Filmkommentaren

Ny Litauisk Film

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

Ny Litauisk Film

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

The IDA Awards

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

The IDA Awards

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

BEST FEATURE

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

DIRECTOR

American Factory

Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Honeyland

Cinematographers: Fejmi Daut and Samir Ljuma

EDITING

Midnight Family

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

MUSIC

The Raft (photo)

Composer: Hans Appelqvist

WRITING

The Cave

Writer: Feras Fayyad

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

EFA Doc Award to "For Sama"

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

EFA Doc Award to

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

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


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sundance Film Festival 2020

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

Sundance Film Festival 2020

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

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

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

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


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Sergei Loznitsa: State Funeral

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

Sergei Loznitsa: State Funeral

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



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IDFA Audience Award 2019

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

IDFA Audience Award 2019

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

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



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IDFA: Life Achievement Award to Jrgen Leth

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

IDFA: Life Achievement Award to Jrgen Leth

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

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

the director says:

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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

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

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

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

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



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IDFA: Y in Vyborg

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

IDFA: Y in Vyborg

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

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

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

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

www.idfa.nl


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IDFA: That Which Does Not Kill

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

IDFA: That Which Does Not Kill

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

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

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

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

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

www.idfa.nl


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IDFA: Collective

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

IDFA: Collective

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.idfa.nl


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IDFA Opening Night 2019

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

IDFA Opening Night 2019

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

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



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IDFA Tips from Filmkommentaren

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

IDFA Tips from Filmkommentaren

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Latvian National Film Awards

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

Latvian National Film Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Zelig Film School Film Festival

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

Zelig Film School Film Festival

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Zelig: What is a Documentary

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

Zelig: What is a Documentary

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

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


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DOK Leipzig Makes a Summing Up

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

DOK Leipzig Makes a Summing Up

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

Reviews of

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

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

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

Reports about

Quay Brothers –

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

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

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

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

And here comes what the press department writes:

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

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

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

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

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


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Quay Brothers at DOK Leipzig

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

Quay Brothers at DOK Leipzig

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

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



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DOK Leipzig - History

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

DOK Leipzig - History

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

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

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

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

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


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Elsa Kremser & Levin Peter: Space Dogs

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

Elsa Kremser & Levin Peter: Space Dogs

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

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

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

Watch out for that Dogumentary!

Photo of Laika.

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

Austria, Germany, 2019, 91 mins.


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Johannes Holzhausen: The Royal Train

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

Johannes Holzhausen: The Royal Train

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

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

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

Austria, Germany, 2019, 90 mins.


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Mickevičius & Milerius: Exemplary Behaviour

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

Mickevičius & Milerius: Exemplary Behaviour

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

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



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Ji.hlava IDFF 2019 Conclusions

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

Ji.hlava IDFF 2019 Conclusions

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

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



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Awards at Ji.hlava Documentary FF

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

Awards at Ji.hlava Documentary FF

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

● Best Czech Documentary Film 2019:

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

Jury statement:

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

The winner will receive an award of 10,000 EUR

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

● Best Central and East European Documentary Film 2019:

TEACH (Alex Brendea, Romania, 2019)

Jury statement:

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

The winner will receive an award of 10,000 EUR

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

CONTRIBUTION TO WORLD CINEMA AWARD

● Sergey Dvortsevoy

● Silver Eye Award feature length category:

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

Jury statement:

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

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

● Special mention:

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

Jury statement:

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

Again I agree, read

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

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


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ArtDoc Fest Winners + One More

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

ArtDoc Fest Winners + One More

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

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

Best Director
Maxim Shved, Pure Art

Jury award
School of Seduction, dir. Alina Rudnitskaya

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

Special mention
Daymohk, dir. Masha Novikova

Special mention
State Funeral, dir. Sergei Loznitsa

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

Special Mention in Feature Film Competition of the festival:

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

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

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


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Enrico Cerasuolo: The Passion of Anna Magnani

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

Enrico Cerasuolo: The Passion of Anna Magnani

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

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



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DOK Leipzig Starts Monday

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

DOK Leipzig Starts Monday

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



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Loznitsa opened the Astra Film Festival

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

Loznitsa opened the Astra Film Festival

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

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

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


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IDFA Announces Competition Selection

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

IDFA Announces Competition Selection

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

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



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DOC NYC

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

DOC NYC

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



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Alina Rudnitskaya on School of Seduction

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

Alina Rudnitskaya on School of Seduction

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

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

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

Festival people, check out the filmography of Alina Rudnitskaya.

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

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

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


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Petra Costa: The Edge of Democracy

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

Petra Costa: The Edge of Democracy

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

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

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



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Sommer og Svendsen: Mandskoret

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

Sommer og  Svendsen: Mandskoret

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

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

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

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

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

Norge, 2018, 74 Minutter.


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DOK Leipzig Retrospective BRDDR

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

DOK Leipzig Retrospective BRDDR

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

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

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

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



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Dmitry Kabakov: Present Simple Tense

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

Dmitry Kabakov: Present Simple Tense

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

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

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



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Jrgen Leth

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

Jrgen Leth

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

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

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

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

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


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DOK Leipzig: The Brothers Quay

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

DOK Leipzig: The Brothers Quay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Thomas Heise: Heimat is a Space in Time/ 2

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

Thomas Heise: Heimat is a Space in Time/ 2

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

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

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

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

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



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Patricio Guzmn on Arvo Prt

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

Patricio Guzmn on Arvo Prt

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.adamspassion.de/

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

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

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


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IDFA: The Inheritance of War/ Thomas Heise

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

IDFA: The Inheritance of War/ Thomas Heise

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Thomas Heise: Heimat Is a Space in Time/ 1

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

Thomas Heise: Heimat Is a Space in Time/ 1

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

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

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

Germany, 2018, 218 mins.


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Waad al-Kateab & Edward Watts: For Sama

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

Waad al-Kateab & Edward Watts: For Sama

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

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

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

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

USA/UK, 2019, 95 mins.

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

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

https://www.forsamafilm.com/


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Nordisk Panorama Forum Day 2

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

Nordisk Panorama Forum Day 2

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

Christoffer Guldbrandsen was the excellent journalist behind the first project



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Ellen Fiske & Ellinor Hallin: Scheme Birds

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

Ellen Fiske & Ellinor Hallin: Scheme Birds

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

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

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

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

Sweden, 2019, 90 mins.

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


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Nordisk Panorama Forum Day 1

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

Nordisk Panorama Forum Day 1

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

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



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Nordisk Panorama: dok.incubator

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

Nordisk Panorama: dok.incubator

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

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



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Nordisk Panorama Sunday and a Look Back

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

Nordisk Panorama Sunday and a Look Back

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Elita Klavina: Zoryana Horobraya

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

Elita Klavina: Zoryana Horobraya

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

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

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

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

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

Latvia, 2019, 61 mins.


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NP Talk: Two Finnish Directors and an Editor

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

 NP Talk: Two Finnish Directors and an Editor

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

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

Here is the festival’s introduction to the talk:

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

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

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

Sunday September 22 at 15.00 – 16.00.

Everyone is welcome.

More about the films you can find on

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


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Boris Benjamin Bertram: Krigsfotografen

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

Boris Benjamin Bertram: Krigsfotografen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Danmark, 2019, 78 mins.

I biografer over hele landet fra den 19. september

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


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Goran Radovanovic: The Makavejev Case

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

Goran Radovanovic: The Makavejev Case

or Trial in a Movie Theatre, the subtitle.

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

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



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Robert Frank (1924 - 2019)

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

Robert Frank (1924 - 2019)

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

 

THE PHENOMENON ROBERT FRANK

By Tue Steen Müller

1

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

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

2

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

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

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

3

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

The Americans

 

IT SOUNDS WILD AND IT IS

By Sara Thelle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Post 26-06-2015)

 

DON’T BLINK: ROBERT FRANK (2015)

By Tue Steen Müller

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

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

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

Don’t Blink: Robert Frank

 

THE FORM / THE COMPOSING / THE AESTETICS

By Tue Steen Müller

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

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

 

DON'T BLINK IN NEW YORK

af Tue Steen Müller

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

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

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

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

 

ME AND MY BROTHER

by Tue Steen Müller

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

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

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

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

USA, 1968, 85 mins.

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

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

 

A BRILLIANT CONVERSATION

by Tue Steen Müller


Robert Frank: Me and My Brother/ 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Photos: Steidl and Maria Briese

FOTO (ved overskriften)

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

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


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

Pitching Some Thoughts After Baltic Sea Docs

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

Pitching Some Thoughts After Baltic Sea Docs

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://balticseadocs.lv   


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Sea Docs Pitching

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

Baltic Sea Docs Pitching

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

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



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Baltic Sea Docs 2019

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

Baltic Sea Docs 2019

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



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Tarkovsky on Tarkovsky

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

Tarkovsky on Tarkovsky

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Emil Langballe: Qs Barbershop Vollsmose Forever

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

Emil Langballe: Qs Barbershop  Vollsmose Forever

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

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

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

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


Vurdering:

 
Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

MakeDox Awards

Written 30-08-2019 21:32:38 by Tue Steen Mller

MakeDox Awards

At the 10th edition of the MakeDox festival in Skopje in North Macedonia the awards were given in a non-competitive festive atmosphere as you have been able to witness through the huge photo coverage the festival has given its FB friends, including me, who was at the festival a couple of years ago, and it IS like that: warm in temperature and hospitality, and focused on bringing the best of the best to the audience. That is from my point of view conveyed perfectly in the jury choices:



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Kaspars Goba: Inga Can Hear

Written 28-08-2019 17:31:30 by Tue Steen Mller

Kaspars Goba: Inga Can Hear

Jeg har kendt Kaspars Goba i mere end et årti. Måske før, måske mødte vi, da hans fremragende ”Seda. People of the Marsh ”(2004) kom ud. Senere havde jeg fornøjelsen at følge “Homo @ lv” fra 2015, hvor hans partner Ieva Goba var producent.

Fra hjemmesiden:… Kaspars Goba arbejdede på denne film i fem år. De omfattende optagelser, der er indsamlet gennem årene, giver tilskuerne mulighed for at få en ekstraordinær dyb indsigt i individers meninger og livshistorier på både 'Pride' og 'NoPride' fronterne. Den forbløffende afsløring af stolthed i Riga som vist i Kaspars Gobas arbejde, der startede fra starten i 2005 og frem til meddelelsen om, at Pride ikke blev afholdt i Riga i 2010, gør det muligt for seeren at overveje disse begivenheder fra et andet perspektiv. Det får en til at overveje den rolle, politikerne spiller i at manipulere folks idealer, og spørge: hvad er prisen for demokrati i Letland? ... Ikke "kun" en dokumentar, men lige så meget en dokumentation af et kontroversielt emne i det baltiske land.

Jeg mødte Ieva Goba i sidste uge i Sarajevo, og vi talte om det kommende

 



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Vurdering:

 
Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

European Film Academy Documentary Shortlist

Written 27-08-2019 11:51:24 by Tue Steen Mller

European Film Academy Documentary Shortlist

… was announced today with 12 candidates to compete for the final 5 seats, from where the winner of the Documentary Award will be chosen and published on December 7.

“Aquarela” (Viktor Kossakovsky) is there, “Honeyland” (Tamara Kotevska & Ljubomir Stefanov), “Putin’s Witnesses” (Vitaly Mansky), “Advocate” (Rachel Leah Jones, Philippe Bellaiche), “Push” (Fredrik Gertten), “The Disappearence of My Mother” (Beniamino Barrese) – all films that have been noted/reviewed on this site.

“Heimat is a Space in Time” by Thomas Heise and “For Sama” by Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts will be watched and reviewed in the near future – I have always been fond of Thomas Heise’s work, I am extremely curious to see his almost four hour long film, that have gained several awards already.

The ones I have never heard about are “Delphine and Carole” (Callisto Mc Nulty), ”M” (Yolande Zauberman), ”Scheme Birds” (Ellen Fiske, Ellinor Hallin) and “Selfie” (Agostino Ferrente).

https://europeanfilmawards.eu/en_EN/selection-documentation-current?fbclid=IwAR2zDaly00tgUb56pPJgkvtldvxL6WdH9l11fIyVzI-tHEqsV472bCWPCs0

Photo from “Advocate” - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4553/



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Message2Man Festival in Saint Petersburg

Written 26-08-2019 22:14:56 by Tue Steen Mller

Message2Man Festival in Saint Petersburg

By this time, end of August, I am always pleasantly bombarded on FB with Messages from the (sorry!) Message2Man festival (September 14-21) in Saint Petersburg, a festival that I have attended so many times, enjoying the city and the rich programme. This year it is the edition number 29 and the FB information bombardment is a daily professionally presented – title by title – presentation of the films in the International Competititon of full-length documentaries, the short documentaries, short fiction, short animation, the National Competition of documentary films and the unique „In Silico Experimental Short Film Competition“. Contrary to much other communication through Google Translate, or do the Russians use better translation tools?, maybe translators?, the English text that follows the Russian is ok and the Danish thereafter is understandable contrary to the google translate’s often nonsense translation.

The three curators of the programme, all people with a strong film knowledge, also of what happens outside the big country are Alexei Medvedev, Mikhail Zheleznikov and Eugenia Marchenko.

To mention some films I know from the Intl.section, again again „Honeyland“ by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov, lovely „Los Reyes“ by Chilean directors Bettina Perut and Iván Osnovikoff and impressive Polish The Wind. A Documentary Thriller by Michał Bielawski.

… and two films in the National section, both of them I saw at IDFA in Amsterdam: „The Potato Eaters“ by Dina Barinova, a tough social document and „How Big Is the Galaxy?“ by director Ksenia Yelyan, a charming film on kids in Arctic Siberia. There are twelve films in this section, I count on friends at the festival to tell me if there are titles I should watch.

The President of the festival is director Alexei Uchitel, the founder is wonderful “Misha”, Mikhail Litvyakov, who of course is always at the festival, although not totally involved but enthusiastic and warm in his approach to cinema and people of cinema.

I have many fine memories from the festival, I will not be there this year but as before: Respect and good luck!

https://message2man.com/en/news/xxix-kinofestival-poslanie-k-cheloveku-objavil-konkursnuju-programmu/

Photo from one of the opening ceremonies of M2M at the Winter Palace!

 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

SFF Awards for Documentaries

Written 26-08-2019 15:33:10 by Tue Steen Mller

SFF Awards for Documentaries

A CopyPaste from the website of the Sarajevo Film Festival, click the titles of the winners and you will get the description/synopsis:

HEART OF SARAJEVO FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM

WHEN THE PERSIMMONS GREW / XURMALAR YETIŞƏN VAXT

Azerbaijan, Austria

Director: Hilal Baydarov

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

SPECIAL JURY PRIZE

STACK OF MATERIAL / GOMILA MATERIJALA

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Director: Sajra Subašić

Financial award in the amount of 2,500 €.

HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD



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Top Docs to be Screened in Riga

Written 22-08-2019 19:40:54 by Tue Steen Mller

Top Docs to be Screened in Riga

Or you could say the best of the best of current international documentaries will be screened in the mini-festival that per tradition runs parallel to the Baltic Sea Docs development and pitching workshop.

8 films, Riga, Cinema K-Suns, from September 3-8.

The ones I have already seen and written above are Dutch master Heddy Honigmann’s ”Buddy” that for sure must appeal to dog lovers in the Latvian capital. Far from that in style is Danish journalist and documentarian Mads



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Sarajevo FF: True Stories

Written 20-08-2019 19:04:36 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo FF: True Stories

Here we are after the presentation of 4 stories that take its start in the past: From Left Nataša Damnjanovic (tutor and editor of visuals), Ishak Jalimam (organiser), me (tutor), the four storytellers Mirna Buljugic, Senija Jakupovic, Iva Radic and Aleksandar Zolja, Robert Zuber (tutor and moderator). Staša Bajac (tutor) and the mother of the Dealing with the Past project at the festival Maša Markovic were missing.

After… 90 minutes of emotionally strong stories presented in a full house Atrium in Hotel Europe: festival participants, filmmakers, who might be interested in picking up the stories and develop them into films.

For four days we were together talking about the stories and about how to



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Sarajevo FF: Pawlikowski and Documentaries

Written 19-08-2019 08:58:52 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo FF: Pawlikowski and Documentaries

It’s not every day that one Oscar-winner takes a photo of another Oscar-winner. It happened the other day, where my friend, photographer and filmmaker Georg Zeller sat behind Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman, The Revenant), who was in the first row in a totally packed Meeting Point cinema in Sarajevo, where the audience had enjoyed the four documentaries Pawel Pawlikowski made in the 1990’es: FROM MOSCOW TO PIETUSHKI: A JOURNEY WITH BENEDICT YEROFEYEV (1990), DOSTOEVSKY’S TRAVELS (1991), SERBIAN EPICS (1992) and TRIPPING WITH ZHIRINOVSKY (1995). I was the lucky one to be the moderator of the 40 minutes long Q&A in a room full of energy and interest. There was no fatigue even if the audience had been there for four hours watching the programme!

The four films were made for BBC, Pawlikowski praised the commissioning editor Nigel Williams, who gave him free hands to make the films within the strand “Bookmark” – so the films had to deal with literature one way or the other. The documentary about Benedict Yerofeyev, the first he made, is fabulous, I had never heard about the writer before - Pawlikowski had, sharing his novel with his father, a film made with no script, “I made these films by observing, filming (on 16mm), going to the editing room seeing what I was missing, and then back to filming”. For the two last films, the director had the renowned Polish cinematographer, Bogdan Dziworski, to help him.

Of course there were several questions to “Serbian Epics” that was, at that time, during the war, accused of being propaganda for Serbian nationalism, which people in the audience said they could not see today. On the question on how he felt filming Karadzic up in the mountains during the bombing of Sarajevo, the director answered that these were terrible moments in his life that he will never be able to forget.

“For you, what are the characteristics of a good documentary”, the moderator asked the director… “I have no idea”… but mentioning our common hero, Russian Sergey Dvortsevoy, he responded anyway, did he not?

https://www.sff.ba/novost/11156/honorary-heart-of-sarajevo-award-to-pawel-pawlikowski


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Current Time TV Also at Sarajevo Film Festival

Written 17-08-2019 16:39:00 by Tue Steen Mller

Current Time TV  Also at Sarajevo Film Festival

Note the little ”also”… because when it comes to Current Time TV, they have been here, there and everywhere in Central and Eastern Europe, a great new player in the documentary community, in pitching panels, active and enthusiastic. I have met them in Riga, in Tbilisi, in Kiev, in Prague and now they are also here in Sarajevo being part of the Docu Talent presentation that takes place tomorrow at Sarajevo’s Hotel Europe, quote from the organisers, the Jihlava Film Festival:



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Categories: TV, Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sarajevo: Docs Go Big!

Written 17-08-2019 09:43:26 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo: Docs Go Big!

Documentaries at the Sarajevo FF is Rada Sesic. She selects the competition program, she runs the Docu Rough Boutique (together with Martichka Bozhilova), the DocuCorner, running from place to place… And she is semper ardens as you can read in the special catalogue/poster, she has made for the documentaries in order to avoid the genre to be hidden in all the feature films that fill the catalogues here.

Full of superlatives she presents the films under the headline ”Women Shine on the Documentary Scene in Our Region ». She explains that ”out of 16 films (in the competition section), 10 are directed or co-directed by women. Hooray for the strong talented She directors from the region”. Voila!

The competition program opens today with – of course – ”Honeyland” by Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska, the Bosnian premiere of a film that also opened Magnificent7 in Belgrade, CinéDoc in Georgia and won man yawards including the main award at DocsBarcelona. Definitely – together with Kossakovsky’s ”Aquarela” – the documentary of 2019.

Also I want to mention the wonderful Greek film by Marianna Economou, ”When Tomatoes Met Wagner” and the 13 minutes long ”In Between” by Samir Karahoda from Kosovo. To be mentioned for sure is Rada Sesic passion for the short film.

The majority of the jury for the competition, however, is male: Nenad Puhovski, ZagrebDox & Orwa Nyrabia, IDFA together with Emilie Bujes from Visions du Réel in Nyon.

Lots to watch, lost of magical documentary moments.

www.sff.ba


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sarajevo Mon Amour

Written 16-08-2019 18:29:07 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo Mon Amour

Well, I have not yet been through all the catalogues to find out, why the festival speaks French! But indeed it sounds and looks nice!

I am here again at the big festival for features and documentaries and shorts with a very strong industry section. It opens tonight and goes on until August 23. Competition programmes, a Human Rights Day, Honorary Hearts to Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, Isabelle Huppert and Pawel Pawlikowski.

For the latter I have been asked to moderate a Q&A with the Polish director, who in the 90’es lived in England and made films for the BBC. At a time where the broadcaster apparently still were open to non-formatted documentaries. To be prepared I enjoyed the four documentary films that will be screened here in Sarajevo tomorrow Saturday: Dostoevsky’s Travels, From Moscow to Pietushi: A Journey with Benedict Yerofeyev, Tripping With Zhirinovski, and Serbian Epics. Films that are still interesting to watch today because of their humour, the often satirical approach and playfulness. Far away from the fictional masterpieces the director made in Poland, Ida and Cold War, that will also be screened at the festival as well as other feature films by the director.

The Pawlikowski documentaries are part of the ”Dealing With the Past” program that also includes films like ”Meeting Gorbachev” by André Singer and Werner Herzog and ”Privacy of Wounds” by Dalia Kury. AND a section, the True Stories Market, where a handful of stories from the Yugoslav Wars will be presented to filmmakers, who are invited ”to execute a project inspired by one of the selected stories”, as Maša Markovic, the manager of the program says in the catalogue. I have been invited to take part in the project preparation for preparation, we had the first meeting today, amazing stories – I will tell you about them later but my first impression is like the one I had last year:

” Back in Copenhagen. 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!”. Written in August 2018.

Will report more from this inviting and well organised festival.

www.sff.ba


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DokuFest Winners Announced

Written 15-08-2019 11:02:39 by Tue Steen Mller

DokuFest Winners Announced

Prizren, Kosovo. The 18th edition of a documentary festival (it ended four days ago) that filmkommentaren has covered since 2010. Always with words of praise and in persona  in 2016, where I was invited to be a juror in the Human Rights Section, where the extraordinary 5 hour long “Homeland, Iraq Year Zero” got the award; director is Abbas Fahdel, who I had the pleasure to meet on that occasion and who is one of those (too few) who constantly brings photos and texts from film history to the FB pages. But that’s another story!

This year the Human Rights Dox winning film was Dina Nasser’s “Tiny Souls”,



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Makedox Number 10

Written 14-08-2019 00:33:36 by Tue Steen Mller

Makedox Number 10

It’s in Skopje end of August (21-28) and it’s organised by Petra Seliskar and her family. Those who have been to the festival will agree with my impression: The hospitality is second to none, the atmosphere is relaxed, there is all the time to talk long and deep, and there are outdoor screenings late at night as being outside during the day is not a good idea because of the heat. Screenings of the best of the best!

It’s number 10 and a bit to my surprise, Seliskar has introduced a Forum, i.e. a commercial element to a festival that is non-commercial in its heart. Anyhow, the purpose is simple and fine: Better Regional Co-Production of Documentary Films. Invited are film projects from the Balkan countries, who will meet representatives from 11 regional funds (are there really that many), 3 Scandinavian funds and 2 major televisions… Wishing the festival all the best luck with this first initiative, new for the festival.

But film art is also represented, indeed, ”Aquarela” by Viktor Kossakovsky will be screened and the director will be present to give a masterclass. Knowing him, he will love to come to North Macedonia, and if the audience does not like the film, it’s their own fault!  

http://makedox.mk/mk/en/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Don Edkins: Creating an African Voice

Written 10-08-2019 14:41:13 by Tue Steen Mller

Don Edkins: Creating an African Voice

Variety (July 20) brought an article (written by Christopher Vourlias) from Durban Intl. Film Festival, where Don Edkins was talking. Characterised in the article as « veteran filmmaker and executive director of non-profit group Steps », I can only add from many – but still too few – meetings with Edkins that he stands out as a pioneer, when it comes to production and distribution of documentaries in Africa, but also internationally, a true gentleman, who has been a wonderful visitor, when he came to Copenhagen, mostly together with his Finnish friend and collaborator Iikka Vehkalahti.

I pick a couple of quotes from the article that you should definitely read in its total length, link below :



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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Leaving CinDOC Summer Film School in Gori

Written 07-08-2019 15:02:52 by Tue Steen Mller

Leaving CinDOC Summer Film School in Gori

Istanbul airport, gosh it is big. Lot of walking from gate to gate. And the two times I have been going to/from Tbilisi via Istanbul, gates have been changed – and flights delayed. But this has given me the time to think about the week in Gori at the Summer Film School and the film projects and rough cuts, which were presented there – from Georgia, Armenia, Aserbadjan, and Germany, the five students from the Konrad Wolf Film School in Babelsberg. I have in a previous post on FB praised their contribution, a 15 mins. docu short on Gori. Well done, entertaining, with atmosphere and you could see that they enjoyed making this one-day excercise.

Monday was the day where the rough cut participants presented the results



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Pennebaker 1925-2019

Written 05-08-2019 07:23:59 by Tue Steen Mller

You can find many obituaries on D.A. Pennebaker, who passed away August 1. I have chosen to copy-paste from this site a text I wrote when in Syria for the DoxBox Festival:
Dox Box Damascus 6

This is one of the highlights of Dox Box 2010, Orwa Nyrabia said as a proud and enthusiastic introduction to the masterclass with D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, moderated by idfa director Ally Derks. And it turned out to be a very pleasant couple of hours with the renowned filmmakers who made film history together with other big names like Albert Maysles, Richard Leacock and Robert Drew, the Direct Cinema/Cinéma Vérité directors. At the festival, among others, the Bob Dylan film ”Don’t Look Back” was shown and the young filmmakers had a lot of questions to that film and especially to the method connected to the filmmaking style.

The best way to reflect what was said during the masterclass is to quote Pennebaker and Hegedus for many wonderful sentences that may inspire our readers, Hegedus being the analytical and Pennebaker the one full of stories, loving the anecdote, both of them being very generous and warm in their approach to the audience:

Am I a master, ”No I was not the first person to put my foot on the beach”. Subject, how do you find them, ”We don’t, they find us, we are very depending on our friends to give us hints, people come to us”. Story?, ”You don’t know what is going to happen when we start”. Hegedus and Pennebaker is a couple privately: ”We get divorced four or five times during a film”. Where does the inspiration come from, ”Creative energy can’t be stored!”. ”A documentary is like the stories you heard as a child, once upon a time...”. Film crew?: ”The smaller the better”. Agreements? ”We go for a handshake agreement”. A fly on the wall? ”No, I can not take an invisible pill... I watch, I am like a cat, you can not see what I think”. ”The money always comes”. ”I don’t feel like a director”. Observation, Objectivity? ”No, how can one’s person’s observation be all people’s observation?”. ”We are following the action, and is very often led by the sound”. ”You are like a detective, because you don’t know what happens”. ”Style is driven by technology”. ”You are filming for an audience”. ”Look for accuracy”.


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CinDOC Summer School Gori Bunescu and Ceaucescu

Written 04-08-2019 22:21:37 by Tue Steen Mller

CinDOC Summer School Gori  Bunescu and Ceaucescu

Did you see it : ”The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceaucescu” (director : Andrei Ujica, editor and sound designer Dana Bunescu) from 2010, 3 hours long, a true masterpiece. You have to ! Archive the whole way through, no commentary, no explanations of where we are and when and why. Chronological. Probably difficult to follow for a younger audience, easy for me because of my age, having followed what happens in the world – and in Romania. I remember that Ceaucescu was welcomed in Denmark as well, he got a medal from the Danish queen, and we Danes were not the only ones welcoming or visiting him as you see in the film, where plane after plane lands in Bucharest with leaders of the world ; de Gaulle, Nixon, and of course the friends from GDR, Honecker and USSR, Brezhnev, and later the one he broke with, Gorbachov.

And for me personally touching to see my hero Dubcek, smiling he was, this



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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CinDOC Summer School Talent Development

Written 03-08-2019 10:11:24 by Tue Steen Mller

CinDOC Summer School  Talent Development

They have just left the room, the nine students and filmmakers, who have been sharing their projects, their ideas, their visuals, five of them are from Konrad Wolf Filmuniversität, taken here by teacher and cameraperson Merle Jothe, who talked to us yesterday about two films that she has been working on, the second one the award-winning ”Berg Fidel – A School for All”, directed by Hella Wenders, wonderful kids, fine situations, would love to watch the whole film.

It’s been (so far) 4 full days, 3 more to go, and now the participants want to



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

In the Cinema in Gori Georgia

Written 01-08-2019 21:39:07 by Tue Steen Mller

In the Cinema in Gori Georgia

... Well, actually there is no cinema in Gori so the Cinédoc-Gori Mini Festival takes place in the big theatre that was built in 1937-38 to honour Josip Stalin, who was born in Gori… he never visited the theatre, it is being said.

BUT I did this afternoon to attend the screening of one of my darlings from the last years, Ukrainian Roman Bondarchuk’s “Dixieland”, written by Dar’ya Averchenko and produced by Latvian Ilona Bicevska. The film was screened as part of the CinéDOC MiniFestival for documentaries, this one in the section for young people. A clip from a previous post about the film written at its premiere in Kiev at the DocuDays:

“The film about jazz music performed by kids in a band in Kherson Ukraine, led by their old teacher, who founded the band just after WW2, picking up homeless children to give them the chance to develop their skills, gave them a life, simply - is a warm, so well made - Bondarchuk has indeed a documentary-eye - interpretation of a happy childhood, where kids have a good time developing their creative skills. As it is written in the catalogue: We all live once in Dixie Land – the country where politics, money and death do not exist at all. But over time this country is disappearing… yes, we are in Ukraine of today.”

I introduced the film and asked the young audience to give me comments after the film that I can forward to the Ukrainian/Latvian team.

Indeed the seven-eight commentators liked the film. They found it wonderful to see a film about real people, happy people one said, much more happy than we are here in Georgia! Others also praised the film saying that it was realistic and emotional. And one wanted to know what the director had done, I mentioned „Ukrainian Sheriffs“ and „Volcano“. It was great to feel that the audience appreciated the initiative to screen documentaries that they normally don’t have a chance to access.

I asked Anuka from the organising CinéDOC team to address a sweet looking girl to ask her if she plays an instrument. No, she said. Would you like to? Yes. Which instruments? Piano... and violin. Oh, yes, films can inspire, also when you are seven year old.


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CinDOC Summer School in Gori

Written 31-07-2019 16:11:13 by Tue Steen Mller

CinDOC Summer School in Gori

It's too hot to be outside during the day, and the organisers of the CinéDOC Summer School know that. The brilliant team from CinéDOC has made the 15 participants (10 from Georgia, Armenia and Azerbadjan plus 5 students from Konrad Wolf Filmuniversität in Babelsberg Germany) meet 4 tutors (editors Albert Elings (Holland) and Dana Bunescu (Romania), cameraperson Merle Jothe (Germany) and myself from morning till evening, where we all go to the cinema, where the Cinédoc-Gori Mini Festival takes place. It opened last night with the sweet and charming "Transparent World" by Vakhtang Kuntsev-Gabashvili was shown. It won the Caucasus award at CinéDOC two years ago. I wrote an enthusiastic note on the film on that occasion - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4226/ and I enjoyed to watch the film again, Beka and his father making a film. Lovely!

The film programme also includes films for children - like "Dixieland" from Ukraine - and this year's winner at CinéDOC in Tbilisi, "The Disappearance of My Mother". Read more about it on

http://www.cinedoc-tbilisi.com/?lang=ge

And again a salute to the CinéDOC people, who organise regional screenings all over Georgia, very well organised with regional coordinators, it's film cultural policy!


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sergei Loznitsa: State Funeral

Written 26-07-2019 21:30:29 by Tue Steen Mller

Sergei Loznitsa: State Funeral

There he goes again, the master of dealing creatively with archive, Sergei Loznitsa. His new film, to be premiered at the Venice International Film Festival (August 28 – September 7), entitled ”State Funeral” is – I have copy-pasted from Screen Daily, link below for the whole article -

… about the “grandiose, terrifying and grotesque” spectacle of the funeral of Joseph Stalin.

It will be the latest of Loznitsa’s montage films based on archive footage following Blockade, Revue, The Event and The Trial…

“I have been working with footage which was shot between March 5-8, 1953 for a film called The Great Farewell by directors including Sergei Gerasimov and Ilya Kopalin,” Loznitsa explains. “But the film was banned after people in the Soviet government saw it and so it was never released. The film only appeared during the period of perestroika in the 1990s.”

Berlin-based Loznitsa worked with 100 reels of material he found in the Russian state archive, which includes footage of the four-day event in Berlin, Warsaw and Prague as well as the major Soviet cities.

“The film will follow the chronology of the four days – from the announcement of Stalin’s death to the funeral in the Red Square,“ Loznitsa explained. “I want to present audiences with the opportunity to be inside that time and feel it.

“My generation can now start to talk about this time because for previous generations like that of my parents, there are still the painful memories,“

https://www.screendaily.com/searchresults?qkeyword=loznitsa

Review of «The Trial»: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4393/

Review of “The Event”: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4148/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Welcome to the Documentary World

Written 26-07-2019 09:58:19 by Tue Steen Mller

Welcome to the Documentary World

29 film Zelig students got their diplomas recently, as last moment of the three years professional course in documentary filmmaking, edition 2016-2019, which just ended at the end of June.

The final exams have been conducted by a commission formed by external experts in the three school specialisations (Valerio Moser for Directing/Project Development, Martin Rattini for Photography/Light, Cornelia Schöpf for Editing/Postproduction) and by a member of the school staff. The graduates presented and discussed their graduation films and a significant piece of work realised in these years.

Their final films are now being submitted to International Film Festivals and will be presented in a local event in Bolzano which will take place in November.

Here the list of the graduates:

DIRECTING / PROJECT DEVELOPMENT
Maria Benedetta Boldrin
Giuseppe Crudele
Clara Delva
Antonio Di Biase
Erald Dika
Caterina Ferrari
Julie Iris Hössle
Linda Nyman
Thomas Saglia
Martin Telser

PHOTOGRAPHY/LIGHT
Tamara Diepold
Simone Endrizzi
Julian Giacomuzzi
Annachiara Gislimberti
Mark Modric
Mattia Ottaviani
Philipp Rubatscher
Marcus Zahn
Luca Zontini

Andrea Bertoldi

EDITING/POSTPRODUCTION
Emma Baruffaldi
Iain Thomas Beairsto
Aaron Beitz
Gabriella Cosmo
Claudia Gerstl
Giulia Micheli
Lorenzo Misia
Petra Pirandello
Nadja Werner

www.zeligfilm.it


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Luke Moody Leaves Sheffield Doc/Fest

Written 25-07-2019 19:03:51 by Tue Steen Mller

Luke Moody Leaves Sheffield Doc/Fest

In a very interesting article, written by Nick Bradshaw, in Sight & Sound, the head programmer of the Sheffield Doc/Fest Luke Moody reveals why he decided to leave the festival after 20 months as director of programming. Bradshaw writes about films shown in the programme films that are far away from the British television tradition, many films from Latin America…

Two years ago, on this site, in another interview, Moody explained what his vision was for the festival, link below. And now he says goodbye.

A couple of quotes from the article indicate why «… Such visions are hardly British broadcast television fare, and for Moody that’s reason to question the dominance on the Doc/Fest board of the British factual TV departments, who since the festival’s founding have increasingly retreated from international film co-production and turned to formatted entertainment. (The BFI also has one seat on the board; Moody counted it as an exception to his complaint.) “The only thing I hear from them is self-interest: ‘Where’s my commission?’,” he said when we met this year. “They’re not performing a job to take the festival forward and accept new partnerships or grow the festival, or support a programme that is progressive. They’re from a tradition that is a dinosaur – the likes of Netflix, Amazon, HBO and Hulu are far more progressive and will take their audiences…”

Quite som criticism… and he continues « … the day after the festival ended, Moody resigned from his role. “This festival needs to find a new vision and I’ve tried to bring that – for the programme to be international, and representative of a broader spectrum of what documentary and nonfiction can be,” he wrote to me. “But their anchor is the festival as it was 10, 20 years ago – putting forward colonial forms of filmmaking, annually offering and pressuring to include content only relevant to a domestic market and directed by white men over 40. The chimney needs sweeping before a fire can be lit…”

Colonial forms of filmmaking…!

Read the whole article, link below.

https://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/sight-sound-magazine/comment/festivals/sheffield-doc-fest-2019-film-programme-latin-american-outreach-luke-moody-resignation

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3951/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Jola Dylewska: Marek Edelman and there was Love

Written 24-07-2019 18:28:01 by Tue Steen Mller

Jola Dylewska: Marek Edelman and there was Love

in the Ghetto… made in cooperation with Andrzej Wajda and Agnieszka Holland

Marek Edelman (1919-2009): Holocaust survivor and the last leader of the Warsaw Ghetto. When being interviewed – close up of his face, smoking one cigarette after the other – he appears to be a grumpy old man apparently not liking all the questions, at the same time as he enjoys, and he does that very well, to talk about the women he knew, the couples he remembers. No talk about the horror in the ghetto, there was (also) love in the ghetto. That’s what Edelman wants to remember. There is a text at the end credits: “He always said: “It’s easy to hate, but love requires effort and dedication”.

It’s about Love in the Ghetto in a film that is built up in a very simple way: Edelman talking, b/w archive from the ghetto, love songs, and staged scenes mostly with no dialogue, love scenes, well made, mostly without dialogue, co-written by Holland and co-dramatised by Wajda.

It sounds schematic but it works, it is touching, there is a fine never bombastic editing from Edelman to the staged scenes to the strong archive photos from the ghetto. There is Tosia, the nurse, Dola the red-haired beauty, Pola who leaves her boyfriend to go with her mother to the Umschlagplatz, where the wagons were waiting for them.. as they were for the blond Hendusia Himelfarb, who could have been saved, Edelman said to her, but who chose to walk with the children from the sanatorium…

Umschlagplatz - Edelman stood there watching the crowds – thousands of people – passing by, waiting to see if some of his pals came that way. “What could you see in their eyes”, the director asks him,”Nothing, it was one big crowd passing me”.

It is painful for him to talk about it, he responds irritated and he refuses to say yes to the director, when she says that the wagons were going to the gas chambers. ”I don’t know”. He himself was working at the hospital, he had a card to show, so he was not deported. In a scene from the hospital white cards are distributed, a woman gets one but wants it to be passed on to her daughter…

There is a monument in Warsaw, where the Umschlagplatz was. You see it in the film. On the wall it is written: Between 1942 and 1943, more than 300,000 Jews from the ghetto that had been established in Warsaw went to the Nazi death camps along this path of suffering.

Poland, Germany, 2019, 80 mins.


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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Alexander Mihalkovich: My Granny from Mars

Written 22-07-2019 17:11:45 by Tue Steen Mller

Alexander Mihalkovich: My Granny from Mars

Yevpatoria, Crimea, Ukraine, occupied by Russia since 2014. A song from the film about the city:

“Here the sea gives me so much tenderness and love and health for years to come. Gardens and wonderful colors are all around, the joy of life is here to stay…”

And the film shows you, how attractive Yevpatoria is at the seaside, where the granny Zina lives, Ukrainian she is, being visited by Sasha, the director of the film, 30 years old – and by her children and grandchildren as well as neighbours and her sister, who all come to join the celebration of her 80th birthday.

Zina with her beautiful face, combing her hair… some fine sequences in what I



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IceDocs Iceland Documentary Film Festival/2

Written 21-07-2019 17:22:01 by Tue Steen Mller

IceDocs Iceland Documentary Film Festival/2

From FB I copy who were the winners of the new documentary festival in Iceland:

In our closing screening we didn't only see a wonderful documentary, The Human Shelter (by Danish director Boris Bertram, ed.), but also gave awards to the winners of the festival. Here are the winners:

Shorts competition: All Inclusive (dir. Corina Schwingruber Ilić)
Mid-length competition: Haunted (dir. Christian Einshøj)
Main competition: Bruce Lee & the Outlaw (dir. Joost Vandebrug)
Mainland Special Mention: Honeyland (dir. Tamara Kotevska & Ljubo Stefanov)

Congratulations to all the winners - your films were simply stunning!

PHOTO from The Human Shelter, colleague Allan Berg reviewed it: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4223/ in Danish.


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IceDocs Iceland Documentary Film Festival

Written 21-07-2019 12:12:14 by Tue Steen Mller

IceDocs Iceland Documentary Film Festival

This is how the organisers introduce the festival:

Welcome to IceDocs!

“The first ever edition of Iceland Documentary Film Festival takes place in Akranes on 17th-21st of July 2019. Our mission is to introduce quality documentaries to local audience and visitors alike as well as connecting filmmakers and industry people from all over the world. The event will take place in the small and quaint industry town of Akranes, just 45 minutes outside of Reykjavik.”

According to good friend, Italian Claudia Tosi, whose film “I Had a Dream” was in the program, the festival was (from FB) ”an amazing experience”, that ends today with many sections and according to the films being there absolutely ”quality documentaries”.

44 films, at the festival, the following have been reviewed/written about on this site:

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

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

Home Games - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4258/

Honeyland - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4449/ (Photo)

How Big is the Galaxy - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4523/

I Had a Dream - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4389/

In Praise of Nothing - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4102/

http://icedocs.is


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Artemio Benki: Solo/ 2

Written 19-07-2019 21:32:02 by Tue Steen Mller

Artemio Benki: Solo/ 2

Via the FNE (FilmNewEurope) I find a good interview with the director of ”Solo”, the Czech/French director and producer Artemio Benki, who reflects on being a French, yet living in Czech Republic for quite some time, chosing a theme for his film taking place in Argentina. For me I am happy every time I see this great film, premiered in Cannes, being selected for a festival, next one in Prizren, DokuFest. Here is a clip from the interview, read it all, link below, and read the enthusiatic and personal review I made, link also below. And hopefully I will have the chance to meet the protagonist Martin one day… Here is a quote:

How much of the result were you able to predict before you started shooting?
I spent a month with Martin before I brought any cameras. I decided first I need to know him as a person. During this time, I created some expectations about his behavior in different situations. I still can’t read his mind but I can predict his actions to some extent as you might be able to with your lover after six months of living together. For example, when he plays before his first serious audience after long time, I couldn’t predict he would fall off his chair but I knew him enough to be prepared for some kind of a complication – I know him to be a clumsy, anxious person. In this sense, I was often surprised but surprised to a degree I was able to predict.

When you work with people who have mental issues, it brings some moral and ethical dilemmas for you as a filmmaker.
When I was kid, I had my own experience with mental health care so I was drawn to this topic for personal reasons. It’s never been something sensational for me. And I spent enough time with my characters that I saw them as “my people”, they were close to me. So I think I never really was afraid that I would treat them in an ethically questionable way – I trusted my sense of empathy. I mean, documentary filmmakers, in a way, always “use” their protagonists but I knew I wouldn’t cross the line. Of course, I explained to Martin and everyone else what my intentions were and I included them only once they felt comfortable. I also felt a big amount of responsibility because Martin trusted me a lot. Had I wanted to shoot him masturbating, he’d probably have let me. But why would I do that? What would it add to the film? I respect the truth of a character – and I don’t want to muck it up with some gratuitously shocking scenes.

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

http://www.filmneweurope.com/news/czech-news/item/118447-fne-idf-docbloc-director-artemio-benki-i-like-strong-personal-stories-that-are-a-bit-extreme


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Sea Docs 2019 Announces Selected Projects

Written 15-07-2019 18:12:57 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Sea Docs 2019 Announces Selected Projects

The Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries (BSD) is the most important documentary training and pitching event in the Baltic countries, taking place in Riga, Latvia, from September 3 to 7 and mostly focusing on the projects from a greater Baltic Sea region as well as EU border countries. This year it will celebrate its 23rd edition. BSD is organised by the National Film Centre of Latvia, with financial support of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, Creative Europe Media programme, and Riga City Council.

BSD this year has selected 25 documentary film projects from 20 countries (out of more than 120 submitted), which will be provided with training



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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Yamagata

Written 12-07-2019 17:54:16 by Tue Steen Mller

Yamagata

… in Japan hosts a bi-annual documentary film festival of high quality. I have previously – see http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/1684/ – praised the festival for its modest pr activity and seriousness. Old-fashioned some might say, I would say refreshing that in the middle of festivals with colourful promotion and many times repeat of ”we are the best” or ”we want to be the best”, there is a festival that stands out by taking a different low-key way, check for yourself, click the website below.

In the selection for the festival taking place October 10-17, you wil find films by Wang Bing, Frederick Wiseman and Anand Patwardhan, all big names but it warms my heart to see that the festival has fallen for “Cachada – The Opportunity”, the film by Marlén Viñayo from El Salvador, her first film, that won an award at DocsBarcelona and has earned many positive words from critics, including the one, who writes these words, link below.

The same goes for Anna Eborn’s “Transnistra”, also a young female director, who now takes big steps on the international scene. The film, shot on 16mm film, is a true auteur film, if you like, click below and read words that include the name Truffaut.

https://www.yidff.jp/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4540/ (Cachada)

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4475/ (Transnistra)


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DokuFest Announces Its Program

Written 08-07-2019 11:46:37 by Tue Steen Mller

DokuFest Announces Its Program

”More than 100 wonderful documentary films as well as a great array of short fictions and experimental cinema representing 40 countries, is what characterizes the film competition…”, are words from the press release sent out a couple of days ago by the festival in Prizren Kosovo, that takes place August 2-10. The artistic director of the festival, Veton Nurkollari, is a happy man:

“Bold and innovative, timely and important, is how I’d identify many of the films from this year’s competitions. “DokuFest continues its mission to bringing the best and the brightest in contemporary filmmaking to Kosovo and we are thrilled to welcome a number of first-time directors as well as many returning ones to the festival.”

There are no less than six competition sections: Balkan Dox, Intl. Dox and Feature & Shorts, Intl. Shorts, Human Rights Dox, Green Dox, National Competition.

Several of the films have been highlighted on this site, let me mention five of them:

Artemio Benki: Solo - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4542/

Reetta Huhtanen: Gods of Molenbeek - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4454/

Rachel Leah Jones & Philippe Bellaiche : Advocate http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4553/

Dina Naser: Tiny Souls - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4543/

Viktor Kossakovsky: Aquarela - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4408/

As usual, the festival in Prizren offers high quality – and I can add that the festival atmosphere is friendly and relaxed with much time to digest and discuss what you have seen.

https://dokufest.com/2019/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Ksenia Okhapkina: Immortal

Written 05-07-2019 16:11:50 by Tue Steen Mller

Ksenia Okhapkina: Immortal

This film had its world premiere at the Karlovy Vary Festival that ends tomorrow, July 6. It has had three screenings, and let me start this review of a film, that will conclude with the highest marks on this site by quoting the catalogue text of the festival:

” How do the mechanisms of political power directly influence the lives of a country’s inhabitants? In seeking an answer to this difficult question, this cinematic essay looks at everyday life in a small Russian industrial city, uncovering along the way how dangerous and furtive an all-permeating ideology can be.”

… saying that there is nothing wrong in the text, it is also about indoctrination and building up patriotism, but not about everyday life, the text is a simplification that makes you think that here comes another social documentary from Russia, one of the many that fills festival programs all over. No, this is Cinema far away from information and much closer to interpretation of human life through sound and image and editing and point of view. It is seldom that I see a film that so precisely invites you into a world conveyed via symbols and sequences that has a flow of scary beauty that hits your eyes. Russian Sergey Dvortsevoy once said that for him every image, every sequence must have energy – in Ksenia Okhapkina’s film this is the case. The film is a composition, you are linked to the film with your eyes and ears, it is brilliant.

It takes place in the area, where there used to be Gulag camps and where there now live people, where coal is transported in containers attached to trains in an Arctic landscape, where the ice is burnt away from the pavement and where kids are trained to use rifles, girls are doing ballet and march – 1,2,3,4 – and where a golden tree stands with appartment buildings in the background. Where pilot training is talked about in a museum of heroes, who died for the Fatherland. You have a focus on kids listening and watching a propaganda film, where we the audience hear the sentence “the path to immortality”. Hence the title. Where people are filmed like shadows from behind, they are anonymous individuals, who have given up… no let me refrain from my interpretations to avoid simplifications… in a film that has the total ambition to let the images and the sound speak for what you take from it. Don’t say it, show it! And yet the lonely snow-covered dog barking represents of course, what the director and her excellent crew of camerapersons and editors and sound people and composers want to tell the audience, bringing with extraordinary cinematic skills a tone and a point of view the film to a thematically existential level. As did Pirjo Honkasalo years ago with her “Three Rooms of Melancholy”. It’s in that category, wrote the overwhelmed Danish reviewer.

Estonia/Latvia, 2019, 60 mins.


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Marco Gastine: As Far as the Sea

Written 01-07-2019 12:24:21 by Tue Steen Mller

Marco Gastine: As Far as the Sea

It’s a strong piece of observational public service documentary, Greek/French director Marco Gastine has made. “Public Service” reminding us about, what legendary Scottish John Grierson thought should be the role of documentaries: to make the audience, the civil society understand the importance of public institutions. In this case the K.A.T. hospital in Athens Greece, where a section is treating patients, who have experienced serious accidents, paraplegics. But Grierson also stressed that these documentaries, apart from having an informative goal, should be made by filmmakers with a creative and artistic interpretation.

For 108 minutes the film takes the audience to the hospital with the staff and



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Laila Pakalnina: Spoon

Written 29-06-2019 18:23:05 by Tue Steen Mller

Laila Pakalnina: Spoon

… her 65 minutes long documentary has its premiere in Karlovy Vary tonight. The play- and colourful Latvian director is very busy on Facebook, where she for a long time has posted great photos, the last couple of days also from Karlovy Vary, where she is with her cinematographer. She is one of few veteran directors, who is always able to surprise the audience.

In an interview before the premiere at the festival’s documentary competition, the director said to ScreenDaily’s Laurence Boyce : « The first important thing to understand was not where to film but with whom to film. It was a very important decision to work with cinematographer Gints Berzins with whom I’d studied with at Moscow Film School (VGIK). We had created our common understanding about what film is and made many films together. »

… a guarantee for something special, which she already promised us at the Baltic Sea Docs pitch in 2017, where she showed stunning images created by Berzins and by the way also, as the show-woman she can be, threw plastic spoons to the panelists at the table. Berzins has also made several films with another Latvian director, Viesturs Kairiss, where the camerawork is far from mainstream.

« (the dialogue-free film is) a deceptively simple affair in which Pakalnina charts the creation of a meagre plastic spoon. But within this simplicity lies a nuanced commentary on both the wastefulness of human society and the magnificent spectacle of human endeavour. »

Looking forward to see the film on a big screen somewhere at a festival or in Riga in September ?


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Beniamino Barrese: The Disappearance of My Mother

Written 28-06-2019 15:29:51 by Tue Steen Mller

Beniamino Barrese: The Disappearance of My Mother

This film that I first got to watch yesterday having heard and read about it, only positive words… Here is the annotation from IDFA’s Docs for Sale:

“Benedetta (Barrese) wants to disappear. An iconic fashion model in the 1960s, she became a muse to Warhol, Dali & Penn and Avedon. As a radical feminist in the 1970s, she fought for the rights and emancipation of women. A fight against the manipulating world of images and against her son’s camera, who filmed her since he was a child, despite her resistance.”

And in the CinéDoc Festival in Tbilisi, where I was in the Caucasus jury, the international jury gave the film the main award with the following motivation:



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Joris Ivens

Written 28-06-2019 11:24:40 by Tue Steen Mller

Joris Ivens

“The film screen is not a window through which you look at the world, it is a world in itself.”

DAFilms.com presents yet another documentary film classic, Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens. Recall his works from the golden collection of European cinema. Watch his films from the 1960s following his travels across the world: "17th Parallel" directly from the Vietnam War, "A Valparaíso" and "Le petit chapiteau" from Latin America’s Chile, and "Rotterdam Europort" painting a portrait of a city in his native Netherlands.

Set out on a documentary journey with globetrotter Joris Ivens!

www.dafilms.com


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Ai Weiwei on Documentary

Written 26-06-2019 10:44:54 by Tue Steen Mller

Ai Weiwei on Documentary

The BFI Doc Society publishes a very good newsletter. In the one I received yesterday, there was a text about the presence of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, whose last film ”The Rest” was screened at the Sheffield Documentary Festival. He was interviewed by Jess Search, here is a bit of what he said about documentary:

"Documentary is always a challenge. it's very close range. If it's fighting, it's like boxing. You have to take all those punches and you have to feel the pain… and about the medium… “You cannot hide, you expose yourself and also you have no excuse about any mistakes. So I love it because it's so truthful and clear and direct. It's a very honest form, as honest as it can get. So that's why it attracts me so much. Because it requires observation, understanding and passion, it requires a lot of passion."

His previous documentary, edited by Danish Niels Pagh Andersen, « Human Flow », was praised on this site:

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


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Images

Written 25-06-2019 21:36:19 by Tue Steen Mller

Images

At the first session of the Ex Oriente the directors taking part were asked to write a text "I am your character" in a couple of hours. I used the two hours before meeting the directors with their texts to write about some images that stayed on my mind from what I had seen. For you readers I have made some notes below so you know just a little bit of what I am talking about. Here is my small image-poetry:

The view from my hotel window.

Three angles, the church next door, the green and more green, the man packing his car. For a Sunday drive ?

Football – Dani Alves making a great goal on my apple computer last night, they say he is 36 years, no no, he is young as ever. 1)

Football without ball. Jan Gogolas clip with the kids, who are bored of the match going on, talking about the teeth that they are losing and getting...

The intellectuals as Gogola called them in conversation about Vaclav Klaus breaking a pen somewhere far away from the stadion. 2)

… and the little boy crawling into a cupboard or whatever it is in the flat in Pilsen. Unforgettable. 3)



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Ex Oriente First Session 2019

Written 24-06-2019 21:56:05 by Tue Steen Mller

Ex Oriente First Session 2019

… with the subtitle ”Find Your Way – Vision – Space and Storytelling” here in Banská Stiavnoca in Slovakia – is going to its end. Two more program points, exiting both of them, and then a summing up tomorrow. First one: I have just listened to Bosnian director Alen Drljevic talk about his "Men don't Cry" that we saw yesterday, a fiction film with a documentary background on a group therapy session with former soldiers in the different armies during the Yugoslav war.  

I am writing this in the cinema, where I am to watch ”Forman vs. Forman”, a private screening for the Ex Oriente participants of the film by Jakub Hejna and Helena Trestikova, the film about Milos Forman that premiered in Cannes and has its Czech premiere at the upcoming Karlovy Vary Film Festival. I just saw a clip of the master, he will be on screen in half an hour...



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Kirchhoff & Remunda: Steam on the River

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

Kirchhoff & Remunda: Steam on the River

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

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

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



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Jan Gogola on Dusan Hanak

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

Jan Gogola on Dusan Hanak

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

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

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

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

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

www.dokweb.net


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Orwa Nyrabia Talks about IDFA Changes

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

Orwa Nyrabia Talks about IDFA Changes

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

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

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


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Jakob Brossmann & David Paede: Listen to the Radio

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

Jakob Brossmann & David Paede: Listen to the Radio

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

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



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