Filmkommentaren

How Big is the Galaxy?

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

How Big is the Galaxy?

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

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

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

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

www.midff.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Krakow Film Festival

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

Krakow Film Festival

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



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DocsBarcelona Festival

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

DocsBarcelona  Festival

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

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



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CinDOC-Tbilisi Intl. Doc. Film Festival

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

CinDOC-Tbilisi Intl. Doc. Film Festival

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



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Beldocs Belgrade

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

Beldocs Belgrade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Documentaries at Moscow Film Festival

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

Documentaries at Moscow Film Festival

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

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



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Stefano Savona: Samouni Road

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

Stefano Savona: Samouni Road

Zane Balčus has written this review:

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

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

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



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Vurdering:

 
Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Nikolaus Geyerhalters Earth Closes M7

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

Nikolaus Geyerhalters Earth Closes M7

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Atos i Amin

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

Atos i Amin

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Strong Female Presence at Magnificent7

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

Strong Female Presence at Magnificent7

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Serbian Documentary

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

Serbian Documentary

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

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

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

and

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

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

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

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

issuu.com / serbian docs 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Uldis Cekulis: The Story of a Film

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

Uldis Cekulis: The Story of a Film

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Masterclass in Belgrade

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

Masterclass in Belgrade

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

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



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Grand Opening of Magnificent7 Festival

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

Grand Opening of Magnificent7 Festival

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOKer International Documentary Festival

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

DOKer International Documentary Festival

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

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOKer Short Film Winners

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

DOKer Short Film Winners

Motivation for the Winning Film

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

SANATORIUM by Masha Osipova

Motivation for a Special Mention

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

FAMILY IN EXILE by Fatima Matousse

Motivation for a Special Mention

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

THE DAM by Natalia Koniarz

Motivation for a Special Mention

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

The mention goes to TUNGRUS by Rishi Chandna

https://www.midff.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sergey Dvortsevoy in Moscow

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

Sergey Dvortsevoy in Moscow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Stefan Bohun: Bruder Jakob, schlfst du noch

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

Stefan Bohun: Bruder Jakob, schlfst du noch

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

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

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

https://www.midff.ru/


Vurdering:

 
Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Italian Director Meets Russian Police

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

Italian Director Meets Russian Police

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reality wrote its script!


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOKer Shorts and Diagnosis

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

DOKer Shorts and Diagnosis

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

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

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

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

https://www.midff.com/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Films at CAFX

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

Films at CAFX

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

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

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

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

http://cafx.dk


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOKer Opening Day

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

DOKer Opening Day

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

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



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DOKer - and Uncle Sasha or One Flew over Russia

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

DOKer - and Uncle Sasha or One Flew over Russia

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

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

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

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

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

And to Moscow.

2018, 58 mins. Russia


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX 2019 Awards

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

CPH:DOX 2019 Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://cphdox.dk/en/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocuDays UA 2019 Awards

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

DocuDays UA 2019 Awards

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

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

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



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Magnificent7 Belgrade

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

Magnificent7 Belgrade

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buddy, The Netherlands, 2018 – Heddy Honigmann

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

The Earth, Austria, 2019 – Nikolaus Geyerhalter

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

  Atanas Georgiev, producer and editor of the film HONEYLAND

  Samir Ljuma, cinematographer of the film HONEYLAND

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

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

  Uldis Cekulis, producer of the film BRIDGES OF TIME

  Anne Köhncke, producer of the film WHAT WALAA WANTS

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

  Monique Lesterhuis, researcher of the film BUDDY

  Reetta Huhtanen, director of the film GODS OF MOLENBEEK

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocuDays New Ukrainian Documentaries

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

DocuDays New Ukrainian Documentaries

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

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



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DocuDays 2019 Opening

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

DocuDays 2019 Opening

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

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

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

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

www.docudays.ua


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Les Films du Balibari is a Winner

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

Les Films du Balibari is a Winner

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

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

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

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



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Lina Alabed: Ibrahim

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

Lina Alabed: Ibrahim

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

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

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

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

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

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

Libanon, 2019, 75 mins.

Premiere i Dagmar, 23.3, klokken 19.15

www.cphdox.dk


Vurdering:

 
Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Alina Rudnitskaya: School of Seduction

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

Alina Rudnitskaya: School of Seduction

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

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

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



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Vurdering:

 
Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Marie Skovgaard: The Reformist

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

Marie Skovgaard: The Reformist

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

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



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Vurdering:

 
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One World Festival Awards Announced

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

One World Festival Awards Announced

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

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

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



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East Doc Platform Project Awards

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

East Doc Platform Project Awards

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

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



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East Doc Platform Neumann & Turajlic

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

East Doc Platform Neumann & Turajlic

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

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

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

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

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

Mila Turajlic

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

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

Stan Neumann

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

East Doc Platform Karel Vachek

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

East Doc Platform Karel Vachek

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

East Doc Platform Lecture on Editing

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

East Doc Platform Lecture on Editing

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

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

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



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CPH:DOX Films Already Reviewed

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

CPH:DOX Films Already Reviewed

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

An Evening with Ai WeiWei

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

Victor Kossakovsky: Aquarela

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

Emir Kusturica: El Pepe

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

Eszter Hajdú: Hungary 2018

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

Aboozar Amini: City in the Wind

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

Bettina Perut & Iván Osnovikoff : Los Reyes

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

Herzog & Singer: Meeting Gorbachev

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

Vitaly Mansky: Putin’s Witnesses

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

Kim Longinotto: Shooting the Mafia

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

Nicolas Geyerhalter: The Border Fence

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

Anna Eborn: Transnistra

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX 2019

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

CPH:DOX 2019

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

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

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

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

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

https://cphdox.dk/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Anna Eborn: Transnistra

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

Anna Eborn: Transnistra

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, 93 mins., 2019


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ZagrebDox 2019 Ivars Seleckis and Me

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

ZagrebDox 2019 Ivars Seleckis and Me

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

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

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



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ZagrebDox Winners 2019

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

ZagrebDox Winners 2019

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

Nebojša Slijepčević Tue Steen Müller elimir ilnik, Jury International Competition

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

SPECIAL MENTION - INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION



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ZagrebDox Seleckis, Loznitsa, Nyrabia

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

ZagrebDox  Seleckis, Loznitsa, Nyrabia

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

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

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

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


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ZagrebDoxPro Awards

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

ZagrebDoxPro  Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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


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ZagrebDox elimir ilnik

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

ZagrebDox  elimir ilnik

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Docudays UA The Festival Concept

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

Docudays UA  The Festival Concept

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

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

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



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Eastern Logic - Documentaries

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

Eastern Logic - Documentaries

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

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


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Docudays UA Ukrainian Doc Preview

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

Docudays UA  Ukrainian Doc Preview

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

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

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



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ZagrebDox 15th Edition

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

ZagrebDox 15th Edition

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

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

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



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Who Wins the Oscar for Documentaries?

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

Who Wins the Oscar for Documentaries?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Betsy West & Julie Cohen: RBG

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

Betsy West & Julie Cohen: RBG

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

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

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



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Kim Longinotto: Shooting the Mafia

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

Kim Longinotto: Shooting the Mafia

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



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Scott Barley : Sleep Has Her House/ 2

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

Scott Barley : Sleep Has Her House/ 2

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

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

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

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


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ZagrebDox 2019

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

ZagrebDox 2019

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

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

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

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

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


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Torquil Jones & Gabriel Clarke: Bobby Robson

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

Torquil Jones & Gabriel Clarke: Bobby Robson

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

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

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

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

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

England, 2018, 100 mins. Available on Netflix.   


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DocPoint 2019 Summing Up

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

DocPoint 2019 Summing Up

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

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

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

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

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


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Honeyland Wins 3 Awards at Sundance

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

Honeyland Wins 3 Awards at Sundance

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

World Cinema Documentary Competition

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Reetta Huhtanen: Gods of Molenbeek

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

Reetta Huhtanen: Gods of Molenbeek

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

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



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Talal Derki: Of Fathers and Sons

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

Talal Derki: Of Fathers and Sons

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

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

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

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



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Doc People at DocPoint

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

Doc People at DocPoint

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: Helena Trestikova.

https://docpointfestival.fi/en/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocPoint 2019

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

DocPoint 2019

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

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

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

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

https://docpointfestival.fi/en/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

T. Kotevska & Ljubomir Stefanov: Honeyland

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

T. Kotevska & Ljubomir Stefanov: Honeyland

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

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

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

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

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

Macedonia, 2019, 85 mins.


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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Elizabeth C. Vasarhelyi & Jimmy Chin: Free Solo

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

Elizabeth C. Vasarhelyi & Jimmy Chin: Free Solo

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

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

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



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Simon Lereng Wilmont: The Distant Barking of Dogs

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

Simon Lereng Wilmont: The Distant Barking of Dogs

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

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

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

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

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



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Duan Makavejev 13.10.1932 25.01.2019

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

Duan Makavejev 13.10.1932  25.01.2019

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

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

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

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

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

Dušan Makavejev will be greatly missed.

Andrijana Stojkovic


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Jonas Mekas 1922-2019

Written 24-01-2019 08:38:23 by Tue Steen Mller

Jonas Mekas 1922-2019

Audrius Stonys: Jonas left us. With the same lightness as he used to live. Silently and gently as if he didn’t want to disturb the image of life. We first met in 1990, when he invited us, 10 young filmmakers from Lithuania to his Film Anthology Archive in New York.

The first day he told us a fairy tale about a clear and beautiful image of Paradise. One day this image was destroyed by the devil. It broke in to zillion peaces that scattered all around the world. The filmmakers, he said, are the ones who are looking for those tiny pieces of Paradise trying to put the image back together. The Paradise is not lost, he said. And we believed him. And since then we are collecting those pieces of Paradise.

I always wondered how images of his films could be filled with incredible joy and at the same time deepest existential sadness, indescribable lightness and philosophical depth.

When I asked him that question, he said: I lost too much in my life. And added: Don’t take everything too seriously. He lost his homeland, his landscapes, faces of his loved ones, sound of Lithuanian songs, images of the first snow, that falls on his village. He didn’t want to lose nothing more in his life, not a single second, so he started to film every second of his life.

He never was making films. He was standing in the Desert counting the Seconds of his Life. When Jonas Mekas friend George Maciunas, founder and soul of Fluxus, was dying from cancer in 1978, he said: I am not afraid to die. When I die, I will have a possibility to listen to all seven lost operas of Monteverdi. I am sure, that now, when the count of seconds of life is over, Jonas is standing in front of the complete image of Paradise.


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Film Masterpiece found under Daughters Bed!

Written 22-01-2019 20:36:02 by Tue Steen Mller

Film Masterpiece found under Daughters Bed!

This afternoon an important mail reached me – attached with the photo you see above. It came from Latvian producer Uldis Cekulis and film director Kristine Briede, who took the photo. It went like this :

« Dear Tue and Audrius (Stonys), Great news from Riga!

The missing director’s cut of « 235.000.000 » is found in very good condition under the bed at one of Uldis Brauns daughters flat!

Kristine took this legendary picture of Uldis Brauns widow Dainuvite, Latvian Film archive director Dace in the middle and archive techno man. (Unnamed, sorry, as the dog is, ed.).

We have been searching it for years, even last year in Riga at Uldis flat, but last week finally the mystery was resolved.

Will let you know about restoration and digitalisation - it will be done soon, as everyone is bloody enthusiastic, it will be done, we all will get that file! »

Yes, it had been looked for, the cut of Uldis Brauns film, his cut of the film which was



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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Oscar Nominations Feature Documentaries

Written 22-01-2019 19:13:36 by Tue Steen Mller

Oscar Nominations Feature Documentaries

Happy for Talal Derki and his "Of Fathers and Sons", the only non-American of the five nominations for an Oscar. Hope that the promotion made for short-listed films like "The Distant Barking of Dogs" and "Communion" will make it easier to reach audiences in the USA. 


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Emir Kusturica: El Pepe, Una Vida Suprema

Written 21-01-2019 14:46:03 by Tue Steen Mller

Emir Kusturica: El Pepe, Una Vida Suprema

They are sitting outside the house of the former president of Uruguay José Pepe Mujica. Pepe and Kusturica. The film director lights his cohiba cigar, Pepe is preparing his mate, spitting out the first tasting, too strong it always is. No words are said, they look at each other, they take their time, smiles are on their faces - an excellent start of a film, where the film director expresses his admiration for the modest man, who after being one of the leaders of the Tuparamos guerilla group that robbed Banks, performed kidnapping and later also went into violence, including killings, was caught and kept 13 years in prison. After his release – after the fall of the military dictatorship - he went into politics and became president of the country 2010-2015. A very popular one as demonstrates the film. Kusturica followed the President on his last day on duty with huge crowds celebrating him – and after the change, in his active retirement where he initiates housing projects and gives money from his own salary to help poverty decrease.

The years in prison were good for me, it made me think, he says in the film,



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Nicolas Philibert

Written 18-01-2019 12:55:07 by Tue Steen Mller

Nicolas Philibert

Filmkommentaren has written much about Nicolas Philibert, French master of documentaries. (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/1931/)

I missed his new film at IDFA, but I will catch up asap with a review. In the meantime I have enjoyed reading an interview with the director that came out today in Variety, link below. He talks about documentaries en general, cinema-documentaries and tv-documentaries in connection with his new film, “Each and Every Moment”. The headline of the interview, made by Ben Croll, is „A Director Driven to make a statement can not make Cinema“.

Here is a quote from the interview:

Do you feel like your filmmaking approach has changed over the years?

I’d like to say yes and no. Yes, because each film required a new approach and a method tailored to the world I was exploring. No, because my methods still have a few invariables. I try not to prepare or research much before I start shooting. I need to save my appetite and curiosity for the actual shoot. If I knew too much going in, I wouldn’t want to make the film. Shooting is a process of learning and discovery, of confronting an unknown world. And so I don’t make films from a perch of knowledge, but rather one of ignorance. I don’t try to tell my audience how to think or how to feel, because I don’t know much more than they do. And that’s never changed…

Variety, link


Categories: DVD, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona The War Room

Written 17-01-2019 12:21:11 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona The War Room

Well, it was quite friendly but of course there were – and should be – discussions about which films should be taken for the DocsBarcelona 2019 edition in May. On the photo you see the selection group except for the man, who took the photo, Joan Gonzalez, Director of the festival and CEO and founder of Parallel 40. At the end of the table me, Head of Programming, from left Daniel Jariod, filmmaker and teacher, Martina Rogers, visual artist and involved in DocsBarcelona for many years, as is Pol Roig Turró, filmmaker and the most important person for this meeting having coordinated the process, giving the 3 days a good flow, and Diego Mas Trelles, Head of Industry, producer and director.

The process? All members of the group had watched films in beforehand and made their priorities. During the three days 15 films had to be selected for the Panorama section, 8 for the Latitud and 5 for the What the Doc, that is for more daring and innovative documentaries. All of them in competitive sections. On top of that some films were put for special screenings, often with a debate attached. In the coming weeks the staff of DocsBarcelona will contact those whose films have been taken.

A lot more about DocsBarcelona is to be found on

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Nikolaus Geyrhalter: The Border Fence

Written 15-01-2019 07:57:24 by Tue Steen Mller

Nikolaus Geyrhalter: The Border Fence

This review is written by Georg Zeller, film director & cameraman, Bolzano Italy.

I start my review with a spoiler, the last scene of Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s newest documentary: A group of policemen opens a container full of rolls of wire fence. One of them steps in, everything ok. The officer smiles and says: „This is the famous border fence, we have to inspect it but we hope it will continue to lie here forever.“

In the end, the fence hasn’t been built.  And even policemen appreciate. Maybe because the numbers of people wanting to cross this border on their way to Germany or Sweden were much lower than expected. Maybe because even the politicians planning it, understood that a fence in this very point of Europe would be a strange, if not dangerous sign.

The film examines the atmosphere and reactions when in 2016/17 the idea of building a new fence along



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Messi 400

Written 14-01-2019 09:13:37 by Tue Steen Mller

Messi 400

I was there when Andres Iniesta stopped at FC Barcelona, last year – and I was there when Leo Messi made his goal number 400 for Barca. Yesterday. At Camp Nou. The first one, his first goal, was made at 17 years of age May 1st 2005 – you can see it on Youtube, as I did this morning, and you will also be able to enjoy the one and only Ronaldinho, the mentor of Messi, what a player he was and what a player Messi is.

As always I was there invited by Joan Gonzalez, on the Sunday before four days of selection work for the 2019 DocsBarcelona. A bit into the second half, I said to Joan “is Messi playing tonight”, he had been quite passive walking around on the middle of the pitch… it was as if the now bearded football star heard the ironic comment; moments later in a typical Barca tiqui-taca sequence he scored, and we 65.000 (Joan’s estimate) spectators got up from the chairs exploding in the cry of joy MESSI!

The photo is taken just after the match by Joan Gonzalez with my i-phone.


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Danish Bodil Nominations

Written 11-01-2019 17:25:17 by Tue Steen Mller

Danish Bodil Nominations

The Danish film critics have made their choice and nominated the Best Danish film, the best male and female performance etc. etc. AND nominated five documentaries for that category. On filmkommentaren we have reviewed 4 of them, links attached

Bobbi Jene (Elvira Lind)

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

Fanget i de fries land (Land of the Free) (Camilla Magid)

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4208/

Hjertelandet (Janus Metz & Sine Plambech)

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4348/

Olegs krig – en barndom i krigens skygge (The Distant Barking of Dogs)  (Simon Lereng Wilmont)

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

Skjold & Isabel (Emil Næsby Hansen)

The Bodil is named after two great Danish actresses: Bodil Ipsen and Bodil Kjer.

The Association of Danish film critics have 50 members.

http://www.bodilprisen.dk/


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOCS & TALKS 2019 / PROGRAMME

Written 09-01-2019 09:59:49 by Allan Berg Nielsen

DOCS & TALKS 2019 / PROGRAMME

THE DANISH INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDIES (DIIS) AND CINEMATEKET PRESENT DOCS & TALKS – FILM AND RESEARCH DAYS, JANUARY 31st - FEBRUARY 6th, 2019

Daughters of foreign fighters from Georgia, flood-affected islanders in Kiribati and Australia's hermetically sealed asylum centres. This year, we will once again travel far and wide at the third annual Docs & Talks film and research festival from January 31st to February 6th. The festival is organized by the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) and Cinemateket.

With its combination of both proximity and a larger social perspective, documentary film is an ideal point of departure for research dissemination and debate. Docs & Talks offers a total of eight film events, in which researchers from DIIS and scholars from other leading international research institutes, filmmakers and practitioners discuss and put into perspective the different themes of the films - and we invite the audience to participate in the debate.

This year, three of the films will focus on the fate of children in war: in eastern Ukraine, we experience the war through the eyes of ten-year-old Oleg; in the Idlib province of Syria, al-Nusra fighters raise their sons to join the armed struggle in a society where violence is breeding violence; and in Georgia, two young teenage girls are deeply marked by the absence of their fathers, who have left to fight for the Islamic State.

Two films in the program touch upon the issues of poverty, health, inequality and climate change, and we host a special event where we scrutinize the visual narratives that dominate the development world and the communication of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Where nothing else is mentioned, the debates are in Danish.

Sara Thelle og Mira Bach Hansen / Forum for Film og Formidling

Anne Blaabjerg, Troels Jensen og Sine Plambech / DIIS

Rasmus Brendstrup, programredaktør / Cinemateket

https://www.diis.dk/en/trending-topic/docs-talks-film-and-research-days-2019

 

PROGRAMME

THURS 31/01 16:30

ASYLUM POLITICS / ISLAND OF THE HUNGRY GHOSTS

Gabrielle Brady, 2018 / Eng. subtitles / 94 min. / 145 min. incl. debate

We open the festival with Gabrielle Brady's poetic and visually striking work on the nature of migration with the Australian asylum system as backdrop. The scenic and mysterious Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean is not just home of the red crab, which migrates by thousands from the jungle to the sea every year, and to a local population marked by Asian migrant culture. The island also houses one of three Australian detention centres where asylum seekers are detained and isolated indefinitely. Trauma therapist Poh Lin Lee tries to work with the detainees on their war traumas and the psychological consequences of their hopeless confinement - but her work is gradually becoming more difficult as the asylum seekers suddenly disappear without explanation from the authorities.

EVENT After the film, DIIS Senior Researcher Ninna Nyberg Sørensen and PhD Nikolas Feith Tan, researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights and Aarhus University, discuss asylum policies in Australia and Europe. The debate is in English.

 



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Viviane Candas: A Possible Algeria

Written 07-01-2019 16:09:28 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Viviane Candas: A Possible Algeria

TODAY, NOW...

Viviane Candas: A Possible Algeria 

by Allan Berg Nielsen / Filmkommentaren, le 4.2.2018 / Docs & Talks 2018 / translation into English: Sara Thelle

1.

The film is built upon the voice, the director of the film's own voice. It tells the story. I always like that, it is honest, it is literary, closer to writing. And Viviane Candas’ voice makes me feel safe and makes me listen, even though what it tells me is horrifying. Next, her film builds on the archive material, a rare collection of historical footage edited together with a private archive. I almost always like that too, at least when it is done in a poetic construction like it is here, and not as a pedantic communication of a curriculum. In Candas’ work, this material is the very connection between the history of the world, the history of Algeria, the history of France and the biography of Yves Mathieu. He was Viviane Candas' father, French as she, but deeply connected with Algeria in the country's fateful hour. The narrative of the film is embedded in the two lines of the title, A Possible Algeria: The Revolution of Yves Mathieu, and in the contrast between society/nation/people and the individual lies the existential drama and the reflection on the nature of identity. Finally, the film is built on Candas' uniquely sensitive and honest interviews with a few of the story's key figures, which in the literary spirit of the film are more searching conversations than factual question/answer scenes. The heterogeneity of this material testifies to a long-standing collection of footage for the film, and it is linked by vignettes from the research travels in a reconstruction that has a fixed visual uniformity which works as a refuge for reflection. But curiously, these vignettes do not function as the “now” of the story. The present of the film is the voice of Candas narrating, and the protagonists leading the conversation in the interview scenes, where the director's voice is usually cut out, and yet in a strange way she is still very present. The conclusion of all this results in me really meeting these people, and the encounter with an old Ahmed Ben Bella is an emotional shock. This is the present of the film, here is world history itself present in this fragile body that speaks of itself as a socialist. Today, now ...



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Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Dostojevskijs Idioten i Cinemateket med mere

Written 07-01-2019 00:35:08 by Tue Steen Mller

Dostojevskijs Idioten i Cinemateket med mere

… i et arrangement, som med rette blev kaldt for et maraton, visning af en russisk tv-serie bygget over romanen fra 2003 - 10 afsnit af en længde på 50 minutter. Publikum – vi – sad lørdag i Cinemateket fra 13.30 til lidt over midnat, over ti timer, afbrudt af pauser, én af dem med servering af bortsch, rødbedesuppen som jeg har nydt mange gange hjemme, og i Skt. Petersburg og hos Sonja Vesterholt, som også var at finde i biografen og som selvfølgelig havde set flere filmiske udgaver af den vidunderlige bog, som denne gamle bibliotekar har læst – og nu har lyst til at genlæse.

Det var stor skuespilkunst, som serien frembragte – mere det end stor filmkunst, fokus var på teksten, dialogerne, dramaerne og de mange morsomme situationer, som udspinder sig omkring det gode menneske fyrst Mysjkin, der blev spillet af Yevgeny Vitalevich Mironov. Det gjorde han fabelagtigt, intet mindre.

Er han kendt, spurgte jeg i en pause Rikke Helms, som om nogen kender til russisk kultur efter mange år i Moskva, Riga og Skt. Petersburg, hvor hun var leder af Det danske Kulturinstitut og bl.a. i 2010 generøst lagde lokaler til et dokumentarfilm-seminar for russiske filmfolk, som jeg var ansvarlig for. Meget vigtigt for deltagerne. Tak!

Ja, mon ikke, besvarede Helms mit spørgsmål, serien var hans gennembrud som skuespiller – og jeg kom til at tænke på, hvor lidt vi ved om russiske skuespillere af verdensklasse. Eller jeg ved. Ved et kig på wikipeak har jeg set Mironovs imponerende filmografi og lange række af hædersbevisninger. Selvfølgelig har han også spillet Hamlet. Det gad jeg godt nok se!

Ros til Cinemateket for et sådant arrangement og for det fremragende program for januar og februar. Der er kvalitet over hele linien og et bredt repertoire, mildest talt. Lad mig nævne et par instruktører som der er et retrospektivt fokus på: Andrzej Wajda (inklusiv et par dokumentarfilm der lyder spændende), Jacques Becker (”Smukke Marie” med Simone Signoret!), og Lanzmanns ”Shoah” igen igen – og tak for det, det er vel den vigtigste dokumentarfilm ever made. Og så er der film fra ”Iran 1979”, Kim Larsen in memoriam, selvfølgelig, Tery Gilliam, Murakami, Gøg og Gokke Osv. Osv. Programmet stråler af veloplagthed. Og så står der – med rødt – ”Event” ved hver andet arrangement, hvilket betyder, at der er tilsvarende, dog ikke så lange, arrangementer som ”Idioten”, med mad og drikke eller med introduktioner til filmene. Spørgsmålet er om ikke Cinemateket overdriver det sidste, introduktionerne, hvor jeg i mange sammenhænge har siddet og sagt til mig selv ”kom så i gang”, med filmen!

www.cinemateket.dk


Categories: TV, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

True Stories Market Research Funding

Written 05-01-2019 12:22:18 by Tue Steen Mller

True Stories Market Research Funding

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

The festival now makes a call – deadline January 31 – for proposals from filmmakers, who want to collaborate with the organisations and people mentioned to make the stories presented at the festival into films. A €3000 grant is given for further research followed by project development and presentation at the upcoming Cinelink Industry Days at the festival.

The call is open for “Production company or filmmaker coming from the following countries: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Georgia, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey.

All details are available through the link below. The same goes for the visual presentation/pitch of the projects. Check it out:

https://www.sff.ba/en/news/10995/sarajevo-film-festival-invites-filmmakers-to-apply-for-a-first-true-stories-market-research-funding


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Faces and Places 2018

Written 02-01-2019 20:14:50 by Tue Steen Mller

Faces and Places 2018

Taking the title of Agnès Varda and JR’s wonderful film as headline, I look back at festivals, pitching sessions, film schools… that I had the privilege to attend in 2018. Privilege is the right word to use, when you board a plane (this year I want to go much more by train…), arrive to a place where you are welcomed and spoilt by the warm hospitality that characterises the documentary community with all its organisers, programmers and volunteers.

Plus the generosity you feel as the one that brought me for the first time to the festival in Karlovy Vary, where ”Bridges of Time” by Kristine Briede and Audrius Stonys had its world premiere. Invited by one of the producers, Uldis Cekulis, I was there with old filmmaker friends Estonian Mark Soosaar, Latvian Ivars Seleckis and a new friend Andres Sööt from Estonia. Plus directors of course and producers and people from the Film institutes. Intense days of celebration of Baltic poetic cinema. On the photo, taken by Cekulis, you see Latvian Uldis Brauns, who is one of the masters in the film – the photo is from September 2014. Brauns passed away in January 2017.

For the 14th time I was at the Magnificent7 festival in Belgrade met by the warmth of



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

The Best Documentaries 2018 Intro

Written 31-12-2018 15:28:07 by Tue Steen Mller

The Best Documentaries 2018  Intro

Per tradition – in the post below you find 16 documentaries listed that I found to be Best of 2018. With links attached to what has been written about them. A choice made after many festival visits, links sent to me, vod´s… You will miss films that have been given a lot of attention in 2018 – like those of Talal Derki, Simon Lereng Wilmont (both shortlisted for the Oscars), Mila Turajlic, Marta Prus and Arunas Matelis (these three could have been shortlisted!) and others, that you can find on the ”Best of 2017”, where they premiered: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4121/

I am sure I have forgotten some, sorry if so, and there are many still to be watched. And talents to be mentioned, which I will do in a coming post.

Crisis in documentary making? Not at all, look at the list!

Happy New Year!

Photo from a film that celebrates the documentary as an art form, historically – a film that in itself is a piece of art.


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

The Best Documentaries 2018

Written 31-12-2018 14:58:34 by Tue Steen Mller

The Best Documentaries 2018

Viktor Kossakovsky: Aquarela

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

Kristine Briede & Audrius Stonys. Bridges of Time

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4287/

Vitalyi Mansky: Putin’s Witnesses

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

Ivars Seleckis: To be Continued

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4075/

Nebojša Slijepčević: Srbenka

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4308/

Anja Kofmel: Chris the Swiss

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4313/

Sergey Loznitsa: The Trial

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4393/

Bernadett Tuza-Ritter: A Woman Captured

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4093/

Janus Metz & Sine Plambech: Heartbound

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4348/

Göran Olsson: That Summer

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4335/

Marie Clémence Andriamonta Paes: Fahavalo

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4187/

Didem Pekün : Araf

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4316/

Scott Barley : Sleep has no House

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4276/

Thomas Riedelsheimer: Leaning into the Wind

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4266/

Claudia Tosi: I Had a Dream

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4389/

Andrijana Stojkovic: Wongar

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


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Viktor Kossakovsky Collected Posts on his Works

Written 30-12-2018 13:49:23 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Viktor Kossakovsky  Collected Posts on his Works

The courage to address the world with ambiguity never stooping to easy answers, can also be attributed to the Russian filmmaker, Victor Kossakovsky, who never tires of reminding us that film is an emotionally charged medium, and even when it comes to reality based filmmaking, expressing and arousing emotion should always be at the heart of the work… (Karolina Lidin, from an article 1999)

 

VIKTOR KOSSAKOVSKY - COLLECTED POSTS ON HIS WORKS

by Tue Steen Mûller

 

BELOVY (1993)

Vivan Las Antipodas! … a new tone for a director whose filmography includes films that you want to see again and again, from ”The Belovs” (Belovy) to ”Svyato” and ”Tishe”. (From a post 08-05-2012))

… "The Belovs", this film from the countryside of Russia brilliantly depicts the Russian soul as we have experienced it in works of Dostoyevsky and Thechov. (From a post 02-08-2014)

... Fassaert wanted to show his appreciation of Kossakovsky by showing a long clip from ”Belovs”. He did and it made Kossakovsky burst into tears, kneel in front of the screen, ”I am sorry I shot this”, ”this is a typical Russian person”, he was inconsolable, had to leave the room, came back, left again, came back and stayed. (From a post 20-11-2015)

 

SREDA (1997)

Back to the progression of the Balticum Festival years in Gudhjem, Bornholm and 1997, when one film in particular, "Sreda" (Wednesday) by Viktor Kossakovsky, overshadowed all others. He was the festival’s central figure in a year when not only his film, but many of the other’s are also a return to present-day portrayels and a rediscovery of dayly life with all its problems, but also its poetry. (Tue Steen Müller, from an article 1999)



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

Wonderful Losers on Vimeo

Written 24-12-2018 17:52:36 by Tue Steen Mller

Wonderful Losers on Vimeo

My dear friend, film director and producer, who if anyone is the one, who follows his film to the audience all over the world, winning audiences and awards, Arunas Matelis has posted this, a xmas gift it is:

If you are not lucky and in your country there are no Losers screenings – Cycling Christmas came early for you ☺ 
NOW THE LOSERS ARE AVAILABLE for your private streaming on Vimeo . Almost in the whole world! Main languages subtitles are included. 

PLEASE SHARE THE NEWS. Make friends happy ! ☺ (including your FB friend- director of the film :) 
www.vimeo.com/ondemand/wonderfullosersfilm


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Web

Yugoslavian Architecture 1948-1980

Written 21-12-2018 17:17:36 by Tue Steen Mller

Yugoslavian Architecture 1948-1980

… with the subtitle ”Toward a Concrete Utopia” is an exhibition that runs at Moma (Museum of Modern Art) until January 13. For one who has been visiting Belgrade, Zagreb, Sarajevo, Novi Sad, Pristina, Skopje, Ljubljana… it was a fine chance to get acquainted with the history of the „large-scale urbanization, technology in everyday life, consumerism, monuments and memorialization, and the global reach of Yugoslav architecture. The exhibition includes more than 400 drawings, models, photographs, and film reels from an array of municipal archives, family-held collections, and museums across the region, and features work by important architects including Bogdan Bogdanović, Juraj Neidhardt, Svetlana Kana Radević, Edvard Ravnikar, Vjenceslav Richter, and Milica Šterić…”

The earthquake in Skopje in 1963 and the plans to rebuild the city with star architect Japanese Kenzo Tange. The amazingly beautiful library in Pristina. The hotels along the coast down to Dubrovnik. New Belgrade that I have visited so many times in connection with the festival „Magnificent7” that for 13 years – last time in 2017 – took place in the Sava Centre, opened in 1977 by Tito. Concrete, brutalism.

We had heard about the exhibition from Mila Turajlic – and her contribution is remarkable. Just entering the exhibition you meet her three screen video installation „We Build the Country – The Country Builds Us!”, with almost 4 minutes built around archive material, propaganda films, Tito at the opening of new buildings, optimism, and at the end the enthusiastic shouting „Yugoslavia” that is hearable, wherever you are in the exhibition. Later in the exhibition there is a charming 12 tv screen set-up with clips from feature films from the times of Yugoslavian Cinema – remember to see Turajlic’s impressive „Cinema Komunisto”. Turajlic is a master in dealing with archive. At the Sarajevo FF this year there was a masterclass with the director, read http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4321/

Just before the exit of the exhibition – to my positive surprise – in the section that deals with monuments for victims of the WW2 - there was on the big wall a four minute clip from the documentary masterpiece of Slovak Robert Kirchhoff, „A Hole in the Head“. Three men at a monument, see the photo, talking about the general neglect of the killing of Romas during the war. More about Kirchhoff on http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3888/

https://www.moma.org/calendar/exhibitions/3931?locale=en


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Oscar Shortlist Long Documentaries

Written 18-12-2018 18:05:06 by Tue Steen Mller

Oscar Shortlist Long Documentaries

3 of the European documentaries from the EFA award ceremony (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4396/) are on the Oscar shortlist. The winning film about Bergman and ”A Woman Captured” – a pity – is not there.

But on the list of 15 that will be brought down to 5 nominations by January 22 you will find Talal Derki’s ”Of Fathers and Sons” (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4094/), Simon Lereng Wilmont’s ”The Distant Barking of Dogs” (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4099/), the Spanish ”The Silence of Others” (https://thesilenceofothers.com/) by Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar. To be added and welcomed is that Anna Zamecka’s ”Communion” (winner of EFA documentary award 2017) (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4109/) is also on the list. The rest 11 are films that I have not seen yet.

Let me join IDFA director Orwa Nyrabia in his positive comment on FB today: 2 IDFA World Premieres and 6 IDFA- Selected films among the 15 Oscar documentary feature contenders of the year. Congrats to all!
I would also like to congratulate documentary branch members for one of the best long lists ever.

And then a small PS – I notice that Sergey Dvortsevoy’s ”Ayka” (photo) is listed under foreign language fiction films. I still consider the director’s documentaries ”Happiness” and ”Bread Day” as modern documentary classics. I want to see ”Ayka” but would also love to see Dvortsevoy back in the documentary genre.

https://ew.com/oscars/2018/12/17/oscars-2019-shortlists/


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

And the Winner Was Ingmar Bergman...

Written 16-12-2018 23:02:36 by Tue Steen Mller

And the Winner Was Ingmar Bergman...

... at the European Film Awards yesterday, „Bergman, A Year in a Life“ by Jane Magnusson is the title of the Swedish documentary that took home the prize. Which made many angry... Here is what Krakow Film Festival director Krzysztof Gierat wrote on FB:

“Dear members of the Academy, are you sure that you have watched all the nominated documentary films? How can you reward an academic and historical film about Bergman, when you have very important movies about our reality!”

Others join Gierat in saying that it is obvious that the members of the European Film Academy – how do you become a member this ignorant blogger ask – have not seen all five films and therefore put a vote on a film that carries the name of the world famous director: Bergman.

I am not a member of the Academy and I have not seen the film but from the general positive reviews, I understand that the film is based on interviews with a lot of anecdotes about the master.

Some commentators among the documentarians on FB point at the whole selection and award process as being hopeless, considering that it is not  realistic that the members have/take the time to watch five documentaries as they are also meant to watch a lot of fiction films nominated.

Anyway, les jeux sont faits, in the year that celebrates the 100 year of Ingmar Bergman’s birth, one more film added to the many that already exist about him, was awarded to be the Best European Documentary 2018.

And one more “anyway” – click below and see/listen to the great speech on Europe and European culture and cinema held by Ralph Fiennes at the ceremony in Sevilla.

https://www.europeanfilmawards.eu/en_EN/home


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Cordelia Dvork: Marceline

Written 12-12-2018 16:12:31 by Tue Steen Mller

Cordelia Dvork: Marceline

In the 1980’es I attended Cinéma du Réel in Paris almost every year. It was during the years, where wonderful, charismatic Suzette Glenadel was the director. And where big documentary names like Fred Wiseman and Pedro Costa were  introduced to the French audience. Not to forget that I several times saw the unique couple Joris Ivens and Marceline Loridan-Ivens in the cinema. Icons. He with his beautiful white hair, she with her red hair.

Joris Ivens died in 1989, Marceline this year in September. He was born in 1898, she in 1928.

Their life together forms an important part of the television documentary, „Marceline“ with the subtitle „A Woman. A Century“. There are clips from the Vietnam-films and from the China series, that they made together. Not to forget the „Une Histoire de vent“ (“A Tale of the Wind“), the superb poetic last film of the couple, far from the political.

The film, however, is first and foremost with Marceline at home in Paris, talking to visitors or at the hairdresser or in the famous clip from the Edgar Morin classic from 1961, „Chronique d’un ète“. Marceline Loridan-Ivens survived the Auschwitz-Birkenau that she was deported to as did Simone Veil, who died in 2017. A friend during her whole life. And there is a sequence with Marceline signing books for the many admirers, she had. She talks about the books, one written to her father, “But you did Not Come Back”, another, also with the holocaust as a theme, “L’Amour Après”.

France, 218, 58 mins.

You can find quotes from the film as well as other clips with Marceline Loridan-Ivens on facebook.


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Fred Wiseman: Ex Libris the NY Public Library

Written 05-12-2018 16:47:55 by Tue Steen Mller

Fred Wiseman: Ex Libris  the NY Public Library

Oh, I enjoyed this fresh and inspirational film by the master - is Wiseman really 88 years old - when I watched it, thinking back more than 40 years when I was educated librarian and functioned for some years as one. The same flashback I had when I watched late Michael Glawogger’s small wonderful film-visit to the National Library in Saint Petersburg.

Wiseman’s film is now to be shown as “documentary of the month” in the Danish Cinemateket, starting tomorrow December 6. I never got to make a review of the film but I agree perfectly with the NYTimes review by Manohia Dargis, here is a quote, link for full text below:

“In his magnificent new documentary “Ex Libris: The New York Public Library,” Frederick Wiseman takes his camera into those (same) halls (see photo) as well as into more humble city branches. He sweeps into atriums and down corridors, pauses in reading and meeting rooms, and lays bare this complex, glorious organism that is the democratic ideal incarnate.”

USA, 2017, 197 mins.

dfi.dk/cinemateket/ex-libris

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/12/movies/ex-libris-new-york-public-library-review.html


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

See Ukraine through Cinema and Art

Written 04-12-2018 19:45:12 by Tue Steen Mller

See Ukraine  through Cinema and Art

Through documentary films, exhibitions and discussions Ukrainians from the art world travel Europe to present their country and its search for an identity. It’s “a cultural diplomacy project of HRDFF Docudays UA organized with support from the Open Society Initiative for a Europe (OSIFE)”.

The title “SEE Ukraine: An Empty Pedestal” needs an explanation and is given like this on the website (link below) from where I take my quotes: “Is it necessarily to put new heroes on old pedestals and follow the footsteps of the old ideologies? During the discussion the participants of the project "See Ukraine: An Empty Pedestal" will present a variety of approaches to the search for modern Ukrainian identity…”

And this is what project director Alla Tyutyunnyk says:



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Wang Bing on Doc Alliance

Written 03-12-2018 11:07:11 by Tue Steen Mller

Wang Bing on Doc Alliance

... with the title "The Landscape of Chinese Everydayness" - An offer you can’t refuse! DocAlliance keeps on the high quality in its program policy on dafilms.com. This time with 6 of Wang Bing’s documentaries from China. They are long all of them – I am thinking of getting up earlier than normal or go to bed later. It’s a gift to documentary film lovers. Here is what is in the press release from Prague:

Director Wang Bing is a contemporary film star; his films were screened at most world festivals such as Cannes FF, Berlinale, Venice FF, Toronto IFF, FIDMarseille and Doclisboa. Towards the end of 2018, we present a selection of his films online and invite you to meet the master of Chinese cinema whose films capture everyday life in Asia in diverse environments – in a refugee camp, a remote place in the mountains or a factory.

Do not miss Wang Bing‘s six most renowned documentaries which left a mark on modern film history! Our collection includes Ta’ang following immigrants from Myanmar who are forced to emigrate due to ethnic unrest and cross the borders to China with the hope that one day they will be able to come back to their homeland. The film was premiered at Berlinale. The collection further includes the unique 9-hour opus West of the Tracks about the decline of the industrial Tiexi district in China which is critically acclaimed as one of the best and most significant films of today!

Photo: Tobi Sauer.

https://dafilms.com/program/675-wang-bing-retrospective


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Web

BlekendaalThe Man Who Looked Beyond the Horizon

Written 02-12-2018 10:40:28 by Tue Steen Mller

BlekendaalThe Man Who Looked Beyond the Horizon

In a way it’s an old fashioned film. In storytelling. And I mean that as a compliment. The director plays with the film medium, jumps around in time, gives references to slapstick movies, Buster Keaton and others, in the search for giving evidence on behalf of the protagonist, the Dutch adventurer, who wanted to cross the Atlantic, which he did or did not, he never came back. Giving evidence that there is no gravity. There is a lot of mystery about his disappearance – did he disappear, did he actually exist, is the whole film a fake, is it the director’s own search for something, for some meaning, could be, I don’t know, what I know is that the film is fascinating and playful using the wonderful tools of filmmaking that is far too often forgotten in nowadays documentary making. Old fashioned – a lot reminds me of films from 1968 where all was allowed and tried out. A documentary, well the sequences with an old lady, the girl friend way back when he left, points in that direction as well as photos of a young man with curly hair.

The film won the IDFA Special Jury Award for Best Children’s Film. The jury said: “A film that choose a non obvious subject for children, one that tickles their imagination, raising philosophical questions, and approaches children as little adults. Through intelligent editing, this film challenges the usual way of storytelling in the children’s documentary genre..”

Indeed “special”, maybe more for youngsters or for adults, who like films with layers, surprising films in storytelling, bringing laughter and a serious theme together in a brilliant way. Lovely!

The first name of the director is Martijn.

Holland, 2018, 28 mins.

www.idfa.nl


Vurdering:

 
Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Katarzyna Lesisz: Dancing for You

Written 02-12-2018 10:27:37 by Tue Steen Mller

Katarzyna Lesisz: Dancing for You

Get up Wiktor, says grandmother, you have to go to school. Wiktor, 12 years old, goes to a ballet school, where the teacher trains him, and when not in school he plays with a friend, or is with the caring grandma or with a cell phone in hand talking to his father or trying to, cause father is not around. It’s a simple story that finds its filmic tone. A boy waiting, yearning for his father, having a good time at his grandparents. Dancing, expressing himself.

The film received the IDFA Award for Best Children’s Documentary, the jury said this: “The winning film is a beautifully crafted story, leaving the viewer with lots of room for thought and reflection, without explaining too much. One is able to recognize the loneliness of feeling like an outsider in their own family, while striving to pursue their dreams. We applaud individuality; children who stay true to themselves against all odds. We also want to celebrate documentary filmmakers that push themselves to excel in cinematography, and the winning film does just that.”

Poland, 2018, 18 mins.


Vurdering:

 
Categories: DVD, Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Post-Festival Comments

Written 29-11-2018 14:42:42 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Post-Festival Comments

I was in Amsterdam from Monday till Friday. 4 nights at NH Carlton Hotel, the festival centre close to everything and the place where you meet old and dear friends. Including the busy artistic director Orwa Nyrabia, whose first edition it was. I have not seen films enough to evaluate the film selection, you always leave IDFA frustrated that there were films you did not manage to watch, will catch up later at other festivals. The same goes for the great initiative of publishing videos from the DOC Talks after the film, 4-5 minutes it says, but when you click you can get half an hour with Sergei Loznitsa or the award winning Anand Patwardhan or with Polish master Marcel Lozinski or Nikolaus Geyerhalter… more to come, IDFA writes on the website. Not to forget the podcasts with Avi Mograbi and Audrius Stonys, they are long, going deep I am sure – and subject orientated Industry Talk about “Ethical Ways of Co-Producing”, theatrical distribution and so on, so forth. Lots of possibilities, also full films if you are a subscriber to the Docs for Sale.

I saw many good films as loyal readers of this site will know. On top, however, were two film experiences that will stay in my mind: Dziga Vertov’s “Anniversary of the Revolution”, a brilliant night at the Tuschinski with music, breathtaking singing from the stage and from the gallery, a choir! Read my impressions on http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4402/

And a film made 100 year later by Viktor Kossakovsky, “Aquarela”,

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

shown with the intended sound on a big screen in Pathé Munt 3, magnificent.

IDFA is also the Forum, I was not there, I am sure many promising projects were pitched and that the Forum will go on, maybe in new shapes, as Orwa Nyrabia has said, to give the best treat of new talent.

www.idfa.nl


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Three Russian Documentaries at IDFA

Written 29-11-2018 12:49:37 by Tue Steen Mller

Three Russian Documentaries at IDFA

… which all deserve to be mentioned and noticed by other festivals.

“How Big is the Galaxy” (Photo) by Ksenia Elyan (Russia, Estonia, 72 mins.), with Max Tuula and Maria Gavrilova as producers as well as late Alexander Rastorguev for Black and White Cinema, is a gem, with two charming kids Zakhar, 7 years old and the older brother Prokopy. They live far up in North of Siberia with their parents, as – taken from the IDFA website – “belonging to the Dolgan community, one of the last indigenous peoples pursuing their traditional nomadic life in the extreme north of Siberia.” It’s an observational documentary, you follow everyday life with a special focus on the kids, who go to school next door, allowed to have homeschooling. Out of the warmth in the wagon-like house, where the family lives, out in the freezing cold to the next door house that serves as a school with a school teacher and books etc. Zakhar has an eye for the director/cameraman asking her “you take photos”, “is that a job”. Lovely.

“The Potato Eaters” by Dina Barinova (Russia, 51 mins.) from Marina Razbezhkina Studio, a tough social documentation of a village life in awful poor conditions, also featuring two children, who live and play as kids do, jumping in water puddles. They live with their grandparents Svetlana and Victor, the latter deeply alcoholised, Svetlana being the one, who has to take care of everything – without any money. It’s as bad as it could be. Depressing and shocking to watch if not for the kids and Sergei, who is the son of Svetlana and Victor, and the one who moves a bit around and plays vinyl records.

“Dorotchka” by Olga Delane (Russia, 20 mins), who made the fine “Siberian Love”, where she met the 80 year old woman and decided to dedicate a film to her. The IDFA website text is excellent so I quote: “The beautiful, static images of Dorotchka in and around her wooden house, against the backdrop of a relentless landscape in which there’s constant hard work to be done, are reminiscent of 19th-century paintings of romanticized agricultural life. Wringing her hands at the kitchen table, Dorotchka speaks in short sentences peppered with expletives, making it clear that even women like her have their hearts broken. Stylized shots of rural life are combined with comical black-and-white footage of Russian country weddings, folk dancing and singing: a promise of opportunities in a bygone era.” “Siberian Love” is reviewed here: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3930/

www.idfa.nl


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Andrei Kutsila: Summa

Written 26-11-2018 13:29:28 by Tue Steen Mller

Andrei Kutsila: Summa

I was very happy to know that the new film by Belorussian director Andreu Kutsila received – in the midlength category - the main award at IDFA for “Summa”, a Belorussian/Polish coproduction with Miroslaw Dembinski as the Polish partner.

In 2015 Kutsila won the main national award with “Guests” at the Listapad festival in Minsk (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3370/)

3 years before he was the Belorussian director, who took part in “15 Young by Young”, the documentary short film series initiated and produced by Latvian producer Ilona Bicevska. Some words from the brief review of “Guests” I wrote 3 years ago: “He has found the right, slow rhythm, he lets the scenes develop, he gets close but does never lose a respectful distance…”. Which are words that fit perfectly on “Summa”.

Andrzej Strumillo is an elderly Polish painter, around 90 years old,  Maryia is a young artist from Belarus. She leaves Belarus to come to visit lonely Strumillo, who is happy to have her around. He lives in a spacious house, he breeds horses, the house is close to a lake where he goes, they sit and talk at the table, eat, mostly it is the old man who talks, and she listens if she is not interrupted by calls from her boyfriend/husband, who seems to be jealous – she wants and decides to stay longer, you can understand that - the director who is also the cinematographer understands you see clearly – Kutsila caresses the characters, he has taken his time to compose images of the beauty of the quiet place, he creates a meditative atmosphere. Graceful it is. “It’s sad life is so short”, Strumillo says, at the same time as he remembers the life he had with his wife, who died in 2011, their travels, their being together.

His paintings are shown, they are dark, impressive, religious maybe, at least mysterious; and yet the film is not a portrait of an artist and his work, it is a meeting between youth and wisdom, beautifully interpreted by a director with a vision.

Poland/Belarus, 2018, 51 mins.


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Viktor Kossakovsky: Aquarela

Written 24-11-2018 12:07:10 by Tue Steen Mller

Viktor Kossakovsky: Aquarela

Normally when I go to an art exhibition, I walk around alone, stop in front of the paintings, it’s silent, maybe I talk with the one who are with me, but I love this chance of stepping into a world that does not move. When watching Kossakovsky’s flow of aquarelas, WATERcolors in constant movement, there is no silence, on the contrary – it’s a bombardment of image and sound, an aesthetic composition, it’s expressionistic, surrealistic, abstract, figurative, a journey through art directions and genres. And a magnificent piece of Cinema. That also has a dramaturgy.

As the director put it before the screening at the Pathé Munt 3 cinema in



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IDFA at the Eye Filmmuseum Amsterdam

Written 23-11-2018 13:39:15 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA at the Eye Filmmuseum Amsterdam

I went to the Eye that everyone has praised during its few years of existence. And it is really something. I crossed the water with the ferry next to the Central Station, 2 mins. it took to get to the other side together with a lot of people, bikes and scooters, and then another couple of minutes of walk to the Eye that I saw in daylight and later – in the evening – with a view to an illuminated Amsterdam. The big open hall has a restaurant that I visited between the two films I saw – I had half an hour, they managed to serve a fine soup and a glass of wine in no time – and an exhibition area. I got a free ticket to see an exhibition of Japanese Ryoji Ikeda, Datamatics it is called and is accompanied by electronic music. I had to leave quickly, no appeal to me, actually I was afraid of having an epileptic seizure…

Instead I rushed to the cinema to watch “Los Reyes” by Chilean Bettina Perut and Iván Osnovikoff. I had forgotten my badge but with the help of Argentinian director Andrés Di Tella and Bettina Perut, who I knew from visits to the two countries I got in to sit at the best place in the very fine cinema hall Eye 1.

And I saw one more film, “Hungary 2018”, by Eszter Hajdú with Sandor Mester as producer, and with superb Menno Boerema as one of the editors. Both films were followed by talks. More about films and talks below.


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Bettina Perut & Ivn Osnovikoff: Los Reyes

Written 23-11-2018 13:32:50 by Tue Steen Mller

Bettina Perut & Ivn Osnovikoff: Los Reyes

The film was screened and there was a half hour talk afterwards. These IDFA talks, I understood, are formatted to have no questions from the audience. I sensed a disappointment in the hall, probably many would have loved to get more from the sympathetic two directors. But they were surrounded outside for further talks in the corridor after the screening. It was my impression that the audience loved the film about “the kings”, why this title – here is a quote from the IDFA website: “Los Reyes is the oldest skatepark in the Chilean



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Eszter Hajd: Hungary 2018

Written 23-11-2018 13:25:19 by Tue Steen Mller

Eszter Hajd: Hungary 2018

I got a mail from the producer of this film, Sandor Mester: “Hungary 2018 is not at the IDFA Forum because it is already in the Feature Length Competition this year and it was not there last year because it was not possible going to public pitching because it could risk, potentially stop this kind of production. We made this new film with a very hard and painful work, it is very complicated to do a project like this in Hungary and finally it was produced by our Portuguese company. Some of the members of our Hungarian crew did not want that their names appear in the credits because they are afraid of the revenge of the government. "Hungary 2018" is about right-wing populism, far-right extremism from the perspective of the last elections in Hungary in 2018 showing how Hungary is in 2018 and how the extreme-right propaganda works on the government level. We have to stand-up against far-right politics and right-wing populism because it generates fear and hate based on lies, semi lies, lies and manipulation.”

The film was screened at IDFA and the main character of the film, former prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, who fought against Orbán and the Fidesz party at the election for president in April 2018, was invited for the talk after the film. I knew Hajdu and Mester from their previous brave work, “Judgement in Hungary” reviewed here http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/2966/

and on my list of best documentaries in 2014.

“Hungary 2018” does not bring anything new, the political situation in the country is pretty well covered in the media I follow. And yet here we get on film a documentation of how disgusting the propaganda is from the Fidesz leaders and those, who campaign for Orbán. It is simply amazing, how xenophobia flourishes and how fear is playing a role, when speeches are held: Hungary will be overflooded with muslims, who will rape women in miniskirts – and Soros, the Jewish billionaire, is enemy number One, who supports Gyurcsány and his gang of traitors and is running the EU. Gyurcsány is followed in his campaign, you can only have sympathy for him, as far too few Hungarians had when the election results were clear. Huge victory for Orbán and his non-European attitude.

The film is partly financed by the EU, which is of course used against it: See, the EU is paying for propaganda against Hungary.

Are you going to screen it, I asked a festival director from a country close to Hungary. Of course he said, we are having the same political tendencies in our country… and in Denmark it looks like a new party will enter the parliament at the next election in 2019. It has the same policy as Fidesz.

www.idfa.nl


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IDFA Winners 2018

Written 22-11-2018 09:01:27 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Winners 2018

IDFA Competition for Feature-Length Documentary 

Anand Patwardhan won the IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary (€ 15.000) with Reason (India). The film is a broad-ranging examination of Indian society, where secular rationalists are hunted down as they attempt to stem the rising tide of religious and nationalist fundamentalism. 

"The IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary is unanimously given to Reason by Anand Patwardhan for the epic storytelling of the rise of the far right in one of the most populated countries of this planet, the violence of religious and ultranationalist militias with the support of authorities and dominant medias, the dignity of resistance in multiple forms, often at life-cost, in a way that acknowledges the complexity of the situation but put it in a very understandable shape," the jury reported. 

In addition, the jury presented the IDFA Special Jury Award for Feature-Length Documentary (€ 2.500) to Los Reyes (Chile, Germany) by Bettina Perut and Iván Osnovikoff. In this almost fairy-tale-like film, the phenomenal, dreamlike camerawork centers almost entirely on the subtle interaction between two dogs, as they play with a ball, a stick, a stone, and each other.

"The IDFA Special Jury Award for Feature-Length Documentary goes to Los Reyes by Bettina Perut and Iván Osnivikoff (Chile, Germany) for the creative



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