Filmkommentaren

Magnificent7 Closing/ Sanna Salmenkallio

Written 17-06-2018 12:14:01 by Tue Steen Mller

Magnificent7 Closing/ Sanna Salmenkallio

The closing film of the 2018 edition of the Magnificent7 Festival for European documentaries in Belgrade was Finnish “Entrepreneur” by Virpi Suutari with music composed by Sanna Salmenkallio, who was there to introduce the film that had the highest amount of spectators of the seven magnificent films shown, 876, in the new venue of the festival, Kombank Dvorana at the centre of Belgrade on the Nikola Passic Square – Pasic (1846-1926) was prime minister of Serbia and Yugoslavia and mayor of Belgrade.

Sanna Salmenkallio talked briefly about the film, received on behalf of the director Virpi Suutari the traditional BelMedic Award, a diploma and money, and was welcomed by a local violinist, who played a piece from the film´s music score.

And I – with the 875 other spectators – sat down to enjoy the film with a



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Magnificent7 Workshop with the Swedes

Written 17-06-2018 10:21:13 by Tue Steen Mller

Magnificent7 Workshop with the Swedes

… Malla Grapengiesser, Per Bifrost and Alexander Rynéus, the trio behind “Giants and the Morning After”, was what we in Danish call “hyggelig” with Zoran Popovic as “hyggeonkel” (uncle), asking questions about Ydre, the small society 300 km south of Stockholm towards Malmø. Malla, who is from Ydre, and who was the director and producer, with the two young men doing the camera, had in the beginning the idea to make a series, she showed the material shot to film consultant Cecilia Lidin at the Swedish Film Institute, who was not able to support a series. “We did a lot of interviews in the beginning but ended up not using them”, she said. “It was basically a wide and broad idea and we wanted to capture the mood of a place, where life goes on with all its contrasts”. “We were there to shoot 19 times and ended up with 200 hours of material”. “We aimed at creating a fairy tale atmosphere in the film”.

“Through Folkets Bio we had 30 screenings in different small places in Sweden and the screenings



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Wonderful Losers and Ancient Woods Win

Written 14-06-2018 19:24:50 by Tue Steen Mller

Wonderful Losers and Ancient Woods Win

Last night the Lithuanian Film Academy presented the annual Silver Crane Awards and there were appreciations for two of the outstanding recent documentaries, ”Wonderful Losers: A Different World” by Arunas Matelis and ”The Ancient Woods” (Photo) by Mindaugas Survila.

Both of them reviewed on this site, links below.

Arunas Matelis film was the Best Documentary, had the best composer (Alberto Lucendo) and got the Audience Award. Mindaugas Survila got the award for best cinematography and the Best Professional Work Award went to the film’s Saulius Urbanavičius and Jonas Maksvytis.

Both films are travelling the world to festivals and have had an enormous success in cinemas in Lithuania – all together around 50.000 tickets sold for the two films.

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

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


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Magnificent7 Workshop: Simon Lereng Wilmont

Written 14-06-2018 13:33:56 by Tue Steen Mller

Magnificent7 Workshop: Simon Lereng Wilmont

With few well placed questions by festival director Zoran Popovic, director of “The Distant Barking of Dogs” Danish Simon Lereng Wilmont performed a fine 2 hour workshop, sharing with the participants the doubts he had had when filming in Eastern Ukraine, and the decisions to be made. Being asked about the final sequence, which is shot with her mobile phone by the babushka, the granny, Aleksandra is her name, Simon said, that he had made the decision to have it there NOT to end with a “happy ending” = granny and the boy Oleg sitting calmly in the landscape. She actually shot several scenes of the kids and their reactions, when bombs were falling, Simon said, but if I had put more in, it had ended being a war film and that was not the idea! The scene shows that Yarik is not as used to being in the war zone as Oleg.

Simon told about his two previous short documentaries that had children as characters – one about the son of a sumo wrestler and one about children fencing – and how he had problems getting funding for the film at the Danish Film Institute; should it go to the documentary consultants and/or the children film consultant. It helped, when the two short films won Al Jazeera awards that enabled the director and the producer Monica Hellstrøm from the company Final Cut for Real to start the research and casting. “I wanted a boy who lives in the shadow of the war”, Simon said, “how do you feel when you are afraid”, he asked Oleg, who answered in a way that made it easy for the director to make him the protagonist.

Funding-wise the film was pitched at Nordisk Panorama and later at IDFA in Amsterdam, where



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Scott Barley: Sleep Has Her House

Written 14-06-2018 10:44:30 by Tue Steen Mller

Scott Barley: Sleep Has Her House

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

www.magnificent7.org


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Magnificent7 There is an Audience...

Written 13-06-2018 18:38:50 by Tue Steen Mller

Magnificent7 There is an Audience...

... indeed there is, at the new venue of Magnificent7 festival in Belgrade at a new time of the year, in June, where it previously was in January/February. The cinema Kombank Hall, before it was Dom Sindikata, totally renovated, has an atmosphere of openness, you feel welcomed, and sitting with around 1000 spectators watching a documentary on a big screen... what else can you ask for being part of a festival that is in its 14 edition and has always attracted the clever Belgrade audience. The image and the sound, no complaints from my side and the reception of festival director Zoran Popovic (Photo), when he goes on stage to introduce the film and the director/filmmaker present is second to none. The audience adores him!

There are still two of the seven films to be screened: Scott Barley's "Sleep Has Her House" and Virpi Suutari's "Entrepreneur". Barley is here as is Sanna Salmenkallio, the composer of the Finnish film. Two extraordinary films to be enjoyed by the Belgrade audience inside - outside the cinema the temperature has luckily dropped from the 32 degrees yesterday.

More reports will follow but let me give you a quote brought to Belgrade by Georgian Stefan Tolz, artist Andy Goldsworthy about filmmaker Thomas Riedelsheimer: "Why are Thomas' films so special?", "I think it's the fact that he does very little directing or asking me to anything in particular. He's a hunter like I am. He's always waiting for opportunities to occur".

http://www.magnificent7festival.org


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Scott Barley: Sleep has Her House

Written 13-06-2018 08:57:10 by Tue Steen Mller

Festival directors Zoran and Svetlana Popovic write about the film:

Scott Barley, a young British author, is already proclaimed by some critics to be "the greatest filmmaker of the millennial generation". Due to his works, which in a unique way merge documentary shots, drawings and animation, he has become one of the leading authors of Remodernist Film and Slow Cinema Movement.

"Sleep Has Her House" is a work of a powerful irrational charge that deeply pervades every frame, every scene. This is the film of images that haunt each other as spirits whose presence we merely perceive by intuition, unable to see them. These are the visions of the space that we recognize in the contours of the real and the material, and on the big cinema screen, they become alive and pulsate with an exciting inner rhythm. This is a fascinating visual testimony of omniconnection in the nature that arouses all of our inner senses and evokes our concentrated, active viewing in which we equally enjoy the beauty documented by the lens of the modern "writing" tool of a young author - "iPhone", as well as the work of the painter, visual artist and the creator of dreams.

Scott Barley, whose works are classified in "slow cinema movement" together with films of Tarkovsky and Bela Tar, as a great master of specific poetisation of visual impressions, introduces us into the studies of the night landscape scenes in which he forms his own visions by the procedures of adding new images to the recorded images, sometimes even in sixty layers. The avant-garde artist documents the transformation of images of reality into elusive inner dream scenes.

Exquisite avant-garde film!

UK, 2017, 90 mins.

https://www.scottbarleyfilm.com/Sleep-Has-Her-House


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Magnificent7 Workshop with Stefan Tolz

Written 12-06-2018 10:32:59 by Tue Steen Mller

Magnificent7 Workshop with Stefan Tolz

One of the producers of ”Leaning into the Wind” Stefan Tolz, who in the absence of the director Thomas Riedelsheimer, on behalf of the film, took part in Magnificent7 in Belgrade, did one of the workshops which are part of the festival, situated at Dombank Dvorana in one of the smaller cinemas.

Tolz told about his going at the film school in Munich in the 1980’es – together with Claas Danielsen, former director of the DOKLeipzig festival and now director of the MDM, Middle German Film Fund, placed in Leipzig. Already in the school Tolz got to know Thomas Riedelsheimer – and a couple of years after they met and won awards at the San Francisco Film Festival – Riedelsheimer with his first film about Andy Goldsworhty, “Rivers and Tides”, Tolz as director with “On the Edge of Time”. In 2004 the set up the company Filmpunkt – take a look at the website http://www.filmpunkt.com/de/home/ - which is based in Köln with Tolz living in Tbilisi Georgia and Riedelsheimer in München. Quite international!

Tolz was very well prepared and after his introduction about how the company works, how the



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Malla,Per,Alexander: Giants and the Morning After

Written 12-06-2018 09:11:34 by Tue Steen Mller

Malla,Per,Alexander: Giants and the Morning After

Magnificent7 festival directors Svetlana and Zoran Popovic write about the film:

"Giants and the Morning After" is a cinematic hit whose screenings are currently taking place throughout Sweden, while at the same time embarking on a trip to world festivals. The director's trio, Malla Grapengiesser, Per Bifrost and Alexander Ryneus made funny and revealing walk through a Swedish small place in a country side. By combining myths, fairy tales and everyday realism, Swedish authors create a discrete comedy in a documentary of an unusual atmosphere.

Layers of past time interweave with everyday life. Beautiful, thick, dark forests enclose Idra. Neat spaces filled with houses, farms, small companies. Everyone here, both old and young, has one's own business or entertainment, and together they create this little world in which everybody has an important place and a sense of belonging. In scenes of church gatherings, joint artistic endeavors, business ventures, children's games or discreetly shot warm, intimate moments we witness the richness of life. Even when various newcomers are coming, planned or unplanned, they do not disturb the true peace of this small place immersed in a nature of the untouched beauty. Nevertheless, behind all this, in the darkness of the forest and in the shadows of giants that once shifted rocks, there is some dark anxiety that creates a threat to this rural idyll.

Malla Grapengiesser, Per Bifrost and Alexander Ryneus equally convincingly create a view of space and people, as well of intimate circles of friendship and love. They turn this seductive portrait of the seemingly sleepy Swedish countryside into a funny, lively and playful picture. Great, brilliant cinema!

http://www.giantsandthemorningafter.com/

Sweden, 2018, 88 mins.


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Magnificent7 Andy Goldsworthy

Written 11-06-2018 08:56:45 by Tue Steen Mller

Magnificent7 Andy Goldsworthy

No need to state that Thomas Riedelsheimer’s film on and with Goldsworthy, “Leaning into the Wind” is masterly done. A great artist filmed by a great cameraperson and photographer.

But what I was thinking of, watching the film last night at Magnificent7 in Belgrade, is the inspiration Goldsworthy is giving us. SEE, ENJOY THE WORLD we are living in, while we are here on this planet, and PLAY with nature. The artist has this wonderful childish way of taking leaves from the trees to put them on his hands or let them decorate the stairs in the city or flow in the water or… you can see that he enjoys it like when our grandchildren proudly take a leaf from the tree in the garden or take a stone and decorate it. Just you wait, Samuel and Anna, 4 years old both of them, when we come home, we have new things we can do in the garden with the inspiration of an artist, who in his sixties have kept the child within him.

http://www.leaningintothewind.com/


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Simon Lereng Wilmont: The Distant Barking of Dogs

Written 11-06-2018 08:13:24 by Tue Steen Mller

Simon Lereng Wilmont: The Distant Barking of Dogs

Festival directors Svetlana and Zoran Popovic write about the film:

"The Distant Barking of Dogs" started its impressive festival and award quest at the largest documentary film festival IDFA in Amsterdam where it won the First Appearance Award.

This is a film that follows a wonderful author's thread initiated in the unforgettable poetic achievement "Ivan's Childhood" about a boy and a war, made by one of the greatest film art masters Andrei Tarkovski. The space is close to Tarkovsky's, now Ukraine, but this time it happens today and the hero of the story is called Oleg. He has ten years and does what all the boys in the world do - he plays, goes to school, and most of all, he likes to wander and discover the world around him. And the world begins from his yard and the street and spreads endlessly through meadows, forests, along riverbanks. And in this world of beauty and secrets the most important places have his brother, friend and grandmother with a big heart. But the dark outline of the invisible, yet dramatically present, and dangerous war noise becomes equally important and fills a little, almost empty village. Moments in which everything turns into fear, while the film becomes even more a moving poetic antiwar story about the small and unprotected in the whirlwind of big events.

Simon Lereng Wilmont discreetly, boldly and devotedly follows the little hero in various everyday situations, creating extremely convincing collisions of carefree childhood and cruel threats of war. The camera is not merely a distant observer, but always an accomplice in permitted and secret boyish endeavors. A truly great feat of a young documentarist who breaks linguistic and cultural barriers to create a work of universal value using the language of film images.

Denmark, Sweden, Finland, 2017, 90 mins.

http://www.finalcutforreal.dk/distant-barking-of-dogs


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Thomas Riedelsheimer: Leaning into the Wind

Written 10-06-2018 09:26:22 by Tue Steen Mller

Thomas Riedelsheimer: Leaning into the Wind

Two great artists - a sculptor who shapes nature and creates surreal scenes of reality, Andy Goldsworthy, and filmmaker Thomas Riedelsheimer, meet again sixteen years later. Again, as in the big film "Rivers and tides - Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time" they poetisize nature and create a fascinating work on the true sense of art.

From the urban landscapes of Edinburgh and London to the south of France and New England, we are exposed to street and nature sights that the sculptor Goldsworthy converts into incomparable works of land art, and the camera captures them as outstanding, highly aestheticised film images. The "Leaning into the Wind" conveys thoughts and ideas about art, artistic creation and process, and even more, tells a story of the relationship between man and nature. And this is where the true primeval saga of the great love of a passionate fighter for nature begins - environmental activist Goldsworthy touches every stone, every grass, petal, branch, every drop of water as a precious being and within it recognizes the internal pulsation that permeates the planet. And these touches, followed by the explosion of colors and unexpected shapes, create a nature in which man and space become one.

Riedelsheimer's sophisticated filmmaking proceeds from breathtaking physical matter and goes beyond trying to reveal the ideas that move the artists. And before our very eyes these ideas are transformed into remarkable forms pervaded by the rhythms of nature.

UK, Germany, 2018, 93 mins.

http://www.leaningintothewind.com/

www.magnificent7.org  


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Magnificent7: Thomas Riedelsheimer

Written 10-06-2018 09:08:17 by Tue Steen Mller

Magnificent7: Thomas Riedelsheimer

I still remember that day in 2005 when the very first screening of a European feature length documentary took place here in Belgrade – and the Magnificent7 festival started. We had no real idea of how many spectators, who would come to the Sava Centre. It was around 1000! Who had a wonderful experience watching Thomas Riedelsheimer’s “Touch the Sound”. Now he is back with “Leaning into the Wind”, again a film about an artist, actually the second one about Andy Goldsworthy, the first one was “Rivers and Tides”. “Leaning into the Wind” is the title.

Here are some words from the director’s website:

"In 2011, during a shoot in Scotland, I met Andy Goldsworthy again. It had been ten years since we released Rivers and Tides and we had not seen each other in the interim. From the very first moment I felt like no time has passed at all – it felt as though we had just waved farewell a few days before. It felt intimate immediately and I became aware of my never-ending interest in this man and his work. People who know "Rivers and Tides" think they know Andy Goldsworthy. And so we both felt that adding a new perspective to him and his work would be fascinating.

"It has been a great time, an unforgettable experience. LEANING INTO THE WIND offers a different angle, a different perspective, another perception on many levels. It is not only an expansion of the former film but stands by itself. Another moment in time, of Andy´s life - and of my life."

http://www.leaningintothewind.com/


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Petra & P. Lataster: Miss Kiets Children

Written 09-06-2018 09:49:09 by Tue Steen Mller

Petra & P. Lataster: Miss Kiets Children

This text is written by Svetlana and Zoran Popovic, the directors of Magnificent7 festival in Belgrade:

This touching film story, without any interview or narrator, introduces us to the turbulent world of small, irresistible, charismatic heroes who have just arrived to a small place in The Netherlands and entered the classroom of an ordinary elementary school. For them, this is all new and confusing, they don’t fit in, they are too sensitive and scared. But like all children, they are also restless, naughty and unsubdued, and from the very first moment their brilliant teacher, Miss Kit, begins a great battle using all her skills of an excellent pedagogue. A battle in which, apart from discipline, learning and knowledge, mutual respect and dignity are top objectives.

Discreetly shot at the child's eyes level over a period of one year, this film is a story of joy and experiences that change children and shape their world. Experienced pair of documentarists Petra Lataster-Czisch and Peter Lataster with their perfectly selected participants, through masterly captured moments and true empathy with little heroes in front of their warm and penetrating camera lens, unfold moving sequences of school days and discreetly build a course of one school year. They create a brilliant visual study of learning and maturing, emphasizing at the same time the importance of those who are preparing the society of the future.

Holland, 2016, 115 minutes

http://dekinderenvanjufkiet.nl/en/


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Magnificent7 Speech by Elwira Niewiera

Written 09-06-2018 09:17:03 by Tue Steen Mller

Magnificent7 Speech by Elwira Niewiera

Elwira Niewiera, co-director with Piotr Rosolowski of ”The Prince and the Dybbuk”, the opening film at the 14th edition of the Magnificent7 festival in Belgrade, had to cancel her presence because of illness. From Berlin the Polish co-director sent this text as a sound bite. It was played before the screening:

"I am very, very sad that I can't be there with you today. This is an exceptional festival, created by some very special people.

I would like to say a big thank you to Svetlana and Zoran Popovic, and also to Tue Steen Müller.

When we started to work on this movie, one of the Polish filmmakers told us, that even if you are making a film about someone who passed away, remember that it’s still very important for that person what kind of film you are going to make.

It was a big challenge to make a film about someone, who constantly erased/or had to erased his own traces, changing names, religion, titles or countries.

This mechanism became a way of life for him, and also a means of survival, as it allowed him to outsmart the spirit of intolerance.

Over the next few weeks, we will all be excited about the football World Cup taking place in Russia. But when we will be supporting our teams in front of the TVs, please let us at the same time remember the Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov, who is imprisoned in a labour camp, is on a hunger strike and is slowly dying in the very same country - in solidarity with other unlawfully convicted people.

Thank you and I wish you a nice screening and a nice opening of the festival“.

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


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Anita Reher Back in Denmark

Written 08-06-2018 12:28:34 by Tue Steen Mller

Anita Reher Back in Denmark

I worked with Anita for the 9 years, I was at EDN. It was pioneer times building up the organisation. It was fun and exciting, when we at the start stood at the fax machine waiting for filmmakers to sign up - and when we were touring the South of Europe to find venues for the workshops, we had got EU support to arrange with local filmmakers... Anita stayed at EDN for some years more but then she moved to America and got an important position at Flaherty, which she now leaves to come back to Denmark to give her skills and competence to Nordisk Panorama. They are getting the Best! Here is the press release from Nordisk Panorama:



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Niewiera/Rosolowski: The Prince and The Dybbuk

Written 08-06-2018 09:38:57 by Tue Steen Mller

Niewiera/Rosolowski: The Prince and The Dybbuk

This text is written by Svetlana and Zoran Popovic, the directors of Magnificent7 festival in Belgrade:

Poland, Germany 2017.
82 minutes
directed by: Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Rosołowski

The best documentary on cinema of The Venice Film Festival 2017. The story of a stunning mystery that is becoming more complex and unexpected as it unfolds before us.

Who was the director and Hollywood producer Michal Waszynski who worked with the biggest movie stars of his time, such as Sophia Loren, Claudia Cardinale, Orson Wells? Directors Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Rosolowski are taking us to an exciting film journey through the life of a man who was known to many, but whose secrets were so deeply hidden that no one really knew him. Prince Waszynski, through the turbulent and dramatic years of his personal and world history, wrote his life story as if he directed the most fantastic film.

A superb modern documentary with an extremely complex structure in which fascinating archival footage is interwoven with shots and scenes of search, witnesses and spaces. Directorial couple Niewiera Rosolowski creates an exciting thriller, but at the same time an equally unusual history of the 20th century in Europe, from the dark times of the rise of Nazism to glamorous Hollywood spectacles. In these turbulent times, behind the curtain of dramatic events, they magically depict the hidden figure of Prince Waszynski, penetrating deeply into imaginary and irrational layers of time.

http://prince-dybbuk.com/

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


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Magnificent7 Arrival

Written 07-06-2018 21:42:46 by Tue Steen Mller

Magnificent7 Arrival

There we are, my wife and I, back in Belgrade to take part in the 14th European Feature Documentary Film Festival, Magnificent7 – seven films, one per night, starting tomorrow on the 8th with the Polish masterpiece, “The Prince and the Dybbuk” by Piotr Rosolowski and Elvira Niewiera, who will be present at the screening that is said to be sold out – there is space for 1300 spectators!

From heatwave in Copenhagen to the same in Belgrade with a warm welcome in the airport by Nevena Donlic, program coordinator and Nebosja, driver for the festival through many many years. In to our home for the next week, the Belgrade Excelsior Hotel on Kneza Miloša close to the Parliament and the new venue of the festival Kombank Dvorana. Mr and Mrs. Festival, Zoran and Svetlana Popovic were waiting for us, we got the room and we carried luggage and survival kits up the stairs. Survival kits… for years one of the many jobs at the festival that is carried out by brilliant camerawoman Jelena Stankovic… she buys snacks, chocolate, water, juice, wet wipes, tissues, much needed and one of many specialities of the hospitality, we have enjoyed during all the years. It is an understatement that guests are taken well care of at this festival!

Off to lunch outside in the restaurant Jovac, me starting with my classic rakija, the Losa, it’s from Montenegro, the Serbian waiter said – and followed by salad and schnitzel. From there to a fabulous coffee place ZRNO, means the grain, in the part of the city called Vracar, cafés and restaurants on each corner. Nevena Donlic takes her coffee there - understandable!

14th edition… thinking back on the many films and directors, whose films (91 films) and company we have enjoyed through the years, let me just mention some of them – I go to the facebook page of the festival and look at photos: Audrius Stonys, Miroslav Janek, Nicolas Philibert, Sergei Loznitsa, Sylvain Biegeleisen, Helena Trestikova, Pernille Grønkjær, Wojciech Staron, Jerzy Sladkowski, German Kral, Frank Piasecki Poulsen, Gianfranco Rosi, Marie-Clémence and César Paës, Mika Ronkainen… and late Michael Glawogger (PHOTO). In the coming week Magnificent7 welcomes European documentary cinema makers to Belgrade.

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


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Alisa Kovalenko: Home Games

Written 06-06-2018 14:40:21 by Tue Steen Mller

Alisa Kovalenko: Home Games

Alina, 20 year old, Ukrainian, likes football. She plays herself and she is good. In the beginning of the film she is making a collage to hang on the wall, from pictures of famous football players. She cuts off the head of Messi, says sorry to him, and puts her own head on the body of the best football player in the world. At the end of the film Alina is on the football pitch, she is knocked down, gets a free kick, which she kicks herself into the goal just like Messi has done so many times!

A perfect dramaturgical circle (!) for a film, where football is important but that is first of all a warm, heartbreaking social documentary, where Alina is in focus from start till end.

The family includes the granny, the mother, the father, Alina and her two siblings, Renat and Regina, 6 and 7 years old. Plus Alina’s helping girlfriend Nadya. The mother dies, the father is a useless drunkard, the granny is old and not so mobile – so the responsibility for bringing up the two kids lies with Alina, who has games on the football pitch but first and foremost has Home Games to fight. She takes the kids along for a summer training camp, she has to prepare them for the school, she is short of money – the father gets the public support for the kids, he never helps the children – so she and Nadya goes to the street to sell shoes, cell phones, whatever to get some money. She goes with granny and Nadya to have the legal right for the children transferred from the father to her. They are positively received – without this being really followed up in the film except for a text at the end, where it is being said that the father is out of the flat – and you see the two young girls starting a new life refurnishing the apartment. “We want to live like normal people now”.

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.

Ukraine/ France/ Poland, 2018, 86 mins.

https://sheffdocfest.com/films/6545


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Alina Gorvola: No Obvious Signs

Written 04-06-2018 20:56:10 by Tue Steen Mller

Alina Gorvola: No Obvious Signs

Oksana Yakobava, major in the Ukrainian army, was at war from 2014-17. Her job was to report on the dead soldiers: identity, how death occurred, how many bullets in the body, was there any torture, any obvious signs, contact and information to family. Tough task, to say it with an understatement.

We viewers meet her, when she is trying to recover from the war experiences. She has had a breakdown, she is being treated for a couple of months with physical training and by a psychotherapist. She is wounded, she is trying to wash away images that stay in her head. As she has been close to atrocities. Warm baths, massage, conversations, will it go away?

The film team has been with her and they go with her, when she returns to the war zone to resign from her position, and they follow her on a tour in the metro one month later. She still suffers, she listens to prayers from her cell phone, it seems like hell for her to be in the street as well.

It is a hard story, it is well made, the film team has the confidence of the protagonist, it makes an impression, it is truthful in all its sadness.

Ukraine, 2017, 64 mins.


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Krakow Film Festival: The Winners

Written 03-06-2018 10:32:03 by Tue Steen Mller

Krakow Film Festival: The Winners

Sometimes it´s jackpot! I had voted for – in my post yesterday – four films and they were all awarded: Talal Derki for his “Of Fathers and Sons” (The Golden Horn and the Fipresci), Marta Prus for her “Over the Limit” (The Silver Horn, The Silver Hobby-Horse (National Competition), The Audience Award – and awards to her editor Adam Suzin, and to her producers Anna Kepinska and Maciej Kubicki), Pablo Aparo and Martin Benchimol for “El Espanto” (The Silver Horn for Best Medium Length Documentary) and Stephen Nomura Schible for “Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda” (Best film in the DocFilmMusic Competition and Student Jury’s Award).

On top of that a well deserved special mention to Belarussian Anastasiya Miroshnichenko for her “Debut”, a fine film, that I knew from watching a rough cut in autumn 2017, a touching portrait of women in prison and their kids.

It was more than 30 awards – list, click below -  that were handed out in the big Kijew Centrum cinema last night. Always a pleasure to be at Krakow Film Festival with a badge saying “media”, which means I was there to watch films. I did!

Photo: Happy winners from "Over the Limit", producer Maciej Kubicki and director Marta Prus.

www.krakowfilmfestival.pl

http://www.krakowfilmfestival.pl/en/full-list-of-winners-of-the-58th-kff/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Martin Benchimol, Pablo Aparo: El Espanto

Written 03-06-2018 09:47:23 by Tue Steen Mller

Martin Benchimol, Pablo Aparo: El Espanto

It’s slow, it has no music if I remember correctly, the images are amazing, from countryside of Argentina, the characters are wonderful, full of humour and originality – and mystery because in El Dorado the inhabitants tell good stories and when it comes to illnesses, they can cure them themselves, they don’t need doctors to come around. The filmmakers mostly place the people in front of the camera, they talk, very much about the only disease they can´t cure by themselves but there is one, who can, Jorge (PHOTO), who lives on the other side of the bridge, el espanto is the name of the illness, whatever that is, it is said that it is something that especially women get, but what it is…

The filmmakers give us a glimpse of Jorge, who confirms that he can heal, also citizens from El Dorado come to me, he says, even if they – on camera – deny it. As they deny that there should be any homosexuality in the small society. Jorge refuses to have one more visit by the filmmakers and focus shifts to an accident on the bridge, did someone die, apparently, but many theories come up, they ARE storytellers. And the filmmakers listen and go with them, also to create an atmosphere of comedy like when a wedding takes place, where the groom looks absent and far from happy, while the bride in her wedding dress dances for herself. Yes, love is a theme in this film, you listen to the couples and their comments on this theme, they have a good time – but Jorge does not take part, there is light in his house, but he turns it off and the film, a lovely one, is over.

Argentina, 2017, 65 mins.


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Marcin Sauter: I Grew Up as You Slept

Written 02-06-2018 16:45:38 by Tue Steen Mller

Marcin Sauter: I Grew Up as You Slept

An ordinary story told in an extraordinary way. Because Marcin Sauter is not “only” a skilled director, he is a cinematographer who knows about composition and framing of images. This film has no boring moments, it is intense and full of emotions and beauty. And the music reflects the atmosphere of melancholy surrounding the granny and the granddaughter, when they meet in the countryside of Belarus, the country Karalina (who, according to credits at the end of the film, bears the same surname as the director) has chosen to leave to have more opportunities to develop her music career. In a scene with two friends, also from the music school, it is obvious that she is not the only one, who has left or wants to leave their home country… an ordinary story.

The film operates in present and past. Black and white images constitute the childhood, when berries were picked in the garden, cut to today, where the same action in colour takes place with wonderful granny and red-dressed granddaughter in the picture. The director has made his aesthetic choice. Scene after scene, situation after situation are a pleasure to watch.

An award for this poetic film tonight at the Krakow Film Festival closure?  

For me no objections!

Poland, 2018, 50 mins.


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Music!

Written 02-06-2018 08:36:39 by Tue Steen Mller

Music!

He was a musician, he says, Ryūichi Sakamoto, in the portrait film “Coda” about him. He talks about Andrey Tarkovsky and in the film a clip from “Solaris” is shown, a close-up on drops of water bringing nature’s sounds to the screen. It’s a wonderful film that again makes me think that music is the most interesting art form, where film is so much more concrete, concluding and interpreting. With music you can create your own images – and yet Sakamoto, the master of film music (Oshima’s “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence” (1983), “The Last Emperor” (1987) and “The Sheltering Sky” (1990), “The Revenant” (2015) by Alejandro G. Iñárritu…) states that he tries to think “cinematically”, when he in his studio in New York and on his journeys to the North Pole and Africa collects sounds to be used in his composing. The film by Stephen Nomura Schible gets very close to the composer, who reveals that he is fighting against a cancer illness; it is in itself a piece of film history with clips from the films mentioned above plus archive material that shows Sakamoto in his psychedelic period and as an activist against nuclear plants to be rebuilt after the Fukushima catastrophe. To be linked to his “Opera” from 1999, where he summarizes the state of our civilization with continuing quotes from the man who “invented” the atom bomb, Oppenheimer.

After having seen all films in the documentary competition, I “took the day off” to let me be



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Over the Limit

Written 02-06-2018 08:32:20 by Tue Steen Mller

Over the Limit

In November last year I wrote this on filmkommentaren.dk about Marta Prus “Over the Limit”: An (almost) perfect film. Plays with the classical dramaturgical rules in terms of characters and rythm – positive mood and development, crisis, winning, losing, crisis as a gymnast, crisis because of her father’s illness, music that fits, brilliant camerawork, it’s like an opera or a ballet, great pleasure to look at this film with its universal appeal: Trust yourself, find yourself, the tough and direct coach is (maybe) right in much of what she is saying… Another masterly done Polish documentary!

The festival referred to above was IDFA in Amsterdam and now – after numerous festivals – the film has its national premiere! As an invited journalist I am giving it top points as you can see on the rating scheme. I do so after having recently seen the film two times more, in Tbilisi Georgia and in Barcelona. I have put parenthesis around the word almost as I have no objections to the film, none at all. It fills so well the big screen. And happy to say that the audience at both festivals reacted with enthusiasm.

Apart from that let me express a lot of admiration for Marta Prus after three



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To Be in a Jury/ To be Awarded

Written 02-06-2018 08:27:07 by Tue Steen Mller

To Be in a Jury/ To be Awarded

My countryman Lars von Trier’s last film “The House that Jack Built” was not in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. In an interview he was asked, if he was sorry about that. No, he said, I don’t believe in competition within art – words to that effect. Well, of course he is right, how to compare an apple with a pear, on the other hand I am sure that he was not sorry to receive all the awards he had for previous films before he became a “persona non grata” at the festival! Who does not appreciate that your film is evaluated as price-worthy? “For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?” to quote W.H. Auden’s poem written for the classic British documentary “Night Mail”.

Here in Krakow there are many awards. I have seen all films in the main competition and let’s see whether the critics points match those of the jury! It’s not always the case, luckily.

Does it mean anything for the filmmakers to be awarded? Of course - Apart



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Magnificent7 Festival Moves to New Venue

Written 01-06-2018 18:30:54 by Tue Steen Mller

Magnificent7 Festival Moves to New Venue

The Belgrade festival that screens 7 films, one per night, from June 8 till June 14 is moving from the Sava Centre to central Belgrade, to Kombank Dvorana.

I asked the festival directors to give me words about the new venue that opened after a total renovation a month ago. Here they come:

Dear Tue. it's hard to put in two lines the history of the very first elite concert hall, festival hall and congress hall in socialistic Yugoslavia. Also the place of many different events that were attractive for big audiences and for media, sometimes European, sometimes from all over the world.Legendary kings of jazz (Luis Armstrong, Miles Davies, Oscar Peterson, B.B.King among the others) were there on the stage during sixties and seventies. Film stars at the biggest film festival FEST - Sophia Loren, Kirk Douglas, Robert DeNiro, Richard Burton, Elisabeth Taylor. Concerts of the most popular singers, groups, but also of some high class musicians like Artur Rubinstein.

Here is a small history:

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

You should pay attention to the new name of the place KOMBANK DVORANA (where KOMBANK is the name of the bank giving the money for overtaking the name) and DVORANA that means hall.

Varme hilsener (Danish for Warmest) Svetlana and Zoran Popovic

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


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Magnificent7 Belgrade 2018

Written 31-05-2018 07:15:50 by Tue Steen Mller

Magnificent7 Belgrade 2018

There he stands, the Prince Waszyński, in his palazzo, smoking a cigarette. An elegant man. Like a character in a film by Luchino Visconti. Did they ever meet the two in Rome, where the Prince passed his last years? After the more than turbulent life he had lived. His story is what Polish Elvira Niewiera and Piotr Rosolowski unfolds in “The Prince and the Dybbuk”, that is the opening film for the 14th edition of the festival in its new venue, the Kombank Hall in central Belgrade.

And this is for sure, like all 7 films, a film that deserves the big screen. It is Cinema to be enjoyed because of its elegant narrative structure, its use of archive, the editing, the music, the dignity with which the directors treat the Prince.

Do we go for themes, when the selection for the festival takes place? No, we go for the Cinematic quality and originality, that our audience expect – and I say it again, the best audience in Europe is the one in Belgrade. Nevertheless, having done the selection this year, we discover that three of the films put the focus on children.

Oh, I would hope that teachers all over could see and learn from “Miss Kiet’s Children”, with the



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DocsBarcelona: The Winners

Written 30-05-2018 11:51:39 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona: The Winners

I received the English language press release from DocsBarcelona. Here it comes in a slightly edited version:

DocsBarcelona 2018 ends consolidating the growth that began in the 20th edition of the festival, with an increase of days and audience. The 21st edition of the International Documentary Film Festival of Barcelona has hosted 66 sessions and one month of online screenings reaching more than 20,000 spectators, with an average of 133 people per session.

Also, the activities dedicated to the industry and professionals have had an extensive follow-up, with 1,800 attendees.

The main winner of DocsBarcelona 2018 was The Distant Barking of Dogs, whom the jury chaired by Paco Poch joined by Jessica Murray, Xavi García Puerto and Montse Armengou awarded the DocsBarcelona TV3 Award for Best Documentary. Directed by Simon Lereng Wilmont, this film portrays the life of Oleg, a Ukrainian boy, and his grandmother, in a border area where they often live with anti-aircraft fire and missile attacks. The Jury said this is a “film that takes care of photography with a detailed and delicate observation. A look that allows us to listen to the most vulnerable”.

Also, the jury gave a Special Mention to Miss Kiet’s Children, by Petra Lataster-Czisch and Peter Lataster, about a Dutch teacher who welcomes



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DocsBarcelona: Talal Derki

Written 29-05-2018 21:18:40 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona: Talal Derki

The Syrian director was not at the closing ceremony of DocsBarcelona Sunday night so I did not have the chance to thank him for three meetings we had during the festival: Two times talks with him and the audience after the screening of his masterpiece ”Of Fathers and Sons” and a 90 minutes seminar, where he had chosen 7 clips from the film to make us get closer into what he experienced, when that scene was shot, what choices he had to take during the 300 days he spent with the father and his children, first of all Osama and Ayman.

There were standing ovations after one of the two screenings of the film and after both I had to – as moderator – to raise my hand for “stop” to have time for the questions. I admire filmmakers like Talal Derki, who with respect for the audience take their time, festival after festival, to give an insight to – in this case – what it means to be filming in a war zone. The 7 clips were carefully chosen and there was a lot to talk about at each one. Film talk.

It makes you proud as a programmer, when you feel that the choice of a film is appreciated as well as having the filmmaker present to meet the audience. This was the case with Talal Derki again four years after he was in Barcelona with “Return to Homs”. He did not win this time, but he won the respect of the audience and he took us “behind the scenes” to a place we can not and do not want to go.

“I am a storyteller”, he said to me. Indeed, and a brave one. Many scenes will stay in my mind – like the one where the father talks warmly about his son Osama at the same time as he, as a sniper, is shooting to kill, while the director sitting next to him looks exhausted and frustrated at the whole situation.

The film and it’s director is now at the Krakow Film Festival, I have changed position to be a journalist for this site, and have given it highest points as you can see at the link below.

www.docsbarcelona.com

http://www.krakowfilmfestival.pl/en/58th-kff/festival-newspaper/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona: Children

Written 28-05-2018 13:34:23 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona: Children

Sunday morning I took a walk in the Eixample of Barcelona, where my home has been since the beginning of the festival. Lots of parents were in the street with their kids. Happy moments for boys and girls to be out in the good weather to play, have an ice cream, have fun, make friends…

In the cinemas of DocsBarcelona the reality was different for the children. I will never forget the two boys from “Of Fathers and Sons” by Talal Derki, Osama (Photo) and Ayman, the first one to be sent to a sharia camp by his father, the latter staying at home to take care of the smaller siblings and the father, who had lost his foot at a mine explosion, and who is the one, who decides on the future of Osama to be a jihadist warrior. It’s pretty hard to watch Osama, this soft boy, having his childhood spoilt by religious fanatism.

Another child who lives in a war zone is Oleg in “The Distant Barking of Dogs” by Simon Lereng Wilmont, a film that takes place in the Eastern part of Ukraine. Oleg lives there with his grandmother, a relationship that is described with sensitivity. How to live in the neighborhood of bombs exploding, how to cope with the scars it gives a child when he grows older?

And what about Syrian Zeid, who lives with his father and brothers in Spain in the fine film “Hayati” by Liliana Torres and Sofi Escudé. In a materialistic way, he does not suffer, but his mother stays in Turkey and he communicates with her via skype…

Other children are very much present in “Miss Kiet’s Children” by Petra and Peter Lasaster, where Miss Kiet is teaching refugee children language and how to adapt to live in the Netherlands. My hero here is the little Haya, who struggles with her new situation in a way that you get tears in your eyes.

www.docsbarcelona.com


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DocsBarcelona: Ouaga Girls

Written 27-05-2018 10:49:32 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona: Ouaga Girls

It’s one of those documentaries that makes you smile through the whole film, Ouaga Girls by Swedish Theresa Traore Dahlberg. It was shown yesterday at DocsBarcelona at the Aribau Club cinema followed by a Q&A with the French coproducer Estelle Robin You, who is also involved in the production of “Dolphin Man” by Lefteris Charitos, that plays in the competitive Panorama section of the festival here in Barcelona.

The smile… because of the life energy of the girls from Burkina Faso, who study to become auto mechanics in a male society and enjoy the company of their sisters in the school, where they learn, are introduced to adult life and where they have fun, and share the good and the bad experiences they have and have had in their lives. They all come from a tough social background, which is conveyed to the viewer in tense interview situations with a psychologist. A brilliant cinematic solution where the action – the slate of joyful, lively scenes from the auto workshop and from the classroom and from parties and concerts in the city – is stopped to give close-ups and time for reflection.

Estelle Robin-You told us that the film has been running in cinemas in France – and Sweden of course – that the music score is composed by the father of the director Seydou Richard Traoré – that French editor Alexandra Strauss was called for to help finalising the film; Strauss who has edited “I’m not Your Negro” and has worked for master Roy Andersson.

How can we get a women empowering film like this shown in rural areas, a woman in the audience asked. There must be Ngo’s, who can use the film. Of course.   

http://momentofilm.se/films/ouaga-girls/

www.docsbarcelona.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona: When Directors Meet the Audience

Written 25-05-2018 11:23:20 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona: When Directors Meet the Audience

Aribau Club Cinemas in Barcelona. Two cinema halls, one bigger than the other. The home of DocsBarcelona for four days, yesterday the first where I had the privilege to introduce and moderate three films in the competitive Panorama section. With Pol Roig as responsible for the running of the screenings.

First Polish “Over the Limit” by Marta Prus (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4091/) with half an hour talk afterwards, where the young director told, how she found her characters, how she got permission to shoot, how she filmed for one year and edited for one year, how she wanted the film to look like a feature film, how she as director had to make production decisions as well and of course many words about the trio of women in the film, Margarita the gymnast and the two coaches Irina and Amina.

Second Syrian “Of Fathers and Sons” by Talal Derki (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4094/) the director who was back in Barcelona, where he was in 2014 with “Return to Homs”, that got the first prize at the festival. I asked him how it was to be “playing the role of a war photographer”, an observer, who comes into this mad world of jihadism and refrains from discussing the issues being brought up by the militant father. He explained his relationship to Osama, one of the sons, Ayman, being the other. The reception of the film, measured by the applause, was considerable, an understatement…

Third Greek “The Dolphin Man” by Lefteris Charitos, a film about the legendary Jacques Mayol, his life, his record breaking diving down to 100 meters, his glamorous life with many women in his life, and yet his loneliness, told through archive material, interviews with his daughter and son and amazing underwater camerawork by Stelios Apostolopoulos, in a film that is multilayered and dealing with philosophical and existential questions. Charitos answered all kind of questions from the audience, including those about his suicide in his house on the island of Elba.

All three films had a good audience, the photo shows the line of people waiting to get in to watch “The Dolphin Man”.

And all three films have a second run.

www.docsbarcelona.com


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DocsBarcelona Rough Cut Sessions

Written 23-05-2018 19:30:23 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona Rough Cut Sessions

It's become an institution, the rough cut sessions of DocsBarcelona and I am proud to be the one, who has chosen the projects and the one playing the ball to the panelists, who sit in comfortable sofas in a living room-set-up watching and commenting. Panelists this year were - among others - veteran Jordi Ambros from TV3, Mandy Chang from BBC, Aleksandar Govedarica from sales agent company Syndicado, Yoshihiko Ichiya from NHK, Lelda Ozola from National Film Centre of Latvia, filmmaker Canan Turan living in Catalunya of Turkish origin... The sessions last 2 hours including the full rough cut, feedback and comments. 

The three projects selected this year were "Operation Globe" from Rolling Basis Films, director Ariadna Seuba Serra, "Pariah Dog" by Jesse Alk and "Colis Suspect" by Sofia Català and Rosa Pérez.

www.docsbarcelona.com


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DocsBarcelona: Audience & Form

Written 21-05-2018 16:48:31 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona: Audience & Form

On the way back to Vilnius after two succesful screenings of “Wonderful Losers” at DocsBarcelona, Lithuanian Arunas and Alge Matelis met Joan Gonzalez, director of the festival who was happy to tell them that 210 students in Granollers, a city at 30 km from Barcelona, one of the 9 cities where people can see some of the docs of DocsBarcelona, had seen their film.

Likewise I was happy yesterday to attend the screening of Hendrick Dusollier’s “Last Days in Shibati” (Photo) with a full house at the CCCB Auditorium. As a selector for the Panorama and What the Doc! of the festival, I do not review films in these sections but great to experience that the reception from the audience was overwhelmingly positive. The film’s theme – the demolition of an old Chinese quarter to make space for a new China – is interesting as is the form and method the director has chosen; he comes back to the quarter, makes friends with a trio of people, and he comes the first time with almost no knowledge of the language, the second (6 months later) and third time (6 months later) it is better with the language and he is accompanied by local people, who speak the language. He just goes there to visit… and he knows what he is looking for. Authenticity in the situational sequences.

The same, achieving an authenticity, goes for “Hasta mañana, si Dios Quiere”, which will be shown later in the festival. The film – quote from the catalogue – is “A joyful story about how seventeen women live in a convent of Franciscan octogenarian sisters…” but where the film from China lives from improvisations, Ainara Vera, the director, has very carefully chosen a style, made an aesthetic choice, that makes the film beautiful to watch.

The Documentary genre has many faces! Hurrah for that!

www.docsbarcelona.com


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Visca Barca, Visca Catalunya

Written 21-05-2018 12:42:53 by Tue Steen Mller

Visca Barca, Visca Catalunya

A small break from DocsBarcelona. To experience a historical moment. The end of an era. The last match of Andres Iniesta for FCBarcelona. And the celebration of winning the championship and the Copa del Rey. I was there thanks to and together with Joan Gonzalez in his seats of Nou Camp. It was an outstanding party with fans singing during the whole match A N D R E S  I N I E S T A, the elegantier who has been at the club for 22 years (!) and is respected all over the football world. The match was quite ordinary, Coutinho scored a beautiful goal that made the 1-0 result, Iniesta was taken out 15 minutes before the end of the game to enjoy the extraordinary homage to him, and luckily Messi came in, in the middle of the second half, and it always changes the whole Barca game. Suddenly something happens where before it was a bit sleepy.

After the match there was a light show, music and a presentation of all the players; many came in with their kids in hand, some had babies on the arm - and Andres Iniesta made an emotional speech, tears in eyes as there was for several of his team colleagues.

I was there when Iniesta played his last match for Barca!!! 


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Pep Martn & Xavi Camprecis: Mies on Scene

Written 20-05-2018 10:45:28 by Tue Steen Mller

Pep Martn & Xavi Camprecis: Mies on Scene

… with the subtitle ”Barcelona in Two Acts” was premiered yesterday at the CCCB theatre in Barcelona within the DocsBarcelona festival. Full house for a film about the architectural gem of the city, the Pavilion set up by Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich in 1929 at the world exhibition to be removed 8 months later and reconstructed in 1986. A work that – quote from the synopsis - changed the History of architecture forever… its image was always alive in the minds of generations of architects around the world…

It’s not easy to make a film about architecture but I enjoyed and appreciated the cinematic solutions the two directors have chosen. They have thought about composition and framing, and there is a fine balance between the images and the information and interpretative comments from the many people from the world of architecture in Barcelona and in New York, where the archive of van der Rohe is at MOMA.

And the directors do not refrain from anecdotes and letting the speakers be passionate like the wonderful German architect Fritz Neumeyer, who on location expresses his love to the building. Also great to have Oriol Bohigas in picture, the man who was a driving force behind the reconstruction of the Pavilion, that stands there waiting to be visited by anyone, who is fond of beauty!

In the press material the directors write about the building that they have been filming for the last nine years for different purposes:

The Pavilion is a scenario of endless perspectives, lights and reflections, a living building that changes at every hour of the day and at any season of the year. Each time you record it, the Pavilion surprises you with a new reflection or a new visual composition, and you discover that fourth dimension that Mies created with the game of materials and perspectives. A universe where the composition of each frame easily becomes art within art because the Pavilion generates and multiplies beauty.

Catalunya, 2018, 58 mins.

http://www.miesonscene.com/


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Oleg Sentsov on Hungerstrike

Written 20-05-2018 09:43:26 by Tue Steen Mller

Oleg Sentsov on Hungerstrike

Since 2015 we have again and again written about the Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov, who is in prison in Russia. At numerous festivals the message has been sent to the Russian authorities “Release Oleg Sentsov” and Askold Kurov has made a fine film about the man and the case.

According to hromadske.ua – link below, where you can read the whole article – this is the latest horrible development:

Ukrainian film director and political prisoner Oleg Sentsov, who is being held illegally in a remote Siberian prison in Russia, has gone on a hunger strike.

This was put forward in a statement by Sentsov’s lawyer, Dmitriy Dinze, who provided the information to Hromadske. By going on a hunger strike, Sentsov demands the immediate release of all Ukrainians detained in Russia and Crimea.

“I, Oleg Sentsov, citizen of Ukraine, unlawfully tried by Russian judiciary, currently being held in the colony of Labytnangi, declare that I have begun a hunger strike indefinitely as of May 14, 2018,” his statement reads. “The sole condition of its end is the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners located on the territory of the Russian Federation.”

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has already reacted to the news by calling for the international community to “continue pressuring the Kremlin to free all Ukrainian political prisoners as soon as possible.”

“We continue to fight for them and offer every effort in order to free these unlawfully detained Ukrainians, who are held on the territory of occupied Crimea, Donbas, and the territory of the Russian Federation,” Poroshenko said on his Facebook page.

Dinze also says he warned Sentsov of the possible consequences of a hunger strike, including irreversible health risks. The lawyer does not rule out that Sentsov may soon become subject to “compulsory psychiatric observation and forced feeding.”

“He has been transferred to a safe place, where individuals refusing food and going on hunger strike are located,” Dinze told Hromadske, adding that the filmmaker has not specified whether it is a dry hunger strike. “He is confident in his decision to continue the hunger strike to the end until there is some sort of result.”

Sentsov is one of 64 Ukrainian political prisoners located on the territory of occupied Crimea and the Russian Federation… 

https://en.hromadske.ua/posts/ukrainian-filmmaker-oleg-sentsov-goes-on-hunger-strike-in-russian-prison


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Abend & Loeff: La Flor de la Vida

Written 19-05-2018 11:57:46 by Tue Steen Mller

Abend & Loeff: La Flor de la Vida

DocsBarcelona 2018: Lovely film by Claudia Abend and Adriana Loeff, who in promotion of the film use this phrase as a logline, so precise it is: What happens when Life lasts longer than Love?

Take a look at the photo, Aldo and Gabriella in the airport of Montevideo waving goodbye to their daughter Leila, who lives in another country – as do all their children. The old couple do not live together any longer, they separated after 48 years, spending a lot of their active time in Venezuela, where Aldo was working in the construction business, and where the family life was pure happiness as shown in the huge amount of great family film footage that are shown skillfully.

But the film starts in present time. Old people enter a theatre stage to sit in a



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Catalan Rumba Opens DocsBarcelona

Written 17-05-2018 08:50:20 by Tue Steen Mller

Catalan Rumba Opens DocsBarcelona

... and it did so with a full cinema of spectators, who expressed their enthusiasm over the sweet film about the sweeet and charismatic man on the screen and in the cinema, where he got standing ovations. The film is a very entertaining portrait of a man, who is ill and often has to get oxygen to go on as he has a dream... from the catalogue:

"Petitet is a Catalan gypsy pursuing a dream. Former musician and son of one of the “palmeros” (hand-clapping performers) of the mythical Peret, he suffers from a rare chronic disease that causes acute muscle weakness. In his fifties, he wants to fulfil the promise he made to his mother before she died: to take Catalan rumba to the stage of a great theatre. The dream begins to



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Srbenka Wins DAS Award 2018

Written 14-05-2018 20:52:59 by Tue Steen Mller

Srbenka Wins DAS Award 2018

Doc Alliance is a creative partnership of seven key European festivals. One of its activities, Doc Alliance Selection (DAS) Award, celebrates its 11th edition. Each festival nominates one documentary film which is evaluated by a jury of seven film critics from the festival countries. This year’s winner is Srbenka directed by Nebojša Slijepčević nominated by Visions du Réel. Congratulations!

Srbenka
Director: Nebojša Slijepčević
Country: Croatia
Nominated by Visions du Réel

Srbenka is a film about peer violence toward children of different nationality in Croatia. It examines how the generation born after the war copes with the dark shadows of history. In the winter of 1991, a 12-year-old Serbian girl was murdered in Zagreb. Quarter of a century later, director Oliver Frljić is working on a theatre play about the case. Rehearsals become collective psychotherapy, and the 12-year-old actress Nina feels as if the war had never ended.

Boris Senff (24 heures) – nominated by Visions du Réel
Jakub Demianczuk – nominated by Docs Against Gravity FF
Kristoffer Hegnsvad (Politiken) – nominated by CPH:DOX
Francisco Ferreira (Expresso) – nominated by Doclisboa
Ivan David – nominated by Ji.hlava IDFF
Erwan Floch’lay (Répliques) – nominated by FIDMarseille
Dennis Vetter (taz) – nominated by DOK Leipzig

Doc Alliance Selection Award is powered by seven key European documentary festivals: CPH:DOXDoclisboaDocs Against Gravity FFDOK LeipzigFIDMarseilleJi.hlava IDFFVisions du Réel.

https://dafilms.com/program/657-Doc_Alliance_Selection_2018


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Cindoc-Tbilisi Awards 2018

Written 12-05-2018 16:50:17 by Tue Steen Mller

Cindoc-Tbilisi Awards 2018

… were many and you can read whoi got what via the link below. My positive comments are that the winners also here were made by directors from or dealing with Eastern and Central Europe. Serbian Mila Turajlic’s “The Other Side of Everything”, winner at IDFA 2017, was a candidate for a prize, the Romanian “Licu” by Ana Dumitrescu, who won at DOKLeipzig 2017, was in the Romanian guest country section – and the main winners were Danish Simon Lereng Wilmont with “The Distant Barking of Dogs”, shot in Eastern Ukraine, followed by Polish Marta Prus with “Over the Limit” and Hungarian Bernadett Tuza-Ritter with her “A Woman Captured”. I have in a previous post praised the winner of the best documentary from Caucasus, “Transparent World” by Vakhtang Guntsev-Gabashvili, Georgian director, who also works in Germany.

Let me stay a while with Bernadett Tuza-Ritter and Marta Prus, who were at the festival and met the audience answering questions that they have probably heard 20 times before. Bravo for coming, taking your time to make, what a festival should be: the meeting between the film, the filmmaker and the audience. And thanks for your ethical dedication to filmmaking. Both are still in contact with their protagonists – Edith from “A Woman Captured” is living with her daughter and grand daughter, working like hell to make ends meet, Margarita from “Over the Limit” has given up the sport, wants to settle down and have a child with her husband…

For me it was especially interesting to hear Marta Prus talk about her five-years-in-the-making of a film, where the first couple of years were spent to get permission to film from the protagonists, the three women, Margarita and her coaches Amina and Irina. She got close with her brilliant cameraman Adam Suzin, ended with 210 hours of material and stayed in the editing room in one year – and took part in several European training programs. “Over the Limit” is the feature length debut of Marta Prus, who before made “Talk to Me” http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3545/ a fine work, where she showed her big talent, that will bring her to fiction film, she told us, being a true control freak, as she formulated it at the 45 minutes long Q&A.

http://www.cinedoc-tbilisi.com/?page_id=7022


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Parajanov in Tbilisi

Written 08-05-2018 13:34:54 by Tue Steen Mller

Parajanov in Tbilisi

Anna Dziapshipa, a true friend, great photographer and organiser through SAKDOC in Tbilisi, in preparation for a film, took me for a tour down to Old Tbilisi as I wanted to see the monument of Parajanov - see previous post. I was inspired by a photo of Audrius Stonys in front of the sculpture and asked Anna to do one for me. She did.

The sculpture is based on a photo that Yuri Mechitov took of the director and the artist who did it is Prasto =

Vazha Mikaberidze - Born in Tbilisi, Georgia, 1967. Studied at the Tbilisi Academy of Arts from 1984-1992. In 1993 he moved to Italy and continued his studies in Riaci Academy in Florence from 1993 to 1995. Currently he lives and works in Pietrasanta, Italy.

Oh, it reflects the energy of the master of Cinema, his love to life...

http://prasto.eu


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Harry Tamrazian: Sergei Parajanov

Written 07-05-2018 07:37:49 by Tue Steen Mller

Harry Tamrazian: Sergei Parajanov

"Everyone knows that I have three Motherlands. I was born in Georgia, worked in Ukraine and I'm going to die in Armenia." A quote from an interview with Sergei Parajanov, this master of Cinema, whose life - with interviews, clips from some of his film, archive footage - is described in the Current Time TV production directed by Harry Tamrazian, feature length, informative, a good tv-documentary.



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Cinedoc: Cinema Mon Amour

Written 05-05-2018 12:04:28 by Tue Steen Mller

Cinedoc: Cinema Mon Amour

The festival here in Tbilisi has a country focus on Romania. One of the films selected is "Cinema, Mon Amour" by Alexandru Belc from 2015 that has gone around to festivals like IDFA and DOKLeipzig, a Romanian-Czech coproduction, an HBO production, a very charming film because of its main character Victor Purice, whose life has been dedicated to keeping Dacia Panoramic Cinema, a man who suffers because there is very little audience coming to his films, but also a man who fights to improve the cinema facilities together with his two female colleagues. But still it is cold in the cinema during winter; the three brings hot tea and blankets to the few who come.

There are memorable moments in this film like when Purice enthusiastically plays air guitar to remind himself that he still is young!

After the screening Boglarka Nagy, who is the programmer of the Elvira Popesco cinema in Bucharest, which is part of the Institut Francais, told the audience what it means to run an arthouse cinema in a country, where the amount of cinemas have decreased dramatically. Boglarka won the Best Programming Award at the Europe Cinemas Award ceremony 2017.

On the photo you see Boglarka and me at a festival reception in restaurant Dariani, a fine place. I talked to the owner, who told me that Dariani was an artist and a muse for many painters, a kind of Georgian Coco Chanel.

http://www.cinedoc-tbilisi.com/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Cinedoc Tbilisi Opening Night

Written 04-05-2018 11:37:31 by Tue Steen Mller

Cinedoc Tbilisi Opening Night

Yes, this is how an opening night should be - presentation of the program through trailers, a speech from the Minister of Culture and Sport, some words from your correspondent and from the director of the festival, Artchil Khetagouri.

Most important, however, was the opening film, Georgian "Transparent World" by Vakhtang Kuntsev-Gabashvili. The film about young talented Beka and his father took the audience by the heart and made the opening festive and memorable. How often have you experienced 5 or more round of applauses during the film? Beka is charming and wise, many of the things that he is saying about filmmaking is spot on and you laugh and suffer with him, when he is trying to overcome the obstacles he is facing when he is trying to make the film about the old scientist and composer - and his wife, who forbids him to film in the kitchen of their home. Beka has problems, he gets angry with himself and the world around him, to be the next moment the most gentle grandson with granny, who lives with the family. On the photo you see the father and Beka, the father is amazing patient with his son, who likes his help one moment and is irritated the next moment because he does not want the father to interfere with his work as a filmmaker and photographer.

I understood completely why the director of the film dedicated the film to "all fathers".

For those who are here in Tbilisi there are addintional screenings of the film - and I can't see why the film could not go to other international festivals.

http://www.cinedoc-tbilisi.com/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

No Voice Over, No Music in Docs Please

Written 04-05-2018 08:54:32 by Tue Steen Mller

No Voice Over, No Music in Docs Please

Ukrainian Darya Bassel, part of the DocuDays team and producer of My Father is my Mother's Brother, is at HotDocs in Toronto and writes on FB: "I think there’s one really important thing. We have to ban voice over and text captions and (yes, you gonna suffer now) music from documentary cinema. Just for one year. I’m sure the results gonna surprise everyone. Just imagine nobody thinks you’re an idiot anymore and each small thing has to be explained to you. Finally you’re allowed to have little bit of your own understanding of what’s going on and not only follow the storyline but also reveal those incredibly beautiful details which are usually hidden..."

Sounds like bringing back the Dogma... but I have so often had the same feeling as Darya. That a voice over is explaining what you can see for yourself, television has played its role here, and that music is meant to tell you what to feel - or to fill in gaps where nothing is really happening, as a Danish editor, just out of film school, told me they were taught.

BUT remembering Chris Marker and many other film essayists, a voice over can be a fine piece of literature in itself, the personal voice, and it is my impression, as so many documentarians have given up on television support and rules, that the first person narration is being used more and more. Let me just mention the two Danes Jørgen Leth and Jon Bang Carlsen as examples. As for music, yes take it easy please, and/or watch Pirjo Honkasalo's masterpiece "3 Rooms of Melancholia" that Sanna Salmenkallio composed music for. No more muzak in documentaries!

So good that Darya raises this question and congratulations with the film at the festival.


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Cinedoc Tbilisi Starts Tonight

Written 03-05-2018 16:53:36 by Tue Steen Mller

Cinedoc Tbilisi Starts Tonight

Arriving to Rustaveli Palace Hotel in Tbilisi this morning after two flights from Copenhagen. Five hours of sleep and then out to re-discover lovely Tbilisi ending up with a cappuccino and a chacha outside the Marco Polo restaurant, where Current Time TV’s Kenan Aliyev and his Georgian filmmaker friend were sitting. Kenan told me that he intends to continue – with his Russian language channel – to support emerging filmmakers and he is also here to hand out awards during the Civil Pitch, as he did in Kiev at the DocuDays. A small looking back: This restaurant was some years ago the breakfast place for – among others – Latvian Uldis Cekulis and British Peter Symes. We had – Georgian tradition – at least in the countryside it was said – a morning chacha to give us a kick before the tutoring of documentarians at the Goethe Institute closeby.

And then off to Amirani theatre, where most of the screenings will take place. To collect the bag with the badge and the program, and to say hello to Artchil Khetagouri and Ileana Stanculescu, the two festival directors. They were there surrounded by a dedicated group of staff members and volunteers preparing for the opening night, carrying wine to the cinema lobby as you can see on the photo.

The opening film is “Transparent World” by Georgian Vakhtang Kuntsev-Gabashvili, warm and wonderful it is, here is the description of the film:

“Life is not only about giving birth to a child, it is about the responsibility that new life brings into our existence, that the child will be brought up as a legitimate person. Right-minded parents will gracefully share the duty of being patient and loyal to their child.

Today Beka is 26 years old... His father taught him his profession. Beka makes art photography and a film about a physicist and composer. He had his first photo exhibition recently. Father's patience and understanding helped him to introduce his son to adult life and make him believe in his own talent…"

Back to my festival bag, where there was also to be found a football shirt and football shorts and a whistle… There is a film about football, Romanian called “Infinite Football”, about a man who wants to change the rules of the noble game. “They”, the festival organisers, want me to be the referee of the match that is a test of the rules… Oooh, I am already dead nervous. Not Kenan from Current Time: I want to play!

http://www.cinedoc-tbilisi.com/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Copenhagen Architecture Festival

Written 01-05-2018 20:21:51 by Tue Steen Mller

Copenhagen Architecture Festival

It’s the third of the kind and it takes place not only in Copenhagen but also in Aarhus, Aalborg and Odense in Denmark from May 3rd till 16th. And it’s brilliant in thought and program. From the website, here is the introduction by the festival director Josephine Michau: CAFx investigates the role and impact of architecture in our lives and the world we live in. Architecture is more than just bricks, frameworks and compartments. It is sensual, corporeal and social. It is of political, historic and cognitive relevance. We live in constant interaction with architecture; it lives and changes alongside us and affects all aspects of our existence. Each year, the festival explores and presents ideas on the relation between the architectural world and human life through a broad public program of talks, films, performances, workshops, seminars and exhibitions in collaboration with various institutions and (inter)national partners…

On our site we would like to draw attention to the film program, that starts tomorrow where the festival opens with Danish director Boris Benjamin Bertram’s “Human Shelter”, that “takes you on a poetical expedition all over the world – an anthropological exploration of how human beings are creating our homes on planet earth”. There is a retrospective of films by Agnès Varda, and of films by Carl Th. Dreyer – see how he works with space in the photo above from “Ordet”, there are portraits of architects, of course, like Frank Gehry, Utzon, Bjarke Ingels, films on Niemeyer’s Brasilia, there are films by grand master of Danish documentary Jørgen Roos, and his niece Lise Roos.

Surprise for me is that – Sunday 13th of May 2pm at Cinemateket there is a launch of a book written by Claire Thomson, “Short films from a Small Nation” and the trilogy of Jørgen Roos, “A City Called Copenhagen” and his less known films on Hamburg and Oslo, all from the 60’es are screened.

And Palle Vedel makes a preview of his silent Copenhagen city symphony “with an original soundtrack” – in yellow, Dziga Vertov and Walter Ruttmann in memoriam.

OBS! The festival with many film screenings also takes place in Aarhus, Aalborg and Odense – and there is a lot to watch on the DRK.

Fantastic initiative – take a look on the website and see all the events that accompany the festival.

http://cafx.dk/


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Robert Frank: Me and My Brother/ 2

Written 29-04-2018 19:52:33 by Tue Steen Mller

Robert Frank: Me and My Brother/ 2

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

Photos: Steidl and Maria Berg Briese


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

Robert Frank: Me and My Brother

Written 28-04-2018 11:26:00 by Tue Steen Mller

Robert Frank: Me and My Brother

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

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

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

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

USA, 1968, 85 mins.

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

http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3392/


Vurdering:

 
Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DOK Leipzig 2018

Written 27-04-2018 10:35:21 by Tue Steen Mller

DOK Leipzig 2018

Demand the Impossible! is the motto of this year’s edition of DOK Leipzig (October 29 – November 4). In 2018, the festival’s Special Programmes will revolve around films that seek to bring about changes or depict processes of transformation, with the focus firmly on the emancipatory power of art. “We see the festival motto as a compass that helped us create our Special Programmes. The phrase Demand the Impossible! served as an inspiration to us when working on the conception of this year’s edition”, explained programmer Ralph Eue.

The motto is also a reference to this year’s Retrospective, which is dedicated to the years surrounding 1968. 50 years on, the Special Programme traces out that era’s virulent urge for aesthetic and social renewal and gathers together films from half a century that centre on 1968. “1968” is to be understood here as a symbol of pioneering events whose effect is still felt today. The Retrospective doesn’t approach these radical changes in society and aesthetics from the focal point of the protests themselves, but rather from the margins, with the idea being to consider the brittleness of existing orders in many different places at the time that eventually carried social upheaval into everyday life.

This year’s Homage honours filmmaker Ruth Beckermann (“The Dreamed Ones”), who is regarded as one of the founding members of Austria’s independent film scene and



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

The Baltic Cinematic Miracle/ 2

Written 25-04-2018 08:22:21 by Tue Steen Mller

The Baltic Cinematic Miracle/ 2

Nedenfor fortælles om den store retrospektive serie, som filmfestivalen i Karlovy Vary afvikler i anledning af 100-året for de tre baltiske landes selvstændighed. Mindre kan gøre det og med vanlig sans for kvalitet arrangerer Cinemateket i København, i samarbejde med Det Danske Kulturinstitut i de baltiske lande, en mini-serie hvori også optræder to nye dokumentarer af international kvalitet: Ivars Seleckis "To Be Continued" og Arunas Matelis "Wonderful Losers - A Different World". Begge film er i biograferne i Letland og Litauen, sidstnævnte film fra cykelsportens verden har til dato solgt 15.000 billetter i et land med et par millioner indbyggere. Jeg har fået lov til at indlede Matelis film - jeg har kendt ham siden vi mødtes på Bornholm til Balticum Film & TV Festival i 1990'erne og har fulgt hans filmiske karriere, der er fyldt med hædersbevisninger. Både til den nye film men også til "Before Flying Back to the Earth" fra børneafdelingen på et hospital, hvor hans datter var indlagt med leukæmi. 

https://www.dfi.dk/cinemateket/biograf/cinemateket-markerer-100-aret-baltisk-selvstaendighed


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

The Baltic Cinematic Miracle/ 1

Written 25-04-2018 08:02:47 by Tue Steen Mller

The Baltic Cinematic Miracle/ 1

The headline is a quote from the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival director Karel Och. The festival celebrates beautifully the 100th anniversary of independence of the three Baltic countries. The following is a copy-paste of the website text that accompanies the news from KVIFF published some days ago. The festival runs from June 29 till July 7.

The section Reflections of Time: Baltic Poetic Documentary, which will consist of six blocks of short- and medium-length films and two feature-length documentaries, represents a rare opportunity to see key works of documentary film from the Baltic countries within the context of films made in neighbouring countries. “Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia share with the former Czechoslovakia not just the year in which they declared their independence, but also an exceptionally artistic outpouring of cinematic production in the 1960s. We are glad that this year’s festival will be able to offer a unique report on the Baltic cinematic miracle,” says KVIFF’s artistic director Karel Och.

In the 1960s, Baltic documentary film underwent a narrative and



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Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Cinedoc Tbilisi 2018

Written 22-04-2018 16:19:32 by Tue Steen Mller

Cinedoc Tbilisi 2018

The sixth edition of the documentary festival in Tbilisi takes place May 3-8. I am going there again. Why? Because I am impressed of what good people are doing to improve the conditions for the documentary in the country. Building up a culture for documentaries, in other words. The two women who got me to come to Georgia almost 10 years were Anna Dziapshipa and Salome Jashi, filmmakers and tutors and organisers of training events through their Sakdoc. This year they are doing rough cut sessions for Georgian filmmakers.

The festival itself, however, was set up by two other good friends, the filmmakers Artchil Khetagouri and Ileana Stanculescu, who again this year offer a variety of choices for the audience and the professionals, who come to wonderful Tbilisi to enjoy films and the warm hospitality by the organisers. There is an industry section, and of course an international competition with DOKLeipzig’s Leena Pasanen as one of the jury members, there is a Focus Caucasus competition with Ukrainian director Roman Bondarchuk as a jury member… and Romania is the guest country with great films as the DOKLeipzig winner ”Licu” by Ana Dumitrescu, ”Tarzan’s Testicles” by Alexandru Solomon, ”Cinema, Mon Amour” by Alexandru Belc and ”Infinite Football” (PHOTO) by Corneliu Porumbolu.

For a football freak the latter is quite interesting, introducing a man who wants to change the football rules and has quite precise plans for how this can improve the noble game. There are rumours that the festival organisers will test the proposed rules – in a match where the festival plays against the guests!

http://www.cinedoc-tbilisi.com/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Sergey Dvortsevoy in Cannes

Written 20-04-2018 13:22:30 by Tue Steen Mller

Sergey Dvortsevoy in Cannes

In 2010, at DOKLeipzig, I attended a masterclass with the director, whose documentaries I have always adored and still do. One of the true masters of modern documentary. I knew him from the 1990’es, where his ”Paradise” was shown on Danish television. Later on came ”Bread Day”, also shot on 35mm material, a no-budget film that he made from the negative material that he had won as awards for ”Paradise”. Ratio: 1:2,5!!! And ”Highway” and ”In the Dark”, a film about a blind man in Moscow, it was four years in production. Dvortsevoy is a director, who makes no compromises, always looking for precision.

The year before I had written an open letter to the director, a quite pathetic one, where I express my regret that he had turned to fiction with ”Tulpan”. My criticism: ” You got some of the magical documentary moments that you can not put into a script. But you also have a story and it is full of humour and warmth. It is close to the reality you know, but they act, you can see that they perform, some of them over-act. I like it but you lose something in terms of the truthfulness you have in your previous work…”

You had explained to me that one of the reasons for turning to fiction was to avoid the problems you had had with ”Paradise”, where the people who took part in the film was heavily critisized for showing the Kazakh reality as poort and miserable. Respect for that. So Dvortsevoy went for fiction, as did Kieslowski.

Years ago, when in Moscow, my wife and I met Dvortsevoy, who told us passionately about his new film project, that is now finished and taken for the main competition in Cannes next month. Original title is ”Ayka”, international title is ”My Little One”. The synopsis goes like this ” A young Kyrgyz girl - Ayka - lives and works illegally in Moscow. After giving birth to her son she leaves him in hospital. Some time later, however, her motherly yearning leads her to desperate attempts of finding the abandoned child… Dvortsevoy told us that he had done the research with a video camera, the whole film, to be sure that all would work when the real filming was to start.

So curious to see how many magical documentary moments the great director has found this time!

#abn_berg


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

DocsBarcelona 2018

Written 18-04-2018 14:34:56 by Tue Steen Mller

DocsBarcelona 2018

DocsBarcelona has existed for more than 20 years. As an industry event, a market, where documentary projects are developed and pitched, where professionals meet to exchange ideas and push films further.

The DocsBarcelona as a festival, however, started small scale in 2007, getting growing to be what it is today with 40 films, competitions, an official Panorama section, a section called Latitude (”a selection of the best documentaries made in the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America”), a section called ”What the Doc” for ”the most radical and innovative films of the current documentary scene..” Plus special sections and Doc-U, films made by local universities.

The selection is great, hmm - I can say so as I took part. But having films in



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Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Elvira Lind: Bobbi Jene/ 2

Written 17-04-2018 11:24:18 by Tue Steen Mller

Elvira Lind: Bobbi Jene/ 2

Med mere end 50 filmfestivaler på sit cv – og flere i vente bl.a. Ciné-doc i Tbilisi og DocsBarcelona i maj måned – får den fremragende danske dokumentarfilm ”Bobbi Jene” af Elvira Lind biografpremiere i Danmark den 19. April. I dagens Politiken er der et fint baggrundsinterview med instruktøren og filmens hovedperson. Gå ind og se den film, som har energi i hver eneste scene. Det er en sjælden smuk og usædvanlig oplevelse! Et citat fra pressematerialet:

Elvira Lind: "Da jeg mødte Bobbi Jene, stod hun som kvinde og kunstner konfronteret med et dilemma, og jeg så muligheden for at fortælle historien om en kompromisløs kvindelig kunstner, der ikke var bange for at skubbe grænser. Hun var aldrig bange for at være sårbar, samtidig med at hendes styrke og uafhængighed blev opretholdt. Jeg havde selv lyst til at se en film om nogen som hende."

Jeg så filmen i Vilnius Litauen for et halvt år siden på stort lærred og med de studerende lavede vi en anmeldelse, som jeg citerer fra:

… The love she feels for the 10 year younger Or… of course we talked about that. She is so open about it and she expresses her feelings constantly. Her smiles, her doubts, her disappointment when he does not want to stay with her in NY. I am not ready, he says and Israel is my country.

A student referred to Pina Bausch. Dancing is healing. I don’t know if the artist Bobbi Jene, who works so hard ”to get to a place where there is nothing to hide”, would formulate it like that. Her dancing is so strong and expressive, sculptural, naked both literally and as a metaphor for her search for freedom in all aspects. Her nakedness, even her voice has this fragility that you could call naked, one student said.

What a drama, what a film. I explained the students that we at filmkommentaren work with a rating system. How many pens would they give? Strong majority for 6… The best!

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


Vurdering:

 
Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Veronika Kaserer: berall wo wir sind/ 2

Written 16-04-2018 18:43:47 by Tue Steen Mller

Veronika Kaserer: berall wo wir sind/ 2

Veronika Kaserer graduated from the Zelig school in Bolzano/Bozen in Italy in 2010. Since then she has done many non-film activities and some shorter works. At the Berlinale she came with the feature duration documentary that won the festival’s

Compass-Perspektive-Award. I know Veronika from teaching at Zelig, she asked me to watch the film, I did – and want to share with you the fine, reflective jury motivation for the award. So well formulated it is:

Veronika Kaserer has made a film about grief, which at the same reminds us that life is worth living. With an astonishing closeness, unconventional montage, and many surprising moments, she portrays the last weeks and days of Heiko Lekutat, a 29-year-old Berlin dance instructor, and, most notably, his wonderful, big-hearted family. Does the film cause us pain because the family’s sorrow distresses us so, or do we suffer because we feel that the great intimacy to those grieving oversteps a line and in doing so impinges on our own sense of well-being? The editing constantly flashes back and forth between “before” and “after” Heiko’s death. Is it legitimate to disrupt the process of dying in this way in order to arouse, on an abstract level, empathy for the psychological and emotional process of grieving? The fact that a film triggers fierce sentiments and debates is a fine quality. We congratulate director, producer, and camerawoman Veronika Kaserer.

I wrote to Veronika…: It’s a very emotional film, it goes very close, you use the family archive material beautifully, you give the viewer time to breathe - I am amazed that the family gave you such an access and when we meet one day I would like to hear about your relation to Heiko, what you talked about, what shooting agreements you made with him; you show a lot of respect and you really catch the feeling of what it meant for the parents and the sister to go through all this.

I think you and Kathrin Dietzel (love that you stick together - with her and with Jakob Stark as Cameraperson, both former Zelig students) have chosen a daring editing structure. To comment on the jury’s comments above, it feels right to go before and after death, but is also means, my small criticism, that towards the end it feels a bit too long and repetitive some times. It’s a detail in comparison with what you have achieved.

There must be many festivals waiting for your film.

Germany, 2018, 92 mins.


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Camilla Magid: Land of the Free

Written 15-04-2018 20:49:29 by Tue Steen Mller

Camilla Magid: Land of the Free

Time, yes, again Time means everything for many documentaries. And the other big T, Talent. And of course the most important quality for the documentarian, who cares… curiosity and compassion, maybe that is a big word, but in this case also a word that fits to the work done by a group of people, an NGO of volunteers, in Los Angeles, a priest, a psychologist/therapist and other social workers, who want to help people and families suffering from longer or shorter emprisonments. Camilla Magid, caring and compassionate, share the ambition to take strong human stories to the audience and she does it so well, because she has taken her time – the film is shot over a period of two years – and because she has a strong filmic talent as she already showed in her 2012 documentary ”White Black Boy”.

The film is structured around meetings in this Continuum, where



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Visions du Rel Starts Tomorrow

Written 12-04-2018 13:21:10 by Tue Steen Mller

Visions du Rel Starts Tomorrow

… and seems to keep the high quality for ”auteur” documentaries that was the profile created by Luciano Barisone. The festival, in Nyon Switzerland, now with Emilie Bujès as artistic director, goes on until April 21, and announces on its website the following numbers: 174 films from 53 different countries, 78 world premieres, 23 international premieres, 2 European premieres, 42 Swiss premieres, 139 film directors attending the Festival. The last numbers are important… 139 out of 174, important!

There is a special focus on Serbia this year with 18 documentaries, including of course newer titles as ”Depth Two” by Ognjen Glavonic, ”In Praise of Nothing” by Boris Mitic, ”The Other Side of Everything” by Mila Turajlic, but also older ones like Dragan Nikolic’s ”The Caviar Connection” and ”Dragan Wende – West Berlin” by Dragan von Petrovic and Lena Müller, both of them important films.

Also to be mentioned: French Claire Simon is ”Maitre du Réel” with



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FilmHotel und FilmUni Konrad Wolf

Written 06-04-2018 17:12:08 by Tue Steen Mller

FilmHotel und FilmUni Konrad Wolf

I live for several days at the Hotel am Griebnitzsee, which is wonderfully situated – as the name indicates – and the last two day I have been breakfasting in the terrasse of the hotel. Frühling is hier – in Potsdam, where the hotel is full of film: old cameras, photos. I pass every morning ten photos of the one and only ”die Asta” (Nielsen), Danish film star, who was acting in many films in Germany (1881-1972) before WW1 and after up to the end of the thirties, where she returned to Denmark. The only true film star we ever have had in Denmark.

At the Film University I have met 10-15 (depending on the days) dedicated film students (camera and direction and one from animation). They have seen and discussed films like ”Cameraperson” by Kirsten Johnson and ”Wongar” by Andrijana Stojkovic. The latter was awarded the other day in Belgrade, I am happy to say that it worked fine with the young German students, who have also heard their teacher talk about Agnès Varda, Frederick Wiseman, Miroslav Janek, Kossakovsky, Loznitsa, Pennebaker, Robert Frank, Herz Frank, Juris Podnieks, Maysles… and many others. And pitching and market.

This third day, however, has been the day of student films to be shown and discussed. Have to say it has been both joy- and fruitful, open discussions and constructive criticism. Tomorrow is the last day, we are to see Stasik`s ”21 x New York” and wrap up trying to define what is a documentary today.

Thanks to Peter Badel and Daniel Abma, who got me here and have treated me so well.

PS. Forgot to say that Rahul Jain passed by yesterday to show his masterpiece ”Machines” in one of the big cinemas that the school has. Rahul is excellent in talking about his film and where the inspiration came from.


Categories: TV, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Martovski Festival Awards Andrijana Stojkovic

Written 03-04-2018 11:42:05 by Tue Steen Mller

Martovski Festival Awards Andrijana Stojkovic

Two days ago Martovski Festival = The March Festival, 65th edition = Belgrade Documentary and Short Film Festival gave the main award for Best Long Documentary to Andrijana Stojkovic for “Wongar”. If you click below you can read what I have written about this extraordinary film that had the director go to and fro the editing room for years. It was worthwhile and my hope is now that the film will have the festival life it deserves – and maybe one or two tv stations as well, if they dare celebrate a high quality creative documentary. Here is the English translation of the jury motivation:

Out of the thematically strong selection the jury decided to award the film that distinguished itself by its minimalism, modesty, wisdom, cinematic value and a purposeful and rounded film form. A film about a foreigner in a foreign country, who, after his life spent in recording and fighting for the voice and rights of those who are systematically abolished, is seen in the old age. Old age marked by attention and calmness devoted to the dingos with whom he lives, wild dogs in which he recognised and found his mysteriously missing family, wife and children.

By making a conscious decision the author Andrijana Stojković does not explain to us the film, does not impose an attitude and an opinion about her hero, does not use the medium as a platform to hold historical or moral lessons to the audience. The director decided only to show us - without external interventions - to hand us over the universe she deals with in the film. This she accomplishes with long, melancholic and static shots that carefully capture the details of that world, at the same time submerging us in its rhythm, rules and values.

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

http://martovski.rs/en/


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Film History/ France

Written 02-04-2018 19:30:44 by Tue Steen Mller

Film History/ France

From Ukraine to Paris where the festival ”L’Europe autour de l’Europe” with a program of European films took place from March 14 till yesterday April 1. A celebration of the author film it is, the film d’auteur, with hommages to masters like the actor Jean-Pierre Léaud, born in 1944 with an early debut in 1959 in the legendary new wave film by Francois Truffaut, ”Les Quatre Cent Coups”; Antoine Doinel he is and we met him again in that role in several films by Truffaut, who is said to have seen Léaud as his alter ego. Léaud has played in films by Jean-Luc Godard and Jacquette Rivette – you remember the masterpiece ”La Maman et la Putain”? – and in the festival in Paris, he is in the latest film by Catalan director Albert Serra, ”La Mort de Louis XIV”.

The festival is run by Irena Bilic, it is the 13th edition of an impressive festival that runs in 13 different Parisian cinemas, including a couple of cultural institutes and an American university’s ”Arts Arena”, where I had the pleasure of presenting Danish Phie Ambo’s ”When You Look Away”, that was very well received by an educated audience of primarily Americans living in Paris.

Bilic also celebrated the Baltic cinema. Lithuanian Audrius Stonys had put together a program of films by Jaak Kilmi from Estonia, Viesturs Kairiss from Latvia, Arunas Matelis and himself from Lithuania.

I was not there but the organisers told me that it had been quite difficult to draw an audience to the Baltic films, as it was for the films in the Prix Sauvage competition, 8 fictions films and 1 documentary. I was in the jury with fine people like Polish Rafael Lewandowski and Bulgarian Ralitza Petrova. We gave the award to ”Colo”, a beautiful film by Portuguese Teresa Villaverde. Our jury motivation goes like this: « For the humanity and deepness with which it treats its subject matter and for the precision of its formal choices, while always remaining sincere, the Prix Sauvage goes to Colo by Teresa Villaverde. »

www.evropafilmakt.com


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Film History/ Ukraine

Written 01-04-2018 11:04:04 by Tue Steen Mller

Film History/ Ukraine

Exciting it was to visit Dovzhenko Film Studios in Kiev, originating from 1927, carrying the name of Alexander Dovzhenko (1894-1956). And sad as well as the buildings stand alone (apart from a couple of sound studios and a fantastic store with props) and deserted – as I have experienced in other former Soviet republics, Latvia being one of them. But you can easily imagine the studio, that is like a small city in itself, with everything needed space-wise for big productions, flats for the important directors – and Dovzhenko was here.

Just to remind us, a text clip I googled:

”Along with Dziga Vertov, Sergei Eisenstein and Vsevolod Pudovkin, Alexander Dovzhenko is one of Soviet cinema’s early masters. Best known for his silent films, Zvenyhora (1928), Arsenal (1929) and Earth (1930), Dovzhenko holds a dominant place among avant-garde directors. It has generally not been recognized that Dovzhenko’s early canon was also an integral part of the Ukrainian cultural renaissance. This work looks at Alexander Dovzhenko’s Soviet Ukrainian trilogy in the light of the silent cinema’s early aesthetic and presents an analysis of the silent trilogy in the context of the Ukrainian Cultural Renaissance (1917-31)[2] and its dialogue with a wider modernist avant garde.”

The studio is today owned by the Ukraine state.

Photo taken by Roman Bondarchuk: Ellen Fonnesbech-Sandberg, Dar’ya Averchenko and me.  

http://rayuzwyshyn.net/dovzhenko/Introduction.htm


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Civil Pitch Winners at Docudays

Written 30-03-2018 17:55:21 by Tue Steen Mller

Civil Pitch Winners at Docudays

I had the privilege to moderate the final pitch session of the Civil Pitch at Docudays festival in Kiev Ukraine. 8 projects were presented to a panel of documentary producers, festival people and distributors. Projects which were quite young but pretty much alive and kicking. Read what Roman Bondarchuk from the festival rightfully said:

“It’s incredible that these projects didn’t even exist as recently as two weeks ago. That filmmakers and activists exist each in their own worlds and rarely cross paths,” says Bondarchuk, a member of the competition jury. “And it is also incredible that for me personally some topics presented by the participants were absolute discoveries, and they made me want to engage these topics myself. In the end, although we have selected only four projects as winners, all of them had a great opportunity to meet renowned professionals of the European film industry and receive consultations about their projects.

I can only agree with him and hope that the film projects, most of them aiming at 20-25 minutes, will be realized. 4 of them will be helped by start money, each of the winning projects will receive $5,500. The funds for producing these short documentaries are



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Arunas Matelis Class with a Master

Written 29-03-2018 18:48:43 by Tue Steen Mller

Arunas Matelis  Class with a Master

Confession: I insisted to be the one to talk to Lithuanian Arunas Matelis in the class that the organisers of Docudays in Kiev had set up to celebrate the director and his work for the last 25 years with his short documentaries, his ”Before the Flight Back to the Earth” and the new one, ”Wonderful Losers”. As you can see from the photo he was also in the jury – one of them – of the festival, watching 6 Ukrainian feature documentaries and a short film program.

Insisting… as I have known Matelis since the beginning of the 1990’es where he with Audrius Stonys came to Bornholm to the Balticum Film & TV Festival as young talents impressing us all with their word-less visual poems, a word Matelis used at the class, where around 25 people attended – many more will have the chance to see what we talked about, when Docudays put the recorded talk online.

I put two short films into the program: ”Flight Over Lithuania” that he made with Stonys for an Expo Exhibition in 2000 and ”Ten minutes Before the Flight of Icarus” from 1990, a film that was shot just before the country, the beautiful country described in ”Flight Over…”, became independent.

Arunas Matelis is a man of reflection, a man who – now he does more than when I met him 25 years ago – does not like to talk about his films because words take away from the images, the visuals that he put so much emphasis on. I am in Paris now coming from Kiev this morning and I see with great pleasure that some of his films – as well some made by Audrius Stonys – are shown in the festival I attend, Festival des Films Autour de l’Europe. It is therefore more than appropiate to say that Arunas Matelis is un grand auteur. 


Categories: Festival, Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

New Top Portraits

Written 26-03-2018 23:10:18 by Tue Steen Mller

New Top Portraits

After a long time with three male directors, three female directors go to the top of the filmkommentaren.dk:

Maite Alberti, Agnès Varda, Giedre Zickyte.

Maite Alberdi, Chilean director, is known for her warm-hearted films, to be mentioned ”Tea Time” from 2014 and ”The Grown-Ups” from 2016, many times awarded, both of them got the main award at DocsBarcelona. She co-directed in 2016 the short film ”I’m Not from Here”, a gem of a documentary, with, to the right

Giedre Zickyte from Lithuania, who made the beautiful love story ”Master and Tatyana” in 2014, introducing to us the superb photographer Vitas Luckus and his dramatic life in Soviet Lithuania. Before that, in 2011, she had made ”How We Played the Revolution” that goes back to 1984, the beginning of perestroika in the USSR, where the rock group Antis had an impact on the fall of the empire…

Agnès Varda is in the middle, 89 years old master of cinema, who needs no further introduction for her volume of short films, fiction and documentaries, the latest – together with photographer JR – ”Faces, Places”, full of energy and originality.


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Docudays TV and Documentaries

Written 26-03-2018 22:27:05 by Tue Steen Mller

Docudays  TV and Documentaries

Angelina Kariakina from Hromadske (google it, interesting online channel) was the moderator and she did a good job, keeping the panel engaged:

Olga Zakharova from Media Group Ukraine that includes a big commercial tv channel, Ivan Bukreev from NLO TV channel, also a commercial channel and Kenan Aliyev from the Russian language TV channel (started in 2014) Current Time TV.

The questions for the three dealt with the possibility of matching the documentary film sector and its productions with television. The two Ukrainian channel representatives mentioned what they had done in terms of documentary broadcast, not a lot, but some series and the sentence ”our audience is not interested in documentaries” came back again and again; the audience go to our channel to get away from problems of social and political nature – words to that effect.

Whereas Kenan Aliyev told the audience that his channel buys into 100 documentaries per year, being an alternative to the official Russian tv channels, ”a project of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) in cooperation with the Voice of America” with a budget to be approved by the American Congress. We have to prove that we reach an audience, Aliyev said, being proud to say that the documentaries are more watched by his audience than the news.

Aliyev, based in Prague, has set up shorter documentary shows called ”Unknown Russia” and ”Unknown Ukraine”, and he has a slot called ”Real Cinema”, where Vitaly Manski presents the documentaries coming to the channel. The same Manski is now finishing a film, supported by Current Time TV, called ”Putin’s Witnesses” dealing with how Putin came to power. He showed a clip from the film and on the screen waiting to be shown as well, but there was no time for that, was ”Lida” (PHOTO) by Anna Eborn, bravo, a fine piece of creative documentary. I have met Aliyev several times now, in Riga for the Baltic Sea Docs, in Prague for the East Doc Platform and now here. He is very interested in collaboration with festivals. Good news in times where public broadcasters in Europe are cutting down, playing a minor role in support of documentaries.

docudays.ua/eng/2018/events


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Docudays: Looking for Lenin

Written 26-03-2018 07:01:04 by Tue Steen Mller

Docudays: Looking for Lenin

Up, up, up the slippery street Andriyivskyy Uzviz to the fine Triptych Gallery together with Da’rya Averchenko and Roman Bondarchuk to watch the exhibition ”Looking for Lenin”, Da’rya chose the photo to accompany the text: Gagarin, Stalin and Lenin watching television! And here comes a copy paste of a text from the website of the festival, more to be found via link below:

”Ukraine’s Leninfall is perhaps the most sensational of symbolic purges in the contemporary world, but not the only one. Swiss photojournalist Niels Ackermann and French journalist Sébastien Gobert travelled extensively across Ukraine in the wake of the Revolution of Dignity in search of the fragments of the crumbling Soviet past. Myroslava Hartmond, a contributor to their joint book of the same name, which was published in 2017, and managing director of the Triptych: Global Arts Workshop gallery in Kyiv, reflects on the importance of taking stock of fallen Lenins in the context of this year’s theme of equality. The project is supported by the Swiss Embassy in Ukraine and the Journées francophonie 2018 programme.

Niels Ackermann and Sébastien Gobert’s ‘Looking for Lenin’ is a snapshot of a country in crisis that captures Ukraine at war with its past, its Russian neighbour, and its identity. The series, which reveals the different fates of statues across the breadth of the country, had great success in the global media, became the basis of a book of the same name published in the UK and Switzerland, and has been exhibited in France, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Lebanon. All over the world, Ukrainian Lenin was cited as an example. Because this series resonated with the reassessment of the symbolic vocabulary of cities worldwide – the Rhodes Must Fall campaign in South Africa and the UK, the removal of Confederate monuments in the US, as well as heightened sensitivity to Belgian colonial statues…”

http://docudays.ua/eng/2018/news/docu-info/photo-exhibition/


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Warscape Winner Work-in Progress

Written 26-03-2018 06:35:29 by Tue Steen Mller

Warscape Winner Work-in Progress

At Docudays 2017 the winner of the Warscape competition was a film project with Valeriya Treshchova as the director. A film about herself living in Kiev with her father and mother living in Donetsk. In other words, in the war zone. When she pitched the project, she had very little material, first and foremost some skype conversations with her father, who suffered from amnesia. I am writing this in the past as her father passed away a couple of months ago. This is how the director presented the film a year ago:

“This film is a "message about hopelessness”. Hopelessness of war will be shown through the story of my father, whom I knew totally different before this war. Now I learn to show my feelings and to forgive, because ‘tomorrow’ can never occur. The war reminds us about it every second. My dad is trying to regain his life, being trapped into double isolation between his lost memory and new uneasy reality of his hometown”.

I was invited to attend a rough cut screening at the festival the other day together with representatives from the Red Cross, who has supported the film as has the festival, and the teacher of young Treshchova, acclaimed Ukrainian director Sergey Bukovsky. The screening was hosted by Darya Bassel from the festival.

What we saw was very promising. The film, right now with the working title ”Double Trap”, portrays the father in a beautiful way, a charismatic smiling man with a daughter, who goes back home to mum and dad, to a place, where there is reason to be scared. The father enjoys his music, Jethro Tull, John Mayall etc., takes his daughter to his childhood’s school, does the dishes in the kitchen, sits there and gets his pills from his wife, remembers back in time but has no comments to the war going on, which could be the reason for his amnesia. Bukovsky told us about the family archive that could be part of the film as well, bringing back a time where reality was quite different. The ambition is to make a feature documentary.

Look out for this film, representatives for autumn doc festivals.


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Last Men in Aleppo..in Kiev

Written 25-03-2018 21:31:03 by Tue Steen Mller

Last Men in Aleppo..in Kiev

I have just come back from giving an introduction to a screening of "Last Men in Aleppo", written and directed by Feras Fayyad, produced by Kareem Abeed and Søren Steen Jespersen Larm Film Denmark, co-directed by Steen Johannessen. A screening in Ukraine Cinema in Kiev within the program of the Docudays ua festival. Full house = close to 500 people in the cinema. Most of them young people. The reason for me giving this introduction was that the Danish ambassador could not be present - I did not mind saying some few words about the film that is winning awards all over = meaning, much more important, that it is shown globally. And I passed some words about my personal experience being in Damascus for the DoxBox documentary festival until it had to stop in 2011, alas. The director of the festival, Orwa Nyrabia, is now appointed director of IDFA festival Amsterdam! There IS an audience for documentaries, also in Kiev at the Docudays festival, I have attended three screenings with full houses and one with 300 spectators, Arunas Matelis, "Wonderful Losers", this afternoon. It's all very professionally organised. More will follow, and on behalf of the Embassy of Denmark and Danish documentary it's nice to see not only "Last Men in Aleppo" but also "Distant Barking of Dogs" by Simon Lereng Wilmont, "Lida" by Anna Eborn and "Bobbi Jene" by Elvira Lind.

http://docudays.ua/eng


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CPH:DOX 2018/ 12 Days

Written 25-03-2018 09:50:06 by Sara Thelle

CPH:DOX 2018/ 12 Days

RAYMOND DEPARDON: 12 DAYS

Wow – Raymond Depardon’s latest film 12 Days made a deep impression. It is simple, powerful, sober and precise.

In France, a citizen who is involuntarily committed to psychiatric treatment has, within 12 days, the right to have his case overlooked by a judge, and it is this meeting between the patient, the mental health system and the system of justice Depardon examines in his documentary.

The film opens up with the camera moving slowly through the empty corridors of the closed ward of a psychiatric hospital ending up in front of the locked door, immediately installing the claustrophobic sense of being deprived of one’s freedom. It sounds like a cliché as I write it, but in the film it’s an important and very powerful scene.

When we are in the small court room with the patient, his or her lawyer and the judge, every case opens up to poignant, universal and fundamental questions of ethical, societal and political order.

No one is being judged or demonized and there are no easy answers, but the imbalance of power within the system is clearly visible.

How do you oppose when authority has decided what is “in your interest”? Are the lines blurred between incarceration and forceful psychiatric commitments? Is the system reacting adequately when there are children involved? Why medicalization and not psychotherapy? What if symptoms of work harassment are mistaken for a psychiatric diagnosis of the individual? Should you have the right to decide whether you want to live or not? These questions are put forward by the psychiatric patients themselves who, in their own words and in a language so different from that of the medical and jurisdictional officials, arguments clearly and rationally.



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DocuDays Kiev Ukraine: Equality/ 2

Written 24-03-2018 10:39:26 by Tue Steen Mller

DocuDays Kiev Ukraine: Equality/ 2

Look at the photo, an elderly couple studying the program waiting for the opening of the 15th edition of DocuDays UA. My wife, Ellen, and I have been here several times, the hospitality is always warm and generous and the program, 62 films this year and masterclasses, pitchings, photo exhibitions, you can not have any objections to. For the first time there is a special competition for Ukrainian feature films, 6 of them, I will try to watch as many as possible. The opening included great live music to accompany trailers for the many sections, good speeches around the theme of equality, again, alas, all of us standing up with yellow papers saying "Free Oleg Sentsov", and the very obvious choice of an opening film "A Woman Captured" by Hungarian Bernadett Tuza-Ritter. With a fine Q&A afterwards. The opening took place at the new Zhovten Cinema that has - hope I am right - 4 cinema halls and meeting places. The festival people are committed, they have something to say about their country and the world and human rights. And Bravo again to Sweden that is the main sponsor of the festival. And it is not pocket money! The sun is shining outside Hotel Rus where I am right now waiting for the day program to start. I'll be back with reports and reviews.

http://docudays.org.ua/


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Awards at CPH:DOX

Written 24-03-2018 09:57:56 by Tue Steen Mller

Awards at CPH:DOX

The winner of Dox:Award 2018 is ‘The Raft’ ( PHOTO) by the Swedish director Marcus Lindeen, which tells the story of one of the strangest social experiments of all times - told by those who took part in it.

The jury states:

“The winner of the DOX:AWARD 2018 is a film about an endless curiosity for the world and the characters who try to survive in it. Its great accomplishment lies in the equal measure of conceptual and emotional elements in the construction, in which feelings and emotions get literally elevated. Two very different forms are intertwined and merge surprisingly well: we see love, companionship and stamina triumph over darker sides of human behavior. We applaud the director for his stamina to continue working on this extensive and complex project until it reached a form where it looks deceptively effortless to the innocent eye. This jury is not innocent but we were nevertheless captivated and very moved by this film.

The jury perceives the film as a unique record of time and



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CPH:DOX 2018/ Dreaming Murakami

Written 21-03-2018 09:09:13 by Mikkel Stolt

CPH:DOX 2018/ Dreaming Murakami

NITESH ANJAAN: DREAMING MURAKAMI

As a writer and film maker who is quite interested in (and even feel an affinity for) the Japanese author Haruki Murakami, I felt almost obliged to be disappointed and a bit bitter after watching this film. I just knew that about myself because I’m petty and jealous.

But lo and behold: I found that this is a good film and that you should see it.

The film discreetly and knowingly follows Danish translator, Mette Holm, and her work on one of Murakami’s first novels (first published in Denmark last year). At the same time an alternative world is introduced in different ways. Most prominently by a giant frog (inspired by the Murakami-story “Super-Frog Saves Tokyo” from the collection “After the Quake”) and for instance more subtly by adding another moon in a couple of scenes (inspired by the three-volume novel “1Q84”).

It actually works surprisingly elegant due to very convincing VFX. As we follow Holm, her thoughts and her talks with colleagues in a somewhat “normal” documentary style and therefore are forced to activate our cognitive skills, we are also introduced to that special other-world, which is so prominent – but feels truly “natural” – in his novels. So not only are we getting closer to the work of the translator (I actually prefer Holm’s translations and has stopped reading him in English), we are also getting a sense of the special characteristics of the authorship.



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CPH:DOX 2018/ Giants

Written 20-03-2018 12:55:38 by Tue Steen Mller

CPH:DOX 2018/ Giants

ALEXANDER RYNÉUS, MALLA GRAPENGIESSER, PER BIFROST: GIANTS AND THE MORNING AFTER

I saw a clip of this Swedish documentary in Malmø at the DocIncubator presentation of new projects in connection with the Nordisk Panorama. Promising it was and I was not disappointed, when I saw the final result, a warm and beautifully shot documentary from the small community Ydre; quite right decision of the organisers to put the film in the main competition of CPH:DOX.

There he is, Sven-Inge, the mayor who welcomes new citizens to Ydre by going to the parents and the baby with a small welcome gift for the latter – encouraging the parents to continue to make babies in a town suffering from depopulation. Around 3000 they are but there is a slight increase, which makes the old white-bearded man happy. You see him often in the film studying the population statistics, when he is not taking part in the many activities that the film crew has caught so well during filming over several seasons.

And there are other characters of importance – the owner of the



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Doker Moscow Russia

Written 19-03-2018 10:50:57 by Tue Steen Mller

Doker Moscow Russia

In a break of the Danish television 3 hour long coverage of the re-election of President Putin - instead of falling asleep - I checked facebook and saw that the organisers of the independent documentary festival in Moscow had chosen the opening film, Polish Marta Prus ”Over the Limit”, for festival that runs April 12-17. A fine choice of course – the film is excellent and the characters are Russian.

I have since the first edition of the festival been a fan of what Irina Shatalova and Nastia Tarasova, and their team, have set up. This is the fourth edition and it includes a main competition of feature docs, a short film competition, docs for kids, masterclasses, discussions.

Other films in the main competition are ”A Woman Captured” by Hungarian Bernadett Tuza-Ritter (shown these days at CPH:DOX and is the opening film on friday 23rd at DocuDays in Kiev), the touching Dutch film ”Alicia” by Maasja Ooms, the equally moving Belorussian film about women in prison, ”Debut” by Anastasiya Miroshnichenko and French Emmanuel Gras Congo-film ”Makala”. 14 films are shown in the main competition.

High quality, a focus on how people live around the world.

https://www.midff.com/


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Marie-Clmence Andriamonta Paes: Fahavalo

Written 17-03-2018 14:10:49 by Tue Steen Mller

Marie-Clmence Andriamonta Paes: Fahavalo

”I’ll try to tell you the story”, says the weak old man in a blue shirt with a hat on his head. He is adressing the camera crew. ”I was 22 in 1947”, the year that is the focus of the film, the year when a rebellion took place led by the ”Fahavalo”, the enemies it means, against the French who had colonised Madagascar. An uprising against the Vazaha, the French, the Europeans. He was one of the freedom fighters and he paid his price, 8 years and 9 months in prison. The rebels were hiding in the forests and long after they were defeated, many of them were still there.



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Tsymbal & Smoljanski: Two Painters

Written 13-03-2018 14:20:05 by Tue Steen Mller

Tsymbal & Smoljanski: Two Painters

… Oscar Rabin and Valentina Kropivnitskaya, their lives and their art. I knew the name Rabin in beforehand and that he is exiled, living in Paris now, 90 years old, but I had never really heard the story about him as an artist in the USSR and I did not know that his wife Valentina was such an excellent artist. All that was clarified because I met Alexander Smoljanski at DOK Leipzig, who invited me to watch the two films about the artist couple. The film are introduced like this on the website:

”This is a film project in two parts showing the story of the leader of the Soviet underground artists, painter Oscar Rabin, and his wife, painter Valentina Kropivnitskaya. It is a story of painters who never betrayed their artistic principles and always fought to show how powerful a weapon nonviolent resistance can be – it’s a story of love, art and human dignity.”

I learned a lot from the two films. About the Lianozovo group of so-



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East Doc Forum 2018

Written 10-03-2018 19:14:22 by Tue Steen Mller

East Doc Forum 2018

Huge cinema for the highlight of the East Doc Platform 2018. After masterclasses, presentations, individual meetings at the market, receptions – all held in the good atmosphere that the IDF (Institute for Documentary Film) is so good in creating, and has been doing since the start of this century – it was show time for 24 projects, many of them coming from the 3 week long development programme EO, Ex Oriente.

The two main tutors of EO, Finnish Iikka Vehkalahti and Danish Mikael Opstrup, were again the presenters of the projects, an enjoyable and easy job for the two football aficionados, who maybe suffered a bit after having seen Tottenham lose to Juventus at ”our” Indian restaurant ”The Londoners”!

On the 8th of March, International Women’s Day, Vehkalahti welcomed the first pitching team, Polish



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The Winning Projects at EDP in Prague

Written 10-03-2018 19:04:23 by Tue Steen Mller

The Winning Projects at EDP in Prague

- EDP standing for East Documentary Platform.

Photo: The Last Relic (d. Marianna Kaat (to the left), p. Dorota Roszkowska) and Angels of Sinjar. Yazidis - 21st Century Genocide (d. Hanna Polak, p. Simone Baumann (to the right). Photo: Michal Hančovský.

East Doc Platform Award
 The Last Relic - Marianna Kaat Producers: Marianna Kaat, Dorota Roszkowska Production companies: Baltic Film Production (Estonia), Arkana Studio (Poland)

HBO Europe Award 
Angels of Sinjar. Yazidis - 21st Century Genocide - Hanna PolakProducers: Hanna Polak, Simone Baumann Production companies: Hanna Polak Films (Poland), Saxonia Entertainment GmbH (Germany)

Czech TV Co-production Award
 Angels of Sinjar. Yazidis - 21st Century Genocide

The Current Time TV Award
 Holy Culture! - Ksenia GapchenkoProducer: Maria Chuprinskaya Production company: Ethnofund (Russia) 

The Place of Love - Liuba Ziamtsova
Producer: Maria Yahorava 
Production company: Illusion Film Company (Belarus)

Golden Funnel
 Amoosed! - Hana Nováková 
Producer: Kateřina Traburová 
Production company: GURU Film (Czech Republic)

IDFA Forum 
Journey to the End of the Night - Ksenia Elyan Producers: Max Tuula, Maria Gavrilova, Alexander Rastorguev Production company: Marx Film (Estonia)

Speed Meetings at DocsBarcelona
 Wishing on a Star - Peter Kerekes
Producers: Erica Barbiani, Ralph Weiser, Peter Kerekes, Petra Oplatková
Production companies: Videomante (Italy), Mischief Films (Austria), Artcam Films (Czech Republic), Peter Kerekes Film (Slovakia)

DOK Leipzig Co-Pro Meetings Lessons of Love - Malgorzata Goliszewska, Katarzyna Mateja 
Producer: Anna Stylinska 
Production company: Warsaw Film Center (Poland) 

DOK Preview Presentation
 Hacking Friendship - Oleksiy Radynski Producer: Lyuba Knorozok Production company: Lyuba Knorozok (Poland) 

Sheffield Doc/Fest Award
 In the Name of Allah - Francesco MontagnerProducer: Pavla Janoušková Kubečková Production companies: nutprodukceFAMU Prague (Czech Republic) 

If/Then Short Pitch Award
 Blackandwhite - Zoe Eluned Aiano, Anna BennerProducers: Linda Dedkova, Martin HůlovecProduction company: Punk Film (Czech Republic)


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Modern Times Review Spring 2018

Written 10-03-2018 17:28:00 by Tue Steen Mller

Modern Times Review Spring 2018

… with the subtitle ”The European Documentary and Non-fiction Magazine” is out with its 3rd printed version, and let me start with a strong promotion of what is ridiculously cheap, 28€ per year:

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

I met the chief-editor Norwegian Truls Lie in Prague the other day, where he brought the magazine to the big documentary community attending the East Doc Platform and the One World Festival. He told me that this spring issue of the magazine comes out with a focus on films that are being shown at the festivals in Thessaloniki, Prague, Oslo, Copenhagen, Nyon, Krakow. Within the 24 pages there are small interviews with the festival directors of the mentioned festivals to give you an idea of where their focus lies. It’s nice and informative.

Otherwise - and most important – the quality of the reviews and articles are high. Let me mention two excellent writers, Nick Holdsworth and Neil Young. The first has an impressive analysis of the controversial Czech documentary ”The White World According to Daliborek” (PHOTO) by Vit Klusak, the latter, Neil Young, gets a whole page to write a beautiful article on short films based on his visit to the International Film Festival Rotterdam. ”Short documentaries has a capacity to dazzle and delight”, he writes and reviews in details two Ukrainian short films, Tobias Zielony’s ”Maskirova” and Anna Jermolaewas ”Leninopad”. It is a scoop that Lie has Neil Young to write about shorts in the magazine. I am sure many readers know Young from his (long) documentary reviews in Hollywood Reporter… And he gets around, Neil Young, who told me that he was at 28 festivals last year. Gosh!!!

Again a big Bravo to Truls Lie for continuing what was done with the DOX Magazine. A tribute to the documentary genre. SUBSCRIBE!  

www.moderntimes.review


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EDN Award to DOC Lab Poland

Written 07-03-2018 17:57:00 by Tue Steen Mller

EDN Award to DOC Lab Poland

Adam Ślesicki and Katarzyna Ślesicka receive the 2018 EDN Award for their work in establishing and running DOC LAB POLAND, which is the largest and most multi-faceted program for documentary filmmakers organized in Poland for Polish projects. The initiative supports auteur-driven creative documentary filmmaking and features a comprehensive program for the development of film projects. In addition to development support, DOC LAB POLAND also connects the European documentary industry to the Polish documentary scene, thereby making the strong creative tradition of Polish documentary more widely known and accessible.

With regards to the selection of DOC LAB POLAND for the 2018 EDN Award, EDN Director Paul Pauwels states: “In times where national authorities and state structures seem to care less about freedom of expression, democratic values and creative artists, it is essential that we have initiatives fighting for the rightful existence of the documentary genre as an artistic expression and cornerstone of our democratic society. It is important to have organisations that create European collaborations and bridges to other national industries, especially in times where political structures tend to focus more on national preferences. I therefore believe it is a logical step to recognize DOC LAB POLAND through the EDN Award 2018 for their outstanding contribution to the European documentary culture".

The award was presented to Adam Ślesicki at The EDN Award ceremony on March 6, 2018 during the Docs in Thessaloniki pitching forum organized by EDN in the framework of the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival – Images of the 21st Century.

Photo: Adam Slesicki right, Ove Jensen EDN left.

www.edn.dk


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New Resistance..in the streets of Prague

Written 07-03-2018 17:40:15 by Tue Steen Mller

New Resistance..in the streets of Prague

There was not a lot of power in the panel discussion at the Institut Francais yesterday where a panel discussion was held with good people like Estonian Max Tuula, Bulgarian Vesela Kazakova, Kenan Aliyev from Current Time TV, local hero Filip Remunda and Polish Konrad Szolajski. They gave each one of them a brief on what kind of stir their controversial films had given, the censorship they had met - it has all been written about on this site if you search the names mentioned. And of course, as said by Aliyev, investigative journalism is dangerous right now, referring to the murder of the Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak and his partner.



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Czech Docs Coming Soon

Written 07-03-2018 11:26:50 by Tue Steen Mller

Czech Docs Coming Soon

We had to put it as the last film to be presented, ”In Mosul” by war photographer and cinematographer Jana Andert, who for 8 months was following the battle of Mosul with Golden Division, an elite Iraq squad. Jan Macola, who produced Mira Janek’s ”Normal Autistic Film”. With Tonicka Jankova as the editor the plan is to make a 70 minutes long documentary out of the 15 hours material, Jana Andert brought home. The 10 minutes presented at the Czech Docs… Coming Soon session at the Cervantes Institute here in Prague was very hard to watch: corpses, crying mothers, a small child heavily injured, explosions, constant tension. After the films from Aleppo and Homs here is another horror story from the crazy world we live in.

5 films were presented, four of them in post-production, one in



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East Doc Calls for New Resistance

Written 06-03-2018 12:25:36 by Tue Steen Mller

East Doc Calls for New Resistance

I am in Prague for the East Doc Platform, organised by Institute of Documentary Film. It is as always a very welcoming and generous tribute to the documentary, where projects are being presented and discussed – and parallel the festival One World has started. In other words Prague is full of professionals within the documentary community and many viewers are expected – as usual – for the festival.

On the East Doc Platform catalogue and on posters (see photo) the text goes like this: ”New Resistance: Critical filmmaking is a risky business. Keep your brain safe!” This afternoon there will be a discussion on this theme, I will be there and come back to you with a report. In the panel is Estonian Max Tuula, Bulgarian Vesela Kazakova, Kenan Aliyev from Current Time TV, local hero Filip Remunda, Polish Konrad Szolajski. All people who have been involved in films, which have raised hard discussions.

What was the ”Old Resistance”, I asked one of the organisers, 1989 Tue, of course, and what about the 1968… Also that but you know what happened… and what happens now, where the President is very positive towards Russia and the communists are in government!

https://dokweb.net/cs/


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Thessaloniki Doc Festival 20 Years

Written 06-03-2018 11:38:17 by Tue Steen Mller

Thessaloniki Doc Festival 20 Years

Oh, really… The documentary film festival in Thessaloniki has existed for 20 years! I remember with pleasure, during my time at the EDN (European Documentary Network) the collaboration we had with the founder of the festival Dimitri Eipides. A man with a big heart for the artistic documentary and for films that deal with human rights.

And it is an equal pleasure to see how alive and professional the EDN Docs in Thessaloniki is, the development and pitching session. And the occasion for giving out the yearly EDN Award – actually that happens today. Name tomorrow.

The festival ha of course an international competition section, it has tributes to Agnès Varda and to Véréna Paravel & Lucien Castaing-Taylor, who gave us the innovative masterpiece "Leviathan". And like at every doc festival right now discussions about human rights are being held after screenings. In Thessaloniki after the film "The Cleaners". 

Third pleasure is that there is a special tribute to commissioning editor Madeleine Avramoussis from arte with a screening of the Greek documentary success, "Dolphin Man". Madeleine, with Greek roots, has always supported the festival and Docs in Thessaloniki - I have so many good memories, as moderator of pitching session, of Madeleine being a sharp and constructive critical voice in the panel.

http://www2.filmfestival.gr/en

http://edn.network/activities/edn-activities-2018/docs-in-thessaloniki-2018/


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Awards at ZagrebDox

Written 04-03-2018 14:32:08 by Tue Steen Mller

Awards at ZagrebDox

Finally I get the chance to bring to you a still from one of my favourite scenes in ”The Other Side of Everything” by Mila Turajlic: Srbijanka Turajlic, the mother of the director and the protagonist, is polishing the silver in the flat, where it all takes place. It warms my heart that the Serbian film, winner of main award at IDFA, yesterday got three (!) awards at ZagrebDox: Best film in regional competition, the Fipresci Award and the Audience Award + eight screenings at the festival. Let me give you the motivation texts from the two first ones, two different ways to approach the film it is:



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Oscar Doc Nominations/ 2

Written 02-03-2018 11:05:03 by Tue Steen Mller

Oscar Doc Nominations/ 2

The Oscars are to be given out in a couple of days. The media are full of articles, where film journalists and reviewers tell the readers, who their favourites are and who they think will be the winners. It’s all about feature/fiction films and actors. Very seldom documentaries are mentioned. Although the Oscars is not the most important event for the it should be said that the selection of the films nominated as I wrote late January includes ”good and very good films”.

At that time I had only seen two of the films, ”Last Men in Aleppo” by Feras Fayyad with Søren Steen Jespersen and Kareem Abeed as producers. Happy to read that Abeed now has got his visa so he can take part in the ceremony. In her review (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3858/)

Sara Thelle praises the cinematography and editing and writes ” it is documentation of war crimes and crimes against humanity, right there in front of your eyes. It is extremely disturbing and hard to watch.” An obvious candidate for the Oscar.

The other film I had seen was ”Icarus” by Bryan Fogel and Dan Cogan (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3242/), the weakest of the five nominated films.

Whereas ”Faces, Places” by Agnès Varda & JR is such a warm and charming personal film made in the loose essayistic style, also an obvious candidate, read the review (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4161/)

The same goes for ”Strong Island” by Yance Ford. On the website of the film it is characterised precisely as ”intimate and meditative”, it is brilliantly constructed, it never goes sensationalistic even if the film is about a murder (of the brother of the director), it has the most fantastic mother of the murdered and the way it holds back information for the viewer stresses that this is a film about a family and an unbearable loss. If the Oscar should go to a film because of its aesthetic qualities – cinematography, editing – ”Strong Island” stands out.

Steve James finally was nominated with his fine ”Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”, a warm portrait of the Chinese family Sun and their bank problems. I loved to be with them in NY Chinatown but was a bit disappointed after having seen he director’s previous films – ”Hoop Dreams”, ”The Interrupters”, ”Life Itself”.

http://oscar.go.com/nominees


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DocuDays Kiev Ukraine: Equality

Written 28-02-2018 21:40:12 by Tue Steen Mller

DocuDays Kiev Ukraine: Equality

Every year the festival in Kiev picks a theme that is reflected upon in the festival programme – and at the opening of the festival that has always been a fest in itself… This year – according to the organisation committe, as it is put – ”the topic of equality is related to many social problems and challenges. Human dignity, freedom, justice and equality are the values which underpin the concept of human rights.

Meanwhile, the value of equality is accepted by only a half of the population of Ukraine. So equality requires action by human rights advocates. This year, we would like to talk about what equality is and how we can profess it in our everyday lives. What is it, anyway — an abstract, intellectual concept or a practical value, which can help us achieve respect, harmony and security?...

This statement is visually interpreted in a festival symbol, see photo:

…This time, our festival poster is a labyrinth. An optical illusion made of high-rise buildings with attached balconies, omnipresent parking lots and squads of armed men in black — they appeared on our streets recently, it is unclear whom they report to, and they carry their own special ideas about equality.

It is a metaphor of insanity which we are descending into, because we do not stick to the value of equality. First of all, equality before the law. We resist changes and modernisation. We paint an arch in rainbow colors and then, scared of who-knows-what, repaint it back in gray. We worship makeshift structures with crosses, which used to be tents, but year by year they petrify and expand in length and width. We worship an iron woman with a sword. As a symbol of simple female happiness.

The concept of equality is multifaceted, and we invite you to the festival journey to look, compare, discuss, and try to understand how to build life, city, our country, how to search for an exit from the labyrinth…

http://docudays.org.ua/eng/


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DocuDays in Kiev Ukraine

Written 28-02-2018 21:27:58 by Tue Steen Mller

DocuDays in Kiev Ukraine

… is a festival that I like a lot – because of its atmosphere, its dedication to what is going on in the world, its always innovative set-up, and critical approach to its own country and its social and political conditions - and because of the people, who stand behind the festival with a good nose for good films. I will be there again this year: March 23 is the opening.

The content of this year’s film programme has been revealed step by step. For the first time there will be an Ukrainian feature length competition, DOCU/UKRAINE, with 6 films, there is a DOCU/WORLD with 12 films and a DOCU/SHORT with 12 films as well. Not to forget, not in competition as the sections mentioned, DOCU/BEST with 5 films ”about struggle”. About that the following great text is taken from the website of the festival, written by one of the brave women of the festival, Viktoriya Leshchenko:

”Birth, struggle, death, rebirth are the climax points for each human being who resists, who fights, who never gives up, who is ready to smile in the face of the predetermined hopelessness. The media world whispers: we are masters of our own fate, and as soon as you start to believe in success, the hard shell of circumstances will give in under the pressure of social media calls. Let us now dive into a less popular truth about how courage is the only life measure. Kierkegaardian courage, with which every protagonist of these films accepts their challenges every moment, deserves admiring attention. This year, let us focus our eyes on the Philippines, Ukraine, Congo, Aleppo and Tel Aviv, on the places where people constantly meet challenges regardless of their sex, gender, status and the documentary filmmaker who records their difficult struggle.”

The five are ”Delta” (PHOTO) by Oleksandr Techynskyi, ”Bobbi Jene” by Elvira Lind, ”Makala” by Emmanuel Gras, ”Last Men in Aleppo” by Feras Fayyad and ”Motherland” by Ramona S. Diaz. More on

http://docudays.org.ua/eng/


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Wonderful Losers and DocuDays UA

Written 28-02-2018 21:00:10 by Tue Steen Mller

Wonderful Losers and DocuDays UA

From wintercold Copenhagen it looks good - the documentary community performs well in many corners of the world. Facebook and newspapers bring back news from the Berlinale, where a hybrid doc/fiction, Romanian "Touch me Not" takes the Golden Bear, ZagrebDox has opened with Marta Prus fine "Over the Limit", veteran festival in Paris Cinema du Réel has announced its program (we will get back to that), here on www.filmkommentaren.dk we have covered intensely the Docs&Talks festival, soon Copenhagen will be filled with CPH:DOX documentaries, the Oscars are close, the Americans - shame on you - will not let in the Syrian producer and a main protagonist from "Last Men in Aleppo"...

Let's stop for a moment in Lithuania that celebrates its 100 year right now, where dear friend Arunas Matelis has his "Wonderful Losers-a Different World" running in cinemas. I was in contact with him and he told me that the film has an attendance of 9000 viewers, quite a lot for a documentary and quite a lot for a small country - he hopes, he says to me in a mail from Dublin, where the film has been shown these days, to reach around 12000. The film has found its place in commercial cinemas and Matelis is a master in promotion. Look at the photo of one of his protagonists, Danish Chris Anker Sørensen, who is carried around in the streets of Vilnius.

Arunas Matelis will at the end of this month be in Kiev for the DocuDays festival that starts March 23 and includes a retrospective of Matelis film - "Before the Flight Back the Earth", the bicycle films and a collection of his great short films. More about the festival above.


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Marie Wilke: Aggregat

Written 28-02-2018 12:41:50 by Tue Steen Mller

Marie Wilke: Aggregat

REVIEW WRITTEN BY GEORG ZELLER

„Democracy. Ever heard about?“ asks the guide to the visitors of the German parliament. They have. But through little role plays and corny jokes, they are taught in a more practical way how the MP’s job influences the German society.

And the viewer of Marie Wilke’s AGGREGAT - shown at the Berlinale’s Forum section - learns how democracy works in times of political disenchantment and the reign of populism. According to her documentary, the key is the intense work of single individuals who don’t get tired of doing little steps on an everyday basis.

Wilke’s sober observations show politicians participating in workshops where they learn to reply to racist arguments, journalists who elaborate how to reach their target with the message they want to propagate,  members of regional parliaments trying to create personal contact to the population, or the political institutions opening their doors to the public in order to counterargument populist convictions.

Similar to her earlier work „Staatsdiener“ (Civil Servants, 2015), Wilke doesn’t add any kind of direct comment to her mostly rigid observational images. Strong and long black frames lead from one scene or situation to another and Alexander Gheorghiu’s camera often leaves important elements of the scene deliberately outside the frame, the viewer understands it anyway. With this stylistic approach, there is some strong resemblance to the works of one of Wilke’s teachers, Harun Farocki. But differently from many of his films, she doesn’t present her protagonists as small cogs in the machine of capitalism, but actually underlines their pro-active role in the shaping of society.  And doing so, the film even touches the viewer in a strong emotional way: leading from desperation when facing nationalist masses shouting foamy slogans, to some sort of hope, for example when a politician with Senegalese roots convinces a journalist, that being German and being member of a leading political party, he doesn’t identify himself as a minority.

Germany, 2018, 92 mins.


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Docs & Talks/ 8

Written 22-02-2018 13:16:12 by Tue Steen Mller

Docs & Talks/ 8

ALICE DIOP: ON CALL

Monsieur Mamadou Diallo. Doctor Geeraert calls for the next patient at the Avicenne Hospital in Bobigny. The patient comes into the small consultation room, where he sits for hours listening to the migrants, who come to get help, migrants without papers.

Mamadou Diallo is in pain. He is from Guinea and has been beaten up by the military. Thats all we get to know about his story and we dont need more. He has stitches in his head, he has chest and back pains, he has no place to sleep, no support.

Doctor Geeraert helps him, as he helps all the other patients, who enter the small room, where there is always a psychologist or a social worker present as well. And the camera is there to look at the patients or at the doctor, and sometimes with a cut to the third person in the room.

Its a brave film. The director has made her aesthetic choice. She invites us viewers to look at faces for 90 minutes. She stays in the room. She does not interfere.

Faces from countries outside France - Guinea, Sri Lanka, South Africa and many others appear on the screen. Faces of pain, eyes without hope,silent cries for help. Or the face of the doctor, who does what he can: making certificates that state whats wrong with the patient, giving them advice where to go for turther help and first of all making prescriptions for pills that can make them sleep, or antidepressants, or painkillers, or appointments for x-rays. Sometimes a patient walks with the psychologist to a room next door for a more intimate talk.

Bureaucracy yes indeed, doctor Geeraert does indeed look at the patients but actually his eyes are focused more at the keyboard of his computer to get his paperwork done. This is an important part of the sound design of the film.

The man on the photo is from Sri Lanka, his English is pretty bad, he knows few words, and his French is non-existent. But visits to the cosultation room are important for him and one day he brings a gift to the doctor and his assistant: the Eiffel Tower!

Also monsieur Mamadou Diallo comes regularly to the doctor. The last time we see him, he brings good news - he has been given asylum status. Oh, what a wonderful scene it is as you can sense the happiness of the doctor - you are now a free man. Yes, but he has still a strong headache, his family is in Guinea and he has nowhere to sleep. But he can now get welfare support. And he puts on a big smile, you get the feeling that he does so because the doctor is happy!

The film puts itself in the fine tradition of French observational cinema and makes you think about Raymond Depardon and of course Frederick Wiseman or the films made by Arne Bro and Anne Wivel in Denmark.

As a Docs & Talks event the film was followed by a panel debate, which mostly was too general in its approach - it was good that Maja Lvbjerg Hansen was there, she is a lawyer and gave the debate a bit power by explaining about the many, many different groups of migrants she has met - and by saying that the political discussion on beggars in Denmark was based on a lie: There are the same amount of beggars in Denmark today as there was in 2001. We look at migrants without work as criminals, she said. The bureaucracy we see in the film, we have the same. I was with a Romanian at International House to have her registered, she as sent from one to the next, and said that this reminded her of Ceaucescu times back home And it seems like the French system is better that ours - they can direct the migrants to other offices for eventual help. We can not do so.

France, 2016, 90 mins.


Categories: Cinema, Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Vladimir Kara-Murza: Nemtsov

Written 21-02-2018 15:49:34 by Tue Steen Mller

Vladimir Kara-Murza: Nemtsov

According to NY Times, journalist, tv-host and political activist Karza-Murza, was in coma one year ago due to, what could have been an (the second one) attempt to poison him. Performed by Russia. He survived. The journalist, who is vice chairman of the Open Russia movement, and chairs the Boris Nemtsov Foundation for Freedom, published January 12 an article in Washington Post, where he touches upon the actual ban of Alexei Navalny to run for president this year… and in the paragraph before he writes:

”Two prominent opposition leaders were planning to run against Vladimir Putin in this year’s presidential election. One was Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister and regional governor, four-term member of parliament, and the only authentic opposition politician who won an election in Putin’s Russia, becoming a regional legislator in 2013. He was planning a return to the Russian parliament in 2016 and considering a challenge to Putin in 2018. The plans came to an end when Nemtsov was gunned down in the center of Moscow on the evening of Feb. 27, 2015. That, of course, disqualified him from the ballot.”

Karza-Mura is in Copenhagen tomorrow, where he shows his tv-portrait of Nemtsov and presents his view on Russian politics today.

It takes place in Cinemateket thursday at 16.15

Photo: Nemtsov and Kara-Murza

Russia, 2016, 66 mins.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/06/world/europe/russia-vladimir-kara-murza-putin.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/democracy-post/wp/2018/01/12/if-putin-is-so-popular-why-is-he-so-afraid-of-competition/?utm_term=.c94169fdecdf


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Docs & Talks/ 6

Written 21-02-2018 12:20:55 by Tue Steen Mller

Docs & Talks/ 6

ZANBO ZHANG: THE ROAD

It worked very well: The screening of the Chinese film followed by a talk with a good panel and an interested audience. There was full house in the cinema last night at Cinemateket in Copenhagen for the opening of the festival, that continues in the coming days.

For three years the director had followed the construction of a highway in the Hunan province – a highway that was opened in 2013. As one of the panelists, third from right on the photo, Yang Jiang, who works at DIIS (Danish Institute for International Studies) said, ”it’s a thriller and a dark comedy”, a very precise characterisation of a film that puts its focus on the people involved in the building; those who had to move from their house – the locals – those who work their – the laborers – and those who fight to get recompensation for their lost work because of assaults from hired gangsters – the fighters. The locals, the laborers, the fighters, this is how the film is chaptered, a film that has many layers and many protagonists. Mr. Meng is the man from the



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Corneliu Porumboiu: Football Infinite

Written 20-02-2018 16:18:12 by Tue Steen Mller

Corneliu Porumboiu: Football Infinite

Here comes the website description of this original Romanian documentary, so precise that there is no reason for me to add anything, after that my thoughts about the film:

They talk about the beautiful game, but for Laurențiu Ginghină, it’s not enough. Football must be modified, streamlined, freed from restraints; corners are to be rounded off, players assigned to zones and subteams, norms revised. In retrospect, he first realized that the rules of football were wrong when he was tackled during a game in his youth, in the summer holidays, on another pitch now covered in snow, but in Vaslui, not Bucharest. The tackle hit so hard it fractured his fibula, a year later his tibia broke too, on New Year’s Eve 1987, he had to walk home in the snow and no one helped him. Today he’s a local bureaucrat with an uninspiring job, it’s no wonder he prefers to talk about the game, his own version of it, to Porumboiu, his friend, the director, who’s always listening, asking questions, nearly always in frame. Ginghină’s monologues



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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Agns Varda & JR: Faces Places

Written 19-02-2018 14:28:14 by Tue Steen Mller

Agns Varda & JR: Faces Places

The title in French is Visages Villages – more precise than the English one, as it is mostly villages the two artists visit to meet locals, take their photos, make them grand format, large scale and paste them on big walls. The name of the mobile photo booth of JR is Inside Out Project – a project it is, that the two perform and the result is the creation of a charming and warm meeting between the two of them – she 88 and he 33 – who travel to make homage to people they meet, and to places that are abandoned in the French countryside.

There is the touching sequence from the former mining town, where only one woman lives. Varda and JR put photos from the good mining times on the walls, of miners, and of the lonely woman, who is touched to see herself in that scale.

Each photo tells a story, says Varda, who as a true documentarian declares in the beginning of the film in her home/studio in Rue Daguerre in Paris that ”chance has always been my best assistant”, so let’s go. And they do and invite the audience to meet farmers, goats with and without horns, lots of cats, she is a cat lover Varda, dockworkers and their wives, a postman who is no longer coming by bike and many others.

But the film also turns its perspective towards Varda, who remembers, goes to the tiny graveyard where Henri Cartier-Bresson is buried, to Normandy where she took photos of the photographer Guy Bourdin, we are with her to the eye doctor, which is no problem for her – cut to Bunuel and his ”Un Chien Andalou” – and she wants to honour Jean-Luc Godard and make JR take off his dark glasses as she made Godard do in a short film from 1961.

This review is written with a smile on the face, I have just seen a playful essayistic documentary by a master, masterly co-directed by JR, who as Varda says is very good with old people – together they go to his grandmother, who is over 100 years old.

France, 2017, 89 mins.


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Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Democrats Ban Lifted in Zimbabwe

Written 19-02-2018 11:01:16 by Tue Steen Mller

Democrats Ban Lifted in Zimbabwe

This text is taken from the newsletter that came out some days ago from Doc Society with the headline “Victory for Freedom of Speech in Zimbabwe”:

We’ve just heard great news that in a groundbreaking court order, Zimbabwean High Court Judge Justice Muremba has lifted the ban on the internationally acclaimed documentary Democrats . The award-winning film chronicles Zimbabwe’s writing of its first democratic constitution during 2010-2013. In the photo is Democrats director Camilla Nielsson with Chris Mhike, from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, and MP Brian Chuma.
Bertha grantee and Good Pitch Europe alumni Camilla Nielsson had full access to the political process behind the 2013 constitution-making, led by a Parliamentary Constitutional Committee. After her resulting film, Democrats, was released in 2014, it toured the world to win more than 30 international awards for its honest fly-on-the wall account of how Zimbabweans from across the political divide worked together to produce a progressive democratic constitution. The New York Times called the film “Outstanding, urgent, vivid. Finally a film that deserves to be called necessary.” Zimbabweans, however, were not allowed to see the film as the Censorship Board banned it as “Not suitable for public viewing.”

The case was argued by human rights lawyer Bellinda Chinowawa, who called the High Court order: “A great victory for all Zimbabweans” which will assist in expanding media freedom in Zimbabwe – as intended in the Constitution. Camilla Nielsson said: “After a 3-year delay, we can now finally distribute the film in the country where it was made.”

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Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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