Written 31-03-2010 13:38:19 by Tue Steen Müller
Filmkommentaren.dk welcomes Sara Thelle as our Paris correspondent. She will (see below) keep the readers informed about film events and issues from the French capital. Sara Thelle, Danish origin, has a BA in study of Religions from Copenhagen University and is currently finishing a Master Science sociales des religions at l'Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes. For 15 years she works in the fashion business.
Written 31-03-2010 00:28:29 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Så er der svar på mine spørgsmål i forgårs til Kasper Torsting. Han skriver:
Diskussionen om hvorvidt mine film er lykkedes eller ej, om de er ‘tilfredsstillende’, er en snak jeg hverken vil eller kan gå ind i. Mine film er som mine børn, de er for mig ikke til debat. Jeg ser dem absolut ikke som perfekte, men jeg elsker dem ubetinget. At andre diskuterer mine film, ser jeg som et stort privilegie. Hvilken kunstner, hvilken fortæller ønsker ikke det. Derudover ser jeg det som et stort ansvar at delagtiggøre interesserede i de produktionelle- og kreative processer, der fører til den færdige film. Domsafsigelser lader jeg andre om. Men at konkludere at seerne har oplevet det som journalistiske værker, og at jeg derfor efterfølgende har ‘været nødt til’ at forklare, at det ikke var det jeg ville, er måske at sætte tingene lidt på spidsen. Jeg har en opfattelse af at en lille gruppe journalister og filminteresserede, har haft nogle meninger om måden mine film blev til på. Langt de fleste seere går ikke ind i den fag snak. De ser ‘bare’ fjernsyn. At det har fyldt en del i medielandskabet, handler vist bare om at denne begrænsede gruppe (journalisterne) har fri adgang til print. Men at det skulle være repræsentativt for den generelle stemning ude hos seerne, det tror jeg ikke.
Når jeg har valgt at indtræde i en debat, handler det ikke om at forsvare en film, men om at forklare og beskytte en metode...
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Written 29-03-2010 18:43:07 by Sara Thelle
And the festivals continues…
The festival Cinéma du réel is almost over for this year, but Paris still has more to offer.
As every year following the Cinéma du réel, the Festival International Jean Rouch sets for the 29th time it’s focus on the ethnographic film. This year the festival takes place in the beautiful Museum of natural history, La Grande Galérie de l’Évolution in Jardin de Plantes in the 5th arrondissement from March 27th to April 5th. The festival is organised by le Comité du film ethnographique founded in 1952 at le Musée de l’Homme at Trocadéro, currently closed down for renovation until 2012.
The Festival International de Films de Femmes takes place in Créteil, a suburb of Paris, from April 2-11. The theme of the festival this year is called Trans-Europe-Afrique and it opens Friday with a concert by the Malian singer Rokia Traoré. Created in 1979, it hosts female directors from all around the world showing their vision on society, paying attention to the artistic, political and social involvement of women in the world, as expressed through their cinema. In competition: 10 feature fiction films, 10 feature documentaries and 30 short films, together with retrospectives and debates.
Amongst former award winners are Eva Mulvad, Enemies of Happiness (2007), Susanne Bier, Brothers (2005).
The programs can be downloaded from the festivals website:
Written 29-03-2010 10:11:13 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Jeg må lige dreje opmærksomheden tilbage til de to Søren Gade film. Til indholdet. Til den diskussion, Torsting skriver, han foretrækker, den om hans projekt er lykkedes. Og her står han nok i den situation, at han må indse, at de to film faktisk ikke er tilfredsstillende. Seerne har oplevet dem som tv, som journalistiske arbejder, og han har været nødt til i en kronik i Berlingske Tidende og i kommentarer her på siden omhyggeligt at forklare, at han har villet lave observerende dokumentarfilm. Men begge film er åbenbart i deres nuværende version så præget af tv-materiale og så tv-reportagelignende scener, at de filmiske greb og holdninger slet ikke er opdaget. Det har efter min opfattelse kunnet tilgives, eller i hvert fald har det været forståeligt ved den pressede færdiggørelsesproces, hvor TV2 tvang først den ene så den anden ufærdige film frem til visning. Vi fik så den opfattelse, at i hvert fald problemet med den manglende tredje akt ville der blive rådet bod på ved genudsendelsen til maj. ”Jeg arbejder med udfordringen”, skrev Torsting.
Vi er nu i den interessante situation at Søren Gade filmprojektet har været til offentlig panel-screening, og redigeringsprincipperne er lagt åbent frem. Men er vi helt sikre på den der nye maj-version? Så jeg bliver nødt til at stille Kasper Torsting yderligere tre spørgsmål: 1) bliver der en genudsendelse til maj? 2) har du fået mulighed for at klippe en ny samlet version? 3) i givet fald af én eller to film? Det er faktisk ret spændende.
Written 28-03-2010 18:02:44 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Masser af film bliver vist uden for konkurrence, og en fin ting på Cinéma du réel er ”værkstederne”, Dédicaces et ateliers, afdelinger for enkelte instruktørers samlede værk. I år er det Maysles (også her..), Marcel Hanoun, Michel Khlrifi (en enkelt film) og Xiaolu Guo. Jeg nåede to af hendes film og hun er et lidt spændende nyt bekendtskab. (Se hendes hjemmeside, link nedenfor.)
På en måde er det hjemmevideo. Instruktøren, som bor i London, har besøg af faderen og moderen hjemme fra Kina. En scene gentages to gange, tror jeg: moderen sover, faderen tager bad, det er ikke observerende kamera i direct cinéma forstand, det er aftalt og instrueret aktion, rejsens tid levet foran kameraet, for kameraet, så frit og ukunstlet at man smiler indforstået, filmen finder sin autenticitet i denne intimitet, ja, i selve privatheden. Det er cinéma vérité. Godard (og Varda?) er blandt forbillederne. ”La célèbre plaisanterie métaphysique de Jean-Luc Godard: ’Je fais des films pour occuper mon temps’ ”, citerer hun i en tekst i kataloget. Tiden ja, og hun filmer Coutards grå nuancer af dagslysscener og egensindige beskæringer. Det er i hvert fald, hvad jeg kommer til at tænke på. Vemodig og glad, bølger ruller tilbage, værker bliver stående. Fascinerende uforståelige.
Historien er altså den, at instruktørens forældre på rejse til en anden verden, til England, hvor faderen er blevet opereret, med filmen er vi i rekonvalescensen, som han lever med alle sanser vidt åbne (han er maler og nu skribent også, da stemmen er væk), og moderen er med hele tiden som lige så opmærksom ledsager. De oplever og kommenterer de britiske omgivelser, senere kommer en rejse til kontinentet, til Rom. De forstår mindre og mindre, længes hjem. Men de resignerer i humørfyldt hjertelighed, i træffende og kloge bemærkninger, som koderen formidler på begges vegne. Ja, og så pakker de og vender hjem. Og filen slutter i en telefonsamtale mellem mor og datter: Ja, vi er kommet godt hjem. Ja, din far er i atelieret. Cinéma du réel. Virkelig tid. Virkelighed.
Xiaolu Guos roman A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary For Lovers handler (læser jeg et sted) om en kinesisk kvinde, som kommer til England, hvor hun dels mister sit navn, som ikke kan udtales på engelsk, dels ikke forstår, det hun møjsommeligt lærer at oversætte sig til. Hun møder en mand, også uden navn. De bliver elskende, skønt de ikke kan tale sammen, men alene hver for sig opdage deres egen identitet. Er det rejsens væsen? Kærlighedens? Forfatteren og filminstruktøren forfølger nok sine temaer, de store pakket i de små, i alt hun skriver, romaner og film. Et udfordrende bekendtskab at tage med fra den rige og brede Paris-festival.
Xiaolu Guo: We Went to Wonderland, Kina 2007, 79 min. Manuskript, fotografi og co-produktion: Xiaolu Guo, klip, musik og lyd: Philippe Ciompi, produktion og distribution: Perspective Films firstname.lastname@example.org
Written 28-03-2010 14:17:37 by Tue Steen Müller
Awards have been given at Cinema du Réel and congratulations to the winners and to the festival to have a international jury that did not go for compromises but honoured originality and non-mainstream filmmaking.
The two films awarded have both been reviewed and praised on this site, see below. Here follows the names of the jury and the two winning films: “The International Jury composed of : Sólveig Anspach (filmmaker – Iceland/United States), Sepideh Farsi (Filmmaker - Iran), Michaël Gaumnitz (Filmmaker - France), Stefan Mayakovsky (director of the Shadow Festival – The Netherlands), Bruno Muel (filmmaker and cameraman - France), has awarded
The Cinéma du réel Grand prix, 8 000 €, granted by the Bpi with the support of the Procirep, to 48 (photo) Susana de Sousa Dias (Portugal)
The Scam International Award, 4 600 € granted by the Scam, to La Bocca del lupo, Pietro Marcello (Italy)
For the rest of the awards, please check
Written 28-03-2010 10:40:42 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Parisfestivalen Cinéma du réel slutter her i weekenden. Og jeg tænker på indtrykkene – en fornemmelse af opbrud og vækst melder sig. En række film kombinerer altså for mig at se med ny rolig selvfølgelighed reportagen med essayistikken. Blander fagsproget og den lyriske fremstilling. Sætter det dokumentariske stof sammen med fiktionens forestillingskraft. Som nu filmen her, Jeg rejser, fordi jeg skal, jeg vender tilbage, fordi jeg elsker dig. Måske er den et passioneret kærlighedsbrev, en billedskøn elegi. Måske er den en samfundsskildring i rejsebeskrivelsens form. Sandsynligvis er den begge dele.
José Renato er geolog. Han bliver sendt på feltarbejde i det nordøstlige Brasilien. Hans opgave er at påvise mulige forløb for en kanal fra regionens eneste flod. Vi ser, hvad han ser, han er kameraet. Vi ser aldrig ham, men vi hører hans stemme hele tiden. Den stemme (Irandhir Santos’) bærer fortællingen og refleksionen. Om og over rejsen, og med den arbejdet og så altså kærligheden, intet mindre. Som filmens titel lover. Og vigtigst er jo kærligheden.
Manden og kvinden. Det er deres professionelle arbejde, som skiller dem, har skilt dem, kan jeg tro. Hun er botaniker, han som sagt geolog. Han gør sit arbejde til poesi, filmen åbner i et verbalt digt om feltarbejdets medbragte bagage: måleinstrumenter, tegnepapir, blyanter, landkort, kameraer…, åbner i et vekslende sløret og knivskarpt billeddigt over feltarbejdets objekt: terrænet, dets formationer, mineraler, højdeforskelle og vegetation… Men så møder kameraet stedets kultur, dets mennesker og opdager deres forskellige skæbner. Dagene går, kærlighedslængslen trænger sig på, konverteres til sex, der kommer kvinder ind i billedet, én nats begivenheder. Præcis som den alt omfattende poetiske naturiagttagelse forvandler sig til nøgtern materiel indsigt, økonomi og sociale modsætningsforhold. Kanalen vil give nødvendig vand til nogles behov, vil tvinge andre til at bryde op, opgive deres huse og tilværelse der på stedet.
Og kærlighedshistorien er tilsvarende modsætningsfyldt. Et hjerte af sten over for en kødædende plante, som Yann Lardeau nøgternt konkluderer sin tekst i festivalkataloget.
Marcelo Gomes og Karim Aïnouz: Viajo porque preciso, volto porque te amo, Brasilien 2009, 71 min. Manuskript: Marcelo Gomes og Karim Aïnouz, fotografi: Heloïsa Passos, klip: Karen Harley, lyd: Waldir Xavier, medvirkende: Irandhir Santos, produktion og distribution: REC Produtores
Man kan få et indtryk af filmens skønhed og generelle stemning i traileren på siden her:
Written 27-03-2010 09:53:00 by Allan Berg Nielsen
En forfattergruppe, som kalder sig Medusa står for kronikken Birthe fra Vejle lægger niveauet for tv, der blev bragt i Politiken i søndags. En bredside af en kritik af TV´s personfiksering og føleri. Kasper Torstings film Søren Gade - de sidste 48 timer blev konkret prügelknabe:
Torsting har sendt os dette åbne brev om journalistik og dokumentarfilm:
Når jeg læser jeres kronik, bliver jeg forvirret. Forvirret over at være enig i mange af jeres synspunkter samtidig med, at I vælger at bruge en film, jeg har lavet som eksempel på det, I kritiserer. Godt og vel 600.000 mennesker så filmen, og ifølge Gallups TV-meter måling var seernes karakter fire ud af fem mulige. I al beskedenhed et udmærket resultat. Desværre vil det høje seertal være negativt i jeres optik. Alle er naturligvis velkomne til at mene, hvad de vil om min film, men når I (“Tænketanken” Medusa) skyder til højre og venstre med jeres generelle anklager mod TV branchen - samtidig med at I selv forlanger dybde og saglighed - så er det måske på sin plads, at eksemplerne ikke er så upræcise. Og vi er rørende enige om, at der er nok at tage af - altså eksempler på dårligt TV.
Og hvorfor mener jeg så, at min film ikke er et specielt velvalgt eksempel på dårlig journalistik?
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Written 26-03-2010 18:03:19 by Tue Steen Müller
From today and until April 2 the film interested audience in Kiev, Ukraine is given a treat with the Documentary Days – the International Film Festival, theme Human Rights. A variety of films are sectioned in a ”Human Rights Competition”, an ”Art Competiton” (= artistic films), special screenings and retrospectives. Opening film is ”Rabbit a la Berlin” and from the programme can also be mentioned several other films that have been reviewed or noticed on this site:
”I am a Monument to Myself” (photo) Ukranian film by Dmytro Tiazhlov, ”Hotel Sahara” by Bettina Haasen, ”Desert Brides” by Ada Ushpiz, ”Burma vj” by Anders Østergaard, ”A Place Without People” by Andreas Apostolidis, ”Bananas!” by Fredrik Gertten, ”Another Planet” by Ferenc Moldovanyi, ”Cash and Marry” by Atanas Georgiev, ”Chemo” by Pawel Lozinski, ”Long Distance Love” by Magnus Gertten and Elin Jönsson, ”René” by Helena Trestikova and ”Living Room of a Nation” by Jukka Kärkkäinen.
Of course human rights questions are important in that region and personally I look forward to get the chance to watch what an old friend, Belarussian Volha Nikalaichyk reports in her "Murder on the Eve of Spring" as well as "Love me, Please!" by Valery Balayan from Russia - a film that includes "real video records of Russian fascists and musical clips placed on nazi websites". Take a look at the website, very inviting it is.
Written 26-03-2010 10:39:16 by Tue Steen Müller
This is gonna be a bit longer blog text than usual. Simply because this is an extraordinary film that calls for more than an ordinary review. My co-blogger Allan Berg wrote – in Danish and after having seen 30 minutes of the film – that this would probably be the film experience of his festival viewing. It was definitely what it became for me. My hope is that the following will inspire festivals to introduce a totally different approach to writing history. To deal with memories. To seek a new minimalistic film language. And work with music and sound in a new way.
First an introduction to the team behind the film; the info is taken from their website: The director Susana de Sousa Dias - completed a thesis in Aesthetics and Art Philosophy and holds University degrees both in Painting (Lisbon University) and Cinema (National School of Theatre and Cinema). She studied music at the National Conservatory of Music and is currently preparing a PhD in Aesthetics, Art Science and Technology (University Paris 8). The producer Ansgar Schaefer - graduated in German Language and Literature and Political Science. Works as a historian and university professor. The sound designer António de Sousa Dias - composer, Ph.D. in Musicology (Paris VIII) sponsored by the Portuguese Scientific Foundation FCT. Is currently developing a research work on CAC - Université Paris VIII / MSH Paris Nord in the field of music creation and virtual environments.
An academic film team would normally make me, a documentary addict, shiver with fear for the outcome of “48”, in this case no, for that simple reason
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Written 25-03-2010 20:46:04 by Tue Steen Müller
You plan and plan for weeks and months, you make the schedule, you ask the directors to be there for the screening, you sell the tickets... and then it all have to be changed, at least for a handful of screenings. The Cinema du Reel and its har working team experienced this last sunday when a bomb alarm made the police empty Centre Pompidou. Take a look (link below) at the small report made by film students. False alarm it was, luckily. PS! The opening shot reveals the favourite café of Allan Berg on the corner of rue Rambuteau. Monsieur Berg took his breakfast and wrote his texts for filmkommentaren at this cosy location.
Written 25-03-2010 09:40:46 by Tue Steen Müller
Painters have done it for centuries – chosen their motif literally close to themselves. ”View from my window”. Not many filmmakers have done the same. Kossakovsky did it with Tische! He looked out of the window from his appartment in St. Peterburg. And Now Anat Even, Israeli director, has done the same and made an extraordinary clever and personal film essay. From her window.
With a tone of melancholy, mature, in first person, the director tells about the loss of her brother who lived in the yard, had his workshop for pottery and sculptures there, always within reach, working there if he was not taking a break to go outside to sweep the pavement. While talking about him the view from the window gives the viewer trees or people going to and fro, or a child being bathed. Or clips from films with the brother.
Gradually a demolition takes place in front of our eyes. A skyscraper is to be built near the house, and the courtyard is getting a house that will block the view from the window. Palestinian workers are building a wall next to the appartment building of the director! Closure is the English title of the film, of course, what else could it be, but does it sound too definitive and simple in words, I can not stress enough the multilayered generosity that Anat Even brings forward, when she constantly shows and talks about the place as having historically a strong multicultural importance. Those days are over.
Israel, 2009, 50 mins.
Written 25-03-2010 09:37:23 by Tue Steen Müller
At Cinema du Réel 2009 Jorge Léon’s ”10 min.” was shown, and reviewed on this site (search: Jorge Léon). Subject: Prostitution. This year he continues his social documentary line with a story about Indonese young women, who are being trained to become maids in Taiwan or in the Emirates. The training takes place in a school and Léon has caught many illustrating and funny situations on how to serve. These sequences are mixed with fine stylised monologues from the young women, who simply need to take the jobs as servants for filthy rich people wherever and to almost whatever price. They leave the airplane to enter a new life away from home. Globalisation. There is nothing new or exceptional about this film, we know it all, which should not make tv stations hesitate to get hold of the film and show it to the broad audience it deserves because of its subject.
Belgium, 2010, 57 mins.
Written 25-03-2010 09:34:17 by Tue Steen Müller
Asliuk is a veteran at Cinéma du Réel. He has won prizes at the festival for his lyrical short documentaries from the countryside of Belarus. It is therefore only natural that he is invited back with his new one-hour long documentary, English title ”Island Belarus”.
But it is painful to experience that Asliuk does not master the long format at all. He goes from one more inauguration of the president Lukashenko to an old man in his garden in the countryside where he has placed small sculptures that illustrates the agricultural life as it was. Which is a theme for the film – the disappearance of traditional agriculture and values in the countryside, while people are demonstrating against the dictator in the capital Minsk. Being brutally beaten by the gorillas of Lukashenko.
Two different worlds, yes, a divided country, yes, an elegy for a culture and a nation, yes maybe, but it is not enough to just go from A to B and back again, where is the director? Asliuk has chosen a genre, a political statement that is not the right one for him.
The film is shown at Cinema du Réel friday the 26th and saturday the 27th.
Belarus, 2009, 52 mins.
Written 24-03-2010 15:16:20 by Tue Steen Müller
In his Danish language texts from this year’s Cinema du Réel, my co-blogger Allan Berg reveals avec plaisir that his prejudice about the festival being for the pure observational documentary maybe is wrong. It is indeed, both because the development of the creative documentary in general draws away from the observation including much more fictional or personal reflective essayistic elements in the narrative, and because the festival selection this year (this is my gut feeling as I did not get to watch it all) appears more daring than usual when it comes to breaking the classical dramaturgy.
Which is the case for one more (the other being ”la paura”, see below) Italian film that confused and surprised me with its ability to create an intense, mostly visually dominated atmosphere by presenting an abrupt, disharmonic structure that points in many directions. The place is Genova, never seen as beautiful as here with these brownish harbour images; archive with scratches as has the character of the film, Enzo, a former gangster, now a person in a film that lets him sort-of-play himself, going around in film-noir sequences, in old worn down factory buildings, in small streets full of prostitutes and transvestites, accompanied by local songs. It is all very textual, scratches, old film material being used in a new way, a reconstruction of a past, but there are also wonderful observational improvisations like one in a bar where a client and a barman perform a dance – and then suddenly there is a long interview with the companion of Enzo through 2o years, a transsexual, a beautiful love monologue it is. What a fine mess of a film! Title translated: The Mouth of the Wolf.
The film runs at Cinema du Réel the 26th and 27th of March.
Italy, 2009, 68 mins.
Written 24-03-2010 13:04:47 by Tue Steen Müller
It is such a good story carried by a charismatic old man, who is full of humour and charm. You are simply entertained contrary to what you thought when reading that this was one more holocaust survivor documentary:
Elie Buzyn had his concentration camp number removed from his arm in 1956 – in a way that he could keep the removed tattooed skin, and the number, with him. He did so, he wanted this to be a heritage for his children to remember not only that he was in a camp, but also that on that day where the tattoo was made, his parents, their grandparents lived their last day.
So far the background, what happens is that Elie loses the piece of his skin that he had in his jacket that was stolen in a gym! So the evidence of his being in a camp, an evidence that he wanted to live without in his life, was away... he starts to wonder what to do and up comes the idea to have the number tattooed again and removed again, ready to be given to his children! He has a photo of the skin with the number but is that enough?
Not a cinematic film, this thought provoking film lives because it is full of life, of warm and intimate family meetings, of reflections on life now and then, of how important it is to live NOW.
France, 2010, 69 mins.
Written 24-03-2010 10:59:39 by Tue Steen Müller
A graduation work from the film school HFF in Potsdam. Respect for the ambition: to describe the Vietnamese countryside life through a family that fights to build a new home in an area where the flood has spoilt their old house, an area where de-mining after the wars is still an issue.
The director has a wonderful boy, Quynh, as the key character, you feel the strong connection between the two, through many sweet scenes with him, collecting frogs or talking about his future, but overall the film suffers from being far too detailed and repetitive in its description of the relocation and what that takes. It goes in circles where a strong focus on the boy would have made it much more engaging.
Germany, 2009, 72 mins
Written 24-03-2010 10:21:55 by Tue Steen Müller
The director has made two films before but is more known in Italy as an actor and theatre director. The French Forum des Images gave him a mobile phone with camera and said to him: do what you want.
He chose – yes – to be mobile, went on a journey and the result is a fragmented very cinematic documentary essay about what he sees and gets involved in, in his country, Italy, most of the time accompanied by music and by text, which sometimes refers to the Divina Commedia of Dante.
Shop windows, perfect slim women, tv about fat children, a gym, filming his own stomach trying to make the camera catch his penis as well... other chapters with homeless people, intercut with tv commercials, xenophobic grafitti on the walls, ”someone should know what is going on this shitty country”, a racist murder, he goes to the funeral, which is also a demonstration (a policeman watches him constantly, photo), returning several times to a camp for romas with their vans, it is built like a music piece, and suddenly there is a classic film scene: a person in a car by the sea, it is raining cats and dogs outside, melancholy, but towards the end of the film mostly anger and paura, fear, conveyed with sarchasm when a long tv sequence lets a man perform animal sounds... cut to a man in a sofa, who is not able to talk, a man in an asylum, Bobo is his name, he has been there for 50 years, free from the outside Italian world.
Will be screened at Cinéma du Réel on the 27th and 29th of March. First long film, shot with a mobile phone, that I have seen. Director found the aesthetic limits and possibilities.
Italy, 2009, 66 mins.
Written 23-03-2010 08:42:50 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Man begynder med at filme sin hund. Måske. Eller man begynder med et afsnit med Jean Rouchs første film om rejsen på floden. Eller man begynder med den smukkeste og værdigste strip-tease, man altid har ønsket at filme. Til begyndelsen af Beethovens klaversonate Quasi una fantasia. Sådan begynder man som filminstruktør, hvis man vil lave alle sine drømte film på én gang, i én film. Eric Pauwels har gjort det. Jeg så den på Ciinéma du réel i går. Det tog 180 minutter, del 1 og del 2 i én køre. Det var den rigtige måde at se det værk på. Og jeg så ikke noget overflødigt minut. Og fortællerens stemme var inde voice-over fra først til sidst. Det blev ikke for meget. Det må være fordi Pauels filmdrømme ikke er private i alt dette meget personlige. De kan generøst deles ud. Og de er vedkommende - mærkede jeg også på reaktionerne i den voksne del af salen.
Festvalen har interessant nok fundet plads til dette lyriske filmessay i konkurrenceprogrammet. Det er altså min rene fordom kun at vente klassisk dokumentar her... cinéma vérite, samfundskritisk realisme og etnografiske undersøgelser.
Written 21-03-2010 17:39:25 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Filmen og dens opfølgende arbejde er voldsomt debatteret. Højdepunktet i troløse udtryk er Ekko-anmeldelsens bemærkning om instruktøren som "en nyttig idiot". Kasper Torsting har forleden dag svaret med en kronik i Berlingske Tidende, hvor han skviver om den observerende dokumentarfilm som en stolt tradition med æstetisk - og etisk måske også - front mod en del journalistik. Her er et link til kronikken og et link til Ekkos anmeldelse:
De to film er emnet for en filmaften i FOF-Randers' filmklub onsdag 24.marts 19:00:
Written 21-03-2010 11:33:37 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Det hemmelige politis portrætter - forfra og fra siden, så vi ser afstandsstøtten i nakken - står helt roligt afklarede i lang tid på lærredet. Det hæslige forehavende har lånt modellernes skønhed, værdighed og autenticitet. De erindrende interviews lånt dem kendsgerningernes andre billeder, oprivende og brutale. Og mærkeligt også lysende humor. I tidsafstandens nødvendige distance. Billederne er nænsomt bearbejdet, så deres aura yderligere bliver synlig. Faktisk. Og den nøgne lyd af stemmerne fra samtalerne må være bearbejdet, som var det sart musik. Så den bliver til sart musik.
Det handler om det portugisiske diktaturs politiske forbrydelse. Overgrebene mod styrets modstandere. Om anholdelserne, ydmygelserne, torturen, fængselsopholdene. Det er så frygteligt og vildt, og det er fremstillet så smukt og roligt afklaret.
Filmkunsten her er usædvanlig dristig i sin minimalisme. En montage af ganske ensartede arkivbilleder og interviewenes lydbåndoptagelser. Ikke mere. Og netop derfor måske så meget. Jeg måtte gå fra filmen efter de første cirka 30 minutter (festivaljag..). Jeg havde set en torso. Men jeg har på fornemmelsen, at de 30 minutter bliver min vigtigste oplevelse på årets Cinéma du réel.
Tue Steen Müller har lovet at skrive en anmeldelse af Susana de Sousa Dias’ film.
Susana de Sousa Dias: 48, Portugal 2009, 93 min. Manuskript, klip og lyd: Susana de Sousa Dias, fotografi: Octávio Espiritu Santo. Produceret af Kintop email@example.com
Written 20-03-2010 17:01:34 by Tue Steen Müller
It was on my list over the best 10 documentaries in 2009 – and I am not the only one, who wants to point to the film and its director. Pawel Lozinski got the prize as Best Director at the One World Festival in Prague, that ended two days ago.
Write ”Chemo” in search and you will be able to read several postings about this unique film.
Written 20-03-2010 16:30:03 by Tue Steen Müller
EDN (European Documentary Network) has announced that The EDN Award 2010 is presented to IRDFA – Iranian Documentary Filmmakers Association. IRDFA receives the award for their outstanding contribution to the documentary culture. More text from the EDN site:
EDN has chosen to honour IRDFA to recognise the impressive work the organisation has done since it was founded in 1998. IRDFA has established a strong national organisation to unite the Iranian documentary sector and made sure that the documentary film as a genre and an art form has been recognised by public film and funding bodies. IRDFA has also worked strongly to help Iranian documentary filmmakers and their films to travel around the world as well as making documentary makers from around the world travel to Iran. EDN Network Manager Hanne Skjødt said:
The EDN Award was initiated to honour outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture. However, we have chosen to expand the geographical focus of our award a bit. We want to honour an organisation outside Europe that has done a remarkable job in uniting, structuring and promoting their national documentary sector.
The EDN Award 2010 was presented March 19 and was accepted by Mahboubeh Honarian on behalf of the whole IRDFA organisation. The award ceremony was held during the EDN workshop Docs in Thessaloniki. The workshop is held in the framework of the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival – Images of the 21st Century.
Read more about this film political choice on:
Written 19-03-2010 11:57:40 by Tue Steen Müller
Koepp is, if anyone, the chronicler of life in the former GDR. In numerous films he has described the work and the social conditions of ordinary people in the GDR that he was born into – in Stettin in 1944. Two years ago his ”Holunderblüte” won the Grand Prix at Cinéma du Réel, it was written about on this blog by Allan Berg (in Danish). Koepp’s filmography is long and impressive, and should I choose to point at one of the many masterpieces, I would go for the collection of 7 films that he made in Wittstock from 1974-1997. Wittstock that was a town with a textile factory, where Koepp found great women to be his characters.
In ”Berlin-Stettin” that is being shown out of competition here at Cinema du Reel, Koepp talks in first person through his voyage to places where he has been before in his films, sometimes looking for people who took part in previous films, asking them about their life today, showing clips from then, and sometimes finding new characters that can take part in a film that gives the viewer an impression of the Eastern part of Germany after the 1990 unification of BRD and GRD.
It is all done in a calm, reflective way, he dares to let people speak out, no editing interruptions, look at the people, listen to them, is what he asks us viewers to do. Respect. At the same time as Koepp lets his cameraman Thomas Plenert convey beautiful landscape images from the area between Berlin and Stettin.
Warm, interview-based documentary with great personal archive (his own films!) material about a part of Germany that today suffers from unemployment and what might come from that: riots, neo-nazism, racism.
Germany, 2009, 110 mins.
Written 19-03-2010 11:20:38 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Åbningen er voldsom indtryksfuld. Set fra en høj kran skildrer kameraet en mængde kinesere – jeg ved jo i forvejen, det er kinesere, men ville heller ikke være i tvivl – det regner, alle farvers paraplyer ses deroppefra og kinesernes tøj som pletter af kulør. Denne uforglemmelige mumlen af folkemængde høres sagte, men den stiger til højdepunktet af larm samtidig med, at kameraet udvider beskæringen af billedet, og mængdens antal vokser og vokser. Det er en uoverskuelig mængde. Det må være alle kinesere samlet. Det land er forfærdende stort, jeg føler jeg drukner.
Det er snart nytår og nytårsfesten er familiens fest. Millioner af arbejdere i byen skal hjem til familien i landsbyerne. Hundreder af kilometre. Og de skal jo alle hjem på én gang. Det er dette sceneri, filmen skildrer. Vi følger et ægtepar, som arbejder på en meget stor systue, hvor der sys blå jeans til eksport. De lever der, yderst beskedent og midlertidigt i årevis. Børnene er hjemme i landsbyen hos farmoderen. Én gang om året rejser de hjem. Det er til nytårsfesten. Og det er nu, de befinder sig et sted nede i mængden som to farvede pletter blandt tusinder og venter på at blive lukket ud på perronerne til togene. Til det sidste tog hjem. Arbejdet på fabrikken, kampen om pladsen i toget, samværet i familien. Det er filmens hele indhold – men en meget stor rigdom af iagttagelse og forståelse er arbejdet ind i skildringen.
Filmen har disse to blik, det store oversigtlige fra oven, hvor alle venter på at blive lukket ind på perronen, og politi og militær forsøger at holde orden i det angstfyldte. Beskytte den enkelte ser vi. For kameraet, som er vokset ud i den svimlende oversigt fra det nære, vender tilbage til det nære. Det er filmens andet blik. Med det er vi er nede i flokken, nede hos parret, som er vores medvirkende, medvidere. Her er kampen mod angsten, for trygheden. Og trygheden er indkomsten, som kan opretholde hjemmet ude på landet ved den smukke flod og hønen med kyllingerne omkring sig som dengang, som altid. Det nære blik er titlens andet led, det hjemlige.
Men der er ingen nåde. I en ro af smukke, sceniske fastholdelser demonstreres opløsningen af de gamle værdier. Højdepunktet er dels et voldsomt slagsmål mellem far og datter – og senere en lang samtale mellem kvinden og manden tilbage i storbyboligen. To slags kammerspil i en række. Store, lange filmscener, som klippet føjer sammen og hviler i.
Det er forbavsende, at dette tilværelsens overblik, denne gennemarbejdede film er instruktørens første. Fan Lixin har også lavet lyden og det imponerende kameraarbejde. Han er født kinesisk, uddannet i Canada. Filmen vises på Cinéma du réel festivalen i Paris i en serie af debutfilm. Tue Steen Müller har tidligere her på siden nævnt filmens fremgang på festivalscenen.
Fan Lixin: Last Train Home, Canada 2009, 87min.Manuskript, fotografi og lyd: Fan Lixin, klip: Mary Stephens. Produceret af Eyesteel Films, distribution: Cats & Docs
Written 19-03-2010 10:47:33 by Tue Steen Müller
"(...) Afterwards, of course, there were endless discussions about the shooting of the elephant. The owner was furious, but he was only an Indian and could do nothing. Besides, legally I had done the right thing, for a mad elephant has to be killed, like a mad dog, if it's owner fails to control it". George Orwell wrote this and his way of witnessing Asia still remains valid. "To shoot an elephant" is an eye witness account from The Gaza Strip. December 27th, 2008, Operation Cast Lead. 21 days shooting elephants. Urgent, insomniac, dirty, shuddering images from the only foreigners who decided and managed to stay embedded inside Gaza strip ambulances, with Palestinian civilians.
… this is a text clip from the site of the production company that stands behind one of the most shocking documentaries I have seen in the last years. A film that had a physical impact on me through several sequences where the filmmakers and the ambulance drivers and the human rights activists were more than close to the bombing atrocities performed by the Israelis during the Gaza war. The value of the film, however, is not “only” the documentation that it gives, which would have been enough (!), it also demonstrates a cinematic quality in the editing/chaptering of the material. Far from the reportage the film includes small touching scenes with ambulance drivers, and scenes where children ask the cameraman – why do you film… without losing the ambition of the film, that simply is to show the world what happened. To let the images speak for themselves. It does so in 113 minutes of scary tension with unbearable scenes of children, who got killed while playing, and a scene where two ambulance people want to pick up a corpse in the middle of a street and are being shot at. Why? Anger and despair, and death to the Jews and their nation, are the words coming from the loudspeakers at the prayers… today, Friday March 19, 2010, one year after, Israelis are bombing the Gaza strip again.
The film can be viewed on this site:
Written 16-03-2010 18:40:00 by Allan Berg Nielsen
I min kommentar til Kasper Torstings Krigsministeren stillede jeg ham nogle spørgsmål. Her er instruktørens hurtige, umiddelbare svar:
Jeg betragter min metode som subjektivt observerende, jeg er derfor afhængig af et handlingbaseret materiale, hvor mine medvirkende ‘afslører’ sig selv som de karakterer de er, i en given scene, situation og dramatisk fortælleramme. Det ville derfor som udgangspunkt være mangelsfuldt og ‘tyndbenet’ for mig, udelukkende at basere en fortælling alene på interview, samtale og/eller en altvidende fortællerstemme.
Interviewet som greb er bestemt effektivt og kan løses ‘filmisk’. Eksempelvis er Leonardo da Vinci ‘Mona Lisa’ ligesom en klassisk interviewopstilling - en halvnær hvor hun skælmsk kigger ind i ‘kameraet’. Men som filmskaber er det for mig naturligt, at kigge på mere visuelle og dynamiske sceniske rum og muligheder. Jeg syntes ofte det giver en masse gaver til fortællingen, hvis min hovedperson er udstyret med en handlingsbaseret modstand. Det kan være et ryge en cigaret, tage tøj på, eller pakke sit kontor sammen i flyttekasser (!). Handlingen viser kroppen, der viser erfaringen, der viser en anden side af det menneske, der taler foran kameraet. Fortællingen får mere dybde. Taler i flere plan.
Fortællestemmen som greb er også en meget effektiv motor. Den tager publikum i hånden, skaber tryghed og styrer oplevelsen meget præcist og kalkuleret. En kontrol der kan være meget givende til fortællingen, og et redskab der kan løfte en mudret fortælling op i et mere klart lys. Bagsiden af dette er naturligvis, at publikums mulighed for at møde fortællingen med egne erfaringer, ikke bliver ligeså instinktiv og umiddelbar. En krystalklar fortælling der kontrollere den mindste bevægelse, er samtidig en låst fortælling der ikke vil andet, end lige præcis dét den vil. Personligt oplever jeg en større bevægelse og forførelse, hvis en film gør mig nysgerrig og kræver engagement fra min side. Publikum skal ikke bare sidde ude i salen, eller bag sofabordet. Publikums egentlige plads er INDE i fortællingen, frit svævende blandt de andre ‘medvirkende’...
Så i tilfældet ‘det manglende tredie akt’ er spørgsmålet naturligvis, hvordan kan man skildre lækagesagen, uden bare at gøre det til en retrospektiv fortælling med masterinterviews, indre monologer, arkivklip og fortællestemme..? Jeg arbejder med udfordringen… ;-)
- Kasper Torsting
Written 16-03-2010 08:20:48 by Tue Steen Müller
The director of this impressive documentary is also the director of the impressive drama therapy project at the Roumieh prison in Lebanon. Zeina Daccache worked for more than a year “inhouse” with a group of inmates – and her work changed their lives. This is at least what the film communicates and I believe the film and its director, who has a tough job in a male prison, but who is also a tough cookie, who wants her project to be succesful!
“12 Angry Men”, the film from 1957 with Henry Fonda in the leading role, an excellent psychological drama with twelve jurors to decide whether the accused was guilty or not… maybe you remember it, a brilliant text put into film, and such an obvious choice for a play to be performed by the men in prison, who have been convicted for murder, rape, drug dealing! In the film you follow the rehearsals of the play, the moments of crisis, the many moments of joy, supplemented by talks to the camera of the inmates, who give us their stories and background for their crimes, and comment on what their participation in the drama therapy has meant for them. In which way they have been able to identity with the roles they are to play. They also sing and dance… and they describe the conditions for the inmates in a hard prison. Building of self confidence, letting go the emotions, opening up to the outside world, simply doing something. And the opening night followed by tears, and visit from officials, helping an “early release law” be accepted by the Lebanese parliament. They are guilty these actors in the prison, they have been locked up because of their crimes, but they need no second punishment as it is said in the film. Respect for this initiative, and for a well done and touching film.
The film won the Audience Prize at Dox Box 2010.
Written 15-03-2010 08:53:35 by Allan Berg Nielsen
”Ved denne films afslutning er der dukket nye problemer op. En ulovlig lækage i 2007 blev ifølge rygtet givet til pressen af en medarbejder i forsvarsministeriet. Dermed kan dramaet fortsætte for politikeren og mennesket Søren Gade.” Denne skriftlige afmelding på Krigsministeren ved tv-visningen i januar råbte på en fortsættelse.
Så det var da et ansvarligt og generøst forslag, Søren Gade som medvirkende kort efter kom med, da han kontaktede filmens instruktør og foreslog en slutning på deres – kunne også han selvfølgelig se – ufærdige arbejde, som TV 2 havde sendt. Men det kunne måske nås til genudsendelsen til maj, det havde han også ret i. At det, han foreslog som indhold for mig at se imidlertid ikke var tilstrækkeligt og tilfredsstillende som slutning, er en anden sag. Der er noget andet galt med hele filmen i denne første gennemklipning.
Read more / Læs mere
Written 14-03-2010 22:44:44 by Tue Steen Müller
The 12th edition of the Greek festival is running since the 12th of March and goes on until the 21st. Under the leadership of Dimitri Eipides you will find a high quality programme accompanied by debates like “The Earth after Copenhagen” (climate summit reference o course), “Documenting Reality: Ethical Issues in the Digital Age” and “Immigration and Assimiliation”. A humanistic, subject born selection with retrospectives honouring masters of cinema. A clip from the press release from the opening of the festival. Dimitri Eipides:
The documentary is the highest form of alternative information. All the films inform the audience on subjects which don’t make it in the newspapers and would never appear in a newscast… The Documentary Festival is offering the highest possible honour to good cinema. Whether this is a tribute to Joris Ivens, Krzysztof Kieslowski (PHOTO) or Contemporary Polish Cinema, our priority is good film making… Documentary means knowledge about world issues. Therefore, this year’s Festival turns towards North Korea in order to discover its truth, beyond what is permitted to tourists by the official state.
Eipides noted that the Documentary Festival’s Market is completely digital for the first time, making film screenings easier, and he announced that a meeting of European Documentary Producers will from now on be a permanent part of the Festival in Thessaloniki. 189 films from 41 countries will be screened during the 12th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, while Greek productions will continue to be at the center of interest, with 40 films screened.
Written 14-03-2010 17:28:40 by Tue Steen Müller
A classic theme: A father invests all energy and passion into the education of the son to make him do and be, what he himself never achieved. Anas Romdhani (born 1995) is a violin virtuoso, and the father a mediocre musician, as he describes it himself in the documentary film by Hichem Ben Ammar from Tunisia. The director follows the career development of the boy, a journey full of travels to the capitals of the world, and a journey full of money seeking for the father, who wants the project to be succesful.
A fairy tale it is, and a fairy tale frame is what the director by verbal narration has put it into: Boy from poor background makes it. It is obvious that the father has wanted this film to happen as well, and the director allows himself to use a good deal of the home video material that the father has shot on their travels. It gives the film a texture extra and an intimacy, and first of all a close up of the main character in the film, who is actually not the son but the father, who is pushy like hell, but who you can’t help love for his total dedication and love to his son. ”If he fails when he is 20”, the father says, ”he will at least say that ”Dad did his Best””.
But there is not a lot in the film that makes one think that the boy will fail. Well, he sits with a Playstation game and gets out some aggression but otherwise Anas is just very sweet and wants it to happen. When he gets into the prestigious Menuhin School in the UK, from where all the good ones come, you sense that he is about to cut the string to the father, who in one of the good magical moments of the film has been caught by the camera waiting outside the examination door hoping the son to succeed. Entertaining documentary, a success story, a film for a broad audience in festivals and on tv.
Tunisia, 85 mins., 2009
Written 13-03-2010 10:19:32 by Tue Steen Müller
Clip from press release: The third edition of DOX BOX, the independent documentary film festival in Syria closed its curtains on the evening of March 11th, 2010 in Damascus. With over 65% rise in audience numbers (+7000 first edition, 12000 second edition, +20000 third edition), the festival confirms its position being the region’s leading documentary film festival.
The festival, with its newly introduced section “Voices from Syria” presented its first DOX BOX – Soura Award, to the best film from Syria, and the jury members were: Jehane Nojaim (Egyptian-American multi-awarded filmmaker), Isabel Arrate (the coordinator of IDFA’s Jan Vrijman Fund) and Nezha Idrissi (Moroccan-French producer and the director of Fida Doc festival in Agadir). The first DOX BOX – Soura Award went to Lina Al Abed for her short documentary “Nour Al Huda”. The award comprises of a trophy designed by renowned Syrian sculpture Mustapha Ali and a cash prize of 2200 USD. The festival’s main award, The DOX BOX Audience Award, went to Lebanese Zeina Daccache for her feature-length film “12 Angry Lebanese” with a new record in audience voting, where the film’s final score was 9.54/10. The award comprises of the festival’s trophy and a cash prize of 3000 USD.
Both films will be reviewed on this site. PHOTO from The Danish Insitute where part of the Dox Box Campus was held.
Written 11-03-2010 16:12:52 by Tue Steen Müller
“The idea was developed by Don Edkins, a renowned film producer, who’s involved with different social projects through Steps for the Future and Day Zero Films. Basically, we want to create awareness and a hype within different communities in South Africa that are not reached during the promotion of the World Cup. We’re going to go into rural communities and set up screenings of interesting documentaries from around the world with a football theme.” Said by Hisham Samie, a filmmaker from Cape Town.
The screenings will be for free and will help people learn about stories, events and football players from other parts of the world in the build-up to the World Cup.
This blogger is proud to have been part of the research team for films together with Danish Mikael Opstrup, Dutch Marijke Rawie and Finnish Iikka Vehkalahti.
Written 11-03-2010 09:53:06 by Tue Steen Müller
Summing up this morning in the lobby of the Fardoss Tower Hotel before colleague Mikael Opstrup and I return home from a Syrian capital, warm as an extraordinary Danish summer would be.
Summing up after a breakfast chat with Omar Amarilay, the most important Syrian documentary maker, who has made 18 films, shown all over the world – only two of them showable in Syria! A viewing commitee watches all films to be shown in the country in order to eventually grant allowance for public screening. A nice gentleman, a censor, from the Ministry of Culture told us yesterday about the procedure and the list of points to be considered for the committee. With a smile he added that he had seen 120 hours of films presented by the Dox Box organisers! Who off the record praises their censor, a man with love to cinema, who is doing his best to help films pass... Amarilay, on the other hand, was not so optimistic with the way the country is going politically and did not see a bettering of the conditions for arts and culture, at the same time as he expressed his admiration for the work done by the organisers of Dox Box, Diana El Jeiroudi and Orwa Nyrabia from ProAction Film. (Photo from "Dolls" produced by the company)
As outsiders who have followed the development of the festival from its beginning, we can only join the salute and say Bravo. What is being done with a high quality international festival programme, that appeals to an audience (they estimate 16.000 spectators this year), with a presentation of new Arab documentaries, with an ambitious Campus for Syrian and Arab wannabee-filmmakers, with the setting up of a distribution catalogue of films about women to be launched in the Arab world, with the publishing of texts, academic or popular, on documentaries... is an exemplary pioneer work, the best I have seen since the establishment of the IDF (Institute of Documentary Film) in Prague a decade ago. A film political and cultural effort that deserves all the support it can get from official European sources as well as from the international documentary community. The festival closes on the 11th of March. And by the way, Proaction Film also produces films and offers subtitling services.
Written 10-03-2010 10:45:37 by Tue Steen Müller
Saw two films – one about older people, one about children. One with Bari in Italy as location, one taking place in a quarter in Damascus. ”Housing” by Federica di Giacomo is a film about people, who – as said on the site of the production company - “become prisoners in their home” while waiting to be resettled in a new home. They have fear of being attacked by squatters, they complain about the neighbours – and many totally absurd situations come out of these situations. A woman adores her mayor – and hates Berlusconi – and complains about the neighbour moving her furniture around. Another has a dressed-up kind of scarecrow named Rocco sitting in an armchair in order to make outsiders (thieves, squatters) believe that someone is at home…. And several other non-mainstream characters are described with warmth and empathy, allowing you to have a laugh at the same time as you are watching social outsiders in trouble.
Nidal Debs, awarded Syrian feature film director, educated at VGIK in Moscow, presented his first documentary “Black Stone” (PHOTO), that is a shocking look at a group of children who collect scrap metals to earn a little money – and support their families. The children have a wonderful energy even if they have been subject to abuse and violence in their families. The film suffers from weak cinematographical quality and shaky editing. Too many words, simply, not time for breathing, emotions and reflection. But as a document second-to-none about a Syrian reality of today.
Italy, 90 mins, 2009
Syria, 63 mins, 2006
Written 09-03-2010 19:34:41 by Tue Steen Müller
I was surprised when I saw that ”The Moon Inside You” by Diana Fabianova, a film and a director that has been written about several times on this blog, was selected for the Dox Box Festival here in Damascus. Surprised because I did not think that a film on menstruation would pass the censorship in Syria. It did luckily and the organisers proudly announced that the film had a full house, 500 people, and a very positive reaction. In connection with the admirable project of the organisers of the festival, to build a documentary culture in the country, the ambition is also to create a distribution initiative, a catalogue of women’s films, and ”The Moon Inside You” is of course on that list.
Written 09-03-2010 08:09:41 by Tue Steen Müller
Nagi Esmail from Egypt made a 9 mins. long city film during a workshop in Cairo, the title is ”171”, which refers to the steps you take from the train platform in the metropole until you are in the street. Shot in one day and edited in 3 hours, the film by the 2006 graduate from the film school in Egypt shows clearly a young filmmaker with a talent for visualising. Lina Alhafez from Syria has made a film about the Syrian band ”Kilna Sawa”, which is 42 minutes long. The film includes the dialogue between 5 of the band members and some of their supporters, created in the edit as all words come from the people sitting in or driving in a car. The story about the band that is hugely popular for transforming old songs into new interpretations, is a fine graduation work, has a fast pace, mixed with archive from their performances that are amazing to watch. They – the band members – look back on their carreer, comment on many emotional moments and stress that crticism is present in all they do. Léa Bendaly from Lebanon lives in El-Mina, north of Beirut. She has made a nice wordless film hymn to the city accompanied by music of Ludwig van Beethoven. Bendaly, as Esmail and Alhafez, took part in the Dox Box Campus that ended monday with a presentation of six film projects. Bendaly has the ambition to make ”Good Bye El-Mani”, her visit to the places and people, she remembers from her childhood and youth.
Still: Sonia Bitar from Kilna Sawa
Written 07-03-2010 20:35:51 by Tue Steen Müller
A film that has been reviewed and noticed several times on this site, has finally got the national recognition it deserves. Here is the posting from the IDF site – se address below:
On Saturday, March 6, Forgotten Transports to Poland by Lukáš Přibyl was announced best documentary film at the 2009 Czech Lion Awards. The film is included in Přibyl's four-part documentary series that was released on DVD in mid-January.
Breaking down our notions about "Holocaust documentaries", the film focuses on humanidentity and its changes. It deals with choices, people, escaping Nazi ghettos, laborand death camps in the Lublin region of Poland, had to make in order to adapt and survive in utter extremity, on the run, in hiding – with a great deal of ingenuity,much humor and tremendous optimism. This documentary tribute to the human spiritis completely devoid of commentary, contemporary and make-believe footage and employs only impeccably researched time-and-place precise materials and fascinatingwords of the witnesses. From playing a deaf-mute fool, armed resistance to a touchingtale of forbidden love, the handful of witnesses share their past, for the first time. This documentary offers a surprising picture of survival "as we don't know it".
A clip from the film can be watched on the site below.
Written 07-03-2010 12:58:46 by Tue Steen Müller
Patricio Guzman in Damascus. The great director behind the film historical classic ”The Battle of Chile” from the beginning of the 1970’es met the audience of young wannabee filmmakers and older people, who remember the dramatic period where the government of Salvador Allende and ”la pouvoir populaire”, as the French speaking director put it, tried to unite the Left and introduce democracy in Chile. We all know how that went. A quote from the site of Guzman:
In 1973 he films “The Battle of Chile”, a 5-hour documentary on the end of Allende’s government. After the military coup, Guzmán is threatened to be executed and spends two weeks arrested inside the national stadium, unable to communicate his whereabouts to anyone. He leaves the country in November 1973. He lives in Cuba, Spain and then France, where he makes “In the Name of God” (Grand Prize, Festival of Popoli, 1987), “The Southern Cross” (Grand Prize, Festival Vue Sur les Docs, Marseille, 1992), “Chile, Obstinate Memory” (Grand Prize Festival of Tel Aviv, 1999), “The Pinochet Case” (International Critic’s Week, Cannes, 2002), and “Salvador Allende” (Official Selection, Cannes, 2004). In 2005, he makes “My Jules Verne”.
About ”The Battle of Chile” Guzman said that it is a film on words. It is a film on the quality of the politics of the people from the base – the working class. The five hour long film had an editing time of three years. Cuban film people came to watch at the edting room and said that they had never seen such a high political culture. The films deals with the period from 1970 and to the military coup and is about ”le pouvoir populaire”. Guzman referred to the East german political filmmakers, who were filming in Chile at the time, Heynowski & Scheumann, and told that their cameraman filmed the bombing of the presidential palace, whereas Pedro Chaskel, the editor of Guzman, filmed the flight over the palace. The two teams exchanged footage... for buying dvd’s of the films, consult the site of Guzman.
Written 06-03-2010 16:56:46 by Tue Steen Müller
This is one of the highlights of Dox Box 2010, Orwa Nyrabia said as a proud and enthusiastic introduction to the masterclass with D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, moderated by idfa director Ally Derks. And it turned out to be a very pleasant couple of hours with the renowned filmmakers who made film history together with other big names like Albert Maysles, Richard Leacock and Robert Drew, the Direct Cinema/Cinéma Vérité directors. At the festival, among others, the Bob Dylan film ”Don’t Look Back” was shown and the young filmmakers had a lot of questions to that film and especially to the method connected to the filmmaking style.
The best way to reflect what was said during the masterclass is to quote Pennebaker and Hegedus for many wonderful sentences that may inspire our readers, Hegedus being the analytical and Pennebaker the one full of stories, loving the anecdote, both of them being very generous and warm in their approach to the audience:
Am I a master, ”No I was not the first person to put my foot on the beach”. Subject, how do you find them, ”We don’t, they find us, we are very depending on our friends to give us hints, people come to us”. Story?, ”You don’t know what is going to happen when we start”. Hegedus and Pennebaker is a couple privately: ”We get divorced four or five times during a film”. Where does the inspiration come from, ”Creative energy can’t be stored!”. ”A documentary is like the stories you heard as a child, once upon a time...”. Film crew?: ”The smaller the better”. Agreements? ”We go for a handshake agreement”. A fly on the wall? ”No, I can not take an invisible pill... I watch, I am like a cat, you can not see what I think”. ”The money always comes”. ”I don’t feel like a director”. Observation, Objectivity? ”No, how can one’s person’s observation be all people’s observation?”. ”We are following the action, and is very often led by the sound”. ”You are like a detective, because you don’t know what happens”. ”Style is driven by technology”. ”You are filming for an audience”. ”Look for accuracy”.
Written 06-03-2010 07:38:01 by Tue Steen Müller
We have heard it for so many years, and we have seen films, fiction or documentary, that informs about or interprets the life in GDR (German Democratic Republic). But they – the Syrian young filmmakers-to-be - had not. That was very obvious from the reactions and questions at the campus of the Dox Box Festival. The local Goethe Institute had invited the GDR photographer Dieter Riemann to make an exhibition of his photos, which is running until March 25 here in Damascus, and the organisers of the festival took advantage and had Riemann come talk about his life as a photographer in a closed society where artists were not allowed to travel and where Stasi was strongly present.
Riemann told that he always worked with a conceptual format. He took photographs for book publishing, walls, windows, mentally ill people, old people etc. The basis was always humanistic, critical and trying to be as honest as possible. ”Socialdokumentarisch”, he called it. Inspiration: the Magnum photographers, Cartier-Bresson, Edward Steichen.
On the way back to the hotel I talked with my co-tutor, the cameraman Peter Badel, who also worked in the GDR, very much with Thomas Heise (”Material”, see below, PHOTO), and we remembered great names like Sibylle and Hannes Schönemann, who were imprisoned for their critical documentaries.
Written 06-03-2010 07:13:14 by Tue Steen Müller
The excellent website of IDF (Institute of Documentary Film) has moved to a new address with a new layout (black on white) and as usual loads of information to get on Eastern European documentary matters in particular and world documentary matters in general. And with a click you can watch the editor’s choice of an actual important film. This is of course ”Rabbit a la Berlin” (PHOTO) right now, the day before the Oscar is distributed in the category in which it is nominated.
Written 05-03-2010 16:17:05 by Tue Steen Müller
Mail from the producer of the film of Sergio Basso, English title: “Made in Chinatown”, reviewed on this site not long ago: You can see our new web-documentary MADE IN CHINATOWN (the first in Italy on the web-site of one of the most important italian newspapers, Corriere della Serra), at the link www.corriere.it/gialloamilano. Now the English version is there! The film will also be shown at the coming Visions du Réel in Nyon, Switzerland.
Written 05-03-2010 15:47:33 by Tue Steen Müller
4 Polish documentaries and a Syrian. And again bravo to the organisers for putting an emphasis on the short documentary which is of course well targeted in a country with limited funding possibilities – where short film can be made – and for the rest of us, who have experienced this special art form disappear from public television to become a playground-like platform for young people, who want to experiment, develop their skills and find their own voice.
”Six Weeks” is a small masterpiece by Marcin Krawczyk. In 18 minutes he tells the story about a woman, who like many others decide not to keep her child because she does not think she can offer it a decent life. Visually it is strong, it is dealing with a tough subject in a respectful way. Polish short documentaries have a flow in storytelling, they have rythm, they go directly into the story... You can see the inspiration of old masters like Kieslowski and Lozinski.
”Mother” (theme: family), ”A Woman Sought” (theme: matchmaking), ”Till it Hurts” (theme: mother and son) were the other Polish film in the programme, high quality, right to the point, made with invitations to laugh at our crazy life.
Syrian ”Women's Talk” was a film that pleased the full cinema. It has three acts, the first one full of male chauvinistic remarks from old men, who think that women are well of now – they have electricity, it is warm in the kitchen, and we don’t beat the women any longer... the middle act responds to the first one, you see a quick edited MTV-style sequence of women working in all professions, with no dialogue. Which there is in the last sequence where women around the fireplace comment on the men. Payback! They laughed in the theatre, it was funny, but also for a foreigner a terrible comment on the position of women in modern Syria. There is along way to equality!
http://www.dox-box.org/new/ Still: 6 Weeks.
Written 05-03-2010 15:43:22 by Tue Steen Müller
German cameraman Peter Badel is one of the mentors of the Campus – together with Dutch producer Joan Morselt, Danish colleague Mikael Opstrup and myself. The participants in the workshop are aspiring young filmmakers, who have been grouped according to their wish to be a producer or a director – or ”I don’t know where I want to go yet”.
Badel gave a very inspiring lecture, ”The Narrative and the Image”. He told us about his close collaboration with excellent German director Thomas Heise (read about his ”Material” on this blog) and how they, as close friends, understood how the images should be – you do your job, Heise says to Badel, and I will not interfere. Technical details were given by Badel, who started with 35mm in the times of the GDR, and now works with a small digi camera. And he showed some photos, he had taken and talked about how they were composed and he gave us the stories connected. Much time was dedicated to clips from Heise’s masterpiece ”Vaterland” and to ”Heinz und Fred”, a one hour wonderful film by Mario Schneider, a composer who went to filmmaking. Fred is a handicapped old man but lives a good life with his father and all the old machines that he wants to repair. Badel showed us a great crane tour from the end of the film saying that in this case the crane was a kind of cameraman – two takes they made. 800€ for hiring the crane.
Written 05-03-2010 07:09:14 by Tue Steen Müller
Bravo Dox Box, was the shout from the last row of a full cinema on the opening night of the festival. And ”Shout” was the title of the opening film, from the Netherlands, directed by Sabine Lubbe Bakker and Ester Gould, who were more than happy to have the world premiere of the film in Damascus, one of the locations of a film that literally starts with people shouting from one side of Golan Heights to the other. From the occupied mountain territory in Israel to the mountain area in Syria – on both sides members of Palestinian families gather and try to communicate through loudspeakers. In many cases the families have not seen each other for 40 years!
The film focuses on two young men, Golanis they are called, who go to study in Damascus. One is Ezat and the other Bayan, and both have used the opportunity that you once per year can cross the border. The filmmakers have followed them for a year and go back with them for the summer holidays. Not a big film, but in several sequences the camera catches beautifully situations that reflect the absurdity and tragedy of the world we live in. Ezat’s father lives in Israel with no passport as he has refused Israeli citizenship. His grandfather lives in Damascus, quite old and ill, but a hero in Syrian eyes, greeted as such by the Asad, the late president. Ezat studies theatre in Damascus and decides to go back (Bayan stays in the occupied territories) after the holidays. The tone is light among the two, the emotions come in when they are with their families.
Holland, 54 mins., 2010
Written 04-03-2010 09:01:33 by Allan Berg Nielsen
En uge i dokumentarfilmens verden, 1. - 7. august 2010 på Den Europæiske Filmhøjskole i Ebeltoft. Eva Mulvad (Vores lykkes fjender) og Mikala Krogh (Alt er relativt) leder kurset, som får besøg af denne række foredragsholdere: James Marsh (Man on Wire), Pernille Rose Grønkjær (The Monastery) Kasper Torsting (Søren Gade - de sidste 48 timer) Manuel Claro (fotograf på Alt er relativt) og Arne Bro.
Kursets program: www.europeanfilmcollege.com/i_dokumentarfilmens_verden.asp
Foto: James Marsh (Man on Wire) underviser på kurset.
Written 03-03-2010 18:38:16 by Tue Steen Müller
”To our guests who come here every year and fill our hearts with pride and support: we promise to surprise you with our imperfections just the way we like our life, and cinema, to be!”.
These catalogue sequence taken from the welcoming catalogue foreword of the directors of the third edition of Dox Box International Documentary Film Festival in Damascus, Syria.. illustrate perfectly the spirit of hospitality and of humbleness, which characterises Diana El Jeiroubi and Orwa Nyrabia, the couple behind Pro Action Film and a festival that grows from year to year, both in programming and in a strong Campus programme for young filmmakers in the region.
They can be proud of their programme this year. They have succeeded to get D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus to Damascus with a fine retrospective (PHOTO: DONT LOOK BACK - Bob Dylan), as well as Patricio Guzman with his masterpiece ”The Battle of Chile” in three parts, and they have several great and good films that have been written about on this site: Boris Ryzhy, Zidane, Freetime Machos, The Moon inside you, Pink Taxi, Antoine, Hold me Tight let me go. There are Middle East documentaries and there are many guests from abroad, who can discover the professionalism and passion behind a new festival that clearly has a mission: to introduce the creative documentary in a country where there are limits to what can be said and shown.
The festival runs 3-11 March and I will report from there daily.
Written 03-03-2010 18:07:14 by Tue Steen Müller
A very banal and normal story that all families have experienced: Old age hits grandmother or grandfather, or mother or father, who have started a life of forgetfullness, as is the case with Maja, the mother and grandmother of this film that due to a gifted filmmaker tells the story we all know not only in a recognisable way but also gives it a more universal, existential perspective on losing life and identity.
She is a lovely old lady but she is not able to cope with the practicalities any longer. She sits in her big bed with her doll, trying to reach the phone before it is too late, singing along with the songs of her youth coming from the radio. She is in another world. Her daughter visits her but it is too much for her to organise the life of her mother, so god bless the granddaughter who communicates with the authorities knowing that it is impossible to avoid that Maja must be moved to an old people’s home. They love her, the camera loves her and there are great moments of laughter in this film, where Jukka Kärkkäinen again (like in ”The Living Room of a Nation”) demonstrates an enormous talent for conveying contemporary life with beauty, respect and sadness.
Written 02-03-2010 11:44:40 by Allan Berg Nielsen
”…Katrin Ottarsdóttirs empatiske og sympatiske film… Der står en nøgen sandhed om eksistensen tilbage, som ordene bærer vidnesbyrd om. Usmykkede, ligefremme og med klare linjer.” (Henrik Wivel i Weekendavisen Bøger 26. februar-4. marts 2010.)
Filmen vises i morgen, 3. marts 17:00 i Biffen, Aalborg og - NB flyttet til - mandag, 22. marts 19:00 i Nicolay Biograf, Kolding.
Her i dette billede er kameraet en sjælden gang i øjenhøjde med Jóanes Nielsen. I øjenhøjde med den berømte mand, den store digter. Dette landskab er fotografen og han, filmens medvirkende fælles om. Han ligger også ned i en enkelt scene, fordi hans kæreste har lagt sig ned. Men ellers er den lave kameraposition gennemgående. Katrin Ottarsdóttir har nærmet sig den frygtindgydende mand med usikre skridt og i stor forsigtighed. Filmen er præget af det. Hendes tilstedeværelse i samtalerne er yderst nedtonet. Jeg havde ventet det modsatte, i film nummer tre ville hun træde ind i scenen, efter ganske lidt i samværet med Hans Pauli Olsen og noget mere sammen med Tóroddur Poulsen. Men hendes film er til gengæld yderst tilstedeværende hos et meget intenst levende menneske. Og så var det altså den udvikling hun ville, den rytme af indsigt gennem de tre arbejder.
Det handler om en digter i Torshavn. Om Jóanes Nielsen, velkendt i byen, velkendt i sin branche. Han causerer om sit liv og sit kunstneriske arbejde, underholdende, og han læser op af sine digte, medrivende. Det foregår i hans hus, i byens gader og havn og i byens omegn. Alt er set smukt, rummene, stederne, landskaberne.
Topografien dominerer og ordner. Nielsens fortælling er vist nok handlingstråden. Digtoplæsningerne er det egentlige indhold. De er stærke. Fra det barskt usentimentale til det ømt følsomme. To handlingsforløb knytter an, en aflivning af kattekillinger hen over midten af filmen og så i den store slutning selve samværet med kvinden fra så mange steder i digtene. Henrik Wivel kalder kombinationen af digtoplæsning (og monolog vel) og sted for ”pittoreske positurer”. Jeg tror det er mere end det. Jóanes Nielsen er selvfølgelig anbragt på steder og foran udsigter, som ikke kun er hans. Det er også Katrin Ottarsdóttirs og filmens og mine. Det er ikke en biografi, det her. Det er eksistens, og topografien er meddigtende i filmens lyrik. I hvert fald tænkt sådan. Måske er det bare ikke lykkedes helt.
Og det har med klipningen at gøre. De enkelte klip er ofte brutale, og de slår mere i stykker end de føjer sammen. Jeg forstår simpelthen ikke opklipningen af enkeltscenerne, som jo er så bundet af deres markante topografiske (og scenografiske) markering, den adskillelse af sammenhængende materiale danner i montagen ikke for mig efter første gennemsyn en ny sammenhæng, biografisk, tematisk i causeriet eller dramatisk i filmens forløb. Jeg synes indtil videre, det er en skam. For mig at se dog kun en lille – hedder det skønhedsplet – på et smukt, smukt filmværk. Empatisk og sympatisk, nemlig.
Katrin Ottarsdóttir: Sporene gror ud af ord, Danmark 2009, 76 min. Manuskript, fotografi og klip: Katrin Ottarsdóttir, lyd: Iben Haar Andersen, produktion: Hugin Eide. Produceret af Blue Bird film www.bluebirdfilm DVD-salg fra medio marts hos boghandlerne. Jóanes Nielsens seneste samling Broer af sultne ord er netop udkommet på forlaget Torgard www.forlagettorgard.dk
Written 01-03-2010 20:13:55 by Tue Steen Müller
What a pleasure it is to watch short documentaries. Even more so because they have run out of slots for that classic genre on public broadcasting in Europe. The short films are still being shown in festivals all over but seldom as the main attraction. And at the short film festivals priority is given to the short fiction film. I wrote about the Bridging the Gap initiative in Edinburgh some days ago, that has a total focus on the short documentary, and not only for beginners, many of the applicants for the 7 films that mid March will be selected for production support had done short documentaries before... so I left Edinburgh with some works that deserve to be mentioned for their creative ambition and diversity in style. Talents all of them, keep an eye:
”Ma Bar” (PHOTO) features an old man, more than 70 years of age, who does bench pressing ignoring age and the youngsters around him. The film lets the protagonist comment on his passion in a film that is tense in atmosphere due to excellent cinematic close-ups and a totally balanced rythm. ”The Bees” takes the viewer to the South of Lebanon to a woman living next to the borders of Israel – I have been experiencing the war since I was a child, she says. The bees are free, they can cross without papers, the woman continues, one of the many victims of geography, presented in a warm humanistic film. Contrary to the situation in Lebanon nobody really cares when they cross ”the border” to enter the pilgrim’s road to Santiago de Compostela. ”Maria’s Way” is the title of this nice mini-portrait of a woman, who every day sets up her small table to greet the pilgrims who pass, and who maybe would want a stamp in their papers. She does that for herself – the counting of those passing by - to continue what her mother did. The camera stays behind her to watch how most of the people don’t bother, and to hear Maria’s wonderful bitter remarks about Life Today! ”Kirran and the Hatchmaker” takes us also to the countryside where a young charming boy conveys his passion and vision, breeding chickens, and planning to take them on a sea voyage. He has it all planned and written down and the way he treats the chickens is described with love. There is one scene that demonstrates an extraordinary talent for images: four chicken stand completely without moving with the boy’s feet in the picture, a beautiful Still Life and a director’s courage to let an image speak.
McDowell & Pretsell: Ma Bar, UK, 2009, 11 mins.
Rana Ayoub: The Bees, UK, 2009, 13 mins.
Anne Milne: Maria’s Way. UK, 2009, 15 mins.
Amy Rose: Kirran and the Harchmaker. UK, 2008, 19 mins.
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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......
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Tue Steen Müller: The films mentioned in the text of Sevare Pan are available on arteeast.org...