Filmkommentaren

And the Winner Was Ingmar Bergman...

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

And the Winner Was Ingmar Bergman...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Cordelia Dvork: Marceline

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

Cordelia Dvork: Marceline

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

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

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

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

France, 218, 58 mins.

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


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Fred Wiseman: Ex Libris the NY Public Library

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

Fred Wiseman: Ex Libris  the NY Public Library

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

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

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

USA, 2017, 197 mins.

dfi.dk/cinemateket/ex-libris

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


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

See Ukraine through Cinema and Art

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

See Ukraine  through Cinema and Art

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

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

And this is what project director Alla Tyutyunnyk says:



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Wang Bing on Doc Alliance

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

Wang Bing on Doc Alliance

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

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

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

Photo: Tobi Sauer.

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


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Web

BlekendaalThe Man Who Looked Beyond the Horizon

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

BlekendaalThe Man Who Looked Beyond the Horizon

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

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

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

The first name of the director is Martijn.

Holland, 2018, 28 mins.

www.idfa.nl


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Katarzyna Lesisz: Dancing for You

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

Katarzyna Lesisz: Dancing for You

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

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

Poland, 2018, 18 mins.


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IDFA Post-Festival Comments

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

IDFA Post-Festival Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.idfa.nl


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Three Russian Documentaries at IDFA

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

Three Russian Documentaries at IDFA

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

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

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

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

www.idfa.nl


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Andrei Kutsila: Summa

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

Andrei Kutsila: Summa

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

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

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

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

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

Poland/Belarus, 2018, 51 mins.


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Viktor Kossakovsky: Aquarela

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

Viktor Kossakovsky: Aquarela

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

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



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IDFA at the Eye Filmmuseum Amsterdam

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

IDFA at the Eye Filmmuseum Amsterdam

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

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

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Bettina Perut & Ivn Osnovikoff: Los Reyes

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

Bettina Perut & Ivn Osnovikoff: Los Reyes

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



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Eszter Hajd: Hungary 2018

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

Eszter Hajd: Hungary 2018

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

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

and on my list of best documentaries in 2014.

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

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

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

www.idfa.nl


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IDFA Winners 2018

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

IDFA Winners 2018

IDFA Competition for Feature-Length Documentary 

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

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

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

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



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Dziga Vertov: Anniversary of the Revolution

Written 21-11-2018 12:04:09 by Tue Steen Mller

Dziga Vertov: Anniversary of the Revolution

Tuesday night I was back in Saint Petersburg after two days at the IDFA festival in Amsterdam. In the cinema. On screen. No, wrong – I was back in Petrograd 1918 through the outstanding film historical event organized so brilliantly by the festival. A full house in the Tuschinski for a film from 1918! By the father of documentary cinema Dziga Vertov. I felt an atmosphere of concentration, a history lesson it was with the images and the inserted texts that conveyed where we are and what happened almost day by day in 1917, in Petrograd and Moscow primarily; and it was a concert with images or a film with musical accompagnement. Everything. Joyful to watch:



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Piter My love

Written 18-11-2018 22:51:51 by Tue Steen Mller

Piter  My love

I am leaving Saint Petersburg after a few days with a conference and a re-visit of the places, where I have been during the last 20 years… That explains the headline of this post.

Tomorrow – I am writing this in the Arlanda airport in Stockholm waiting for the plane to Copenhagen – the Forum in Amsterdam starts. I will not attend but I will be at IDFA to watch films and write about (some of) them and hug the new director Orwa Nyrabia, hoping that all goes well for him.

Back to the Forum, where I am sure that many of the broadcasters or



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Saint Petersburg Film School Conference

Written 18-11-2018 09:48:52 by Tue Steen Mller

Saint Petersburg Film School Conference

I was at the opening of The PiterKiT International Student Film Festival in Piter – Saint Petersburg. On Wednesday. Huge celebration, three hours with music, clips from films and speeches, maaany speeches due to the celebration of 100 years of the film school, St. Petersburg Institute of Film and Television. Even if the festival carries the name “international” all words were in Russian! I was lucky to have Polish Krzysztof Kopczyński next to me, who whispered translation of some important words. Some names were understandable and I was happy to see Sokurov on stage being honoured.

Several “old boys” were on stage and Kopczyński whispered that they were addressing the audience of students saying that they should make films about “good people”!

As moderator of the conference “How to Educate Students to Meet the Cinema and TV Audience – art and/or craft” at the film school I picked up on this point of view, when the Dean of the faculty of screen arts and Head of the Producer’s Department, the sympathetic, open-minded Pavel Danilov was on stage explaining to us how the school functions as a state institution according to a film law with standards to follow, as the equivalent VGIK in Moscow. Is this what you tell your students, that they should make films about good people, I asked the Dean. Well, he said, there are too much negativity in films right now, we have to remember that cinema is an educational tool – words to that effect from the Dean, who also said that the school suffers from far too much bureaucracy. And there are too many F… words in films, he said, which made the representative from Perm, Pavel Pechenkin - who earlier spoke passionately about the media education projects they run in his city – remind us all that we are in the city of Dostojevski! “Crime and Punishment”! No polished words.

The conference took place in a small room, the interpreters were excellent, the technique functioned and the invited speakers were prepared and inspiring: Kopczynski, Pechenkin, Danilov, Ruth Olshan, Riho Västrik, Ivan Zolotukhin, Andrijana Stojkovic, Elena Khoroshkina. You can find more on the conference here:

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4397/

and in a couple of months a Russian and an English version will be available on Youtube.

The speakers and the audience, primarily teachers from the school, there were from 25 to 7 listeners – the teachers had to go back to their classes – agreed that a continuation of the conference would be of great value. It lies in the hands of the organizer Viktor Skubey.


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IDFA Opening Words from Kaag and Nyrabia

Written 15-11-2018 16:48:20 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Opening Words from Kaag and Nyrabia

This text is taken from the website of the IDFA festival:

The 31st IDFA has just officially been opened by Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag in Koninklijk Theater Carré with Aboozar Amini’s film Kabul, City in the Wind.

This is the first festival under new artistic director Orwa Nyrabia, who in his opening speech referred to the inestimable importance of artistic authenticity, pluralism, and dialogue. The festival, which takes place at several venues around Amsterdam, runs until November 25. The winners of the various competitions will be announced on Wednesday, November 21.

Before the screening of the opening film, Minister Kaag gave a speech in which she spoke about the importance of filmmakers and film programmers who are able to transmit and depict the ideas, images, and emotions of others. Creative documentaries can make us reflect, see, and experience in such a way that we, as audiences, are prepared to stand up for others and build better societies with more democracy, more openness, and more humanity.

Nyrabia, who has taken over as artistic director for IDFA 2018, then talked in his opening speech about the focus devoted to inclusivity within the festival. According to Nyrabia, this is something that lies at the heart of IDFA: a deeply rooted belief in the value of artistic freedom, in pluralism, and the importance of pluralism in our everyday lives, both locally and in the wider world. A film festival is a place for dialogue, for questions, for curiosity, and for discoveries. Nyrabia expressed the view that artistic authenticity is the antidote to lies and manipulation. Nyrabia also announced a new cooperation between the Netherlands Film Fund with the IDFA Bertha Fund to stimulate international co-production between Dutch producers and filmmakers from non-Western countries…

www.idfa.nl


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Aboozar Amini: Kabul, City in the Wind

Written 15-11-2018 06:36:05 by Tue Steen Mller

Aboozar Amini: Kabul, City in the Wind

It’s about creating the feeling of being there. To quote Richard Leacock. First time feature length director Afghan Aboozar Amini, who emigrated from the country when a teenager, was educated in Holland and in the UK, does that. Takes us there, to the dusty and windy and dirty Afghan capital Kabul, where he lets us meet three protagonists: a bus driver Abas and two kids, brothers, the small Benjamin and the bigger Afshin.

The brothers live up the hill of the city – with another brother Hussein, too



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Conference on Film Schools in Saint Petersburg

Written 12-11-2018 10:36:41 by Tue Steen Mller

Conference on Film Schools in Saint Petersburg

I have for years been visiting Saint Petersburg – for the Message2Man festival or for seminars/workshops organized by dear friends Ludmila Nazaruk and Viktor Skubey. In 2016 Skubey organized the conference “How to Reach the Audience”, which was filmed and is to be found on

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLXGMu-9ScJZDOvizeYvODkUzJsAql15e7

This year a one-day conference will take place with the headline “How to Educate Students to Meet the Cinema and TV Audience. Art and/or Craft”. With 4 speakers from outside Russia and 4 from Russia. Viktor Skubey (producer, president of the filmmakers non-fiction/tv guild and teacher at the St. Petersburg Institute of film and television, were the conference takes place) asked me to moderate the conference and pick the non-Russian speakers for a set-up that is classical: 30 minutes presentation, 15 minutes of discussion.

Polish Krzysztof Kopczynski will be the first foreign speaker. I have asked him



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

The Five EFA Documentary Nominations

Written 10-11-2018 20:06:59 by Tue Steen Mller

The Five EFA Documentary Nominations

Don’t want to start arguing that this or that documentary film could also have been nominated – the five that made it are all very good films, congratulations. The winner will be announced December 15 at the ceremony in Sevilla. Among these – four of them have been reviewed on this site:

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

Bernadett Tuza-Ritter: A Woman Captured

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

Talal Derki: Of Fathers and Sons

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4268/

Simon Lereng Wilmont: The Distant Barking of Dogs

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4296/

Jane Magnusson: Bergman – A Year in a Life

Almudena Carracedo, Robert Bahar: The Silence of Others

As festival programmer happy to say that the films of Talal Derki and Simon Lereng Wilmont were screened at DocsBarcelona . “A Woman Captured” was wanted but got a no from the distributor and the Spanish was at other festivals. Wilmont won the first prize.

At Magnificent7 in Belgrade (seven films, seven days, a huge audience) Wilmont showed his film for the always interested Serbian audience.

https://www.europeanfilmawards.eu/en_EN/nomination-current


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Israel: The Loyalty in Culture bill

Written 07-11-2018 20:11:41 by Tue Steen Mller

Israel: The Loyalty in Culture bill

... a major threat for freedom, a major threat for cinema

Is the headline for at text I received from filmmaker Avi Mograbi, who wants readers/filmmakers outside Israel to know about a proposal put forward by the Minister of Culture in Israel. If you want to sign - like the filmakers above do - a protest, please contact Avi Mograbi  (mograbi@netvision.net.il) or French Jean-Michel Frodon (jmfrodon@gmail.com). Photo from Mograbi's film "Between Fences". Here is the text:

In the last twenty years, Israeli cinema has been thriving. This boom did not happen by chance. The Film Law (1999), which infused the film funds with unprecedented public funding, was instrumental to this flourishing. Similarly, numerous co-production agreements signed with various European and North American countries injected quite a lot of money into Israeli productions and helped raise the production values of Israeli films. Another important factor in this blossoming is openness. Many Israeli films have dealt openly with sensitive social and political issues from a critical perspective. The openness testifies for a healthy and strong growing cinematic culture.

But now, the government of Israel is in the process of amending the Culture and Arts Law (2002) with a “Loyalty in Culture” bill. The Minister of Culture will have the right to cut the budgets of bodies supported by the Ministry of Culture should they in turn support works that:



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Polemics, Directors

DOK Leipzig

Written 07-11-2018 11:02:13 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig

… 2018 ended. Was it good or bad? I normally watch all the films in the main international competition, the long documentaries to make my own hit list. This year it was not possible. I watched three, the winner of three awards Claudia Tosi’s “I Had a Dream”, Alina Gorvola’s “No Obvious Signs” that received the regional broadcaster MDR’s award and Sergei Loznitsa’s “The Trial” that got no prize, which was completely wrong. Excellent films, I would say.

Being at the festival was good, as it has been all the years I have been there, invited by Claas Danielsen and now Leena Pasanen. I liked the putting together of the program done by the selection committee, and I can easily see – without taking part – that the industry section is being taken care of with enthusiasm and professionalism by Brigid O'Shea.

Atmosphere… is crucial for a festival, and DOKLeipzig manages to create it.



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sergey Loznitsa: The Trial

Written 05-11-2018 20:36:04 by Tue Steen Mller

Sergey Loznitsa: The Trial

No doubt, Sergey Loznitsa is the master of making creative archive documentaries – a part of his impressive oeuvre that also includes fiction films and documentaries like “Austerlitz” - http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3841/

in the archive films he stands out with films like “Blockade” (2005), “The Event” (2015) and “Maidan” (2014).

“The Trial” is more than two hours long, you have to be fresh in head and interested in history, I was the first one afternoon at DokLeipzig and I am more and more being drawn to films that deal with history, especially Soviet & Russian.

“The Trial” is astonishing. Let me give you the annotation from the Venice festival website, where it had its premiere:

“Moscow, USSR. 1930. The Pillar Hall of the State House of the Unions. A group of top rank economists and engineers is put on trial accused of plotting a coup d’état against the Soviet government. It’s alleged that they made a secret pact with the French Prime Minister, Raymond Poincaré, aiming to destroy the Soviet power and restore capitalism. All charges are fabricated and the accused are forced to confess to the crimes they never committed. The court delivers death verdicts. Unique archive footage reconstructs one of the first show trials, masterminded by Stalin. The drama is real, but the story is fake. The film gives an unprecedented insight into the origins of a deadly regime, which made the slogan “Lie is Truth” its everyday reality…”

To give you an impression of how the film looks like, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wlNu32e01k

that is a three minutes long trailer of the film, made for IDFA where the film will have three screenings as part of the Masters section. The man speaking is Sitinin, working at a textile factory. He confesses to have been drawn into a group called “Industrial Party” – it never existed – that worked in sabotage against the Soviet government. Loznitsa lets the confessions go the whole way, confessions made through the 11-day process under excellent filming, where you see that the packed hall and its spectators again and again had to protect their eyes – from the sunshine or from the light put up for filming?

And again and again the prosecutor Andrey Vyshinsky (1883-1954) (who was also at the Nürnberg trials, Stalin’s man, who later became minister of foreign affairs and the Soviet representative at the United Nations) – again and again he brought up the question of the foreign involvement in planning an overthrow of the Soviet government.

How did this happen, said Vitaly Mansky in his talk at the festival in Leipzig. How could these intelligent men become shadows of themselves and confess something they never did? In the film you see that they all promise – if they are not shot – to remorse and serve the country loyally.

Vyshinsky is leading the Court of the Proletariat, the hall is full and applauds when death penalty is given to several of the accused – and Loznitsa brings in images from the streets where banners proclaim “death to the saboteurs”.

It’s an amazingly (film) historical documentation that Loznitsa presents in this 129 minutes long film shot in the 1930’es in the Soviet Union.

Actuality, Russia today…? Oh yes, in many ways.

Read the post below the background for the film written by the director.   


Vurdering:

 
Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sergey Loznitsa: The Trial/ 2

Written 05-11-2018 20:29:19 by Tue Steen Mller

Sergey Loznitsa: The Trial/ 2

I started working on a film about Stalin’s show trials, which were held in the USSR in 1930s, a couple of years ago. My initial idea was to edit the footage from different trials in order to show how the machine of Soviet terror was established, and how the system gradually took over the minds of innocent citizens. However, soon after I began studying archive materials, I discovered the footage, which I found to be absolutely unique. I decided to make the film in such a way, as to give the spectators a chance to spend two hours in the USSR in 1930: to see and to experience the moment, when the machine of state terror, created by Stalin, was launched into action. My intention was to reconstruct the trial stage by stage. We restored and kept all the sound that was recorded in 1930. The only commentary I allowed myself to make in the entire film is right at the very end. I need this commentary in order to tell the truth, since it is impossible to learn the truth from any other episode of this documentary film. In fact, Process is a unique example of a documentary, in which one sees “24 frames of lies” per second.


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOK Leipzig Vitaly Mansky and Putin

Written 04-11-2018 23:13:30 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig Vitaly Mansky and Putin

You have to be careful with "vonhörensagen" but in this case it had its influence on the talk with Vitaly Mansky, that took place friday afternoon at the Polish Institute in Leipzig, a couple of hours after his film had been screened at the Cinestar Cinema. At the Q&A after the cinema screening of “Putin’s Witnesses”, he was attacked for having made a propaganda film for Putin. One of the attacks came from Viktor Kossakovsky, who according to my sources was pretty rude towards Mansky. It was apparent that the two do not think high of each other.

Is it a propaganda film the moderator, Barbara Wurm (very competent university teacher and festival advisor) asked Mansky picking up on the discussion in the cinema - after she had introduced the film as a kind of found footage and characterized Mansky as one, who has introduced the family chronicle film as a genre in post-Soviet Russia.

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 – praises the democracy: I am happy that after a certain period I can go back to a normal life. You can’t do that in a monarchy. 18 years later he is still there – and the democracy does not function, if you are allowed to put(in) it like that!

A pan shot in the room where Putting salutes the victory after the election has been held, is accompanied by a commentary by Mansky, who mentions that most of the people in the room are now in opposition. That the mastermind behind Putin taking over from Yeltsin in 2000 – after the sensational New Year television speech where Yeltsin apologizes – forgive me, he says - his retirement and makes Putin an ad hoc President – is Yeltsin’s daughter Tatyana. Mansky makes that pretty clear. The publicity clip Mansky made for Putin was broadcast the night before the election!

One more sentence from Putin: Our main goal is to make people believe in everything we say and do. Did you hear what he said, Mansky almost whispers to us!

Mansky who now lives in Riga, was doubtful, he said, if his festival ArtDocFest will be allowed to continue, a festival of high quality including critical films – see http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4373/ - as there is now a law on its way that will limit the possibilities for the festivals in Russia. Colleagues have made an open letter against the proposal and asked Mansky NOT to sign, as he – Mansky – thinks the law proposal is made because of ArtDocfest

Well. There are many assumptions in this small documentary world. Mansky’s film is important, well made and actual. He takes a standpoint – others think that not having a position is a position, he said with a hint to colleague Kossakovsky. You have to define your position and start from there.

Vitaly Mansky has a long and really important filmography to study - go to https://dafilms.com where his films are to be found  


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOK Leipzig 2018 Awards

Written 03-11-2018 23:34:26 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig 2018 Awards

A piece of the press release that came out from DOK Leipzig an hour ago, check the whole list and the jury motivations on the festival's website, link below:

“I Had a Dream” (photo) by Claudia Tosi has won the prestigious Golden Dove in the International Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film, granted by Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (MDR). In the long term observation of the last political decade in Italy, Claudia Tosi and her two protagonists pose the brutal question whether democracy and politics are still alive at all. Goran Dević (from Croatia) received an honourable mention for “On the Water” – a poetical and political study of people on the water.

The Golden Dove in the German Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film was awarded to the film “Lord of the Toys” by Pablo Ben Yakov who has been the subject of a controversial debate here in Leipzig. By observing a youth culture in a very precisely way, the film reveals a milieu and their frightening use of language and the internet as a platform – with far-reaching impact on everyday-life. 

Ricardo Calil won the Golden Dove in the Next Masters Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film for “Cinema Morocco”. The prize, which is



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DOK Leipzig 2018 LBJ and Jan Palach

Written 03-11-2018 18:33:04 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig 2018 LBJ and Jan Palach

I would have loved to see more from the Retrospective 68 - An Open Score but I was anderswo engagiert, i.e. introducing the Lithuanian retrospective and moderating the discussions afterwards BUT I saw the last section, number 7 which was introduced like this in the catalogue:

The International Short Film Festival Oberhausen and DOK Leipzig share an eventful history that reaches back to the founding of the two festivals in the 1950s. With its long-term festival motto “Way to the Neighbour” and its focus on Eastern European film, Oberhausen during the Cold War was both ally and challenger of the Leipzig Documentary Film Week. The two festivals lived through one of the most turbulent phases of their long-distance relationship in the wake of the departures, ruptures and upheavals of 1968. The major issue was the crushing of the Prague Spring, which strained the East-West dialogue and created a frosty atmosphere for cinematic diplomacy, too. The selection, compiled by Tobias Hering and Andreas Kötzing from the festival editions of 1968 and 1969, is inspired by a spirit of boycott, of refusal, evasive manoeuvres and tit-for-tat that turned screening or not screening a film into a political issue...

The two mentioned introduced and did it perfectly and the five films were French, German, Cuban (Alvarez "LBJ" that is pretty well known in film history), Yugoslav (Zilnik's "June Turmoil") and "The Wake" ("Trzyna") that is a diary built reportage on the days that followed the death of Jan Palach, with a few interviews, one of them introducing a very young Vaclav Havel. 24 mins., they showed a 35mm copy, bravo DOKLeipzig, moving was it to follow more than 200.000 Czecoslovaks in the streets of Prgaue and Bratislava. Get that film out to cinematheques and other festivals!

https://www.dok-leipzig.de


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Viktor Kossakovsky at DOK Leipzig

Written 02-11-2018 14:24:21 by Tue Steen Mller

Viktor Kossakovsky at DOK Leipzig

I have known him for years – since back to the days of the Bornholm festival in the 90’es. He came to Leipzig for one screening of the film and for a talk. We hugged and I told him that “Aquarela” is an ingenious film! No, no the next film is better, he said and went into the room, where the talk was to take place. Viktor Kossakovsky is not one, who answers the questions put to him, he takes his own roads of improvisation. Impossible job to be a moderator, when he is in the chair, does not matter, he is entertaining and has something important to say.

Let me quote Ukrainian Darya Bassel, who wrote on her FB: “Kossakovsky pours nectar in my ears. He sings an ode to a cinema, which doesn’t put story and character (person) in the middle of everything. A cinema which is art not storytelling.”

Yes, that’s what he keeps on saying and thanks for that in times of constant “what is your story, who are your characters”. We make movies for the cinema, the industry should know that, he said. In “Aquarela” you can´t have a shot of water that lasts 1 to 1,2 seconds. It has to be longer to give you a chance to think. When I’m editing, I’m always thinking about 10 people – one will think like this, another like that, and I try to put it together so many interpretations are possible. Why do we make films? If it is to prove our ideas, then it is not cinema! No brain first, I’m trying to use my eyes, my camera. Brain first, it is insulting!

And oh, Kossakovsky always refers to – this time – Leonardo da Vinci, Malevich – and to literature, it’s refreshing, include it in the curriculum of the film schools. (My comment!)

He talked about teaching, that he does not like, he talked about some of the sequences in “Aquarela”, about “how little we are” in this world (as is so obvious in the film), he praised his fellow cinematographer Ben Bernhard, he talked about “Tishe!” that he made while waiting for funding for his next film – a film that none of the tv commissioning editors would take when it was a project (I want to shoot a film from my window in Saint Petersburg), but all bought when it was made. Paper work is needed when you want funding for a film.

I have promised producer Aimara Reques also to watch the film in Amsterdam, at IDFA, I will, and will try to write a review of this masterpiece.


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Herzogs Missing Questions

Written 01-11-2018 10:13:37 by Tue Steen Mller

Herzogs Missing Questions

An understatement: They were angry my friends from Lithuania, Georgia and Ukraine. After having watched Werner Herzog and André Singer’s “Meeting Gorbachev”. Nothing, absolutely nothing about the violent Soviet attacks that took place in Vilnius, in Riga, in Georgia…

Did he ask these questions, Herzog? Did he answer, Gorbachev? Why were they not in the film?

Have to confess that I did not react immediately on this failure from the side of Herzog & Singer but was taken by the compassion and admiration that Herzog demonstrated towards the 87 year old former statesman.

Yesterday, the Lithuanian documentary by Giedre Zickyte, “How We Played the Revolution” was shown as part of the impressive documentary retrospective from the small Baltic country. In the fine film by Zickyte, based on archive, Gorbachev reacts in the Duma  towards to the tanks entering Vilnius and the brutality performed by his people at the tv station. We want them to stop (= we will make them stop) the demonstrations and then we can talk. Words to that effect. People were killed in Vilnius as they were in Riga, where the – among others – two cameramen of Juris Podnieks were shot down by Soviet soldiers. It’s all documented, Gorbachev knew what happened, he was in charge as the president, he wanted to establish more democracy in the country, he did not understand that the Baltics and Georgians and the Ukrainians wanted freedom, independence.

The film by Herzog/Singer wants to give a historical background through archive and interviews. Essential questions were not raised or touched upon.  


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Werner Herzog Ecstatic Truths

Written 30-10-2018 17:49:55 by Tue Steen Mller

Werner Herzog  Ecstatic Truths

10.30 in the morning, Kupferstrasse in Leipzig. There is a line outside the Kupferhalle, where Werner Herzog is to hold his masterclass or as the DOK Leipzig organisers called it, “a conversation” with Kristina Jaspers, who knows about the director and has written a book about him, (as has Danish Kristoffer Hegnsvad). (And let me lead those who are interested to this site´s “Collected Posts on Werner Herzog”: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/1940/).

Those in line waited to see if there were tickets to get. We had already been given tickets so in we (my wife and I) went with high expectations as we had heard that Herzog is a brilliant and inspiring speaker. And deep as had colleague Allan Berg experienced at the Danish Film School.

He was not deep this morning where everyone got in – festival director Leena Pasanen mentioned that we were around 500 to listen to the master. Not deep but entertaining he was from the very beginning, where he corrected Pasanen on how to set the audience microphones in the right positions! A director going in details.

Herzog followed up on yesterday’s film “Meeting Gorbachev” saying that on all three



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOK Leipzig 2018 Opening

Written 30-10-2018 08:39:39 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig 2018 Opening

Full house in Cinestar, two cinemas with people ready to watch "Meeting Gorbachev" by André Singer and Werner Herzog. Two wonderfully short and good official speeches came from representatives from the city of Leipzig and from Sachsen. A longer one from festival director Leena Pasanen, relaxed, happy she was with the goal reached of having quite as many female directors as male at the festival already now, hoping that this example of equal opportunities could inspire other cultural institutions. She thanked the funders, of course, and made a fine statement on the "premiere circus" that the festival takes part in, an issue often mentioned on this site: why is it so important to have premieres, an absurdity Pasanen said even more so in times of coproductions, where one or more festivals have national premieres, others European premieres, others world premieres. Etc. This year we have introduced "late harvest" (in German Spätlese) to secure that the audience have the chance to watch films that have been going around succesfully to other festivals.

And Werner Herzog on stage introducing the film - co-director André Singer was not there but his son was Nick Singer, who made the music for the film. Before the film the organisers had found a funny clip with the young rebellious Herzog talking about filmmaking, a bit "peinlich" Herzog said, not at all, a fine reference back to a filmmaker, who if anyone has put his mark on German and world cinema.

The film has a kind and compassionate approach. Herzog, he says so in the interview, loves Gorbachev for his silent contribution to the reunification of his Germany, for his nuclear disarmament agreements with the Americans, for his positive attitude to the Western world.

To the interviews made by Herzog are added archive material and interviews, for instance with Lech Walesa, Hungarian Németh and George Schultz who was with Reagan at the famous meeting in Iceland concerning the reduction of nuclear weapons. There are some fine anecdotes in this historical part.

In that way it is obvious that the film wants to give the audience a historical background, fair enough as the film goes on television, for me who is old enough and knows the history, the most appealing is to watch and listen to the 87 year old man, sitting there, not in good health but open to say that it was wrong to give up the USSR, expressing worries for what is happening now in his country and elsewhere. Moving is the sequence were he talks about his wife Raisa - "when she died I felt that my life was taken away from me". A statesman yes, but also a human being suffering a loss.

https://www.dok-leipzig.de


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Andr Singer on Meeting Gorbachev

Written 28-10-2018 10:18:58 by Tue Steen Mller

Andr Singer on Meeting Gorbachev

From variety.com I received a very informative interview with André Singer on his making of the documentary with Werner Herzog, written by Damon Wise. The film is to be shown at the Ji.hlava Festival and opens the DOK Leipzig tomorrow night. Singer talks about how he approached Gorbachev, how he included his long time partner on many films, Werner Herzog, how other interviews were conducted, how he had a structure in beforehand that was dropped after the interviews that Herzog conducted – “… The essential quality we wanted from the interview was of two intelligent and concerned men engaged in discussion – not a formal Q&A. Gorbachev never asked for questions in advance and was happy to enter into any area of questioning Werner wished to take…”.

André Singer, who explains the technical issues connected to the shooting of the three interviews, is going to Moscow beginning of November to show the film to Gorbachev, “this legendary giant of the 1980s and ’90s”.

To conclude the fine interview Singer says “…I feel strongly that the most important thing about the film is that it “humanizes” him. I found him a warm, genuine, generous man who has been neglected by history and in his current rather sad position isolated in Moscow deserves to be heard and remembered. If the film helps achieve that, I would be a happy man!”.

On the photo you see André Singer, Werner Herzog, Gorbachev and the interpreter Pavel Palazchenko.

More on André Singer, The True Documentary Gentleman, in Danish on http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3032/

https://variety.com/2018/film/festivals/mikhail-gorbachev-werner-herzog-andre-singer-1203006531/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Martina Melilli: My Home in Libya

Written 27-10-2018 16:32:00 by Tue Steen Mller

Martina Melilli: My Home in Libya

One year ago good friend, producer Stefano Tealdi sent me a rough cut of what is now a finished film that has been screened in Locarno, Chicago and is in the programme of DOKLeipzig, that starts next week. I found my immediate email reaction from then and am happy to state that it lives up to, what it promised:

“This is going to be a great film! Really… It is original, surprising in style and it has several layers: The world of today. The world of yesterday - the grandfather is excellent as
is his parrot. And the director makes very good shots from the apartment. To be away from each other, long-distance, maybe not a love but then a true friend story. You see Tripoli as it looks today, beautiful it was and is and then you see closed doors and shops.

You can see that this is made by someone, who comes with another “visual approach”, hurra for that… “

Yes, it is different, far from mainstream, sketchy, including the search for making the film, collecting material from the past in Tripoli, family archive, notes, drawings and first of all the internet conversation with the Libyan Mahmoud, a conversation that overtakes the narration more and more; unfolding the desperate situation of the young man, who formulates sentences like “Libya is Hell” from the other side of the Mediterranean Sea. He can’t leave, she can’t go there.

But it is also history – about the Italians in Libya until Gadaffi came to power in 1969 and the grandparents and their children had to leave the country. Libya today, well what do we know, it’s ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood and militias, we hear from Mahmoud. And wonderful images from the apartment of the grandparents, memories…

“Who is (not) missing something” is a question put in the beginning of the film. For this blogger, who is taking a lot of time of reorganizing family photos and papers right now, this sentence is quite relevant – my father was born in Buenos Aires, where my grandfather etc. etc. We all have these stories…

Italy, 2018, 66 mins.

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


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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Rugil Barzdiukaitė: Acid Forest

Written 26-10-2018 18:22:42 by Tue Steen Mller

Rugil Barzdiukaitė: Acid Forest

I have been there. On the wonderful Curonian Spit in Lithuania: The dunes, the sea, the forest, a place to relax – and a place where you find drama and at the same time are invited to reflect on our relationship to nature. I remember running like crazy away from a true Donnerwetter at the sea with my wife, and filmmaker Audrius Stonys and his son. We took refuge in the car of the filmmaker and after a while it was quiet blue sky.

Another day we went to the cormorants at Juodkranté to study this amazing phenomenon of fallen and naked pine trees caused by the acid shit of the cormorants, who live and nest there, eat fish from he water, and can do so, protected as the species is by EU and national law.

This location is where this cleverly made, cinematically brilliant documentary essay takes place. The birds are there, they are filmed from a distance sitting as shadows on the branches with the sky in the background, in daylight, at dusk, at night – or in close-ups, or like small dark spots in the amazing drone images that break the almost motionless images of the trees – and US who are in the picture most of the time.

Meaning we tourists who come to watch and talk about the cormorants. The film has caught the conversations and they are fun to follow. Tourists who are filmed from a distance standing on a platform for viewing. What we get are comments in Japanese, German, Finnish, Russian, American etc. Many comments go in the direction of “this is like a nuclear disaster”; several say that it is the fault of the EU that this shit exists; some discuss politics (Russia is just around the corner), and a young couple in love has a great conversation – she adores what she sees, he says jokingly that he will bring his gun; photographic gun he corrects after his first comments.

The film lives because of this dialogue in the nature – and your own dialogue with a film that insists on its theme, and brings us visual tourists to see and experience the paradoxical situation. The birds are watching us, we are watching – and smelling – them!

To see what comes out of continuous poop, hatching, trees that are almost falling to the ground…

Another proof of the poetic, reflective documentary tradition in Lithuania. It was at festivals in Locarno, Riga and Ji.hlava – more will come. Of course.  

Lithuania, 2018, 63 mins.


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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Lithuanian Cinema Travels

Written 25-10-2018 16:10:13 by Tue Steen Mller

Lithuanian Cinema Travels

Here we are – watch our films, meet our filmmakers. It seems like this is the policy of the Lithuanian Film Centre this year, where the population-wise small country celebrates its centenary. According to an article in Cineuropa – link below - … Over the past four months, thanks to support from the Lithuanian Film Centre, the heavy presence of both completed films and projects was evident in almost 20 countries worldwide…

The article mentions fiction films that have travelled, going on to mention documentaries that we deal with (mostly) on this site - … Moving onto documentaries, Rugilė Barzdiukaitė’s debut, Acid Forest [+], premiered at Locarno, whereas the co-production Bridges of Time [+] by Kristīne Briede and Audrius Stonys did likewise at Karlovy Vary. Previously premiered documentaries also pressed on with their festival runs. Lithuania’s Oscar submission, Wonderful Losers: A Different World [+] by Arūnas Matelis, was at the Belfast “Pull Focus” Documentary Festival and Ulju Mountain Film Festival, where it was also awarded, and The Ancient Woods [+] by Mindaugas Survila unspooled at the Sydney Film Festival…

I am still waiting to see “Acid Forest”, the three others have been reviewed on this site.

And when it comes to the so-called “industry presence” - …  the Lithuanian Film Centre was one of the partners in the Pula Film Festival’s Matchmaking Forum (see the news), while Lithuania was featured as one of the countries participating in Locarno Pro’s Match Me! producers’ networking programme (see the news). Also, Lithuanian producers Giedrė ickytėDagnė VildiūnaitėMarija RazgutėPaulius Juočeris and Andrius Lekavičius were included in the selection of the Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum and the Glocal Meets the Baltics section of San Sebastián…

DOK Leipzig hosts an impressive retrospective of Lithuanian documentaries from next week – read http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4368/ - and apart from the retrospective two new Lithuanian documentaries are in the “Next Masters” section at the festival: “Animus Animalis (A Story about People, Animals and Things)” by Aisté Zegulyté and “Nijole” by Sandro Bozzolo, produced by Dagnė Vildiūnaitė, experienced Lithuanian fiction and documentary producer. Several directors from the country have been invited to Leipzig.

https://cineuropa.org/en/newsdetail/362126/

http://www.lkc.lt/en/2018/10/cinema-spreads-the-word-about-lithuania-across-the-world-four-months-four-continents-leading-festivals/

https://filmfinder.dok-leipzig.de/en/?&section=284


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Press Conference

Written 25-10-2018 10:07:40 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Press Conference

There he was, Orwa Nyrabia, the new artistic director of IDFA, to be watched through streaming yesterday afternoon. I saw the first half of his presentation and could only nod, when he started telling us press people that documentaries are not made to answer questions, no they are there to raise and trace questions. Orwa stressed that the selection has not been made according to subject – subject is not enough, there should be much more. And journalistic documentaries should accordingly be more than mere reporting. Good to be reminded of basics of the artistic documentary, or call it the creative – in other words: documentary is an Art form.

Orwa showed clips and apart from looking forward to the Vertov-film, “The Sound of Masks” by Sara de Gouvela, placed in the Luminous category, of South African and Portuguese production background, is now a Must for me. Wow, for a clip. Anyway, go to the website and study the selection for the feature-length competition, for me new names but also films by Geyerhalter, Hungarian Eszter Hajdú, Israeli Tomer Heymann, Chilean couple Bettina Perut & Iván Osnovikoff, Indian Anand Patwardhan. Read this shortened clip from the press release:  



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No Eastern European projects at IDFA Forum 2018

Written 21-10-2018 19:38:48 by Tue Steen Mller

No Eastern European projects at IDFA Forum 2018

Here comes IDFA’s response to the question of no Eastern European projects in the selection of IDFA 2018’s Forum, sent today by the artistic director Orwa Nyrabia:

The fact that there are no East European projects in IDFA’s Forum 2018 selection is simply bad and sad. This needs to be examined and analyzed indeed. At IDFA we are examining how this happened and why it is such a surprising zero in the year’s projects slate. We also note that this is the selection of one year. The share of Eastern European projects over the past 15 years has been between 2 and 7 projects per edition, 3 to 4 most of the time. One year does not represent a trend. It might also be relevant here to say that our process was inclusive, that our pre-selectors and jurors were widely-representative are diversified. They did a difficult job and for that we are thankful. The selection process was long and as thorough as possible, but this doesn’t mean that we don’t make mistakes. We could have missed on great projects, it is our loss too.



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IDFA Forum/ 2

Written 20-10-2018 13:57:24 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Forum/ 2

Below you have the presentation from IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival) of the Forum, no doubt the gathering of documentary film professionals, who want funding and/or publicity of the film, that they are working on. The event has been there for decades, it’s been instrumental as a gathering for the documentary community to meet, exchange, network, tell each other that documentaries are important – and communicate that to the funders, the broadcasters, the politicians etc. The Forum – and the IDFA – is crucial, when it comes to stressing the importance of the documentary genre in a democratic world. I did not say in Europe because there we have a problem, dear IDFA Forum people:

Maybe you are not to blame, maybe it is a problem that mirrors the sad development within the EU and its surroundings: EU did not become what we (EUropeans like me) wanted it to become. There is a Western Europe as before and an Eastern Europe as before. There is a rich and a poor Europe. And there are conflicts within the EU, where Eastern countries are politically turning to the right – as is the case in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and I could go on exemplifying from Western countries like the one – Denmark – where I have my home and where intolerance and xenophobia are alive and kicking…

AND NOW TO MY QUESTION WHEN I LOOK AT THE LIST OF COUNTRIES REPRESENTED AT THE FORUM AT IDFA 2018, 51 COUNTRIES REPRESENTED, BUT ONLY ONE FROM EASTERN EUROPE IF YOU INCLUDE GEORGIA:

There are NO projects from Estonia, Latvia. Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Russia, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Ukraine…

But of course I salute the selection of Georgian “The Platform” by Nino Orjonikidze and Vano Arsenishvili – I know them, they are sooo good!

AND HOW TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS…

Is it really because there were no more than one project good enough among the 768 projects submitted?

Is it because projects from Eastern Europe were very few?

Because they prefer to submit projects to – for instance – East Doc Forum in Prague?

Because the IDFA Forum is too expensive (submission fee, travel and stay, publicity…) for filmmakers from Eastern Europe?

Why… tell me

Because if you look at the IDFA festival and the films taken for the many sections, there is a lot of great films selected from the Eastern part of Europe – and beware it is not “only” Kossakovsky, Loznitsa, Mansky. The festival lives from excellent films from Eastern Europe, also this year; take a look at the selection for mid-length section, there are films from Serbia (Photo from Andrijana Stojkovic “Wongar”), Belarus, Poland, Russia… It seems there is a total lack of harmony this year between the Forum and the Festival!   

https://www.idfa.nl/en/article/105926/51-projects-selected-to-pitch-at-idfa-forum-2018


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Forum/ 1

Written 20-10-2018 13:48:39 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA Forum/ 1

The Forum at IDFA is for documentary filmmakers the place to launch the new projects, they want the documentary community to be aware of, and eventually be interested in, eventually to invest in. Projects are presented/pitched followed by meetings. It is all very well organized and respected. “You have to be there”, filmmakers working internationally say, “otherwise “they” think that your company has died”. Words to that effect.

IDFA has announced that 51 projects have made it to the grande finale – the pitch that takes place November 18th-21st.

The press release – a long quote from that – says “…

“The selection process was particularly competitive this year: with a record-breaking 768 projects submitted. Of the 51 projects selected to present at IDFA Forum, 24 different countries are represented, reflecting the inclusive emphasis of IDFA and its continuous word-wild support of documentary filmmakers.

This year's IDFA Forum selection casts a wide net, ranging from projects that examine pressing social issues to ones exploring the artistic boundaries of documentary filmmaking. Returning IDFA guests include Nanfu Wang (Untitled Cuba Project, United States), Camilla Nielsson (Democrats 2, Denmark), and Renzo Martens (A Gentrification Program, the Netherlands). Several selected projects demonstrate a clear interest in experimenting with documentary syntax, such as Lash by Yoonsuk Jung (South Korea) and The Way We Were by Marten Persiel (Germany).

The 2018 selection also features new projects by established filmmakers as well as emerging talents. Guy Davidi, co-director of the Academy Award-nominated 5 Broken Cameras, presents Senseless (Denmark/Israel). The renowned Mohamed Al-Daradji (Iraq’s Invisible Beauty, Belgium), and Hemal Trivedi (The Half Truths, India, United States), as well as up-and-coming talents Sun Hee Engelstoft (Forget Me Not, Denmark) and Ayse Toprak (The Other Half, Turkey) will also present their latest projects at IDFA Forum 2018…”

Questions raised in IDFA Forum/ 2 above.

Photo from “Democrats” by Camilla Nielsson, she is pitching a sequel.

https://www.idfa.nl/en/article/105926/51-projects-selected-to-pitch-at-idfa-forum-2018


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

ArtdocFest in Riga

Written 19-10-2018 12:42:11 by Tue Steen Mller

ArtdocFest in Riga

Well, I should have been in Riga now, where the International Film Festival is one day old, and were it goes on until the end of the month. It is a festival with many sections: a tribute to Ingmar Bergman, a competition for fiction films, Latvian and Baltic films… and, the reason why I should have been there: Artdocfest Riga with 21 documentaries, competitive with legendary theatre director Alvis Hermanis as one of the jurors. The festival, founded and run by Vitaly Mansky, who now lives and works out of Riga, presents itself like this on the festival’s website:



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Astra Film Festival

Written 18-10-2018 11:57:14 by Tue Steen Mller

Astra Film Festival

… in Sibiu, Romania celebrates its 25th edition. For that reason Cineuropa brings an interview with the founding director Dumitru Budrala. He looks back and makes a status on the state of the documentary art. Here is a quote – but read it all, link below – including a question:

You said that documentary films are “lifeboats in a sea of alternative facts”. Can you elaborate on this opinion on the power and usefulness of the genre?
The audience potential of documentary cinema is amazing, as it can reach both a wider public and a specialised, niche audience. At every edition, Astra Film Festival offers a host of thematic sidebars that explore reality by proposing an intimate, detailed portrait of humanity. These films are a shortcut to social consciousness and a tool for change, “a therapy for the mending of society”, as Cristi Puiu [a jury member at Astra 2018] puts it. Both in Romania and around the world, daily events in the social and political landscape leave a mark on the very essence of the human condition. Reality is more spectacular than fiction – or, as they say, “life beats film”. Documentary has become more and more relevant because people feel the need for an alternative source of knowledge and new tools for understanding reality in a world where fake news, intolerance, cynical dissimulation and the redaction of the past are becoming more and more invasive…

Looking at the programme a thematic choice catches my eye, “On the Road to Europe” that features 10 films that deal with how Eastern European countries have been dealing with the post-communism reality. I was reminded of the fine films by Vuk Janic “Last Yugoslavian Football team” (for a football freak what a great team it was and what a tragedy that all went into pieces, at least football-wise), Hungarian Tibor Kocsis “New Eldorado”, a perfect illustration of new capitalism, Latvian Kaspars Goba’s “Homo@Lv” from 2010 (homophobia, intolerance) and Marcin Latallo’s “Our Street” from 2006, the deroute of working class family.

A clever so-called side-bar in a cleverly curated festival that runs until the 21st of October.  

https://www.astrafilm.ro/films/

https://cineuropa.org/en/interview/361723/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Meet Gorbachev at Hauptbahnhof!

Written 17-10-2018 11:09:44 by Tue Steen Mller

Meet Gorbachev at Hauptbahnhof!

... on a big screen… for free, read what DOKLeipzig has to offer its film interested audience, taken from the website, what a good idea:

The East Hall of Leipzig’s Central Station is turning again into a festival cinema during DOK Leipzig 2018! For the third year in a row, we present free, public film screenings in the scope of the festival week. Besides the opening film Meeting Gorbachev by Werner Herzog and André Singer to be shown in parallel to the official festival opening, a further seven documentary and animated films will be shown on a big screen in the East Hall of the Central Station.

The screenings take place in cooperation with Promenaden Hauptbahnhof shopping centre and Deutsche Bahn AG and start from Monday 29 October till Saturday 3 November daily at 7:30pm. Free entry!

The following films will be shown:

Monday, 29/10 | 7:30 pm

Meeting Gorbachev | Werner Herzog, André Singer | 180 min. | German version | from 6 years old

Tuesday, 30/10 | 7:30 pm

Exit | Karen Winther | 76 min. | Danish/English/French/German/Norwegian OV with English subtitles | from 12 years on

Wednesday, 31/10 | 7:30 pm

The Yellow Mazda and His Holiness | Sandra Hermans | 10 min. | French OV with English subtitles
Der Esel hieß Geronimo (A Donkey Called Geronimo) | Arjun Talwar, Bigna Tomschin | 80 min. | Danish/English/German OV with English subtitles

Thursday, 01/11 | 7:30 pm

All Creatures Welcome | Sandra Trostel | 87 min. | English/German OV with German subtitles

Friday, 02/11 | 7:30 pm

Oro Blanco | Gisela Carbajal Rodríguez | 23 min. | Spanish OV with English subtitles
Was kostet die Welt (The Prize of Paradise) | Bettina Borgfeld | 91 min. | English/German OV with German subtitles

Saturday, 03/11 | 7:30 pm

Chris the Swiss | Anja Kofmel | 90 min. | English/German/Spanish OV with German subtitles | from 12 years on

https://www.dok-leipzig.de/en/festival/festival-news?start:int=0


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Lithuanian Documentaries A Poetic Look at Reality

Written 14-10-2018 21:00:48 by Tue Steen Mller

Lithuanian Documentaries A Poetic Look at Reality

There is a grand focus on Lithuania at DOKLeipzig this year. Festival director Leena Pasanen has since her time at the Finnish television YLE been an admirer of the small Baltic country’s impressive documentary tradition. She stands behind a uniqe presentation of three generations of film directors, who worked during Soviet time, after the independence and today.

The festival shows the films and has arranged a special session, where it invites the audience to meet two of the most prominent Lithuanian directors from the “new generation”, called “the digital age”, Giedre Zickyte and Mindaugas Survila, who will talk about and show examples from their country’s beautiful tradition for documentary Cinema, which is wonderfully described by Audrius Stonys, now “the grand old man of Lithuanian documentary”, in the following way:

“What is called the poetic school of Lithuanian documentary “…created an independent world, free from Soviet ideology, lie and propaganda. It was a declaration of inner freedom. The black and white world of poetic documentary films was full of colours. Sadness was full of joy. And joy was touched by deep existential sadness. These films reminded us about what is Cinema—to film and to enjoy the beauty of the leaves, moving in the wind.”

The two younger directors will refer to the tradition, talk about their own films, how it is to work internationally in a European market, with the television demands – and how they strive to keep their own voice. And they succeed…

In the films by Giedre Zickyté (“How We Played the Revolution”) and Mindaugas Survila (“Field of Magic”) you will see that they have their own style, still with a bridge back to their colleagues.

The meeting is an invitation to explore a unique documentary cinema tradition before and after independence, a wave of a personal free visual language that celebrates life and humanity. Magical moments are waiting for you.

I will be the moderator of this session that takes place Thursday November 1st. I have been privileged to follow the Lithuanian documentary scene for 25 years.

https://www.dok-leipzig.de


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Ji.hlava IDFF Announces Programme

Written 11-10-2018 17:10:21 by Tue Steen Mller

Ji.hlava IDFF Announces Programme

… IDFF standing for International Documentary Film Festival. A press release came out today from the festival that starts October 25 and runs until October 30. With its 22nd edition.

I have taken some bits and pieces to highlight what is to happen in the Czech provincial town, where I have been many times, especially when I was involved in the Ex Oriente workshop. But click below, the website of the festival tells the details.

Let me start with a quote from festival director Marek Hovorka, a true cinephile: … Altogether, the programme will have 327 films on offer. ‘I’m surprised that documentary films still remain overlooked, even though they are some of the most interesting cinema out there. Compared to narrative films, they more accurately reflect our own questions, doubts, joys and failures. Documentary films aren’t meant to be an escape from our own lives – they are a way for us to better understand them,’ says Marek Hovorka, the festival’s director.

‘The true struggle of cinema happens in documentaries which open up new



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOK Leipzig Official Selection

Written 10-10-2018 20:39:25 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig Official Selection

So here it is, the announcement of the Official Selection for DOKLeipzig. The filmmakers were of course informed in beforehand but were not allowed to express their enthusiasm before publication, which they can do now. First step for me who will report from the festival every day, is to copy paste the press release, plus give some links to the programme sections that have already been written about on this site. The festival starts the 29th of October, so those of you who go there have time to study and make your agenda, link below. The press release:

It’s Official! We are happy to present the full programme for DOK Leipzig 2018. From Argentina to Egypt, Lebanon to Latvia, Montenegro to Madagascar, Sierra Leone to Saudi Arabia – this year we are showing a grand total of 306 films from 50 different countries.

Of the 3,150 works viewed by the selection committee over the course of the last year, 160 have now made it into the Official Selection, the further films will be screened in the scope of our Special Programmes.

“The courage displayed by the filmmakers this year is quite remarkable,” as festival director Leena Pasanen reflects. “They engage critically with the world



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ME - at IDFA

Written 08-10-2018 21:15:37 by Tue Steen Mller

ME - at IDFA

IDFA presents a main focus program, ME, about the personal and autobiographical documentary film. Me is a selection of different cinematic expressions by filmmakers whose study of themselves is both a journey into their own private history as well as an artistic exploration…

The first paragraph in a press release from IDFA, the festival taking place in November, that announces new titles every Tuesday until then and whose competition programs will be announced October 24… In other words feeding the hungry documentarians with small bites as DOKLeipzig that starts October 29 has done with their announcement taking place on Wednesday the 10th.

ME, I thought when I saw the announcement… we have had enough of that biting my tongue when I think about my constant preaching at workshops and on this site that films have to be personal, maybe not autobiographical but with a personal touch, a personal motivation and – please – a personal handwriting, a personal style…

For that reason it is wonderful to see that the festival has chosen to show both “Father and Son” by Pawel Lozinski AND “Father and Son on a Journey” by Marcel Lozinski. It was meant to be one film by son Pawel, produced by him but father Marcel broke the agreement and insisted on making his version of a fascinating, painful and humorous car trip from Warsaw to Paris. This film is personal and has found its own expression.

Happy also that Avi Mograbi (PHOTO) is there with his “Happy Birthday, Mr.Mograbi”, the most critical, both sarcastic and satirical characterization of Israel and its policy under Bibi – it is almost 20 years old but what it describes is unfortunately still actual and even more worse than in the late nineties.

It is actually a slate of wonderful chances to re-view films by Kossakovsky (“Wednesday”), Ross McElwee (“Sherman’s March”), great to have Andrés di Tella with his masterpiece “Photographs”, Rithy Panh with “The Missing Picture” – and for me to have the chance to discover Japanese Naomi Kawase and re-view Kazuo Hara’s “Extremely Private Eros: Love Song 1974”.

Many more films, it’s very inviting this selection of 20 documentaries from IDFA.

https://www.idfa.nl/en/selection/101804/me 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

The Best East/Central European Documentary 2018?

Written 05-10-2018 22:33:47 by Tue Steen Mller

The Best East/Central European Documentary 2018?

The IDF (Institute of Documentary Film) based in Prague hosts a yearly so-called Silver Eye Award that has been granted annually since 2009 to the best East and Central European documentary films in two categories: short and feature documentary film with approx. 11 films in each category. There are juries and the winners will be announced at the Ji.hlava festival and of this month: “The winner in each category receives not only a unique award trophy, but also a prize money of 2 250 € and a year-long festival service of the East Silver Caravan worth of additional 2 250 €.”

With all respect to the short film genre, I will only mention the feature documentaries with links to the reviews written on this site:



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Orwa Nyrabia at Getting Real Conference 2018

Written 05-10-2018 20:57:30 by Tue Steen Mller

   Orwa Nyrabia at Getting Real Conference 2018

… where he made a keynote speech introduced by the IDA’s Claire Aguilar in this way: Orwa is the Artistic Director of IDFA Amsterdam.  But unfortunately he is not here in person. He is skyping in from Amsterdam. As a Syrian national, he was not allowed into the US!! IDFA is the largest doc fest in world. Last year he was appointed art director. This Nov will be his first edition. He is a filmmaker/activist/programmer/actor.

Here is a small quote from the speech, I warmly recommend you to join the D-Word that has covered the conference extensely and where the whole speech can be found:

I spent much of my childhood with Troy and Achilles, and fight with Hannibal, and take elephant over mts. And Yemeni magical flying beast. I was a kid. My father, a political prisoner. Mother, sleepless. Expected to be imprisoned too. My experience is parallel to others. I was so afraid of reality as a kid. So I lived in mythology and then to be an actor. But I decided I didn’t want that. Documentary film felt like a outlet for my anger and my terrible reality. In the sense that in documentary film, the great works showed me that even when we make a film about the self, it can be ruthless truth and sincere and meaningful for all.

In my life conferences like this became expected, not a surprise. 15 yrs ago I was asking Jeeve where are you guys, and then I’d found d-word. It’s the best form of community I could have. Travel is difficult. We were lonelier than today but distance is different today. Today if we look at the reality of international doc filmmakers -- are tortured, exiled, and killed. More than ever. Not everywhere. There is a normalization of what happens in Russia – 130 day hunger strike. But it will affect all of us, filmmakers being persecuted. Everyday in world, filmmakers face a lobbying campaign against them.

In Europe, it’s a special moment with the rise of right wing, and budgets are aggressively cut back, as the social democracy and public welfare state is being challenged. Denmark right wing voted to cut budget of public TV, and so documentaries are harmed. Denmark recently also now has a question of content. Prefer production in Danish language. A closing of the borders of country. ..

https://www.d-word.com/


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOK Neuland at DOK Leipzig

Written 04-10-2018 14:23:32 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Neuland at DOK Leipzig

Demand the Impossible! In his essay The Ultimate Display from 1965, Ivan Sutherland formulated the almost prophetic dream of a computer display of reality that creates a perfect illusion of materiality. Films like The Matrix interpreted this as a nightmare, generating a fundamental scepticism of mediated spaces. At the same time, in 2015, hopes were raised that VR was an “empathy machine” that would make us all better human beings. Immersing yourself in other worlds via a headset, however, does not necessarily produce empathy. Today artists are exploring new aspects of immersion and leaving more space for a more complex experience of absorption.

The festival motto Demand the Impossible! serves as the guiding principle of our exhibition of interactive and VR works, too. We are transported to worlds that expand, defamiliarise, distort or temporally bend our present environment. This is where places that exist only in our imagination or in individual perceptions can be made accessible. This year, DOK Neuland focuses on works that turn their users into explorers: not like Neo in the matrix, but like Alice in wonderland.

Exhibited Works. DOK Neuland invites from 30 October to 3 November to discover and experience 12 interactive and VR works. Read more about the DOK Neuland projects: 

https://www.dok-leipzig.de/en/festival/dokneuland/projekte-2018


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Helena Třetikov: My Top 10

Written 03-10-2018 11:27:38 by Tue Steen Mller

Helena Třetikov: My Top 10

More documentary film history… chapeau for DOKLeipzig and IDFA that both festivals (more than before?) look back and not “only” take the temperature of what’s new in the documentary world. Here some words on the selection done by Czech documentary superstar (she will hate that I call her so!) Helena Třeštiková, who has been asked by IDFA to make her Top 10. The link below brings you to her article about the choice, she made, personal and with this wonderful quote by Věra Chytilová, whose film from 1963 “Something Different” is on the list: ““A film should have truth, aesthetics, intellect, feeling and a belief, because film should be true, exciting, necessary, beautiful and full of hope”.

 

Of course there must be a film by Milos Forman, “The Firemen’s Ball” (1967), and I loved her choice of Georges Rouquier, “Farrebique – The Four Seasons” from 1946, farmers in France; we had this gem in the catalogue of Statens Filmcentral (National Film Board of Denmark), no objection either to have “The Seine Meets Paris” (1957) by Ivens and Jacques Prévert, and Třeštiková reminds us about Havel, when she writes about “Citizen Havel”:



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Jonas Mekas on DocAlliance

Written 02-10-2018 12:01:49 by Tue Steen Mller

Jonas Mekas on DocAlliance

 

I hurry to give you this news from Prague, where the excellent online cinema of DocAlliance keeps on offering film lovers high quality retrospectives into film history – to a very low price:

We present an extensive retrospective of Jonas Mekas, 95-year-old director straddled between Europe and the US, documentary and the avant-garde. Discover the work of the Lithuanian-American director, poet and visual artist often called the godfather of American avant-garde cinema and founder of the diary genre in documentary film.

The collection includes a cross-section of the works by Jonas Mekas which often follow a personal line. We present 13 films altogether, including The Brig about a Marine Corps jail in Japan. Following a day in the life of the inmates, the ultra-realistic film captures the tough treatment and shocking ways of physical and mental humiliation. The film won the Grand Prix at Venice Film Festival in 1964. This Side of Paradise follows the Kennedy family after the death of JFK. Jackie Kennedy decided to distract the children and hired Mekas as a film chronicler. The director spent several summer holidays at the house of Andy Warhol with the family, making a very personal film with a touch of home video and deep friendship which gradually emerged between him and the family. Made in diary style, Williamsburg, Brooklyn shows the neighborhood where Mekas settled after his arrival in the US; most of the scenes were shot between 1948 and 1951 and show the everyday life and little stories from the streets of New York. The film was screened at IFF Rotterdam.

https://dafilms.com/program/671-retrospective-jonas-mekas


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Shevaun Mizrahi: Distant Constellation

Written 30-09-2018 17:22:16 by Tue Steen Mller

Shevaun Mizrahi: Distant Constellation

You can’t see the wind a four year old family member said the other day.

Right she is. But you can hear it. And it can be part of a very excellent sound design as it is in this debut documentary film that I was happy to watch, having missed it in a couple of festivals, the last one Message2Man in St.Petersburg, where it received an award.

Music is an important part of the film of Shevaun Mizrahi. Within the walls of the house for old people, where the film is shot and where music forms a discreet background for scenes, creating atmosphere.

The atmosphere of the constant waiting the old people experience; those you can’t help loving from start till end. The old woman who comes from Armenia and remembers how her family had to change their names when they took home in Turkey. The old photographer (on the photo) who is almost blind and is repeating his sentences again and again. The charmeur who plays piano, reads an erotic text and asks the director if they should marry, “I need someone in my life”. And others.

They are on the edge of leaving Life with their memories in a dark film with bright absurd moments like the conversations in an elevator between the two old men, who go up and down talking to each other, hilarious it is, yes it reminds me of Beckett.

And outside there are construction workers, who are not from Turkey, who get out of their beds in poor container homes to go to work to earn money to send home. It looks like it is just outside the old people’s retirement home – it’s not important, for the old people it is another world than the one they lived in when younger.

A first film, a debut – bravo, a mature documentary film with many layers, visually with more interpretation than information, beautiful to watch, full of details, you see that the director, who is also the camerawoman was there for more than just a visit. Next film, please!    

Turkey, 82 mins., 2017


Vurdering:

 
Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Guevara Namer Barcelona Photo

Written 28-09-2018 10:54:24 by Tue Steen Mller

Guevara Namer Barcelona Photo

This is the second - and it will not be the last - time that we bring a photo taken by talented Guevara Namer. The first one was here

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3349/

from the Damascus where Guevara lived and was part of the team behind the DOXBox festival's four editions. A couple of weeks ago I met her again. She was pitching a project in Riga together with German Antonia Kilian, very succesful pitch, read

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4342/


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOKLeipzig New Section: Late Harvest

Written 27-09-2018 14:35:08 by Tue Steen Mller

DOKLeipzig New Section: Late Harvest

The festival in Leipzig works apparently according to film editing rules: Don’t give all the information up front, give it piece by piece. The official programme is not announced yet but the festival introduces a new section called Late Harvest. Read all about it in the press release:

In anticipation of announcing of the complete Official Selection for DOK Leipzig 2018, we give a little taste of what you can expect at this year’s edition. In introducing the new programme section LATE HARVEST, we aim to draw attention to important films from the current season, works which have managed to capture the cinematic and political spirit of this year – by winning awards at other festivals, serving as catalysts for heated debate, or making echoing contributions to social and cinematographic discourses which complement and enhance DOK Leipzig’s themes and perspectives...



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

IDFA Dziga Vertov

Written 27-09-2018 10:26:07 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA  Dziga Vertov

 A mail arrived from IDFA announcing quite a film historical event as part of the festival: “You are cordially invited to the IDFA 2018 world premiere of Dziga Vertov's recently found and restored film, The Anniversary of the RevolutionPossibly the first feature-length documentary film ever made, The Anniversary of the Revolution screens November 20th in Tuschinski 1.” And about the film it goes like this:

The Anniversary of the Revolution was made by pioneering filmmaker Dziga Vertov (1896-1954) between early 1917 and 1918. Filming the developments surrounding the Russian Revolutions of February and October 1918, and the following civil war, Vertov documented events and protagonists that would change history. Using his own footage and occasionally the material of a few others, Vertov assembled his chronological account of the historical year into a two-hour film in 1918, making The Anniversary of the Revolution possibly the first feature-length documentary film ever made... to be continued



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sources Mentoring Workshop

Written 27-09-2018 00:17:39 by Tue Steen Mller

Sources Mentoring Workshop

I was meant to arrive in Herrsching at the Haus der bayerischen Landwirtschaft Sunday, the day before the day where I should speak to mentors, who had signed up for the workshop, that dealt with mentoring. But coming from the Zelig film school in Bolzano to Munich, I had hoped, as experienced before, for a stay in the city to visit museums and relax…. I had forgotten about Oktoberfest and there was NO hotel rooms available. None at all. Marion Gompper from Sources saved me, providing a room with a bed at the venue by the Ammersee from Saturday night. Sorry Germans and lovers of Oktoberfest, but great to get away from Lederhosen and liters of beer after having enjoyed wonderful Italian Lagrein wine and grappa in Bolzano.

The training course, described by the organisers as “intensive”, was meant to



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Dok.Incubator: Play the Trailers

Written 26-09-2018 13:41:38 by Tue Steen Mller

Dok.Incubator: Play the Trailers

I could not be there – Sunday in Malmø at the Nordisk Panorama, where 8 projects developed at the Dok.Incubator were presented. For that reason I was happy to receive an email from the organisers saying “play the trailers” – the 8 films made by international talents right before release. I played the trailers.

I suppose the presentation in Malmø was as in the previous years, professional in an enthusiastic atmosphere: A verbal presentation, a trailer plus one or two scenes from the upcoming film. Especially the latter was for me important for getting an idea of the quality. Where a trailer is a trailer, in most cases a piece of information about the content.

Nevertheless, let me - from the trailer watching - mention three of the films that I definitely MUST see – to review on this site and/or consider to suggest for the festivals, where I am part of the programming team. Take a look and see if you agree:

“Of Friends and Gods” by Reetta Huhtanen. “Searching Eva” by Pia Hellenthal. “The Men’s Room” (PHOTO) by Petter Sommer

http://dokincubator.net/preview-2018/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

M2M Message to Man Fest Awards

Written 22-09-2018 17:57:02 by Tue Steen Mller

M2M  Message to Man Fest Awards

The festival in St. Petersburg is over and awards were announced yesterday after a grandiose (experienced through photos on Facebook) closing evening that had Viktor Kossakovsky's "Aquarela" on the program, of course, this is his home town!

Grand Prix and the Student Jury prize went to Hungarian "A Woman Captured" by Bernadett Tuza-Ritter, it must be one of (if not THE) most winning documentaries of the last year. If you want to read what I wrote on this site about the film:

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

There were 3 awards for the Russian documentary "White Mama" by Evgenia Ostanina and Zosya Rodkevich - Best full length documentary, TV Kultura and Fipresci. Here is the synopsis of the film: "Alina and her family have been put under severe strain. The woman, who has six black-skinned children born out of her relationship with an Ethiopian man, decides to adopt a white boy with mental health problems. Will the characters have enough good will and sufficient child-raising skills to tame – and love – the little tyrant? A film for those who have nerves of steel as it takes viewers to the very centre of the family hell."

The festival has not yet published the whole list of winners, check it on the website or on FB.

https://message2man.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOK Leipzig Enthusiasm

Written 13-09-2018 21:46:07 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig Enthusiasm

To meet the audience with a positive attitude is of course the best festival invitation you can make. I thought about it this morning, when receiving a newsletter from Leipzig: They have a good press office in DOK Leipzig that in tone is able to convey what the programmers want to achieve:

We finally have the first film titles for our DOK Leipzig edition 2018. Our Special



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Kusturica & Kossakovsky

Written 12-09-2018 17:23:47 by Tue Steen Mller

Kusturica & Kossakovsky

”El Pepe, a Supreme Life” is a new documentary by Emir Kusturica about the former Uruguayen president José “Pepe” Mujica, loved by his nation, being President 2010-2015 after having spent 13 years in captivity. (Photo of the two in Venice).

In an interview with Cineuropa, in connection with the Venice festival, Kusturica says “Many years ago, I was in France, and someone told me there was a president who drove a tractor. I saw the pictures and said: “This is my next movie.” He is probably the only one in the whole world who is not corrupt. He gives his salary away to lower the poverty line. In the film, he says that when you are chosen by the majority, you have to live like the majority – not the elite. He accepts all that’s needed to improve society…

Throughout his life, “Pepe” was a former guerrilla: he was kidnapping people, robbing banks, fighting fascists, and then he studied in prison, ultimately becoming the Minister of Agriculture…

Also Victor Kossakovsky was at the festival with his new film “Aquarela” and talked to Cineuropa, a quote, the question was why water:

… If you are a fiction film director, you search for an actor and hope to find one with a great range of faces who can portray many emotions – who can be evil one moment and good in the next. For example, Meryl Streep - she can be everything. I thought: “If I’m a documentary filmmaker, what would be a good subject, showing this same variety of emotions?” And I realised that water is perfect - the sea can be peaceful one moment and kill you in the next.  

http://cineuropa.org/en/index/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Wonderful Losers Win in South Korea

Written 12-09-2018 12:11:00 by Tue Steen Mller

Wonderful Losers Win in South Korea

At the third edition of a mountain film festival in South Korea, Lithuanian Arunas Matelis received the award for the best adventure and exploration film. Here are some words about the festival, followed by the clever jury motivation for the award: 



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Janus Metz og Sine Plambech: Heartbound

Written 10-09-2018 19:16:13 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Janus Metz og Sine Plambech: Heartbound

International release: 10th of September 2018 – TO-DAY – at the Toronto International Film Festival / Domestic release: 20th of September 2018.

Janus Metz og Sine Plambech’s films about this tale are Love on Delivery, 2007, Ticket to Paradise, 2008 and Heartbound, 2018.

ARRANGED MARRIAGES THAIS & DANES

The films take us to a windblown corner of North Jutland, where 575 Thai women live with their Danish husbands. Fifteen years ago there was only Sommai, a former sex worker from Pattaya. Opening with Sommai, the two films describe a network of strong, resolute Thai women who, through their marriages in Denmark, provide for themselves and an entire village in Thailand. Underlying Janus Metz’ documentaries, "Love on Delivery" and "Ticket to Paradise" is a focus on globalisation, poverty, prostitution and the universal need for security and love. Allan Berg Nielsen’s reflects on these two works, selected for IDFA 2008.

The location is introduced in beautiful photography by cinematographers Lars Skree and Henrik Bohn Ipsen. There is authority to these shots. A Jutlandic landscape that’s much, much more than a windswept corner of the country. A region and a people with a singular way of life, great dignity and their integrity intact. The photography conforms to my vision of the place that was shaped sometime back in the Romantic Age. Sommai is introduced with similar beauty and sureness. At first, it’s all about her. Once a stranger to these parts, she is now so integrated as anyone can be who looks different and comes from the other side of the globe. Then the story begins. All is well and good. I feel in good hands, from the beginning of the first documentary, Love on Delivery. I know I’ll stick with it. I sense that right away, because there’s a real story here, a love story that continues and concludes in part two, "Ticket to Paradise.”

LOVE ON DELIVERY (2007)

Sommai has been asked to arrange a marriage. She has done so before, found women in her home village and partnered them with men in Denmark. These women stick together, and we get to know two of them. As usual, Sommai has three months to get the job done, the duration of a tourist visa. The person we now turn our attention to, her sister’s daughter, arrives and is uneasily plunged right into things: classified ad, replies, choosing, meeting the man. Kjeld is his name, a nice, shy guy. Her helpers leave. Despondent, she stands in the doorway of the man’s house, the first truly gripping scene. What will become of her, this young woman, Kae?



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Categories: Cinema, Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Sea Forum Public Pitching

Written 10-09-2018 11:18:04 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Sea Forum  Public Pitching

24 projects were presented in Riga at the big hall of the Ministry of Agriculture (!) Saturday and Sunday. To a panel of 9 women and 5 men representing television or sales companies. Mikael Opstrup and I moderated the sessions that were planned efficiently and with warmth by Zanda Dudina-Spoge and her team from the National Film Centre of Latvia.

Time will show what will come out of it, but good advice, constructive criticism, contacts, “I am interested, let’s talk more” were expressed to the pitching teams that had been trained



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Nordic Documentary Films

Written 07-09-2018 22:36:50 by Tue Steen Mller

Nordic Documentary Films

Diversity is the word to characterize this selection of Nordic documentaries. Veterans and young talents, classical documentary language as well as so-called hybrid storytelling including fiction and animation in the documentary narrative.

The selection shows that the documentary environment in Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark is based on tradition; there is an audience, there is good funding through film institutions. To put it a bit solemn and maybe elitist: In the Nordic countries documentaries are considered as a tool for debate, information and an artistic expression in democratic societies.

Ah, fuck off, legendary Jörn Donner would say to these lines, a true provocateur, who 85 year old makes a follow-up to his Finland-film from 1971, “Fuck Off 2” is the title, where he sends a sometimes sarcastic love declaration to his country, a journey he calls this personal essay, with songs written by another legendary Finn, the composer M.A. Numminen.

Where the visual side of Donner’s film is straight forward documentary mixed with reportage, the Icelandic “Innsaei” (“The Power of Intuition”) is a personal essay including animation, a film full of original visual solutions, that demonstrates how rich the documentary language is today. No limits from the side of Hrund Gunnsteinsdóttir and Kristin Ólafsdóttir.

The Norwegian “69 Minutes of 86 Days” by Egil Håskjold Larsen combines emotion and information in its journey with a 3 year old child’s from Greece to Uppsala in Sweden. The girl is wonderful in her way of dealing with her refugee situation and the classical approach to documentary filmmaking works here: Don’t ask your characters to do anything, don’t put any questions, be there, be with them, observe…

As it is beautiful to follow the mayor in the small Swedish Ydre, when he goes with a small gift to couples, who have added a new citizen to the depopulated community. With a baby. The documentary, full of humour, gives the information and interpretation of the universal problems of Ydre, but has also a side where myths about the existence of Giants and trolls are visually brought to life in the beautiful nature of the small gem in Sweden. Malla Grapengiesser, Alexander Rynéus and Per Bifrost have made the film together, Grapengiesser also being the producer and the two males doing the camera work. Title: Giants and the Morning After.

Finally the Danish contribution, “Bad Circumstances” by Max Kestner, experienced director, like all film directors in this series a true auteur with his own “handwriting”, takes to the detective genre to carry the story together with an essayistic touch, still with an observational camera style and a fascinating main character, the amateur historian, who wants to find out, what happened to the Danish adventurers and scientists, who died in Greenland in the beginning of the 20th century.

https://message2man.com/en/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Sea Forum Bridges of Time

Written 07-09-2018 08:01:19 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Sea Forum  Bridges of Time

The national premiere of “Bridges of Time” by Audrius Stonys and Kristine Briede took place Wednesday night in several cinemas in Latvia. I was in the art house cinema K-Suns in Riga, where the film was screened with English subtitles, whereas the bigger Splendid Palace cinema was for the Latvian version. Kristine Briede was there, Stonys sent a video message from Bangla Desh, three of the masters who are in the film – Ivars Seleckis, Mark Soosaar and Andres Sööt – were on stage together with producers Uldis Cekulis and Riho Västrik from  Latvia and Estonia – and it was wonderful to meet again Herz Frank and Uldis Brauns, to mention two of the legendary characters from the film, who are alive on screen. I hope that this film will travel to give inspiration to new generations of filmmakers: poetry and documentaries can go together.

During two days of training 24 film projects have been presented to a group of tutors, this morning a rehearsal will take place in the new room for pitching, a hall at the Ministry of Agriculture!

The quality level of projects is high and the pitch teams, who are preparing for tomorrow and Sunday, have been working full time to make the verbal and visual presentation go well together. There is so much talent in this part of the world.

I can only say thank you for being part of this.

Photo: Agnese Zeltiņa, the superb Forum photographer.

http://balticseadocs.lv/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Ivars Seleckis and the Children

Written 05-09-2018 07:13:36 by Tue Steen Mller

Ivars Seleckis and the Children

Good news indeed from Riga, where I am at the Baltic Sea Docs for the rest of the week. Arriving I read on FNE News – link below – that the Latvians have done what the Lithuanians did with Arunas Matelis film “Wonderful Losers” – they took a documentary as their Oscar candidate. Here is a copy paste:

“Veteran filmmaker Ivars Seleckis’s



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Gran Hugo Olsson: That Summer

Written 03-09-2018 14:46:35 by Tue Steen Mller

Gran Hugo Olsson: That Summer

The Danish co-producer of the film, Final Cut for Real, gives this description of the film:

“”That Summer” is a feature documentary centered on the film project artist Peter Beard initiated in 1972 with Lee Radziwill about her relatives, the Beales of Grey Gardens. Lost for decades, this extraordinary footage re-emerges in a film that



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Vurdering:

 
Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOKLeipzig 2018 Juries

Written 30-08-2018 13:47:41 by Tue Steen Mller

DOKLeipzig 2018 Juries

We have to wait until October 10 before the festival in Leipzig, that takes place from October 29 to November 4, announces its official selection. But the efficient press department of DOK Leipzig warms us up with news. This time about the juries – there will be 10 (!) all together – and their mix of film people and writers and visual artists. I can’t mention all – link below but here is a fragment of the press release that came out the other day:



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Marie-Clmence Andriamonta-Pas: Fahavalo/ 2

Written 29-08-2018 16:25:32 by Tue Steen Mller

Marie-Clmence Andriamonta-Pas: Fahavalo/ 2

Enfin, someone wrote on FB, when it was announced that the film «Fahavalo» by French company Laterit had been chosen for a festival, the World Film Festival/Festival des Films du Monde in Montréal, a festival for fiction, shorts and documentaries, link below. World premiere September 1st.

I echo the “enfin” about the film and take some quote from the review I wrote months ago, The whole review is here:

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

”I’ll try to tell you the story”, says the weak old man in a blue shirt with a hat



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Vurdering:

 
Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Makedox 2018

Written 25-08-2018 17:16:29 by Tue Steen Mller

Makedox 2018

I was there last year for this gem of a festival for creatice documentaries. It is done with a very personal touch by the couple Petra Seliskar and Brand Ferro. It’s primarily an outdoor screening festival – the weather invites you to share beautiful evenings at the amazing Kurshumli An in the old city – with indoor workshops; this year they had two top names to deal with the theme “Directing Reality”: Finnish Pirjo Honkasalo and Polish Wojciech Staron.

If you google Makedox, you will see many clips from the workshops and small talks with filmmakers, who participated like Boris Mitic (In Praise of Nothing), Marta Prus (Over the Limit) (there was a fine focus on Polish documentaries) and Simon Lereng Wilmont. whose “The Distant Barking of Dogs” won the main award in the Main Selection. Not the first award for Wilmont and his film – with another multi-awarded film “Of Fathers and Sons” by Talal Derki getting a special mention from a jury that consisted of Honkasalo, Staron and Mariam Chachia, young talented director from Georgia.

There were many other sections and juries and awards, let me mention one, the best short film: Heba Khaled’s content-wise terrible, stylistically overwhelmingly strong “People of the Wasteland” that has the following description “Using  footage filmed and gathered during more than two years through a GoPro camera placed on the heads of different Syrian fighters in the enemy region, the film presents the violence, the horrors and the absurdity of war in a first-perspective point-of-view. In the chaos of war, the lines between good and evil become blurred and the location is intentionally left unclear to remind us that war affects us all, not only Syrians.”

I have seen the film, have to see it again, shocking reality!

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

 

 


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

M2M Message to Man Fest

Written 23-08-2018 09:53:51 by Tue Steen Mller

M2M  Message to Man Fest

Would have loved to be in beautiful St. Petersburg again for the festival Message to Man, that I have visited many times. The dates are September 15-22 and I am “anderswo engagiert” .

The festival has a huge program – if you are on FB with it you are bombarded with news every day – and there are many interesting films in the competitive sections, of which there are no less than 6: International Full-Length documentary Films, Short Docs, Short Fiction, Short Animated, National Competition of Docs and the In Silico Experimental Short Film Competition.

Let me mention some of the films: The controversial “The White World According to Daliborek” by Vit Klusák, the super-productive master Sergei Loznitsa has his “Victory Day” in competition, Romanian “Infinite football” (PHOTO) by Corneliu Porumboiu is there (will there be played football as in Tbilisi and other festivals thanks to tireless main character Laurentiu Ginghina?), Bernadett Tuza-Ritter’s “A Woman Captured” that is and deserves to be everywhere, Wang Bing is there with “Mrs Fang”… in the national competition I am curious to see what talented Tatyana Soboleva comes with, “Uncle Sasha, or One Flew Over Russia” is the title as well as the film by Alina Rudnitskaya (together with Sergey Vinokurov) “Fatei and the Sea”… and In Silico presents a new work by former students of Zelig Film School in Bolzano, Mark Olexa and Francesca Scalisi, “Black Line”.

https://message2man.com/en/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Baltic Sea Docs: Film Screenings

Written 22-08-2018 20:26:22 by Tue Steen Mller

Baltic Sea Docs: Film Screenings

Time for tears in eyes again. Which I had at the premiere in Karlovy Vary

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4288/

and will definitely have, when “Bridges of Time” by Kristine Briede and Audrius Stonys will open the mini-festival of the Baltic Sea Docs in Riga at Cinema K.Suns wednesday September 5. Tears from Beauty, Cinematic Excellence, Wonderful Old Masters of Baltic documentary. Clips – among others – from 235.000.000 by Uldis Brauns, do you remember the dancing helicopter and the kids on the beach?

“Bridges of Time” is one of nine films selected by the Latvian organisers of the



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DOCAlliance: 1968 online

Written 20-08-2018 18:27:59 by Tue Steen Mller

DOCAlliance: 1968 online

 

DOCAlliance, the favourite vod of filmkommentaren, the place for creative documentaries published this press release today:

Films by Jan Němec and Karel Vachek about the revolutionary Prague Spring 1968 are online at DAFilms.com

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the armies of the Warsaw Pact in 1968, DAFilms.com presents two remarkable films focusing on the Prague Spring. The Ferrari Dino Girl by Czechoslovak New Wave classic Jan Němec and Elective Affinities by Karel Vachek include authentic scenes as well as a re-enactment of the period events.

 



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EFA Documentary Selection

Written 19-08-2018 16:40:23 by Tue Steen Mller

EFA Documentary Selection

15 documentaries made it to the brutto list of the best European documentaries according to this group of documentary connaisseurs, who got a list from festivals - based on their (the festival’s) recommendations and films individually submitted, the documentary committee, consisting of EFA Board Member Ira von Gienanth (Germany), festival programmers Marek Hovorka (Czech Republic) and Elena Subirà i Roca (Spain), producer Nik Powell (UK) and commissioning editor Sari Volanen (Finland) decided on the EFA Documentary Selection.

The films are:



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sarajevo FF: Documentary Winners

Written 17-08-2018 08:42:25 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo FF: Documentary Winners

Happy to say that I agree with the competent decisions made by this jury: Leena Pasanen (Festival Director of DOK Leipzig, Germany), Luciano Rigolini (Artist-photographer, producer, Switzerland), Marina Gumzi (Producer/ Scriptwriter, Slovenia). I give you the links for the reviews I made during the festival 

HEART OF SARAJEVO FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM

SRBENKA

Director: Nebojša Slijepčević 

Croatia 

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

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

SPECIAL JURY MENTION

NINE MONTH WAR/ KILENC HÓNAP HÁBORÚ

Director: László Csuja 

Hungary, Qatar

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4315/

HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD

ARAF (PHOTO)

Turkey, Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Director: Didem Pekün 

Best film of the Competition Programme – Documentary Film dealing with the subject of human rights. Award in the amount of 3,000 €, sponsored by Government of Switzerland.

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


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sarajevo FF: DocuTalents from the East

Written 16-08-2018 22:48:30 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo FF: DocuTalents from the East

Here comes a copy-paste of the press release from Jihlava FF. The presentation of the projects took place at the same conference room in Hotel Europe as the Rough Cut Boutique, this time, good for the presenters, they were in spotlight, it helped to create some passion from the very diverse group of people, who were selected by Marek Hovorka and his festival team. I was a member of the jury, so no personal comments would be fair. Here comes the text:

"Ten outstanding documentaries from Central and Eastern Europe, planned for theatrical release during the upcoming 12 months – the Docu Talents from the East –  were presented yesterday at the Sarajevo Film Festival.

Projects from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Czech Republic, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine made it to the final selection of Docu Talents from the East 2018.

The Docu Talent Award was newly granted to the most promising projects. The international jury selected two winners: An absurd tragicomical Ukrainian-Belarussian documentary placed in today’s Crimea My Granny from Mars directed by Alexandar Mihalkovich and produced by Volia Chajkouskaya, and an intimate artistic documentary film Birthday directed and produced by Hilal Baydarov from Azerbaijan. The awards are accompanied with financial prize 2,500 USD for each project, in cooperation with the festival’s partner Current Time TV.

The jury gave the following statements:

“For a choice of charismatic protagonists, treated in a highly cinematic way, and for the sense of absurdity in a difficult and unstable environment.”
 

(My Granny from Mars)

 (PHOTO)

“To a new voice that reveals a pure sense of time, by capturing the universal nature of reality.”

(Birthday)

http://www.dokument-festival.com/industry/docu-talents/2018


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sarajevo FF: Rough Cut Boutique Awards

Written 16-08-2018 22:07:31 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo FF: Rough Cut Boutique Awards

Yesterday morning the Rough Cut Boutique presented the five projects that under the leadership of Rada Sesic and Martichka Bozhilova were developed with the tutorial help of people like editor Tom Ernst, producer Stefano Tealdi, commissioning editor Hanka Kastelicova, Katrine Kilgaard from CPH:DOX, Aleksandra Derewienko from Cat&Docs in Paris, Jenny Westergaard from YLE Finland and others.

The presentation took place at a conference room of Hotel Europe, not the best place as the presenters were standing in almost total darkness, no spotlight on them, which made the atmosphere a bit sleepy. The verbal presentation (I was told that they were trained in pitching, sorry could not see that) was followed by clips/scenes from the rough cuts. Have to confess that it is difficult to get a true impression of a film from the visual material.

There were awards for the best projects. They went like this:

- 20.000 EUR postproduction award by Digital Cube Romania: DAUGHTER OF CAMORRA, Siniša Gačić

- IDFA Award – the winner will be fully invited to IDFA 2018: DIARY OF A SERIOUS OFFENDER, Danilo Ceković

- HBO Europe Award – 2000 EUR: DAUGHTER OF CAMORRA, Siniša Gačić

- CAT&Docs Award  - 2000 EUR: THE MAGIC LIFE OF V, Tonislav Hristov

- DOK Preview at DOK Leipzig 2018 and visit to the Festival and presentation: ONE OF US, Đuro Gavran

There was a big quality difference among the five with the Finnish/Bulgarian collaboration (Kaarle Aho and Tonislav Hristov) on a high professional level (superb camera work), whereas the others were beginners or less experienced.

Luckily there was a guest project that I knew about from way back, a film – again - dealing with the past, “Aktion DB” (PHOTO); Dana Budisavljevic is the director who pitched together with producer Miljenka Cogelja. An extraordinary story about an extraordinary woman Diana Budisavljevic, who during WW2 helped children and women out of the concentration camps set up by the Germans and their Croatian partners, the Ustashas. It’s 10000 children and the film is a docufiction using an actress to play DB, sequences with survivors who go the places, where the camps were and shocking archive material from the camps. The director has – from the scenes I saw – found her form, she has made her aesthetic choice, b/w and colour mixed, the b/w maybe tinted a bit, it looked impressive.

https://www.google.com/search?q=Hulahop+films&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sarajevo FF: The Story of Amir

Written 16-08-2018 15:25:22 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo FF: The Story of Amir

There he was on screen and in persona among the audience, 22 year old Amir Śeśic, whose story was presented by Mirna Buljugic from BIRN, that stands for Balkan Investigative Reporting Network. And what a story: Amir has never seen his father, who was one of the victims of the Srebrenica massacre in 1995. When he was 3 months old, his mother left him, he grew up in an orphanage, was with a new family, fought to understand what a mother could be, does not want to have anything to do with his own mother AND has written a book.

It took me 2 years to write it, he said, the young energetic man, who is now going around launching the book, that many at the presentation done by Mirna Buljugic told him to make in an English version as well. Buljugic told us that the book is a very emotional experience, describing also what the stay in the orphanage meant for Amir, who regularly visits his father’s grave in Srebrenica.

http://birn.eu.com/network/birn-bosnia-and-herzegovina/


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Sarajevo FF: Dealing With the Past Stories

Written 16-08-2018 11:05:37 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo FF: Dealing With the Past Stories

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

In an article by Vladan Petkovic for Screen Daily, link below, the stories delivered to a full hall Monday afternoon at the Hotel Europe are described. Read that and let me introduce the panel on the photo:

From right colleague tutor and here moderator Robert Zuber and on stage Goran Zoric, Edin Ramulic, Mediha Haskic who translated for Edin, Augustina Rahmanovic, Sabiha Husic and Mirna Buljugic.

https://www.screendaily.com/news/sarajevos-true-stories-market-opens-competition-for-producers/5131637.article


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Sarajevo FF: Talk With Mila Turajlic

Written 15-08-2018 08:41:45 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo FF: Talk With Mila Turajlic

The theme was how to deal with archives in a creative way; it was a bit more than one hour skype conversation with Mila Turajlic talking to us from her home in Belgrade - the flat those of us, who have seen "The Other Side of Everything" know so well. Turajlic was excused not to be in Sarajevo, because of illness but as the fighter she is, she had prepared clips for the presentation and the conversation went very well giving the audience of primarily young people inspiration to their film work.

The first clip brought us back to the film Turajlic made in 2010, "Cinema Komunisto", the scene from the partisan feature film (Battle of Neretva, 1969) where Tito has given the order



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Sarajevo FF: Talk With Sinisa juricic

Written 14-08-2018 11:12:12 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo FF: Talk With Sinisa juricic

As part of the "Dealing With the Past" there was a talk with producer Siniša Juricic, who co-produced and was a character in "Chris, the Swiss", a film that was taken to the Cannes Film Festival, a film not loved by Croatian film and tv authorities, they don't like to see it as a film from Croatia, but not the only film that Juricic has made as a producer; he has not been able to get funding from the Croatian Audiovisual Fund for three years. He was service provider for the Danish production "15 Minutes. The Dvor Massacre" and for this he was "accused of being a traitor" and "blacklisted" at the Fund.

The talk had the long title "Working with films that tackle sensitive issuses from the past" and Juricic, well prepared, had brought along clips/trailers from his filmography: "Dead Man Walking", "Velvet Terrorists", the mentioned two films, "Houston, we have a Problem" as well as a clip from a new film about a cartoonist, who was killed by the partisans in Belgrade 1944. It looked very fascinating. Juricic, interviewed by Robert Zuber, said that he now "seriously considers to make comedies" - I don't believe him having seen his talent as a producer not only for the mentioned films but also for fine works as "Cash and Marry", one of my favourites from my time at the training programme Ex Oriente, and "Sofia's Last Ambulance" that is a small masterpiece. What comes out of a talk like this is sadness, well anger that the Croatian film and tv authorities are so scared of anything that is controversial and finds it necessary to blacklist a talent like Juricic. At the discussion after "Srbenka", the director Nebojša Slijepcevic was asked if the film would end up on Croatian television. With a smile, he said that this would not happen. Something is rotten, not only in the state of Denmark...  


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Sarajevo FF: Full House for Docs

Written 14-08-2018 10:08:15 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo FF: Full House for Docs

 

Sarajevo hosts an amazing film festival. The variety of programs and projects is overwhelming. Films in many cinemas, discussions and presentations after the screenings, and in the Hotel Europe where workshops take place and the Atrium has full houses for presentations linked to industry matters.

I am happy to say that documentaries have a visible and important place in



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Laila Pakalnina: Fishing in the River of Time

Written 11-08-2018 14:39:42 by Tue Steen Mller

Laila Pakalnina: Fishing in the River of Time

The Latvian filmmaker, who has made feature and documentary films, that have gone all over the world, who has made long and short films and who indeed has her own style, is quoted from a blog that advertises a workshop that she leads in Poland in October:

– Every film for me means risk. I am not craftsman; I am not delivering certain product. I am making film and that means breathtaking balancing between shit and art. I hope for art of course. And I admire this risk. As for me this is the only way how to make film… – I call my method of work “Fishing in the river of time”. As life is extremely talented, we just put camera, set composition and wait. And life happens. So film happens. Sometimes immediately, sometimes in hours and even days…

– I like to make films on simple subjects – delivery of the mail, bicycle road, just a bridge etc. In fact like in very beginning of film history brothers Lumiere did – Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat; Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory etc. Maybe it is because filming simple things or actions you always catch something more, something meaningful. As for example in the shot with postwoman there is something more than just postwoman, there is universe – because it is documentary, it is not created by me but by life. I am just fixing this universe from the certain angle in certain framing…

Film Spring Workshop will take place from the 17th – 26th of October in Krakow, Poland.

The still is from a film that Pakalnina is finishing right now, “Spoon”

https://filmspringopen.eu/en/laila-pakalnina-to-tutor-the-documentary-group-at-film-spring-workshop/

https://filmspringopen.eu/en/register/


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Nuri Bilge Ceylan: Turkey Cinemascope

Written 10-08-2018 21:21:19 by Tue Steen Mller

Nuri Bilge Ceylan: Turkey Cinemascope

This is a copy paste of a text from the website of the Sarajevo Film Festival to show you a photo taken by the wonderful Turkish director:

Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan, one of today’s most acclaimed filmmakers, will receive the Honorary Heart of Sarajevo Award at the 24th Sarajevo Film Festival. Ceylan will receive the Award in recognition of outstanding contribution to the art of film and support of Sarajevo Film Festival. Ceylan is also the honorary guest of the 24th Sarajevo Film Festival's Tribute to programme.

The opening of the exibition Nuri Bilge Ceylan: Turkey Cinemascope will be held on Saturday, 11th August 2018 at noon, in Art Galerry of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Ceylan’s photographs, just like his films, encourage the observer to think. They provide no obvious answers, but rather mere hints of emotion. The expressions on the faces of his subjects – both in film and in photography – are always ambivalent, reflecting the complexity of life and the human soul, and confirming Ceylan’s status as a talented narrator and a profoundly important and ethical artist.

https://www.sff.ba/en


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Didem Pekn: Araf

Written 09-08-2018 14:14:33 by Tue Steen Mller

Didem Pekn: Araf

Surprise me, give me something extraordinary, make the form important, challenge me, make me learn something new. This Turkish film, 45 minutes long, fulfilled the wishes of this old documentary addict. It has many layers and instead of me trying to give a summary of the content, here is the description from the filmmakers as I read it after watching the vimeo link:

Araf is an essayistic road movie and diary of a ghostly character, Nayia, who



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Lszl Csuja: Nine Month War

Written 08-08-2018 21:32:39 by Tue Steen Mller

Lszl Csuja: Nine Month War

The film, that has its world premiere at the Sarajevo Film Festival August 14, is a psychological drama featuring a young man and his mother with the young man’s girlfriend as an important side-character. I wrote man but take a look at the picture, he is a playful boy, happy, full of life, in love with the girl, he wants to marry her, he belongs to the Hungarian minority in Ukraine, gets drafted and chooses to go with the Ukrainian army. Much against his mother’s wish. She is the one, who suffers, wants him to stay at home, is happy but worried, when he is home for leave and relieved, when he finally finishes his military duty. After nine months, a reborn child.

The playful boy becomes a disillusioned young man. And the film shows that, indeed it does show, what damage on the soul a war can do. Letting us viewers look at his face. Built up in a very simple way, the film is based on shootings from the family’s house in a village, and the cell phone material that Jani, the son, shoots, when sent to the war between Ukraine and Russia. A lot is the soldier’s life - fun, shooting his pals, and other’s is deadly serious footage from the combat zone in Eastern Ukraine. The story he tells about the pal who is killed next to him is what changes him completely. It sent him to hospital and made him strongly wanting to go home “missing mum”.

At home he is lying on the sofa watching the material he shot, he is bored and does not know, what to do with his life. It seems like he does not want to marry the girlfriend he proposed to nine months earlier – on camera.

The return of a soldier to normal life, there are loads of films dealing with this topic, fiction and documentary, however this one has an interesting character approach – mother and son/girlfriend – and a clever set-up with the two very different cinematic takes, with the calm observation of the family life in the village contrasting the nervous, hectic soldier life shot by the young boy turned man - that shifts from being just a funny boy-game to a question of life and death, leaving scars on the soul.

Hungary, 2018, 73 mins. 


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Paul Pauwels Stops as EDN Director

Written 08-08-2018 14:55:02 by Tue Steen Mller

Paul Pauwels Stops as EDN Director

After 6 years as director of EDN (European Documentary Network) Paul Pauwels has decided to leave the association that is looking for a new man/woman to lead the membership organisation with around 1000 members, deadline for applications September 7 - much more on that you can find on the website of EDN - http://edn.network/news/news-story/article/edn-is-hiring-a-new-director/?tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=111&cHash=e2121e1f089ed874a75254a72cbd48ee

Paul has on the same site given his reasons to resign:



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Sarajevo FF: Dealing With the Past

Written 07-08-2018 13:28:16 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo FF: Dealing With the Past

This is a copy paste of a text from the website of the festival, written by Maša Markovic, the programme manager of the Dealing with the Past project of the Sarajevo FF supported by the Robert Bosch Stiftung:

In 1991, Christian Würtenberg, a 26-year-old reporter from Switzerland and the protagonist of Anja Kofmel's feature-length debut CHRIS THE SWISS, took a train from his hometown to war-torn Yugoslavia. In his diary, he noted that the sense of war became noticeable with every passing mile. "With each stop,” he wrote, “the train empties out a little more, until only a few shady characters remain."

More than two decades later, it feels as though we are still on that same ride – except that now, with every stop, the train gets more crowded. The seats



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Momir Matovic: TAM 4500

Written 05-08-2018 22:55:01 by Tue Steen Mller

Momir Matovic: TAM 4500

Oh, it’s lovely this short film by veteran Momir Matovic from Montenegro. A 22 minutes love declaration to a small group of people somewhere in his country with the vehicle TAM 4500 as the car that transports kid(s) to school, goods to the grocer, flour to the old woman, hay to the younger woman, wood for heating in winter to the man. Risto is the name of the driver, who tells us that the car is 65 years old and that he has been having it for decades, helping the others and never himself. You believe him in this gem of a film that has dialogues the director has asked them to say – life philosophy at the purest - reminds me so much of early documentaries by Danish Jon Bang Carlsen, it’s the same kind of love to people, who normally do not appear in the media, a love expressed through images and the small story. Absolutely the same as seen before in films by Matovic, do you remember “Meters of Life”, the one about the old deaf mute man, who leaves his home to walk long down to the cinema to watch films in a very interactive manner.

Dear festival people all over, show this film, your audience will love it, it shows hard life with a big heart.

I have met Matovic a couple of times, hope to see him in Sarajevo, to say hvala to him and maybe drink a glass of Montenegrin Vranac with him.

Montenegro, 2018, 23 mins.


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Senka Domanović: Occupied Cinema

Written 05-08-2018 10:40:22 by Tue Steen Mller

Senka Domanović: Occupied Cinema

… and a review of the third film praised by Sarajevo FF documentary programmer, Rada Sesic who in her catalogue foreword writes: … The debut feature length film by Serbian new talent Senka Domanovic, Occupied Cinema, with which we open our Competition section, succeeds so well to show not only the drama of the months-long protests against the closing of the oldest Belgrade cinema but to reflect the temperature of the society, especially among the urban young population…

I agree with the programmer, it’s a powerful film that makes me sad and (a



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Mladen Kovacevic: 4 Years In 10 Minutes

Written 04-08-2018 14:13:55 by Tue Steen Mller

Mladen Kovacevic: 4 Years In 10 Minutes

I made the decision to take a look at the three documentaries praised for their editing by Sarajevo FF programmer Rada Sesic. After “Srbrenka” here comes my comments to “4 Years In 10 Minutes”. Sesic wrote this:  

“Mladen Kovacevic… is lucidly experimenting with someone else’s quite personal amateur footage and is confronting the audience with the notion of life and death.”

She refers to the material brought back from a Mount Everest expedition by Dragan Jacimovic, who reached the top in May 2000. It is amateur footage of quite bad quality and it is quotes from the diary of the climber, personal reflections the whole way through, put on the screen so it covers the whole picture. Again and again, quite a disturbing and boring cinematic decision, I have to confess was my impression until we get to the top with Jacimovic 36 mins. into the film, where we are with him, who is alone with no one to share his success and with huge problems in breathing. He shows the Yugoslav and Serbian flag and one from a sponsor I guess, “I am spitting blood”, 4 years in 10 minutes. This is where the film lives, were the viewer is invited to be present.

And then he has to hurry to go down again to get oxygen and his texts on the screen explain about hallucinations and about being unconscious; there is no pride in the texts it’s about life and death as Rada Sesic wrote.

The film was awarded as the best Serbian documentary at the Beldocs festival in Belgrade and it was premiered at Visions du Réel.

Serbia, 2018, 63 mins.


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Sarajevo FF Documentaries

Written 01-08-2018 19:15:04 by Tue Steen Mller

Sarajevo FF Documentaries

The festival that starts August 10 and continues until August 17 has again this year an impressive competition programme put together, again, and of course, by Rada Sesic, who is also the mastermind (together with Martichka Bozhilova) behind the Rough Cut Boutique for projects close to be finished. Many of which when finished ends up in the competition.

16 films have been selected, among them a handful of shorts.

I have taken a quote from Rada Sesic’s introduction to the film program – here it is, and I will before the festival review the three films mentioned, the first one to be “Srbenka”:

… In some way, this year’s selection also celebrates the importance of creative editing. Obviously, the editing process is crucial for many documentaries for finding the narrative and establishing the proper rhythm for a particular narrative, however, this year we have several films that are exactly thought through and created during that stage. One of those is the brilliantly edited and through editing smartly directed Srbenka (Photo) by Croatian maker Nebojsa Slijepcevic that participated at the Docu Rough Cut Boutique last year in Sarajevo. Similarly, films that are done from loads of material as the result of a long process of following an event certainly require a miraculous editor. The debut feature length film by Serbian new talent Senka Domanovic, Occupied Cinema, with which we open our Competition section, succeeded so well to show not only the drama of the months-long protests against the closing of the oldest Belgrade cinema but to reflect the temperature of the society, especially among the urban young population. Another Serbian maker who is daringly challenging different documentary textures in each new film and regularly gets recognition at the European film scene, is Mladen Kovacevic. In his 4 years in 10 minutes, he is lucidly experimenting with someone else’s quite personal amateur footage and is confronting the audience with the notion of life and death.

https://www.sff.ba/en/news/10819/competition-programme-documentary-film-2018


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Nebojsa Slijepcevic: Srbenka

Written 01-08-2018 18:43:15 by Tue Steen Mller

Nebojsa Slijepcevic: Srbenka

I can only echo what Sarajevo FF documentary programmer Rada Sesic writes above about this film that has already won the DocAlliance Award, announced it was in Cannes: … brilliantly edited and through editing smartly directed…

Background for the film and the theatre play that is followed, taken from the production company’s website:

“In the winter of 1991. a 12-year old Serbian girl (Aleksandra Zec) was murdered in Zagreb. A quarter of century later director Oliver Frljić is working on a theatre play about the case. Rehearsals become a collective psychotherapy, and the 12-year old actress Nina feels as if the war had never ended.”

It’s done many times before, it’s difficult, it demands a clever director and editor, and an interesting theatre play director. Oliver Frljić is one, it is fascinating to follow how he works with the actors, how they involve their own experiences in a post-war Croatia, were nationalism is strong and where right-wing media objected to the play: When will Croatian kids (killed in the war) get a theatre play. Frljić is harassed and wants his actors to react to the criticism of the play in the media. They don’t because “then we’re giving them space, they don´t deserve”.

The film lives because of the excellent cinematography, the many close-ups of the 12 year old Nina, and because of the director and his emotions, and the many voice-offs are given beautiful space with images from an empty stage. An intense film with a tone, and a distance via the theatre play, an invitation to reflection. 

http://restarted.hr/en/movies.php?recordID=163

Croatia, 2018, 72 mins.


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Dokufest Kosovo 2018

Written 29-07-2018 15:01:28 by Tue Steen Mller

Dokufest Kosovo 2018

Three important film festivals in August in the Balkan region. I have visited them all, in Sarajevo, Skopje (Makedox) and Dokufest. Will present them all on this site, with pleasure, the one in Sarajevo on location.

But first Dokufest in Kosovo, that starts August 3 and runs until August 11 with a variety of great offers to those, who come to the cosy Prizren. And – take a look at the program and its sections – a festival that can inspire



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Docs at Venice International FF

Written 26-07-2018 13:39:52 by Tue Steen Mller

Docs at Venice International FF

Docs at Venice International FF. The festival (29/8-08/9) announced its program yesterday and I went to search documentaries in the “Out of Competition” section, where they are placed.

Ten titles – as the festival puts it – by established directors: Amos Gitai, Victor Kosakovsky, Emir Kusturica, Sergei Loznitsa, Ron Mann, Francesca Mannocchi & Alessio Romenzi, Errol Morris, Giorgio Treves, Tsai Ming-Liang and Frederick Wiseman.

From the latter, the 88 year old American master of observational documentary, comes “Monrovia, Indiana”, 2 hours and 23 minutes, I stole this description from the internet:



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DOKLeipzig Opens with Gorbachev, Herzog and Singer

Written 24-07-2018 15:28:28 by Tue Steen Mller

DOKLeipzig Opens with Gorbachev, Herzog and Singer

It’s a scoop for the DOK Leipzig festival, edition 61 (!) to have “Meeting Gorbachev” as the opening film on the 29th of October.

And to have Werner Herzog present to talk about the film and attend screenings of 



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Odesa International FF

Written 22-07-2018 15:16:12 by Tue Steen Mller

Odesa International FF

… ended last night and two documentaries reviewed on this site were awarded:

“Delta” (PHOTO) by Ukrainian Oleksandr Techynski got main award in the category “National Competition. Features”. I saw it at DOK Leipzig last year, where it was in the “Next Masters Competition”. A quote from the review: “… It is multilayered, it has a clear aesthetic choice with a skilled camerawork that suits the theme or rather the location, it’s a Film: the delta of the Danube, a kind of Klondyke, where people live under harsh chaotic conditions and where men with worn faces struggle their way through the reed that they harvest to sheaf, to bring in to be sold…”

And Alisa Kovalenko’s “Home Games” got first prize in the “European Documentary Competition”. A quote from the review: “… The film lives from its ability to create a feeling of presence in the situations with Alina and the kids. Here there are fine, often poetic moments in the claustrophobia of the small flat. On the football pitch, it is not poetry that reigns, when the coach states to the girls that they have “to die on the pitch”, a sentence which will probably be used many times the next month in a neighbouring country (world championship in Russia).

And another quote from the press release from the festival: “… Janina Sokolova and Oleh Paniuta reminded everyone that the hunger strike of Oleg Sentsov has been lasting for 69 days already as for 21st of July. ”The OIFF and all of us wish him to stay strong and to come back to his artistic occupation to the native land.”, - Janina Sokolova said. And as well as at every screening and the Opening ceremony there was a special seat reserved for the Ukrainian director/political prisoner at the Closing Ceremony.

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4258/

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4073/

https://oiff.com.ua/en/festival/news/urochista-tseremonija-zakrittja-9-go-omkf.html


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IDFA 2018

Written 20-07-2018 15:03:51 by Tue Steen Mller

IDFA 2018

IDFA – November 14-25 2018 – has sent out a Newsletter “for Industry” revealing that “this year (we) will present an inspiring, diverse program featuring many impressive screenings… led by our new artistic director Orwa Nyrabia”.

With a click I went to discover what were the “new program sections and other changes to the festival”. Here are some of them with my comments and questions:

FEWER films in total with only 12 films in each competition category… to be



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