Written 31-05-2010 07:52:00 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Jacob Jørgensen og Henrik Lundø laver beundrende, imponerede og loyale film om ophøjede personligheder som Erik Reitzel, Dronning Margrethe, H. C. Andersen, Henning Larsen og mange, mange flere. Og nu altså Olafur Eliasson. Og det skal de gøre, og det skal de blive ved med. Deres film glæder mange. Rigtig mange.
Jeg blev imidlertid skuffet over Eliasson filmen. Og kom til at tænke, at også inden for Jørgensens og Lundøs koncept, eller plan, eller smag, inden for deres ambition må der være nogle overordnede krav til emnets fokus, til indsigtens dybde, til karakterens udvikling, til klippets musikalitet og egenfortælling.
Jeg blev så skuffet, fordi filmens fokus, som for eksempel kunne være blevet ved Hudsonflodens vandfald og deres fortælling, flakker til andre af Eliassons mange projekter, til lidt antydet biografi og til noget sentimentalt privatlivs indblik. Skuffet, fordi dybden i hans gennemgående monolog og samtaler konstant svigtes til fordel for en omklamrende forklaren og forklaren tilsat lidt moraliserende didaktik. Skuffet, fordi den berømte hovedperson, skønt hele tiden aktivt tænkende kunstner, i filmens story line står fuldstændig stille i et låst ikke-karisma. Lidt træt, faktisk. Jeg blev skuffet, fordi klipningen uden retning flakker fra dit til dat og fortaber sig i gentagelse og limen sig pinagtig fast til scener, som forlængst har tabt indhold og gnist, en klipning, som i filmens sidste tredjedel bare tynder ud og tynder ud, uden jeg mærker det som konstruktionsbestemt diminuendo.
Men er man i forvejen optaget af Ofafur Eliassons person, arbejde og shows, skal man bestemt se Jørgensens og Lundøs film. Den er sympatisk, venlig, høflig og loyal. Og den er formodenlig blevet fuldstændig, som de ville have den. De er dygtige og meget, meget erfarne, de to.
Written 28-05-2010 15:00:40 by Tue Steen Müller
This is first of all information for those of our readers who are active filmmakers and producers. Given to you by someone who worked in EDN (European Documentary Network) from the beginning in 1996 until 2005, so I am totally biased when I give you this promotional text:
You should become a member of EDN and thus be able to access information that could be important in your daily work. For instance about where to go if you look for funding for your film. Eventually you could consult the EDN Financing Guide or you could take part in the excellent online interviews that are conducted by staff member Ove Rishøj Jensen and which are solely available for members. There have been sessions with Osnat Eden-Fraiman from YesDocu in Israel, Martin Pieper from ZDF/arte, Andrew Golding from SBS Australia (yesterday) - and in the beginning of June you can meet Ahmed Mahfouz Nouh from Aljazeera Documentary Channel and Simon Kilmurry from the renowned American PBS slot called POV.
Non-members can - for free - read the news brought by EDN on the site:
Written 28-05-2010 12:03:27 by Tue Steen Müller
Under the headline “Nordic ‘arte’ Channel Closer to a “Go””, the excellent newsletter FkN Newsletter, published by Filmkonakt Nord (in English, free subscription) gives hope for quality television:
The talks of establishing of a joint Nordic TV channel based on the model of the bilingual French-German channel ARTE, are getting more concrete. The plan has attracted serious attention in the Nordic countries, and a working group has been set up by the Nordic Council's Culture and Education Committee to work on a solution. The parliamentarians are inviting the Nordic film- and TV-industry and the Nordic public service TV-stations to take part in talks about a possible collaboration in the establishment of a cultural channel. Ultimately, the decision on whether to establish a Nordic Culture channel will be taken by the governments of the Nordic countries.
Written 28-05-2010 11:57:34 by Tue Steen Müller
Filmkommentaren.dk has recently written about the digital plans for documentaries in Lithuania and Denmark. Now a piece of text taken from the newsletter of Filmkontakt (see above) demonstrates that some countries also have throughts for the screening of films, at least Norway does:
In just one year, all cinemas in Norway will be ready for digital screenings and equipped with 2K or 4K projectors. As one of few countries in the world, Norway has closed deals with six major Hollywood studios for digital screenings. According to the industry organisation for Norwegian cinemas, Film & Kino, the conversion of all of Norway’s cinemas to digital will be the world’s first national non-commercial digital cinema rollout.
Since 2006, Film & Kino has supported two digital pilot projects concerning 33 cinemas all over Norway. Som cinemas and institutions have made individual investments in digital equipment, and the experience from the pilot projects has been decisive for the successful digital rollout. 30 cinemas will have a 4K Sony projector, which is the standard required by the big Hollywood studios to show their films digitally. The digitisation process will begin this June in 37 theatres in Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim and will run until April next year.
For more information, see Film & Kino's website.
Written 25-05-2010 14:38:29 by Tue Steen Müller
Sorry, your English language blogger goes national again… but he has to tell you that from today a website on the most esteemed Danish film director ever, Carl Th. Dreyer (1889-1968), is available. Go to the site address and check it out, and you will find an enormous amount of material to study further, collected and edited by clever people at the Danish Film Museum, one of the sections of DFI, the Danish Film Institute: articles, portraits, scripts, working method, workplaces – and clips and shorts and films about the director who made 14 features and 8 shorts. The English version of the site is not yet totally completed – as it is written: “we hope to see you again in a few days for the entire experience”.
Nevertheless, visit the site as it is now. I am sure that you will agree with me – educated a librarian in the last century – that this is an amazing piece of film historical work for film buffs all over. Words, documentation, articles, clips and full films. Use it!
Written 23-05-2010 15:05:53 by Tue Steen Müller
Our Paris correspondent has previously (search Godard) dedicated a posting to the one and only JLG, Jean-Luc Godard, whose ”Film Socialisme” was screened in Cannes. I found this clip from an overall festival article by Jason Solomons, The Observer, May 23:
The real gem wasn't in competition but in the more experimental (and this year, dull) Un Certain Regard selection and it came from the grand master of the filmic game, Jean-Luc Godard, or JLG as he's now known, like some kind of perfume (a whiff of bitterness, with top notes of genius).
Helped with production by fashionista Agnes B and using words ("textos") credited to J Derrida, W Benjamin, S Beckett and W Shakespeare, among others, 79-year-old JLG's avowed final work Film Socialisme was the freshest, coolest thing I saw, bursting with a new wave of anger and vitality, retooling once again the visual language of cinema.
Shot in astounding, crisp HD, it's a fragmented collage of ideas and thoughts, beautifully pure graphics, scratched Dolby sounds and twisted images. He even plays with the convention of subtitles, merely placing English words along the bottom of the frame: "smile dismiss universe" or "destructive constructive". At one point, a girl at a petrol station refuses "to talk to anyone who uses the verb to be". Then a llama appears behind her. You want story? Forget it, but there's plenty of meaning here as Godard swipes at European history, Palestine, Jews, bankers and the futility of language and the strictures of time. As the final credits simply say: NO COMMENT – and the old man didn't show up for his Cannes press conference.
Written 22-05-2010 18:47:44 by Tue Steen Müller
Good news from one the most interesting countries for documentary cinema, Lithuania, whose post-independence documentaries have been and are awarded everywhere. Names like Sharunas Bartas, Audrius Stonys, Arunas Matelis, Rimantas Gruodis, Janina Lapinskaite and Giedre Beinoriute (photo from her 2005 film, Vulkanovka) do all owe their cinemaric skills to a grand tradition that now also soon may be shared by their fellow countrymen and film buffs elsewhere. Read the following:
At the beginning of May, the Lithuanian Central State Archive started implementing a 30-month project called Lithuanian Documentaries on the Internet. The Archive has received support of approx. EUR 2.8 million from the EU. Digitization and online accessibility will help to preserve some 1000 titles that are part of Lithuanian documentary heritage.
The Lithuanian documentary heritage is not equally accessible to all Lithuanian people nor to the wider EU and world communities because few people can physically visit the Archive and use its documents. The project is oriented toward the creation, expansion and promotion of Lithuanian digital Internet content to users. During the project the Archive expects to digitize and transfer to the Internet 1000 titles of Lithuanian documentaries, created in the period 1919-1960. After the implementation of this project Lithuanian documentaries and information about them will be easily accessible. Every user would have the possibility to search digitized films and their metadata, to watch these films or to order digital film copies. Digitised Lithuanian national film heritage will be protected and preserved for current and future generations and knowledge of it will be available via the Internet for all possible users worldwide.
Written 21-05-2010 13:53:18 by Tue Steen Müller
... and it is a road movie that talented Zeljko Mirkovic has made. Informative and done in an unpretentious way, this tv documentary takes the viewer from Austria in the North to the border between Macedonia and Greece in the South. On the road are two writers, Miljenko Jergović from Croatia (in the driver’s seat) and Marko Vidojkovic from Serbia. They drive in a Yugo, the most popular car during the existence of Yugoslavia. Big men in a small car that breaks down a couple of times during the trip through Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia. A comedy frame to a subject-wise serious documentary.
They go to Bleiburg, where partisans in 1945 massacred thousands of fleeing ustashes – the Croatian, anti-Yugoslav fascist separatist movement. They go to Zagreb, talk to president Mesic about different issues including the eventual (impossible?) return of Serb citizens of Croatia to their homeland. They visit the birthplace of Tito as well as his mausoleum. They talk to different historians. Go to Vukovar, to witness the scars from the civil war. And to Belgrade to talk to, among others, writer and politician Vuk Draskovic to end up in Macedonia, where the population is said to be either Antic Macedonian or Slavic Macedonian.
It feels a bit too long, although it is all very lightly conveyed and informative, with short archive glimpses, and at a general level so also beginners of Balkan history will get something out of it. Must be good for education as well.
Serbia, 2010. 58 mins. (85 mins. film-version exists as well)
Written 20-05-2010 23:13:41 by Tue Steen Müller
The news agency AFP reports tonight from CANNES: A controversial Danish movie set in Afghanistan and a first feature from a Vietnamese director on Thursday scooped awards in Cannes' Critics Week section…
"Armadillo", about the growing cynicism and adrenaline addiction of young soldiers in the battlefield, won the top prize for Janus Metz. Shot on the Afghan front, it is the first documentary ever chosen to compete for the Critics' Week prize. Described as a journey into soldiers' minds, the movie made wars on the home front this week after showing Danish troops claiming to have "liquidated" Taleban fighters wounded in combat. The army has called for an inquiry after parliamentarians who saw it this week dubbed it "Denmark's Vietnam."
Written 20-05-2010 14:49:52 by Tue Steen Müller
Sund fornuft sejrede: ARMADILLO FÅR PREMIERE DEN 27. MAJ - 6 UGER FØR PLANLAGT. Klip fra pressemeddelelse: Siden den overvældende modtagelse ved verdenspremieren på filmfestivalen i Cannes har Armadillo været omtalt massivt i både danske og internationale medier. Filmen har fået omfattende ros og har sat gang i en ny debat om krigen i Afghanistan, men endnu er det kun danske pressefolk og udvalgte politikere der rent faktisk har set filmen. “Efter den massive mediedækning skylder vi danskerne, at de også selv får mulighed for at tage stilling til filmen – og ikke blot få andres holdning præsenteret gennem medierne. Derfor har vi valgt at sende filmen i biografen så hurtigt som muligt”, udtaler instruktør Janus Metz.
Filmkommentaren.dk (see below), and many others, found it stupid that the film Armadilo was set to premiere by July 8 at a moment where the Danish and foreign media praised the film and debated the Danish involvement in the war in Afghanistan. That has now been changed, of course, so the Danes can see the film. Premiere in a week, May 27.
Written 20-05-2010 12:18:16 by Tue Steen Müller
Russian stories... why are they so attractive, why do they travel so well? Is it because we still know so little about this huge country and its Soviet past? Is it because their stories, like Tankograd, are so much more interesting in their dramatic, often tragic dimension that we are drawn to them – to get away from our own tiny wellfare problems and meaningless media focus on politicians and their (lack of) behaviour? Probably. Or is it because Russians simply are so good for the camera with all their passion and extrovert gesticulation? Or their charm as Boris Bertram depicts so well in this film through the male dancer, who looks like a young Rudolf Nuruyev. And through his female counterpart, sweet and pretty as she stands there in the kitchen with her grandmother. Yes, I know that kitchen. I have seen it so often.
It is not my job to review the film – that is done by Allan Berg, see below – but I want to express my nostalgic pleasure of being taken back to places and situations that I have enjoyed so much in Russia and in the former Soviet republics, that I have visited after 1989/1990.
The small kitchen, the generously arranged dinner tables and the hospitality you meet so often, the vodka bottles, the apple juice that you need to accompany the vodka with to prevent a hangover, the totally worn down and dirty staircases, the small appartment rooms where families find their ways of sitting, eating and sleeping, the constant smoking of cigarettes, the grey appartment blocks... the brewing of coffee at the toilet (not in the film) because this was the only place left for the coffee machine... I have seen it in Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Kiev, Minsk and St. Petersburg, and perfectly it is observed and conveyed in the film Tankograd. In many places – luckily – the living conditions have improved, in others not. But the art of survival is still performed within the warm atmosphere that I saw and recognised in Tankograd.
Written 19-05-2010 11:35:15 by Tue Steen Müller
I did not watch the final film yet but followed the film project, when it was developed at the Ex Oriente workshop in Czech Republic and when it was presented at the most important market place for new documentary projects, the idfa Forum in Amsterdam. Now it has won the Audience Prize at Planet Doc Review in Warsaw. Of course it has! The production company is Centrala Film, Poland in coproduction with Balibari Films, France. Thierry Paladino is French/Italian, educated at the Wajda film school in Warsaw. And one of the most talented filmmakers, I have met in the last few years. I have previously written about his short film, At the Datcha, on this site. Here is what his new film (91 mins.) is about, and from what I saw in a very rough cut stage, I would say ” with a flavour of both Renoir and Kiarostami”, and with a classical theme: the old man and the boy... without Michel Simon and Pierre Noiret, but introducing Sergio Dotti. Voilà, and watch out for it, it will go all over!:
Somewhere in the South of France a boy and an older man live: Sergio – a Master puppeteer and Adrien – his disciple. They will begin their journey for the first time this summer. They will meet cheerful and fascinating residents of colourful towns. "La machina" is a story of this travel, a story about the meetings, a story about a relation between the master and the disciple. Sergio Dotti is one of the last Master puppeteers in France. He lives in the South. Here, Nice is called Nissa. Once, after the show Sergio met a nine-year-old boy called Adrien. The boy had been so interested in the performance that he came back the following day to be in this magic world again. This summer, they will begin their journey together for the first time to discover the hospitable and picturesque area of Nice. Travelling from town to town, they will show the world of imagination to children and adults. Adrien, full of admiration and enthusiasm, may prove to be Sergio’s last disciple, the one who will take over his skills, the last one who may become a master one day.
Photo: La Machina, fra optagelserne
Written 18-05-2010 17:43:33 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Boris Bertram skildrer et ungt, russisk dansekompagni i Chelyabinsk og kombinerer det med en skildring af stemningen i den fordømt by til en stor elegi. Efter Danmarkspremieren kører filmen i Vester Vov Vov, København fra torsdag, 20. maj. Senere er der visninger i Odense, Café Biografen 28. maj 21:30 og i Århus, Øst for Paradis 29. maj 21:00. Begge disse visninger er efterfulgt af en koncert, Bichi meets Savery (Ghost Society, Blue Foundation), se filmens hjemmeside:
Vi møder en i grundtrækkene klassisk bysymfoni. I rammen af en dag fra morgen til sengetid følges solodanseren Masha og hendes venner og kolleger i korte scener fra træningen frem til premieren på forestillingen, de arbejder med på deres berømte Chelyabinsk Contemporary Dance Theater. Men filmen skildrer også deres hjemmeliv i de små lejligheder i boligblokkene. Her er deres liv. Øvesalen, køkkenet og soveværelset, supermarkedet og så en gang imellem scenen i teatret, hvor det hele udlades. Forståelserne, længslerne, frigørelserne. Ellers er der fåmæltheden, neddæmpetheden.
Chelyabinsk er en deprimerende by, en tavs by med en frygtelig fortrængt viden. Den var tidligere central for udviklingen af Ruslands atombombeprogram. Indbyggerne oplevede en række ulykker med udslip af radioaktivitet. I 1957 kulminerede det med en voldsom eksplosion med tilsvarende forurening. Dertil kommer vistnok en mere end lemfældig omgang med atomaffaldet. Så jorden er giftig, floden er giftig, søerne er giftige, grundvandet er giftigt. Følgesygdommene er talrige og massive. Depressionen præger de unge dansere, præger alle andre i byen, bliver til langsomhed og stilfærdighed. Og således er Bertrams film, neddæmpet og inderst inde fortvivlet.
Det er morgen hos Masha og hendes kæreste. Kaffe, cigaret og nyheder på mobiltelefonen. Der er faktisk valg i dag, skal du hen og stemme? Nej, det tror jeg ikke. Nej, det skal jeg ikke. Jeg heller ikke. Filmen opstiller tre strategier for tackling af den fortvivlede situation i byen. Møder miljøkæmpere, men med de to unge ved morgenmaden lægges jo den politiske mulighed til side. Læger og det øvrige sundhedsvæsen besøges, lindres kan der måske, men ikke helbredes. Resignation, vi skal jo dø af et eller andet, men skal vi tænke på det hele tiden, er det uudholdeligt at leve, det er holdningen blandt indbyggerne. Derfor dansen, optagetheden på denne kunstneriske måde af sin egen krop og dens mulighed for udvidelse, for nye skønhedsudtryk. Så ikke udadvendtheden i politisk aktion og lægelig behandling og forebyggelse, men indadvendtheden, indbøjningen i sig selv, i sit helt eget bliver strategien, som vælges, strategien, filmen især skildrer. Og sandt at sige, de danser meget, meget smukt.
Boris Bertram: Tankograd, Danmark 2009, 58 min. Manuskript: Boris Bertram, fotografi: Emil Noel, Magnus Nordenhof Jønck og Boris Bertram, klip: Charlotte Munch Bengtsen og Henrik Vincent Thiesen, musik:Tobias Wilner Bertram, Sara Savery og Vladimir Shainskiy + Ghost Society, lyd (sound design):Tobias Wilner Bertram, PeterAlbrechtsen og Thomas Jæger, produktion: Sara Stockmann og Anne Wivel, produceret af Barok Film www.barokfilm.dk
Written 18-05-2010 10:36:38 by Tue Steen Müller
Did you read the report from our Paris correspondent, Sara Thelle – see below. The core of the article is the hommage to wonderful Agnès Varda but Thelle also mentions the success of the Danish documentary, Armadillo, that not only filmkommentaren.dk but international press as well characterises as a strong and important work.
The film has for a couple of days hit the headlines in Danish newspapers and Danish politicians have queued to get on national tv to express their opinions about the ”Danish Vietnam” in Afghanistan as one politician expressed it.
Thelle reports that Parisian filmgoers can watch the film in Paris on June 5... the Danish audience has to wait until July 8! I am neither a marketing nor a film distribution expert but use some common sense, please, get the film on screen (and/or television) NOW when everybody talks about it. Right now – in Denmark – the situation is that a debate rolls about a film that very few people have had the chance to watch. So stupid!
Written 18-05-2010 07:48:34 by Sara Thelle
Every year in Cannes, at the opening of The Director’s Fortnight, la Quinzaine des réalisateurs, the international society of filmmakers, la Société des Réalisateurs de Films (SRF), hands out the award The Carosse d’Or to honour “the innovative qualities, courage and independent-mindedness of his or her work”.
This year the honour goes to Agnès Varda, 81, the queen of truly independent French cinema.
As an introduction to this occasion on May 13th, Varda’s film Lions Love… (and Lies) from 1969 was shown.
Lions Love… (and Lies) is a crazy, charming docu-fiction, or rather fiction-docu, Varda filmed when she stayed in Los Angeles with her husband Jaques Démy in 1968. Peace and love, sex and politics, freedom and soft drugs! The main caracters is the trio Viva, Andy Warhol’s muse, Jim and Jerry, the authors of Hair, and Shirley Clarke in the role of herself…
”I’m always cheating with reality and fiction” states Varda (Le Monde, 15.5.2010, reporting from the debate she had with Frederick Wiseman after the screening of her film: Le Monde )
Agnès Varda’s production company Ciné-Tamaris, have been so kind to inform me, that not only can you watch all of Agnès Varda’s films on international VOD from May 18th, 35 films, short and long, many of them previously unreleased, on:
But also, a DVD set with the complete works of Agnès Varda, including Lions Love… (and Lies) which has never been released on DVD, is in it’s making and is expected to come next year.
Jean-Luc Godard cancelled his expected visit to the Cannes Festival for enigmatic reasons and to the great regret of the Festival. His latest film Film Socialisme was shown Monday May 17th in the competition Un certain Regard. The film will come out in theatres in France May 19th.
And at last, Filmkommentaren is of course following Armadillo’s success in Cannes.
For those who are lucky to be in Paris, Janus Metz’ Armadillo can be seen already the 5th of June (17.30 p.m.) in the special program 49ème Semaine internationale de la critique at the Cinémathèque in Paris, shown together with the short film Berik by Daniel Joseph Borgmann, also in the competition: Cinémathèque
Cineuropa wrote: “Janus Metz’s extraordinarily forceful documentary Armadillo stunned the audience in Critics’ Week at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival”. Read the rest here: Cineuropa
The Hollywood Reporter: A “Vivid and frightening documentary”, “When the bombs go off and the bullets start flying, Metz and his cameraman provide a real-life vision of what a hurt locker is really all about”: Hollywoodreporter
The trailer for Armadillo can be seen here:
And a little bonus, greetings from Paris and Agnès: Le lion volatile (2003):
Photo: Agnès Varda in Cannes 2009 (Reuter)
Written 17-05-2010 16:54:18 by Tue Steen Müller
Take a look at the boy. Look at his eyes. See the fear of a soldier. A very young Danish soldier who has just been hit. He serves in Afghanistan, he fights Taliban. He is caught at that very moment of injury in the film of Janus Metz. The cameraman Lars Skree filmed the sequence of the wounded soldier who has his eyes wide open. A sequence where the boy seems about to faint and where you as spectator (at least I did) gets the impression that he is dying. His head falling down as if he is losing consciousness.
He did not die. In the film he returns to the image a couple of times. In a hospital scene where he is happy to meet his pals from the camp, and at the end of the film where he with a big, proud smile shows his family the scar. A memory from Afghanistan.
It is amazing how close the director and his cameraman have come to the characters in the camp in the Helmand province. They have filmed in the camp, in the tanks, on mission, in combat, at debriefing sessions. They have filmed and recorded phone calls to home in Denmark, they have filmed the free time activities from swimming to watching hard core porno films. It is such a rich material they have collected to make
Read more / Læs mere
Written 16-05-2010 14:24:45 by Tue Steen Müller
1000 Danish documentaries and shorts will be made available for the Danish audience. The films, all from 1975-1990, will be digitalised and made accessible through the free streaming service, ”Filmstriben”, that includes all new docs and shorts supported by the Danish Film Institute (DFI). This good news stems from the fact that the Ministry of Cultural Affairs has granted the DFI an extra grant of 6mio. Dkr. (around €800.000) to bring the 16mm, 35mm and videos to the digital format, and from there to ”Filmstriben” that today through the public libraries is available for 80% of the population. Via their library card it is possible – for free – to get to the films. At home at the computer.
This initiative is no less than an excellent piece of film politics that must be ”exportable”. I worked at the National Film Board of Denmark in the period 1975-1990 (from whose collection all the films come) and are more than happy that films of high artistic quality are brought back from the dark and forgotten, as well as precious documents of Danish history and culture.
The classical combination of film and public libraries to convey moving images to the broad audience will again prove its importance. And again thanks to the technique that has been the most important element in the history of documentaries. Both when it comes to production but even more when the films have to reach the audience. Robert Flaherty said – almost a century ago – that we, the film people, have not won before it is quite as easy to get hold of a film as it is to get a book. We are getting there...
Photo: Jørgen Roos (1922-1998), THE Danish documentarian
Written 15-05-2010 12:22:39 by Tue Steen Müller
The headline is taken from a small report by Camillo de Marco, who from Cannes Film Festival writes for the CinEuropa website. About one more documentary that puts its focus on Berlusconi... Italian documentarians do not have so go far to find good stories as Michael Moore did not when George W. was in the White House. Here is the note:
A throng of journalists, applause and some laughter greeted the morning’s press screening of Draquila: Italy Trembles [trailer] by Sabina Guzzanti, on how the aftermath of last year’s earthquake in Abruzzo was handled by the national Civil Protection Agency (see article). The nearly 400-seat theatre was full well before the film began.
The actress-director also met with the Italian press this morning, and expressed her “deep shame" over Italian Minister of Culture Sandro Bondi’s decision not to attend Cannes because the film is a"a propaganda product that offends the country". Yesterday evening, Italy’s Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, denied accusations of Italy’s "subjugation" of the film’s content. "It’s a problem of cultural decline", added Guzzanti. Meanwhile, the 100Autori Association is asking for Minister Bondi to resign. Distributor BIM has published the film’s initial box office. Since its domestic release last Friday, Draquila has grossed €413,000 (and yesterday, €56.500), to earn it third place on the charts after Robin Hood and Iron Man.
PS. Below the official site of the film (with clips) and a link to Cineeuropa that in its editorial choice also includes a huge amount of trailers, mostly for fiction films.
Written 14-05-2010 01:19:02 by Tue Steen Müller
The prestigious film festival in San Sebastian (September 17-25), one of the so-called A-festivals, has announced a special celebration of what on this site often has been called the new Golden Age of the documentary film genre, in the text below characterised as “a new heterodoxy of the genre, rich in multifarious expressions, alternative paths and unexpected solutions”. A good text from the site of the festival:
With the title of .doc – New paths of non-fiction, San Sebastian Festival will, at its 58th edition, dedicate a wide-reaching retrospective to contemporary non-fiction cinema. This cycle will include some of the most representative examples of international non-fiction cinema.
If any single phenomenon has captured attention on the world movie scene in recent years, it has to be today’s interest in documentary cinema, a practice which, save extremely rare exceptions, had followed a path largely falling by the way of the histories of cinema, international festivals and the memory of film buffs. But contemporary documentary cinema is so incredibly varied and versatile that even the classic notion of the term has to be questioned. Requirements traditionally associated to the documentary (like objectivity, a serious tone and lack of expressiveness) are no longer considered essential and can even be deliberately avoided.
Read more / Læs mere
Written 13-05-2010 19:27:56 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Det er ikke nogen god titel. For dokumentaren handler mest om det ord, der mangler. Den handler mest om retning, pædagogisk retning, opdragelsens retning. Og det er godt, den gør det. At den usentimentalt fremlægger et usentimentalt program for børns plads i livet med voksne. Et syn på tingene aldeles på tværs af den generelle stemning i samfundet. Et syn kombineret med helt konkrete handlingsanvisninger i alle detaljer. Det er ret godt at lytte til i rækken af statements fra medarbejderne på Schuberts Minde i Ringkøbing. Det er faktisk en god dokumentar om dette standpunkt, ikke kun god som diskussionsoplæg, nej, også god næsten som konkret brugsanvisning.
I aftes så vi så det første af de fem afsnit, dokumentaren er delt op i. Vi så en dreng på 13, som ankom til behandlingshjemmet, vi så den venlige modtagelse, og vi så hans første konfrontation med denne pædagogiske retning, som var modsat alt, han havde vænnet sig til. Den første kamp mellem barnet og de nye voksne varede halvanden time, fik vi at vide. Vi så glimt af forløbet: sådan gøres det. Og vi hørte den rolige og argumenterede forklaring: derfor gør vi det sådan. God film, god dokumentarserie, ser det ud til. Vi får se med de fire resterende afsnit.
Hanne Ried Larsen: Kæft, trit og .... knus, Danmark 2010, 5 afsnit af 40 min. Produktion: DR-Dokumentar. 1. del genudsendes mandag 17.maj 14:30 på DR 1.
Written 13-05-2010 00:14:30 by Tue Steen Müller
It is all about making extraordinary films about ordinary people... I don’t remember who said so, but it could be a characterisation of the work of Nina Hedenius, the unique Swedish filmmaker who makes all her films for SVT, the Swedish public broadcaster, that provides her with the funding for her films. She does everything on her own (camera, sound, direction), over a long period and without any interference of film consultants or commissioning editors from television. In Belgrade where she took part in the Magnificent7 festival, with the masterpiece ”Way of Nature” (”Naturens Gång”) from 2008, she told the audience that she had to do her films in that way, and that she could not have anyone look over her shoulder. That would make her nervous and confused.
I pick up the name of Nina Hedenius tonite after having seen her fine work, ”The Art of Cleaning” (”Konsten at Städa”), which is from 2003 and runs for an hour. Again Hedenius takes the viewer to Dalarne, the beautiful region of Sweden, and lets him/her experience the daily life of a cleaning lady, Wally Petterson. You might expect a social indignation over hard work, but Hedenius never turns to that side. What interests her in this case (like with the characters in ”The Old Man in the Cottage” and ”Way of Nature”) is the calmness and harmony that is inside and outside a woman, who cleans, cooks, takes care of grandchildren and relaxes at the lake with her fishing rod. ”We are ere to help other people, are we not”, Petterson says in a film that refrains from the many words. The camerawoman, who is also the director, dares. To go close and stay close, to fade out in grey, to let clouds drift by, to let a face stay so long that you start to make your own interpretation or drift away from the film or maybe into the film’s universe. I saw the film in a garden house and could turn my head to the right and be with nature images and a sky similar to the one in Dalarna. Pure beauty and independent filmmaking. A filmmaker with her own signature.
Some of the films of Nina Hedenius are available on dvd - check the website below and contact svt, and for people who are able to get to SVT, Kunskapskanalen (Knowledge Channel) the film has a rerun on sunday May 16 6.05pm. And to know more about Hedenius you can see an interview with her (in Swedish) on
Written 12-05-2010 16:00:05 by Tue Steen Müller
It is always to be noted that the Cannes Film Festival picks a documentary for a competition screening. This time a Danish one, Armadillo by Janus Metz, has been taken for the Semaine de la Critique. The first screening in Cannes takes place May 16, and the film has a Danish cinema premiere July 8. For that reason we wait with a review till early July but want to tell you what the film is about. Here is the text from the site of the Danish Film Institute:
Armadillo is an upfront account of growing cynicism and adrenaline addiction in young soldiers at war. Mads and Daniel are serving their first mission in Helmand, Afghanistan. Their platoon is stationed in Camp Armadillo, right on the Helmand frontline, fighting tough battles against the Talebans. The soldiers are there to help the Afghans, but as fighting gets tougher and operations increasingly hairy, Mads, Daniel and their friends becomes cynical, widening the gap between themselves and the Afghan civilisation. Mistrust and paranoia set in causing alienation and disillusion.
And about the director Janus Metz: Born 1974, Denmark. MA in Communication and International Development Studies from Roskilde University. Has worked as a researcher on documentary film projects. Metz lived in Johannesburg for one year (2002-03), working on a South African drama series, »Soul City«. The stay inspired him to make his debut film, the documentary »Township Boys« (2006). Also in 2006, he produced the programme »Eventyrerne«/»Clandestine« for the national broadcaster DR, which follows a group of illegal African migrants through Sahara on their way to Europe. »Fra Thailand til Thy«/»Love on Delivery« (2008), recipient of two GuldDok awards at CPH:DOX and selected for IDFA's Silver Wolf programme, is Metz' first film about Thai women and their pursuit of a Danish husband. Succeeding this is »Fra Thy til Thailand«/»Ticket to Paradise« (2008), selected for IDFA's Reflecting Images: Panorama, and honoured with a Special Mention at CPH:DOX.
My co-blogger Allan Berg has several times written about the two thai-films on this site. Search ”Janus Metz”. Photo: Lars Skree, cameraman of the film.
Written 12-05-2010 09:43:31 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Filminstituttet melder ud: Seks millioner kroner til digitalisering af danske kort- og dokumentarfilm. Det Danske Filminstitut får nu mulighed for at formidle en vigtig del af kulturarven, nemlig kort- og dokumentarfilm fra perioden 1975 til 1990. Fra hylderne i arkivet skal filmene nu digitaliseres og gøres tilgængelige for alle på nettet.
Kulturminister Per Stig Møller og videnskabsminister Charlotte Sahl-Madsen har udmøntet i alt 21 mio. kr. til digitalisering af kulturarven i 2010-12. Pengene fordeles til fire projekter, heraf 6 mio. kr. til Det Danske Filminstituts projekt 'Dansk Kort- og Dokumentarfilm 1975-90'.
Kulturminister Per Stig Møller udtaler i Kulturministeriets pressemeddelelse: "Kulturarven skal være levende – derfor skal kulturarven være digital, og derfor satser vi nu på at gøre den danske kultur- og naturhistorie tilgængelig over nettet. En levende kulturarv skaber en fælles referenceramme i vores samfund og vaccinerer opvoksende generationer mod historieløshed. Uden fornemmelse for historien smuldrer den fælles ansvarsbevidsthed, og forudsætningerne for at tage nuanceret stilling til samfundets udvikling forsvinder."
Områdedirektør på Filminstituttet Dan Nissen glæder sig over, at det nu bliver muligt at formidle og levendegøre dele af den dokumentariske filmarv, nemlig 1000 film fra perioden:
"Vi kan nu sætte gang i vores længe nærede ønske om at gøre dokumentarfilmskatten tilgængelig for danskerne. Det er et righoldigt materiale, der fortæller spændende historier om danskerne og deres hverdag; billedbårne historier med stærk fascinationskraft. Der er film, der oprindelig er produceret som folkeoplysning til bl.a. uddannelsessystemet. Nu kan vi gøre en del af denne kulturskat tilgængelig for den befolkning, der i høj grad har været med til at finansiere dem. Og tilgængelighed betyder i dag, at filmene kan findes på nettet..."
Planen er, at filmene skal kunne opleves via streamingtjenesten 'Filmstriben', der også nu fungerer som platform for distribution af omkring 750 kort- og dokumentarfilm. Mere end 80 % af landets borgere har allerede nu adgang til 'Filmstriben' derhjemme via deres bibliotek.
"Visionen om at gøre dansk dokumentarfilm tilgængelig for alle, der blandt andet er formuleret i Filminstituttets oplæg til det kommende filmforlig, er med denne bevilling rykket et stort skridt nærmere," siger Dan Nissen.
Jeg, blogskriveren, glæder mig meget til Jenny af Jon Bang Carlsen (fotografiet af vejen mod Ferring, som jeg har funndet frem, er fra optagelserne i 1976). Så den kan netop komme med. Per Kirkebys og Arkaluk Lynges Da myndighederne sagde stop er fra 1972. Den kommer så ikke med. Det er jeg ked af.
Men, der er meget at glæde sig til. Jeg tager SFC-kataloget Film & Video 1989 frem. 50 års kataloget fra filmcentralen. Og blader fornøjet den glæder jeg mig til.. og den.. og de..
Written 11-05-2010 10:51:18 by Allan Berg Nielsen
... (Damen kommer tilbage; hun bærer en blomst ved sit bryst.) DEN UKENDTE: Se, det er ejendommeligt, at jeg ikke kan åbne min mund og sige noget, uden at det straks bliver desavoueret! DAMEN: Sidder De her endnu? DEN UKENDTE: Om jeg sidder her eller et andet sted og skriver i sandet, det kan jo være ligegyldigt - når blot jeg skriver i sandet. DAMEN: Hvad skriver De da? Lad mig se det. DEN UKENDTE: Der står vist Eva, 1864... nej, træd ikke på det... DAMEN: Hvad sker der så? DEN UKENDTE: En ulykke for Dem, - og for mig. DAMEN: Det ved De? DEN UKENDTE: Ja! Og desuden ved jeg, at den julerose, De bærer der på Deres bryst, er en Mandragora. Ifølge symbolikken betyder den ondskab og bagvaskelse, men som medicin har den helbredt galskab. Vil De give mig den? DAMEN (tøver): Som medicin? (Fra Strindbergs Til Damaskus, første akt.)
Damen er naturligvis på en eller anden måde med i Michael Madsens film. Den korte scene, hvor hun bærer en Mandragora naturligvis også. På en eller anden måde. Men slet ikke så direkte overført, som jeg her gør det. Hvorfor så Strindbergs tekst nu? Jo, det kommer sig af, at jeg ikke kunne finde et still fra filmen. Undervejs med det fandt jeg dette fotografi fra førsteopførelsen af Strindbergs arbejde med samme titel, det var i 1900 med Harriet Bosse i rollen som Damen. Fra det billede måtte jeg naturligvis til Strindbergs værk, som er skrevet få måneder før mødet med lige den kvinde.
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Written 10-05-2010 09:00:17 by Tue Steen Müller
... stands for ”museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di trento e rovereto”. I went there to see the museum in the small and nice provincial town of Rovereto which is on the road between Bolzano and Verona. The museum offered the viewer a wondertful exhibition titled ”From Stage to Painting” depicting ”the magic of the theatre in 19th-century painting” with great works of David, Delacroix, Füseli, Aubrey Beardsley, Gustave Moreau and the painter I always consider as a real documentarian long before that word was invented: Edgar Degas. There were some of his ballerinas and other paintings that demonstrated his eye for situations and moments, and his ability to make a personal interpretation of what he saw.
The magic world of theatre as seen by painters: Shakespeare and his works as the most wanted subject – Macbeth, Hamlet, King Lear.
The magic world of theatre as seen by filmmakers? Many could be mentioned but one stands out: ”Les Enfants du Paradis” by Marcel Carné. Therefore the choice of poster photo for this posting. Starring Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault, Pierre Brasseur and Pierre Renoir.
Written 09-05-2010 15:15:25 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Himmelnattens kejser er den danske titel, ”en film om synlighed” (eller sigtbarhed?) hedder det i undertitlen. Og for en gangs skyld er undertitlen ikke irriterende og omklamrende. Den er på plads af to grunde. Den er regulært begyndelsen på filmen, udgør det allerførste udsagn, og den er smuk. Som filmen er smuk. Som Otto Norns titel på en meget ældre, tilsyneladende ganske anden,men på afgørende måder tilsvarende æstetisk-historisk undersøgelse At se det usynlige er smuk, som hele hans kloge bog er smuk. Michael Madsens film er tilsvarende klog. Det er frydefuldt, der er langt mellem kloge film.
Nu rejser han så fra festival til festival med en ny smuk og klog film, Into Eternity, 2009. Før den havde han færdiggjort To Damascus, som nok kan ses som et skridt på vejen. Tre kloge og smukke og sande film efter hinanden. Det ligner en vedholdende tanke, et fortsat arbejde, et stort personligt værk i udvikling.
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Written 06-05-2010 08:06:49 by Tue Steen Müller
The legendary French photographer is always considered as the documentarian within the art of photography. Now, according to an article written by Richard Lacayo in Time (May 3) a focus is put on his short but remarkable surrealist period. Here is a quote from the article that can be read in its full length on the site of Time. From this article there is a link that will lead you to being able to watch a slate of his works:
With 300 or so photographs, "Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century," a new exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, is, as Ed Sullivan used to say, a really big show. No doubt, nothing less would do to represent the vast scope of an artist Richard Avedon called, with just the slightest exaggeration, "the Tolstoy of photography."
But six years after his death at the magnificent age of 95, Cartier-Bresson proves that you can be one of the most famous names in photography and still be one of its greatest enigmas. For a few years in the 1930s, he was a fiercely dedicated avant-gardist, making pictures that were powerfully strange… In 1931 Cartier-Bresson made a crucial realization: through photography, he could achieve the goals of the Surrealists he so much admired. The MoMA show, which runs through June 28 and then travels to Chicago, San Francisco and Atlanta, is a career-spanning retrospective. But while Cartier-Bresson's Surrealist phase would be just a brief moment in that career, it was a crucial one.
Photo: The master himself by an anonymous photographer.
For reasons of copyright (we can not afford to pay Magnum Photo) no Cartier-Bresson-photo will be posted, please go to the site of Time:
Written 06-05-2010 07:55:24 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Det hedder i afdelingens nyhedsbrev: "DR Dokumentar undersøger et bestialsk overfald på en kvinde på øen Mors. det er historien om et barskt og voldeligt liv blandt sociale nomader. Men det er også historien om et udkantsdanmark, der føler sig svigtet og hægtet af."
Jeg studser over ordvalget. "Bestialsk", "øen Mors" (ja, det er det da, som "øen Amager", hvorfor nu denne pædagogik?), "sociale nomader" (ude af sociologernes rapport, uden definition bliver begrebet ubehageligt og stemplende), "udkantsdanmark" (et samlebegreb, som slører mere end det præciserer, som gør sig fortrolig, menneskelig, det kan "føle sig"!) Sådanne ord er det dårligtst tænkelige udgangspunkt for Reimer Bo Christensens 21 Søndag, Danmark knækker. Med sådanne uhåndterlige begreber kan det da kun blive en overfladisk behandling. Men vi får se.
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Written 05-05-2010 09:59:18 by Sara Thelle
This spring Paris is under the sign of Kitano. Japanese filmmaker (Sonatine, Hana-bi, Zatoichi a. o.), actor, TV presenter, comedian, painter, singer, poet and writer Takeshi Kitano (born 1947 in Tokyo) is everywhere. He has a big exhibition at le Fondation Cartier, le Centre Pompidou is running a retrospective of all his films, his first autobiography outside of Japan is being published, his film Achilles and the Tortoise (2008) is out in the cinemas and he’s presenting his latest film Outrage (2010) in the official selection at the Cannes Film Festival.
Since March, the cinemas at le Centre Pompidou (Beaubourg among Parisians), is showing the retrospective Takeshi Kitano, l’iconoclaste: 40 films, TV films and documents (many unreleased), the most complete retrospective ever on Kitano’s oeuvre as filmmaker and actor. (Beaubourgs retrospectives are great, last year we were spoiled with a complete program of absolutely all of Werner Herzog’s films).
All screenings until June 26: (link to the Pompidou site)
Parallel to the retrospective, le Fondation Cartier (situated in Jean Nouvel’s transparent glass building since 1994) is showing an exhibition of Kitano’s artwork. The project is an invitation from le Fondation Cartier and it is the first time Kitano, under the name of Beat Takeshi Kitano, is showing his work. Kitano explains: “With this exhibition, I was attempting to expand the definition of “art,” to make it less conventional, less snobby, more casual and accessible to everyone”. The exhibition is a mixture of paintings, installations and screens showing his TV shows, set up as a playful amusement park, an interactive universe meant to address children in particular. As Kitano mentions himself: “If somebody consider that it is not art, I won’t feel insulted”.
Art or not art, frankly, my eight-year-old daughter and me couldn’t care less, if only it’s funny, interesting, beautiful, impressive… Unfortunately neither were the case!
But go see for yourself:
Gosse de peintre, Beat Takeshi Kitano, Fondation Cartier, 261 bd Raspail, Paris 14e. Until September 12, 2010. http://fondation.cartier.com
Kitano par Kitano (Grasset 2010): Kitano’s first autobiography outside of Japan based on conversations with the Tokyo-based French journalist Michel Temman.
Takeshi Kitano, l'imprévisible (MK2 1999, 68 min.) by Jean-Pierre Limosin, in the series “Cinéma de notre temps”, Centre Pompidou Cinéma 2: June 12.
Jam Session (1999, 93 min.) by Makoto Shinosaki, Centre Pompidou Cinéma 2: Mai 23 and June 6.
Photo: © Takeshi Kitano dans "Sonatine, Mélodie mortelle", 1993 (c) Bandai Visual, Shochiku Co., Ltd./Studio Canal, Tamasa Distribution-Collection TCD (Daniel Bouteiller) (c) Centre Pompidou, direction de la communication, conception graphique : Ch. Beneyton
Written 04-05-2010 09:43:20 by Tue Steen Müller
The Canadian documentary film magazine POV asked me to write an article on festivals. I did so, it has been published in connection with the HotDocs festival that is running right now. You can read the article below and for further info on this excellent magazine visit the
There are some festivals that I have come back to year after year, with pleasure, almost with a feeling of being part of the furniture. I place myself on the same row in the cinema and make my own screening schedule that fits with lunch and dinner breaks and meetings with friends. Then there are festivals where I have been to only a few times--or go reluctantly.
It is not easy to write about festivals as an insider who goes there
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