Written 26-11-2010 10:36:11 by Tue Steen Müller
Many visitors to the festival in Amsterdam (November 17-28) are there to look for films to buy for their national television channels. The buyers sit in their booths and choose among more than 500 films, as do festival representatives from all over the world. For the buyers the work is mostly of a pre-selection nature where the films are watched for maybe 10 minutes and then a decision is taken to ask for a dvd screener to take home for final decision, or to state ”not interested”.
The Docs for Sale, that also includes an online service during the whole year – good for those who do not travel to idfa – and for those of us who can not see the films when at idfa because of meetings and attendance of the Forum (see below) – has a hit list of the most watched films. Again a pleasure to see on the top 10 that Latvian ”Family Instinct” has been watched 59 times and that Serbian ”Cinema Komunisto” (PHOTO) and Danish ”Blood in the Mobile” have 57 screenings.
Number 1 – well tv buyers, like the rest of us, like food made with a high artistic quality and a film about ”El Bulli” is of course not to be missed. The film, watched 86 times, is directed by German director Gereon Wetzel and lasts 108 minutes, and this is the catalogue description:
The chefs at the world-renowned, Michelin-starred Spanish restaurant El Bulli have turned cooking into an art form. The doors are only open to the public for six months of the year; the rest of the time, a select team of experts is hard at work creating a new avant-garde 30-course menu. Looking on from the sidelines, we watch experiments with structure, sound, color and - finally - flavor. Cooking with liquid nitrogen, something the restaurant is particularly famous for, is but one of the many unconventional preparation methods used here. Owner Ferran Adrià is always on hand, tasting everything created in this flavor lab and coming across like a softened-down version of Gordon Ramsey. We discover that experimental dishes such as Parmesan Crystal and Vanishing Ravioli came about largely by chance. When one of the chefs fished out an ice cube from his Coke glass and dropped it in the gravy on his plate, he thought, why not make a dish from ice cubes? And why not mix oil with water, for a cocktail that leaves a deliciously soft coating on the lips? At El Bulli, it's all about feeling something, experiencing something. In the words of top chef Adrià, "The more bewilderment, the better."
Written 25-11-2010 13:44:41 by Tue Steen Müller
An early christmas present for documentary lovers: The offer to watch artistic short documentaries from the country of filmmakers who, if any, master the poetic film language: Lithuania. In times where these kind of films have problems in getting to the big festivals, that more and more select by subject – political and social - the initiative deserves a huge BRAVO! It comes from DocAlliance, the excellent online portal for Video on Demand offering permanent access to 400 outstanding documentaries selected by the five partner festivals (Leipzig, Nyon, Copenhagen, Warsaw, Jihlava). Twenty new films are added monthly and these can be acquired through streaming or download.
This offer for free streaming of Lithuanian docs runs until the 28th, i.e. this upcoming Sunday. If you want more information - Filmkommentaren has written about Arunas Matelis 12 times, Audrius Stonys 24 times – the two masters, whose works (at least some of them) you can watch, and as for the film “Man-Horse” by Audrius Mickevicius you will find an enthusiastic review. IF you don’t have time to watch the films now, you can do it later by paying a cheap fee. The selection of films for video-on-demand is done with competence.
Here comes the list of films and the site address:
Read more / Læs mere
Written 25-11-2010 13:36:26 by Tue Steen Müller
The festival in Amsterdam has a nomination system like the one used at the Oscars – three films in each category of competition are shortlisted – and the directors have to wait until saturday night to hear if they are the lucky winners.
You can read all about it on the site below and you can for free click on the titles and watch the trailers of the films. I did so for the ”Abuelos” that competes in the First Appearance catagory. It is directed by Ecuadorian Carla Valencia Dávila and is about her two grandfathers, one who was killed by the Chilean dictatorship, the other who had special medical curing skills. Looks absolutely beautiful, the trailer.
Personally I am very happy that the Latvian ”Family Instinct” (PHOTO) by young director Andris Gauja has been nominated in the category of films of mid-length duration. It is a courageous and honest film that creates a lot of ethical debate because of its very close observation of a family that lives a life on the edge. I had the privilege of watching rough cuts of the film and see Gauja as a very much wanted new talent in the strong Latvian tradition for documentaries.
Take a look at the trailer on the websites below.
Two very well known films by readers of this site are nominated by a jury of young people – ”Autumn Gold”, which is also number one on the list for the Audience Award – and ”Armadillo”, not further presentation needed.
Written 24-11-2010 01:45:54 by Tue Steen Müller
I post this article from the idfa site to higlight one of the most appreciated documentary projects that was pitched at the Forum 2010:
Twin sisters Ilse and Femke van Velzen, filmmakers and human rights activists, returned last week from the Congo, where they are shooting their latest film Justice for Sale, to pitch the international funding community for the €175,000 needed to guarantee its completion. Forum attendees heard their pitch yesterday. Nick Cunningham reports.
Justice for Sale follows two young Congolese human rights lawyers who battle against injustice in their homeland. The film is the Van Velzens’ third on the subject of the Congo, following Weapon of War (2009) (PHOTO) and Fighting the Silence (2007). “As young girls in primary school, we stood up for other children that were bullied,” explains Ilse. “Years later, when we started to make films about human rights, we realised that we can expose injustice [in
Read more / Læs mere
Written 23-11-2010 17:17:38 by Tue Steen Müller
The Forum for International Co-Financing of Documentaries holds its 18th session. There is a friendly atmosphere at the round table where tv commissioning editors sit to comment on the projects that are pitched. Maybe too friendly for a veteran participant as me, who knows that only a small percentage of the film projects that are met with a positive attitude actually get financing at the meetings that are held afterwards. This has always been like that, it takes time and all film projects are being pitched again and again. Before finally the money needed is in place. And it is not easier with the financial crisis world-wide.
You may like the pitching concept or not – it IS absurd to think that you can present your film project in 7-8 minutes – and the making of the trailers is an art in itself and in many cases it says nothing about how the film will be. BUT it still gives you a strong impression to see all these film professionals gathered at one place for ONE reason: to have good, creative documentaries made. The pitching of the about 40 film projects from all over the world is one thing, the more than 700 individual meetings pre-planned, meetings between makers and buyers another. What a logistical achievement. Respect!
... and at the festival – idfa staff proudly states – 17 films are shown that were previuosly pitched at the Forum.
Photo: "Armadillo", pitched at the 2009 Forum.
Written 23-11-2010 17:14:50 by Tue Steen Müller
The Forum is half way through and my general impression is that 2010 selection has been good. There are many creative documentaries, and they are well received. It started strongly with Romanian Florin Iepan’s project ”Odessa” (PHOTO), his short catalogue annotation goes like this: ”The uncovering of the largest mass execution perpetrated by an ally of Nazi Germany launches in Romania the first public debate on its fascist past”,
followed by Sergey Miroshnichenko ”Born in the USSR: 28UP”, the Granada Television/Michael Apted concept called "SevenUP", that the excellent Russian director adapted in 1990, filming the growing up of kids from the age of 7 till their adult age of 28. Also well received was the first international film project from the young colleague Daria Khlestkina, ”The 16th Republic”, which refers to a car factory in the middle of Moscow, where limousines are made, or were made. The director has followed what happens at the factory, where some cars were ordered and produced and then the orders were cancelled. Will the factory survive, great characters and lot of humour...
The Forum is of course giving the profile of a market as it is right now, and you notice of course that ”content is king”, as it has been phrased again and again at meetings like this. And all in all the content of the films proposed are from the world of today. War zones, poverty, violence, crime and about people. And you see how the big channels, alas, like arte and BBC are going cautiously in their selection. BBC Storyville editor Nick Fraser supported two tabloid sensational projects, one about the fall of a filthy rich family in the US, and a project about jewel criminals, who – of course, again a cliché – are from Serbia!
And arte... well, documentaries do not have a strong position in this channel any longer, no more observational documentaries at arte as an editor said to me. So documentaries for arte are normally channelled through the theme evenings. The key person for the editorial line of these evenings, Hans-Robert Eisenhauer, ZDF/arte, was warmly applauded at the end of the second day of pitching for his always supportive attitude to bringing good documentaries to the audience, a true believer of the need for quality in public broadcasting and a man who very often has criticized the way his own channel is going.
Written 20-11-2010 16:47:16 by Tue Steen Müller
Of course idfa with an audience of more than 100.000 must have an audience award parallel to the awards given by juries of film professionals. If you go to the website you will find an updated list that goes by a quality point system. 5 out of the 10 titles on the list of today have been mentioned or reviewed on filmkommentaren.dk:
Romanian "The World According to Ion B.", German "Autumn Gold", Czech "Katka" and Danish "Armadillo". The film that has taken the lead is Lucy Walker's "Waste Land", also shortlisted for an Oscar (PHOTO).
Written 19-11-2010 18:00:43 by Tue Steen Müller
The long-awaited Short List of feature-length documentaries in consideration for Academy Award nomination was finally released, and here are the lucky 15:
The final five, along with three to five films from the Documentary Short Subject Short List, will be announced Tuesday, January 25, 2011.
Several candidates, that have been talked about, especially in Europe, were not selected, like Laura Poitras The Oath, the two Frederick Wiseman films La Danse and Boxing Gym, Janus Metz Armadillo and Joonas Berghäll’s Steam of Life.
Written 18-11-2010 23:34:39 by Tue Steen Müller
Ally Derks, director of the idfa festival, held a strong speech at the opening of the festival Wednesday night. Here is the text of the strong cultural political appeal:
Dear friends, tonight we are launching the 23rd edition of IDFA with the world premiere of Leonard Retel Helmrich’s magnificent film, Stand van de Sterren (The Position Among the Stars). But before we enjoy it, I want to take a few minutes to reflect on the films in the festival - and the current climate under which they are being made. This year, we received over 3000 entries from 100 different countries. We have selected 300 films to stimulate your thought and pleasure. Many films in the program are working for a world where truth and fact can overcome official lies and corporate greed. Others take on climate change and help us to understand it. There are films that work for an equal world, without sexism or economic injustice. Others take up the sword of action against the enemies of cynicism and apathy.
Many films are personal, connecting us with a world full of different cultures. They bridge the gap of “The Other”. They offer us a different view of difference. There are creative films that transform the world with beauty, aesthetics and the hope found in art. They experiment with form. They consider documentary as a life form. They transform facts into the art of information. The art of storytelling.
In truth, documentary is an artform. But alarmingly, in many countries of the world, the arts and cultural industries are under grave threat. Documentary production and public service broadcasting are at risk. Compounded by economic recession, and a lack of
Read more / Læs mere
Written 18-11-2010 10:15:01 by Tue Steen Müller
I did not get the name of the director of this Channel4 production but it does not matter as the film was without any authored point of view – a mere report about what happened, chronologically structured with interesting and clearly explained facts about the different rescue plans in technical terms, and some interviews about the drilling experts on location.
No surprises, no filmic ideas, a quickly produced programme with terrible muzak meant to make us emotionally involved.
It was much more emotional to see the direct unedited footage at the news when the actual rescue took place. So short ago.
A cynical market it is – loads of fiction films are also on its way – who comes first, but when does a well made documentary come about the miners in Chile. Take your time, we can wait. At least we spectators, not the tv channels apparently.
UK, 50 mins., watched on DR1 17.11.2010
Written 17-11-2010 23:16:54 by Sara Thelle
The Danish documentary Armadillo, Grand Prix at la Semaine de la Critique in Cannes this year, is getting ready to take in France. Distrib Films is in charge of the distribution and the film will be launched December 15th with 40 to 60 copies in the French theatres (MK2, CGR a. o.).
Press showings takes place next week and a special screening is organised in la Maison du Danemark in Paris Tuesday night November 23rd followed by debate in the presence of the director Janus Metz (unfortunately no more seats are available). The film will be released on DVD in France in April 2011.
Filmkommentaren will be following closely how the film is received in France.
Written 17-11-2010 16:23:50 by Tue Steen Müller
We have written about the Cinema Vérité documentary film festival, held in Tehran from November 7-12 under the slogan “Reality for All” – see below. The winners of the festival have been announced like this:
Iran's 4th Cinema Verite International Documentary Film Festival has announced winners during a ceremony held in the capital city of Tehran. Iranian filmmaker Siavash Sarmadi won the event's Best Film Award for his political documentary Searching for Reality. The festival's Best Film Award in the international section went to French director Nicolas Philibert's Nenette. Veteran filmmakers Morteza Sha'bani and Khosrow Sinai were also honored with lifetime achievement awards during the event's closing ceremony.
Other national section award winners of this year's festival were as follows: Best Short Film: Live Desert, Hossein Safi. Best Mid-length Film: Ariobarzanes, Khosrow Heidari. Best Cinematographer: Hossein Safi for Snails. Best Editor: Bahareh Khorrami and Roya Majdnia for Dim Room, Twilit Window. Best Narrator: Shahram Derakhshan for The People Who Have Everything,Best Sound Effects: Akbar Ebrahimi for Live Desert
The festival screened films from Turkey, Sweden, Canada, the US, Argentina, France, Germany, China and Brazil among many others.
Written 17-11-2010 09:44:52 by Tue Steen Müller
The without any doubt biggest in audience and most important documentary film festival for the professional community kicks off today in Amsterdam and goes on until November 28. Edition number 23 it is, that will welcome an audience with more than 100.000 spectators in numbers, and around 2000 guests. A text clip from the site:
”Amsterdam will be home to the international documentary world until Sunday 28 November. As well as the more than 300 documentaries on the program, there will be 450 Q&As after the screenings and three debates... Around 2000 national and international guests will be attending IDFA over the coming week and a half. As well as being the place where documentary directors come together, IDFA’s FORUM and Docs for Sale marketplaces also make the festival a meeting place for film buyers, festival programmers, producers, commissioning editors and other documentary professionals from home and abroad.”
The opening galla screening is tonight, ”Position among the Stars” by Leonard Retel Helmrich, his third part of a trilogy on a family in Indonesia, but the audience can already from this morning go to the cinema and discover what is new and/or enjoy old masters. We have earlier on written about the selection of the Top 10 of Finnish director Pirjo Honkasalo to be screened at the festival – this is of course followed by a retrospective of the director’s masterpieces like ”Tanjuska and the 7 Devils”, ”Atman”, ”Mysterion” and ”3 Rooms of Melancholia” (PHOTO). A very well deserved hommage to a true auteur in world documentary film. She does not like films to be watched on small screens, dvd or online – but I dare to recommend that if you google her name and titles you will get many possibilities to get hold of them, including (for our Danish readers ”3 Rooms of Melancholia”) the public library lending system.
Written 17-11-2010 09:28:22 by Tue Steen Müller
Many of the 300 films at the festival in Amsterdam have been noticed or reviewed at filmkommentaren.dk. From the programme of today ”Armadillo”, ”Steam of Life”, ”Last Train Home" and ”Erotic Man” can be mentioned...
But if I were at idfa today I would choose to re-watch the film about Kongo Müller (PHOTO: Der Lachende Mann) by the GDR fillmmakers and journalists Heynowski and Scheumann. It is from 1966 (and should be available on dvd according to my google search). This is what it is about:
”Posing as West German journalists, East German documentary filmmakers Heynowski and Scheumann pay a visit to the notorious Nazi-turned-mercenary Siegfried "Kongo" Müller, pump him with booze, and get him to talk. Müller fought in Congo's civil war in the 1960s, and the more Pernod he imbibes, the more fascinating this interview becomes. He asserts that blacks are no better than animals and shares his dream of enlisting in the U.S. Army to fight communism in Vietnam and beyond. He flaunts his military paraphernalia, including the Iron Cross he was awarded in Germany in 1945, and proceeds to deny his earlier statements about civil killings, the ethics of war, and the defense of Western libertarian values. This documentary tour de force is interspersed with pictures of Müller and his comrades proudly posing with severed skulls, and it touches on other Nazis who are active in Africa as well as American world dominance.”
For those who are not able to go to idfa, the generous festival offers you to follow the festival in daily reports. Go to the site below, to the ”IDFA TV, the online channel, streaming various complete documentaries free of charge, as well as trailers, festival reports, master classes and more”.
Written 17-11-2010 09:25:18 by Tue Steen Müller
... and is, as mentioned above, also the place to go for professionals who are looking for films for their tv channels, or for festival programmers. Around 500 films are available for the accredited guests, who are there to select films for us, the spectators in front of the tv screen and/or at festivals. It is all digitalized and to give you an impression of the activity, the figures of 2009 were as follows: 460 films had 9312 in 9 days.
On top of that: From 2008 Docs for Sale launched a new online platform where buyers and exhibitors ” can view documentaries whenever they want and wherever they are. Buyers and festival programmers who can’t make it to Amsterdam therefore still have the opportunity to catch up with the Docs for Sale selection.”
”The Docs for Sale catalogue of online films contains titles selected for IDFA festival, as well as important documentaries that don’t deserve to be shelved just yet. The catalogue is continuously updated throughout the year.”
I can confirm that this initiative is of a high quality both in terms of available films and quality of image and sound.
As is the professionalism of The Forum where filmmakers come with their film projects to pitch them (this year November 22-24) to commissioning editors and other financiers. If you want to see what films might be ready in the coming couple of years, visit the site below. I have often, in connection with other festivals, and especially when it comes to the North American market, complained about the ignorance of the originality of Eastern European documentaries – this is not the case at idfa, and I am happy to see 7 projects from that part of world on the list for presentation.
PHOTO: Katka by Helena Trestikova, Czech Republic, in competition at idfa 2010.
Written 15-11-2010 15:09:34 by Allan Berg Nielsen
På den nyligt afsluttede Cph:Dox festival modtog Ada Bligaard Søbys De nøgne fra Skt. Petersborg en delt pris Danish:Dox Award (sammen med Jakob Boeskovs Empire North), som bedste danske dokumentarfilm.
Juryen begrundede valget af De nøgne fra Skt. Petersborg med instruktørens særligt kreative udtryk og evne til vedholdende at være i stand til at imponere sit publikum med et stærkt visuelt udtryk: "Scenerne er bundet sammen med et unikt blik og en meget personlig palet af farver, situationer, stemninger og følelser."
Vi har også her på bloggen længe været glade for Bligaard Søbys arbejder, om De nøgne fra Skt. Petersborg skrev jeg blandt andet: ”Scene efter scene stilles i kø i disciplineret række og forbindes kontrapunktisk med interview- og dialogmateriale, dokumentariske beretninger i løsreven fastholdelse. Det er meningsfuldt i en ganske anden narration end den normale danske tradition; og det er befriende, så befriende.”
Ada Bligaard Søbys filmografi er flot, tegner en usædvanlig disciplin og vedholdenhed, og ser man filmene i række, opdager man en trofasthed over for temaernes fortsatte bearbejdning, de giver stadigt mere og nyt fra sig: Complaints Choir (2009), Black Heart (2008), Meet me in Berlin (2007) og American Losers (2006).
Written 15-11-2010 14:27:47 by Tue Steen Müller
... is the headline of a long, interesting article in the Observer sunday November 7. It serves as a follow-up to the Sheffield Doc/Fest that has been covered excellently by the Guardian, see site address below.
The Observer article (written by Sean O’Hagan) examines how cheap technology is allowing film-makers to stretch the form as never before. To get wise words on that perspective, director and film critic/historian Kevin Macdonald is interviewed. Here is a bit of text from the article that is very much to be recommended:
"The form is certainly being stretched more than ever," says the director Kevin MacDonald, who has made feature films (The Last King of Scotland), documentaries (One Day in September) and merged the two (Touching the Void). "But documentary is a generous basket that can hold a lot of different things. If you think about it, journalism, letter-writing, memoir, satire – they all qualify as non-fiction, so why can't the same loose rules apply to documentary?"
To this end, MacDonald is currently working on the first feature-length documentary made entirely of user-generated content shot in a single day and then uploaded on to YouTube. Called Life In A Day, the impressionistic film is currently being edited down by MacDonald from 5,000 hours of footage from 190 countries. It will premiere as a three-hour documentary at next year's Sundance festival. "It's amateur film-making on a grand scale," says MacDonald. "But, because the participants are often showing such incredibly intimate things that you could not get in a traditional documentary unless you spent months filming, it is also ground-breaking in ways that we did not expect."
In the end, says MacDonald, it all comes down to great storytelling. "The irony is that, when I make a documentary, I always feel like I am taking all this real material and trying to tell a story almost as if it was a fictional narrative. When I make a fictional film, I do the opposite."
Written 14-11-2010 17:22:49 by Tue Steen Müller
We have posted several texts on the ever original and non-conventional 79 year old Jean-Luc Godard, especially in connection with his newest film ”Film Socialisme”. This sunday (November 14) Guardian has an interesting article that starts like this:
It should have been a typical acting love-in of the type the beautiful and rich elite of Hollywood do so well. At a lavish dinner last night, the acclaimed French director Jean-Luc Godard was given an honorary Oscar alongside other established greats such as Francis Ford Coppola and the actor Eli Wallach.
There was the usual banquet, mutual backslapping and enough air-kissing to inflate a zeppelin – but that was where the parallels with orthodox movie award ceremonies ended. For not only did the recipient of the gong fail to show up, but he was, in absentia, the subject of fierce debate over whether or not his long commitment to highlighting the plight of Palestinians has crossed over into antisemitism. The question on many people's lips was: is Godard anti-Zionist or is he anti-Jewish?
... and later on: The reclusive 79-year-old certainly has a long history of supporting the Palestinians, including filming Until Victory, which told the story of the Palestinian struggle against Israel. He once admitted that his grandfather had "ferociously" disliked Jews. "He was anti-Jew; whereas I am anti-Zionist, he was antisemitic," the director once said.
Read the whole article at:
Written 14-11-2010 16:22:54 by Tue Steen Müller
In Reus, a city a bit more than one hour’s drive from Barcelona, there is a film festival called Memorimage. It is quite unique in its basic philosophy. It deals with ”today’s films with yesterday’s images”, as it is being formulated by one of the organisers of a documentary festival that offers its audience to watch films based on the creative use of archival footage.
Around 20 films in the programme, 6 awards, and a diversity of subjects that range from a found, unfinished nazi propaganda film from the Warsaw ghetto ( ”A Film Unfinished” (PHOTO) by Israeli Yael Hersonski) to a film (”All the Night Long” by Isaki Lacuesta) that evokes the memories of when Ava Gardner came to Costa Brava in 1960 to play in a film called ”Pandora”.
Audience? A nice number of people were entering the cinemas and great it was to see students from the local university in the dark. The organisers had done a lot to target their audience and got around 200 students to be involved. They had chosen to watch documentaries on a big screen as part of their studies and got curriculum credits for that. For many a new world to discover away from the online downloads of films or the dvd loans from the local videoshop. Film education in other words. The programme also included morning screenings for seniors, and for school children, who had conversations with the international directors present.
”Once again we are setting out down the memory lane”, another quote from the organisers. I was there for the second time to sit on the jury. Read more about it below and on the site.
Written 14-11-2010 16:19:55 by Tue Steen Müller
The main awards of the festival were given to the Israeli film ”Jaffa, the Orange’s Clockwork” by Eyal Sivan, and to ”La Isla – Archives from a tragedy” by German Uli Stelzner. Both of them are strong political films, rich in content and style. As is ”Hugo Pratt in Africa” (PHOTO) by Swiss-Italian director Alfredo Knuchel, who in a labyrinthic form describes the fascinating connection between the father of Corto Maltese and the Ethiopia, he grew up in during the fascist Italian occupation of the country. The film was given the Mémorimage prize as the best production. A film about Barcelona and its rich families, and their business and private lives, mostly the latter got the prize for the best research. The director, Mireia Ros, tells the story by using a lot of cinematic means to make the huge amount of family archive material come alive in an entertaining and playful way.
Mémorimage has a unique concept for a festival. In terms of number of titles, and audience, the festival is among the smaller festivals – in terms of a focus on how films can make a new, or a re-interpretation of our common history, based on private or official audiovisial material, the festival can – after these first five editions – become an international meeting point for filmmakers, historians, researchers and ordinary curious film buffs. And at the same time inspire a Catalan audience to look at their own history with critical eyes.
Written 10-11-2010 11:01:45 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Det har da vist ikke altid været sådan? At næsten hver ny film har mindst to historier, fortællinger, tekster, dagsordener? Der er filmen selv som værk, og så er der, ofte længe før filmen er fremme, historien om dens tilblivelse. Nogle instruktører lader de to historier vokse sammen, men det gør Ditte Haarløv Johnsen bestemt ikke, og det er måske filmens problem, at den skuffer forventningen, fordi meget af dens stof på forhånd er brugt op, så den må leve af fraklip så at sige. Skønt klipperen i dette tilfælde bestemt mener, at det som er tilbage, netop er essensen, hvad der fremgår af historien om tilblivelsen. Som Haarløv Johnsen fortæller det til Jesper Bo Petersen (Ekko, november 2010) mærkes det, at hun ikke selv er helt sikker, men hun var og er loyal over for klipperen: ”Det er først og fremmest takket være min klipper Jeppe Bødskov, at det er lykkedes at sortere fragmenterne. Med sit klare og usentimentale blik på materialet forstod han at skære ind til essensen, der hvor jeg selv var forblændet af at være så dybt begravet i alt det, der skete udenom.”
Det, der skete udenom, var vistnok først og fremmest en stor, dramatisk kærlighedshistorie, måske banal i det ydre, men i Ditte Haarløv Johnsens sind rigt facetteret og mærkelig og vanvittig. Interviewet løfter en flig af forhænget for den oprivende fortælling. I filmen er den slet ikke med. Hendes fascination af den elskede markeres af hans integrerede smykkebrug, hans anderledeshed, hans forankring i grønlandsk kultur og tilværelsesforståelse. Og sådan videre i interviewets dybt interessante fortælling om dagene med ”druk, joints, ballade og bræk”.
Stort set intet af dette er overført til filmen. I hvert fald kun antydningsvist. Det vigtigste er det med kysseafstanden, som det så smukt udtrykkes i interviewet, altså selve hengivelsen med kameraet. Billederne er gennemgående meget tætte og intense. Præcist nærværende. Men de forbliver øjeblikke, glimtvise markeringer, samles ikke til hele scener af filmpoesi. Sker det, føjes der totaler til og æstetikken svinger over i ren reportage med journalistikambitioner. Det skader fordybelsen og giver plads til en slags social indignation, som der bare ikke er belæg for. Som de tre venner, som filmhistorien koncentrerer sig om, opfører sig, er de blot tre alkoholikere i gang med at drikke sig ihjel. Deres skæbne kan det være meget, meget svært at engagere sig i filmkunstnerisk, og det lykkes heller ikke. Det ender som cases for professionelle socialarbejdere. Der er fine, fine tilløb i det lyriske stofs behandling, men det socialrealistiske stof er traditionelt demonstrerende: her er noget galt. Javist er noget galt, men sagen er, at det var meget, meget værre i virkeligheden. Det fremgår af historien i Jesper Bo Petersens tekst.
Senere: Min blogkollega Tue Steen Müller meddeler i en mail fra Memorimage festivalen, hvor han, som det ses ovenfor, arbejder disse dage: "... jeg fandt den (Hjemløs) meget intens, meget vellykket med en fantastisk energi i stort alle scener. Hun er bogstaveligt talt tæt på hele tiden og de bliver stærke karakterer for mig." Det har læserne af Filmkommentaren og Ditte Haarløv Johnsen krav på at vide, mener jeg.
Ditte Haarløv Johnsen: Hjemløs Danmark 2010, 55 min. Fotografi: Ditte Haarløv Johnsen og Minka Jakerson, klip: Jeppe Bødskov, lyd: sylvester Holm og Frank Mølgaard Knudsen, musik: Mark Solborg, produktion: Nature & science www.naturescience.dk ved producer Anders Drud Jordan. DR2 i aftes på Dokumania. Vises i dag og fredag på Cph:Dox.
Written 07-11-2010 06:52:42 by Sara Thelle
November is the month of documentary films in France, Le Mois du Doc opens this weekend for the 11th time: More than 1200 sites, nearly 3000 showings and an audience of around 150.000. This event was created by the association Images en Bibliothèques with the objective to coordinate visibility on a national level and to highlight the fine collections of documentary films that French libraries (now a days called médiathèque) have in their possession. These collections are often considerable and rare, thanks to the deliberate politics of the French Ministry of Culture giving resources and freedom to the video librarian over the last 20 years. Le mois du Doc has grown into a major event helped by an overall growing popular interest in documentary films (Arte has had an important role here) and now includes cinemas and French cultural institutions abroad. A large majority of the showings are followed by debates, permitting filmmakers and audience to meet.
One of the places where le Mois du Doc is hosted in Paris, is at la Bibliothèque publique d’information (Bpi) at the Pompidou Centre. From November 6th to November 28th the cycle Filmer l’invisible (Filming the invisible) runs in the Cinéma 1 of the Centre. The program is a journey in contemporary documentary organised by Catherine Blangonnet. The films (by Rithy Panh, Alexandre Sokourov and many others) are from all around the world, but all from the last decade, 30 films in 23 showings.
Here is a translation of the presentation of the program:
The last decade has shown a great formal invention to explore the different levels of reality: the intimate, the political, the sociological, the mythological. It is this imagination and this freedom this program aims to reflect in its diversity.
Despite the title, you will find no mythical, supernatural or religious dimension. What is in question here, is the capacity of documentary films to reveal what was to remain invisible without the eye of the filmmaker, to make visible something of the world until then unnoticed.
As different as the themes they go about are, all the selected films goes beyond the limits of their “subject” and offers the possibility of unexpected perceptions.
This program will try to establish that there is no need to show or to demonstrate to be able to understand or feel and that documentary, although it is an invitation to reflection, has less to do with knowledge than with the relation with the other.
Written 06-11-2010 16:16:19 by Tue Steen Müller
I have been in contact with EDN’s film consultant Ove Rishøj Jensen, who tells me that there will be no boycott action (see below) from the Iranian filmmakers towards the festival Cinema Vérité. On the contrary, the filmmakers and the organisations related to the documentary film intend to reestablish the collaboration that existed before the problems occurred during summer 2009. The aim of EDN is first of all to be present at the festival to strenghten the cultural relations between EDN and the festival and thus the relations between documentarians in Europe and Iran.
... looking forward to hear more about the festival on this site from Ove Rishøj Jensen.
Written 05-11-2010 15:47:08 by Tue Steen Müller
Last year 142 Iranian filmmakers appealed to the documentary community worldwide to boycott the festival Cinema Vérité, see below. Yesterday EDN (European Documentary Network) posted the following text on its site:
”EDN will be present at the The 4th annual Cinema Verite: Iran International Documentary Film Festival. EDN and the activities connected to the organisation will be introduced at the festival. Cinema Verite is the main documentary film festival in Iran. The festival is combining both national and international program sections with a documentary market and a number of side events. Cinema Verite is organised by DEFC - Documentary and Experimental Film Center. This is the main center for production, distribution and promotion of fiction, documentary, animation and experimental films in the Middle East.”
Knowing the censorship that exists in Iran, the letter from the filmmakers from last year and the many imprisonments of filmmakers with controversial views on the society and the policy of the régime, one of course wonders if this is a clever move of an independent documentary membership organisation... or maybe it is exactly what it is, if it means that EDN can help make us more aware of what happens in the country for the filmmakers. I can not say. I was there – as director of EDN – 10 years ago to show European films and create contacts, it was a marvellous experience to meet the creativity of the filmmakers, censored or not.
EDN representatives are welcome to answer on this site, under ”bemærkninger/remarks”.
Written 05-11-2010 08:50:43 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Amnesty International og Aarhus Filmfestival inviterer til film og seminar om folkedrabet i Cambodja søndag 14. november i Øst for Paradis. Under De Røde Khmerers regime i Cambodja mistede op mod to millioner mennesker livet. De Røde Khmerers regime kostede op mod to millioner mennesker livet fra 1975-1979. Efter 30 år med krig, politisk ustabilitet og manglende vilje til at gøre op med fortiden står de øverste ledere nu tiltalt ved det internationale FN-tribunal. Aarhus Filmfestival viser to dokumentarfilm, der søger at opgrave sandheden om Cambodjas folkedrab og lade publikum komme helt tæt på bødlerne. Vi de aldrende ledere og deres foruroligende intakte ideologiske overbevisninger.
Still: Enemies of the people
Written 04-11-2010 18:34:24 by Tue Steen Müller
... which is a Czech city where the documentary film genre is celebrated every year at the end of October through a huge market programme for selling (pitching) film projects and finished films to television stations all over the world and to other festivals. AND it is a festival that attracts an enthusiastic young audience with a programming that is often non-conventional compared to the big festivals in Leipzig and Amsterdam.
Awards were given, let’s mention two films here that already have and will have a widespread international carreer: The OPUS BONUM for the Best International Documentary Film Award 2010 was given by a one-man jury (good idea!), Canadian filmmaker Mike Hoolboom, who chose ”48” by Susana de Sousa Dias, well known by readers of this site. Film annotation: The silent dictator Salazar ruled Portugal and its colonies for 48 years - the director takes testimony of years of imprisonment, as told by victims of the regime, and innovatively combines it with photographs from the archives of the secret police, the PIDE.
“The Jury has decided to award its prize to an ambitious film of epic proportion. Aptly titled The Autobiography of Nicolai Ceaucescu, it is made up entirely of archive footage. Thanks to impressive editing, the director Andrei Ujica succeeds in letting the official self-presentation of the Romanian Communist Party and its leader, document the decline of its power and the hollowness of its pretensions. The film’s eloquence is particularly striking because it manages entirely without verbal commentary. Finding a fine but difficult balance between the ‘tragedy of a ridiculous man’ and the hubris of a leader progressively losing his legitimacy, the Autobiography of N.C. is a testament to the challenges of writing history through images today.”
The film is in the programme of cph:dox in Copenhagen that opened last night with the premiere of Jørgen Leth’s Erotic Man. Co-blogger Allan Berg reviews the film below in Danish.
Written 04-11-2010 13:34:32 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Det blev Michael Madsen, der modtog prisen REEL TALENT, som blev uddelt i aftes ved CPH:DOX åbning. I juryens bedømmelse hedder det, at han allerede i sine første film (Celestial Night og To Damascus) har vist egensind og suverænitet, som er værd at lægge mærke til. Bag den nye talentpris, der her blev uddelt første gang, står CPH:DOX og Danske Filminstruktører.
Michael Madsen er mest kendt for sin film Into Eternity (2009), som tidligere på året vandt prisen som Nordens bedste dokumentarfilm. I Reel Talent juryens bedømmelse bliver der især lagt vægt på Michael Madsens fortællestil og evnen til at forvandle et videnskabeligt og komplekst emne til en smuk og vildt engagerende film. ”Der er magi i billederne, Michael skaber”, lød det i talen til Michael Madsen ved åbningen i Store Vega i aftes.
Still: Michael Madsen i Into Eternity
Written 03-11-2010 18:06:38 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Titlen leder i første omgang på vildspor. Den leder mænd og nok især kvinder på vildspor. Foromtale og stills hjælper til: man forventer pik og patter. Og så er det sådan, at kun mændene får deres syn for sagn, ovenikøbet i en ren overdådighed af bare bryster, mens kvinderne tilsyneladende snydes, der er ikke antydning af pik i den film, ikke skyggen af en tilsvarende fremvisning. Imidlertid, efter den første skuffelse, indser kvinderne, at alle disse fraværende smukke og veludstyrede mænd i filmen lever og ses i de utallige nærværende kvinders blik, instrueret som kvinderne er – vel at mærke inde i filmens dialog – til at samle deres tanker og koncentration om den dejligste mand i deres fortid. Hver deres dejligste mand. Det er ansporet af denne erindring, synlig i blikkene mod kameraet, at brystvorterne erigerer.
Psykologens kommentar er tilsvarende opmærksom. Det ses, at Jørgen Leth både som filmens hovedperson og som dens instruktør er begejstret for netop de kvinder, som er begejstret for ham. Som menneske søger han bekræftelse hos disse kvinder. Han lever den usikre eksistentielle situation, et kærlighedstab engang, og kompenserer ved en midlertidig situation af lykke, kvindens accept i som regel korte, enkelte gange lidt længere, øjeblikke af værdsathed. Føler sig begæret, er begæret. Som et erotisk menneske. Denne udsathed er det erotiske menneskes virkelighed.
I en overvældende ærlighed og præcis u-selvhøjtidelighed, befriende muntert ind imellem, lægger filmen disse kort på bordet. Det måtte jo komme, stikket. (Nej, det er ikke det sidste). I tekst efter tekst, film efter film havde Leth ved sine udspil denne årrække fået os til at ane, hvad der sad på hånden. Jørgen Leth lader som om, intet er sket i mellemtiden, han placerer ikke sin film i den offentlige debat, i sladderens verden af karaktermord, men fortsætter det arbejde, som hele tiden har ligget i det poetiske værk. Opfylder kravene her: der er dette at gøre, og så dette. Og han bliver ikke klogere, vi bliver ikke klogere, men eftersøgningen fortsætter.
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Written 02-11-2010 18:26:32 by Allan Berg Nielsen
For nogle dage siden så vi den alle andre vegne velkendte film i min filmklub i FOF-Randers. Vi fandt os med ét tilbage i zonen i Tarkovskijs film om de tre mænd, som trænger ind i et truende område. Vi er som hos Tarkovskij i det smukkeste landskab kontrasteret til det foruroligende i et filmfotografi, som ikke svigter. Det er usvigeligt og sikkert, vi vil blive bragt til en slutning, kompetent.
Vi er igen mellem de betydningsladede replikker (det har måske gjort indtryk, at Madsen var via Strindberg i To Damascus) her dybt musikalsk klippet til filmens langsomme dialog af dæmpede stemmer. Den undersøgende (den rejsende, den ukendte, den indtrængende) stiller enkle, ofte naive spørgsmål. Svarene kommer tøvende, de er uafbrudt tænksomme, kompliceret-enkle. Rytmen er uendelig langsom: pause, pause, indholdsmættet udsagn, pause, udsagn igen, pause, pause, pause og sådan videre. Den citerede musik er af Sibelius, Varèse, Pärt, Kraftwerk…
Michael Madsen har baggrund i performance art, lyd og lys. Jeg lærte ham at kende som skribent. Han skrev et af de bedste manuskripter, jeg i min tid læste, af gode manuskripter på det niveau var der i min bunke på mange hundrede måske en håndfuld. Det var til hans første film Celestial Night. Michael Madsen brugte og bruger stadigvæk tv-dokumentarens konvention til personligt essay med indsigt og alvor, som var det Enzensberger. Og Into Eternity er understøttet af samme litterære kvalitet, samme belæsthed, samme lette væv af æstetiske referencer. Der monteres ganske let, på højt forståelsesniveau. Tjernobyl ulykken behandles alvorlig og præcist på få sekunder, uafviseligt sådan spredtes det nukleare materiale.
Juryens begrundelse for prisen ved Nordisk Panorama festivalen i Bergen for kort tid siden beskriver metoden således: ”Ved at omdanne biografen til en tidsmaskine tackler instruktøren det, der ellers kunne være blevet tørt ekspertstof eller et stykke ingeniørporno, på en måde, der er overraskende, poetisk og hynotiserende. Han gør det internationale problem om håndteringen af nukleart affald til en meditation over selve menneskehedens og civilisationens skæbne. Alt dette uden at ofre den journalistiske stringens.”
Filmen klinger ud i vemodets værdighed med Edgard Varèse musik til Paul Verlaines digt fra Sagesse III:
Un grand Sommeil noir / Tombe sur ma vie: / Dormez, tout espoir, / Dormez, toute envie! //
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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....
Benoit F: J'ai déjà acheté mes places de concert......