Written 30-11-2009 13:52:43 by Tue Steen Müller
It is the 10th edition of the international film festival that starts tomorrow in Tbilisi, capital of Goegia. And goes on until the 6th of December. Mike Leigh is guest of honour and makes a masterclass and there is an Italian focus, a series on Hamsun and film, introduced by Jan-Erik Holst from the Norwegian Film Institute, Iraniian films, German and of course a national programme.
Written 29-11-2009 01:05:53 by Tue Steen Müller
MOMA in New York needs no further introduction as the museum of modern art. Less known – at least in Europe - is it that this museum, often much more precise and professional than festivals all over, put together interesting film series for its huge audience. This time it is about “Lithuanian Cinema: 1990–2009” from December 4, 2009–December 13, 2009. Here is the fine intro text from the site of MOMA:
The small photo is from "Man-Horse". The director wrote to me these lines: "Next wednesday I will fly to NY. I am happy for my neighbour Jonas. The longest trip in his life was about 100 km, now his images will be more far away."
Written 28-11-2009 10:53:57 by Tue Steen Müller
From the press release of idfa, impressive numbers, yes, the interest in documentaries is huge, bravo: Although the festival runs until Sunday, we can already cautiously say that the festival has once more received more visitors than last year… If the trend continues, the number of visitors will increase from 157,500 in 2008 to 165,000. Net income rose from € 700,000 in 2008 to € 750,000 this year. The number of (inter)national guests remained approximately on a par with 2008, at 2,295. IDFA's online activities were better visited this year than ever. Since January 2009, the website has attracted some 600,000 visitors, from 210 different countries. The trailers, full films and festival reports on the documentary channel IDFA TV were viewed during the festival a total of almost 6,000 times a day (4,000 in 2008).
Written 27-11-2009 18:10:17 by Tue Steen Müller
For our Danish and Swedish readers, be aware that this film will be shown on SVT1 monday November 30 at 10pm. Here is a re-post of our review from a year ago:
Written 26-11-2009 23:53:19 by Tue Steen Müller
”L’aventure du théatre du Soleil” is the subtitle of the film on Ariane Mnouchkine, the founder of Théatre du Soleil (in 1964), indeed an adventure it is, and very competently conveyed through wonderful archive from her work as the innovative theatre director, interviews with her on a long life in questioning the role of the theatre, the political theatre, the constant hymn to people. It is full of Life this documentary because of Mnouchkine and her enormous charisma. Great how she very angrily talks about how les Halles in the middle of Paris was turned into nothing where it could have been a place for the arts. Based on the archive and a lot of footage from rehearsals and performances, the film shows the extraordinary method of Mnouchkine, the importance of the music, spectaculaire it is, very interesting, and with interviews with actors. Her enthusiasm, her greeting the audience. Her political actions. A certain way of having contact with the audience, a respect. Quel plaisir! And for the film enthusiasts, archive interview with her father, the producer Alexandre, born in St. Petersburg, and clips from her film ”Molière”.
France, 2008, 74 mins.
Repeats on arte: 13.12.2009 à 01:15, 14.12.2009 à 10:15
Written 25-11-2009 16:24:07 by Tue Steen Müller
There you go, a real camera stylo personal essay film with an original, personal style. I was completely taken in by the beauty of the film, "The Edge of Dreaming", of Scottish filmmaker Amy Hardie. It touched me, made me reflect on my own life, my family life, my growing up, at the same time as the intensity of storytelling makes you stay in an atmosphere of listening and watching and reflecting. For me this is what a good documentary can be with many layers, a mature commentary, about Life and Death, and told in numerous stylistical lines. You can´t help fall in love with the family of Amy Hardie. They live in (Scottish) nature surroundings that a camera can only adore. And you can´t help admire the manner Hardie, using rough home video material, goes visually elegantly back in time and forward again. We get her story about her first husband, who died years ago, but who comes back to her in a dream to ”announce” that she will die when she is 48 years of age. There are dream sequences, and there are stunning images that make me think of classic Dutch paintings. It is all mixed brilliantly and without any predictability. I better stop my praise and give you the prose of the producers from the idfa catalogue:
This is the story of a rational, sceptical woman, a mother and wife, who does not remember her dreams. Except once, when she dreamt her horse was dying. She woke so scared she went outside in the night. She found him dead. The next dream told her she would die herself, when she was 48. The film explores life, dreams and death in the context of a warm, loving family whose happiness is increasingly threatened as the dream seems to be proving true. The final confrontation, returning inside the dream with a shaman, reveals a surprising twist to the tale.
Scotland, 2009, 73 mins. - and (bravo) with the support of ZDF/arte, More4 and VPRO plus of course Scottish Screen.
Written 25-11-2009 15:48:40 by Tue Steen Müller
I saw two films supported by the Jan Vrijman Fund. ”For Home Viewing” by Mikhail Zheleznikov is a half hour, wonderfully controlled, cinematically original and funny first person story by the director, who tells about his view from his home window, in the house in St. Petersburg where he grew up, in the USSR, and now under totally different conditions. Also with humour is the film ”The Last Tightrope Dancer in Armenia” by Inna Sahakyan that introduces two old masters of an art form that is disappearing. They tell what was once, and they say what they hope to happen – that at least one of their students will take over. A warm film that takes us to a place and a culture that we did not know anything about.
Written 25-11-2009 15:27:49 by Tue Steen Müller
Second day of the Forum, better atmosphere, better projects in general and a proof that the pitching sessions in a smaller room with around 10 broadcasters and film funders around the table, that this extra-to-the-big-room-format work well and can give a good dialogue. At least for an observer like me, but maybe not for the filmmakers presenting their project who hear positive remarks and ”let’s talk more” followed by a one-to-one meeting where the editors are more outspoken and often say ”I don’t have a slot for this”.
I am afraid that this was the case for Hungarian director Guyla Nemes, a Filmmaker, who has won prizes for his cinematic works, but this time had a topic that could fit for television (”recycling”/”how do we deal with our garage”) but presented visual material that is far from what most television channels go for today.
More focused on the market is another Eastern European film project, presented by Tomas Kudrna from Czech Republic. ”All that Glitters”, on a rough cut stage, filmed in Kyrgyzstan, the story about a small village and its inhabitants, whose lives will be completely changed by the presence of a gold mine company run by the Canadians.
In the big room I attended the strong presentations by two Nordic companies. Finnish John Hakalax and his film about legendary ski jumper Matti Nykänen, ”by his own Words” was a winner through a powerful humourous trailer that teased everyone – followed by Swedish/Armenian Suzanne Khardalian’s ”Grandma´s Tattoos”, very touching: ”my gradmother was raped in front of the eyes of her sister”. Knowing what Khardalian and her producer PeÅ Holmquist have done together, including ”Her Armenian Prince” (PHOTO), I can only say that this will be a fine film.
Written 24-11-2009 10:20:02 by Tue Steen Müller
And there you are again at the world’s biggest documentary festival! You carry your festival bag to the hotel – film catalogue, catalogue for the project Forum, a so-called industry guide with photos of broadcasters and film funders, market catalogue, invitations to parties and receptions. And your badge, not to forget, that gives you access to the crowded cinemas. Idfa IS a fest, an hommage to the documentary and the mere fact that thousands of people want to go and watch documentaries and discuss them, and learn about the world that we live in, well it pleases one, who can remember when festivals were exclusive gatherings for the happy few.
On the other hand you can not help feel a bit tired when you again enter the Forum that performs its 17th edition this year. The meeting itself is important, it is amazing to see so many producers, directors and decision makers gathered in the same room – but there is a déjà vue fatigue in the room and far too much a ”homey” atmosphere around the table with meaningless sentences expressed by the broadcasters like ”he/she is a great filmmaker” instead of trying to characterize what kind of filmmaker he/she is, or why precisely this film could be important for them. Some editors like Iikka Vehkalahti from YLE try to cheer the whole thing up, and its was also the Finnish director Pekka Lehto that brought the most promising project to the table, about Alpo Rusi, accused of being a spy for GDR, another cold war story, well presented and at a rough cut stage. More unclear at this moment, but presented by a real storyteller, South African director Dumisani Phakathi, was his project ”To Marry My Mother”, that will tell the story about an unsettled family business: His grandfather wants Dumisani to pay the outstanding dowry that his father never paid to the grandfather when he married the mother. "If I have a problem I make a film", the director said.
Written 22-11-2009 12:20:53 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Bogen er jo interessant derved, at den handler om filmfotografiet isoleret. Det er klart, men også mærkbart, at det volder forfatterne problemer. Stoffet fra manuskript, instruktion og spil vil hele tiden gribe ind. Men jeg tror, det er lykkedes. Det er en bog om fotografi.
Den er bygget op omkring 38 interviews med filmfotografer, interviews foretaget af en næsten anonym gruppe, så det er ikke samtaler mellem lige parter. Det bliver til fotografernes rene statements. Dette er bogens absolutte tyngdefelt. Omkring den tekstblok er der en gruppe essays, 7 i alt, om hovedemner i filmfotografiets historie til i dag og en gruppe essays om at nærme sig fotografpersonligheden fra forfatterens, producentens, instruktørens og skuespillerens verdenshjørner. Efter den centrale interviewdel er der en blok med 20 tekster, hvor en tilsvarende række meget forskellige forfattere skriver om 20 film, om fotografiet i 20 film.Jeg læser lige tre af dem.
Charlotte Christensen nedgør i en elegant distanceret omhyggelighed med sin kunsthistoriske indsigt Johan Ankerstjernes billeder til Benjamin Christensens Häxan. Det er en overraskende fornøjelse.
Niels Jensen behandler på sin umistelige lyriske malerbaggrund indforstået Palle Kjærulff-Schmidts Der var engang en krig og når efter et langt tilløb om den tids stemning frem til Claus Loofs fotografi. Som, ja altså, så forunderligt præcist rammer den stemning. ”Så smukt som grålys kun kunne være det i – nej ikke i fyrrerne. Men i tresserne.” Det var jo Coutards lys.
Bo Green Jensen slutter bogen med en alvorlig analyse af Anthony Dod Mantles arbejde til Antichrist. De billeder er set, mærker man, af en litterært dannet skribent, og skriver Green Jensen, de skal ses igen og igen. Ellers kan man ikke tumle dem. Rigtigere kan det vist ikke være.
Dirk Brüel, Andreas Fischer-Hansen og Jan Weincke, red.: Fotografens øje - Dansk filmfotografi gennem 100 år, Lindhardt og Ringhof, 2009, 360 sider. 500 kr. Udkom 20. november.
Written 21-11-2009 16:05:18 by Tue Steen Müller
This prestigious festival that honours the art of cinematography introduces now – in its 18th edition – a competition for documentaries, feature and short. 12 films are nominated in the feature category, among them several that have been reviewed or mentioned on this site: ”Another Planet” (camera: Tibor Máthé), ”Blind Loves” (PHOTO) (Camera: Juraj Chplik), ”Burma vj” (Camera: Simon Plum) and ”Réné” (Camera: Helena Trestikova). In the short film category you find ”Rabbit à lá Berlin” (Camera: Piotr Rosolowski). The festival takes place in Lodz, Poland 28.11-5.12.
Written 21-11-2009 15:12:16 by Tue Steen Müller
On the site of idfa, the world’s biggest documentary film festival, that is running right now, you can download the English version of the idfa daily, called ”the international voice of idfa”. There are articles about the films, interviews with the directors of the festival and of the films, it’s all very professionally done. Take a look.
Written 20-11-2009 13:25:14 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Så kom fotografernes store bog om deres fag og om dem selv. Naturligvis er det et billedværk. Et stort og smukt billedværk med de mange, mange filmscener frosset i stills eller framegrabs. Jeg blader fuld af fryd, og de stille og grebne billeder begynder at bevæge sig. Jeg ser, at dette vitterligt er en sitrende, nervøst afklaret verden, hvor alle medvirkende er fortrolige med alt indenfor. Reference kalder på reference.
Som jeg er indrettet, skal jeg ned i teksterne, ned i de tekster først, som jeg fornemmer har noget uforudsigeligt i sig. Og jeg vælger blandt forfatternavnene, blader efter dem…
Finder først alvorlige og omhyggelige Andreas Fischer-Hansen beskedent langt inde i bogen. Her begynder jeg så. Fischer-Hansen gennemgår minutiøst, hvad håndværket indebærer af enkeltfærdigheder og nødvendige vidender. Der er mange, der er meget. Jeg vidste det godt og alligevel ikke. Respekt. Og ganske effektfuldt bekymret beskriver han til sidst i sin tekst filmfotografen som co-autor berøvet sin ophavsret, ja selv sin og værkets droit-moral beskyttelse. Trods alle disse mange opregnede gøremål og ansvarligheder i filmproduktionen er filmfotografen en truet kunstner: ”Instruktør og fotograf (billedets autorer)bliver ofte ikke konsulteret ved den videre sekundære distribution (dvd, Blue Ray, web etc.). Filmens oprindelige visuelle koncept, fastlagt ved præ-visualiseringen, under optagefasen og postproduktionen overholdes ikke altid ved den videre distribution. Filmene kan distribueres i forkert format og ringe farve- eller sort-hvid gengivelse. Der kan også være tale om direkte manipulation.” Det er virkelig velargumenteret vred beskedenhed. Men nu har Fischer-Hansen så været med til at redigere en stor bog om det alt sammen. Alt det rigtige og dermed smukke. Må det gavne.
Så kommer jeg til den lærde og i lange sprogranker tænkende Arne Bro. Han leverer en stor materialistisk filmhistorisk analyse af high-budget film og low-budgetfilm og de tilhørende billedsprog. Om virkelighed og dokumentar. Om kampen mellem det klassiske billede og det romantiske billede. Og det havde jeg ikke gættet, men ved det nu, at ved dristig brug af det romantiske greb vil low-budget både redde filmbranchen og den stadige nye kunstneriske indsigt i foruroligende afdækninger af ”…dybe menneskelige intimiteter, eksistentielle traumer og følelsesmæssige oplevelser, forstærket af de særlige æstetiske nydelser og foruroligelser, som et originalt kunstnerisk sind hos instruktør, fotograf, manuskriptforfatter, klipper og skuespiller kan tilbyde tilskueren i den fattigere, men kunstnerisk rigere low-budget-film.” Dogmemanifestet udmøntede det først, spillefilm og dokumentarfilm er forældede begreber, en ny generation af filmværker er fremme og kommer fortsat. Vendende op og ned på det normale.
Derefter blader jeg til den altid lige nu og ligefremt skrivende Mogens Rukov. Han vælger selvfølgelig med det samme ikke at skrive, hvad man vel forventer en manuskriptforfatter i almindelighed tænker om billedet. Så det bliver til et essay om rummet, trappen og vertikaliteten. Og om billedet: ”Jeg må vel have det sådan, at jeg ikke synes, at billeder er informative. De skal ikke give informationer om fortællingens gang. Der skal ikke være obligatoriske billeder, som filmens informative forløb er afhængige af. Billedserien skal være fri. Den skal være så at sige ikke-narrativ i manuskriptets forstand. Den skal være narrativ kun i billedets forstand.” Det er tankevækkende forfriskende at få berømte læresætninger nyformuleret, sådan født på ny.
Og så min herværende blog-kollega, den omfattende vidende og energiske Tue Steen Müller. Han skriver naturligvis om dokumentarfilm, gennemgår farverigt hovedstationer i dansk dokumentarisk filmfotografi i 1960-erne, 1970-erne og 1980-erne, skriver om klassik, dansk direct cinema, om filmessayets tilbagekomst, om den iscenesatte dokumentarisme og den utrættelige stilsøgen. Jeg mærker og kender Müller i hver eneste sætning, i alle vurderinger. Som når han så tydeligt et sted slår fast, ”… at dokumentarisme rimer på humanisme.”
Det var bare lidt om kun fire forfattere, om fire essays. Der er 27 mere. Og 38 interviews med filmfotografer. Den bog vender jeg tilbage til.
Dirk Brüel, Andreas Fischer-Hansen og Jan Weincke, red.: Fotografens øje - Dansk filmfotografi gennem 100 år, Lindhardt og Ringhof, 2009, 360 sider. 500 kr. Udkommer i dag.
Written 20-11-2009 09:49:14 by Tue Steen Müller
If anyone deserves to be honoured for his life long oeuvre it is Frederick Wiseman, who yesterday at the opening of idfa in Amsterdam received an award, specially created for the occasion, including €5000. An example for all documentary makers, said festival director Ally Derks in her speech, and I would add that for me Wiseman is the man who as the best American novelists has shown that there is another America than we normally meet in the media.
Written 19-11-2009 12:24:10 by Tue Steen Müller
Maziar Bahari, who was arrested and imprisoned in Teheran, and has recently been released will Sunday, 22 November, from 15.30 to 17.30, be present at idfa in the Escape Lounge, where he will be talking about his recent experiences and the current situation in Iran.
Bahari was one of the dozens of journalists who was detained following the election in Iran on 12 June. He was there reporting on the elections and the subsequent riots for Canadian Newsweek. Bahari spent almost four months in the Evin prison in Teheran, from where he was permitted only a few brief telephone calls home. During his detention, pressure was exerted for from various quarters to secure the release of Bahari, who has both Iranian and Canadian nationality. On 17 October, Bahari was released on bail, whereupon he travelled to England, shortly afterwards becoming a father.
Written 18-11-2009 17:23:32 by Tue Steen Müller
All awards are welcome to honour and support documentarians, who make an effort to focus on important issues. This time – according to the EDN website today – there is a call from TV3 Catalunya:
Written 17-11-2009 18:32:48 by Tue Steen Müller
Here follows a list of films that an idfa visitor could watch on this blog writer’s recommendation. Goes without saying that I only know a few of the films that have their premieres in Amsterdam. I mention 20 titles and you can go to the site and get more information about director and content. Several of them have been reviewed or mentioned on this site. I highlight them:
Written 17-11-2009 12:00:22 by Tue Steen Müller
The biggest documentary film festival opens in a couple of days. If you attend you will have an enormous lot of choices. Here is the introduction from the organisers: From November 19, Amsterdam will once again be the focal point of the international documentary world. More than 2100 guests will attend IDFA and its Markets. For those you can’t make it to Amsterdam: talkshows, debates, master classes and much more will be streamed via IDFA TV. www.idfa.nl
Some 700 film screenings will take place, of a total of 307 exceptional films and new media projects. A broad program encompassing 77 world premières, 53 international premières and 31 European premières. Also, talkshows and debates with appealing and controversial guests. Iran filmmaker Maziar Bahari, recently released from prison, will speak about his incredible personal experiences.
150 young professionals will be participating in the IDFAcademy program, which includes a lecture by Peter Broderick on hybrid distribution, three Master Classes, panel discussions and small-scale meetings with renowned (PHOTO: FREE TIME MACHOS by Mika Ronkainen in competition at idfa)
Read more / Læs mere
Written 17-11-2009 11:11:51 by Tue Steen Müller
Especially for our Danish readers: The masterly done documentary ”Another Planet” by Hungarian director Ferenc Moldoványi will be presented in Copenhagen on November 20 in connection with the celebration of the 20 year birthday of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The director will show clips from his film and give an insight to how he worked with the children in the film.
Written 13-11-2009 07:02:15 by Tue Steen Müller
HotDocs festival director Sean Farrel reflects on what festival director Claas Danielsen expressed in his opening speech: The tag line for DOK Leipzig this year was “The Heart of Documentary,” and while the competition and survey programmes showed plenty of life, the chatter indicated that broadcast television was pulling the plug on creative documentary.
A fellow festival colleague expressed concern about where the films for her rigorously programmed event were going to come from without broadcaster support. The title of an all day summit was “Farewell To Television,” with speakers looking for alternatives to traditional funding sources for documentary. And in his opening address DOK Leipzig Director Claas Danielsen appealed to broadcasters to raise the bar, aesthetically:
While artistic authors’ documentaries are frequently successful in the cinema, I have been observing a marginalisation of the genre in television for years. I see more and more clearly that this is the result of a dangerous attitude of television programmers towards their audience. They often regard them as slightly retarded people of dim perceptions and ultimately as children rather than responsible citizens. Complex, unusual and challenging subjects and narrative styles are way beyond their intellectual capacity – or so it is said.
More and more broadcasters at the pitch sessions I’ve observed recently use the term “festival film” as shorthand to explain their disinterest in funding a given project. They don’t have slots for “festival films”. Indeed, the gap between what is attracting interest at the Forums, and the work being presented in the Festival programmes themselves, has never been wider.
But among my favourites screened at Leipzig – 17 AUGUST (PHOTO), DISORDER, ITO-DIARY OF AN URBAN PRIEST, THE WOMAN WITH 5 ELEPHANTS – broadcast television as it currently exists just isn’t the platform for this type of filmmaking. Why would broadcasters fund this kind of work, all them art films of one sort? I mean, I’m the target audience, and I wouldn’t watch this stuff on television. They require a certain kind of attention that I just don’t have at home.
This has nothing to do with the size of the screen (I watched and appreciated all of them in the market viewing stations). These kinds of films just don’t work for me in my living room. And given their length and narrative structures neither does my computer. As mentioned below, festivals create a unique space for viewing such work. So until festivals start funding “festival films,” or at least become the drivers of new funding sources, our supply lines are in jeopardy.
Of course, there are many such funds – the Sundance Documentary Fund, IDFA’s Jan Vrijman Fund and Hot Docs’ Canwest Fund are just a few – but it seems clear that “curational funding” (like the Hubert Bals Fund at Rotterdam), and even collaborative funding between festivals, may represent some hope for creative documentary. Of course, where THAT money is going to come from is another issue.
Written 10-11-2009 10:03:22 by Tue Steen Müller
The dedicated people behind the Russian documentary site miradox.ru takes one step further and launches DOXPRO. Ludmila Nazaruk and her colleagues in St. Petersburg targets professionals with the ambition to integrate Russian documentary in European cultural space, to develop a cooperation between Russia and European professionals and to increase the number of Russian documentaries on an international level, produced in co-production with European partners.
Written 10-11-2009 09:13:33 by Tue Steen Müller
Claas Danielsen is festival director of DOKLeipzig. His opening speech of this year's festival is a high quality personal hommage to the documentary and to an audience that by public television is increasingly being treated as ignorant and unintelligent. Read his speech:
Welcome to the 52nd International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film. What do you see, ladies and gentlemen? You see a large cinema, many red seats, lots of people. You see a screen and on the screen you see me. How do you see me? Small, from the distance, standing behind a speaker’s desk. And at the same time big, possibly in close-up, on the screen. I wear a suit, even a tie, to commemorate this special occasion. I seem focused, sometimes I smile. But do you really see how I feel? Those who know me a bit better may see that I am exhausted from the months of preparations for this festival.
Read more / Læs mere
Written 09-11-2009 22:46:19 by Tue Steen Müller
A bit post festum an extract of the awards at the DOK Leipzig 2009. Several of the winners have been mentioned or reviewed on this site:
The International Jury for Documentary Film awards: for Documentary Films and Videos / Long Metrage (longer than 45 min) a Golden Dove along with € 10.000 granted by TELEPOOL GmbH to the film “The Arrivals” by Claudine Bories and Patrice Chagnard (France)
The International Jury for Documentary Film awards an Honorary Mention to the film “The Living Room of the Nation” by Jukka Kärkkäinen (Finland) An Honorary Mention to the film “17 August” (PHOTO) by Aleksandr Gutman (Russia, Poland, Finland)
The Jury for the Healthy Workplaces (!) Film Award awards for the best documentary film about the subject of work the Healthy Workplaces Film Award along with € 8.000 granted by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU OSHA) to ”A Blooming Business” by Ton van Zantvoort (The Netherlands)
The Jury of the Doc Alliance awards for a film from the Doc Alliance Selection the Doc Alliance Award along with € 5.000 to “Maggie in Wonderland” by Mark Hammarberg, Ester Martin Bergsmark and Beatrice Maggie Andersson (Sweden)
The MDR (Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk) awards for an excellent Eastern European documentary film the MDR Film Prize along with € 3.000 to “Chemo” by Pawel Lozinski (Poland)
The FIPRESCI Jury (Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique) awards the Prize of the Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique to the film “Cooking History” by Peter Kerekes (Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic).
Written 09-11-2009 10:30:25 by Tue Steen Müller
It's November 9 and it is 20 years after the fall of the wall. Broadcasters programme accordingly, festivals as well, let me re-mention one of the most interesting documentaries from that time that totally avoids all the clichés and is made by one of the best current German directors, Thomas Heise. Here is a re-post of the review:
It takes some maturity and courage to publish your own archive Material that was meant to stay on the shelf. Thomas Heise – what an understatement! – is indeed a mature and experienced filmmaker, who meiner Meinung nach is one of the leading documentarians of our time. I dare say so having seen ”Stau-Jetz geht’s los”, ”Barluschke”, ”Vaterland” and ”Kinder.Wie die Zeit vergeht” – and those titles constitute only a part of the filmography of the German director, who now offers the audience to watch the 164 minutes of his social, political and cinematographic interpretation of our time. And his time as a citizen of the GDR and now the united Germany.
These sequences, and many more from the archive Material of Heise, show something seldom seen before: the ordinary GDR citizens at the microphone leading up to the fall of the wall. The fall we never see, because we know about it, on the contrary, Heise wants the film to have an actuality and succeeds perfectly to fulfill that ambition through his aestetical elegant 360degree camera movements in empty depressing spaces, through images from the prison of today, and through an amazing self-ironical, multilayered sequence from a screening of a (Heise-directed, I suppose) film in a cinema: The film is running while the audience starts to fight in front of the screen, the leftist against the rightists, or maybe fights in other constellations. Godard could not have done this better! And was this what the unified Germany was aiming at – totally absurd it is that a social film is running on the screen while social riots unfold in front of the camera. Passive people argue to the cameraman that things like this should not be filmed! Heise did. Thanks for that and for a very intelligent work that I can’t wait to see one more time.
Written 08-11-2009 11:24:35 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Tre års tornerosesøvn er forbi, uhyret jaget på flugt, støjen ophørt. Posthus Teatret åbnede igen i forgårs for at deltage i CPH:DOX visningerne. Københavns mærkværdigste og mest stædige biograf viser igen film, som biografdirektørerne kan lide og som de holder på plakaten lige så længe, som de kan og som de synes. De kan fortsætte deres kavalkade, genoptage deres import. Mon ikke? Vi glæder os til at have god tid til de store film i den kræsne kunstbiograf.
Written 08-11-2009 09:40:35 by Tue Steen Müller
The festival in Reus ended last night. The jury chose ”Of Time and the City” by Terence Davies as the best film, honouring the personal courage of the director not to forget his personal commentary and creative use of archive material to describe Liverpool, his home town. For the best production Peter Kerekes was chosen for ”Cooking History”, an ambitious, structurally original and controversial treatment of War. Both films have been reviewed on this site.
For the research the jury gave the prize to ”Shanty Town - The Forgotten City” (PHOTO) for its excellent work to find and convey a part of Barcelona unknown to most people. Here is the catalogue description of the film:
During the post-war period, hundreds of thousands of people came to Barcelona, fleeing from poverty and political persecution. Given the lack of housing on their arrival, many of them spent years living in caves and shacks. They were workers looking to improve their quality of life, forced to live in a shantytown. When flats were finally built, they were constructed in substandard buildings and remote areas, a phenomenon known as “vertical shantytowns”. Modern Barcelona has chosen to forget a part of its history, a history that is now told through the mouths of those who endured it. Images shot by amateur filmmakers contrast with the official testimony, offering a glimpse of what that city of forgotten residents was really like.
Written 07-11-2009 13:27:41 by Tue Steen Müller
Director Josep Rovira and researcher Montserrat Bailac told me that I would probably not really understand their ”Dear Dona Elena”, as there was no contextual information given in the film that makes a focus on the fifties of a Spain during the Franco regime. They were wrong, I got it all, as the film is a kitchy compilation of wonderful, archive based stories about (mostly) women who write to a Dona Elena, who either gives them an answer on radio or through letters sent to those who write because they have questions to be answered and problems to be solved.
In an elegant montage the director links the content of the letters to archive from the time, documentary material but also fiction, with close-up on the letters that were found recently, and with a sound score that conveys the atmosphere of the purist decade. You are entertained when you hear the question of whether a French kiss can make you pregnant, and you freeze a bit when you listen to the letter from a woman, who is getting beaten up by her husband, with the answer back from Dona Elena: You have to please your husband, and then all will be fine! Only for a Spanish audience, NO, the conservatism of the fifties, the supressed role of the women, the lack of sex education, the images from the homes – all that is to be found all over, I guess, at least in a Nordic country, where I come from, well the role of the church is not to be compared, but apart from that the similarities are more significant than the differences.
Written 07-11-2009 13:14:28 by Tue Steen Müller
The festival invited producer and director Edmon Roch to present his ambitious docu-spy film ”Garbo – the Man who Saved the World”, which is the story about Juan Puol, the double agent who during WW2 for the Germans was Arabal and for the Allies Garbo. Roch showed half of the film within a closed master class arrangement – the film will have its international premiere at idfa in Amsterdam, where it will be in the First Apperance competition.
Roch, however, though this is his first film as a director, is not a beginner as it was obvious from the high production value of an archive based, entertaining narrative that includes clips from feature films (you see Leslie Howard, Peter Lorre, Edward G. Robinson among others), documentary archive from Barcelona and elsewhere, and interviews with knowledgeable people who have studied the life and mystery of the intelligence work of Pujol.
I don’t like reconstruction, Roch said, and if I had fictionalised the film totally with actors, noone would have believed this extraordinary story. From what I saw the audience (the film will be released in cinemas in Spain) at festivals and in television can look forward to a fascinating and playful documentary film. Huge potential. Can’t wait to see the whole film!
Written 05-11-2009 11:39:35 by Tue Steen Müller
Reus, town of Gaudi in Catalonia, a couple of hours from Barcelona. For the fourth time the city hosts a film festival that deals with memories and presents films that work creatively with archives. It is a small festival with an exclusive and high quality programme. Among the films shown are Terence Davies ”Of time and the City”, Peter Kerekes ”Cooking History”, Jaak Kilmi’s ”Disco and Atomic War” – all written about on this site. I am a juror and look forward to seeing these films again as well as the other works by for instance Sergei Loznitsa, Pavel Medvedev and Katia Forbert Petersen & Annette Mari Olsen (Photo from "My Iranian Paradise").
There are production workshops, case studies – it’s all very promising, I can say after the opening screening (”The Judge and the General” by Patricio Lanfranco and Elisabeth Farnsworth) last night in the beautiful theatre Bartrina.
Written 05-11-2009 11:34:21 by Tue Steen Müller
It’s show time in Copenhagen. The international documentary film festival starts November 6 and runs until November 15. A huge programme is set up to satisfy the local documentary addicts and the visiting professionals.
BUT they don’t get the best of the best. A close study of the programme shows that there are no films from Eastern Europe, so often praised for originality, strong human interest topics and cinematic quality on this site. Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland. Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia etc. Films from these countries, films that win awards in festivals are simply not there – Czech Republic is represented with one film, and that’s it. The festival has sections that group the best films of the year, there is an amnesty award, there is a section for ”new vision” – but there are no films by Sergei Loznitsa, Audrius Stonys, Marko Skop, Jan Gogola, Peter Kerekes (Photo from "Cooking History"), Atanas Georgiev, Pawel Lozinski, Bartek Konopka, György Nemes – all names that loyal readers of this site know, and I could have mentioned many more. Not good, actually quite insufficient programming.
Written 04-11-2009 14:37:42 by Allan Berg Nielsen
FC (vi ved det er forsvarschefen) er i Polen. DC (vi ved det er departementschefen) er på pinden, ventende. Politikerne er på spring med følelsesparaderne oppe. Den inderste kreds i forsvarskommandoen er samlet, en situation er ved at komme ud af kontrol, spin-manøvren er i gang, de har FC i røret, læser forslaget til pressemeddelelse for ham. ”Uheldig..”, han retter et ord. ”Nej, ’upassende’ er det rigtige ord, fastholder Tim Sloth Jørgensen og de andre omkring bordet nikker og siger ja og bekræfter. Og Tim (som han jovialt kaldes) skærer igennem: ”Alle her synes det også. Vi skriver ’upassende’…”. Og FC bøjer sig.
FC, altså forsvarschefen Jesper Helsø er en ganske anden type leder end de tidligere og nok også end de senere. Rummelig, gammeldags moderne, ubureaukratisk, uteknokratisk, humanistisk indstillet. Filmen følger hans og medarbejdernes arbejde med at præge det kommende forsvarsforlig med værnenes egne forslag samlet i K-notatet. Dybt fortroligt. Undervejs skildrer filmen også et par episoder med ubehagelig presseopmærksomhed, som forsvarsledelsen må spinne sig ud af. Det er i 2003. Upassende, som de undskyldende på FC´s vegne skriver, har Helsø under et foredrag for de værnepligtige sagt, at han ville provokere ved at foreslå tre måneders værnepligt. Ved at køre ud i rabatten, kunne han tvinge dem, politikerne, til at forhandlingerne kom ind på midten af vejen igen. Men nu spurgte de og journalisterne, om der var flere af forsvarschefens forslag, som var provokationer.
Bonfils filmhold fik af Helsø adgang til selve situationsrummet. Jeg fandt aldrig ud af, om han mente et særligt war-room, hvor cheferne blev samlet i krisesituationer, eller om det blot var adgang til møder af den slags, som den refererede scene, som et møde med planlægning af en mulig operation i Dafur, som overværelse af træning i at blive udsat for tortur og en række flere rum, ja, nemlig situationsrum, instruktøren lister os ind i. Det observerende kamera registrerer, at sådan er der her, dette sker der. Vi forstår det umiddelbart. For vi er styret af Dola Bonfils egen personlige nysgerrighed. Hun vil præge sit værk med det signerende blik, som hun engang kaldte de gode films tydelige vinkling. Fra disse autentiske steder samler hun materialet til en samfundsbeskrivelse, som konstant har nålen inde og mærker, hvordan det er. Hendes samfundslære er ikke en oversigtlig tekst at lære til eksamen om, hvordan det bør være.
Hun har i en række film gjort det med institution efter institution, gymnasiet, politiet, sundhedsvæsnet. Dybt loyalt, vidende og gennemført skeptisk, kritisk. Nogle burde finde på at udgive dette værk samlet på dvd. Og K-notatet er så den seneste af disse samfundsskildringer inden Dola Bonfils en årrække blev optaget af at være til fingerspidserne engageret filmkonsulent på DFI. Det er hun ikke mere, nu venter jeg spændt, spændt på den næste film. Imens finder jeg alle de gamle frem og ser dem en efter en. På mandag er K-Notatet og Bonfils filmkunst emnet på min mandagshøjskole i FOF-Randers.
Dola Bonfils: K-notatet, Danmark 2004, 59 min. Manuskript: Dola Bonfils, fotografi: Henrik Bohn Ipsen, klip: David Rosenquist, lyd: Roar Skau Olsen, produktion: Claus Ladegaard. Produceret af Easy Film. Del af Magtens Billeder, 12 film på DR1, findes i samlet dvd-udgivelse, Det Dansk Filminstitut. Kan lånes på biblioteket og findes på www.filmstriben.dk
Written 03-11-2009 15:29:30 by Tue Steen Müller
Stop reading if you want to avoid a personal text that is full of emotions and warm thanks from me to the women running the IDF, Institute of Documentary Film, based in Prague with the task to promote Eastern European Documentaries. Sunday was the closing day of the Eastern European Forum where 20 exciting film projects were presented/pitched to broadcasters and film fund representatives with an audience that included sales agents and distributors from all over the world. And mind my words: excellent films are in the process of being made.
Sunday was also the last Eastern European Forum for me after years as a tutor and moderator and conductor of the Ex Oriente workshop. It has been pure pleasure and I feel both proud and humble to have been part of a promotion team that has seen one strong film after the other be developed into strong and original creative works.
Go to the website of the IDF and read all about the films coming up in a year or two. Yes, it takes time to make creative documentaries, and it takes time to raise funding for them, and many will not be able to do so, but they make the films anyway! And what a gift to the Eastern European filmmakers to have IDF. Thank you for having given me so many wonderful moments, to Andrea Prenghyova, Ivana Milosevic, Hanka Rezkova – and all the other clever and dedicated and creative people! Thanks for generosity, warmness and friendships that will last.
Photo from Jihlava taken by Bulgarian documentarian Svetoslav Draganov. Autumn and a white line leading the festivalgoers from location to location.
Written 03-11-2009 15:17:56 by Allan Berg Nielsen
"Jesu budskab skal til enhver tid tale ind i vores menneskeliv. Som kirke skal vi aldrig tale partipolitik, men vi skal heller aldrig holde op med at være talerør for de svageste, hvad enten det er flygtninge, de børn og unge, der har det svært her i Århus eller helt andre grupper. Den dag, vi glemmer, at Jesu budskab også gælder i de valg, vi står i her og nu, er det jo blevet en verdensfjern kirke."
Sådan skriver præsten i Gellerup Kirke, Annette Bennedsgaard i pressemeddelelsen om premieren på Aage Rais-Nordentofts nye film om de irakiske flygtninge fra Brorsons Kirke. Filmen får premiere i hendes kirke 15. november 13:00. Bagefter er der orgelkoncert. Kirkens organist spiller. Aarhus Filmfestival står bag arrangementet. CPH:DOX arrangerer en lignende premiere 14. november i Brorsons Kirke.
Rais-Nordentoft har haft adgang til fem timer af politiets optagelser. Pressens optagelser af begivenhederne uden for kirken (fotoet for eksempel) er måske også en del af materialet. Det mest spændende er den tænksomme vurdering af billederne og deres udtrykskraft og dernæst de moralske implikationer, Rais-Nordentoft leverer i sin films konstruktion. Til nu har jeg kun set rå, forvirrede reportager brugt som billeddækning. Nu kommer en film..
Written 02-11-2009 12:40:35 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Et par ting fra formaterialet til Kestners film drejer mine forventninger i en ganske særlig retning. Først billedet. Jeg funderer, skal det være DFI’s beskæring eller CPH:DOXs? Jeg vælger DFI. Det er vigtigt det her. Det drejer sig om Henrik Bohn Ipsens billede. Og jeg tænker jo på billedet til Nede på jorden, Esbjergs boligarkitektur og havne skyline. Mon igen dette i lodret og vandret kontrollerede kamera? Den mondrianske opbygning i Københavnnatbilledet lover mig det næsten. Og jeg glæder mig.
Så er der sætningen i instruktørens korte synopsis: ”… and the walls upon which we have scratched our loved one’s name before it is too late.” Jeg tøver lige i den så almindelige sætning, noterer i lynluk af øjnene smertens riv ”… før det er for sent.”
Nærværet i Esbjerg og poesien i de valgte replikker på fabrikken, i hjemmene, i bilerne – og i i Tivoli i København. Og nu måske dertil ruttmannske billedrytmer i endnu en bysymfoni. Jeg glæder mig. Det således kontrollerede kamera og poesien. Mon den nye film har bevaret det, eller?
Max Kestner: Drømme i København, Danmark 2009. 72 min. Produceret af Upfront Films. Manuskript: Dunja Gry Jensen og Max Kestner, fotografi: Henrik Bohn Ipsen, klip: Anne Østerud, lyd: Morten Green, musik Jóhan: Jóhannsson, produktion: Henrik Veileborg. Åbningsfilm på CPH:DOX 6. november 21:00 i Koncerthuset DR.
Written 02-11-2009 09:28:39 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Ada Bligaard Søbys tidligere film hænger så tydeligt sammen, i sujet, i billedsyn, i opfindsomt konstrueret anderledeshed. De er så selvfølgeligt til stede i tiden nu. Det sted, de vælger at være til stede. Hele rækken er præget af hendes signerende blik. Nu sker der noget andet. Det personlige blik stiller hun i sin nye film til rådighed for en bunden opgave, en redegørelse for og en skildring af det internationale projekt Complaints Choirs art projekt.
Filmen følger to finske korinstruktører, Tellervo og Oliver Kalleinen til Singapore og til Chicago, hvor de sætter Complaints Choir forestillinger op. I Chicago lykkes det at komme igennem, men i Singapore forbyder myndighederne at opføre den færdige samarbejdede klagesang offentlig.
Filmen slår således meget aktuel ind i den stadigt voksende Complaints Choirs verdensomspændende bevægelse.
Ada Bligaard Søby: Complaints Choir, Danmark 2009. 56 min. Produceret af Fine & Mellow email@example.com www.finemellow.dk Filmen bliver vist i konkurrenceprogrammet på CPH:DOX første gang 7. november 21:30 i Grand Teatret.
Written 01-11-2009 09:32:48 by Tue Steen Müller
I saw the winner of the section ”Czech Joy”, ”I love my Boring Life” (PHOTO) by Jan Gogola, director, but also very much esteemed dramaturg, some call him an icon of Czech documentary, who has worked with several Czech and Slovak filmmakers like Filip Remunda (”Czech Dream”), Marko Skop(”Osadne” and Peter Kerekes (”66 Seasons” and ”Cooking History”). I will wait with my review of a fascinating and original film that was shown in a version with English version, and as the text is crucial for the experience of the film. I did not get out of it what it deserves and will wait until a German voice version of the film has been made.
But the Breathless project, German-Czech, deserves to be mentioned so I took this from the website:
Breathless, Dominance of the Moment - A collection of 5 Czech-German documentary films:
As a unique example of Czech-German cooperation are five creative documentary films presented under the common name Breathless, Dominance of the Moment. Czech-German project was established to support daring creative documentary proposals and to fund and develop outstanding documentary films from the Czech Republic and Germany. In Spring 2008,
Read more / Læs mere
Written 01-11-2009 09:10:50 by Tue Steen Müller
The best films of the thirteenth year of the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival were announced at its closing ceremony.
The Opus Bonum award for the best documentary film of 2009 went to the film Bassidji (Tamadon Mehran, Iran - France - Switzerland 2009).
Further on, the jury of the Between the Seas section awarded the film The Border (Hranica, Jaroslav Vojtek, Slovakia 2009) as the best East European documentary film of 2009.
The award of the Fascinations section for the best experimental documentary film of 2009 went to the work with the title Workers Leaving the Factory (Dubai) (Ben Russell, USA 2008).
The Audience Award was presented by chief programming director Alena Müllerová on behalf of the Czech Television, going to the film Auto*mat (Martin Mareček, Czech Republic 2009).
Written 01-11-2009 08:46:57 by Tue Steen Müller
Note for our Danish/Swedish/Belgian readers: The masterpiece ”Rabbit a la Berlin” by Polish director Bartek Konopka will be broadcast on Swedish television SVT1 monday November 2nd at 10pm and on Belgian channel Lichtpunt tonight sunday November 1.
The film was yesterday awarded the Silver Eye Award Medium Length here at the International Documentary Film Festival in Jihlava, Czech Republic.
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Latest comments / Seneste kommentarer
Bartosz Paduch: Full support from Poland!!! Filmmakers all over the world - fight for your right to show your work!!! ...
Paul Pauwels: I hope I'm too pessimistic - and I will find out soon - but I've learned that it's not all gold that glitters... we'll see and in the mean time I'll k...
John Burgan: Sounds like a great initiative - just the sort of exchange that both schools can really benefit from....
Benoit F: J'ai déjà acheté mes places de concert......