Filmkommentaren

Oscar Doc Nominations

Written 23-01-2018 22:21:38 by Tue Steen Mller

Oscar Doc Nominations

Sooo, today was the day where the 15 documentaries on the shortlist that we brought in December, link below, was to become the 5 to be nominated. No Ai WeiWei, no Wiseman, no Matthew Heinemann but good and very good films.

Facebook has been full of congratulations to those, who have gone that far, and from here comes the same.

Here is the list, alphabetical order:

ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL

Steve James, Mark Mitten and Julie Goldman

Steve James is a great director (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters and Life Itself that we reviewed here: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3242/

FACES PLACES

Agnès Varda, JR and Rosalie Varda

Hmmm, feel ashamed that we have written so little about Varda during the years and this one has been praised everywhere!

ICARUS

Bryan Fogel and Dan Cogan

Available on Netflix, saw it, one of those where “content is King” but as a Film, well. Read few words here: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3242/

LAST MEN IN ALEPPO

Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed and Søren Steen Jespersen

Happy to see this awards-all-over film also for the Oscars. The film is produced by Larm Media and Aleppo Media Center. Review here: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3858/

STRONG ISLAND (photo)

Yance Ford and Joslyn Barnes

Also on Netflix and on top of my viewing list, recommended by many, including the one with whom I share the subscription – and of course another BRAVO to the coproducer FinalCut for Real, its manager Signe Byrge Sørensen and editor, master Janus Billeskov Jansen.

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4107/

http://oscar.go.com/nominees


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Phie Ambo Retrospective at DocPoint

Written 19-01-2018 22:36:40 by Tue Steen Mller

Phie Ambo Retrospective at DocPoint

The Helsinki Documentary Film Festival DocPoint takes place January 29 to February 4. It is as usual a festival that picks the best of the best and of course has a focus on new Finnish documentaries.

But allow us to put on a Danish perspective and salute that the festival had decided to set up a retrospective with Danish director Phie Ambo. DocPoint will screen one of her short films, Songs from the Soil, and five features: Gambler, Mechanical Love, Free the Mind, Good Things Await, …When You Look Away.

Ambo will do a seminar at the festival. I have heard her talk many times, I can assure you it will be good.

We have been writing about/reviewing the films of Ambo since this site was set up. In November 2007, the year we started, I wrote this: … Phie Ambo is one of the most obvious talents in new Danish documentary film. She showed great observational skills in her last film "Gambler" about the filmmaker Nikolaj Refn Winding (the "Pusher" trilogy), skills she is also using in her "Mechanical Love", which is primarily about the robot research and fabrication done in Japan.

And in September 2017, Allan Berg wrote this – in Danish – about ”… when you look Away” (PHOTO) that he found was the best Danish documentary in 2017: … Phie Ambos vidunderlige film træffer mig øjeblikkelig, mens jeg er uforberedt åben et meget personligt ellers næsten glemt sted, en næsten glemt erindring, en erkendelseshemmelighed, min tidligste tanke om kosmos. Juno, filmens første medvirkende, ligger og skal sove, det er åbningsbilledet. ”Er jeg et menneske eller et dyr?” spørger hun Phie Ambo som taler sagte med hende.

We have given highest marks for ”Free the Mind” and ”Good Things Await” as well as for a radio broadcast, where the director talks about film music.

Let me add to this small tribute to Phie Ambo that she follows her films the whole way through to the audience putting a lot of effort on the promotion and distribution of her films – into a cinema release.

https://docpointfestival.fi/en/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Wajda at Work

Written 18-01-2018 20:52:53 by Tue Steen Mller

Wajda  at Work

He died in 2016, Andrzej Wajda, 90 years old. A quote from Guardian’s obituary: ”Polish cinema burst upon the world in the 1950s with Andrzej Wajda’s war trilogy, A Generation, Kanał and Ashes and Diamonds, with the director becoming the voice of disaffected postwar youth. A generation later, Wajda, who has died aged 90, was the voice of Poland again, as the country struggled to survive political and economic turmoil.”

And why this text now… simply because I first now got to watch the film about him, ”Andrzej Wajda – Let’s Shoot”, filmed during the shooting of ”Katyn” that came out in 2007, the film about the Soviet massacre in 1940, where about 22.000 Polish prisoners of war were killed in the forest Katyn in Western Russia.

The film about Wajda making the film, however, is not about the



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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Andrijana Stojkovic: Wongar

Written 17-01-2018 12:17:17 by Tue Steen Mller

Andrijana Stojkovic: Wongar

Some films do not need the pressure of actuality that many broadcasters and festivals want for their audience. Many films would benefit from resting in the editing phase for the maker(s) to come back and look at the material with fresh eyes. Deadlines for delivery block this most of the time.

My dear friend Serbian Andrijana Stojkovic went to and fro the editing room for her film “Wongar”. For years. Well, for the decade it took, she did a feature film, “The Box”, she has been teaching documentaries, she has been part of the team behind the Magnificent7 festival in Belgrade, she has been editing with Syrian directors, she is producing… but she has also been hesitating. She has been doubtful how to finish the film.

Now it is there, finished and waiting for festivals to pick it up for a world premiere. Photography: Portuguese master Joao Ribeiro, producer Jelena Stankovic.

I am happy for her. The film is good. It shows that the



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Dragon Award Best Nordic Documentary

Written 15-01-2018 14:56:07 by Tue Steen Mller

Dragon Award Best Nordic Documentary

It’s a period of nominations for awards here there and everywhere. The national ones, the international ones. ”Who can bear to be forgotten”, as a line in a famous classic documentary goes. It means something to be on a list, to be appreciated, it’s not only red carpet and glamour. It helps get the films to an audience. Let’s mention the award given to a documentary at the Göteborg Film Festival in February. The quality focus is here obvious, when you see who got the award the three previous years:



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Juln & Alexievich: Luybov Love in Russian

Written 12-01-2018 11:08:25 by Tue Steen Mller

Juln & Alexievich: Luybov Love in Russian

Julén with the first name Staffan, experienced Swedish documentarian, shares the same appreciation for Svetlana Alexievich as I do. Click the link below for a text I wrote about her after reading her beautiful book ”Second-Hand Time” during the summer of 2017. In that text she describes her documentary working method as a writer:I don't just record a dry history of events and facts, I'm writing a history of human feelings. What people thought, understood and remembered during the event. What they believed in or mistrusted, what illusions, hopes and fears they experienced… That made her book one of the best if you want to understand the Soviet Man.

Staffan Julén has for years followed Alexievich, when she is



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Arunas Matelis: Wonderful Losers/ Poster

Written 09-01-2018 19:29:24 by Tue Steen Mller

Arunas Matelis: Wonderful Losers/ Poster
It's not only because he is Danish... but also because it is such a good poster that reflects, what the film is about, the hard job that Chris Anker Sørensen (nickname in Danish: Oksen fra Hammel) and many others have as road bicycle riders. "Wonderful Losers" yes, who don't give up easily. Arunas Matelis, the director of this already two times awarded film found a part of the dialogue that Sørensen has in the film with the doctors in the car that follows:
Doctor (in driving doctors car) : Ask him if he hit his head…   Did you hit your head? He’s not even answering! Hold on! - Do you have a problem?  
Sørensen (next to the car) : Just... I don’t remember anything.  
D: You don't remember?
S: No. 
D: Does your head hurt?  Are you hurt? Stop! No, it doesn’t hurt very seriously, but he doesn’t remember anything.  
Hold on! Do you remember falling?
S: Yes... I fell... I remember…  
D: What? 
S: Only a small part…  
D: Do you remember only a small part? 
S: Yes, yes, yes.  
D: Can you see well or foggy? What about eyes? Can you see well?
S:  Yes, yes, well. I remember my name…
D:  Ok.
S:  I also remember my daughters… 
D: He remembers his daughters names. Good. If anything changes, if you feel sick, tell us! If you feel like vomiting… Well, he says he remembers what his daughters are called.  
... Arunas Matelis: About Chris Anker Sørensen - Although his role in the film is small, it is essential to me. When Mark Olexa captured him with his camera, I was convinced - I can do the film. Paradoxical as it may seem, the man keeps on pedalling even confused, having no recollection of falls, and maybe - the direction to where he's going. He keeps on moving, never stops even for a little break to clean up the wounds or to reassure the doctors in the medical car that everything's all right. All he remembers is his children's names. This could only happen in a documentary!
Photographer Gintas Berzinskas, poster designer Justinas Dadonas.

Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Kissinger and Giedre Zickyte

Written 30-12-2017 16:53:41 by Tue Steen Mller

Kissinger and Giedre Zickyte

“It was the last shooting for our upcoming documentary THE JUMP, starring former United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Dr. Henry Kissinger. It was a huge honour to have the opportunity to conduct this interview for our film.

THE JUMP is a retelling of a famous Cold War incident in which a Lithuanian sailor jumped from the Soviet onto the US ship and sought political asylum, only to be refused sanctuary and handed back to the Soviets. This incredible story, full of twists and turns, reverberated throughout the world in the 70’s and is still relevant today.”


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Lars Feldballe Pedersen: Prsidenten fra Nordvest

Written 27-12-2017 19:10:08 by Tue Steen Mller

Lars Feldballe Pedersen: Prsidenten fra Nordvest

It’s a Dane writing this review. Important to say as the main character of this film, Ahmed Dualeh, is Danish, well he is born in Somalia but has been living in Denmark for 47 years – and he speaks the most perfect, classic Danish. An accent is there but the vocabulary is huge, which is heard, when he in first person tells the amazing story about his life in the country he loves and where he settled in 1967. He became a captain of ships at Maersk, he set up his own company and became a millionaire, he established a family… but he has his heart in Somalia, where he was born in poverty, adopted by an Italian family, and where he – voted by exile Somalis – became the president of Jubaland in 2012, the republic in the South of Somalia. As it turns out there are many other, who want that job, and also a position as prime minister is not reachable for the charismatic idealistic man, who wants to help his native country and dedicates a lot of time to go to political meetings and to meet people in the streets. Most of the time outside Jubaland, in Mogadishu or in neighbouring Kenya as Jubaland still is a dangerous place because of warlords.

The structure of the film goes from here to there, from Denmark to Somalia, from the family to politics. Very simple and efficient. His wife Zhara is worried about him – and their life together - as he is so much away from home. In a scene she is packing her suitcase, cut to him trying to catch her by phone, no success, cut to a daughter who tells him to stop all that travelling, cut to him and wife on what is said to be the last tour, where he is bringing computers and other technical equipment to a school in his native region in Somalia.

Apart from the drama, which is actually not described as a drama, of the couple who has been together for 45 years, the film lives through the way he – and she – is described. An almost constantly smiling, well formulated positive Danish Somali and his adventurous life with Zhara. You will be in a good mood watching this film, which of course also in a Denmark of today full of restrictions towards foreigners is a very timely documentary.

Denmark, 2017, 65 mins.


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Categories: TV, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Best Documentaries 2017/ Intro

Written 25-12-2017 18:50:04 by Tue Steen Mller

Best Documentaries 2017/ Intro

Per tradition I have gone through the texts on this site to find, what I see as the best documentaries of 2017. I stopped at 16 titles – half of them come from the Eastern part of Europe. Am I one-sided? Many will probably say ”yes you are”, but it is a fact that in 2017 – contrary to another fact: that funding is much less in Eastern Europe compared to for example in France and Germany – creative, personal cinematographic works came from directors in Poland, Serbia, Lithuania, Romania, Czech Republic/Slovakia and Russia. Let me remind you that it was a Romanian film (”Licu”) that won first prize at DOK Leipzig and a Serbian at IDFA (”The Other Side of Everything”)

Another positive aspect of the list is that new names mingle with well known as Leonard Helmrich, Talal Derki, Arunas Matelis, Vit Klusak, Elvira Niewiera/Piotr Rosolowski and Ai WeiWei. I refer to Marta Prus, Simon Lereng Wilmont, Mila Turajlic, Mohamed Siam, Mindaugas Survila, Ana Dumitrescu, Elvira Lind, Ní Chianáin and David Rane. Julia Bobkova, Ana Dumitrescu.

I stopped at 16. I could have added Frederick Wiseman and his film on the New York Public Library, which was loved by me, who was once long long ago educated librarian. And I am sure that if I had seen Agnès Varda’s ”Faces Places” or the new film by Raymond Depardon, they could have been candidates.

But veterans have to wait – and let me just remind you that if you miss Raoul Peck’s masterpiece ”I’m not your Negro”, Rahul Jain’s ”Machines” that is on most hit lists coming out right now, ”Cameraperson”, ”Austerlitz”… they were on the 2016 list that you can check here:

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3782/

Photo from "The Distant Barking of Dogs" by Simon Lereng Wilmont.


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Best Documentaries of 2017

Written 25-12-2017 18:12:59 by Tue Steen Mller

Best Documentaries of 2017

Marta Prus: Over the Limit

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4091/

Leonard Helmrich:The Long Season

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4092/

Talal Derki: Of Fathers and Sons

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4094/

Simon Lereng Wilmont: The Distant Barking of Dogs

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

Mila Turajlic: The Other Side of Everything

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

Mohamed Siam: Amal

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4087/

Mindaugas Survila: The Ancient Woods

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4086/

Arunas Matelis: Wonderful Losers

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4048/

Ana Dumitrescu: Licu – A Romanian Story

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4076/

Ai WeiWei: Human Flow

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

Elvira Lind: Bobbi Jene

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

Niewiera/Rosolowski: The Prince and the Dybbuk

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4052/

Julia Bobkova: The Last Waltz

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3984/

Vit Klusak: The White World According to Daliborek

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3959/

Kasper Collin: I Called Him Morgan

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4046/

Ní Chianáin and Rane: In Loco Parentis

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3821/


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Yulia Grigoryants. Photographer/ 2

Written 22-12-2017 20:01:10 by Tue Steen Mller

Yulia Grigoryants. Photographer/ 2

In the beginning of this month, December 2017, the Armenian photographer published a slate of photos and a text for ajjazeera, click the link below and you can see and read it all.

Here is some of Grigoryants text: In Gyumri time is measured as "before" and "after" the earthquake. On December 7, 1988, an earthquake measuring a magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter scale struck northern Armenia, killing at least 25,000 people and injuring hundreds of thousands more. A countless number of people were left homeless as high-rise apartment blocks collapsed like dominoes. Gyumri, Armenia’s second largest city, suffered much of the damage… the photo: Syuzanna, aged 9, plays inside old rusty cars in front of the abandoned building, where she lives with her family. Ten days ago, Syuzanna's father committed suicide because of debts he was unable to repay…

Copyright: Yulia Grigoryants/ al jazeera

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/forgotten-survivors-gyumri-earthquake-171004083707018.html


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Yulia Grigoryants. Photographer

Written 21-12-2017 14:20:19 by Tue Steen Mller

Yulia Grigoryants. Photographer

The times they are a changing… Years ago I met Yulia Grigoryants several times in the Caucasus region. In Tbilisi and in her own country Armenia’s capital Jerevan. She worked with local Bars Media and was the producer of the film ”The Chosen Ones” that ended up having the title ”One,Two,Three”. I already then knew her as an excellent documentary photographer so when I met her again in Paris last week – she is married to a French film producer and they live in Paris – I asked if she would be so generous to let us show you readers a couple of her photos. Here is the first one that has this text to follow:

Yazidi Gyozal (34 y.o.) bakes bread in the traditional bread house "tonratoon" in Yazidi village Rya Taza in Armenia. Gyozal hasn't seen her husband for the last 10 years. He emigrated to France and even hasn't seen his youngest son. Together with her 4 children Gyozal waits for the moment when he will be able to take them to France.

Photo Copyright: Yulia Grigoryants.


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Important Questionnaire from EDN

Written 20-12-2017 12:13:36 by Tue Steen Mller

Important Questionnaire from EDN

Ahhh again! Someone asking you to fill in a questionnaire – were you happy with the festival, the workshop, the hotel you stayed at, the dinner you enjoyed and paid for… You know it and you don’t like it. And if you don’t answer, be sure they will come back.

The same as director of EDN (European Documentary Network) Paul Pauwels (PP) and his office in Copenhagen has done again and again. BUT WITH QUITE A DIFFERENT AIM that points to the future. I have always been sceptical when it comes to studies, especially to academic ones, but having been pushed gently by PP, I clicked on the link below and went quickly to the questionnaire, that is actually very well put together showing that ”they” know what they are talking about.

It’s part of the EDN’s ”Media and Society” survey that EDN and partners want to be the fundament for setting up a policy for the future of the documentary genre, in all its aspects.

The questionnaire is NOT ONLY FOR EDN MEMBERS, who are primarily producers/productions companies and institutions. I would strongly advice also directors, camerapersons, editors etc. to take a look at the questionnaire.

And if I may be ”geographical”: EDN has far too few members from the Eastern part of Europe – and their situation is quite different from the (rich) countries in the West of Europe like France, Germany, the Nordic … so come on Baltic makers, Polish, Belorussians, Czech, Slovaks, Hungarians, Croats, Serbs, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Slovenians, Russians, Georgians, Ukrainians… take a look, give your answers, make your voices heard! How do you see the documentary world today and tomorrow? About 30 minutes online, it’s nothing!

http://edn.network/activities/media-and-society-initiative/


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Best of DAFilms 2017

Written 18-12-2017 13:46:24 by Tue Steen Mller

Best of DAFilms 2017

… DA standing for DocAlliance, “the creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals…”. We do it again, recommend our readers to sign up for a subscription for this unique quality vod. €5 per month!

“The end of the year is a perfect time for retrospection, evaluation and best of charts. In December, we at DAFilms traditionally give our program selection over to you, our viewers. The Curated Program includes the films that you liked and watched the most in the past year. Plus, as a Christmas bonus, we added a few new films that were successful at festivals and now receive an online premiere at DAFilms!

Our Christmas selection includes a whole range of documentaries. If you love animals, don’t overlook Do Donkeys Act? about the life of donkeys; narrated by Willem Dafoe! However, if you don’t come to DAFilms for animals, watch for instance El Sicario – Room 164, a portrait of a hitman who speaks on camera in strict anonymity…”.

Let me mention some of the gems among the 20 films mentioned in this x-mas greeting: Chris Marker (PHOTO) with “Lettre de Siberie” (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3983/) (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3946/), Ognjen Glavonic’s “Depth Two” (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3475/),

Salome Jashi’s “The Dazzling Light of Sunset” (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3525/). The two latter were both on this site’s “Best of 2016”.

And Viktor Kossakovsky’s “The Belovs” (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3371/)

Two classics and two neo-classics, can one put it like that?

www.Dafilms.com


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Web

Miroslav Janek: Universum Brdecka

Written 15-12-2017 23:57:02 by Tue Steen Mller

Miroslav Janek: Universum Brdecka

Got the newsletter from Czech IDF (Institute of Documentary Film) yesterday. One of the news highlighted was that Miroslav Janek has made a new film that will be released December 21. Janek is one of the heroes of filmkommentaren.dk, we have posted a lot of texts about him and his work and his portrait is with Robert Frank and Herz Frank on top of the site.

The new film is made together with Tereza Brdeckova, journalist and author and daughter of Jiri Brdecka - the artist the film is about, as the title says: ”Universum Brdecka”.

Marta Jallageas has made a fine mini-interview with Janek about the film – an interview that makes me curious to see the film and know about another fine Czech ”screenwriter, author and artist”, who made ”Lemonade Joe, The Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, Dinner for Adele, The Emperor and the Golem... These are just a few of the successful films written by Jiří Brdečka”, as the interview says.

The film has over five thousand cuts, says Janek, who again worked with his wife Tonicka as editor. ”We spent five months in the editing room… It seems like we were trying to break some editing world record here but that’s obviously nonsense. It’s about the way we tell the story. We picked a style that requires a lot of cuts but many would be hard to notice even for professionals… The key to selecting material was simple. Excerpts from Brdečka’s movies are not used to illustrate or inform about his work. Instead, we used them to create meaning so that they fit in with the subject discussed in individual scenes and enhance them both emotionally and aesthetically…”

Always interesting to read Janek’s thoughts on filmmaking, can’t wait to see the film about an artist I have never heard about. And the article includes the trailer of the film, very inviting, in Czech language, but does not matter, you get an idea of the man and the style of the film.

www.dokweb.net


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Macedonia Cuts Film Funding

Written 14-12-2017 22:34:08 by Tue Steen Mller

… by 25% in 2018, according to a headline in FilmNewEurope of today. If I get it right there will be 5m€ for film in 2018 – in 2017 it was 6m€, in 2016 6,5m€. No details are put forward, maybe Macedonian filmmakers know more…

So – as previous posts have revealed – it goes down in Catalunya for the television station, it goes up in Serbia via the Film Centre and down in the country just south of Serbian border.

… in France there is via the CNC 80m€ for documentaries…

http://filmneweurope.com


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Zhong Weixing Photos in Paris

Written 14-12-2017 21:46:42 by Tue Steen Mller

Zhong Weixing Photos in Paris

If you are interested in photography it is always a good idea, when you are in Paris, to visit Maison Européenne de la Photographie, a building in three floors with interesting exhibitions. We were there today and apart from a huge collection of portraits and reportage photos with Marlene Dietrich (the best is the one taken by Cecil Beaton, link below) there is – until beginning of January – an extraordinary exhibit of portrait photos by Chinese Zhong Weixing, who presents artistic interpretations of what he considers to be the best photographers in the world. ”Face à Face” is the name of the series. He is playing with light and shadows, many of them are in movement, he proves stylistical excellence. Names: Raymond Depardon, Salgado, William Klein, Yann Arthus-Bertrand and as you can see Robert Frank. And many others.

https://www.mep-fr.org/

http://www.zhongweixing.cn/

http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/39801/cecil-beaton-marlene-dietrich-british-1932/


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

ArtDocFest in Moscow

Written 13-12-2017 23:37:38 by Tue Steen Mller

ArtDocFest in Moscow

I have only this source - The Moscow Times - but no surprise that the festival run by director Vitaly Mansky (photo) can create conflicts due to the programming of Mansky, who has also chosen to show controversial Russian films in Riga Latvia, where he now lives.

This time – quote from Moscow Times, article by Michele A. Berdof of December 11th: ArtDocFest, a popular Russian festival of documentary films in its tenth year, made news in Moscow this weekend — but not on the culture pages…

Ultranationalist supporters of separatists in eastern Ukraine disrupted the screening of a film about the ongoing war in Donbass and caused the auditorium to be evacuated.

Problems began on Saturday with the premiere of “Bullet’s Flight” by Beata Bubenets. The documentary about the Ukrainian Aidar battalion was filmed in a single 80-minute sequence. The battalion, accused of war crimes by Amnesty International, was disbanded by the Ukrainian government in March 2015, a year after the film was shot. A group of activists watched the film and then argued with the filmmaker. They demanded that the festival administrators remove it from the program. Vitaly Mansky, director of the film festival, refused…

Read the rest on this link:

https://themoscowtimes.com/articles/mansky-artdocfest-ukraine-film-59901


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Shamira Raphala: Lenno and the Angelfish

Written 12-12-2017 13:34:04 by Tue Steen Mller

Shamira Raphala: Lenno and the Angelfish

Wow… I fully understand that the jury of IDFA’s Docs & Kids chose this film to be the winner of the far too often overlooked genre of short documentaries, not to talk about docs for kids, who at least until a certain age prefer animation and entertainment. But I am sure that a film like this – with the right introduction – or with grown-ups beside them - will work for kids at the same age as Lenno. And older. My wow goes for the filmic excellent interpretation that the filmmaker performs of the subject. There is the unconventional drumming music, there are the unconventional camera angles to catch Lenno on his bed, there are the beautiful moments, where he communicates with the naughty angelfish, the tense atmosphere when he is with his father, the dialogue with the brother, the mystery around the mother, who is not there but sends him drawings… at the end of the film you wish all the best for Lenno and his family! Here is the annotation text from the IDFA site:

”Ten-year-old Lenno is always getting yelled at for annoying people, but in his mind, it’s the other people who are irritating. Using an impulsive editing style that switches quickly between moments of pleasure and anger, clashes and intimacy, this impression of how Lenno experiences the world stays very close to its subject: a lively boy with a behavioral disorder and a vivid imagination. He boxes with his younger brother, cries when he hurts himself, walks away when he gets criticized and is very pleased with the great coloring books he gets from his mother. Lenno tries to express what's going on in his head. "People think I have a problem because I get angry a lot. I think it’s stupid they say that." In a candid moment, Lenno's father admits that he too wasn’t exactly a model kid. A fanatical swimmer, Lenno empathizes with his angelfish—a species with a reputation for being aggressive, which Lenno thinks isn’t fair. He hopes the angelfish will make friends with the other fish.”

The Netherlands, 19 mins.

www.idfa.nl 


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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Bakar Cherkezishvili: Apollo Javakheti

Written 12-12-2017 12:15:58 by Tue Steen Mller

Bakar Cherkezishvili: Apollo Javakheti

The film was at IDFA 2017. Placed in the category Kids&Docs and Student Film Competition. Another very impressive piece of Georgian documentary: One character who has a dream and visualises it for the film. A boy who is occupied 24 hours a day, life is tough for him, from an adult’s point of view. But the film stays away from the social aspect to go with him and his plans for the future with a fast editing rythm to make the day understandable, and the location is made beautiful to watch. Here is the precise annotation from the IDFA site:

”Bandura is growing up with his single mother in the Georgian region of Javakheti. The climate is harsh, the roads are bad and the views are gray and rocky. In the rural village where he lives, time seems to have stood still. The teenager earns extra money herding sheep, helping the local cheesemaker and planting potatoes. Home at the kitchen table, his mother reads aloud from the Bible, but Bandura has other things on his mind: he wants to travel to the moon. Between his daily duties, he begins to build an actual rocket and to plan out his future. By selling sheep, he can make enough money to catch a boat to the United States, where he can start asking around about where to study to become a space traveler. Even though time appears to have come to a halt here, with a bit of fantasy—which our protagonist has plenty of—Javakheti by night really does look like the lunar landscape.” 

Georgia, 16 mins.

www.idfa.nl


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Serbian Docs Positive News

Written 10-12-2017 13:15:53 by Tue Steen Mller

Serbian Docs Positive News

What a nice publication to have in hand: Serbian Docs 2017/18. There is a spirit of optimism in the catalogue, not only from the list of the many documentaries that are already out there but also from the list of upcoming works. The catalogue editor Nenad Miloševic calls it ”a new chapter”, the director of the Film Centre Boban Jevtic stresses the substantial support from the cinemagoers, reflected in the many festivals which show documentaries… I can only confirm the interest from the audience from my experience with the Magnificent7 festival in Belgrade through 13 editions. Seldom the amount of audience has been under 1500!

And the President of DOKSERBIA, the association of filmmakers and the publisher of the catalogue, Jovana Nikolic, uses the phrase ”finally united” and outlines the work DOKSERBIA does and intends to do, to make the documentary genre established as an independent art form.

Most important, however, are the figures presented in the catalogue: The Film Center Serbia allocated €307.048 for documentaries in 2014, in 2017 it was €811.350.

Reasons for optimism, indeed, of course also helped by the recent international recognition of ”On the Other Side of Everything” by Mila Turajlic and ”In Praise of Nothing” by Boris Mitic.

www.dokserbia.com


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

European Film Award to Polish Communion

Written 10-12-2017 00:34:25 by Tue Steen Mller

European Film Award to Polish Communion

No surprise and well deserved… the Polish documentary ”Communion” by Anna Zamecka was the winner of the documentary award of EFA, European Film Academy, announced in Berlin Saturday night. I am not a member of EFA but having talked to 5 voting members, who had seen all the films and who all said that ”Communion” was the film they liked most, I could guess that it could possibly be ahead of ”Austerlitz” by Sergey Loznitsa, ”La Chana” of Lucija Stojevic, ”Stranger in Paradise” by Guido Hendrix and ”The Good Postman” by Tonislav Hristov.

The film that is produced by Anna Wydra, Anna Zamecka, Zuzanna Krol, Izabela Lopuch & Hanka Kastelicova – in this case too many cooks apparently did NOT spoil the meal – was also very well promoted on the social media, it has already received several awards and it has a very competent outreach promoter, Dimitra Kouzi from whom – to exemplify – I just received valuable press material after the decison was made to give the award to the film.

We have written about the film several times, always bringing the same photo from the film. This time it will be a photo of the director, Anna Zamecka, congratulations, and again a Polish documentary on top of it all!. All that, and the involvement of HBO, will bring the film to a large audience.  


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Irving Penn at Grand Palais

Written 09-12-2017 16:08:11 by Tue Steen Mller

Irving Penn at Grand Palais

Grand exhibition at Parisian Grand Palais to be strongly recommended. Irving Penn, a photographer who was a true believer of the strenght of form and arrangement, but who also had the documentary curiosity, when he travelled for the fashion magazine Vogue. Especially when he was in Peru in Cuzco. And oh his portraits of Picasso, Marlene Dietrich, Hitchcock, Francis Bacon, Spencer Tracy, Joe Louis… Light and shadow, composition, framing, elégance!

”2017 marks the centenary of the birth of Irving Penn (1917-2009), one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century. This exhibition, organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and The Réunion des musées nationaux– Grand Palais, in collaboration with The Irving Penn Foundation,is the first major retrospective of the American artist’s work in France since his death. It looks back over his seventy-year career, with more than 235 photographic prints, all produced by the artist himself, as well as a selection of his drawings and paintings. The Irving Penn exhibition offers a comprehensive vision of the range of genres he worked in: fashion, still life, portraits, nudes, beauty, cigarettes and debris. With his fine arts background, Irving Penn developed a body of visual work that is defined by its elegant simplicity, a taste for minimalism and an astonishing rigour, evident from the studio to the darkroom, where he perfected his unique photographic prints…”

From the website, link below.

The exhibition is open until January 29 2018.

http://www.grandpalais.fr/en/event/irving-penn


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Oscars Shortlist Feature Documentaries

Written 08-12-2017 10:04:22 by Tue Steen Mller

Oscars Shortlist Feature Documentaries

From 170 to 15 and then on January 23 down to 5 nominations. Here are the 15 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title and director:

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail” (Steve James)

“Chasing Coral” (Jeff Orlowski)

City of Ghosts” (Matthew Heineman)

Ex Libris — The New York Public Library” (Frederick Wiseman)

Faces Places” (JR & Agnès Varda)

Human Flow” (Ai WeiWei)

“Icarus” (Bryan Fogel)

“An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” (David Guggenheim)

“Jane” (Brett Morgan )

LA 92” (Daniel Lindsay & T.J. Martin)

Last Men in Aleppo” (Firas Fayyad)

Long Strange Trip” (Amir Bar-Lev)

One of Us” (Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady)

Strong Island” (Yance Ford)

Unrest” (Jennifer Brea)

http://www.indiewire.com/2017/12/oscar-documentary-features-15-shortlist-1201905181/


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Astrid Bussink: Listen

Written 06-12-2017 15:52:22 by Tue Steen Mller

Astrid Bussink: Listen

”Life can seem pretty overwhelming at times, particularly when you're growing up. And it’s not always easy to talk to your parents or friends about your problems. Fortunately, the "Kindertelefoon" (Child Helpline) in the Netherlands provides a listening ear…” That’s what this short film is about, a truly creative work, warm in its approach to the children, who call – a boy in an asylum centre, a girl whose parents are divorced, she lives with the mother and her new boyfriend but wants to live with the father, but she dares not talk to her mother about this, and a boy who is afraid to become gay…

Cats fill the image quite often, they are of course ones to talk to, when at home.

There is nothing special about the theme and there are helplines like that in many countries, and you don’t really get to know – because of the anonymity of the calls – what answers they children get. Fair enough, when you take into account how good this film will be to create a discussion with the children, who watch the film. It talks to the heart also for us, who are not kids any longer

The film got the Special Jury Award at IDFA this year, where it was in the Docs for Kids section.

www.idfa.nl

The Netherlands, 2017, 15 mins.


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There is An Audience!

Written 06-12-2017 09:47:56 by Tue Steen Mller

There is An Audience!

Of course the previous post about the financial cuts of the TV3, the Catalan public television makes you sad as you know that there is an audience for creative documentaries in Catalunya and Spain in general. Which makes me praise the Documental del Mes, Documentary of the Month, that is an initiative by DocsBarcelona, born as a CinemaNet Europe’s project, in 2004. Since 2007, the development in Spain is led exclusively by Parallel 40. This piece of fine film culture politics is ”creating” an audience!

Quality documentaries are shown in 94 places ”in its original version subtitled in Catalan (for the audience of Catalunya, Comunitat Valenciana, and Illes Balears) and subtitled in Spanish for the rest of Spain, Chile and Colombia. Latest addition is El Salvador.

I asked Laia Aubia, ”Cap de Projecte”, to give me some figures. She mentioned that the Colombian ”Amazona” by Clare Weiskopf, produced by Nicolas van Hemelryck has had 77 screenings in Spain – around 12 more to come – with 5.115 spectators with 1551 online, and more than 32.000 at Colombian screenings, whereas the Danish ”Venus” by Lea Glob and Mette Carla Albrechtsen attracted 4.300 in Spanish cinemas and 8000 online.

Take a look at the website and you will see titles like Sean McAllister’s ”A Syrian Love Story”, Maite Alberdi’s ”Tea Time”, ”The Promise” by Karin Steinberger and Marcus Vetter and 2018 starts with Rahul Jain’s masterpiece ”Machines”. Almost all films that goes for the Documentary of the Month has been at the DocsBarcelona festival. The 2018 edition of the festival will take place May 16 till 27.

https://eldocumentaldelmes.com/en/


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Huge Crisis for Catalan Documentaries

Written 05-12-2017 10:58:33 by Tue Steen Mller

Huge Crisis for Catalan Documentaries

Below follows a translated article from the Catalan newspaper Ara´s online version written by journalist and critic Xavi Serra, who is also covering the festival DocsBarcelona. is one of the main Catalan newspapers:

"During the feast of the candidates for the Gaudí of the Catalan Film Academy that was held Tuesday at the Old Damm Factory, not everything was smiles, kisses and hand-held people among the people of cinema.

The presentation of the films registered in the 10th edition of the Gaudí awards revealed a reality that the sector knew was already coming for months: the general decrease in Catalan audiovisual production and, in particular, the great decline in the documentary , that of the 19 candidates of 2016 this year had only 9 enrolled, almost half of titles.

A bucket of cold water for Catalan non-fiction... and all the consulted voices in the sector agree to point out one main reason: the sharp decline in the economic contribution of TV3 to the co-production of documentaries.



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Serbian Documentaries in Paris

Written 02-12-2017 21:28:43 by Tue Steen Mller

Serbian Documentaries in Paris

It’s a pleasure to see that Serbian documentarians get international recogniiton. They deserve it. And I know what I am talking about. Since the beginning of this century I have had the privilege to go to Belgrade to help Svetlana and Zoran Popovic to make selection for the Magnificent7 film festival, that will happen for the 14th time in 2018.

Through the festival I have kept contact with talented and skilled filmmakers, who have fought to raise funding for their films, and for several of them they have also been instrumental to make the festival happen. Four of them will next week be in Paris. Their



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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Boris Mitic: In Praise of Nothing

Written 01-12-2017 11:45:56 by Tue Steen Mller

Boris Mitic: In Praise of Nothing

Boris, I watched it two times

your film, so full of rhymes

I was not stressed,

felt actually quite impressed

I loved the voice of Iggy Pop,

does that make me an intellectual snob?

The cabaret music made me glad,

I could not sit still where I sat

The images are sooo fine,

enjoyable as the best wine

Your texts are sometimes crazy

really pleasing this viewer lazy

I see the film as a tribute to everything

from your alter Ego Mr. Nothing

… and to Glawogger our master

who fought against disaster

But why sarchastic to the genre docu

I don’t think it suits you

But happy that you are not a journalist,

not so happy when you are a moralist

That would be my main objection,

to a film that does not want perfection

but that wants to question it all, through fun,

and a beauty that sometimes made tears run

Trust your image elegance

and your verbal eloquence

Big hug

from a clumsy text in blog

Serbia and many other countries, 2017, 78 mins.

More about the film on http://dribblingpictures.com/slatko-od-nista/praise/


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Niels Pagh about Ai WeiWei & Human Flow

Written 30-11-2017 17:20:28 by Tue Steen Mller

Niels Pagh about Ai WeiWei & Human Flow

Documentary director Fredrik Gertten (the two Bananas films, Bikes vs. Cars, Zlatan) left his editing room in Malmø last night to go and see Ai WeiWei’s ”Human Flow” at a preview screening – the film premieres tomorrow theatrically in Sweden. Fredrik was so kind after the screening to take a photo of the editor of the film, Niels Pagh Andersen, together with me, who talked with Niels.

We had more than an hour to have Niels give background to why he was working with the world famous artist, how that work was organised, the aesthetic choices, the message that the Chinese artist wanted to send and much more.

Let me mention a couple of the things that came up:



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Simon Lereng Wilmont: The Distant Barking of Dogs

Written 28-11-2017 14:15:46 by Tue Steen Mller

Simon Lereng Wilmont: The Distant Barking of Dogs

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

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



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Machines and Communion

Written 26-11-2017 17:19:03 by Tue Steen Mller

Machines and Communion

The Copenhagen audience will next week be treated with the best of the best of documentaries next week. “Machines” by Rahul Jain will have a two week run from wednesday in Empire Bio. My review, highest marks, can be read on http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3772/

Here is a quote: ...here is one more film that gives us evidence that you can tell in images…mentioning Michael Glawogger.

And the Polish film “Communion” by Anna Zamecka, nominated for the documentary award of EFA (European Film Award), will have a screening in Grand Teatret on wednesday as well, 21.15, the director will be there. Joshua Oppenheimer has said this about the film that “…(it) took my breath away, brought me to tears, left me contemplating mysteries of family…”


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Srgio Trfaut: Treblinka

Written 26-11-2017 12:25:46 by Tue Steen Mller

Srgio Trfaut: Treblinka
The portuguese director Sérgio Tréfaut/ Serge Tréfaut (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3388/) was back in Copenhagen with the film Treblinka. The screening took place at the Cinématheque at the Film House.
The Cinématheque that we so often have praised on this site for its excellent programming  and that I (Allan Berg lives in Randers hours away from Copenhagen) visit far too little even if it is only 10 minutes walk from home. Well, not totally right, we often go with the grandchildren to watch the morning screenings of mainly animation films.
Back to Tréfaut saturday night 7pm. Almost full house, a majority invited through the culturally active Portuguese embassy. Jesper Andersen.
programmer, who like me admires Tréfaut and his work, had chosen “Treblinka” knowing that the director also is a great speaker, which he
demonstrated before and after the 61 minutes long film.
About the background for the film he told the audience that he had had long conversations with the French director and writer AND holocaust
survivor Marceline Loridan-Ivens (born 1928); her last name refers to her long life with legendary documentarian Joris Ivens. He was impressed
by her will to life - “this small woman is like a bomb” - and had read her memoirs and heard her talk about her relations to trains. She is still
scared to enter a train… the trains to the camps…
That was one of the reasons why Tréfaut chose to let his film take place in trains passing though foggy or snowy Eastern European landscapes, with images that are most often doubled, with naked men and women sitting in the trains, some of them reciting the text, with the constant train sound. The images, composed by João Ribeiro, and the editing, create a dreamerish atmosphere, something horrible that happened in the past, the ghosts are still there for the survivors whatever they do to enjoy the Life.
The film essay, yes that’s what it is, is based on the memoirs of Chil Rajchman (Treblinka: A Survivor’s Memory), a Polish Jew, who was arrested
with his younger sister in 1942 and sent to Treblinka - a death camp where more than 750,000 were murdered before it was abandoned by German soldiers.
It took Tréfaut only weeks to film in the trains but a year to edit the work, that has been to festivals in 20 countries.
I had seen the film before on my computer, I can not recommend that. Was happy to watch it on a big screen with the brilliant aesthetic choice of
image and sound to convey an almost unbearable theme. No more holocaust films, it has been said many times especially at pitching sessions. Nonsense, you think, when you see Sérgio Tréfaut’s masterly done piece of Cinema.
 
Portugal, 2016, 61 mins.

Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Winners 2017

Written 23-11-2017 09:29:10 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Winners 2017

Happy to congratulate Mila and Srbijanka Turajlic, filmmaking daughter and main character of "The Other Side of Everything" with the IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary. As well as the many others around the film - the producer Carine Chichkowsky and the executive producers Iva Plemic Divjak for Dribbling Pictures and Hanka Kastelicovà for HBO Europe. The jury had the following motivation:



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IDFA Notes on Four More Films

Written 22-11-2017 11:29:06 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Notes on Four More Films

I have given high marks for 7 of the 15 films at the IDFA competition for long documentaries. There are four films that I have not seen and four I have seen but nor written about. Here follows the mini-reviews/notes for those four in order of preference:

Zhigi Pan: 24TH STREET. Chinese film about a man in trouble. In the...



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Talal Derki: Of Fathers and Sons

Written 21-11-2017 12:50:59 by Tue Steen Mller

Talal Derki: Of Fathers and Sons

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



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Bernadett Tuza-Ritter: A Woman Captured

Written 21-11-2017 08:41:43 by Tue Steen Mller

Bernadett Tuza-Ritter: A Woman Captured

Unbelievable. Modern slavery. In a country that is a member of the European Union. Shocking. It will be an audience favourite. At the begining of the film I thought "but what is the position of the filmmaker, why does she allow this to happen". She gives me the answers and the story is also about the filmmaker and Marish getting closer to each other. I have to confess that I also thought in the beginning that Marish was a bit disturbed in her head. Not at all. When she gets away from the domestic prison... what a relief for her, and the audience. She, Marish = Edith, is weak and strong, like the rest of us, well formulated, no visible psychological problems, but still: how could this last 10 years…?

And what a debate one can hope for in Hungary! A phone call that Edith makes asking for help reveals that - as it is not within her own family - the society can do nothing.

I was informed by the brave director Bernadett Tuza-Ritter that Edith and her daughter is now at IDFA for the premiere... This film will be the most talked about at IDFA and it will be a very obvious contender for the Audience Award.

www.idfa.nl


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Leonard Helmrich: The Long Season

Written 20-11-2017 14:02:56 by Tue Steen Mller

Leonard Helmrich: The Long Season

Helmrich is using the Single Shot Cinema technique, a style he developed and perfected himself. He chooses to actively engage with his subject rather than remaining a neutral outsider - a position that typifies Direct Cinema. He aims to record events from the inside, not observe from a distance. To achieve this, he created the Steadywing, a construction that allows the filmmaker to move the camera continually in an exceptionally fluid and intuitive way...

These were words we used when Helmrich's "Position of the Stars" won the first prize at IDFA in 2010. He might very well win again this year with "The Long Season", that creates this same "feeling of being there" that Leacock was talking about. Constant in movement, being here and there and everywhere... These were my spontaneous notes after having watched the film:

... a formidable insight to a small community, a refugee camp for Syrian refugees, especially from Raqqa, where ISIS was. He gets very close to the people, you see conflicts between women, between man and woman, between kids and grown-ups, they evolve and develop, and you see love, a marriage and happy children run around like they do everywhere. So easy the kids can adjust to the life in a camp full of hard living conditions, mud all over, and so sad that human beings, who are like you and me have a life like that.

The Netherlands, 2017, 115 mins.

www.idfa.nl 


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Marta Prus: Over the Limit

Written 20-11-2017 08:52:31 by Tue Steen Mller

Marta Prus: Over the Limit

It was presented in the dokinkubator session in Malmø and I had met with the director in Prague, when it was still in development. I saw the finished film here at IDFA in Amsterdam with high expectations. I was not disappointed. Here is - in a brief review - what I think about the finished film about the young Russian gymnast and her fight to go "over the limit":

An almost perfect film. Plays with the classical dramaturgical rules in terms of characters and rythm – positive mood and development, crisis, winning, losing, crisis as a gymnast, crisis because of her father’s illness, music that fits, brilliant camerawork, it’s like an opera or a ballet, great pleasure to look at this film with its universal appeal: Trust yourself, find yourself, the tough and direct coach is right in in much of what she is saying. It’s a possible winner at the festival, for sure. Another masterly done Polish documentary!

Poland, 2017, 74 mins.

http://www.polishdocs.pl/en/films/1671/over_the_limit

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4036/ 


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Mila Turajlic: The Other Side of Everything

Written 18-11-2017 23:06:57 by Tue Steen Mller

Mila Turajlic: The Other Side of Everything

I am biased. I have known the director Mila Turajlic for the many years that I have taken part in the Magnificent7 festival in Belgrade. And I have shared opinions about the films, we have shown at the festival - with her mother, Srbijanka Turajlic, who watches all films at the festival, and is the main character of the daughter's film, that shows the courage of the mother, a university professor in mathematics, whose political engagement brought her to be minister of education, when Milosevic was taken down from power in October 2000. She was a speaker at many huge manifestations against the Milosevic regime.

The film, however, has many layers: It takes place in the fine home of the family, where there are locked doors into some rooms of the apartment, doors which were locked when the communists came to power at the end of the 1940'es. Another family moved in and an old lady lives there, when the film takes its start. A metaphor for the past.

But it is also a film, that questions what revolutions are good for. Srbijanka Turajlic is awarded and says - she has a lot of dry humour - that this is first time she has got an award for a failed revolution, referring to what happened in the country after Milosevic.

Asked about that at the Q&A after the screening tonight here at the IDFA festival, where the film is in the international competition for long films, the strong veteran activist said that of course something changed - we got rid of Milosevic. And asked if daughter Mila - as she says in the film that she wants to leave the country - can do something? Of course she can, we all can and should be engaged to change not only Serbia but also Europe.

The photo for this review/report is not one that I like, but it was what I could find. In the film Srbijanka Turajlic has a cigarette in mouth or hand the whole way through. I love to see her in the big apartment, I love to see her polish silver, I love to see her lying on her bed reading Agathe Christie while the phone is ringing, she does not care, but she cares for her country, she has felt that she should help the students in their protests, I love to see the dinner and lunches she sets up with classical bourgeois plates, forks and knives... the scene for political discussions.

I ought not give marks, I do it anyway, high ones for daughter and mother. I raise a glass for them and the film!

Serbia, 2017, 104 mins. 

http://www.othersideofeverything.com

www.idfa.nl 


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Finlay Pretsell: Time Trial

Written 18-11-2017 12:46:03 by Tue Steen Mller

Finlay Pretsell: Time Trial

Of course you - as a Dane - are sceptical, when someone wants to make a film about one of the superstars of professional bicycling. Our national hero Jørgen Leth has made, what is to say about the suffering, the pain, the different styles, in many films - and he keeps on doing so as a commentator on Danish TV2 every year during the Tour de France. So why another one...

But young Scottish Finlay Pretsell dared to challenge the old master, and according to Pretsell Jørgen Leth likes the film, which he will be able to say to the audience this afternoon, where the film is being screened on a huge screen at the Carré, the national theatre, followed by a panel including the two.

I watched the film yesterday in a smaller cinema, Munt 13, and I was suffering with the protagonist David Millar on screen. My suffering was in solidarity with poor Millar, who fights to get his last Tour de France but loses - and very much due to the music composed by American Dan Deacon, music which is constantly surprising and sometimes a torture to take into the ears.

It has changed my view on music in documentaries, which normally is just filling in holes in weak scenes. Here it goes with the race and the situations, the sequences, the scenes. A great example of music in documentaries - here used for a film, which is so well constructed, full of funny moments, it’s not “only” the tragic fall of a hero.

Look at the photo, David Millar talking to one of his colleagues. A scene of calm contrary to the sequences at the race San Remo-Milan, where Millar should prove that he was good enough for his 13th Tour de France. He was not, as we experience. He is fighting with putting on his gloves in the terrible weather, he has to stop so a helper can get his rain coat in place, it is total misery as the two coaches in the car indirectly communicate to each other. They are wonderful side characters in a film, where also Millar’s room mate, Thomas Dekker, makes one laugh, when he says to Millar “there’s no time for you anymore”!

The beginning of the film showing Millar’s speciality, the time trial, one man against the clock, is breathtaking, maybe a bit to long, but once we are away from that, the film works perfectly in being a Film far away from what we watch on television every summer. Millar gives good information on technical matters like what are the breakaways, he does not want to talk about his doping scandal anymore, “I just wanted to do one Tour de France, I have done 12 and now I am pulled from number 13”.

Pretsell gets very close to Millar, a charismatic sportsman, indeed he is. A free man now! It’s an emotional race, enjoyable, it will go around, be sure of that.

http://www.timetrialfilm.com/ 


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Being at IDFA

Written 17-11-2017 23:38:42 by Tue Steen Mller

Being at IDFA

Look at that picture from a bridge in Amsterdam, where the biggest documentary film festival is taking place these days. It was here that I ran into Ally Derks this afternoon. Are you alone here, she asked, where is your partner? At home I said, remembering great moments my wife and I had with Ally at the It's All True Festival in Brazil, the one run by my cigar-smoking friend Amir Labaki. Lots of documentary talks in Rio and Sao Paolo, lots of caipirinha, fun, warm atmosphere. I am not going to be at the de Balie celebration of Ally Derks tomorrow - as I am working for "her" festival at the IDFA Academy - so I send this verbal hug to her and apologise that I had to to run for a screening, when we met in the street. I have seen 70 films before the festival she said... before we had to run for a screening. And for our lives as you have to in this city, that is governed by those on bikes, some of them pretty aggressive. 


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Mohamed Siam: Amal

Written 17-11-2017 11:00:56 by Tue Steen Mller

Mohamed Siam: Amal

The day after the opening of IDFA the director of “Amal”, Egyptian Mohammed Siam met the participants of the IDFA Academy to talk about the film, which they had all seen the night before or that very same morning. Siam was interviewed by the head of the IDFA Bertha Fund, Isabel Arrate Fernandez, and the two were joined on stage by the editor of the film Véronique Lagoarde - Ségot, praised, very well deserved, by the director, who outlined the process of getting to the final film.

“I had filmed 25 hours (in 6 years, ed.) and had started to assemble scenes… when I showed it to Véronique. She said “what the hell is that?”. She pointed to the fact that I had no rhythm skills, I am far too fast when I put things together”. Véronique Lagoarde - Ségot: “It was a beautiful gift, she was so pure, I had first of all to respect her. And to find the rhythm”.



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Mindaugas Survila: The Ancient Woods

Written 17-11-2017 09:15:44 by Tue Steen Mller

Mindaugas Survila: The Ancient Woods

Thursday was a beautiful evening for the Lithuanian director Mindaugas Survila, who celebrated his world premiere at IDFA with a full hall in the Munt Cinema 9. He was there with his wife, as was the editor Danielius Kokanauskis, who also worked with Survila on his first documentary “Field of Magic” (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/768/). An editor in strong demand by Lithuanian directors, but difficult to get hold of as he is working permanently for Sergei Loznitsa, who is almost constantly in production.

This second film of Survila, “The Ancient Woods”, could also easily have included the word magic. Or maybe better magnificent as the experience was for the viewer with this visit to some woods of Lithuania, that are still full of nature's wonders. There is no narration in the film - contrary to what is normal in nature films - the director, as he said, does not want to point at what we as viewers should see and think. 



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IDFA 2017 Opening

Written 16-11-2017 08:41:25 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA 2017 Opening

It was a brilliant IDFA opening night yesterday at the amazing Royal Theater Carré in Amsterdam. Film and tribute to Ally Derks, who has stepped down from her post as director of IDFA that she co-founded 30 years ago. The hall was full of people, who was more than pleased to join a standing ovation to her after a beautiful speech by Derk Sauer, chairman of the Board of IDFA, who characterised Derks as we know her, energetic, always on the side of the directors, the makers, and not that fond of all the administration and meetings, that follows when a festival has reached the size that has IDFA: 280.000 tickets sold last year! Before the speech to Ally Derks, who received a medal from the royal family, there were acrobats on stage and afterwards the new artistic director, Barbare Visser, introduced the programme of this year highlighting the program section “Visual Voice” which is dedicated to Ally Derks, a whole day at De Balie with the presence of documentary masters, who have grown up with the festival…. and then the opening film, Amal by Mohammed Siam, fine choice for a more than fine film, touching, more about that later.

www.idfa.nl 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

The European Documentary Magazine/ 2

Written 14-11-2017 12:32:03 by Tue Steen Mller

The European Documentary Magazine/ 2

The second print edition of the documentary magazine, MODERN TIMES REVIEW, that took over when DOX was stopped by its publisher EDN (European Documentary Network), is out. It was in the festival bags at DOK Leipzig and it will be at IDFA as will the editor, Norwegian Truls Lie, chapeau for him and his work. 24 pages, lots of reviews, features, opinions – it took me hours to read it all, very good quality.

The magazine says that it deals with ”… keywords could be conflicts, peace work, surveillance, control societies, climate. Ecology, ethics and philosophy…”

Over two pages three of the competition films at IDFA are reviewed: Jessica Gorter’s ”The Red Soul” (PHOTO) (the Stalin cult today and before), Mila Turajlic’s personal ”The Other Side of Everything” from Serbia today and before, and Håvard Bustnes visit to Greece, ”The Golden Dawn Girls”. Watch the films and read the reviews afterwards to see if you agree. There is also a mini interview with IDFA’s artistic director Barbara Visser, who says that IDFA is there ”to promote the cinematic documentary… the cinematic experience is something that many  filmmakers aspire to, and for good reasons: one works on film to create a memorable experience, not just to transfer information”. Agree, but don’t underestimate the information side. Another question to her was ”what do you think about the term ”movies that matter”. Answer: ”All good movies matter”. YES, and let’s get rid of that kind of meaningless slogans!

Take a subscription to the magazine and read about the new films and dig into the archive:

”A yearly subscription gives you the spring and fall issues of Modern Times Review, full access to all (soon 1000 articles from the last 20 years) online articles, and the monthly documentary screenings.”

www.moderntimes.review 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Masters at IDFA

Written 13-11-2017 16:33:29 by Tue Steen Mller

Masters at IDFA

Not all films can go to the competitive sections, of course not, so festivals arrange strands like Panorama and Masters, at IDFA both are there, with 32 titles in the first and 29 in the latter, where also older films are brought into the spotlight.

As a visitor for five days I know it is impossible to watch all the films, which are listed in the masters section. Luckily there are several that I have already seen and that we have written about on this site, and luckily there are films that we can take a look at later in the long dark winter nights coming up in our part of the world…

This is really gonna be a slate of name-dropping: Malek Bensmail tells the story behind Pontecorvo’s ”The Battle of Algier”, Andres Veiel has made a film on ”Beuys”, Romanian ”The Dead Nation”  by Radu Jude ”is a documentary-essay, which shows a stunning collection of photographs from a Romanian small town in the 1930's and 1940's. The soundtrack, composed mostly from excerpts taken from the diary of a Jewish doctor from the same era, shows us what the photographs do not: the rising of the anti-Semitism and eventually a harrowing depiction of the Romanian Holocaust, a topic which is not very talked about in the contemporary Romanian society.”

I am so much looking forward to seeing Agnès Varda’s ”Faces



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16 Classics and New Docs from the Arab World

Written 12-11-2017 16:34:21 by Tue Steen Mller

16 Classics and New Docs from the Arab World

… at the upcoming IDFA with the title ”Shifting Perspectives: The Arab World” with a clear intention: ”IDFA offers a counterbalance to Western stereotypes that ignore the complexity of the Arabic-speaking world and keep ‘the Arab’ at arm’s length, as ”the other””.

If you want to see this program, which is excellent, you should be in Amsterdam November 17-19, where the films are screened followed in many cases by discussions.

Among the classics are two films by late Syrian documentary master Omar Amiralay, ”A Flood in Baath Country” and ”The Misfortunes of Some”. I met the gentle director when in Damascus for the Dox Box festival, that was organised by Diana El Jeiroudi and Orwa Nyrabia. Here is a text-link written for the opening of the fourth edition of the festival in March 2011 – Amarilay passed away in February that same year: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/1492/

Several of the films have been reviewed on this site:



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Jury at Listapad Minsk Festival Protests

Written 11-11-2017 20:42:02 by Tue Steen Mller

Jury at Listapad Minsk Festival Protests

… like many other festivals have done holding up a sign saying ”Free Oleg Sentsov”, the Ukrainian filmmaker who was arrested by the Russian authorities in March 2014 in Crimea and sentenced to 20 years in jail on suspicion of “plotting terrorist acts”.

The Belarussian media did not want to publish the photo showing the protest, this is how it looked like – www.filmkommentaren.dk


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Wonderful Losers Wins Two Awards in Minsk

Written 11-11-2017 11:13:10 by Tue Steen Mller

Wonderful Losers Wins Two Awards in Minsk

Photo of a happy man, Lithuanian Arunas Matelis, on stage in Minsk at the Listapad Minsk International Film Festival. As I wrote some days ago the selection for the main documentary competition was very strong - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4077/ - so also from that perspective it is a true appreciation of the work by Arunas Matelis that he received not only an award as the best documentary film but also the audience award for the best documentary. The film ”Wonderful Losers: A Different World” (with coproducers from Lithuania, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Latvia, UK, Ireland, Spain!) has now participated in two festivals (first one in Warsaw) and won 3 awards! Matelis is - by the way – used to receive awards. His previous film ”Before Flying Back to the Earth” got the main awards at DOK Leipzig and at IDFA.

The Georgian ”City of the Sun” by Rati Oneli (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3995/) received the Special Jury award and there was a diploma for the Polish masterpiece ”The Prince and the Dybbuk” (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4052/ by Elvira Niewiera and Piotr Rosolowski.

Both of these films are screened at the upcoming IDFA but not the film by Arunas Matelis, why not? However, it is available at the festival's Docs for Sale.

Also to be mentioned: there were a couple of special prizes for the wonderful ”The Last Waltz” by Russian Yulia Bobkova (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3984/ and one for the fine ”Country of Women” by Aliaksei Paluyan (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4071/)

None of them are at IDFA.

Read more on the website, link below.

Photo taken by Lithuanian film critic and festival programmer Edvinas Pukšta. Thanks.

http://listapad.com/en/

PS. The jury for the documentaries – Andrei Zagdansky, Dmitri Makhomet, Zanete Ašcuka, Anna Zamecka and Gennady Kofman – advocated at the festival for ”Free Oleg Sentsov”. Respect! http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3943/


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IDFA Preparations

Written 10-11-2017 12:24:37 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Preparations

Wednesday IDFA, International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam, starts. And I am going there for five nights. Due to being part of the IDFA Academy, this great initiative of the festival, where young filmmakers get the chance to meet each other, share their ideas and projects and get inspiration from cameraperson Kirsten Johnson and directors like Kim Longinotto and Frederick Wiseman to mention the most famous ones. Together with Cecilia Lidin, with whom I worked at the EDN way back in time, I will be available for meetings in the afternoon.

The last couple of days I have been preparing my stay in hopefully not too foggy Amsterdam. The festival is overwhelming with talks, masterclasses, industry screenings (very good as many take place in the mornings) and good friends invite you to premieres of their films. Happy that there is a Docs for Sale, got to find films for a couple of festivals and for writing on this blog.

Let me mention two which are scheduled in my agenda:



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Tereza Nvotov: Mečiar

Written 08-11-2017 14:25:06 by Tue Steen Mller

Tereza Nvotov: Mečiar

”Vladimir Meciar was the first Minister of Interior post Velvet revolution of 1989 and the threetime re-elected Prime Minister of Slovakia. He was an undeniably charismatic politician „ loved by the nation“ and his profound influence on the contemporary political climate of Slovakia cannot be doubted. His final period in government 1994-1998, was marked by an authoritarian almost autocratic rule, misuse of power in the biggest privatisation causes and scandals and unauthorised activities of the secret services. It was this governance which ruled Slovakia out of the process of being accepted in the EU and NATO…”.

These words come from the website of the film about Meciar, link below. The film that has the subtitle ”Lust for Power”, was the opening film at the Jihlava festival recently, understandable as it deals with a politician known, hated and loved in Czech Republic and Slovakia.

I met Tereza Nvotová in March in Prague this year, where she



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Listapad Minsk: Truth Love Beauty

Written 07-11-2017 14:06:26 by Tue Steen Mller

Listapad Minsk: Truth Love Beauty

I was there a couple of times, in Minsk Belarus for the film festival, that has a well chosen documentary program with Irina Demyanova as the responsible. 12 films are competing in the documentary section. I am happy I am not in the jury. Let me point at four films of high quality, written about on this site:

1. Julia Bobkova: The Last Waltz: ”… fascinating film about Oleg Karavaichuk, composer and piano player from St. Petersburg,”

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3984/

2. Elwira Niewiera & Piotr Rosolowski: The Prince and the Dybbuk ”…for me "The Prince and the Dybbuk" is a strong candidate to be my Documentary of the Year.”

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3993/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4052/

3. Miroslav Janek: Normal Autistic Film

”… dynamic and playful documentary, the work of one of the most important European authors when it comes to children, especially children who don’t blend in and who are different from the majority.”

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3816/

4. Arunas Matelis: Wonderful Losers: A Different World

”…deserves to travel the world because of its cinematic qualities”

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4048/

http://listapad.com/en/programm/osnovnoy-konkurs-dokumentalnogo-kino/


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Ana Dumitrescu: Licu a Romanian Story

Written 06-11-2017 22:20:19 by Tue Steen Mller

Ana Dumitrescu: Licu  a Romanian Story

The jury for the long, international documentaries at DOK Leipzig chose Ana Dumitrescu’s ”Licu-a Romanian Story” as the winner of the 60th edition of the festival. I did not watch the film in Leipzig but did so tonight on a computer and I can only nod YES to the decision taken by musician and writer Anne Clark, master documentarian Heddy Honigmann and former arte commissioner Luciano Rigolini. I copy paste their motivation:

"In a humble house, there is a very old man sitting and telling us not only his story but the story of 2 centuries. To make this possible in a film is a very difficult task which requires love for your character and an exceptional cinematic eye. In these days when the only thing that counts is viewing figures a filmmaker with almost no budget dares to say I will do it in another way. This way goes directly to our hearts, creating a filmic journey which lasts only 86 minutes but for us it is a life lesson."

And a copy paste as well of the fine DOK Leipzig catalogue text by Sirkka Möller:



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Ivars Seleckis: To Be Continued

Written 06-11-2017 12:48:28 by Tue Steen Mller

Ivars Seleckis: To Be Continued

Antra Gaile from Mistrus Media in Riga asked me if I wanted to see and eventually comment on an almost final cut of the new film by Latvian master of documentary Ivars Seleckis, whose work I know so well and have appreciated since I started to visit the country around 25 years ago. The film, the first one about children from the hands of the director, will have its national premiere in the beginning of next year as part of the celebration of 100 years of Latvia. Of course I said yes and wrote this letter to the director:

Dear Ivars, dear friend, dear master.

I have seen your film. I love it. As FILM and as one who has the age of a grandfather and very often are blessed with visits from
kids at the same age as those in your film: 2 are 6 years old and have just started in school, 2 are 4 years old.

Children are children, wherever they are and I could recognise



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DOK Leipzig 2017 Ceremony

Written 05-11-2017 11:21:30 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig 2017 Ceremony

… took place at Westbad, a former venue for the citizens to go to swim. Now turned into one big room for concerts, conferences and the prize ceremony of the 60 year old festival. Tables were put up with wine and snacks, very nice, as was the performance of the conferencier, former MDR commissioning editor Claudia Schreiner. Not an easy job – seven Golden Doves and an overall total of 21 awards, comprising €73.500 – and it was not her fault that the ceremony took almost three hours.

One who contributed to the overtime was the spokesperson for the Interreligious Jury. She talked and talked and came up with a harsh criticism of the festival for its selection and lack of political films. Schreiner, as conferencier, opposed her on stage and the producer of ”The Congo Tribunal”, Arne Birkenstock, used his thank you speech for an honorary mention to the film to make a pretty tough attack on the jury spokesperson for saying – in German that many in the audience do not understand – that 11 films out of the 12 in the main competition were bad. His speech was warmly welcomed. Also festival director Leena Pasanen felt that she had to make the comment that the festival does not look for films that directly point to what the filmmaker wants the audience to think. Of course not.

No reason to hide that this incident – a jury member that makes a strong critique of the selection, a jury member from the Interreligious jury! – did take away some of the good atmosphere of the ceremony, especially because we non-fluent-in-German-language did not get what was going on.

Having said so, it was great to have competent filmmakers and –



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DOK Leipzig/ Delta

Written 04-11-2017 17:01:09 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig/ Delta

The introduction of a ”Next Masters Competition” at DOKLeipzig is an excellent idea. I have seen some of the choices for this year and so far one stands out, the Ukrainian ”Delta” by Oleksandr Techynski. It lives up to the reasons I give when asked why I often praise Eastern European documentaries:

It is multilayered, it has a clear aesthetic choice with a skilled camerawork that suits the theme or rather the location, it’s a Film: the delta of the Danube, a kind of Klondyke, where people live under harsh chaotic conditions and where men with worn faces struggle their way through the reed that they harvest to sheaf, to bring in to be sold. They work in all kind of weather – ice cold winters, and under milky foggy skies. Most often on a boat as you can see on the photo, where a man lies dead drunk next to wood that has been cut down to stump. But it is also a place where the transport of a dead body demands quite an effort. There are some moments, where the film takes the viewer inside a house, where a grown-up son has his hair cut by his mother and there are many scenes with vodka being drunk. Lots of focus on faces.

Stylistically there is a move on the film, a flow that is carried by painting-like images superbly composed, no music (thank you for that!). No message, it seems to me that the director wants to say: this is what I saw, he keeps a distance, he interprets with his images, he is not from there, he observes.

http://www.dok-leipzig.de/en/


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DOK Leipzig/ Congo and Russia

Written 04-11-2017 11:57:30 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig/ Congo and Russia

I have not (yet) been able to watch all films in the international competition for long documentaries – there are 12 – but I want to highlight two, which could deserve an award tonight:

Experienced Aliona van der Horst has made a wonderful film, ”Love is Potatoes” (Netherlands, 2017, 90 mins.) that takes place in the countryside in Russia, where her mother grew up before she as a grown-up married a Dutchman and moved with him. Her mother had five sisters. Van der Horst goes to the small house (PHOTO), meets up with cousins as she is inheriting 6 square meters of the house! It’s a film, where she wants to find out what kind of life her mother had in Stalinist Soviet Union. She looks at photos, she talks to cousin Tanya, to aunt Liza, who does not remember any big problems, ”all was normal”, but it was NOT, she slowly finds out – women were dying in the corn fields, 1933, the deadly famine… Van der Horst uses (brilliant) animation by Italian Simone Massi and what is so unique about the film showing the safe hand of the director: the quiet, non-dramatic tone of the film and some unforgettable scenes like the one, where she puts all the shoes on the floor, lots of shoes… why, the male cousin asks, because they did not have shoes, so after the famine… The film has touching scenes: the mother, still alive but not able to talk, to react to the daughter’s questions. The daughter/director looking at photos of her mother as young. Yes, I can identify. Great film.

”The Congo Tribunal” by Milo Rau is an amazing achievement by the film&theatre director. He set it all up, two tribunals, he found his characters to come to one tribunal in Congo, one in Berlin, he shot a lot of material in the country, he has witnesses to the many massacres talk, he has so-called experts analyse the mining industry and its international players. A fictional tribunal, a documentary theatre, but one that brings forward the human atrocities of a country that seldom is on the front pages of the media. It is full of strong moments and characters. After this film I want to know more, to understand better what has happened and what is happening in the tormented country forgotten by the EU and and the UN.

http://www.dok-leipzig.de/en/


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Aliaksei Paluyan: Country of Women

Written 04-11-2017 08:34:39 by Tue Steen Mller

Aliaksei Paluyan: Country of Women

One of the many good things at the DOK Leipzig is the market, where you go with your 300 page catalogue to choose between 272 films from 66 countries! You have your code, you find a film, put on your headphones and you watch a film in good quality on the monitor. All films screened in the festival cinemas are there but you can also find small pearls that did not make it to the competition like ”Country of Women” from Belarus, by young Aliaksei Paluyan, who lives in Germany and in Belarus.

Look at the photo, she is one of the four women in the film, who are introduced one after the other, tell about their lives, sing a song or two, while they take the viewer around in their houses. She lived 56 years together with her husband, ”a peaceful life together”, she is full of life as are the other three, although two of them had a tougher life. One has been a widow for decades, the other says ”I suffered with him for 40 years” – alcohol. It’s memories, it’s survival and it’s put together in a simple montage with shots from the landscape surrounding the village and storks who reside on the houses. And the singing is wonderful.

Go to the website, link below, look at the photos and the trailer; fine film by the director, who prepares a new one, ”People from the Moor”. He asked me if it was a good idea to take it to the training programme Ex Oriente. Indeed! That’s where talents can grow.

Belarus, 26 mins., 2017

http://www.countryofwomen.com/


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DOK Leipzig Opening/ Leena Pasanen

Written 02-11-2017 07:47:24 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig Opening/ Leena Pasanen

Festival director of DOK Leipzig Leena Pasanen regrets the lack of female directors in the German competition for long documentaries. She wants to do something about it, read this from the opening of the festival monday night:

"Women in film business have been in the headlines over the last weeks, but once again not for the reasons they should be there, as celebrated directors.

Unfortunately, our news are not good either. In the German competition for long films, we only have one female director as a co-director.  After a strong year in 2016, we are again in this situation.

We have checked our statistics and we can see, that every second or third year, there is a lack of female directors in German competition for long documentaries. This is the case even when the number of submitted films and the selection criteria stay the same. What is wrong?

It would be easy to blame others, say that we are just the receiving end, and the problem is in funding and production. There surely are structural issues, and we need a proper research to look into the problem. But it is also our duty as one of the leading festivals to push for the change. For the film selection of 2018 and 2019 the head of the selection committee Ralph Eue and I have decided to put a quota in our German Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film for female filmmakers. I’m well aware that there will be strong voices against this quota, also from women filmmakers, but I can only say, sometimes you need strong decisions to break the tradition and push for a change.  We cannot have another year, without female voices in German competition."

http://www.dok-leipzig.de/en/


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TV3 Catalonia to be Taken Over by Madrid?

Written 30-10-2017 15:48:17 by Tue Steen Mller

TV3 Catalonia to be Taken Over by Madrid?

I take the liberty to copy-paste an article from the Website of Audiovisual in the Mediterranean, which is powered by CMCA. The article, based on several sources, is from today: Having activated Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution on Saturday October 21st, suspending Catalonia’s autonomy, Madrid now wants to place the Catalan public broadcasters under state supervision, including the television channel TV3.

This measure would allow the Madrid government to put new leaders in place at TV3 and dismiss those currently in office. In a 20-page press release published Saturday, prime minister Mariano Rajoy sets out the terms of this takeover and makes it clear there will be sanctions if anyone disobeys the channel’s new bosses.

TV3 employees have in return announced their intention “not to recognize Madrid’s authority” over Catalan public media. They signed a manifesto published on the evening of Monday, October 23rd reaffirming their rejection of Article 155, and denouncing “the will of the Spanish Government to control the Government of Catalonia […], threatening the citizen’s right to information by forcefully intervening in Catalan public media.”



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Dmitry Bogolubov: The Wall

Written 30-10-2017 12:05:53 by Tue Steen Mller

Dmitry Bogolubov: The Wall

At the Jihlava Intl. FF they have a fine tradition that has been picked up by other festivals: to have a one man/woman jury for one of the competitive sections, the Opus Bonum.

Legendary filmmaker from Latvia Laila Pakalnina was the one to choose this year according to this rule (quote from the festival site): … an outstanding documentary film of the year from a diverse collection representing tendencies in world documentary; since all of the films are significant, the festival suggest the following game; a single juror picks a single film, a “brilliant” work…

The Best World Documentary Film 2017 was – according to Pakalnina: ”The Wall” by Dmitry Bogolubov. Motivation: ”For using the film language to express the inexpressible. For Film”.

The synopsis goes like this: ”The Stalin Cult is once again gaining



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Ai WeiWei: Human Flow

Written 28-10-2017 11:51:37 by Tue Steen Mller

Ai WeiWei: Human Flow

… og dagen sluttede med visningen af Ai WeiWeis ”Human Flow”. Efter det var lykkedes festivalledelsen (Antalya Film Festival 2017) at få fat i en kopi som ikke var skadet. Aflysningen den første dag rejste en mængde spekulation om censur – filmen berører (også) de tyrkisk-kurdiske relationer – men tale om censur af den årsag er total nonsens. Der er ingen grund til at ikke tro, hvad der er detaljeret beskrevet i den redegørelse fra festivalledelsen, som jeg refererede i et tidligere blogindlæg.

ANMELDELSE

Filmen er strålende, den er en ekstraordinært rig 140 minutter lang dokumentation af den verden vi lever i. Der er tekster på lærredet, kendsgerninger fra steder fyldt med flygtninge og migranter, lyriske citater fra digteres værker, det er et filmværk i mange forskellige stilarter: Ai Weiwei i billedet, reportage metode, fantastiske, næsten surrealistiske afsnit, åndeløst smukke billeder (FOTO), samtaler med talrige UNHCR medarbejdere, små varme filmscener, børn børn børn. Det er sat mesterligt sammen. Og det fortjener en endnu længere anmeldelse og den kommer næste gang jeg ser filmen på det store lærred.

CANCELLATION

… And the day ended with the screening of Ai WeiWei’s ”Human Flow”. After the festival (Antalya Film Festival 2017) had managed to get hold of a copy that was not damaged. The cancellation of the first screening raised a lot of speculations about censorship – the film touches upon the Turkish-Kurdish relationship – which is totally nonsense. There is no reason NOT to believe what is detailed described in the statement of the festival that I referred to in the previous blogpost.

REVIEW

The film is brilliant, an extraordinarily rich 140 minutes long documentation of the world we live in. There are texts on the screen, facts from places full of refugeees and migrants, poetic sentences from writers, a film full of different styles, Ai WeiWei in the picture, reportage style, some fantastic almost surrealistic sequences, stunning images (PHOTO), interviews with many UNHCR representatives, small warm scenes, children children children, it’s masterly put together. It deserves a longer review and that will come the next time I see it on a big screen.

www.antalyaff.com 


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Antalya Film Forum Winners 2017

Written 27-10-2017 08:17:31 by Tue Steen Mller

Antalya Film Forum Winners 2017

For the fourth time the Antalya Film Forum took place. I was here last year as well and can say that the always smiling and positive Zeynep Atakan and her young female team has established an event that has grown and is run with professional generosity.

The documentary has found a place at the Forum – it is still a little brother but one that is taken care of and recognised. The six selected projects were all interesting one way or the other and I had the privilege to get to know the people behind the films to be. Through training and meetings.

The two jurors Sevdije Kastrati from Kosovo and Dennis Wheatley



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Eurimages Supports 7 Documentaries

Written 26-10-2017 08:53:28 by Tue Steen Mller

Eurimages Supports 7 Documentaries

 First the bigger numbers from the press release of Eurimages… The Board of Management of the Council of Europe’s Eurimages Fund agreed to support 22 fiction, 1 animation and 7 documentaries at a meeting in Skopje, for a total amount of €5,598,535.

A very good result for the documentary genre. Here are the documentaries supported:

”Frem” by Viera Cakányova, €53.000, Czech Rep. & Slovak Rep.

”Baltic New Wave” by Audrius Stonys & Kristine Briede, €70.000, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia

”Ingmar Bergman-Legacy of a Defining Genius”, €86.000, by Margarethe von Trotta and Felix Moeller, Germany, France

”Fugue” by Artemio Benki, €100.000, Czech Rep., France, Argentina, Austria

”Epicentro” by Hubert Sauper, €190.000, Austria, France

”Photograph-Women” by Ester Sparatore, €100.000, France, Belgium, Italy

”Exemplary Behaviour” by Audrius Mickevicius, €50.000, Lithuania, Bulgaria

Readers of this site will recognise several strong names, auteurs, as the French call those who use the camera as a pen.

Photo: The people behind "Baltic New Wave" at the pitch in Riga 2016, with Kristine Briede speaking.

https://rm.coe.int/support-decisions-at-the-148th-eurimages-board-of-management-meeting/1680760c5c


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Antalya FF Pitch of Turkish Docs & Ai WeiWei

Written 25-10-2017 23:28:52 by Tue Steen Mller

Antalya FF  Pitch of Turkish Docs & Ai WeiWei

The pitching of 6 Turkish documentary projects took place wednesday mid-day with a good audience and two competent jury members Sevdije Kastrati from Kosovo and Dennis Wheatley from the UK. Slightly different from what we are used to in European pitch sessions, the Antalya Film Forum has chosen to give 8 minutes for presentation, including clip plus 5 minutes for the jurors to ask questions and/or give comments. Tomorrow night the two winners of each 8000$ for development will be announced and I will write a bit more about the projects, two of them connected to Cyprus and one dealing indirectly with the Kurds.

And the day ended with the screening of Ai WeiWei’s ”Human Flow”. After the festival had managed to get hold of a copy that was not damaged. The cancellation of the first screening raised a lot of speculations about censorship – the film touches upon the Turkish-Kurdish relationship – which is totally nonsense. There is no reason NOT to believe what is detailed described in the statement of the festival that I referred to in the previous blogpost.

The film is brilliant, an extraordinarily rich 140 minutes long documentation of the world we live in. There are texts on the screen, facts from places full of refugeees and migrants, poetic sentences from writers, a film full of different styles, Ai WeiWei in the picture, reportage style, some fantastic almost surrealistic sequences, stunning images (PHOTO), interviews with many UNHCR representatives, small warm scenes, children children children, it’s masterly put together. It deserves a longer review and that will come the next time I see it on a big screen.

www.antalyaff.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Antalya Film Forum 2017

Written 23-10-2017 18:01:16 by Tue Steen Mller

Antalya Film Forum 2017

For the second time I am at the Antalya Film Forum in Turkey that is the industry event connected to the festival that celebrates its 54th edition. Last year I was in a documentary jury that gave awards to two Turkish projects, and did a pep talk on documentaries with clips - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3728/ - this year I have been part of the committee that selected the projects to be pitched this year. There are 6 of them, two will be awarded with $ 8000, each.

I had the pleasure of making a training session for the filmmakers behind the 6 projects that will be pitched on wednesday. With follow-up meetings like the one on the PHOTO, where I am looking at a trailer for a film called ”Ada” (The Island). To the left the director Sevinc Baloglu, to the right the producer Su Baloglu, mother and daughter, who are making a film from Cyprus from a personal point of view and including a 99 year old woman, who is living in the buffer zone in the divided island. She just published a book called ”My First Hundred Years”!

This morning I went to watch AiWeiWei’s ”Human Flow” at 9. But



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Wonderful Winner at Warsaw International FF

Written 22-10-2017 10:37:22 by Tue Steen Mller

Wonderful Winner at Warsaw International FF

”Wonderful Losers” was the wonderful winner in the documentary competition at the international film festival in Warsaw. Here is what I found on the website of the festival, after the award ceremony last night:

DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION Jury: Volia Chajkouskaya - Belarus, Anna Zamecka - Poland, Jude Ratnam - Sri Lanka awarded: Best Documentary Feature: WONDERFUL LOSERS: A DIFFERENT WORLD by Arūnas Matelis, Lithuania, Latvia, Italy, Belgium

… competent jury of filmmakers who made a choice that for sure will help the film of Arūnas Matelis in its future life around the world. This is what the film is about, taken from its website:

”For spectators, cyclists in the back of the race are simply the losers. They are called water carriers, domestics, gregarios, and Sancho Panzas of professional cycling. Moreover, they have no right to personal victories - these sportsmen sacrifice their careers to help their teammates.

We follow the magnificent world of the race from the point of view of the doctors' team situated in a claustrophobically small medical car surrounded with wounded cyclists. The life of the medical team in race reminds one on the frontline of war. Cyclists crash, rise and race again. And amongst this fight, many magnificent things happen.

This film-odyssey reveals the untold world of the wonderful losers, true warriors, knights and monks of professional cycling…”

Lithuania is a country that has a fine tradition in professional cycling with Edita Pučinskaitė as one of the stars. She was in Warsaw for the premiere and she has been helping Arūnas Matelis and Algimantė Matelienė as a consultant and researcher. Read more about her, link below.

topics.revolvy.com/topic/Edita

http://www.wonderfullosers.com/ 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

The Gertten Brothers Honorary Doctors

Written 19-10-2017 23:40:54 by Tue Steen Mller

The Gertten Brothers Honorary Doctors

… in documentary filmmaking, at Malmö Högskola (Malmö University), ceremony tomorrow. Bravo! A very well deserved appreciation of their work as documentarians with films that have gone all over the world: Fredrik Gertten with debate creating films like ”Bikes vs. Cars” (2015), ”Bananas” and ”Big Boys Gone Bananas” (2009, 2011), Magnus Gertten with a film on legendary Björn Afzelius ”Tusan Bitar” and two beautiful films on concentration camp survivors arriving to Malmö, ”Harbour of Hope” and ”Every Face Has a Name”. Both of them have, through their companies, served as producers for Swedish filmmakers and have co-produced internationally.

Look at the photo (taken by Pierre Mens), Magnus to the left, Fredrik to the right, and in the middle a young football player named Ibrahimovic from Malmö, who after a fantastic international career right now plays, when he is not injured, for Manchester United. ”Becoming Zlatan” was their common film from 2016 based primarily on material that goes 25 years back.


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Andreas Horvath: Helmut Berger - Actor

Written 18-10-2017 17:56:20 by Tue Steen Mller

Andreas Horvath: Helmut Berger - Actor

In the 1970’es my friend Kjell Væring and I went to see Luchino Visconti’s ”Ludwig” about King Ludwig II of Bavaria, 235 mins.(!). A masterpiece that we watched in a big cinema on Champs Élysées in Paris. We wrote about the film for a Danish newspaper and our admiration for the master director was made bigger with that film as with those that followed – ”The Damned” and ”The Conversation Piece”. Very much because of the unique acting by Helmut Berger, the companion of Visconti.

So I expected that Andreas Horvath’s film on Berger from 2015, decades after the films mentioned, would be about how it was to live with and act in films by Visconti. The life of an actor, what is acting… I am sure that was also what Horvath intended to do. It never happened. Well he cuts some times to a signed photo of Visconti on the wall in the flat in Salzburg, where most of the film takes place.



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Vurdering:

 
Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

What is documentary?

Written 17-10-2017 09:30:41 by Tue Steen Mller

What is documentary?

A month ago I was teaching at the film school department of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre in Vilnius. The first morning of the week I asked the students to write down 3 words that comes to their mind, when they hear the word “documentary”. We put the words on a whiteboard. At the end of the week we looked at the many words after having discussed and watched many films. Screenwriter student Eva Sinicaite (PHOTO)volunteered to make an essay out of the words, here it comes:

Wikipedia describes documentary as a nonfictional motion picture intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction, education, or maintaining a historical record.

But anyone would agree, that this is a big understatement. Documentary is much more than that. It is an observation of reality. Three partners – time, sound and picture – dance together, creating poetry on screen. Using your own style and aesthetic, you can create a unique world. This world can be directed, put into structure or set free to flow naturally – like life does. Documentary enables you to portray emotions, very intimate and sensitive moments. These truthful glimpses change you. There is no better way to see the point of view of others, to acknowledge different perceptions. To explore the lines between concepts – subjective or objective, fiction or reality. To teach and learn history through individual stories. To get to the core of philosophy simply by contemplating life. To give an ironical approach, to provoke people, to make contrasts, to inspire…

There are so many words that the description of documentary cinema contains, almost as many as the concept of existence does. Maybe because documentary is life itself. So just open your eyes, hearts and minds and indulge in this extraordinary world.

The photo is from the favourite documentary of Eva Sinicaite, “Earth of the Blind” (1992) by Audrius Stonys. 


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Poetics

DOK Leipzig Alvarez, Varda, Kluge, Panh, Rau

Written 15-10-2017 11:42:34 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig  Alvarez, Varda, Kluge, Panh, Rau

Yes, political films, films on political issues, film history. DOK Leipzig offers at its 60th edition 24 short and longer documentaries under the title ”commanders, chairmen, general secretaries”. Which refers to an event at the festival. Catalogue text by Ralph Eue goes like this:

”An experimental application of the thesis of many early theorists of cinematography according to which cinema is less an illusion machine to transport ready-made narratives than a machine to pioneer a new type of thought and narrative. Alexander Kluge gave his nine-hour audiovisual investigation of Eisenstein’s plan to adapt Marx’s “Capital” on film the title: “News from Ideological Antiquity. Marx – Eisenstein – Das Kapital” (2008). Intelligent work on a monument has turned into a monument itself by now. Let us address it by making this appeal: Re-Think!

The media scholar Christian Schulte, co-editor of the “Alexander Kluge-Jahrbuch”, and the publicist Jörg Becker invite us to a joint reading of some passages of this mammoth project (and other, thematically related films, contributions and broadcasts by the director). What is the purpose of this reading? Recovering from ideological antiquity a few clues, even though they may be only fragments, that will help us to better understand the future.”

Otherwise I am tempted to watch and rewatch ”Black Panthers” by Agnés Varda, ”My Brother Fidel” by Santiago Alvarez, ”A Day at the Grave of Karl Marx” by Finnish Peter von Bagh, ”The Missing Picture” by Rithy Panh and ”The Moscow Trials” by Milo Rau.

Rau also has a film in the international competition, ”The Congo Tribunal” (PHOTO) , 2017, 100 mins. Go to the site of the festival to watch the impressive, strong trailer. And check the website of the tribunal and the comments of the director.

https://filmfinder.dok-leipzig.de/en/?&section=236

http://www.the-congo-tribunal.com/film.html#statement


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOK Leipzig Loves Polish Documentaries/ 2

Written 15-10-2017 10:49:18 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig Loves Polish Documentaries/ 2

Leena Pasanen, director of DOK Leipzig, wrote this to me yesterday:

Dear Tue, bad news from Poland indeed. This is the text i had written for our catalogue to introduce our Polish special programme. Had no idea at that time, that Sroka would be fired a week later:

“It took a decade of constant development, hard work and financial effort to bring Polish films back to their former fame, but it paid off. Today Polish filmmakers are again familiar faces at award ceremonies all over the world and respected and wanted co-producing partners.

How long will it take to vitiate this success, if the shadow of right-wing populism reaches the filmmaking community and puts in danger the current support system? How long will it take, before the market is full of pretty little films of Polish history, if the decision makers are selected by political and not by professional merits? This little programme is to show how much we love these films and how very unfortunately it would be for the whole filmmaking world, if these films would not exist.”

Photo: Communion by Anna Zamecka, part of the programme


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOK Leipzig Loves Polish Documentaries

Written 14-10-2017 11:37:27 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig Loves Polish Documentaries

… and has put together a special program, ”a declaration of Love to Polish docs”, for the festival. Readers of this site will know that Polish documentaries are highly valued through reports from the Krakow festival, lots of positive reviews (last one being ”The Prince and the Dybbuk” some days ago) and below you will find a link to an article called ”Why I love Polish Documentaires”, a love story that has lasted more than 25 years…

More about the Leipzig program later, first some sad news that makes one wonder if the good period for Polish films is over with the increasing involvement of the government, that through their minister of culture has made the move to dismiss the director of the Polish Film Institute, Magdalena Sroka. You can read all about it on the site of Film New Europe, link below, but here comes some quotes:



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Astra Film Festival in Sibiu Romania

Written 13-10-2017 11:07:44 by Tue Steen Mller

Astra Film Festival in Sibiu Romania

… has existed since 1993 and offers a quality program, of course with a focus on what happens in current Romanian documentary but also with an international scope – the festival takes place October 16 to 22 in nice Sibiu. I was there some years ago and enjoyed the stay and the festival.

Let me quote from the site and urge you to get the whole picture through the link below:

”Voices of Doc is a theme section dedicated to authors whose names have become a synonym of authenticity and creativity in cinema. This section bring the latest works signed by three



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Jihlava International Documentary FF

Written 12-10-2017 23:30:11 by Tue Steen Mller

Jihlava International Documentary FF

… takes place October 24 till October 29, DOKLeipzig starts October 30 and runs until November 5, 10 days later it is IDFA in Amsterdam. It is rather crowded with important documentary festivals within a month, one can say, I have before been able to jump from one to the other, this year I go to Leipzig and Amsterdam.

But let me start by commenting on some of many fine elements of the 21st festival in Jihlava in Czech Republic: 10 competition sections, including ”testimonies” on politics, knowledge and nature. Let me mention one fine title from each – ”Ghost Hunting” by Raed Andoni, ”… when you look away” by Phie Ambo and ”Wilder than Wilderness” by Marián Polák. I saw a clip from Polák’s film in Prague in March, very appealing, here is the synopsis: ”An expedition into the Czech countryside reveals the adventurous stories of plants and animals that take place all around us, and explores fascinating places where nature is returning after being devastated by man. The film, narrated by the filmmaker, captures the true wildness of nature and the course of filming.”

Film history is represented through a retrospective of films by legendary Jean Rouch and I would have loved to be in Jihlava to



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Niewiera/Rosolowski: The Prince and the Dybbuk/ 2

Written 11-10-2017 09:44:00 by Tue Steen Mller

Niewiera/Rosolowski: The Prince and the Dybbuk/ 2

I had high expectations to the new film by Elvira Niewiera and Piotr Rosolowski. I liked their ”Domino Effect”, link to the review below, and I have followed ”The Prince and the Dybbuk” through a read of the treatment and I  attended a clip presentation at the Krakow Film Festival. The expectations became even higher, when it was picked for the festival in Venice and won a big award. Had the couple succeeded to fulfill their ambitions to make a big, archive-based adventurous Film? YES they had! For me "The Prince and the Dybbuk" is a strong candidate to be the Documentary of the Year. I will tell you why in this review, but first an intro to the story. Here comes a synopsis borrowed from the catalogue of the festival in Venice:



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Vurdering:

 
Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Award at the Aegean Docs festival to

Written 09-10-2017 16:08:40 by Tue Steen Mller

Award at the Aegean Docs festival to

… ”The Beast is Still Alive” by Bulgarian Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova as the best International Documentary of the 5th Aegean Docs in Greece, that was held October 1-6, in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos.

It is a film that I have reviewed on this site as an interview with myself (hmmm!), here is a quote, link for the whole thing below:

”The period of communism is not dealt with in the school books in current Bulgaria. You understand why, when you in the film, person by person, is told what this and this parliament member did during the years of communism and when you see and hear about the concentration camp Belene, where thousands of opposition people ended their lives. This is the strong side of the film, the focus on Bulgaria – present and past…”

The film that has created a lot of debate in Bulgaria (and anger from politicians) has been long on the festival circuit, which proves that the festival life of a film can be longer than the normally mentioned one year.

Go also to the first link to discover more about the fine small Greek festival. 

http://www.aegeandocs.gr/en/?cat=25

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3672/

http://beast-film.com/beast-film_home/index.html


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Finland in Focus in Belgrade

Written 07-10-2017 15:26:56 by Tue Steen Mller

Finland in Focus  in Belgrade

The M7 in Belgrade stands for the Magnificent7 Festival – 7 feature duration European documentaries. The festival has launched 13 editions, number 14 is coming up January 31st till February 6th 2018.

But before that the tireless director couple of the festival, Svetlana and Zoran Popovic, has decided to put Finland in Focus this month, very soon: October 13 & 14th. As an extra M7 activity.

To be shown are what you could call Finnish neo-classics, and gosh they have made good films in that country. Opening film will be ”Screaming Men” (2003) about the famous screaming men choir. It is the hope of the organisers that the Mika Ronkainen, who will be present, will scream the National anthem of Finland!

The next day ”Living Room of the Nation” will come to the screen, the film by Jukka Kärkkäinen from 2010, followed by Ronkainen’s ”Finnish Blood, Swedish Heart” (2013) and ”Soundbreaker” (2012) by Kimmo Koskela with the fantastic mucisian Kimmo Pohjonen.

Ronkainen will have a busy stay in Belgrade as there will also be a masterclass with the director, whose presence has been supported by the Finnish Film Foundation, Marja Pallassalo.

All films have been shown at…

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


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Arunas Matelis: Wonderful Losers

Written 04-10-2017 21:45:26 by Tue Steen Mller

Arunas Matelis: Wonderful Losers

… with the subtitle ”A Different World”, a film that many of us, who think Lithuanian Arunas Matelis is a great artistic documentary film director, have been waiting for – will have its premiere at the Warsaw International Film Festival that takes place October 13-22, a festival for fiction, shorts and documentaries. Arunas and his wife Alge, from their Studio Nominum in Vilnius, have produced a film of high quality (I have seen it just before final cut) that deserves to travel the world because of its cinematic qualities and its invitation to us viewers to look into – as the subtitle says- a different world. It’s (also) a film on professional cycling that touches upon existential questions. Here is the synopsis from the site of the film, link below:

”For spectators, cyclists in the back of the race are simply the losers. They are called water carriers, domestics, gregarios, and Sancho Panzas of professional cycling. Moreover, they have no right to personal victories - these sportsmen sacrifice their careers to help their teammates. We follow the magnificent world of the race from the point of view of the doctors' team situated in a claustrophobically small medical car surrounded with wounded cyclists. The life of the medical team in race reminds one on the frontline of war. Cyclists crash, rise and race again. And amongst this fight, many magnificent things happen. This film-odyssey reveals the untold world of the wonderful losers, true warriors, knights and monks of professional cycling.”

From a production point of view the credits show an amazing list of co-producers (with 10 cinematographers!) – let me mention them from the credits: Stefilm Italy, Dok Mobile Switzerland, Associate Directors Belgium, VFS Films Latvia, Dearcan Media N.Ireland/UK, Planet Korda Ireland, SUICA Films Spain, Arturas Jevdokimovas for Kino Kontora.

Normally you say that too many cooks spoil the meal – having know Arunas Matelis and his work for more than 25 years I can assure you that this is a film that has his signature.

Wish you luck wth the premiere!

http://www.wonderfullosers.com

https://wff.pl/en/festival-2017/programme


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

3 Documentaries from Netflix

Written 03-10-2017 20:45:25 by Tue Steen Mller

3 Documentaries from Netflix

I have no real overview of what Netflix offers, when it comes to documentaries. Below you find a link to an article that recommends the best documentaries on Netflix and there are many fine names. And titles which you can also find, when you go to Netflix itself and click on the documentary section. You find names like Werner Herzog, AiWeiWei, Banksy, Errol Morris, Marina Abramovic, Nick Broomfield, Albert Maysles and titles like ”O.J. Simpson”, ”Long Shot”, ”Making a Murderer”, ”Amanda Knox”, ”The Promise”, ”Strong Island” – all crime documentaries, not to forget the films on Janis Joplin and Nina Simone... But you have to search carefully as they are listed among a lot of tabloid stuff.

Nevertheless – as we are Netflix subscribers in our household - I assure you that the grandchildren already from age 3 know the name Netflix – I watched three documentaries recently, two of them were at Nordisk Panorama competition in Malmø and the third one I picked up because it was the subject of a double page article in a Danish newspaper.



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

International support to Catalonia

Written 01-10-2017 14:06:23 by Tue Steen Mller

… after the violation of its democratic and individual rights. This is how the DOCSBarcelona team addresses colleagues around the world. Here is the mail I received:

Dear colleagues

I contact you on behalf of DocsBarcelona director Joan Gonzàlez, who is in Chile at the moment, and the whole team of the project in Barcelona.

At DocsBarcelona we have been very respectful and neutral in the last years with the political situation in our territory, but the events that are taking place these days in Catalonia deeply disturb us. 

Democracy in our country is at serious risk at the moment. We are suffering from direct repression, with the combined use of security forces, legal action, and attacks on our institutions and our political representatives, through direct economic intervention and the absorption of competences of our legal public institutions.



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOK Leipzig Loznitsa & Rosenblatt

Written 30-09-2017 16:59:53 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig  Loznitsa & Rosenblatt

One more quote from a DOK Leipzig press release:

Two DOK Masterclasses will cover the topic of archival footage given by world-renowned directors. Sergei Loznitsa will introduce his personal way of working with found footage, talk about the power of montage to shape a film, and discuss how he deals with the boundary between documentary film and fiction. This event is taking place in cooperation with ARTE. Experimental short filmmaker Jay Rosenblatt, to whom the festival dedicates its homage this year, will explain how he assembles his collage and essay films. For his sometimes highly personal films he uses, for example, excerpts from educational, amateur and corporate films.

Various discussion formats address current trends and pressing issues of the documentary film industry. The Industry Talk "North American Distribution Expanded" will explore the distribution opportunities and strategies that the North American market has to offer. Panelists include Orly Ravid (The Film Collaborative, Los Angeles) and Robin Smith (Kinosmith, Toronto). The risks to filmmakers, protagonists and funders when shooting documentary films will be addressed in the talk "Protecting Yourself, Protecting your Protagonists" with Mike Lerner (Nutopia Films; work includes "Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer"), Zeynep Güzel (Yeni Film Fund, Istanbul) and Yulia Serdyukova (producer of "All Things Ablaze" (PHOTO) among others). 

As part of the rough cut presentations "DOK Preview Germany" and "DOK Preview Training" (in cooperation with seven European training initiatives) 13 film projects are set to be presented, all of which are ready for international distribution. Around 80 decision-makers from 30 countries will be present…

http://www.dok-leipzig.de/en/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOK Leipzig Co-Pro Market

Written 28-09-2017 17:18:34 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig Co-Pro Market

DOK Leipzig (October 30-November 5) has a strong market side parallel to the festival. The film selection for the competitive sections will be announced October 10 but already now you can get an impression of which projects to be presented at the DOK Co-Pro Market. From 350 applications, 35 were picked. And from the ones that I know about, I can only say – well done, strong projects, many of them away from the ordinary tv language like:

”The Smuggle Town” from Latvia by director and cinematographer Ivars Zviedris, presented at the Baltic Sea Forum in September, as was ”I’ll Stand by You” by Lithuanian/Italian Virginija Vareikyte and Maximilien Dejoie, both films with high-quality cinematography as you can also expect from another Lithuanian Audrius Mickevicius with his ”Exemplary Behaviour”. It was Mickevicius, who many years ago made ”Man-Horse”, a lyrical wonderfully slow documentary that was actually bought by several tv stations. His new project is different but also with a strong emphasis on the visualisation. And from Ukraine, by Alina Gorlova, the touching project about ”Andrey Suleyman”, who went from one war, in Syria, to another, in Eastern Ukraine. From Serbia comes Dragan Nikolic with his ”The Black Wedding”. Nikolic you will remember as the one, who made ”Caviar Connection” years ago.

Not to forget that Heddy Honigmann will come to Leipzig with her ”100UP”, a portrait of the lucky, or are they, people who reach that age!

And there are film projects from Afghanistan, Russia, Colombia, South Korea, Poland, Czech Republic, Georgia, South Africa, Turkey – and of course some from France and Belgium and Italy.

http://www.dok-leipzig.de/en/industry/co-pro-market/co-pro-projects-2017


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOK Leipzig/ History

Written 28-09-2017 16:29:09 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig/ History

Take a close look at the photo that is to be found on the website of the festival in Leipzig in connection with a very interesting article written by Andreas Kötzing, who has written several books on the festival. Written because the festival this year celebrates its 60th edition. Amazing! Let me quote his opening of the article:

Unannounced screenings after midnight? Films smuggled over the border in a suitcase? Hotel rooms bugged by the Stasi? Legends about the Leipzig film festival abound. Many of them date back to the GDR days when the festival was still called Internationale Leipziger Dokumentar- und Kurzfilmwoche für Kino und Fernsehen. And as always with stories that have been retold again and again over the years, it’s hard to tell where the truth lies. Impressions of the early days are entering oblivion. Take this famous photo from 1964 for example.

Group photo 1964. First row (f.l.t.r.): Jean Lods, Santiago Alvarez, Basil Wright, Paul Rotha, Frances Flaherty, Richard Leacock, Alberto Cavalcanti, Dolmetscherin, Bert Haanstra; Second row (f.l.t.r.): Andrew Thorndike, Henry Storck, Gianvittorio Baldi, Goverhandas Aggarwal, John Grierson, Ivor Montague, Karl Gass, Bruno Sefranka, Joris Ivens, Walter Heynowski, Annelie Thorndike, Václav Taborski, Chris Marker, Saad Nadim, Gerhard Scheumann, Dušan Vukotič.
Photo: Bundesarchiv, DR 140/ Bild (1964) / Alfred Paszkowiak.

Oh yes, this is film history. Looking at the photo makes me think about the great films these nicely dressed gentlemen and a couple of women (Frances Flaherty and Anneli Thorndike) have made. Basil Wright (Night Mail) puts himself in the foreground, Richard Leacock (Primary and hundreds of other films…) talks to Cavalcanti (editor champion of Night Mail and director of the Paris film Rien que les Heures), Bert Haanstra (Glass and all the films about Holland), Henry Storck (Borinage), John Grierson (the Godfather of it all), Joris Ivens (no introduction needed), Heynowski and Scheumann (the GDR political documentarians, remember Congo Müller!), and the master of them all Chris Marker (Sans Soleil…)… One could make a week long (or more) film historical session from this photo from 1964.

http://www.dok-leipzig.de/en/festival/jubilaeum/essay


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Nordisk Panorama Festival Winners

Written 28-09-2017 15:20:56 by Tue Steen Mller

Nordisk Panorama Festival Winners

No surprises. For the Best Nordic Documentary at the festival in Malmø the jury chose to go for two films that have already achieved recognition and won awards outside the Nordic countries, so naturally also ”at home”, even if the films not at all deal with ”home”:

”Last Men in Aleppo” by Feras Fayyad and ”Nowhere to Hide” by Zaradasht Ahmed, from Syria and Iraq. The jury motivations for the Grand Prix and the Honorary Mention go like this:

”Last Men in Aleppo” (is an) example of outstanding filmmaking portraying one of the greatest tragedies of our time. Risking their lives, with great respect for their characters and an impressive sensitivity to the complexity of war, the filmmakers take us into a world made up of choices that very few of us would be capable of making: Last Men in Aleppo.

”Nowhere to Hide” (that) gives us a unique insight into the long-term consequences of war, from the perspective of an ordinary man whose life is turned upside-down: Nowhere to Hide.

Both films have been reviewed on this site:

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3858/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3756/

For other winners please go to

http://nordiskpanorama.com/en/festival/award-winners-2017/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Nordisk Panorama: The Forum Day Two

Written 26-09-2017 15:38:43 by Tue Steen Mller

Nordisk Panorama: The Forum Day Two

Second day at Amiralen in Malmø for the Forum with twelve productions to be pitched. I was hoping for Cinema, for stories with an emphasis on visual storytelling, and I got it with the third project of the day, ”Swimming Pools” from Iceland, director and cinematographer Jón Karl Helgason. Also in terms of the verbal side of the presentation this was the most original pitch of the two days. Helgason asked us all in the room to close our eyes and gave us the job to visualise some scenes. We did. And I was pleased that finally here was someone who broke the schematic and predictable rythm. It was a wonderful, warm and funny, visually magnificent trailer about the many bathing facilities offered to the Icelandic population, and what it means to them. And the director told us that in Iceland people get old, also because of the pools. He wants to go to cinema with the film, and of course also with a tv version. 

Unfortunately the two first tv editors to comment (from SBS and YLE) spoiled the party. What is the film about, was the question? Well we just saw and heard that. You should go very close to the old people, was a comment. Well I will, the director said, it is only in the pools that personal questions are not allowed. After these two opening remarks it all went flat, as producer Heino Deckert said to me in a break – meaning that you hear ”thank you for the pitch” and similar sentences of politeness.



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Nordisk Panorama: The Forum Day One

Written 25-09-2017 18:56:47 by Tue Steen Mller

Nordisk Panorama: The Forum Day One

Look at the i-phone photo. Two good friends: Gitte Hansen and Mikael Opstrup. Danes. Moderators at the Nordisk Panorama Forum in Malmø as they have been for years. They smile because they know that everything is under control. The photo is taken before the first pitch. It will be the same procedure as last year, the technique will function, microphones and screening of clips will work, the two will try to get as many comments as possible to the 12 projects, which are on the menu. And they know who to ask as they have had meetings with the pitching teams the day before. It’s a table full of editors from Nordic television, consultants from Nordic film institutions and a fine group of representatives from outside the Nordic countries. From France, Germany, Holland, USA – I am sure I have forgotten someone.

The atmosphere is relaxed, also thanks to Hansen and Opstrup. The latter fights with the right pronunciation of last names of the non-Nordic panelists at the table, Hansen asks the same to be careful with the microphones, don’t touch them, just talk, ”don’t fuck it up”, the Dane living in Switzerland says.

Sooo, it is not their fault that I felt the day a bit boring. Representing FILMkommentaren and not TVkommentaren. Let me gently question the selection of projects. Most of them were for television, fair enough, but the balance to the more cinematic, to the Films? Let me exemplify: With all respect, the Danish project ”Fat Front" about fat women or as it was said fat activists, who use their body as an activist weapon – it is relevant and will have a tv life. The same for the Icelandic ”The Farmer and the Factory” about ”an unknown illness that plagues horses". As Helle Hansen from Norwegian Film Institute said, ”how are you going to visualise it”? A nice tv documentary coming up on Madeline Stuart, who is a model with Down syndrome, ”Everybody Loves Madeline”. A Norwegian pop star Aurora, title ”Once Aurora”, the tv people loved it… and so it went on and on. Almost. For there were projects that had trailers, which were not just informative but also showed Filmic quality.



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dok.incubator Bravo!

Written 24-09-2017 15:35:06 by Tue Steen Mller

dok.incubator Bravo!

Full house at Inkonst in Malmø Sunday morning at 10. The director of the training program Andrea Prenghyova had no reason to doubt if anyone would come. But she was right in her welcoming speech: No cars, no people in the streets this morning but a full house to get acquainted with 8 films, that will be finished in the coming months. Bravo! It was the sixth season of the Prague based, three session long training that is there – to quote the brochure I got this morning – to sharpen the final cut, increase the film’s international potential, prepare an ingenious marketing strategy, create a sophisticated distribution plan, break into the international market…

The atmosphere was great. Members of the 8 pitching teams for the preview saluted each other. There were applause after the introduction by one of the tutors, applause after the introduction by the producer/director, applause after the clips etc. Too much? Maybe they overdo it, but if you see it as a tribute to the documentary as genre… If you salute that films are made which are important thematically and has a cinematic approach to the topic. Let me put it in another way: It was enjoyable to be there this morning and many could learn from the presentation concept of dok.incubator: Words of course and then a trailer AND two selected scenes. The latter is a scoop. And dangerous of course because a trailer can be seducing but scenes tell you something about, whether a filmmaker stands behind.

That is absolutely the case for ”Over the Limit” by Marta Prus



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Lidia Sheinins Harmony Wins at M2M

Written 24-09-2017 09:07:44 by Tue Steen Mller

Lidia Sheinins Harmony Wins at M2M

From the sideline I have followed Lidia Sheinin’s fine film ”Harmony”, that won the main award at the Message2Man festival in St. Petersburg. So happy for the director. Here is a repeat of the review that I wrote, when the film was shown at Visions du Réel in Nyon earlier this year:

Grandmother is old and fragile, she can not live on her own. Her daughter with four children, 3 boys, the oldest 6-8 years old I guess, and a baby girl, moves in, to help; into a flat that has little space. Not difficult to imagine the messy consequences, the constant ”don’t do this and that” from granny, whose space is invaded, who does not eat regularly – and to imagine and see the constant exhaustion of a mother of four.

The director is there with her camera, observing, no intervention.

Watching how life goes on under these hard conditions. It’s tough to be there with the family as a viewer but it’s also life-affirming and fun because the situation is recognisable, the energy from the kids, their questions, ”why are we living here”, the patience of the mother, the despair of the granny when the screaming and crying fill the rooms – and the piano that takes so much space, has been part of her life, if it could go there would be more space…

It could take place in many corners of the world – well, in Denmark the granny would maybe have been skipped off to an old people’s home – here it is in St. Petersburg; I was happy to be with the family in a very fine and balanced documentary, on 3 generations, that you leave at the kitchen table with a smile on your face.

Russia, 2017, 59 mins.


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dok.incubator in Malm

Written 22-09-2017 15:04:45 by Tue Steen Mller

dok.incubator in Malm

I have promised Andrea Prenghyova, director of the praised and popular dok.incubator workshop to promote the preview that she organises in Malmø within the Nordisk Panorama this coming Sunday 24th of September at 10am at Inkonst Festival Centre.

I do so with pleasure. I have attended previous sessions and it is always exciting to see, what is coming very soon. The filmmakers are there, they show trailers and scenes, the atmosphere is accordingly warm and supportive.

8 projects… and I know some of them, look fwd. To see how far they are.

”Over the Limit” by Polish Marta Prust that follows a young sportswoman on her journey to the Olympic gold. She is Russian, will she make it through what is called ”the extreme Russian training system”. What I have seen before is very promising.

And good friend from visits to Tbilisi, Georgian Mari Gulbiani is there with a film called ”Before Father Gets Back” – and well known Norwegian Håvard Bustness who has a story about ”women inside one of Europe’s most nationalist parties”, title ”Golden Dawn Girls” and then we know where we are: in Greece.

www.dokincubator.net


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Sara Broos: Spejlinger

Written 20-09-2017 10:26:17 by Tue Steen Mller

Sara Broos: Spejlinger

This is a repeat of the review written last year. Because the film now has its theatrical premiere in Denmark in Posthusteatret Copenhagen tomorrow September 21st. Go watch that film!

- You have to catch the attention of the audience right from the beginning. The opening of a film is so important. Here you have to  make an invitation to the viewer, give some basic information that indicates, what he/she can expect but first of all demonstrate that you are a filmmaker, who can create an atmosphere, a tone that makes you curious, that surprises you, that gives you something special, that in this case convinces you that this is personal and not private.

Swedish Sara Broos does so with the first four minutes of her ”Reflections” (”Speglingar” in Swedish). You get a close-up of a young beautiful face in profile and thereafter of an older beautiful face in profile. A fine voice (how attractive the Swedish language is spoken like this) tells us what this is about – mother and daughter together, filmed in Latvia in a house and on a beach. The daughter, Sara, the filmmaker, invited mother Karin, painter, on a trip as a present when she became 60. Sara wanted to ask questions – a classic: I want to know more about you, mother, there is so much I don’t know.

The combination of the text of Sara, the super-stylized arranged



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Elvira Lind: Bobbi Jene

Written 19-09-2017 08:53:30 by Tue Steen Mller

Elvira Lind: Bobbi Jene

I had seen the film before via the vod Festival Scope on my MacBook. The vod allows only one screening but thanks to Youn Ji from the sales company Autlook I got the invitation to screen the film again, which I did on a big screen at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. Together with Lithuanian film students. They enjoyed – as I did – the film. The following review includes observations and evaliuations we made at the academy. For those who know nothing about the film and its content, see the neutral description below taken from the dfi.dk.

It’s so complex. It has so many layers. It is so well built. As a fiction film you are carried from one scene to the next, from one conflict to the next. Bobbi Jene is ambitious, she wants to try on her own after 10 years with Ohad and his Israeli dance group Batsheva, where she developed to be the star. She wants to leave Tel Aviv,



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Message2Man St.Petersburg

Written 16-09-2017 22:43:33 by Tue Steen Mller

Message2Man St.Petersburg

The festival in magnificent St. Petersburg started last night with an opening ceremony on the Palace Square, in rain as last year where I was there – unfortunately not possible for me to be present this year. Look at the picture of Marcel Ophüls (born 1st of November 1927) on the stage to be honoured for his contribution to the history of cinema. Let me mention the two titles that appear in all 100 Best Documentaries lists: ”Le Chagrin et la pitié” and ”Hotel Terminus”. The film shown at the opening was a restored version of ”Man With a Movie Camera” by Dziga Vertov, made in 1929… when Ophüls was two years old!

At the festival there is a series of independent Chinese documentaries and a well deserved retrospective of Helena Třeštíková’s Czech Chronicles. Also to be noticed that the trilogy of Bulgarian Andrey Paounov is in the programme, with the masterpiece ”The Mosquito Problem and Other Stories” in the foreground.

Kirsten Johnson is in international competition with ”Cameraperson” as is Lidia Sheinina with her ”Harmony”, both reviewed on this site as is Mariam Chachia’s ”Listen to the Silence”.

http://www.message2man.com/en/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Lithuanian Talents

Written 16-09-2017 21:35:47 by Tue Steen Mller

Lithuanian Talents

It’s not everyone, who leaves the country – even if one of the students said that the amount, who does, equalises one full airplane per day. Going away from Lithuania to live and work in another country. He said so at the film school department of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, where I was invited to teach for a week. But they should stay, these young people, even if the funding possibilities are small. The teacher said. There is a fine tradition for artistic documentaries in your country – we have written about it again and again on this site ever since it (the site) started 10 years ago. Names… Henrikas Sablevicius, Arunas Matelis, Giedre Zickyte, Giedre Beinoriute, Audrius Stonys. The two latter are teachers at the school. And are referred to again and again by the students.

Yes, I spotted talents during the week. I saw material of films



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Anna Eborn: Lida

Written 16-09-2017 15:51:01 by Tue Steen Mller

Anna Eborn: Lida

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

… an extraordinary cinematic interpretation of something ordinary. No Lida Utas Andreasdotter is not an ordinary person, but her story, her destiny as a victim of geography and the related events of war and deportation is heard and told about so many times before:

She lives with her family as a child in Zmiivka (used to be a Swedish colony) in Ukraine. During the world war the family is deported by the Germans, they go to Germany, Poland and after the war they are sent to a camp in Siberia. She comes back to Zmiivka and has stayed there since then. She gave birth to four boys, two of them died as children, the two others live far away from their mother, as does her sister, there is no contact between them.

The film brings them together. On film. Not in reality. Lida is a



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Henrikas Sablevicius - Sobles Kino Klubas

Written 11-09-2017 20:01:36 by Tue Steen Mller

Henrikas Sablevicius - Sobles Kino Klubas

Finally I am at the film school in Vilnius - Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre - to teach for a week. On this first day my host Giedrė Kabašinskienė took me to see Sobles Kino Klubas named after my dear friend Henrikas Sablevicius from the time of the Balticum Film & TV Festival on Bornholm. I took the photo of a poster on the wall and re-post a text written 6 years ago on this site:

They know how to remember and honour their artists in Lithuania, including the documentary filmmakers, I was reminded again today at the Vilnius Documentary Film Festival. Talking to directors Giedre Beinoriute and Audrius Stonys, they told me that a film club had been established in the name of Henrikas Sablevicius, a wonderful teacher and a fine documentary director, a father figure, for many the main creator of the Lithuanian documentary tradition, based on the image, always with many layers, lyrical in tone, like the city Vilnius often filled with an atmosphere of spirituality.

Henrikas Sablevicius (1930-2004) came to the Balticum Film & TV Festival on the Danish island of Bornholm in all 10 years of the festival’s existence. He was the proud leader of the delegation, he was the one who stood forward and made speeches and introductions, he invited the audience to retrospectives of Lithuanian documentaries, including some of his own, and he was a generous party organiser after the screenings at the Kino Gudhjem on Bornholm. He was also the one, who received us, the Danish selection team, when we came to Vilnius to watch films. He organised the screenings at the Film Studio in the city (torn down, what a shame!) and he served us tea and 999, the secret code that later became the way that I and director Arunas Matelis for years adressed each other.

I got a book on Sablevicius today, published last year, edited by Ramune Rakauskaite, entitled ”Soble” (his nickname), with contributions from colleague filmmakers and students like the three names I have mentioned. I can not read it, but just browsing through the book looking at the photos of the charismatic man with the wild beard, brings me back to our meetings on Bornholm, always with conversations that included an interpreter... Sobles Kino Klubas is the name and it has a facebook page!

http://www.facebook.com/sobles.kino.klubas

http://mubi.com/films/didnt-come

http://www.documentary.lt/?Lang=EN


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Sea Docs 2017

Written 10-09-2017 14:58:25 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Sea Docs 2017

… is over. During two days 24 projects were presented in a good atmosphere on the top floor of Albert Hotel in Riga. Business as usual from an organisational point of view but with fresh projects at different levels of development. Some had just come back from first days of shooting, some lacked some shooting and some had a rough cut or were entering final stage of editing. That’s how it is, the decision makers and broadcasters know it, as do the filmmakers. They also know that positive remarks from the panelists do not necessarily mean that a pre-sale/distribution contract can be signed. It takes time and the most common remark in a pitching session like this still is: I want to see more. However my gut feeling is that many will profit from the forum, and that many good films will arrive.

The photo is taken today (by the forum photographer, Latvian Agnese Zeltina). The old man moderating is congratulating the filmmakers with a fine presentation of ”Journey to the End of the Night”, the last production at the forum, pitched by skilled and experienced Estionian Max Tuula and directed by Russian Ksenia Elyan, who has filmed nomadic families living above the Arctic Circle with a focus on the children and their teacher, who comes to stay in the darkest months of the year – to teach. And they are so bright these kids and ask clever questions that could challenge any grown-up, questions like: when does the universe stop or similar more existential questions.

I leave the workshop with quite an increase of knowledge of what



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Baltic Sea Docs+

Written 09-09-2017 18:20:34 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Sea Docs+

The+ goes for the extra events organised by Creative Europe’s Latvian representative – formerly it was called Media Desk – Lelda Ozola.

First element of a long and good friday afternoon was the presentation of documentary series produced by Danish television, the DR3, a relatively new channel (4 years old) targeting a young audience, as the presenter Erik Struve Hansen said between 15 and 40. So out of my reach age-wise… anyway I had nothing specifically against watching 26 minutes of ”I am the Ambassador” aka the American Rufus Gifford. It was one of 10 episodes and it was light and entertaining and can not do any harm… One tutor colleague found it a disgusting promotion for the USA. Promotion it is of course, Gifford is a media person, who knows what he is doing. He is now being substituted by a Trump-lover, Struve Hansen, a woman who used to play in ”Glamour”!

Second element was the showing of one episode of ”Petra Goes Dating”, in this case in Belgrade, for me interesting to be back in a city That I have been visiting the last 15 years. A daring program, Petra goes the whole way, 3 Serbian men, the last one she stayed with for the night.

Third element was the presentation of Pitch the Doc by Polish Adam Paplinski, that I have written about before: … A fine initiative



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