Mettler. And thanks to online distribution, several short films such as All Inclusive and Shooting Crows have managed to pique audience interest,” says the program’s curator, Veronika Likov, weighing in on this year’s activity.

And here is the list, go to the website and then to the titles to watch, it's pretty much cheap. Here is the list, I have highlighted those I would recommend you to watch. Make your own film festival:



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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Web

Sundance Film Festival 2021

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

Sundance Film Festival 2021

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

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


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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Maite Alberdi & Viktor Kossakovsky

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

Maite Alberdi & Viktor Kossakovsky

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Award Ceremony

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

IDFA Award Ceremony

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.idfa.nl


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Awards for Feature-Length Docs

Written 26-11-2020 20:15:44 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Awards for Feature-Length Docs

 

 



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IDFA Awards Today!

Written 26-11-2020 13:41:16 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Awards Today!

Yes, IDFA awards today. Many, really many and bravo for also giving awards to editing, directing, cinematography... Here is the list of awards to be given in two of the main catagories:

In the Competition for Feature-Length Film, four awards will be presented: IDFA Award for Best Cinematography, the IDFA Award for Best Editing, the IDFA Award for Best Directing and IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary. In the Competition for First Appearance, two awards will be presented: the IDFA Award for Best First Appearance and the FIPRESCI Award in First Appearance.

Luckily there are still many days for me to watch films... I had hoped to be able to "have done" the 10 in the Feature-Length category. I have watched these 5:

Renzo Martens "White Cube", Claire Simon's "The Grocer's Son...", "Inside the Red Brick Wall" by the Hong Kong Documentary Filmmakers, "Nothing but the Sun" by Arami Ullón, "Radiograph of a Family" by Firouzeh Khosrovani... All films of good/high quality, some for the content, some for the treatment, for the aesthetic solution. So far I have not said to myself "why is this film selected?".  

For the First Apperance I have - so far - seen "This Rain will Never Stop" by Ukrainian Alina Gorlova. She just received an award at the Festival dei Popoli in Florence, the film is amazing in content and form, I must be a favourite!

In the archive section I have seen: "The Foundation Pit" by Andrey Gryazev, "Irradiated" by master Rithy Panh, "Paris Caligrammes" by Ulrike Ottinger, "Radiograph of a Family" by Firouzeh Khosrovani... Of course Rithy Panh's horror story is unique in creative treatment of archive but it is so hard to watch, unbearable. Readers of this blog will know how much I loved Ottinger's film as well as "Radiograph of a Family".

In mid-length I saw only "Anny" and Helena Trestikova is one of the best documentarians of our time.

www.idfa.nl


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Ulrike Ottinger: Paris Calligrammes

Written 23-11-2020 12:01:10 by Tue Steen Mller

Ulrike Ottinger: Paris Calligrammes

Loved that match. Watching the film, more than two hours from Paris. Images of today, images from the city in the sixties, accompanied by Ottinger’s voice unfolding her personal memoirs. AND then one hour talk – with a couple of clips – with the director (born 1942) and film critic Pamela Cohn analysing and asking questions. „It’s the most difficult film, I’ve ever done“, Ottinger said, „here I had to be direct personal, contrary to my many other films“. For the film Ottinger made a huge research in archives, public and private, she mentioned, she had seen 400 films (!) and spent two years in the editing room with Anette Fleming – „my wonderful editor“.

Ulrike Ottinger had a great time (1962-69) in Paris, were she met painters, 

 



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Gianfranco Rosi at IDFA

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

Gianfranco Rosi at IDFA

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

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

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

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

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

Photo from his last masterpiece “Notturno”

www.idfa.nl


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Arami Ulln: Nothing But The Sun

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

Arami Ulln: Nothing But The Sun

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

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

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

Paraguay/Switzerland, 2020, 75 mins.    


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Valentina Pedicini 1978-2020

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

Valentina Pedicini 1978-2020

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

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

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

Valentina, RIP.


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IDFA Pitched Rough Cuts

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

IDFA Pitched Rough Cuts

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



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IDFA Opens at Tuschinsky...

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

IDFA Opens at Tuschinsky...

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

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

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


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Andrei Ujica: Things We Said Today

Written 18-11-2020 17:30:22 by Tue Steen Mller

Andrei Ujica: Things We Said Today

... "then I will remember things we said today". Beatles. "The influence they had on our generation", as said Ujica, who is from 1951, I am four years older, and also I grew up with Beatles. And enjoy very much to remember those days in the beginning of the 60'es, where I met with my friend listening to and talking about John, Paul, Ringo and George. It's a brilliant film project that Ujica has, "A time capsule of New York between August 13-15, 1965, framed by The Beatles' arrival in the city and their first concert at Shea Stadium, narrated from the perspectives of two teenagers." I have never met Ujica personally, but I have met his editor and sound editor Dana Bunescu at a workshop in Gori Georgia. Already there she mentioned that she was working with Ujica on this film AND they had worked together before, a quote from the blogpost I wrote:

"Did you see it : ”The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceaucescu” (director : Andrei Ujica, editor and sound designer Dana Bunescu) from 2010, 3 hours long, a true masterpiece. You have to ! Archive the whole way through, no commentary, no explanations of where we are and when and why. Chronological.

Dana Bunescu, who is here as an editing tutor, a scoop to have her, open-minded and direct in her approach to the young filmmakers. Bunescu was working on the film for three years and what a material she had and put into a film, that is never boring but takes you in, because of its sense of rythm and use of sound, of music – Bunescu is a master in sound and it’s been an eye-opener to see her here in Gori talking about sound but also putting a recorder on the table to catch sounds that she might be able to use on another film occasion!"

At the pitch at IDFA, Ujica and his producer showed material, please show more, this is a film that will have an enormous success, I am sure, and not "only" for "our" generation. Ujica and Bunescu, archive masters!

... and to complete this hommage to the two, let me remind you that Ujica made two other films before "Ceaucescu" in his Romanian trilogy, "Videograms of a Revolution" (1992), "Out of the Present" (1995), and that Bunescu is the editor of several of the feature films of the "Romanian Wave" and also took part in the editing of the new excellent documentary "Collective" by Alexander Nanau. 


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Documentary Poetry/ DunaDock

Written 15-11-2020 15:02:00 by Tue Steen Mller

Documentary Poetry/ DunaDock

The other day I was in Budapest for the DunaDock workshop... well online of course, me sitting in Copenhagen. I was invited by the engaged Hungarian documentarians Diana Groo, Julianna Ugrin and Klára Trencsényi and their helpers. To do tutoring at the workshop and a talk, as part of the (also online, cinemas are closed in Hungary) Verzio International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival. Klára Trencsényi was my host at the talk; I have known her for many years and have praised her films on this site – ”Corvin Variations” www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/2162/, ”Birds Way” http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/1056/, ”Train to Adulthood” http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3395/. Right now Klára Trencsényi is in the editing of ”Wardens of Memory”, shot in India and about the Cochini Jews – and much more. The film project was pitched at DocsBarcelona this year, online, by the director and Julianna Ugrin, who has a long filmography, including ”A Woman Captured” by Bernadett Tuza-Ritter.

Anyway, for the talk I chose the title ”Documentary Poetry” and the participants in the festival and in the DunaDock workshop (more about that below) got the chance to watch in beforehand ”Bridges of Time” by Kristine Briede and Audrius Stonys, produced by Lithuanian Arunas Matelis, Latvian Uldis Cekulis and Estonian Riho Västrik. There are several texts on this site about this remarkable film on poetic documentary cinema.

I had 90 minutes, where I showed clips with words in between making again a lot of reference to the Balticum Film & TV Festival that was held in the 1990’es on the island of Bornholm in the middle of the Baltic Sea. It was here during a decade that my interest in and love for the Baltic documentary filmmaking and filmmakers were born. And for Russian and Polish…

I showed a clip from ”Paradise” – the boy eating his morning porridge and falling asleep – the graduation film by Sergey Dvortsevoy, whose four documentaries I consider to be outstanding and whose second feature film ”Ayka” is equally excellent. And then I went to Audrius Stonys – clips from ”Antigravitation” and ”Uku Ukai” – before the two clips from ”Bridges of Time” with Uldis Brauns, the man behind the masterpiece ”235.000.000” from 1967, of which a director’s cut is now being restored and digitized. If you want to watch the class, there is a link below, English spoken and clips with English subtitles.

About the DunaDock workshop that was run via Zoom: five projects, three tutors (Hanka Kastelicova, HBO Europe, Noemi Schory Israeli producer, and me), and a pitch session that included Christian Popp from FIPADOC and Brigid O’Shea from DAE, Documentary Association of Europe, who awarded two of the five projects. Go to the FB of the DunaDock and read much more, link below as well. 

DunaDock is for sure one of many workshops/training sessions, where talent is found and advised on how to enter the documentary community. In this session there were – behind the five projects – participants from Moldova, Kosovo, Pakistan, Germany and Hungary. Again go to the FB page to see who were the winners.  

https://www.facebook.com/dunadock

https://www.verzio.org/hu/node/3302


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Firouzeh Khosrovani: Radiograph of a Family

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

Firouzeh Khosrovani: Radiograph of a Family

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

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

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

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

Norway, Iran, 2020, 82 mins. 


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IDFF Artdocfest / Riga postponed to spring 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vitaly Manski

The President of Artdocfest


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Vadym Jendreyko: The Woman with the 5 Elephants

Written 06-11-2020 18:34:36 by Tue Steen Mller

It’s from start till end beautiful. It is seldom that form and content go so well together. Because the director succeeds to catch the charisma of Swetlana Geier, the translator of Dostoyevsky (and many other big Russian authors) from Russian into German. Her life story, born in Ukraine 1923, living in Freiburg in Germany from the mid 40’es until her death in 2010. Her travel to Ukraine with her granddaughter. And first of all her approach to translation and the works of Dostoyevsky. To language, read this quote from the film:

"My teacher always said: ‘Nose up in the air when you translate.’ That is to say, one doesn’t translate from left to right, following the text, but only after one has made the sentence one’s own. It first has to be internalised, taken to heart. I read a book so often that my eyes ’gouge holes’ in pages. I basically know it by heart. Then the day comes when I suddenly hear the melody of the text."

The scenes on the first floor of the house, she lives in, are magnificent. She sits with Hannelore Hagen on each side of the table at a window that opens to a view of a tree outside. Hannelore Hagen types what Swetlana Geier dictates. And later comes in – to sit in the chair of Geier - Jürgen Klodt, who knows about language, the musicality of German language. He comes up with suggestions for change to the old lady on the other side of the table, who uses her pencil to make marks in the manuscript that Hannelore Hagen has typed. It’s wonderful. Old-fashioned. Conversations. "You could also use conjunctive!". It has a calmness of poetic dimensions. The director pays respect to the profession – and her life. We get to know the tragic death of her son, and she speaks so touching about how she was there at his coffin. Her face, her eyes, her way of conveying fascination, you can imagine how good a teacher she must have been. Strength. Wisdom.

No more from me, the film is a must, and it is easy to get hold of it. Click the website (with excellent articles) below to see how to get hold of it.

https://5elefanten.ch/en/

Germany/Switzerland, 2009, 92 mins.


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Message2Man

Written 02-11-2020 19:29:24 by Tue Steen Mller

Message2Man

You might ask why there is a photo of Fellini on top of this post about the St. Petersburg festival that starts tomorrow. The answer is simple, the festival wants to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of Federico Fellini. To send that message to its audience, simply, even if the main focus is on documentaries, as usual. Good choice!

The festival is super-active on facebook posting photos and texts on the films that are in the competition and out of competition. The best you can do is to check the fine website - https://message2man.com/en/.

Nevertheless the festival – like so many of us – is depending on the google 

 



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DOK Leipzig 2020 Awards

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

DOK Leipzig 2020 Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Ada Ushpiz: Children

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

Ada Ushpiz: Children

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



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Artdocfest/ Riga Announces Competition Films

Written 30-10-2020 11:06:22 by Tue Steen Mller

Artdocfest/ Riga Announces Competition Films

Zane Balčus, film critic and journalist, colleague and manager of Baltic Sea Docs, writes for the FNE, Film New Europe, that I can only recommend warmly you to subscribe to if you want daily film news from Eastern and Central Europe. With her permission I copy paste the article:



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Lina Soualem: Their Algeria

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

Lina Soualem: Their Algeria

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

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

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

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

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

France, 2020, 70 mins.

https://www.dok-leipzig.de


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IDFA Final Competition Selections

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

IDFA Final Competition Selections

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



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Jindřich Andr: A New Shift

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

Jindřich Andr: A New Shift

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

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

Czech Republic, 2020, 91 mins.


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IDFA Academy Announces Program

Written 26-10-2020 20:22:29 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Academy Announces Program

I have copy-pasted a FB post coming from the Head of the IDFA Academy Meike Statema.The IDFA Academy program is as always very inviting – the 60 selected young filmmakers, even if all is online, will get food for thought as you can see from this clip:

…Highlights of the program reflect this approach. In addition to the Opening Session by the always-exciting French director Claire Simon and Gianfranco Rosi's highly anticipated masterclass, discussions and lectures will focus on issues such as filmmaking in a limited space with the UK director Marc Isaacs, or on numerous initiatives created by cinema collectives and digital platforms in order to support arthouse theaters during the pandemic. 

Other events will deal with more traditional topics. For instance, Mila Turajlić and Carine Chichkowsky, director and producer of the 2017 IDFA winner The Other Side of Everything,(PHOTO) who are taking part in IDFA Forum with their new project, will lead a session on how to get financing partners on board for a project while still maintaining artistic independence. Aswang producer Armi Rae Cacanindin will speak about international co-productions, and directors Maite Alberdi and Firouzeh Khosrovani will provide insight into writing and researching for project proposals. Finally, sales agents Anaïs Clanet of Reservoir Docs and Liselot Verbrugge of Deckert Distribution will tutor the participants on topics related to sales and distribution…

www.idfa.nl


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Qutaiba Barhamji: La Terre de Gevar

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

Qutaiba Barhamji: La Terre de Gevar

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

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

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

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

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

France, 78 mins., 2020


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IDFA Heddy Honigmann and Marln Viayo

Written 21-10-2020 12:36:24 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA  Heddy Honigmann and Marln Viayo

In August 2007 Allan Berg and I started filmkommentaren. The first post/review of a film published was „Forever“ by Heddy Honigmann, a lovely film where the director takes the viewer to the cemetery Père Lachaise in Paris. An essayistic film about Life and Death made by the Dutch master, whose films I have followed with pleasure during decades – do you remember ”Metal and Melancholy”, ”Oblivion”, ”O Amor Natural” and the recent ones ”Buddy” and ”Around the World in 50 Concerts”? And many more.

So it is wonderful to see that the director has a world premiere coming up at the IDFA (16 November – 6 December), placed together with 7 other in the Dutch Competition category.

The title is ”100UP” and the life affirming website description goes like this:

”A doctor from Lima still works in the hospital, in New York a sexologist still sees clients, while elsewhere in the city a student attends lectures at the university. On the other side of the world, a spry Norwegian helps with lambing and a distinguished Dutchman is working fanatically on an online platform for human rights. What do they have in common? They’ve all passed their 100th birthday.

In this documentary, seven colorful centenarians give us a glimpse into their lives today and their rich pasts. All are still very active, even though the clock is ticking, bodies sometimes fail to cooperate, the loss of loved ones is painful, and some worry about the world’s future.

Heddy Honigmann visits these very old citizens of the world and asks them about life. What do they expect of it? Each tells their story in their own way, sometimes with humor, occasionally with a touch of melancholy, but always with the wisdom reserved only for the very eldest of us.”

A very promising annotation and I am going to watch it, unfortunately not in Amsterdam as the Dutch government does not allow Copenhageners to enter due to the pandemic, but online as most of my film watching is now.

Yesterday IDFA also announced other competitive sections – student films, kids and docs and short documentaries. In this category I find with pleasure a new film by Marlén Viñayo entitled ”Unforgivable”. The director is from El Salvador and charmed us with ”Chacada” at many festivals, including DocsBarcelona, where it won an award, ”a touching story – full of humour – about five women, single mothers, poor, who have quite some stories to get rid of in the theatre play, they are performing together.” Was what was written on this site.

”Unforgivable” (36 mins.)… here is a clip from the website: ”Geovanny is incarcerated at the San Francisco Gotera prison in western El Salvador, which is exclusively dedicated to detaining gang criminals. In 2017, almost all inmates converted to evangelical Christianity. Like them, Geovanny has withdrawn from his gang. But while the church has no difficulty accepting his violent past, the fact that he loves another man is regarded a sin for which he can’t be forgiven.”

A veteran and a newcomer at IDFA. That’s how it is with this festival. As the artistic director Orwa Nyrabia wrote on FB: So much to see, so much to hear, so much to talk about, so much to just stay silent after. This year in documentary film is tremendous… Indeed, I will come back with more information about the IDFA program later.

www.idfa.nl


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Sergei Loznitsa:The Natural History of Destruction

Written 20-10-2020 15:17:09 by Tue Steen Mller

Sergei Loznitsa:The Natural History of Destruction

I take the liberty to copy-paste from the excellent Filmneweurope – a news note by Aukse Kancereviciute. It goes like this:

VILNIUS: Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa is starting production on his archive documentary project The Natural History of Destruction / Natūrali naikinimo istorija. The film is produced by Germany‘s LOOKS Filmproduktionen GmbH in coproduction with Lithuania‘s Studio Uljana Kim and Atoms & Void (the Netherlands).

The Natural History of Destruction is inspired by German writer W.G. Sebald’s 1999 book of the same title. Sebald describes the phenomenon of mass destruction of the German civilian population and German cities by massive Allied air raids during World War II. In particular, he examines the perception and processing of this phenomenon in European post-war literature.

Loznitsa often deals with 20th century European history and the memory of the greatest tragedies of that time. His 2012 film In the Fog won the FIPRESCI prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and he won Best Director in Cannes Un Certain Regard for Donbass (2018). In 2013 Sergei Loznitsa launched the film production and distribution company ATOMS & VOID. 

The film was awarded a grant in the Eurimages October 2020 round. It is supported by the Lithuanian Film Centrewith 77,000 EUR; the Netherlands Film Fund with 50,000 EUR; and German entities RBB / MDR with 90,000 EUR, MDM with 100,000 EUR grant, Medienboard with 70,000 EUR, and BKM with 80,500 EUR.

The production is planned to be finished in September 2021 with no premiere date announced yet.

Photo from his previous ”Donbass” 

https://www.filmneweurope.com


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