Filmkommentaren

Baltic Sea Docs 2020

Written 11-07-2020 12:57:07 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Sea Docs 2020

Riga, Latvia. 29.08 - 4.09.2020. The 24th Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries. For “professional filmmakers from the Baltic Sea region, as well as from Eastern and Central Europe”. It started in Denmark, had some years in the Baltic capitals before it found its permanent home in Riga in 2005. I have been “part of the furniture” since the beginning. With pleasure.

There is a film program to be announced later as well as seminars and list of tutors and decision makers, who will take part in an event that this year will be hybrid with some people based in Riga and many people attached to the Zoom presentations and questions and answers.

Project manager Zane Balcus and her team have made the selection of projects, 24 as usual, you can see them all via the link below.

Let me mention names that I already know from previous gatherings:

 



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CinDOC Summer School 2020

Written 01-07-2020 08:42:05 by Tue Steen Mller

CinDOC Summer School 2020

They had no choice the good people behind the Georgian documentary film festival CinéDOC. They already had organised three summer schools, this was to be the fourth and it had to be online… the intensive workshop dedicated to promising filmmakers from Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Intensive? Indeed it was! 12 film projects. 4 tutors. And a (great) team of organisers led by Ileana Stanculescu and Artchil Khetagouri, the two filmmakers and directors of the festival CinéDOC that has not yet taken place because of the pandemic. Postponed. But not this summer school workshop.

Read more...

 



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Director Nyrabia Interviewed

Written 23-06-2020 20:15:46 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Director Nyrabia Interviewed

Nick Cunningham, brilliant interviewer and reporter for the trade magazine BusinessDocEurope, has made an interview with artistic director of IDFA Orwa Nyrabia, who as usual talks clear and precise about the situation for documentaries in these times of lockdown. I have picked only a couple of quotes so please read it all, click the link below.

“A thousand persons watching the film at home over a week are not equal to a thousand persons in a cinema watching the same film… To me, watching a good film in a good cinema with other humans is a privilege, a valuable expression of our human civilization… It is a noble experience that I still want to defend within a civilization that is, otherwise, not much to brag about.”

Nyrabia’s concerns lie more with the filmmakers whose new documentaries are being met with a mute response within the virtual ether. “Overall, the on-demand approach to an online festival offer was very difficult to experience for a filmmaker who has been working on a film for years and hoping to be there and feel, see, smell and hear the audience watching their film. During a pandemic, a festival cannot have the full answer to that. A festival can either take place, not take place, or find the statement it wants to make within the context – and the means and technology to make it.”

… ” Film does not exist on its own in the can (or the hard drive). Film exists when it is on a screen with an audience. That other thing we see alone on a smaller screen is something else. It is better than nothing for sure, but it is not a replacement.”

https://businessdoceurope.com/orwa-nyrabia-on-the-return-to-live-for-the-sake-of-filmmakers-and-audiences/?fbclid=IwAR2gZ15voEo-FGiucIvtAWgyC3cUzUvbVGOqoUiYScpdlGMxE_ssLhekkBY


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Biograffilm Festival Bologna Awards

Written 17-06-2020 14:08:39 by Tue Steen Mller

Biograffilm Festival Bologna Awards

The first Italian online festival to draw to a close inside a cinema

Biografilm celebrates both the reopening of cinemas in Italy and the winning films of the 2020 edition, which, for the first time, was accessible for free online nationwide in Italy. The festival welcomed a large audience: over 45,000 reservations in the Biografilm Hera Theatre virtual cinema.

“The joy of being back inside the cinema and meeting others in person is enormous, but I am also delighted about the festival’s virtual participation” says the director Leena Pasanen, “our decision to move online was rewarded by an audience who has actively followed our programme, showing their enthusiastic support on social media too. For next year we will carry on working to ensure the possibility of access to the festival for those who cannot come to Bologna. Our industry event for film professionals, Bio to B, also saw an astonishing turnout, with 150 accredited guests able to connect from home from all over the world.”

Biografilm Festival returned to the cinema in time for the Awards Ceremony,

 



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Biograffilm Festival Bologna

Written 13-06-2020 19:20:41 by Tue Steen Mller

Biograffilm Festival Bologna

16th edition, June 5-15, with Finnish Leena Pasanen as the new director for a festival that has the subtitle ”International Celebration of Lives”. There is an international competition with 12 films (with films like Danish „It Takes a Family” by Susanne Kovács, ”Sing me a Song” by Thomas Balmes, ”The Earth is Blue as an Orange” by Iryna Tsilyk from Ukraine – and two Italian films that I have seen:

”Faith” by Valentina Pedicini, the opening film, a strong card to play by the new director; the film won the main award at DocsBarcelona, I saw it at IDFA and remembered ”the former Zelig student, who actually prepared the film, when she was in the school in Bolzano. She made a short film at that time, 11 years ago. “I was young at that time, 11 years later I felt mature enough to go deeper, stay longer at the place-“. And she did together with cameraperson Bastian Esser and his assistent Lucia Alessi – both of them also Zelig students…”. And I – teaching at the school – remember the three talents very well.

The other Italian film in competition is Francesco Cannavà’s “Because of my Body”, first film, produced by experienced Raffaele Brunetti, a film made with respect and care with two amazing characters. No need to give an annotation, as the one from the festival website is precise: “Because of a serious motor disability, Claudia cannot move without being helped by her mother. At the age of 20 she is still a virgin and wonders what sexual pleasure could possibly be like. But one day Marco, a Love Giver, comes into her life. Marco has just attended the first course to help disabled people to discover their own bodies and sexuality, an unprecedented event, on the margins of legality. Supported by a team of specialists, Claudia and Marco embark on a series of meetings which become ever more intimate. However, the project is subject to protocol which includes a rule that is difficult to enforce: never fall in love.” 

Yes, the meetings become “ever more intimate”, sometimes challenging my modesty but it’s never flat, it is gentle and beautiful – show me my clitoris, one scene, painting the body, blue for what you don’t find appealing, another scene, red for sexually appealing, she drives her car in a fantastic scene that conveys her joy on her way to Marco, who more and more becomes “the one and only”. It’s not easy – the mother suffers, Claudia suffers as does Marco in a film full of life and fine moments.

There are 8 more Italian films being presented – in an Italian competition. I will be back with comments on a couple more.

https://www.biografilm.it/en/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA returns to cinemas in November

Written 11-06-2020 20:55:21 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA returns to cinemas in November
(with the) Program extended by limited online screenings
 
The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) is planning its 33rd edition. With Dutch cinemas now re-opening, IDFA is looking forward to holding the festival in theaters from November 18th to 29th, albeit with potentially reduced capacity. The festival’s competitions will remain intact, to be presented in cinemas and extended with limited virtual cinema screenings and events. 

IDFA competition and audience screenings
 
to be continued...


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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Krakow FF Awards Intl. Doc Competition

Written 07-06-2020 10:24:58 by Tue Steen Mller

Krakow FF Awards Intl. Doc Competition

… and Fipresci Award

Having watched all the competitive films the International Documentary Jury of the 60th Krakow Film Festival consisting of: Łukasz Żal – chairman (Poland), Renata Santoro (Italy), Tod Lending (USA), Eva Mulvad (Denmark), Martin Horyna (Czech Republic) has decided to award the following prizes:

 



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Krakow FF Back to the Cinema

Written 06-06-2020 18:08:37 by Tue Steen Mller

Krakow FF Back to the Cinema

This is a copy paste from the Krakow FF website of today:

The 60th Krakow Film Festival invites you to screenings of award-winning films at the Pod Baranami Cinema in Krakow!

The pioneering decision to organize this year’s entire Krakow Film Festival program on the web was a success! The virtual cinema screening rooms has been packed to the brim from the first day of the festival! An enthusiastic, numerous audience participates in meetings with the creators and special live events. The organizers receive thanks and praises coming from all over the world. The Krakow Film Festival has prepared a unique surprise for the viewers. On the last day of the film holiday, you are invited the cinema!

Traditionally, on Sunday, the last day of the festival, the organizers invite the audience to an unforgettable marathon of films awarded in all festival competitions. This year will be no dofferent. Sunday screenings in the virtual cinema will start at 11.00 a.m. CET and will last until late evening. The last tickets are waiting for viewers.

The Krakow Film Festival decided to immediately react to the lifting of some restrictions on cinema activities and invite the audience to screenings of the winning films on 7th of June and have the audience fill all the rooms of the friend Pod Baranami Cinema. Thus, KFF will become the first festival in Poland realized entirely online and in the cinema!

We have often said that despite the great excitement with the new formula of this year’s festival, we can’t wait to get back to the cinemas. We are happy that this can happen much earlier than we thought. Thanks to this, the finale of our festival will be truly unique and will certainly go down in history, emphasizes Olga Lany, spokeswoman for the Krakow Film Festival.

Screenings in the cinema halls of the Krakow Pod Baranami Cinema (at the Main Square and in the Małopolska Garden of Arts) will start in parallel with the virtual screenings – at 11.00. Tickets are PLN 15 and they will only be available at www.kinopodbaranami.pl and at the cinema ticket offices. A detailed screenings program will be announced after the closing ceremony of the festival, which will take place on June 6 at 7.00 p.m.. Immediately after the Gala, selected award-winning films will also be shown: films of the winner of the Golden Hobby-Horse in the Polish competition, winner of the Golden Dragon in the short film competition and winners of the Golden and Silver Horn in the international documentary competition.

Photo: Romanian documentary "Acasa, My Home" by Radu Ciorniciuc. Could be one of the winners of tonight and thus one to be shown in the cinema tomorrow.


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Zoom In Zoom Out

Written 05-06-2020 21:04:31 by Tue Steen Mller

Zoom In Zoom Out

And what are your thoughts about that? The moderator of the pitching session - sitting in her home somewhere in North America - asks the sales agent sitting in her home in Zürich Switzerland. The pitching team is from Norway, the project deals with people in Peru. The pitchers are in their homes in Norway, I am watching from my corner chair in a garden house in Copenhagen. Where I have been with my wife since beginning of April, watching the garden come to life with a lot of green but also blue and red flowers – and birds singing you good morning, when the sun rises. Pure Monet.

No complaints from me, this is Covid times and we have to take care. And we do. Even if we can only see the dear small ones very little. 

Restrictions also in the documentary world of course. Films are being screened 



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Categories: Cinema, Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Web

Openings Inspired by Krakow FF

Written 04-06-2020 21:41:28 by Tue Steen Mller

Openings Inspired by Krakow FF

I have been brought back to thinking about the different ways films start, while watching the Krakow FF international competition of this year. I think we all agree about the importance of catching the attention of the audience from the very start. Hook the viewers, so they stay for the duration of the story. Some starts are very short before the title appears on the screen, some are long, some give a promise, some set the tone and the atmosphere, some try to do all of it, some put up some questions that might or might not be answered. 

Some editors have told me that they often wait with doing the opening until the end. Having built a story or tried to, they suddenly – together with the director – “discover” the film and what is important and what not. Where do you want to take the audience? What do you want to say? Examples:

Norwegian “Self Portrait” uses a bit more than one minute to let you into the gripping story. You see a couple of photos of a woman from behind, a woman walking, who becomes “alive” walking across a field, turns around and looks at you; off screen she has told us that when a child, she decided to stop time as she is now able to do, when she takes pictures. The last photo is of herself, the anorectic Lene Maria. Credits come and we know, what the film will be about, the character, the theme, the tone.

In “Sunless Shadows” (Photo) Iranian director Mehrdad Oskouei’s voice is heard on a black background: Dear Sara, when you come into the room, sit down, push the red button and talk to the camera… she does and she talks about the murder, she has committed. Content of the film is thus revealed and the director’s and the director’s involvement and method and stylistical approach.

In Romanian “Acasa, My Home” by Radu Ciorniciucthe opening describes a paradise for kids – they swim in the lake, they fish, they have boys’ fights, they enjoy life in the nature. Until they are interrupted. The director states upfront with whom he places his sympathy.

Polish Maciej Cuske – in The Whale from Lorino - opens with wild images of sea waves smashing against rocks somewhere in the world. The images are matched with words of a fairy tale about whale and man. An opening that makes the promise of a film with poetic moments.

Openings… I am totally indoctrinated by words of Niels Pagh Andersen, Danish editor, mostly famous for his work on Oppenheimer’s «Act of Killing» and «Look of Silence»: Hold Back information, give the necessary input upfront, but don’t pour a lot of information into the head of the poor viewer. Build it up, step by step, give the viewer a chance to take part, remember that the film is made in the head of the viewer, remember that one viewer interprets in one way, another in another way!

That is what a good documentary can do – by good I mean documentaries that have many layers, many openings, to use that word again, for interpretation. 

And from a previous Krakow festival: Is Piotr Stasik’s New York film a film about New York. Absolutely. Is it about «la condition humaine », our existence, loneliness, a philosophical work, is it about Love, Yes to all, it has many layers, a film that will be watched and evaluated differently depending on age and sex. And where you are in your own life. I go to visit family in New York every second year, I have observed people in the underground as Stasik is doing, it’s fascinating but I know it so well that I can go to the other levels: Life as we live it, together or alone. And as a film buff who wants to be surprised, I enjoy the sound and rythm that the director gives me. It’s new and innovative.


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Happy Birthday Krakow FF

Written 02-06-2020 21:56:53 by Tue Steen Mller

Happy Birthday Krakow FF

60th edition! Wow! And then you have to go online! Instead of having all of us invited passionate film lovers sit and applaud one of the most important documentary festivals ever.

A challenge for you but I am sure the festival will make that a success as well. I write „as well“ because I have visited the festival many times and always felt the good organisation and the generosity that meets you as a guest. Of course with a good program, retrospectives etc. Memories…

Actually, I dont remember the first time I was at the festival. But it could have 



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

138.506 Spectators at DocsBarcelona

Written 01-06-2020 22:18:10 by Tue Steen Mller

138.506 Spectators at DocsBarcelona

Take a look at the photo above. Taken by the photographer F Fagregas: A concert with The Boss, Bruce Springsteen at Nou Camp. Where I have been several times with Joan Gonzalez, director of DocsBarcelona. Last night at the award ceremony he announced that the audience for DocsBarcelona 2020 Online was so big that the famous stadium for Barca i.e., where Messi plays, where Ronaldinho and Laudrup have played, would have been too small as it can "only" room a bit more than 90.000. The number of spectators for DocsBarcelona online, available for viewers in Spain, was 138.506! Of course it is not totally comparable but the amount of cinemagoers at the festival four years ago was 10.000 and 2 years ago the number passed 25.000 cinemagoers. Mr. Data, as Gonzalez sometimes calls himself, was right when he wrote that this forms a giant step for the documentary genre and he continued that the online will stay, NOT as the first priority, that will still be to show the festival films in the cinemas, but as a means to reach new audiences, to create a documentary culture!

It would be interesting to know, of course, from where in Spain the audience comes. Gonzalez, on the basis of twitters, if I got it right, said that he thinks 60% are from Catalonia, 40 % from the rest of Spain.

From me, as Head of Programming, I am happy to see artistic, personal documentaries like "Winter Journey", "Songs of Repression", "Advocate", "Rising from the Tsunami" and "Vivos" attract more than 4000 spectators in the few days they were available. The winner - b/w, experiment in editing, for many "special" - had close to 2500 spectators.

Long live the art of documentary cinema.

www.docsbarcelona.com 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Storm Henriksen og Lindgreen: Mod, Sved og Trer

Written 01-06-2020 12:13:48 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Storm Henriksen og Lindgreen: Mod, Sved og Trer

Det er en ungdomsfilm står der og det udelukker mig, jeg lammes i interessen på forhånd og så har Andrea Storm Henriksens og Ina Lindgrens lille tv-serie næsten selvfølgelig en bestemt vinkling i front nemlig at undersøge et sociologisk problemfelt om unge mennesker som ikke passer ind i de mere fastlagte og sædvanlige uddannelsesrammer. Det er den journalistiske vinkel læser jeg på forhånd men jeg læser også dokumentafilmtræk når jeg ser filmen, træk som dukker op, Frederick Wiseman minder i skildringen af miljøet, af institutionen, af den vidunderlige cirkusskole og i portrætteringen af de fire hovedpersoner.

Skildringen lykkes til overdådighed, den skole er et fagligt fantastisk og emotionelt rart sted, men portrætteringerne får ikke plads nok til at montagens karakterudviklinger af de fire bliver rolige og tydelige, men jeg er også mest optaget af alderdomsfilm og frydes til gengæld ved kameraskabte ærlige scener, to eksempler:

Samtalen mellem eleven højt oppe i trapezen og læreren på gulvet, den scene som jeg elsker, som jeg kunne se til et sekund før den dør af sig selv og jeg er en erfaring og et minde rigere som efter et digt…

Samværet mellem eleven ved klaveret som har meldt sig ind på skolen her for spring, trapez og jongleren (som han loyalt slider med) men i pauserne sætter sig ved klaveret og spiller og hun som har set ud som han har set hende, hun sætter sig på bænken hos ham og han lærer hende stilfærdigt venstrehånden og de spiller sammen som det måske kan bruges ved afslutningsforestillingnen. Og så synger han, synger og spiller en blues. Ja, kald det bare forelskelse, kærlighed i spæd begyndelse…

Det er som to små kameraiagttagelser i Wiseman film og der er adskillige af dem at opdage og tøve ved i denne fine lille tv-serie, det er et smukt og rigt værk med en sikker puls som kulminerer i den store finale, en serie for ungdommen og alderdommen at juble over. Se den!

SYNOPSIS 1

A documentary series in two parts about a group of young students at an alternative school in Denmark. At AFUK (the Academy for Untamed Creativity), also called “The Circus School”, it is acceptable to be different. The school believes in quirky characters, and that everyone is capable of much more than they think they are. 



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Vurdering:

 
Categories: TV, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Krakow FF Puts a Focus on Denmark

Written 31-05-2020 18:43:51 by Tue Steen Mller

Krakow FF Puts a Focus on Denmark

Tonight the opening of the Krakow Film Festival takes place at 7pm. 

The festival 2020 goes online – with the same high quality in selection as always. Competition programmes, thematic sections, a Dragon Award for the master Peter Forgacs, films for kids, industry events and much much more.

Including a very generous gesture towards Denmark: “Special guest of this year’s festival is Danish cinema. In Focus on Denmark section we will see the latest documentary and short films from Denmark, as well as a special programme for kids and youth and a selection of student films.” A fine bravo to Danish documentary in the 60th edition of the prestigious festival. An honour.

On that occasion you - whereever you live, for free, with English as the language - will have the chance to meet 4 Danish top documentary producers, who have contributed to the current success of Danish documentary worldwide. The producers who will talk about coproduction are Sigrid Dyekjær, Kathrine Sahlstrøm, Signe Byrge Sørensen, Malene Flindt Pedersen – who will be joined by Ane Mandrup, Head of Documentaries at the Danish Film Institute and Kim Christiansen from DR Sales (Danish Broadcasting Corp.), executive producer. It’s my job to be the moderator.

The conference has a duration of 90 minutes and takes place Tuesday June 2nd at 12-13.30 via the link below, You can put question to the panel (write mail@tuesday.dk). Photo: Eva Mulvad's A Modern Man 

https://www.krakowfilmfestival.pl/en/industry/industry-zone/panels-conferences/focus-on-denmark-presentation/

 

 

 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona: Filmmaker's Window

Written 26-05-2020 11:42:25 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona: Filmmaker's Window

3 months ago a state of alarm forced us to leave the office from where we always produce DocsBarcelona. In this context, this edition has been prepared: looking out the window to see the few things that were happening in a world that had completely stopped.

We believe it is important to remember everything we have been through. That is why we have asked directors and friendly directors of DocsBarcelona to share with us how they experienced this confinement beyond the window of their home. Sharing the hard moments, and the beautiful moments, and these looks outward and at the same time inward. We asked them, to the extent that they could and under the conditions we already knew, to send us an audiovisual piece that reflected this moment as only documentaries do.

And now, it seems that everything is being left behind (including this new edition of the Festival that is already ending) we present the result of these pieces, which we have also had the honor and pleasure of preparing for this digital projection with the help of the Victor Kossakovsky, from whom we got the idea through his masterpiece, TISHE. It is thanks to his sensitivity, and to that of Èric Motjer, Laura Àlvarez, Ariadna Seuba, Anna Petrus, Pepe Rodríguez, Alexandre Chartrand, Oscar Moreno and Clare Wiekopf, from the friendly filmmakers who have lent themselves. Now we can open this filmmaker's window to everything we experienced a few weeks ago around the world. We hope you enjoy it!

The premiere will be next Saturday, May 30th at 12pm (Spanish time). You can follow it through the web or social networks of @DocsBarcelona. Do not miss it!

Photo from  Kossakovsky's TISHE.


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Niels Pagh Andersen at DocsBarcelona

Written 23-05-2020 21:04:50 by Tue Steen Mller

Niels Pagh Andersen at DocsBarcelona

Yesterday a masterclass was held with Danish editor Niels Pagh Andersen in conversation with me. I was happy to see that almost 130 attended the class with ”the Skinny Romantic”, as he has been called by Ai WeiWei, whose ”Vivos” is one of the films at the online DocsBarcelona 2020. The other film at the festival edited by Andersen is Danish ”Songs of Repression” by Marianne Hougen-Moraga and Estephan Wagner. The film that won two awards at the Cph:Dox festival recently, produced by Final Cut for Real that also stood behind ”Act of Killing” and ”Look of Silence”, also edited by the storyteller from Hans Christian Andersen’s country.

Among the themes: Emotional dramaturgy, Director and Editor, Holding back Information, Empathy for the characters, Good and Evil, Order in chaos and much much more.

If you were not among the viewers yesterday, you can see and hear by clicking, it’s for free and in (some kind of) English:

https://me.docsbarcelona.com/events/1/live/5

 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

The Digital life of the Documentary Industry

Written 21-05-2020 13:22:51 by Tue Steen Mller

The Digital life of the Documentary Industry

Zane Balcus wrote this essay:

New features of something to come were felt in February during Berlinale. Then only a few people were seen on the streets in face masks, but hand disinfectants were regularly provided in the toilets of the European Film Market (and in sufficient amounts for the huge crowds of attendees). In Prague at the beginning of March, the “new reality” arrived in full force during the week of the East Doc Platform (EDP) and One World Film Festival. The festival was suspended due to the ban to gatherings over 100 people. It was painful for those filmmakers who learned only after arriving in the Czech Republic that their film would not be shown in the cinema (like it was for the team of The Earth is Blue as an Orange, who had had so successful start in Sundance, bookings to almost all spring festivals this year (and I’m sure beyond it), which have now moved online). 

Dafilms stepped in and the festival immediately switched from physical space 

 



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Web, Essays

DocsBarcelona Opening 2020

Written 20-05-2020 18:52:44 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona Opening 2020

Strange feeling… DocsBarcelona opened last night, online, with the director of it all, Joan Gonzalez (the man in the middle, as toastmaster) calling upon the Head of Program and the Head of Industry to come with comments on what is going to happen. Online. I talked from our garden house in Copenhagen, rain outside – oh, I would have loved to be in Barcelona because of Barcelona, the weather, 25 degrees, the atmosphere and all the good friends in and outside the festival team, and film directors. To sit in a full cinema hall and enjoy.

But… I enjoyed the informal and professional opening, produced by Helena Alabart and her team including filmmaker Eric Motjer as technical boss. Not only the middle aged men above were on screen, Helena was also there as was Salima Jirari, who is running the amazing Documentary of the Month distribution in the empire that Joan Gonzalez has built. Go to www.docsbarcelona.com and you will see what I mean. And there you can see the opening ceremony with clips from the films chosen. An English subtitled version is on its way.

Cut to a quote from Gonzalez from yesterday, interview in Cineuropa, 19.5.20:

 



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Categories: TV, Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Laila Pakalnina: The First Bridge

Written 19-05-2020 15:06:11 by Tue Steen Mller

Laila Pakalnina: The First Bridge

“Krāslava bridge is the first bridge built over the river Daugava in the territory of Latvia—a gate for the Daugava river from Belarus to Latvia”, explains Laila Pakalniņa. “Every film is about time, but ours maybe a bit more than others as it was shot on Kodak Eastman Plus-X Negative Film 5231, acquired in the year 1997 and discovered intact in 2018. So, we are dedicating The First Bridge to film stock”.

Words from a director, who again (like she did with ”Spoon”) surprises with static shots by Gints Berzins and adorable sound work by Anrijs Krenbergs put together in a way that invites you to enjoy the study of a bridge from many angles, most often behind withered branches and bushes, close by or from a distance. The Daugava river with calm water movements, a woman walking from right to left within the image, a woman walking from left to right, steps, cars being heard – and (pure beauty) snow where there is no sound and then suddenly you hear the snow sweeping. Berzins and Pakalnina are playing with the angles, drawing lines as if they are inspired by the Russian avantgarde artists?

In the Visions du Réel catalogue the film is chategorised as a social documentary. Well, why not, time stands still, houses are not at their best, the tone and atmosphere are like the short documentaries Pakalnina made in the middle of the 1990’es – example, «The Ferry», «The Post»…Life outside what we normally are invited to see.

Waiting for the next film by Pakalnina and Berzins. 

Latvia, 2020, 12 mins.


Vurdering:

 
Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona The Young Ones

Written 18-05-2020 21:19:17 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona  The Young Ones

Organised by Núria Campreciós from the DocsBarcelona team, I had a chat with the Young Jury Reteena – who has to decide the “Award to the best film of the Reteena Itinerary, awarded by young jury Reteena, made up of young people between 16 and 21 years old. The prize is a statuette.”

They have 6 films to watch and discuss – online. 5 members have been appointed by the young Reteena festival, that had its second edition in December 2019. My job was to give some hints on how a jury can work, what to look out for, how to decide. I told them that the youth jury at DocsBarcelona, according to me, normally is the most fun to watch and listen to on the stage – well it will be on Zoom this year and they will never meet, alas.

On the photo you see : Upper row Pablo Mérida, uncle Tue, Miriam Laaziz. Middle row Maria Castellví, Mònica Cambra, Oriol Pla. Bottom row Clàudia Mela, Núria Campreciós, Raül Baell.

You can find more information about the jury members on

https://docsbarcelona.com/en/awards/young-jury-reteena-award


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Latvian Documentaries

Written 18-05-2020 15:01:21 by Tue Steen Mller

Latvian Documentaries

… coming up. Grants were given by the National Film Centre. For 8 documentaries, most of them to be realised by producers and directors I have met and valued during the many years, I have followed the documentary scene in the Baltic country.

Super-productive Laila Pakalnina, whose “Spoon” recently was praised on this site, is there with a project called “Homes”, veteran Peteris Krilovs (the wonderful “Klucis”) is there as well with vfs studio (Uldis Cekulis) as production company, Davis Simanis (“Escaping Riga”, Chronicles of the Last Temple”…always testing the aesthetic possibilities of the film language) works again with Guntis Trekteris (Ego Media), title “Frankenstein 2.0” (!!!), Kristine Briede (who made the successful “Bridges of Time” with Audrius Stonys from Lithuania) got funding for “Fluctuations”, whatever hides behind that title and the title “Podnieks par Podnieku / A Man and His Time” is a film to be about legendary Juris Podnieks (“Is it Easy to be Young” and many other classics in Latvian documentary history) of course to be produced by the company that carries his name, Juris Podnieks Studio (headed by Antra Cilinska) with Anna Viduleja as director.

Three other directors/companies were granted: Kārlis Lesiņš (company Mistrus Media, Gints Grube), Una Celma and Andrejs Verhoustinskis.

The whole list of grants (also with fiction and animation) can be found on

https://www.filmneweurope.com/grants/latvia-grants/item/119963-latvian-production-grants-may-2020

Total: 1,768,327 EUR – 371,500 € for documentaries, a bit more than 20%. 


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Tomasz Wolski: An Ordinary Country

Written 16-05-2020 21:02:46 by Tue Steen Mller

Tomasz Wolski: An Ordinary Country

Agnieszka from Fine Day Promotion invited me to watch a new film by Tomasz Wolski, ”An Ordinary Country” - look at the great film poster above, which reveals the content of the film perfectly, surveillance, not of today (could it be?… I have the feeling that the Danish authorities today could know everything about me, if they wanted. As the GDR people, when I went to Berlin and Leipzig in communist times. As the Polish when I went to Krakow and Warsaw FF’s before 1989?).

According to Tomasz Wolski I went, back then, to An Ordinary Country, where surveillance was being performed. A quote from the well written press material:  

 



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Atahualpa Lichy: The Mystery of Lagoons

Written 14-05-2020 13:32:59 by Tue Steen Mller

Atahualpa Lichy: The Mystery of Lagoons

I met – on skype – Atahualpa and Diana Lichy last week for a conversation about ”Memorias de un Tiempo Eterno” that is selected, as one of four, for the Rough Cut Pitch at the upcoming DocsBarcelona, taking place May 28. Lichy – I knew his name from when he was running a documentary festival in Lille in France, where he has also worked at the Quantaine des Réalisateurs in Cannes. His filmography is long including the wonderful visual poem ”The Mystery of Lagoons” that has been shown at numerous festivals. Atahualpa Lichy has generously offered the film free of charge – Until June 15. Here is the link for a film full of music, small intro from th edirector: … "The Mystery of the Lagoons, Andean Fragments" (Venezuela) directed by Atahualpa Lichy, selected in more than 50 important international festivals. Great Venezuelan singers sing the commentary. In these moments of anxiety, a little bit of poetry and optimism, it's good. Film for all audiences. From 3 to 103 years old… and there is actually a fine old man of 103 and an energetic child of 21/2 ,to be precise:

"El Misterio de las Lagunas. Fragmentos Andinos" est libre sur Vimeo, jusqu'au 15 juin:

With English subtitles : https://vimeo.com/181958877

Avec sous titres en français: https://vimeo.com/182328861

 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Sea Docs 2020 announces call for projects

Written 11-05-2020 17:30:54 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Sea Docs 2020 announces call for projects

Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries (BSD) is the most important documentary training and pitching event in the Baltic countries, taking place in Riga, Latvia. The 24th edition is scheduled to take place from 1 – 6 September. The call for projects is open now and will close on 8 June.

Every year BSD gathers over 100 filmmakers from the Baltic Sea region, Eastern Europe, and Caucasus. Participation in the preparatory workshops, public pitching sessions and seminars is an opportunity for filmmakers to find funding for the production of their projects and to ensure that their films reach a wide audience across Europe and beyond.

BSD is looking for applications from independent production companies from the wider Baltic Sea region countries (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Sweden), Eastern Europe and Caucasus region, and from other countries if the documentary subject relates to the region. The main focus of the BSD is on full-length creative documentary projects, but cross-media applications are also welcome to apply.

Guidelines and application form is accessible on BSD website: http://balticseadocs.lv/industry/submission_guidelines-2020/

Participation at BSD is free of charge. The selection results will be announced by 10 July.

To name just a few of the films presented in the previous edition of the BSD – Immortal (Ksenia Okhapkina, 2019, EE/LV, Grand Prix at Karlovy Vary IFF), The Earth is Blue as an Orange (Irina Tsilyk, 2020, UA/LT, Best Director award at World Cinema section at Sundance IFF).

BSD is organised by the National Film Centre of Latvia, with financial support of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, Creative Europe Media programme, and Riga Municipality. In parallel to the industry event, BSD is presenting a film programme of recent documentaries.

BSD organizers are following the developments of the restrictions due to the pandemic in Latvia and internationally, and in case physical event is not possible, it will be held online on the same dates.

More information:

Zane Balčus

Project Manager of the Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries

Phone + 371 26054287

E-mail: balticforum@nkc.gov.lv

 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Rough Cut Service Editing Sessions

Written 09-05-2020 16:12:00 by Tue Steen Mller

Rough Cut Service Editing Sessions

This is a very good offer for those interested in editing. Copied from the FB of the Service:

RCS - Rough Cut Service presents 5 online sessions on the art of editing from Monday to Friday May 11. – 15. each day at 5 PM (GMT) / 7 PM (CET).
In the sessions members of RCS will explore key questions on editing of documentary films based on their vast and diverse experiences. The masterclasses are 70 min each and will take place on Zoom. During the sessions questions can be sent via the Zoom chat... 
Sign up for one or more sessions by sending an e-mail to roughcutservice@gmail.com and we will send you the link for the zoom session/s.
Please note that a voluntary payment for 5-10 euros per session can be paid through PayPal to roughcutservice@gmail.com.



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Anders stergaard: Winter Journey

Written 06-05-2020 19:15:53 by Tue Steen Mller

Anders stergaard: Winter Journey

When Anders Østergaard received the Carl T. Dreyer Award five years ago, these were accompanying words on this site: Østergaard has developed his own original and playful take on how to treat creatively the past… it was just after he and Hungarian Erzsébet Rácz had premiered ”1989” that in an excellent way brings back, what happened when the iron curtain fell, told with the young Neméth, prime minister in Hungary, as the main storyteller. 

I remember that the two directors were part of a small Danish film delegation visiting Saint Petersburg, where film students were surprised that you could do documentaries in that way… They loved how the film’s archive scenes with among others Honecker and Gorbatjov – and with words taken from official meeting documents – had the leaders lip-synced to bring the audience the authenticity. So what Gorbatjov said was right but the students could also hear that it was notGorbatjov himself, who spoke. No problem for them but the teacher, an old friend of mine, said to me: You can’t do that, that’s not documentary...



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The future of Festivals after Covid-19

Written 04-05-2020 21:13:18 by Tue Steen Mller

The future of Festivals after Covid-19

Just watched the one hour online discussion initiated by DocuDays ua, here is the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZUMw3nEwF0&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR3kxqPXIBBRRAelRQLkO-e6Fu8-sFTzXgDTQDModXkGbFPzzmV6XNphuR0

with these people taking part: Ondřej Kamenický - director of International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival One World; Melanie Iredale - deputy Director of Sheffield Doc/Fest; Victoria Leshchenko - programme director of Docudays UA; Iryna Tsilyk - filmmaker, writer; Tine Fischer - a founder and festival director of CPH:DOX. Martin Horyna - programmer of Karlovy Vary International Film Festival; Orwa Nyrabia - moderator, artistic director of IDFA...



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Visions du Rel Award Ceremony 2020

Written 04-05-2020 11:55:49 by Tue Steen Mller

Visions du Rel Award Ceremony 2020

From one award ceremony to the next, thanks to Online. Two nights ago I was in Kiev for the Docudays ua, last night I was in Nyon for the ceremony of the Visions du Réel, where many awards were given out, big money compared to what is possible at the Ukrainian festival.

And quite a different style of a show : It started with a man (did not get his name, head of the Board ?) talking directly to the camera, welcoming and thanking everyone around the festival, giving statistics, summing up what he characterised as « un grand succes ». Followed by Emilie Bujès, the festival director, who, joined by a colleague, was taking the viewer through the awards, introducing juries and filmmakers and clips. They did but failed a lot of times as one award was announced and another one came on the screen. Luckily the two ladies ended up laughing of their messy, unprofessional situation, where a coordination between technique and speeches was not prepared. 

First time mistakes… but what functioned well was the presentation from the side of jurors, who had – some of them – prepared small original videos to introduce the winners. The same with some of the winners, when they were to express their « thank you´s ». And bravo to the organisers for having asked the winners to make their own trophées. Great fun to see the different versions, all should have a fish included as Nyon is close to water, lake Geneva.

The winners… I have not watched in beforehand, except for the two I had as links (Traces of a Landscape http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4743/

and Mimaroğlu http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4744/ )

but I will catch up and watch at least some of them. Two of them for sure: Legendary Finnish master Markku Lehmuskallio (81 years old) and his son Johannes with „Anerca, Breath of Life“ (Photo) and Polish Tomasz Wolski’s „An Ordinary Country“. I have with pleasure seen other works of both filmmakers.

All awards are listed below in the list from the festival’s website. 

https://www.visionsdureel.ch/programme-2020/palmares-2020


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocuDays Award Ceremony

Written 03-05-2020 13:18:15 by Tue Steen Mller

DocuDays Award Ceremony

I have been to many award ceremonies at the Docudays ua festival in Kiev. I was there again last night. Online. Which was of course different from being in a cinema hall with hundred of other film enthusiasts. Who express their support with the winners through the atmosphere the always innovative organisers create in a tone that is far away from officialism.

No, I was sitting in a comfortable chair in a garden house in Copenhagen watching and listening. And it was nice and worked – when I had found out how to avoid having both the Ukrainian and English language in my ear!: two moderators in an isolated room leading the show, a phantasy character being the delivery guy to bring the awards to the post office, clips from the films, small “thank you”s from the award winners, artificial applauses, and the juries saying why they decided this and that film… Funny to see my countryman Mikael Opstrup, one of the jurors, motivating a choice from his home 20 minutes bike ride from where I was last night. Crazy world situation!...

 



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Peter Mettler Online

Written 02-05-2020 12:09:42 by Tue Steen Mller

Peter Mettler Online

Being on many mailing lists… these days I get bombarded with online offers for films to watch, conferences to follow, from festivals or production companies or distributors. It is indeed overwhelming, and lovely at the same time. Overwhelming, because how do you navigate, how do you organise your screening time. Lovely, because it shows how energetic a generous documentary community is to share, what is to watch out there – so much quality.

Yesterday I decided to meet Canadian/Swiss director Peter Mettler. Online. On the Visions du Réel website. In conversation with two film critics, Jean Perret (former festival director) and Emmanuel Chicon (from the festival selection committee). The two in Switzerland, Mettler in Toronto.

 



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DocsBarcelona 2020/Tretkova/stergaard/Ai Weiwei

Written 01-05-2020 15:56:50 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona 2020/Tretkova/stergaard/Ai Weiwei

I have copy-pasted a part of the press release text about the competitive Panorama program, naming the top director names that will have their film presented in the online festival – reserved for the Spanish audience. Check the festival page for when the films are available. Between the 19th until the 31st of May. Here is the text, more about the program in the following days:

”13 works will compete for the DocsBarcelona Best Documentary Award in the Official Panorama Section: titles such as Vivos, by the Chinese artist, activist, and dissident Ai Weiwei, stand out. After focusing on the issue of migration in Human Flow (2017) and The Rest (2019), the filmmaker now travels to Mexico to report systemic corruption in institutions by focusing on the disappearance of some forty students who one September morning in 2014, while travelling to Mexico City to commemorate the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre, were attacked by police.

Renowned for her original and poignant look at the subjects she deals with in her films, the Czech filmmaker Helena Třeštíková is the co-creator of Forman vs. Forman along with Jakub Hejna. A documentary about the figure of the Oscar-winning director of Amadeus and Someone flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which is also a look at communism, the American Dream and the Czech independence process. Also a portrait of an artist is the first feature film (and film testament) of the recently deceased producer Artemio Benki: Solo accompanies the composer and pianist Martín Perino, witness of the struggle between his own genius and the effects of the mental illness he was diagnosed with .

Another centrepiece of the festival is Winter Journey, by Danish filmmaker Anders Østergaard. A hybrid, a fiction disguised as a documentary or vice versa, which reveals the existence of the Jüdischer Kulturbund, or Jewish Cultural League with which in the early 1930s Goebbels' Nazi Ministry of Propaganda allowed Jewish artists to perform for Jewish audiences. A film about the meaning of being German, and how the children of the generation that lived through the war had to face its consequences. And with an added bonus: the legendary Swiss actor Bruno Ganz (Downfall, Wings of Desire) shines through in the dramatisations that the story incorporates, in what was his last film work.”

The photo above is from the film “Zona Arida” by Fernanda Pessoa, also at the festival.

https://docsbarcelona.com/en/noticies/descobreix-tota-la-programacio-del-docsbarcelona-2020

 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona 2020 - SOLO

Written 30-04-2020 13:06:11 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona 2020 - SOLO

DocsBarcelona has launched its program for the 23rd edition of a festival with an industry section. I will with other posts get back to the industry activities – conferences, masterclass, speed meetings, public pitch, rough cut session.

The festival includes 35 documentaries from 22 countries.

One of the films is SOLO by Artemio Benki, who sadly passed away April 15. His masterpiece can be seen during the festival – by an audience in Spain. From May 20 8.00 pm until May 23 8.00.

At the fine new web page of DocsBarcelona you can see the superb trailer of SOLO:

https://docsbarcelona.com/en/movies/solo

And here is the review I made of the film on this site in May 2019:

 



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Serdar Kkceoglu: Mimaroğlu:

Written 26-04-2020 15:02:04 by Tue Steen Mller

Serdar Kkceoglu: Mimaroğlu:

... subtitle: The Robinson of Manhattan Island... 

The Happy Woman and the Sad Man... that’s how the couple Güngõr and Ilhan Mimaroğlu has been characterised, tells the son of Güngõr, Rüstem Batum. He says so in the third and last chapter of the multilayered documentary that (also) is a love story. The couple was together for more than 50 years. Ilhan died in 2012, in New York, as the title says; after his death Güngõr returned to Istanbul. 

In New York, at the Columbia University, Ilhan Mimaroğlu studied music, became a pioneer in electronic music, published avant-garde music, set up his own record company Finnadar and worked with – among others – Charles Mingus. Güngõr Mimaroğlu was a very active leftist in the 1960’es and 1970’es, took part in many demonstrations and ended often, arrested, in police stations, where her husband picked her up! When computers ”took over” his kind of music, Ilhan Mimaroğlu gave up composing and went for street photography, while she became a business woman.

Apart from in the 3rd out of 3 chapters you don’t see Güngõr but hears her voice telling about the two and their life – and some music historians bring the necessary information to image from New York and Istanbul… Ilhan was also a fine filmmaker as the film shows in a brilliant way using his 8mm material in such an appealing way that you want to go back to the two metropoles right away.

The scoop of the film – the multilayerism – is that the filmmakers have succeeded to make sound and image go together to create an atmosphere that conveys the greatness of the artist combined with voice-off’s and the few but important pieces where you see him perform. Plus – again few – footage from NY of today and of Güngõr, now a fine old lady alone in her appartment in Istanbul.

Cinema for the ear was what Ilhan Mimaroğlu called his composed music, ”rebellion against tradition” was his mission, also expressed on the back of a t-shirt that says: ”Measly Mozart”!

He was not happy with the lack of interest in his art. When he closed Finnadar, the record company, he says “thanks for not listening. I am Ilhan Mimaroğlu. And that’s it.” 

Let me say ”that’s it” as well – thank you for a fascinating look at a fine multi-artist, who deserves much more attention.

http://mimaroglufilm.com 

Turkey, 2020, 77 mins.


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Petr Zruba: Traces of a Landscape

Written 23-04-2020 16:21:38 by Tue Steen Mller

Petr Zruba: Traces of a Landscape

I will try to avoid too many superlatives in this review of a brilliant documentary that is currently being shown at the online Visions du Réel festival in Nyon. So I have chosen to start with a copy-paste of the festival’s precise synopsis taken from the Cineuropa magazine:

 



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DocuNotes from a Copenhagen Garden

Written 20-04-2020 17:43:42 by Tue Steen Mller

DocuNotes from a Copenhagen Garden

It’s been a week since I posted on this site. My Mac needed a new battery. But in between the privileged isolation in our garden in Copenhagen with lovely weather and visit of the grandchildren before they today returned to school (which, alas, means that we can’t see them for a long while as they could be surrounded by potential corona virus carriers), we have been watching the four part series on „Hillary”, well made and actually quite interesting to see what the political power game did to a young enthusiastic and engaged lawyer, who wanted especially gender equality change to happen. 

And we have enjoyed Danish icon Jørgen Leth, 83 years in upcoming June, assisted by his son Asger, read Danish poems from his isolation place in Dominican Republic. Every day he has picked poems by Danish poets he likes, now for almost 30 days, totally impressive to see this lovely, always committed artist bringing poetry to us Danes – thousands are watching and listening – to be found on the Facebook page of Jørgen Leth. His new film, „I Walk”, premiered at IDFA 2019, still waits for the cinemas to open in Denmark.

Online possibilities… every day FB friends offer their films to be seen. Producers, directors, national film institutes and festivals of course. Amazing. CPH:DOX Online is still open until the end of this month, so happy to know that the festival managed to sell so many tickets – last number announced was 65.000 – DocuDays in Kiev starts in a few days, online, and the program is as always very strong – and the Nyon festival Visions du Réel goes on now, online, for the audience. Some films can be watched outside Switzerland, some on specific days, some are available only in Switzerland. The festival celebrates the work of Petra Costa, Peter Mettler and Claire Denis with retrospectives and masterclasses. I saw „A Horse has more Blood than a Human” and „We are Russia”, both good political documentaries, the latter about young supporters of the opposition leader Navalny, who was not allowed to run for president. More reportage than creative documentary. I have been granted a press accreditation that gives me access to a Media Library from April 25. I plan to be looking for short films, a priority of the festival.

A week ago there were almost no leaves on the “Documentary Tree” as I call it – I got it as a gift from IDF (Institute of Documentary Films), when I stopped after 8 years as Head of Studies at their Ex Oriente. And now it flourishes. As does the documentary… I long for the big screen, for the theatrical and the festival shows of the documentaries but until then the online initiatives being offered are more than welcome. Use them ! 

https://www.visionsdureel.ch


Categories: TV, Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Web

Tatjana Kononenko & Matilda Mester: Budynok

Written 12-04-2020 20:51:16 by Tue Steen Mller

Tatjana Kononenko & Matilda Mester: Budynok

English title: The Building - Excellent film. A work on constructivism that is superbly constructed… Soviet history. Architecture. With lovely portraits of and episodes with Ukrainians of today, who work in The Building in Kharkiv that was meant to the symbol of communism. To give you a good background here is the description from the DocuDays festival (April 24 – May 3), where it will be part of the now online festival:



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Judit Olh: Return to Epipo

Written 10-04-2020 13:18:21 by Tue Steen Mller

Judit Olh: Return to Epipo

Summer camps for kids. Indoctrination performed by charismatic leaders. Sometimes with abuse of minors. A well known theme for many documentaries. With traumas carried into adulthood like it was for Hungarian Judit Oláh, who is the director of this well built documentary that has unique archive material from the so-called Epipo camp that she attended several times, a camp for children from the intellectual class in socialist Hungary in the 1980’es, different from the propagandistic pioneer camps, seen to be an alternative, a free zone, in the film the word “Epipoland” is used.

Judit Oláh has gathered other adults from Epipo to hear, what they remember, set up in a studio in the form of a psycho drama. The talk goes quickly to be about Pal Sipos, the leader of the camp and the one, who molested boys sexually and who went on to be a popular figure in youth television. Today he is living abroad – the director is in contact with him but he does not want to take part in the film… which is not so important as we viewers see him in archive material also shot by himself.  

In a key scene Judit Oláh interviews her father and asks him whether he did not notice that something was wrong in a camp, where humiliation was performed daily and where she – the director – had the nickname “mediocre”!. What would you ask him if you met him today, she asks the father, who apparently feels uncomfortable by, what he hears about a man with whom he worked, as director of the tv shows in which Sipos was appearing.

The director calls Epipo “the scene of my failure”. Judit Oláh was in contact with Sipos, had 3 hours of talk with him that she does not use hoping to get him on camera. No success.

Humiliation, sadistic cruelty, collective masturbations – 25 years later… "We tried to find the hell again, interpret the events together, play them, process them. We created a beautiful movie and a good experience that you can show terrible things this way." Says Sylvia Konyor (on Facebook) – one of the protagonists of a documentary that the director says also has this purpose: “you have to learn to speak up!” 

Hungary, 2020, 84 mins.


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DocuDays Ukraine Online

Written 08-04-2020 18:59:42 by Tue Steen Mller

DocuDays Ukraine Online

Positive message from the Kiev festival, DocuDays, as always with clever thoughts and energy:  

This year, due to the quarantine, we have decided to hold the 17th Docudays UA online. On 24 April through 3 May, we will present over 45 live streams of RIGHTS NOW! human rights events and DOCU/CLASS Documentary Workshop events. Every evening throughout the festival, a new episode of The Village by Claire Simon will be presented. In addition, over 50 films will be available free of charge on our DOCU/SPACE platform until 10 May. This decision is full of challenges and experiments for us: thus, Docudays UA will become the first Ukrainian film festival to be held online. Not only Kyiv residents, but the whole Ukraine will have a chance to visit the festival.

We want to support our audience, so all festival screenings and online broadcasts will be free of charge. If you want to, you can pay any amount you wish for watching a film.

The Docudays UA team thanks all its donors and partners, directors of the festival films for their solidarity and contributions to implementing this ambitious decision. Thus, during the quarantine, we offer you to have a new, absolutely untrivial experience of attending the International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival online. Let’s stay home to watch and discuss documentary films together.

Viktoriia Leshchenko, Docudays UA Programme Director: 

“The decision to hold the online festival already in late April was not easy for us. Of course, no kind of virtual event can replace a physical one. And we really understand the filmmakers’ feelings about the fact that their films are not shown on cinema screens. We are extremely grateful for all the directors’ and partners’ favorable attitude to this idea in this troubled time. This festival is our act of solidarity with the global cultural community and a way to support our audience during the crisis. It is an instrument of personal reboot and communication with the world under the conditions of global isolation.”

… In a week, we will publish a detailed programme and schedule of festival online broadcasts. The information about festival passes and industry accreditations will be sent to their holders’ emails.

Photo: The Earth is Blue as an Orange, by Irina Tsylik, awarded at the Sundance Festival.

https://docudays.ua/eng/2020/news/kino/moving-online/


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Krakow Film Festival International Doc Competition

Written 08-04-2020 17:03:35 by Tue Steen Mller

Krakow Film Festival International Doc Competition

The Krakow Festival – that runs its 60th edition online – announces its intl. documentary competition programme. I have taken bits and pieces from the press release: 

”In this difficult time of quarantine the documentary competition will be your window to the world. It will take our audience to the faraway corners of the world and let them take a close look at the heroes from different cultures, their emotions and problems. Films from prestigious festivals as well as long-awaited world premieres will be competing for a Golden Horn and Silver Horns in front of the international jury. Three Polish productions are among them.

All quiet on the eastern front… 

This year we have a considerable number of films from Russia and about Russia. Most of all they reveal a picture of Leviathan in the state of inertia, but the documentary filmmakers offer us also a completely different image of that country. And they do it by using a great variety of means, Anita Piotrowska, film critic and curator of the documentary competition, says.

Maciej Cuske’s film “The Whale from Lorino” is a unique journey nearly to the end of the world – to Chukotka. In order to survive, the local tribe is forced to whale hunt. A little bit farther south lies a small island of Kunashir, annexed by the USSR after the WW2. Japanese inhabitants, who had lived there for generations, were all forced to leave. The protagonists of the “Kunashir” documentary still to this day discover traces of the Japanese past while looking forward to a brighter future. “The Foundation Pit” shows uncensored present-day Russia through a YouTube video kaleidoscope. The grumbling and cursing, recorded by the desperate and frustrated, fills the screen. All messages are addressed to President Putin. At the same time the heroes of a Swedish documentary “Bitter Love” (PHOTO) by Jerzy Śladkowski sets off on a river cruise on the Volga to mend broken hearts, experience unforgetable love affairs and save struggling relationships. 

The films are…

“Acasa, My Home”, dir. Radu Ciorniciuc, 85’, Romania, Finland, Germany

“The Self Portrait”, dir. Margreth Olin, Katja Hogset, Espen Wallin, 70’, Norway

“Sunless Shadows”, dir. Mehrdad Oskouei, 74’, Iran, Norway

“Kunashir”, dir. Vladimir Kozlov, 71’, France

“Bitter Love”, dir. Jerzy Śladkowski, 86’, Sweden

“I Love You I Miss You I Hope I See You Before I Die”, dir. Eva Marie Rødbro, 76’, Denmark

“The Painter and the Thief”, dir. Benjamin Ree, 102’, Norway

“Odmienne stany świadomości”, dir. Piotr Stasik, Poland

“Higher Love”, dir. Hasan Oswald, 78’, USA

“The Whale from Lorino”, dir. Maciej Cuske, Poland

“The Foundation Pit”, dir. Andrey Gryazev, 70’, Russia

“An Ordinary Country”, dir. Tomasz Wolski, 53’, Poland

The Krakow Film Festival is on the exclusive list of the Academy Awards documentary feature qualifying events and the winner of the Golden Horn is shortlisted for the Oscar selection. KFF also qualifies short films (live action, animated, documentary) for the Academy Awards and recommends them for the European Film Awards.

The programme of the 60th Krakow Film Festival will be moved entirely online! The latest documentary, animated and short films from around the world, awaited Polish premieres and meetings with filmmakers will be available online, from the safety of your own home. The full festival programme will be announced mid-May.

https://www.krakowfilmfestival.pl/en/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona 2020 Online

Written 02-04-2020 20:59:28 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona 2020 Online

... and today came the news from Barcelona:

With regards to the health emergency caused by COVID-19 and the uncertainty of its evolution, DocsBarcelona changes its format to guarantee the health of its participants, the continuity of its team, the sustainability of the project and, at the same time, the quality and diversity of content for our audience and attending professionals. For this reason, we will turn the 2020 edition (23rd DocsBarcelona) into an online edition, both the festival screenings and the industry activities. DocsBarcelona online will take place on the same dates, originally planned, from 20th to 30th May 2020.

This change in format has taken place after a deep reflection, together with our main collaborators. Currently, we are intensively working to make our program available to our public and to give opportunities to projects in development, specially in these particularly difficult times for the audiovisual and documentary sector.

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


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Mohammed Naqvi: The Accused

Written 02-04-2020 14:53:51 by Tue Steen Mller

Mohammed Naqvi: The Accused

It’s an understatement to say that I was shocked watching this film, that was part of the CPH:DOX Online program, that you can access until Sunday. Content-wise I don’t recall having been presented with so much hate and intolerance in 75 minutes, as this internationally financed documentary includes, rightfully, at the festival, placed in the section that includes films that are documentaries/investigative journalistic reports. ”Behead all blashphemers” is one of the first sentences you hear – later on (commenting the case of Asia Bibi, more later) some kids in the street say that they don’t need to eat anything today, "we are waiting for Bibi’s head". Words to that effect. It’s painful just to write about it, so let me take an easy escape and quote the BBC intro:  

 



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The 60th Krakow Film Festival will take place!

Written 31-03-2020 11:21:21 by Tue Steen Mller

 The 60th Krakow Film Festival will take place!

It was expected... alas... but cheers to the festival team and the filmmakers that the festival will take place... online. I had expected - in my selfnishness - with my wife - to have celebrated our silver wedding in Krakow and follow the fine festival in persona. It will be at home in Copenhagen. Here is the press release that came in this morning:



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Yasmin Fedda: Ayouni

Written 30-03-2020 10:22:51 by Tue Steen Mller

Yasmin Fedda: Ayouni

First the short synopsis of the film, explaining the title and introducing…”Noura and Machi (who) search for answers about their loved ones – Bassel Safadi and Paolo Dall’Oglio, who are among the over 100,000 forcibly disappeared in Syria. Faced with the limbo of an overwhelming absence of information, hope is the only thing they have to hold on to. ‘Ayouni’ is a deeply resonant Arabic term of endearment – meaning ‘my eyes’ and understood as ‘my love’. Filmed over 6 years and across multiple countries in search of answers, Ayouni is an attempt to give numbers faces, to give silence a voice, and to make the invisible undeniably visible…”

… take a look at the photo above: Happiness. Noura and Bassel. A couple in 

 



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David Osit: Mayor

Written 28-03-2020 09:17:04 by Tue Steen Mller

David Osit: Mayor

Musa Hadid is the mayor in Ramallah. A busy man, who goes around in his city, talks to his citizens, tries to solve smaller and bigger problems. With a focus on the smaller. He wants the city to be welcoming foreigners on visit and first of all a nice place to live in. We are not replacing political leadership, he says, referring to what is the job of the President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen). The film, shot in 2017, follows the mayor when he and his city council prepare for the xmas celebrations – how should the xmas tree look like, how is his fountain outside the City Hall to be lit, in colours, with music. But Musa Hadid can not avoid the occupation – and he does not, when a German delegation visits with proposals on how to solve the everlasting conflict with the Israelis suppressors ! And it does not get better when the message from Donald Trump is announced : We are are going to have an embassy in Jerusalem. The consequent demonstrations and confrontations with the Israeli army entering Ramallah give the film a dramatic shift with the e-cigarette smoking mayor behind the glass walls of his city hall looking at youngsters throwing stones with the usual answer from the occupiers : tear gas.

The film follows the sympathetic mayor closely, you can only respect him at the same time as you understand his more than difficult job. At a point he talks about « dignity ». How is that possible if I am asked to undress by a 16 year old soldier from the occupying country, when I am travelling outside Ramallah. 

USA, 87 mins., 2020


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CPH:DOX 2020 Awards

Written 27-03-2020 19:19:01 by Tue Steen Mller

CPH:DOX 2020 Awards

Just watched the online award ceremony of CPH:DOX, very well performed with the festival director Tine Fischer and the two programmers Mads Mikkelsen and Niklas Engstrøm guiding the viewer from one competition category to another, with juries giving their motivations and filmmakers thanking - and with clips of films that will be seen in the coming days. Bravo!

The award winners - read https://en.cphdox.dk/nyhed/cph-dox-announces-its-2020-award-winners, the still is from the film that received, very well deserved, two awards: "Songs of Repression". 


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Projects awarded first ZagrebDoxPro online edition

Written 27-03-2020 17:37:15 by Tue Steen Mller

Projects awarded first ZagrebDoxPro online edition

Copy-Paste of a press release from a couple of days ago, written so well by Petra Blaskovic, who also worked for IDFA 2019. Here we go:

Hungarian project Queen of Chess by Bernadett Tuza-Ritter won the HBO Europe Award, the Al Jazeera Balkans Award went to The Other Side of the Pipe by Marko Kumer Murč from Slovenia, Ever Since I Know Myself by Maka Gogaladze from Georgia received the ZagrebDox Pro Online Mentor Award, and Forbidden by Anelise Salan from Romania picked up the DAE Mentoring Pitch Award. 

This also concludes the first online edition of Zagreb Pro that took place from 15-23 March. 

Following a four-day online workshop and the Pitching Forum at which the 



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Natalija Yefimkina: Garage People

Written 26-03-2020 14:13:28 by Tue Steen Mller

Natalija Yefimkina: Garage People

I remember when it was pitched at the Baltic Sea Forum in Riga. My positive reaction was with a smile of surprise. And expectation to what the director would get out of it in the final film. Now the film is there and it keeps what it promised:

This is how Russian men in the snowy North of the country escape from the daily boredom to nurse a passion, to do something they like, to dream, to have a parallel life in a harsh mining area. The doors are opened to the garages and there you have the man, who suffers from the Parkinson disease but goes to work in his workshop. And there you have the group of friends, who have formed a band to play loud heavy-metal kind of music. And the grandson and grandfather at the garage, where the latter for decades – as his father - has dig out below to reach… yes, to reach what in the underground? And the ones who have turned the garage into a fitness centre! And the man (photo), who lost two wives but – we see that in the film – has a date that seems to turn out successful. 

Not to forget the man, who makes wooden icons and gets a visit from the priest, who wants an art piece for his church. As the only one we follow him (the artist!) to his home, where his wife scolds him for drinking too much. And yes, there is always a bottle in the garage.

There is a lot of vodka in the film; understandable under these weather and the poor living conditions you can imagine!?

This is a film, where no fingers are pointed. The director observes, she shows, but the way she shows, the building of the film, the cinematic choices she has made reveals clearly that she loves the protagonists, the characters, the participants.

Not long ago a filmmaker asked me why I am so fond of documentaries. My very banal short answer was: People, Life… This is one of those fims that gives me People and Life. Awarded at the Berlinale.     

Germany, 2020, 95 mins.


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Magnus Gertten: Only the Devil Lives Without Hope

Written 22-03-2020 19:22:31 by Tue Steen Mller

Magnus Gertten: Only the Devil Lives Without Hope

Dilya. That’s her name, the protagonist who has given the title to the film. She does not give up in her fight to get Iskandar, her brother, out of prison in Uzbekistan. The prison is Jaslyk. He was sent to this infamous prison in 1999 accused of being a terrorist involved in a bombing in Tashkent. She says a couple time that only the devil… She does not want to give up.

Dilya. Nickname for Dilobar. Close-up after close-up invites the audience to read her emotions. There are smiles and tears and expressions of wondering. She lives in Sweden with her parents, she had to leave her country; with her family, it is sometimes unbearable to watch the father and his constant pain waiting for news from the Uzbekistan that most of us know very little about except for the name of the brutal president Karimov, who ran the country with an iron fist for decades. He died in 2016...

 



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Humbert & Penzel: Step Across the Border

Written 22-03-2020 13:43:52 by Tue Steen Mller

Humbert & Penzel: Step Across the Border

I needed a break from watching new documentaries and through the Swiss https://www.artfilm.ch/de/dokumentarfilme (many films for free streaming) I was brought to watch this Swiss classic from 1990. The title was familiar but I could not remember if I had seen it before. I had not. 30 years old but still fresh and fun to watch, because of its energy, of its constant surprises in its narrative construction; „let’s try it all” as the leading music genius Fred Frith does, FF being (indeed when you watch his ”instruments”) multiinstrumentalist, composer and improviser. He is here, there and everywhere, in the studio, at a concert, in the countryside playing with friends, in a cellar improvising, in landscapes – in NY and very much in Japan where a good deal of the film is shot. Rainy streets, Japanese sleeping in the train, FF and colleague discussing at a Japanese outdoor kitchen. ”I am happy if just one person comes to me after a performance saying that it meant something for him or her”.

… and I remember the creative collaboration that FF has had with German filmmaker Thomas Riedelsheymer – “Touch the Sound” (2004), a true masterpiece with the nearly deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie and FF. 

The sound/music is great, you will listen, like it or dislike it. There is a movement in this powerful film, and for the fans of Jonas Mekas and Robert Frank there are small bits with them to enjoy.

Love what the directors say, quote: "In unserem Film treffen sich zwei verwandte künstlerische Ausdrucksformen: Improvisierte Musik und Cinema direct. In beiden Fällen geht es um den Moment, um das intuitive Begreifen, was in einem Raum vor sich geht. Musik und Film entstehen aus der verschärften Wahrnehmung für das Augenblickliche, nicht aus der Umsetzung eines gedanklichen Plans."

Nicolas Humbert und Werner Penzel

The film can be watched for free via the link above.

Switzerland, 1990, 84 mins.


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Ala'A Mohsen: A New Beginning

Written 21-03-2020 17:46:59 by Tue Steen Mller

Ala'A Mohsen: A New Beginning

”I will not let Kais feel my sadness”. Words from the father in this small gem of a film. Father and son. From Syria. Coming to Norway for a new beginning.

But we, the audience, feel the sadness of Rabeea. Thanks to the gentle way the director sets the tone, letting us read the face of the father, who has one reason to live: Creating a future for Kais, his son, who towards the end of the film, where he is 7 years old and has started in first class in school, is told (some of) the story of the journey they have taken from Syria to Lebanon to Turkey and through Europe to a welcoming Norway.

Bravo Dad, Kais says, in a wonderful sequence where the two are out skiing in snowy Norway. Kais learns Norwegian quite quickly contrary to the father, who also fights with his health. In the beginning we see him in a wheelchair in Copenhagen Central Station, in Norway he gets an operation of his damaged leg, he ought to have one more on his back but says no: Kais gets scared if I say the word “operation”. He kills the pain with pills.

It is never sentimental, but touching it is to see father and son. There is so much love in their relationship – that the film conveys with respect without pushing for emotions. Absurd it is to see Syrian boy Kais celebrate the Norwegian national day on the 7th of May singing with a flag in hand. He will adapt to the new country with the energy and openness his loving father passes on to him. The father… What a world we live in. 

Denmark, 2020, 78 mins.


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Jenni Kivist & Jussi Rastas: Colombia in My Arms

Written 20-03-2020 14:27:26 by Tue Steen Mller

Jenni Kivist & Jussi Rastas: Colombia in My Arms

This fine – in aesthetics as well as in content – documentary won The Dragon Award for Best Nordic Documentary at the Göteborg Film Festival beginning of February this year. The jury‘s motivation is so precise and well written that I will use some of the words as starting points for this review’s recommendation to show the film on big screens, when festivals ”open” again.  

This award is given for the curiosity of the directors in observing vastly different opposing groups, resulting in a polyphonic portrait of a country in which peace doesn’t seem welcome. The precise use of photography and editing submerges us in the differing realities presented and creates a stark contrast between the political sensibilities at play in the natural and urban environments, and the associated poverty and luxury. This film goes beyond being an intimate portrait of a country, and makes us reflect upon colonialism and post-colonialism, capitalism and anti-capitalism, and what keeps us going as humanity.

…Observing vastly different opposing groups. The film takes its beginning in the 2016 peace agreement between the government (when the President was Santos) and FARC. There is a focus on the strong young and sympathetic soldier from FARC, Ernesto, who is to be a leading character through the film. He believes in the peace, believes in putting down the weapons after more than 50 years of war, believes in the right movement for FARC from guerilla to political party. He ends up being disappointed, when all hope for peace is crashed; the government sends soldiers to stop the farmers from picking coca leaves to end their sole possibility for having an income; brutality reigns, paramilitary groups operate, the war continues. Another character is a man from the decadent upper class, who says that he would never allow a FARC person to enter his palazzo, and who has no sympathy for the political class – that also includes a right-wing female politician, who express her philosophy more or less like this: the poor are happy with their lives and so are the rich. No problem!

 The precise use of photography. I would go further in my characterisation: The camera work is excellent, lots of close-ups, energy in the scenes with an editing that lets some of them (the scenes) be loose and develop like those with Ernesto and his friend in the tent in the jungle. Funny they are.

… beyond being an intimate portrait of a country. Yes, definitely there is this clear sense of classes, in that way the filmmakers have succeeded in creating a drama as good as any fiction.

2020, Finland, 90 mins.


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DokuFest Short Films Online

Written 19-03-2020 21:24:29 by Tue Steen Mller

DokuFest Short Films Online

I was at the DokuFest(ival) in Prizren in 2016. Great experience with good films and an atmosphere of generosity in a beautiful place. Since then I have followed the program set up through the fine communication from the organisers. In that respect Eroll Bilibani is a key person. The other day he announced on FB: I will be sharing 1 film from Dokufest production, each day during the #COVIDー19 #QuarantineAndChill #OneFilmADayKeepsDoctorAwayFilm #5 WHOSE FLAG IS IT? by Barış Karamuço. All films will be available on Dokufest.com's Sweet & Short Quarantine.

I asked Eroll to pick one film for me to watch and he took the mentioned ”Whose Flag is it?” because “although produced 4 years after Kosovo’s independence the film is still very actual as there are mixed feelings about state flag vs. national flag, which ads to dilemmas of national identity and ethnicity”.

I watched the lively 14 minutes long film that is far from taking the issue (too) serious as it invites you – in 2012 on the 17th of February, the day where Kosovo celebrates its independence – to be with kindergarten children and their teacher, who talks about the flag and asks the kids to draw it on their own. As you can see on the photo. The stay with the children is cut with statements from people with quite different opinions, some saying that the result of the competition was influenced by the EU to others, who like the flag and its stressing that the 6 stars represent 6 ethnic groups.

DokuFest is the producer of many short films, does film teaching during the year, is a strong cultural factor in the young country. Respect!   

https://vimeo.com/57599879?fbclid=IwAR0MWZR57MerLbiTButsng4FT7AsexO-isIGCVg5_vct6Batj4jNzCvUgTE (the film)

https://dokufest.com/2019/ (other films)

https://vimeo.com/user10268202/videos (Dokufest productions)


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CPH:DOX Online/ Notes

Written 19-03-2020 17:32:42 by Tue Steen Mller

CPH:DOX Online/ Notes

There is a lot of recommendations for the Cph:Dox Online Festival. Here are some more – from my viewing at home yesterday. In English, as many non-Danish film lovers follow what goes on in the digital documentary festival world – where many other festivals give similar access possibilites, like the IDFA in Amsterdam and others.I will try to catch up with some of them on this site. Most of them as notes, some as reviews.

The (yester)day started with an old friend, Charles Aznavour - I have tormented my wife with my versions of ”La Bohème” and ”She” since we saw ”Aznavour By Charles”, a film based primarily on footage, Charles himself shot all over the world with a fine, like his songs, passionate text read in first person by an actor in a film directed by Marc Di Dominico. Plus around twenty songs. Entertaining and informative, breathless rythm.

Lauren Greenfield’s ”The Kingmaker” is in quite another genre with Imelda Marcos as the one in the centre, born in 1929, away from her country after the death of her dictator husband – together they ran the country and built up a fortune placed in banks and buildings all over the world. She is back doing her best to get her son installed BongBong in the presidential entourage. You shake your head watching this story about a ruthless Marcos family. Scary and entertaining to watch, political history from a poor country full of corruption.

And then a film about Jørgen Leth. One more. And a very good one. „Tilfældets Gaver” (English title: „Gifts of Chance”) is the title in a film that could have been called „Masterclass with Jørgen Leth”, who is vigorous and precise, when he talks with enthusiasm about the early films, and his methods, he made with Ole John: „Stopforbud” with Bud Powell, „Motion Picture” (PHOTO) with Torben Ulrich… and going to the bicycle race films… and the fiction „The Good and the Evil”… and his adventure with Lars von Trier and the obstacles. Pure inspiration. A pleasure for all of us JL fans, and a must for all emerging filmmakers. The film is produced by Louisiana Channel, director Kasper Bech Dyg.

And why writing this the festival press releases that the 40 films available will be added by 60 more… chapeau as Aznavour would have said!

https://www.cphdox.dk/


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CPH:DOX Online 2020

Written 18-03-2020 11:53:16 by Tue Steen Mller

CPH:DOX Online 2020

The initiative of the CPH:DOX to put documentaries online for the audience in Denmark can only be described as IMPRESSIVE, FANTASTIC, BRAVO – support it by buying tickets, there are so many fine films to watch until March 29. The 7 films on the list marked like this are films, we have written about on www.filmkommentaren.dk OR films we have seen and can recommend. Have a good film festival at home!  

Kampen om Grønland - Kenneth Sorento

Lever elsker savner - Sine Skibsholt

Songs of Repression - Estephan Wagner & Marianne Hougen-Moraga
Show Dancer - Laurits Flensted-Jensen
A Colombian Family - Tanja Wol Sørensen
En Splittet Familie - Mira Jargil
Being Eriko - Jannik Splidsboel
A New Beginning - Ala'a Mohsen
Et År For Evigt - Pauline Merrilgaard
I Love You I Miss You I Hope I See You Before I Die - Eva Marie Rødbro
Tove i stykker - Peter Lopes Andersson & Sami Saif
Prelle – Lytter til mig selv - Anita Beikpour
Tilfældets Gaver – En Film om Jørgen Leth - Kasper Bech Dyg
Love Child - Eva Mulvad
Little Girl - Sebastien Lifshitz
The Kingmaker - Lauren Greenfield
Caught in the Net - Vit Klusak & Barbora Chulipová
Crazy, Not Insane - Alex Gibney
Citizen K - Alex Gibney
This is Not A Movie - Yung Chang
Aznavour By Charles - Marc Di Dominico
Meet the Censors - Håvard Fossum
Robolove - Maria Arlamovsky
Andrey Tarkovsky: A Cinema Prayer - Andrey A. Tarkovsky
Martha: A Picture Story - Selina Miles
The Edge of All We Know - Peter Gallison
Oeconomia - Carmen Losmann
iHuman - Tonje Scheel
Vivos - Ai Weiwei
Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets - Bill & Turner Ross
Self Portrait - Margreth Olin
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life - Ric Burns
Wood - Monica Lazurean-Gorgan, Michaela Kirst & Ebba Sinzinger
Collective - Alexander Nanau
Last and First Men - Johann Johansson
Acasa, My Home - Radu Ciorniciuc
Margaret Atwood: A Word after a Word after a Word is Power - Nancy Lang & Peter Raymont
Disclosure - Sam Feder
The Earth Is Blue As an Orange - Iryna Tsilyk (PHOTO)
Martin Margiela: In His Own Words - Reiner Holzemer

https://www.cphdox.dk/online


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Dana Budisavljević: The Diary of Diana B.

Written 17-03-2020 18:04:16 by Tue Steen Mller

Dana Budisavljević: The Diary of Diana B.

The Filmkommentaren posts about this film goes back to 2010, where Dana B., the Croatian director of the film, presented the project at the Greek Storydoc. I was part of the Ex Oriente 2011, when Dana took part, searching for a way to tell the amazing story about an amazing woman, a true hero. Finding new material again and again. Researching for years. ”I wanted to make a true and honest film”. In 2008 at the Sarajevo FF, she came to show the solutions, she had found, I repeat myself: 

 



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Martin von Krogh: Cinema Pameer

Written 16-03-2020 18:24:54 by Tue Steen Mller

Martin von Krogh: Cinema Pameer

«Attention! The cinema belongs to all of us. Please help us maintain the cinema by taking care of it. Keep it clean...” Cinema Pameer is in Kabul, Afghanistan. “Come on in, the film is about to start”. Two voices, two different employees of this rare place in a country, where there was no films shown during the years of Taliban. 

The first belongs to the General, as he is called, Dagarwal, who tries his best to have the audience behave – no hashish, no smoking at all, keep quiet during the film etc. He has – like all of them actually, salute to the Swedish director – charisma, he is quite a character, who has opinions about what he sees as a lost generation of illiterate youngsters after the many dark years. The influence from Taliban and Daesh is still there. The second voice belongs to Naqib, the barker who invites people in the street to go and see a film, and who sells water and candies during the screenings. That are well attended, the film shows. His personal story is terrible: „They poured boiling oil over the left side of my face, that’s why I am wearing a hat to hide that I lost an ear“.

„Cinema Pameer“ is a good film with a deep respect for the people working in the cinema. A film that also brings the audience outside to the streets of Kabul, to the Afghan Film, that is the governmental institution performing censorship of the films, that are imported from Pakistan as well as Afghan films to be shown. Nafiza, the only woman in the film, works there, she loves films and explains calmly what kind of scenes, she wants to be taken out before public screening – more daring dancing scenes for instance. Noor Aqa is the boss who buys the films for the cinema, like all of them he hopes that entertainment and culture can be rebuilt in the scarred country.

The two, however, whose dedication to their jobs you fall for, totally, are Said, the manager, and Ewaz, the projectionist. Said, chain smoker, always positive, asks the cleaner to pick up the cigarette butts that are thrown to the stage just in front of the beautiful curtain. Films are like books, you can learn from them, he says. Ewaz, old man, is equally enthusiastic, when he talks about the moment, after Taliban rule ended, when they came to take him back to the projection room. They are gentle people the two, with hope for the future of the country, and they bring a lot of humour to the film. And poetry – as when Said tells us, how he met his wife in the cinema. Pure beauty.

„Cinema Pameer“ is in narrative terms building up to the screening of a controversial Afghan film, “Farkhonda”, by Salim Shaheen, the story about a young woman, who was burned to death due to accusations of her burning the qoran in public. A story that went all over the world – at the screening in Kabul there was extra security at the entrance and several woman attended the screening.

The film was shown at the festivals in Gothenburg and Stockholm (Tempo Film Festival) this year. It deserves to travel around to high quality festivals. Keep an eye on it, programmers! 

Sweden, 2020, 80 mins.


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Serhiy Bukovsky: V.Silvestrov

Written 15-03-2020 16:46:18 by Tue Steen Mller

Serhiy Bukovsky: V.Silvestrov

Acclaimed Ukranian director Serhiy Bukovsky has made a film that invites me – and an audience - to meet the composer Valentyn Silvestrov. I knew the name but not the person and just a little about his quite impressive work. When I saw that the film was to be premiered in Kiev during the DocuDays festival, I contacted Dar’ya Averchenko, who on FB had posted a text about a press screening of the film. She was so kind to send me a link. As the DocuDays festival is postponed, I guess the film has not yet had its official premiere. Until then and until I can see – and hear ! - the film in a cinema, these words of recommendation:

 



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Agns Varda: Varda by Agns

Written 14-03-2020 15:46:41 by Tue Steen Mller

Agns Varda: Varda by Agns

It’s not even a year ago Agnès Varda passed away after a long and productive film-life. This film, from 2019, has been called her swan song and indeed it is a beautiful hommage to the director and what she has left behind of short documentaries, short fiction, long fiction, installations, visual art… what an oeuvre and what a fine piece of film history, it represents. Made by herself.

There she sits in her chair in a theatre with an audience of young people talking Cinema, showing clips from her films, giving comments or a better word encouragement to those in the audience, who want to make films. She starts by saying that for her there are three important words connected to her filmmaking: ”Inspiration, Creation and Partager” – the last one in English ”sharing”, ”you don’t make films for yourself”.

I enjoyed the many clips, some being from « Daguerretopies » from 1976, a documentary with the people in Rue Daguerre in the 14th arrondissement in Paris, where Varda was living. A true documentary and one she talks about with love. We let the scenes develop our of respect for the people being filmed. I have many times used this film when teaching : « look around you, find something/someone close to you », « everything is interesting if you have the curiosity ». Varda had it in documentary after documentary, for instance in the 2000 documentary « Les glaneurs et la glaneuse », from which she in the film shows a clip with a man, she often met picking up left over fruit at the market. A man with is own dignity. In that film and many others she makes references to art history, she breaks all academic narrative rules ; inspiring it is to hear her talk about the small digital cameras and how it changed her film carreer. "I became a visual artist". 

My most famous film, however, she says (PHOTO) is « Cléo from 5 to 7 » from 1962. Legendary American critic Roger Ebert wrote about the film in 2012 : … Varda is sometimes referred to as the godmother of the French New Wave. I have been guilty of that myself. Nothing could be more unfair. Varda is its very soul, and only the fact that she is a woman, I fear, prevented her from being routinely included with Godard, Truffaut, Resnais, Chabrol, Rivette, Rohmer and for that matter her husband Jacques Demy. The passage of time has been kinder to her films than some of theirs, and "Cléo from 5 to 7" plays today as startlingly modern. Released in 1962, it seems as innovative and influential as any New Wave film…

She talks about being a woman in a man’s world in this cinematic autobiography, « I am a feminist », she says in a rich documentary that is full of humour and unpretentious from A to Z.

We have on this site written several texts about Agnès Varda – you might want to read them before or after having watched one of the 17 films by the director available on http://dafilms.com/

”Varda by Agnès” is available on dvd and blueray. 

France, 2019, 115 mins.


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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Tamara Stepanyan: Village of Women

Written 07-03-2020 14:39:07 by Tue Steen Mller

Tamara Stepanyan: Village of Women

Tamara Stepanyan films her characters with warmth, asks questions with respect and out of curiosity… words picked from the review of ”Embers” written more than 6 years ago on this site, link below. A true documentarian she is.

Her latest film, premiered at DOK Leipzig 2019, can be characterised by the same words. She has gained the trust of the women in the film… as well as the old men, who live in the village while their sons, the husbands of the women, the fathers of the children we meet in the film, work in Russia to come home only for the winter.

It is so obvious, why she has gained that trust. She has been there (the village is Lichk) for a long time: All seasons are in the film. But time is not enough, you also have to be caring and attentive – and a good filmmaker, to frame in the right way, to make the pauses when needed, and to let us viewers into a world of hard work for the women, in the fields, at home, in the kitchen baking bread.

Yes, there is sadness in the film, when the talk is about the poor living conditions, but there are also joyful moments around tables with food and drinks and songs that reflect the lives they lead. 

Characters, there are many with a focus on... the often crying woman, whose husband has not been home for years, he stays in Russia with their son and grandson. Maybe he will come home to stay? There is the woman – in a wonderful scene – who suggests  that her husband has affairs, while he is in Moscow. There is the woman, who sits there in the sofa with her husband, a shining couple, while he is at home. The husband who is also a boxing trainer when he is at home. All women live in arranged marriages if I got it right.

... and there is dancing, full of grace and elegance, in front of the television set – they all have television, the outside world – do you mind that I dance, she says to Tamara Stepanyan in front of a music program, in the room where two kids are already asleep.

Thank you Tamara for coming here to show the world, how we live, one of the old men say. I can only second that; I am happy to have visited a village through an open-minded and skilled director/cinematographer. And happy to see the director thanking the village women at the end of the film – for their generosity and openness.

Armenia/France, 2019, 92 mins.

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/2510/


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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Docudays Ukraine 2020/2

Written 05-03-2020 10:03:34 by Tue Steen Mller

Docudays Ukraine 2020/2

A follow-up copy paste from the site of the festival in Kiev:

The RIGHTS NOW! award is given to creative documentary films which explore the contemporary world and make a significant contribution to the discussion of human dignity, freedom and equality. Ten films from all the film programmes of Docudays UA are nominated for it. 

The winners in the RIGHTS NOW! nomination will be determined by the Ukrainian filmmaker and writer Oleh SentsovOlena Rozvadovska, a specialist in children’s rights advocacy; and Enver Djuliman, an education activist and writer.

Moreover, the television platform Current Time TV will reward its favourite with a $3,000 prize.

Here is the list of films nominated for RIGHTS NOW! Award:

  • War Note, dir. Roman Liubyi
  • What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire?, dir. Roberto Minervini
  • One Child Nation, dir. Nanfu Wang, Jialing Zhang
  • Overseas, dir. Sung-A Yoon
  • Midnight Traveler, dir. Hassan Fazili
  • Buddha in Africa, dir. Nicole Schafer
  • Angels on Diamond Street, dir. Petr Lom
  • La Causa, dir. Andres Figueredo
  • Eye to Eye, dir. John Webster
  • Collective, dir. Alexander Nanau (Photo)
  • https://docudays.ua/eng/

Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Docudays Ukraine 2020

Written 03-03-2020 10:29:49 by Tue Steen Mller

Docudays Ukraine 2020

I was invited to come back to Kiev to one of the festivals that I have loved to attend – but I can’t make it this year. I will miss the atmosphere created by a team of committed and knowledgeable film lovers. I will miss the opening ceremony that differs from the ones at other festivals, where speech follows speech before an opening film. At the opening of Docudays an unexpected festive show is performed – followed by a speech by a representative from the Swedish Embassy. Chapeau for the Swedish support to a festival that carries ”the subtitle”: International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, a festival with a social and political aim that has screenings all over the country and makes a strong international promotion of Ukrainian documentaries. And I will miss to say hello to the lovely girls of Dar’ya Averchenko and Roman Bondarchuk…

Before getting too sentimental I will give the floor to the proud Programme Director, Viktoria Leshchenko:  

“It won’t be an exaggeration to say that our team has done an enormous amount of work: of the 1,034 films submitted for the DOCU/WORLD programme and the 281 submissions for the DOCU/SHORT programme, we chose 25 incredible films. These documentaries combine professional excellence with a unique director’s perspective. We dare say that this is the strongest part of this year’s programme. Another victory is that DOCU/WORLD includes two Ukrainian films which simultaneously compete in the national competition. These are Iryna Tsilyk’s feature debut The Earth Is Blue as an Orange and Oksana Karpovych’s feature debut Don’t Worry, the Doors Will Open.”

Let me stay a moment with the selection for the Docu/World, where you also find Romanian Alexander Nanau’s masterpiece “Collective”, Alison Klayman’s “The Brink” with Steve Bannon – like “The Earth is Blue as an Orange” these two films are reviewed on this site, as well as Petr Lom’s beautiful American epos “Angels on Diamond Street”, shot in Philadelphia with three wonderful women “fighting for social justice”. And a new film by Finnish veteran John Webster, “Eye to Eye” and Georgian “A Tunnel” by Nino Orjonikidze, Vano Arsenishvili that I will watch in Tbilisi end of April. The jury includes prominent French director Claire Simon, of course accompanied by a retrospective of her films.  

And there is so much more to say about Docudays that also has developed a strong Industry Section – headed by Darya Bassel and Viktoria Khomenko – click below and get much more information.

The photo is from the French film „Black Hole“, in the competition programme.

https://docudays.ua/eng/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

ZagrebDox 2020

Written 28-02-2020 10:39:07 by Tue Steen Mller

ZagrebDox 2020

It’s become a nice tradition that I praise the ZagrebDox for its programme put together, as always, with Nenad Puhovski as director. Having seen the selection for the 16th edition, 112 films to be shown between the 15th and 22nd of March, announced a couple of days ago, I can only say that the documentary lovers and professionals in Croatia also this year have the chance to see the best of the best. ZagrebDox does not work with rules of exclusivity – world or international premieres – meaning that award winning films and gems like Finnish Reetta Huhtanen’s ”God of Molenbeek”, Rachel Leah Jones and Phillipe Bellaiche’s ”Advocate”, Ksenia Okhapina’s ”Immortal”, Feras Fayyad’s ”The Cave”, Mehrdad Oskouei’s ”Sunless Shadows”, Waad Al-Khateab and Edward Watts ”For Sama”, Michael Bielawski’s ”The Wind”, Audrius Mickevicius and Nerijus Milerius ”Exemplary Behaviour”, Susanne Kovacs’ ”It takes a Family” are in the international competition section. 9 out of 17 films, all seen and written about on this site – to compete with 8 films, also coming from all over the world. Won’t be an easy choice for the jury…

In the Regional competition I see new films by Srdan Sarenac, Jasmila Zbanic and Damir Cucic to compete with the masterpiece of Alexander Nanau, ”Collective”.

… and if you don’t find what you want in the competition programme, there are Biographies, Music documentaries, Masters (our Danish hero Jørgen Leth is there with ”I Walk”), Eco docs and a section called ”State of Affairs”, where Swedish Fredrik Gertten is with his important ”Push”… and more.

Click link below and you will also be able to read good descriptions and trailers for the films.

Not to forget the ZagrebDoxPro that involves 12 projects, new talents and experienced directors. Link below.

http://zagrebdox.net/en/2020/home

http://zagrebdox.net/en/2020/zagrebdox_pro/zagrebdox_pro_news


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Dragon of Dragons Award to Pter Forgcs

Written 26-02-2020 09:38:43 by Tue Steen Mller

Dragon of Dragons Award to Pter Forgcs

Absolutely no objctions to this choice of the Krakow Film Festival that will take place on May 31 – June 7, 2020:

“Every year, the Krakow Film Foundation Programme Council grants the Dragon of Dragons award for the exceptional contribution to the development of the international cinema. During the anniversary 60th Krakow Film Festival, the award will go to Péter Forgács – the outstanding Hungarian documentary filmmaker and a world-famous multimedia artist.

The extraordinary works of Forgács are based on the original technique of making films from ready-made materials, shot by other authors. The artist devoted many years to collecting, archiving, reconstructing and editing old, damaged, amateur film tapes, giving them new meanings. The images set in the realities of the dramatic fates of Hungary and Europe of the 20th century, seem to remind that the history of the world is a collection of ordinary people’s personal stories.

The official award ceremony of the Dragon of Dragons is held on the 2nd of June, 2020, at the 60th Krakow Film Festival. In the programme of the Festival, within the frames of the retrospective, there will be many special works by the artist, among others, “The Danube Exodus,” (PHOTO), “Hunky Blues. The American Dream,” and “Miss Universe 1929 – Lisl Goldarbeiter. A Queen in Wien.” The viewers will also have the unusual opportunity to watch fragments of the audiovisual installation “Letters to Afar,” which Forgács prepared specially for the opening of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews POLIN in Warsaw in 2013. Traditionally, the award-winner of the Dragon of Dragons will also give a master class open to filmmakers, but also to all fans of documentary cinema.“

https://www.krakowfilmfestival.pl/en/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

One World Festival Prague

Written 24-02-2020 14:31:36 by Tue Steen Mller

One World Festival Prague

Some of the best new documentaries are in competition at the big One World Festival in Prague, that has this subtitle “international human rights film festival” and takes place March 5-14.

Let me mention Alexander Nanau’s ”Collective » (PHOTO) and « The Earth is Blue as an Orange » by Iryna Tsylik, both reviewed on this site:

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4662/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4702/

The main competition includes 13 films. From the North of Europe you find works by veterans like Finnish John Webster (“Eye to Eye») and Swedish Peter Tornbjörnsson (“Ninosca”), who has returned to Nicaragua – “For forty years, Peter Torbjörnsson has  been filming life in the village of San Fernando/ Nicaragua. What began as a portrait of a village became the story 

 



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CPH:DOX Movements

Written 21-02-2020 17:39:24 by Tue Steen Mller

CPH:DOX  Movements

March 18-29 – are the dates for the CPH:DOX festival programme, that was announced today. I am copy-pasting from the newsletter I received. It is amazing. I will ”dig in” as the organisers write and come back with comments. Website, see link below. A film festival that is committed to show and support social and political movements in the world we live in:

”The full programme for CPH:DOX is ready and online, including the entire line-up of competition titles. Please dig in!

The festival enters its 17th year with a new record; of the 65 films in the five competitions, a total of 43 films will have a world premiere. Additionally, this year’s competition programme includes 16 international premieres and 6 European premieres.

Following up on the festival’s 50/50 by 2020 gender commitment, no less than 52% of the 65 titles in the competition programme are directed by one or more female directors. But the gender equality representation doesn’t stop here - of the 409 experts and panel debate participants, CPH:DOX has invited for it’s no less than 160 debates and film events, 207 are female…

« Micropolitical and activist movements are at the core of CPH:DOX 2020 from Hong Kong to Greenland people are uniting in social movements demanding political actions to declare independence, limit global warming or fight for their data. Many movements are on the rise, and this year we dedicate a whole section to the competition titles that and explore the multiple  ways social or political movements are shaping the world of tomorrow.

The section, called Movements, features titles such as ‘Now’ by Jim Rakete following young climate activists from Greta Thunberg to Extinction Rebellion; ‘Feels Good Man’ by Arthur Jones, featuring a cartoon frog hijacked by the alt-right movements; and Lech Kowalski’s ‘Blow It to Bits’, where French factory workers stand up against globalisation.

Movements are all over the sections. You can’t miss them, but you sure can join them! »

https://en.cphdox.dk


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Roy Andersson at CPH:DOX

Written 21-02-2020 11:02:15 by Tue Steen Mller

Roy Andersson at CPH:DOX

A new film is on its way by Swedish master director Roy Andersson. ”About Endlessness” will be premiered this year, maybe at Cannes? The director has said that this will be his last film. Alas.

Until then there is a chance to watch a film about Roy Andersson at CPH:DOX.

The director is English. Fred Scott is his name, I found information on him here: https://archersmark.co.uk/director/fred-scott/

The title is ”Being a Human Person”, the duration is not mentioned on the site of the festival, does’nt matter, I will be there at one of the four screenings. 

Click below and you will see three stills from the film. At one of them Andersson sits at a museum watching paintings. A reminder of the constant inspiration he gets from art history.

https://www.cphdox.dk/program/being-a-human-person


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Iryna Tsilyk: The Earth is Blue Like an Orange

Written 17-02-2020 18:56:22 by Tue Steen Mller

Iryna Tsilyk: The Earth is Blue Like an Orange

It is an emotional journey that director and writer Iryna Tsilyk takes the viewer on. For 74 minutes. One full of beauty. Very much because of the mother in the film, Anna, the protagonist, whose face expresses, what it means to live in the war zone in Eastern Ukraine with four children, and her mother. You see her alone in the kitchen, worried, in a melancholic mood, that is understandable on the background of the war – she decided to stay with the family; they could have moved. You see her smilingly telling one of her small boys how to pull out a rock tooth! You see her fighting with the stove to make the house warm. You see her taking the train with one of her daughters, Myroslava, who wishes to study cinematography. They come to an eximanation – in Kiev it must be - the girl thinks she failed. They get a phone call, she did not fail, daughter and mother cries of happiness. So did this viewer!

The house of the family is full of life with stairs to the cellar, where they go 

 



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D Like Documentary, D like Denmark

Written 14-02-2020 18:08:40 by Tue Steen Mller

D Like Documentary, D like Denmark

A quick copy-paste (almost) note on the fact that the wonderful Krakow Film Festival, in its celebration of its 60th edition (!), dedicates its special section to documentaries from Denmark. The programme director of the festival, Barbara Orlicz-Szczypula, has this comment in the press release:

 



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Festivals in Stockholm & Copenhagen

Written 13-02-2020 15:20:24 by Tue Steen Mller

Festivals in Stockholm & Copenhagen

The Oscar event is over – and we can be happy that all five documentaries nominated this year were of high quality in cinematic terms, and dealt with important themes of our time. 

Let’s leave the glamour and the red carpets, and go back to all the great initiatives that aim at getting the audience to go to the cinema to watch documentaries. This post puts the focus on doc festivals in Stockholm and Copenhagen.

Let me start in the capital of Sweden, where the Tempo Documentary Festival, 



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Tabitha Jackson to be Sundance Festival Director

Written 02-02-2020 20:26:57 by Tue Steen Mller

Tabitha Jackson to be Sundance Festival Director

The IndieWire brings a fine article yesterday about Tabitha Jackson, who at Sundance «will replace John Cooper as festival director, bringing 25 years of experience in the arts and non-fiction film to the position». Read the whole article (written by Eric Kohn), who « is the first woman, the first person of color, and the first person born outside the United States to head the festival.» Jackson spent 6 years as director of the documentary film program : « “I was perfectly happy doing the job I was currently doing and engaging with artists in the messy business of documentary filmmaking,” she said. She had started to get involved with programming off-screen events at the festival when a producer in the business asked her if she planned to apply for the position. “Then it was like a little brain worm,” Jackson said. “What won out was what gets me out of bed in doing this work. Arts as a public good and as a catalytic force as a deeply necessary thing in understanding the human condition. Why wouldn’t I want to be given the trust to run a festival like this, which is a huge opportunity to direct people’s attention to exciting new voices?”

 

On this site Tabitha Jackson has been written about on several occasions – in connection to her presence at pitching fora in Europe and when she started at the Sundance Institute. Here is another quote from 2016 (also from IndieWire), love that approach : "When we look at how documentaries are discussed, too often it's a focus on what they are about and whether the main character is sympathetic," Jackson told Indiewire in a recent interview. "I’d just like the conversation around nonfiction film to be as exciting as the form itself. When we think about literature, poetry, fiction, or music, it's not about what is being said, it's about how it is being said and who is saying it, that's what makes things last and that's what makes things have cultural value."

 

And in 2014 she talked at the documentary film festival in New York – about Herz Frank : … she found a rallying cry for sensitive and artistically compelling documentary practice in the work and words of Latvian filmmaker Herz Frank, whose 10 Minutes Older, an excerpt of which she screened, contained for Jackson “every emotion you might experience in an entire lifetime” in the single shot of a child watching a puppet show. »

 

And allow me to express a BIG congratulation to Tabitha Jackson and Kirsten Johnson… from later in the IndieWire article from yesterday :

 

Jackson’s 2020 festival experience was unique on several fronts. In addition to finalizing the deal for her new job, she got married on the first day of the festival to filmmaker and documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson, whose intimate diary film “Dick Johnson Is Dead” premiered at the festival. Jackson admitted that it would be the last time Johnson, whose “Cameraperson” was a Sundance breakout in 2016, would screen at the festival during her new wife’s tenure. “Kirsten Johnson is an incredible filmmaker and legendary cinematographer,” Jackson said. “Unfortunately, because we just got married — which is the good news — we’ve made the agreement that she can’t submit work to the festival, which is deeply distressing, but definitely the right thing to do.”

 

https://www.indiewire.com/2020/02/sundance-film-festival-tabitha-jackson-director-1202207494/?fbclid=IwAR3BmVwO0ESPlZ9emnQWSDNEBjxdmm0VNyNXCXu97Dk7ybZzqTsALWRD1z0

 

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3426/

 

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/2956/

 

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3869/

(about Kirsten Johnson and her Cameraperson)

 

 



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Laila Pakalnina: Spoon

Written 27-01-2020 11:22:11 by Tue Steen Mller

Laila Pakalnina: Spoon

You never know what to expect from Latvian director Laila Pakalnina. She makes short films, she makes fiction and she makes documentaries, which are far from mainstream, with quite their own language and definitely Cinema. Like this one, ”Spoon”, she calls it, and yes, there are spoons in the film, plastic spoons but the film is much more than indicating, how spoons are made: It is a highly sophisticated black&white visual essay on the industrial world we live in. It sounds very serious, and in a way it is, but it’s not a doomsday film. You don’t feel it like that, when you watch the fantastic tableaux created by the cameraman Gints Bērziņš. What an image composer he and his director is! There are no words needed, the images invite you to enter the scene that is set up for you, see and understand/interpret for yourself. Here is the opening one:

… that is enigmatic in many ways. A woman is instructed to sit at a table with some papers in front of her. In a room with a big machine – I have no idea what it is. But there is a display on this machine, that the woman worker looks at after she has put on protective glasses and helmet, and after some men have given her advice on what her job is. The sound score is strong, mechanic and metallic, with sounds from the room but not only that, also music elements. The scene stays long, it’s a slow cinema film genre, the woman looks in the direction of the camera, smiles, puts her hand to her hair, wants to look good; it’s an amazing start of an amazing film.

Some minutes later a text appears on the screen: ”Everything here connects to everything else. Really.” Said by Leonardo da Vinci… did he really say that? A hint from the director, cut to a scene where a boy is eating with a plastic spoon, in a scene that is not clear to see as it is filmed through a window or some plastic… And then the title comes up “Spoon”.

And from there you are taken around the industrial world of our times – factories, urban landscapes, tubes, trains transporting chemicals, movements from right to left within the image, like people entering the stage, the theatre of Life, in (I read at the end credits) Azerbadjan, China, Norway, Latvia. It’s not a world you want to be in, but it’s part of our world, people are there, are working there, no working man’s death, they are protected, producing they are, it’s not fun you think and are supported in that feeling by the electric sounds in the sound score, electro music, I don’t know how to characterise it. Multilayered, a film open for interpretation and reflection, a film for everyone who loves to see how image and sound and editing, without a word being said, can be put together, Cinema! 

Latvia, 2019, 66 mins. 


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Docs & Talks 2020 /4 Putin's Witnesses

Written 25-01-2020 13:59:56 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Docs & Talks 2020  /4 Putin's Witnesses

Vitaly Mansky: Putin’s Witnesses

… A good point I think, Mansky masters the personal commentary and it is nothing but a scoop that he is using material he made at the beginning of Putin’s period as president, where he, Putin – they are talking to each other as if they were old buddies – (Tue Steen Müller) Læs hele den meget opmærksomme kommentar her: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4390/

KOSTBAR SJÆLDENHED

Jeg har bragt dette billede på min Facebookside og kort efter kommenterer Sara: ”Fantastisk scene i filmen!” (Jeg ville hurtigt have taget det ned igen, ville blot have det konverteret til et format, jeg kunne bruge på Filmkommentaren, så jeg svarer): ”Måtte bruge Facebook for at åbne billedet. Der skal nok komme tekst på...” (Så nu må jeg jo lade det det blive siddende og tænke mig om for Sara replicerer): ”Spændende, så har du set filmen:-) ”… ”Ja, for søren, jeg har haft en rigtig god oplevelse med denne gedigne film sat sammen af først og fremmest en række kostbare sjældenheder i Manskys arkiv”… ”Det er jeg glad for at høre Allan.”

HJEMLIGT

Jeg kan godt lide når der er en stemme ind over, en fortællende stemme, en kommenterende stemme. Jeg kan helt bestemt godt lide Manskys stemme ind over hans konstruktion af udvalgte arkivoptagelser fra hans tætte dækning af Putins tidlige gennembrud som Ruslands præsident, fra det her årtusindes første dage.

Jeg mærker i stemmen den sikkerhed og ro som gør at jeg overgiver mig til en stor film. Og konkluderer at dette ER en stor film.



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Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Docs & Talks 2020 /2

Written 15-01-2020 19:16:47 by Tue Steen Mller

Docs & Talks 2020 /2

”Today truth is being more and more frequently questioned when it comes to news and the constant stream of information. This makes the dissemination of research-based knowledge more important than ever in order to separate the wheat from the chaff, fake news from facts.”

Docs & Talks is a unique festival that carries the subtitle « Film and Research Days”. From Sara Thelle, who together with Tobias Havmand from DIIS (The Danish Institute for International Studies) and Rasmus Brendstrup from Cinemateket stand behind the festival, Filmkommentaren has received a press release that includes English descriptions of the films that are screened January 30 – February 5 at the Film house in Copenhagen. The quote above is from the release. READ MORE



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Oscar Doc Nominations 2020

Written 13-01-2020 15:19:09 by Tue Steen Mller

Oscar Doc Nominations 2020

Sooo, here they are the five nominated in the category for long documentaries, director(s) and producer(s) mentioned. The links will bring you to the reviews on the filmkommentaren site:

American Factory (Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert and and Jeff Reichert) - have not reviewed it, saw it on Netflix, absolutely a fine documentary

The Cave (Feras Fayyad, Kirstine Barfoed and Sigrid Dyekjær) - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4687/

The Edge of Democracy (Petra Costa and Joanna Natasegara, Shane Boris and Tiago Pavan) - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4638/

For Sama (Waad al-Kateab & Edward Watts) - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4626/

Honeyland - (Tamara Kotevska, Ljubomir Stefanov and Atanas Georgiev) http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4449/

The latter - AMAZING - is also nominated in the category International Feature Film together with Parasite...

That's why I chose a still from Honeyland, featuring Hatidze, for this post.

https://www.oscars.org/oscars/ceremonies/2020


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Red Carpet for Docs

Written 11-01-2020 15:54:38 by Tue Steen Mller

Red Carpet for Docs

and Nordic films, is the headline for an interview brought by the Nordisk Film & TV Fond, link for the whole text below. Kim Foss, director of the art house cinema Grand in Copenhagen since 2006, AND through the associated Camera Film distributor. I quote some of the comments Foss brings forward concerning documentaries:

”Other genres that have been winning bets in the past few years for Camera Film are documentaries. In 2019, the company distributed seven documentaries (out of 18 titles), including Norway’s The Men’s Room and the Danish docs Cold Case Hammarskjöld by Mads Brügger (6,228 admissions), Fall of Kings by Mads Kamp Thulstrup (6,793 admissions) and Photographer of War by Boris B. Bertram, second biggest Danish documentary in a decade with 13,643 admissions, according to Foss. 

“We believe strongly in Danish documentaries and this is where we will put a greater emphasis in the future,” he says. “Danish docs allow us to create in-depth marketing campaigns in conjunction with directors, local production companies, backed by the Danish Film Institute and documentary is where I come from,” said Foss who co-founded CPH:DOX in 2003. 

That’s very good news at the beginning of a new year, where Camera is taking care of the distribution of the Oscar short-listed film The Cave by Feras Fayyad, premiered two days ago. 

http://www.nordiskfilmogtvfond.com/news/stories/camera-film-rolls-out-red-carpet-for-docs-and-nordic-films?utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter#newsletter-link


Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Feras Fayyad: The Cave

Written 06-01-2020 19:46:33 by Tue Steen Mller

Feras Fayyad: The Cave

Filmens åbning er formidabel. Intet mindre. For øjne og øre. Fra krigens helvede på jord, fra billedet af den ene ødelæggende bombe-eksplosion efter den anden i syriske Ghouta. Til kameraet bringer tilskueren ned og atter ned i én glidende bevægelse, ned til det underjordiske hospital, ned til sårede børn og voksne, som trænger til hjælp. Blødninger skal standses, splinter skal tages ud af kroppene, der er brug for medicin, for ilt – for omsorg, for trøst.

Som fantastiske Dr. Amani Ballour og hendes medarbejdere, ligeså fantastiske, giver. Smukke mennesker i en forrygende film, som ryster sin tilskuer, også bogstaveligt talt, ned i den mindste detalje – i billederne, i klipningen, i lyden, i det humanistiske budskab – hold op hvor er der arbejdet på denne kunstneriske vision fra den 36-årige syriske instruktør Feras Fayyad. Som skrevet et eller andet sted: ”It’s a film about war and terror but also about the beauty of humanity”... LÆS VIDERE



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Best Documentaries 2019 Intro

Written 31-12-2019 10:55:36 by Tue Steen Mller

Best Documentaries 2019 Intro

On this last day of 2019, and of a decade, Filmkommentaren wishes you all the best in the new year.

It’s been a pleasure for us to give you news and opinions about the (mostly) documentary world. We intend to continue in the same way in 2020.

To close 2019, below you will find a list of 16 documentaries that was seen and highly appreciated by us.

Like last year we ended up with 16, that follow in a random order.

If you wonder… where are “Aquarela”, “Bridges of Time”, “Putin’s Witnesses”… – they were on the 2018 list, the year they premiered.

If you think… why not this or that one… the reason could be that we have not seen the film! Or we did not like it! Or we had to make the limit by 16.

Filmkommentaren is run by Allan Berg and Tue Steen Müller, our policy with this con amore blog is to first of all write about what we like.

Hope you enjoy the list, and the links that will bring you to the reviews.

Photo - from the MakeDox festival in Skopje - of director Artemio Benki, who won an award at the festival, and whose "Solo" is on our list.


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Best Documentaries 2019

Written 31-12-2019 10:48:17 by Tue Steen Mller

Best Documentaries 2019

Thomas Heise: Heimat is a Space in Time

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4628/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4631/

Alexander Nanau: Collective

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4662/

Tamara Kotevska & Ljubomir Stefanov: Honeyland

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4449/

Artemio Benki: Solo

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

Sergey Loznitsa: A State Funeral

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4671/

Feras Fayyad: The Cave

Review with top marks will follow – in Danish – in connection with the cinema release in Denmark in a few days

Waad al-Kateab & Edward Watts: For Sama

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4626/

Jørgen Leth: I Walk

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4667/

Ksenia Okhapkina: Immortal

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4572/

Rachel Leah Jones & Philippe Bellaiche : Advocate

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4553/

Audrius Mickevicius & Nerijus Milerius: Exemplary Behaviour

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4648/

Alex Brendea: Teach

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4646/

Enrico Cerasuolo: The Passion of Anna Magnani

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4644/

Ellen Fiske & Ellinor Hallin: Scheme Birds

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4624/

Anna Eborn: Transnistra

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

Arthur Sukiasyan: Wound

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4534/


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Oscar Thoughts

Written 22-12-2019 18:43:24 by Tue Steen Mller

Oscar Thoughts

The other day I read that Ingmar Bergman had returned his Oscar Nomination Certificate for ”Smultronsstället”. He apparently did not like the competitive circus. Nor did Francois Truffaut when he expressed no interest in sitting in film juries. To judge colleagues, to compete in arts…

You may have many opinions about this but these days, when we are – as the Americans call it – in the middle of the award season, statuettes and diplomas are given out to films and filmmakers, and pictures of happy people flourish on the internet. Who will win, who has won in all the competitions that lead up to the Oscar. Of course it is a circus and money is so much involved and even if it will always be an American film that wins, in the documentary section, that I am following, a shortlist and/or a nomination help good films to be seen by a big audience?

The announcement of 15 shortlisted documentaries, to mention the genre we mostly focus on at filmkommentaren, has taken place. I have seen 9 of them (Advocate, American Factory, Aquarela, The Cave, The Edge of Democracy, For Sama, The Great Hack, Honeyland, Knock Down the House), and apart from The Great Hack and Knock Down the House, the films mentioned do confirm that documentaries are very strong today. The two that to my opinion do not qualify to be among „the best of the best”, I watched on Netflix, no doubt that this label has helped the films to be shortlisted.

Which brings us back to the money. Many of the 159 films, from where the15 were selected, did not have financial resources to perform the necessary campaign to make the voting members of the Academy see the films at screenings in the USA.

Money… I was almost falling down the chair, when producer/editor of ”Honeyland”, Atanas Georgiev from North Macedonia, as it is called nowadays, gave me numbers on what it had cost to do the campaign for this wonderful documentary around the world. Yes, around the world because this film has really travelled – to festivals, to theatrical releases. ”It’s a once in a lifetime we experience”, he said when we met in Copenhagen, ”we are just going to enjoy it”. ”We” meaning the whole crew and Hatidze, the bee-keeping protagonist. It started with three awards at the Sundance Film Festival in January and now the film is close to be nominated for an Oscar. And if that does not happen, the film has had and will continue to have a fantastic life.

With many awards…     


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

El Clsico

Written 18-12-2019 08:29:34 by Tue Steen Mller

El Clsico

”It’s exactly one week until el clásico and, like all fans, I am already counting down the days until the big date of December 18. A clásico is always a special match, and in the weeks before the game it shows in the atmosphere. 

They are things that I have experienced as a footballer. And not only when I was at Barça or Madrid. Also in Italy, Holland and Denmark. They are matches which evoke very strong feelings and the supporters make you feel that way. That you have a great responsibility…”

The words come from Michael Laudrup, the best football player Denmark has ever had. He played in both FCBarcelona and in Real Madrid and had more than or was it close to 100 matches for the national team of Denmark. On the website of FCBarcelona he writes – brilliantly – about his experiences as a player, who several times played THE match in Spain…

Which will again be played tonight at 8pm at the Camp Nou in Barcelona. If… the demonstrators allow it. And if they do so there will be a strong expression of Independencia from the 90.000, who are expected to come tot he stadium.

I will be watching on television – Messi please, show your genius again, but I will also enjoy Karim Benzema, this great centerforward from Madrid, and I will cross fingers that the man who should not be allowed to enter a football pitch, Sergio Ramos from Madrid, will behave and stay away from his normal dirty attacks on the opponent.

Here is the link to the Michael Laudrup article, read it before the match:

https://www.fcbarcelona.com/en/football/first-team/news/1526527/in-my-own-words-michael-laudrup


Categories: TV, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Richard Brody in New Yorker

Written 17-12-2019 11:33:10 by Tue Steen Mller

Richard Brody in New Yorker

To read critic Richard Brody is always a pleasure. In this article – link below – he brings forward his Best Films of the year, 35, whereas 11 of them have NOT been theatrically released, which brings him to reflect on the streaming services changing the whole situation for the artistic film: „...What’s different is that streaming is taking over, and, as a result, theatrical releases are declining—not numerically but qualitatively. We’re seeing a return to the bad old days of the nineteen-nineties, when many of the best international and independent films weren’t released at all…”

Brody starts his article in this way:

„It’s the year of apocalyptic cinema of the highest order, the year in which three of our best filmmakers have responded with vast ambition, invention, and inspiration to the crises at hand, including the threats to American democracy from a wannabe tyrant, the catastrophic menaces arising from global warming, the corrosive cruelty of ethnic hatreds and nationalist prejudices, and the poisonous overconcentration of money and power. The sheer enormity of the times has contributed to a sense of existential fury—of a challenge to modern life as a whole—in the year’s best movies...“

Agnès Varda is on the list (Photo).

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/2019-in-review/the-best-movies-of-2019


Categories: Cinema, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Zelig: Essays on What is a Documentary/ 3

Written 15-12-2019 19:19:27 by Tue Steen Mller

Zelig: Essays on What is a Documentary/ 3

In November I was at the Zelig Film School in Bolzano to meet the new students. I organised a small game: Which three words come to your mind, when I say DOCUMENTARY.

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

And three students agreed to write a small essay inspired by the words and our discussions during this first week of their three year stay at the school: Lucija Ilijić wrote in English, Kaspar Panizza in German and Matilde Ramini in Italian.

Here comes the essay of Matilde Ramini:



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Essays

Zelig: Essays on What is a Documentary/ 2

Written 14-12-2019 14:07:55 by Tue Steen Mller

Zelig: Essays on What is a Documentary/ 2

In November I was at the Zelig Film School in Bolzano to meet the new students. I organised a small game: Which three words come to your mind, when I say DOCUMENTARY.

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

And three students agreed to write a small essay inspired by the words and our discussions during this first week of their three year stay at the school: Lucija Ilijić wrote in English, Kaspar Panizza in German and Matilde Ramini in Italian.

Here comes the German language essay by Kaspar Panizza, quite a text:



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Poetics, Essays

Zelig: Essays on What is a Documentary/ 1

Written 13-12-2019 13:31:50 by Tue Steen Mller

Zelig: Essays on What is a Documentary/ 1

In November I was at the Zelig Film School in Bolzano to meet the new students. I organised a small game: Which three words come to your mind, when I say DOCUMENTARY.

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

And three students agreed to write a small essay inspired by the words and our discussions during this first week of their three year stay at the school: Lucija Ilijić wrote in English, Kaspar Panizza in German and Matilde Ramini in Italian.

The first one by Lucija Ilijić comes here, the other two will follow Sunday and Monday.



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Essays

Ny Litauisk Film

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

Ny Litauisk Film

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

The IDA Awards

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

The IDA Awards

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

BEST FEATURE

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

DIRECTOR

American Factory

Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Honeyland

Cinematographers: Fejmi Daut and Samir Ljuma

EDITING

Midnight Family

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

MUSIC

The Raft (photo)

Composer: Hans Appelqvist

WRITING

The Cave

Writer: Feras Fayyad

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

EFA Doc Award to "For Sama"

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

EFA Doc Award to

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

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


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sundance Film Festival 2020

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

Sundance Film Festival 2020

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sergei Loznitsa: State Funeral

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

Sergei Loznitsa: State Funeral

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



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IDFA Audience Award 2019

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

IDFA Audience Award 2019

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA: Life Achievement Award to Jrgen Leth

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

IDFA: Life Achievement Award to Jrgen Leth

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

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

the director says:

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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

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

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

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

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



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IDFA: Y in Vyborg

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

IDFA: Y in Vyborg

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

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

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

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

www.idfa.nl


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IDFA: That Which Does Not Kill

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

IDFA: That Which Does Not Kill

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

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

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

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

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

www.idfa.nl


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IDFA: Collective

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

IDFA: Collective

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.idfa.nl


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IDFA Opening Night 2019

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

IDFA Opening Night 2019

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

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



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Tips from Filmkommentaren

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

IDFA Tips from Filmkommentaren

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Latvian National Film Awards

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

Latvian National Film Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Zelig Film School Film Festival

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

Zelig Film School Film Festival

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Zelig: What is a Documentary

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

Zelig: What is a Documentary

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

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


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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