Written 30-04-2009 16:54:53 by Tue Steen Müller
472 pages. Full of illustrations – still from films, photos from award ceremonies at festivals all over the world, the 45th edition of the International Film Guide is available. With ”Directors of the Year”, a ”World Survey”, info/reports/highlights country by country from Afghanistan to Vietnam, a festival focus (this year on Sundance), statistics, the best dvd-publishers and the best new boxes, a festival calendar – and advertisements all over that are full of info on how to get more information. And of course the Guide is now also online, see below.
Written 30-04-2009 15:03:20 by Tue Steen Müller
Wow, they deserve it! Atanas Georgiev, director and his team, who can add one more acknowledgement to the one they got at ZagrebDox some months ago at the world premiere: Last night they were awarded the ”Regards Neufs Prize” at Visions du Réel in Nyon. 5000 Chf donated by the Canton Vaud. This is what I wrote about this remarkable and innovative film earlier in a report from Zagreb:
“It took some time for director Atanas Georgiev (Macedonia), his producer Sinisha Juricic (Croatia) and coproducer Ralph Wieser (Austria) to make and finish ”Cash and Marry”, which will be a hit at festivals in the coming year. As it very rightfully was at the world premiere at ZagrebDOX where it was pitched as project 3 years before. Totally full house, people standing in the corridor, a super audience for this film's first screening.
But it was worth waiting for. It is a provocative, stylistically sometimes messy and anarchistic, charming, funny, clever, touching and so very much actual document about Europe today exemplified by the hunt for a bride in Vienna that performs the director himself – for the film and for a passport that can make him stay in the European Union.”
And the Nyon jury’s motivation goes like this: For having succeeded in treating a fundamental political subject in an original, refreshing and unpretentious manner, and for its unusual narrative structure, its sense of humour, honesty and boldness.
Written 29-04-2009 11:17:05 by Tue Steen Müller
The Danish Film Institute invited national documentarians to take part in a one day meeting at the Danish Film House. This yearly meeting took place monday this week and served to create a forum for a dialogue between the film institute executives and consultants (commissioning editors), and the filmmakers. Information was given and works-in-progress were presented for open debate. More than 200 professionals attended the well programmed, generous agenda in an openminded atmosphere. There were discussions on new media, on the return and importance of the word in the documentary film, on films on mobile phones and on reconstruction in documentaries. Plus all the important catch-up small talks that happen during a day like this. Very useful for everybody.
Photo: Danish doc masterpiece: The Monastery by Pernille Rose Grønkjær... Below I write some content comments on the event in Danish language.
Written 29-04-2009 10:54:17 by Tue Steen Müller
More than 700 million people are voting in India from April 16 till May 13. The vote goes for the election of members to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament of India. The French-German cultural channel has a lot of background info on the election on their site, including a reportage web series that started today and will go daily with a duration of around 2 minutes, where Olivier Courtois goes around looking for answers to the question: What remains of the thoughts and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi 60 years after his death.
Photo: Nehru and Ghandi
Written 29-04-2009 10:43:49 by Tue Steen Müller
Jakob Høgel, leder af New Danish Screen, havde inviteret til møde om ordenes genkomst i dokumentarfilmen. Jeg havde på invitationen forstået at temaet, som skrevet i indbydelsen, var kommentarens genkomst men kun én af filmene levede op til denne overskrift nemlig et filmprojekt af svensk-finske Olavi Linna, som viste et klip fra sin film-på-vej og talte om hvorfor og hvordan han havde arbejdet med sin første-persons tekst. Det så spændende ud og lød spændende med denne nok en historie fra en lille finsk provinsby.
JH indledte med at sige at kommentaren i mange år havde været væk fra dokumentarfilmen, det havde nærmest været et princip at ville lade billederne ”tale for sig selv”, kommentar det er tv og talking-faces kan vi ikke lide. JH har ret i at det har været og stadig er en holdning, der er udbredt og jeg ville have elsket at have hørt og set flere eksempler på hvordan den personlige kommentar kan laves eller hvordan den mere anonyme og informative kommentar kan udformes. Nå, men vi har jo stadig fremragende eksempler at holde os til: Jørgen Leth og Jon Bang Carlsen. Sidsnævnte har i sine sidste film bestandigt kæmpet for at finde den rette tone og balance, og han gør det for mig blændende i ”Purity Beats Everything”. Men apropos den fine serie i Cinemateket i maj måned, hvor er den film som f.eks. tager digtet ind som i ”Night Mail” fra 1936.
To andre eksempler blev præsenteret med ordet i centrum. Simon Lereng Wilmont viste nogle klip fra en film-på-vej om en ung forfatterspire i bar overkrop med øldåser stillet op bag sig. Det fik jeg ikke noget ud af. Til gengæld vakte Birgitte Stærmose debat, da hun præsenterede sit filmprojekt ”Ønskebørn” fra Kosovo. Hendes film kommer til at bygge på tekster som gadebørn i Kovoso fremsiger, tekster der har været igennem forfatteren Peter Asmussens redigering. Stærmose pitchede desværre sit projekt ved at vise castingsekvenser og ved at fortælle om alt det, hun ikke ville, ”jeg er ikke dokumentarist, jeg vil gerne kontrollere”, hvor hun jo bare lige ud ad landevejen kunne have fortalt om sin metode, som der ikke er noget specielt ved, hun lægger ord i munden på børnene for forhåbentlig at opnå en klarhed, som den observerende dokumentar ikke kan ramme. Pointen er at ordene sådan set stadig er børnenes og stammer fra de interviews hun har lavet. Med lidt pitch-træning kunne debattten have været meget mere interessant.
Foto fra ”Side om Side”, vist på Dok Dag, instruktion: Christian Sønderby Jepsen, New Danish Screen.
Written 29-04-2009 10:38:58 by Tue Steen Müller
Og så var der igen debat om rekonstruktion i dokumentarfilmen. Man gaber lidt for vi har jo hørt derom i mange år. Og i internationale sammenhænge er debatten for længst overstået. Det virker derfor lidt out-dated, når Claus Ladegård, institut-direktør for produktion og udvikling, som oplægsholder deklamerer at det er i orden med rekonstruktion, at det kan man og må man, men... hvor langt kan man gå. Det havde været mere interessant, hvis Anders Østergaard og Anders Riis Hansen havde fået tid til at fortælle forsamlingen, hvordan de havde taget fat på rekonstruktionerne, og hvorfor lige der og med hvilke dramaturgiske konsekvenser.
Anyway, der blev vist interessante klip og det var fint for mig at sammenligne de to fortællemåder, der var valgt i henholdsvis ”Burma vj” og ”Blekingegadebanden”. Hvor den første har et elegant flow i sin fortælling og en mesterlig personlig kommentar, som Jakob Høgel (se nedenfor) kunne have brugt i sin seance om ordenes genkomst, virker ”Blekingegadebanden” meget mere klassisk journalistisk i sin fremgangsmåde: arkivstillbilleder, interviews, arkivlyd, rekonstruktioner osv. osv. En velkendt og i bedste forstand folkelig forståelig måde at gribe fat, hvor ”Burma vj” arbejder meget mere med billedet.
Og så blev lidt statistik præsenteret: Det danske Filminstitut modtog 278 dokumentaransøgninger i 2008, 37 fik støtte. 844.00 DKK var den gennemsnitlige støtte. 3 mio. DKK var det højeste støttebeløb. 48.000 DKK det laveste. Gennemsnitligt produktionsbudget: 2.6 mio. DKK. For undertegnede der har sine arbejdspladser udenfor DK og kan sammmenligne med andre landes betingelser: Dokumentaren har det økonomisk godt i DK
Written 27-04-2009 08:31:52 by Tue Steen Müller
The Danish Film House in Copenhagen and its excellent Cinemateket puts a focus on British documentary through 8 programmes in the month of May. There is a selection of the classics from the 30'es (Night Mail, Listen to Britain, O Dreamland etc.) and there are films by Molly Dineen (Home from the Hill) and Kim Longinotto (her latest Rough Aunties). The Must-See, however, if you have time for only one of the screenings, is Terence Davies new masterpiece from Liverpool, Of Time and the City. The site of Cinemateket gives little info on the films, so if you want more on Of Time and the City (photo) you just search the title on this page.
PS. And please programmers of Cinemateket, get hold of the newest film of Molly Dineen, The Lie of the Land, the most important film about the decline of civilisation I have seen for years.
Written 24-04-2009 23:20:47 by Tue Steen Müller
Lars Gehrmann, film student at Zelig in Bolzano, has, on his blog, made the following reference from a new short film “Immersion”, produced by the New York Times, to a documentary classic:
1978 Latvian film maker Herz Frank did a short documentary about children in a cinema. “Ten minutes older” is simple, beautiful and for sure one of the must-sees in (documentary) film history. If you don’t know it; YouTube is your friend: 10 minutes older
30 years later NYT Photographer Robbie Cooper did his remake of the Herz Frank film. Time has passed and for todays kids gaming is more important than going to the movies or watching TV. This may be the reason why his four minute film shows kids playing video games.
But this is the only thing that changed in 30 years. Like the “original” he limits his camerawork to showing only the mimic and expressions on the kids faces. And like 30 years ago it’s simply fun to watch:
Written 23-04-2009 16:18:39 by Tue Steen Müller
Look at that photo. Something is wrong. Yes, it is our beloved Jacques Tati on his Solex, as we remember him as M. Hulot. But he has something strange in his mouth. Not the usual pipe but one of those plastic windmills that are meant for kids to play with. Tati gone ecological after his death? Why?
Written 23-04-2009 13:50:33 by Tue Steen Müller
Produced 20 years ago, this masterpiece of Nicolas Philibert is as fresh as on the day of release. It is a fascinating look at what happens behind the scene at the magnificent museum in Paris. At the end of the film Philibert summarises what was his intention, by showing a long sequence of faces of some of the people, the viewer meets in the film. Yes, he is after people and what people do in an adventurous and sometimes mysterious place like Louvre where he (also) takes us underground to all the art works that wait to be exhibited or never reaches the exhibition area. It is transport, cleaning, restoring and conserving, and guarding, and playing boule on Rue de Rivoli next to the museum, measuring, planning the placement of the paintings in a room before the opening. And so on and so forth, several magical moments, lots of humour, all born by a fascination from the side of the film team. And you sense the director’s écriture right away, as you know it from La Moindre des Choses, Le pays des sourds, Etre et Avoir...
Written 22-04-2009 11:00:23 by Tue Steen Müller
Morgane turns 18. She lives with her father and brother. Her mother lives somewhere else. Morgane still keeps her teddy bears lined up at her bed, but she is also the young girl on her way to adulthood caring about her looks and studies. Morgane tries to get in contact with her mother, who left the home due to alcohol abuse – and left Morgane with mental scars and a constant unsuccesful attempt to get in contact with her.
It’s a very well made situational documentary that the director/cameraperson/editor, all in same person, has done. It has the tone and the freshness of the young girl, who has allowed the camera to get very close to her mixed feelings of anger and pain. It is moving and conveys an atmosphere of authenticity around the protagonist... and it reminds us of the qualities of the short film genre, far too often forgotten in these one-hour-duration-television-documentary-times.
Belgium/France, 22 mins.
To be shown at
Written 22-04-2009 09:55:33 by Tue Steen Müller
The camera work is brilliant. It is a constant caress of the protagonist of this short documentary from Georgia. Her name is Altzaney and she is the one who is trusted to solve problems in the local community in the Pankisi gorge. In the first 50 seconds of the film you see hands, white linen being cut by scissors and the face of an old woman. At the end of the film you see that the white linen is used to wrap a corpse for burial. All taken care of by Altzenay.
And at the end you have the feeling of having met a charismatic, lovely old woman with quite extraordinary skills to fulfill the position she has been given as negociator, as the one all troubles are taken to, as the one who cleans the small mosque and takes the lead in the women’s singing, dancing and praying at the modest holy place. She is picked up by cars as a diplomat, she is followed to a wedding, to a family to solve problems, she is called ”granny”, and the camera performs beautiful moves to get close to her face and give us the environment. In short intercuts Altzenay talks directly to the camera about this her mission in life.
Another excellent inside to a place in Georgia, as was the film ”Their Helicopter” by Salome Jashi written about on filmkommentaren.dk.
Georgian documentary talent. Support it! Buy for broadcast. Screen their films at festivals.
Nino Orjonikidze & Vano Arsenishvili: Altzaney, 2009, 31 mins.
Written 21-04-2009 13:05:18 by Tue Steen Müller
Still photos from a prostitution environment, without any persons pictured, accompany the words from a witness statement to the police. It is a alarming declaration read by a male voice, straight forward and neutral without any attempt to touch the viewer emotionally. The right choice as the text is so strong in content that it touches to hear another trafficking victim come up with her detailed story about her being promised a fine job as a nurse for an old woman in Belgium, just to find out that the job that was waiting for her was prostitution. She flees her window place, and goes back to Bulgaria where the trafficking mafia finds her and makes her object to countless sexual assaults. She goes back to Belgium and reports.
Written 21-04-2009 12:50:02 by Tue Steen Müller
A minimalistic film school diploma work, full of tension and importance, with a terrifying story told through staged interviews with the director’s parents, a sister and a boyfriend. Intertwined to these fragments of words that carry the narrative - about what happened to the director when she was abroad, driving a car and accepting a hiker to step in - some grainy unfocused dreamerish, not abstract but sort of unreal, super-8 mm images stress an atmosphere of something that had to be told for the sake of all those involved, who experienced the consequences of what happened to the director. They tell her how she was, when she came back to them. Therapy for both parties, the one, who suffered, the director, and the relatives around her? Maybe, but one of those films that cross the border from private to personal and thus becomes interesting for all of us. Because it has such a stringent form, all necessary ”fat” is cut away, nothing is sentimental and yet the film is very moving.
The film was in the Generation DOK Leipzig 2008:
Written 20-04-2009 10:27:32 by Tue Steen Müller
20 years have gone since the architect I.M. Pei could show his Louvre pyramid to the public. Heavily discussed back then, but now in general considered as an architectural masterpiece of our time, one of the many monuments decided by Francois Mitterrand.
On this occasion the European cultural channel ARTE dedicates a whole day, next saturday April 25, to the Pyramid through the broadcast of no less than 6 documentaries.
Two of them are new productions: Frédéric Compain tells about the strong opposition and discussions before the building of the pyramid was decided, and Stan Neumann has got unique access to some of the best art conservators, restorers and historians, who are filmed discussing some of the jewels of the Louvre collection. Talking about jewels... the last film in so-called Theme-Day is of course the 20 years old masterpiece of Nicolas Philibert, ”La ville Louvre”.
Written 20-04-2009 09:42:23 by Tue Steen Müller
The film was released in December 2006 but I did not get to see it before this saturday afternoon, thanks to SVT, Swedish Television: The story about John Lennon being harrassed by the American authorities during the Nixon administration. He was considered an enemy of the state with his constant Peace manifestations in and out of bed with Yoko Ono at his side. Ending with a deportation notice that was never put into action due to a strong lawyer who was able to prolong the court case again and again, until Nixon was re-elected in 1972 and the White House forgot about this rebel from Liverpool.
It is a highly entertaining documentary, a déjà vu, all in the film is known, it is a repetition but a lovely one for one who grew up with Lennon. Who was at the Beatles concert in Copenhagen in 1964 as a young fan, and who was walking the streets of London on December 9 1980 on holiday with wife and mother, facing the breaking news: John Lennon Shot Dead.
Totally formatted and an overwhelming praise to Lennon documentary: interviews (first and foremost Yoko Ono but also George McGovern and Bobby Seale and Angela Davis), archives from concerts and interviews with Lennon and the bed-in´s in Amsterdam and Montréal, and music all over. All we are Saying is Give Peace a Chance... Retro nostalgia, yes, history, yes, the film about Lennon, no.
2006, 99 mins.
Written 18-04-2009 17:58:44 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Bruno Ganz og Otto Sander kommer som disse frakkeklædte engle usynlige ind til de mange læsende (Rilkes scene fra "Malte Laurids Brigges Optegnelser") på Staatsbibliothek. De kan, da de er engle, ikke kun høre tanker, men også, hvad der læses, og blandt de mange mumlende stemmer med sætninger om livet i regnskoven, om sommeren, som lakker mod enden, om merværdiafgift, om sammenfatning af ligninger, om kærligheden, om vemod ved soldaterne ved fronten og et bygkorn i øjet (i et Alban Berg brev), om DNA molekylet... skelner jeg:
"Walther Benjamin købte 1921 Paul Klees akvarel ANGELUS NOVUS. Indtil sin flugt fra Paris i juni 1940 hang det i hans vekslende arbejdsværelser. I sit sidste skrift "Über den Begriff der Geschichte", 1940, fortolkede han billedet som allegori over tilbageblikket på historien..." Så tager andre stemmer over, men jeg erindrer Benjamins tekst:
"... Det viser en engel, som ser ud til at bevæge sig væk fra noget, han stirrer på. Hans øjne er vidtåbne, hans mund er åben, hans vinger er foldet ud. Det er sådan historiens engel må se ud. Hans ansigt er vendt mod fortiden. Mens en kæde af begivenheder er hvad vi oplever, ser han én enkelt katastrofe, som stabler tilintetgørelse på tilintetgørelse og slynger dem for hans fødder. Englen ville gerne blive, levende eller død, og gøre helt igen, hvad der er blevet knust. Men en storm blæser fra Paradis, og den har fået fat i hans vinger. Den er så stærk, at englen ikke kan folde dem sammen. Den storm driver ham uimodståelig ind i fremtiden, som han vender ryggen til, mens stablen af murbrokker foran ham vokser mod himlen. Denne storm er hvad vi kalder fremskridt..."
Som Fassbinder og Pasolini i deres film, skildrer Wenders i sin film det, Klees og Benjamins engel ser..
Wim Wenders: Der Himmel über Berlin, 1987. 122 min. Manuskript (monolog og digt): Peter Handke, kamera: Henri Alekan, klip: Peter Przygodda, medvirkende: Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin, Otto Sander, Curt Bois og Peter Falk. DVD, Arthaus 2005, 500941, Wim Wnders Edition. Litt.: Wim Wenders und Peter Handke: Der Himmel über Berlin, ein Filmbuch, 1987. Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main. Walther Benjamin: Über den Begriff der Geschichte, 1940, i Gesammelte Schriften I, side 691-704. Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main. Foto: Paul Klee: Angelus Novus.
Written 18-04-2009 11:25:21 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Vi havde Berlinaften på Nordisk Designhøjskole i aftes. Eleverne rejser i dag på studierejse til byen, og hele dagen i går gik med forberedelser. Der var foredrag om Berlins historie og topografi og om aftenen kørte de "Der Himmel über Berlin", som jeg var derude for at introducere.
Vi talte om Walter Benjamins optagethed af Paul Klees ANGELUS NOVUS, som Tue Steen Müller så sjovt samtidig sidder og skriver om. Jeg fortalte eleverne, at Tue og jeg i julen var i Berlin og en lang aften gik omkring i den store Paul Klee udstilling i det moderne kunstmuseum. Et særligt afsnit der var indrettet omkring det lille maleri med en engelfremstilling, som ellers er på museet i Jerusalem, og på dette maleris særlige proveniens. Det har tilhørt først Rainer Maria Rilke, senere Walter Benjamin, som skrev et essay om det, teksten, Tue citerer fra.Det bringes der sammen med Fassbinders og Pasolinis værker om smertefuld europæisk besindelse. Jeg prøvede at bringe det sammen med Wenders Berlinfilm. Mine belæg i aftes var noget luftige, intuitive, når jeg identificerede Klees og Benjamins engel med Wenders og Ganzs. Så jeg må efterrationalisere, finde konkrete detaljer..
Written 17-04-2009 16:30:24 by Tue Steen Müller
A piece of promotion for a serious and competent publishing house with an excellent newsletter with links to events (conferences like the one below about Pasolini and Fassbinder, and festivals) and first of all info on new books on the seventh art. The publisher presents itself like this:
Written 17-04-2009 16:10:55 by Tue Steen Müller
A conference called ”Pasolini and Fassbinder: the European legacy between Utopia and nihilism” is to be held at Cardiff University, April 25-26. The interesting programme is to be found via the link below. Here is an excerpt from the introductory text:
In an age when Europe is increasingly perceived as an administrative and bureaucratic machine unable to inspire socio-political passion, it is perhaps time to bring back Walter Benjamin’s reflections on Paul Klee’s Angelus Novus: what if it is only by directing our gaze to the ruins of the past that we might be able to think the New? What if, more precisely, we can imagine a truly alternative vision of Europe only by redeeming the utopian spark betrayed by key events in Europe’s recent past?
Pasolini and Fassbinder are amongst the last radical authors to have emerged in Europe. Born in Italy and Germany, they inherited a traumatic social and political past which they chose to address either directly or via different topics related to the cultural memory of Europe…
Written 16-04-2009 15:07:11 by Tue Steen Müller
URTI stands for Université Radiophonique et Télévisuelle Internationale, and for the 28th time the organisation will give an award, the International Grand Prix for Author’s Documentaries (what is equivalent to ”creative documentaries” or ”author driven documentaries, ed.) in connection with the TV Festival of Monte Carlo June 5- June 8.
10 films have been shortlisted for the final competition, selected from 123 documentaries from 81 tv channnels from 47 countries.
Let 3 of the films be mentioned, all of them known to readers of filmkommentaren.dk: Hungarian Ferenc Moldovanyi’s ”Another Planet” (presented by MTV, Hungary), ”Burma VJ” (photo) by Danish Anders Østergaard (presented by WDR, Germany!) and Bulgarian Boris Despodov’s ”Corridor #8” (presented by YLE, Finland!).
Written 15-04-2009 18:37:21 by Tue Steen Müller
A new Congo-film by Thierry Michel (photo) opened in French cinemas today. And gets a fine review in "le monde". I visited the film’s web site, which is extraordinarily well constructed with trailer, extracts from the film, extracts from the making of, interview with the director + good promotion material and info on when and where you can get to see the film. Others could learn from this. Here is the synopsis of the film taken from the site:
Written 15-04-2009 14:50:53 by Tue Steen Müller
The ECCOS (European Cultural Capital On Screen) organised by Belgian Associate Directors has this year a focus on Lithuanian documentaries to celebrate that Vilnius is Cultural Capital of Europe. In connection with the filmfestival Open Doek in Antwerp a masterclass is organised with the participation of the two, who more than anyone else have characterized the post-soviet Lithuanian wave of poetic documentaries: Arunas Matelis and Audrius Stonys (photo).
On April 26-27 a masterclass is held titled ”Beyond the End of Storytelling” including discussions with the two directors and screenings of masterpieces like ”Alone”, ”Uku Ukai” and ”The Bell” by Stonys and ”Ten Minutes Before the flight of Icarus” and ”Before Flying Back to the Earth” by Matelis.
Other Lithuanian films are added like the one of the late godfather of Lithuanian documentaries, ”Didn´t Come” by Henrikas Sablevicius and ”Three Days of Sarunas Bartas.
Written 14-04-2009 10:17:23 by Tue Steen Müller
Hvor herligt at blive positivt overrasket! Jeg havde forventet endnu ét af disse holdningsløse historien-bag-filmen pr-programmer, men fik med denne journalistiske dokumentar om Nils Malmros et klogt og velunderbygget og fokuseret indblik i instruktørens perfektionistiske måde at arbejde på og ikke mindst hans glæde ved arbejdet generelt og med børnene specielt. Deraf titlen, går jeg ud fra. Journalisten Allan Høyer har fulgt Malmros under optagelserne til ”Kærestesorger” - der varede tre år – har interviewet ham igen og igen, har interviewet skuespillere, Klaus Rifbjerg, instruktørassistenten Line Arlien-Søborg – og de taler alle sammen kyndigt og varmt om samarbejdet.
Der vendes konstant tilbage til klip fra ”Kundskabens træ”, og Høyer konfronterer fint virkelighedens Elin fra denne film med Malmros egen erindring. Nej, det var ikke Elin, der som voksen kom til Malmros med historien om sine traumatiske oplevelser i skolen, det var snarere omvendt. Siger den anonyme Elin med en latter – og fortsætter: Nils kunne have grebet ind overfor mobberiet men gjorde det ikke. Samme Nils, som det fremgår af både ”Kundskabens træ” og ”Kærestesorger”, måtte se en anden rende af med sin kæreste og gudhjælpemig om ikke Høyer har fundet rivalen, virkelighedens skurk, han der stjal pigen... han interviewes og efterlader et indtryk så vi som tilskuere helt er på Malmros side. Man kan diskutere lødigheden af disse journalistiske ”kup”, men det er godt nok underholdende, og det er vel at mærke ikke det, der bærer dokumentaren om vor fornemste filmiske erindringskunstner.
Set på DR2, 13. April 2009. 1 time lang.
Written 11-04-2009 22:00:35 by Allan Berg Nielsen
From without and from within the cinema is dying, if not already dead. You shoot a dinosaur in the head on a Monday but the goddamned animal is so big and clumsy and stupid it will not roll over till when? We have to decide - will it roll over on the Wednesday, the Thursday, next Friday? The shooting date for this dinosaur was the 31st September 1983 when the zapper, or the remote control, entered the living-rooms of the world. We introduced interactivity, we introduced audience choice and the cinema cannot deal with that, when it is a phenomenon watched by a crowd sitting still in the dark, looking in one direction. Man is not a nocturnal animal, two-thirds of the world is behind your head, who sits still like that in any other circumstances, and the democracy of the crowd is usually wrong.
Read more / Læs mere
Written 11-04-2009 10:36:13 by Tue Steen Müller
It is huge in content and very professional in communication. The festival in Toronto gets closer as does the parallel TDF, Toronto Documentary Forum: April 30-May 10 for the festival, May 6-7 for the forum. A newsletter comes out for free with a bombardment of information, every little detail is explained.
A look at the festival programme’s competitive programme reveals the screening of the new, long awaited documentary by Peter Kerekes, ”Cooking History” that goes out in Czech cinemas just after Easter. It is such an original subject by a very original director (”66 Seasons”). Read the annotation from the catalogue, 88 minutes long is the film, shot 7 languages:
Who would have imagined that wars could also be fought with pots, pans, and pepper shakers? Military chefs have a unique, and until now, unshared influence on the battlefield. "A hungry soldier doesn't feel safe," explains a sausage-wielding army cook. Feeding troops is a tactical strategy used to truly astounding results in major European conflicts of the 20th century. A Russian woman's meat blintzes provide 11 million soldiers the necessary courage to conquer in the Second World War. A Jewish prison camp breadmaker executes a plan against his Nazi captors with the only tools at his disposal. Tito's personal chef shares the state dinner menus whose warring national cuisines foretell the Balkan War itself. By turns wry and rousing, the personal stories of history's forgotten witnesses quietly humanize war's unrecorded battles and their costs. Six wars, 10 recipes, and 60,361,024 dead - Cooking History is a fascinating retelling of the past. Written by Myrocia Watamaniuk.
The Hot Docs festival is rich in programme and geographical spread. The Forum is more main stream predictable in its selection with a focus on American and Canadian projects on Mumbai, Guantanamo… and Rock Hudson!
Written 08-04-2009 11:08:50 by Tue Steen Müller
In 1972 Italian maestro Michelangelo Antonioni went to China to make a documentary for RAI with a duration of 3 ½ hours. The film, that was shown in cinemas in Italy and on television, and in a shorter version in other countries, has stayed unknown since then. Now it is released theatrically in France and on dvd.
French critic Jacques Mandelbaum writes with enthusiasm about it in le Monde April 7: C’est intrigant. A travers quelques grandes étapes - Pékin, la région du Hunan, puis les villes de Suzhou, Nankin et Shanghaï -, le film semble se chercher en permanence, hésiter entre plusieurs directions. Celle de la vocation pédagogique, celle de l'essai filmé, celle de la contemplation poétique. Antonioni filme ici les institutions, les monuments, les quartiers, en accompagnant ces images d'un commentaire qui les situe dans une perspective historique et politique. Il enregistre là, dans de longues échappées silencieuses, des visages choisis dans la foule, souvent ceux de très belles jeunes femmes, les hommes au travail, les activités quotidiennes. Quelque chose de l'ordre du désarroi, de l'impuissance, entre dans ces plans, qui multiplient panoramiques et zooms comme pour mieux saisir une réalité fuyante. Une impression renforcée par l'absence de traduction directe des paroles qui sont prononcées devant la caméra, et que s'approprie systématiquement le narrateur...
Written 08-04-2009 11:06:49 by Tue Steen Müller
Be careful if you are German, has made a good documentary and wants it to go to DOK Leipzig 2009. New regulations have been introduced, read this press release:
Photo: 2008 winner at DOK Leipzig: Renè.
Written 06-04-2009 16:51:33 by Tue Steen Müller
It is not very often that jury motivations are useful to read. This one is, from the documentary competition at the Belfast Film Festival, named after the Maysles Brothers. The members were Karolina Lidin, Charlie Philips and Ben Kempas. Here is their text:
In Belfast, we saw many excellent films, gripping and well-crafted. Yet, PRESUMED GUILTY by Roberto Hernandez stood out, with all the right ingredients a documentary can possibly have. With astonishing access to a prison in Mexico, we get to follow Tono, a young man who has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for a murder he most likely did not commit. We witness legal proceedings that seem like a total farce, based on the assumption of guilt rather than innocence.
Read more / Læs mere
Written 06-04-2009 11:08:07 by Tue Steen Müller
7 biografer viser Let's Be Together i denne måned. In 7 Danish cinemas the new documentary by big talent Nanna Frank Møller is shown. Here is a repeat of the review made in connection with cph:dox last year:
That Nanna Frank Møller is an excellent editor has been proved many times, primarily in her collaboration with Danish director Max Kestner. That she has a talent for directing herself became obvious with the film about the circus sisters, ”Someone Like You”. Here she is with another proof: a film about 14 year old Hairon, who has Brasilian parents but lives in Denmark with his mother and her Danish husband, one more dad for Hairon.
Written 05-04-2009 11:42:23 by Tue Steen Müller
It's one of those great documentary moments. Barack Obama walks with Gordon Brown towards Downing Street. Obama stretches out his hand to say hello to the policeman in front of the building, they shake hands, Brown moves in the same direction, the policeman stretches out his hand prepared for another vip handshake but Brown regrets and the handshake never comes. Great fun!
Sorry I am British!
Written 04-04-2009 15:23:58 by Tue Steen Müller
It is an obvious story- to go to the amusement park in Vienna, the Prater, famous also for the Harry Lime tune, Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten, but in this case it is a documentary that brings us stories about people, who work at the Prater, many of them coming from the former Yugoslavia and other Balkan countries. As do the Bulgarian and Serbian directors of this impressionistic documentary with a somewhat enigmatic title. There are some quite charismatic and colourful characters among those, the two directors have talked to, and there are some great pieces of montage in the film that follows the back stage life of Prater during a year. The two directors do not come from the classical documentary environment, but from the art scene and the documentary is best when they go for the visual bombardment, whereas some of the talks with especially the foreigners are felt repititive in the global context.
A methaphor for the society it is described to be on the site of the film, and it can be seen like this, including a dose of xenophophia and unfulfilled dreams of a good life from all those who left their countries to live in €urope.
Austria, Bulgaria, Serbia, 2005/2006, 60min
Written 02-04-2009 19:27:47 by Tue Steen Müller
If you happen to be around Nyon in Switzerland on tuesday April 28, you should go and meet one of the few real stars in documentary cinema, Russian director Sergey Dvortsevoy. He has been invited to Visions du Réel and a retrospective is being done in his honour. If you dont happen to be at the festival in Nyon, try otherwise to get hold of the films of Dvortsevoy: Paradise (25 mins), Bread Day (55 mins), Highway (57 mins), In the Dark (41 mins), Tulpan (fiction) (100 mins.). Or start by watching the director in small interviews on the sites mentioned below.
”You have to put all your energy into the filmmaking. You have to choose, to wait and to catch”, Dvortsevoy says in the Nyon-interview, and those who have seen Paradise about the Nomad family in Kazakhstan will remember the little boy who is eating, or the cow that has its head stuck in a churn, or the woman who is combing her hair – or the blind man in In the Dark who just sits there talking to his cat from his sofa – or the women pushing the train wagon in the snow in Bread Day. Magic moments given to us by a director with a minimalistic film language, always shooting on film, made with a big heart for people, and normally on small budgets!
Written 01-04-2009 20:00:21 by Tue Steen Müller
Here is a call for help from Belarussian Lyceum Headmaster and documentary director Uladzimir Kolas (see picture). Kolaz, who recently made the fine festival touring documentary ”Ada Gallery” is setting up a film education in his lyceum that is the only one in Belarus that is not controlled by Lukasjenko and his gang. For his video library Kolaz kindly asks international documentary filmmakers and institutions to donate copies of their film.
For more on the lyceum and the plan to build an education, as well as how to donate go to
Written 01-04-2009 17:31:35 by Tue Steen Müller
Finally the succesful Danish cinema will be celebrated. By the Danes themselves. In the park next to the Film House in Copenhagen an Arc de Triomph will be raised that should be minimum 24 meter high. And have three dimensions and fit to the structure of the beautiful park and the Rosenborg Castle that neighbours the park and the Film House. The monument, financed by local private sponsors, will for sure have the same symbolic meaning as the equivalent in Paris. It will underlign the enormous succes and influence Denmark has had on the world of cinema. The building of the Arc will begin next spring, the proud director of the Danish Film Institute, Mr. Nielsen expresses in his press release of April 1st 2009.
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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....
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