Written 30-05-2012 23:34:49 by Tue Steen Müller
Below, in Danish, in connection with the national premiere on June 6, a review of the new film of Phie Ambo, who brillliantly invites her audience on a both emotional and informational journey into the traumatised lives of two American war veterans as well as introduces us to Will, a kid who suffers from ADHD. Will is too scared to enter an elevator, the two vets fight with experiences that have had severe consequences for their post-war lives.
Into their lives comes professor Richard Davidson and his scientific team. The film follows the process the soldiers go through at the research centre of Davidson, and what the pedagogical team does to help Will overcome his fear.
The film is made for the big screen. As her female documentary star colleagues, Pirjo Honkasalo and Kim Longinotto, and at the same quality level, Ambo does the camera herself and brings beauty to the characters, at the same time as she with music and sound (maybe a bit overdosed) supports an editing that is superb in its integration of the four characters in a narrative flow. On top of that there are graphic and animation sequences, the latter sometimes made as were we in a school – white chalk on a blackboard. Fine solution!
Which, for this reviewer, is the core of this film’s success: You get a cinematic experience, you follow an exciting healing process, you are touched, maybe mostly by seeing a little boy’s fear, and you are offered knowledge, you might learn someting about the brain, ”the most complicated phenomenon in the universe”.
Denmark, 2012, 90 mins.
Written 30-05-2012 23:30:38 by Tue Steen Müller
Du bliver grebet om hjertet fra første øjeblik. En lille dreng er rædselslagen ved tanken om at skulle ind I en elevator. Det er den tanke og følelse, der skal ændres hos Will, der lider af ADHD og ofte hamrer håndfladen ind I sin pande. Det kan lade sig gøre netop ved tankens kraft og professionelle menneskers hjælp. Det samme gør sig gældende med to krigsveteraner, Rich og Steve, som bærer på frygtelige krigsminder. De lider af PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) og de kan også hjælpes via meditation og åndedrætsøvelser, siger den fjerde hovedkarakter I filmen, hjerneforskeren Richard Davidson, hovedpersonen kan man sige for det er hans forskningsresultater og aktiviteter, som filmen skildrer - “we can change our brain for the better”.
I filmen man ser hvordan. Det er en film, hvor karaktererne udvikler sig og hvor processen med at gøre livet nemmere for Will, Rich og Steve følges. Det sker I børnehavelokalet og I Davidsons forskningscenter, hvor de to soldater sammen med andre gennemgår et helbredelsesforløb. Der gives parallelt hermed konkrete oplysninger om, hvordan hjernen fungerer og kan forandres “for the better”, og der oplyses om de familiemæssige sammenhænge for de tre. Deres historier er dramatiske, de har brug for den hjælp, som kan gives ud over den traditionelle medicin.
Se, det her kunne være en indholdsbeskrivelse til en klassisk videnskabs-dokumentar fra BBC. Det er det ikke. Phie Ambo har lavet en stor og smuk Film til det store lærred, visuelt brilliant, fremragende klippet af Marion Tuor I et flow, der formår at bringe historien fra den lille dreng til de to voksne og tilbage igen uden at det virker postuleret.
Det er ikke bemærkelsesværdigt, at dokumentarfilm I dag er karakter-baseret og appellerer til følelserne, som Phie Ambos film I høj grad gør, du
Read more / Læs mere
Written 30-05-2012 23:25:11 by Tue Steen Müller
Vi er på vej ind i en ny æra, - en renæssance hvor alting bliver vendt på hovedet. På alle niveauer opdager videnskaben nye sammenhænge, som betyder at vores verdensopfattelse hele tiden ændres og intet er længere er, som vi først antog. Vores viden bliver større og mere kompleks. Konstant bliver der stillet nye fundamentale spørgsmål om, hvem vi er som mennesker. Og jo flere spørgsmål der stilles, jo mere tydeligt bliver det for mig, at der bliver flere og flere ting, som vi stadig ikke ved eller forstår. Det synes jeg er vanvittigt inspirerende!
FREE THE MIND er anden del af min trilogi om fundamentale menneske-lige spørgsmål. Filmen Mechanical Love (2007) om robot-forskning var den første og med FREE THE MIND er det kendetegnende for begge film, at de befinder sig i det spændingsfelt, hvor videnskaben møder virkeligheden, og hvor videnskabsmændene sætter spørgsmålstegn og tankestreger i stedet for punktummer.
I FREE THE MIND er det centrale spørgsmål: Hvad er en tanke og kan den manifestere sig i kroppen? Kan vi ændre vores hjerne fysisk kun ved hjælp af tanker?
Min personlige grund til at kaste mig over netop dette emne, var at jeg for nogle år siden pludselig og helt uventet blev ramt af panikangst. Det var en meget fysisk oplevelse og føltes mest af alt, som om ’pladen’ i min hjerne var gået i hak og der skulle noget fysisk til for at skubbe til pick up´en. Jeg opdagede at meditation kunne være det lille skub, der skulle til og jeg blev meget interesseret i at forstå, hvordan det hang sammen. Jeg fik lyst til at åbne op for kraniet og kigge ind i hjernen og se, hvad der egentlig foregår derinde under meditation.
FREE THE MIND er et resultat af den undersøgelse. Filmen er ikke et facit, men et indlæg i en fortløbende debat om, hvad mennesket er for en størrelse.
Phie Ambo, maj 2012
Written 29-05-2012 13:15:48 by Tue Steen Müller
It has so many layers this Israeli documentary about a man, who lives in the middle of Tel Aviv and suffers from the noisy surroundings, to the point where he goes bananas, and into an action with surveillance cameras and loudspeakers to identify and scare the noise-makers. He is a filmmaker, this man, he has a family with kids, he has a wife, who tells the story to us in a third-person manner, until she objects to his total obsession and sort of “enters” the narrative.
The point of view is his. He is the one, who shouts to groups of people passing by, or has the police come and ask a homeless person to move from his resting place outside the window of the appartment of the director “with the hyper-acoustic sensittivity” (from the publicity material). He is the one, who goes to the neighbours to ask them to calm down, and he is the one who constantly has a row with drivers, who park their cars in “his” street.
All this forms the fun part of the story, but the film also takes you to hear about how the nazi used sound as a torture instrument, as do many armies and police forces nowadays. The story progresses from the daily, banal noise damage on an individual – that you can easily identify with - to become a small Orwellian metaphor for a society where measures are taken to control communication and movements. It is a style that also another Israeli filmmaker, Avi Mograbi, has been using in several of his critical, political comedies. “Noise” carries succesfully the same tense, funny, critical reflection on a society full of noise on several levels.
Israel, 72/59 mins.
Written 28-05-2012 23:12:37 by Tue Steen Müller
Filmmaker and DoxBox Campus organiser Diana el Jeiroudi posted this text on facebook one hour ago:
“I lost a dear friend and colleague. Syria lost Syrian Filmmaker Bassel Shihadeh who was killed by a mortar grenade in Homs this evening. My condolences to humanity .. at large..”
At DoxBox last year in Damascus Bassel was one of the filmmakers, who developed and presented “Brakes” at the pitch session at the Danish Institute. His film project was awarded as the best by the international panelists present. Bassel, Dox Box Campus alumni, was full of energy and charm and talent.
Really touching to see how his Syrian friends and colleagues one after the other change their facebook profile photos to the one you see. Condolences.
Written 27-05-2012 09:57:39 by Tue Steen Müller
Anatomy of a mass grave...
From the FB page of Orwa Nyrabia, Dox Box festival director, Damascus, Syria
Written 26-05-2012 17:42:59 by Tue Steen Müller
Redaktionen gik på udstilling i den københavnske kunstforenings fine lokaler. Allan Berg, den udstillingskyndige, blev bedt om sin vurdering. Den er generøs for nu at bruge ét af Jørgen Leths egne yndlingsudtryk, sagde Berg, da vi spiste fiskefrikadeller på Diamanten lige ved siden af med udsigt til store fotostater på et plankeværk foran kanalen: Andy Warhol der spiser en burger i ”66 Scener fra Amerika”, Leth selv foran det store lærred i Bombay i ”De fem benspænd”, Bud Powell, et sort/hvid billede fra ”Stopforbud”, det tidlige jazz-værk, han skabte sammen med Ole John.
Det er jo det hele, det næsten samlede værk, fortsatte Berg, digtene, filmene, Moleskinnotesbøgerne, teksterne på plancher, Leths stemme og hans flotte samling af malerier og skulpturer fra Haiti. Det er materialer, og ikke biografi, og det er et rigtigt valg. Et højdepunkt er den lille kulisse, hvor man kan sætte sig ned og se Lene Adler Petersen i ”Ofelias blomster”, en lille ofte overset perle. Et andet er optagelserne fra castingen af unge kvinder til ”Det erotiske menneske”, indimellem hylende morsomt.
En enkelt lille indvending mod den manglende sammenhæng mellem lyd og billede i et rum, hvor der på væggen vises klip fra Leths favoritøjeblikke i hans elskede Tour de France, samtidig med at han taler om disse øjeblikke. Det følges bare ikke ad.
Hvis jeg havde mulighed for det, sagde Berg, der bor i Randers, ville jeg gå ind og se alle filmene én gang til. Det får man lyst til og det kan man nemlig på udstillingen med den nu 75-årige mesters herlige oeuvre.
Åben til 12. august.
Written 23-05-2012 19:50:11 by Tue Steen Müller
... with the subtitle: A Cinematographic Journey with Victor Kossakovsky, and indeed it is, a true pleasure to travel with the director while he is shooting his masterpiece ”Vivan las Antipodas”. The Chilean director frames the film with his own observations and longing for Patagonia, he observes Kossakovsky in action dealing with his crew, organising the shoot, changing a bit on the nature he wants in the picture, communicating with the protagonists, and puts some clever questions to him at the editing, and in breaks of the shooting, or in a car. There is some arguing between the man in front of the camera and the man behind, Kossakovsky can get pissed, you see and hear that, and Klein catches that as well, but the film is first of all a very well made, warm and intriguing meeting with a director at work, and secondly a dialogue between two filmmakers.
Oh, to see Kossakovsky film the scene with the Siberian women singing. The camera stays on the profile of the director at his camera during the whole song, totally overwhelmed emotionally he is by the beauty of the situation and the song. Kossakovsky appears as a director with the ambition to give us, the viewers, something to remember, and feel. ”I just want people to be happy when they watch it”, ”who created this endless beauty” (that he shows us in the film), always in his limited charming English, ”the film is about planet, cows, stones, you just have to open your eyes, and it is all there”, ”I want people to be happy that such people exist”... and so on, so forth.
But also about problems as when music is to be composed... ”in every film I lost a friend”, he sighs, ”we need helicopter”, he says in Shanghai, while the production people make the outrageous budget calculation. Next clip, Shanghai from above! You can keep on quoting Kossakovsky, the emotional bear who jumps around hugging people, expressing his enthusiasm over life and its beauty to everyone at the same time, as he seems to know exactly what he wants. The strong bear who in other scenes appears like a sad, spoilt baby. Thanks to Klein for giving us all this and thanks also for giving us a film that is a must for all professionals and film students, who want to see how passion and commitment look like. As an invitation to discuss documentary filmmaking, it is a must.
Switzerland/Germany/Chile, 2012, 90 mins.
Written 20-05-2012 11:47:10 by Tue Steen Müller
Documentation from Syria taken from FB: Since the beginning of the Annan Initiative, 1,401 martyrs have been documented by the Local Coordinating Committees of Syria (LCCS) in cooperation with the Violations and Documentation Center (VDC). Since the beginning of the ambiguous Annan’s deadline, 1,401 martyrs are documented, including 101 children (83 males, 18 females), 70 women, and 41 martyrs died under torture in the difference Security Branches. The distributions are as follows: Homs paid the heaviest price with 499 martyrs, 243 in Idlib, 176 in Hama,135 in Damascus Suburbs,86 in Daraa, 86 in Aleppo, 77 in Deir Ezzor, and 73 in Damascus.
Regime forces continued to violate the initiative by bombing various cities and towns endangering the lives of the UN international observers. In addition to the widespread torture campaigns, destruction of private property, and torching of homes, regime forces escalated the violence by firing live ammunition on peaceful student demonstrations on University Campuses across Syria
Written 18-05-2012 16:08:22 by Tue Steen Müller
The Danish Cinemateket in Copenhagen hosts May 20-23 the Jewish Film Festival that offers a programme of feature films, animation, short films and documentaries.
I had a preview of the documentary ”Auf Wiedersehen: Til We Meet Again”, a family story filmed primarily in Vienna, where the directors (Linda Mills and Peter Goodrich, 76 mins.) go to look for places and memories of Mills family, including the comments and reactions of her mother and aunt. Austrian historians take part in the revealing of the past of the family’s fate and give the frame of the history about how efficient the deportations to the camps were organised, as well as how many escaped before the war thanks to the Jewish administration. A story about survivors but also about perpetrators.
The festival not only show new films and for the documentary addicts two films stand out: Marc Isaacs neo-classic ”The Lift”, (photo), 24 mins with different people entering a lift to face the camera of the director in an appartment block in London. Lots of funny situations and indirectly a vision of a multicultural society.
The highlight, however, is ”David Perlov’s Diary”, filmed in the years 1973-78, considered a masterpiece in Israeli documentary film history, as it is written at the site of Cinemateket: a testimony of the turbulent reality in a country in constant conclict, threatened by war. Two of six chapters will be shown, 1 and 3.
Written 18-05-2012 00:00:35 by Tue Steen Müller
Text taken from the FB page of Orwa Nyrabia, film director and producer and festival Dox Box director:
“If anyone in the world, including Kofi Anan, wants us to prove with documented evidence that the regime ruling Syria is a ruthless savage despotic regime that should not remain in power, is actually searching for a way not to help the Syrian people. If humanity can still claim it doesn't know a dictator from the size of his pictures, or from the continuous success he, and his junta, keep on receiving in polls and in elections... then the world is playing around, with Syrian blood.. then the world doesn't want to learn.”
No photo needed.
Written 17-05-2012 23:50:20 by Tue Steen Müller
The exhibition space is limited but the content is excellent. The film museum in Riga, situated in the same building as the National Film Centre of Latvia, in the old town of the Latvian capital, hosts a presentation of the life and work of Herz Frank, a filmmaker so often written about on this site.
Frank himself took part in the construction of the exhibition that includes photos and texts and clips from his work, plus the possibility to see in full duration ”Ten Minutes Older” (1978) and ”Flashback” (2002), just two of the master’s documentaries.
The exhibition, I was told, is running at least until this autumn.
Written 17-05-2012 23:31:50 by Tue Steen Müller
The impressive Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona is a fascinating place to spend some hours. Its collection includes paintings, photographs, and until May 20 also the so-called Military Film Series by Russian master director Aleksander Sokurov, a series that hopefully will be presented in other museums around the world. Here is a small text clip from the museum site:
”In the late nineties, Sokurov made Soldier's Dream, 1995, Spiritual Voices, 1995, and Confession, 1998, the three films that make up the so-called Military Series. These three titles, which became part of the MACBA Collection in 2004, are shown on this occasion together with Elegy of a Voyage, 2001, conceived as a journey that takes us from Siberia to the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam. This last title, which in the context of the exhibition is seen as an epilogue to the Military Series, is Sokurov's first production commissioned by a museum. The four films share a new documentary aesthetic that combines the empirical experience of place with a sombre and spiritual lyricism. Soldier's Dream (a short 10-minute piece extracted from the third chapter of Spiritual Voices), and the five chapters comprised in Spiritual Voices (lasting five hours and 43 minutes), relate a prolonged stay at a frontier military post between Tajikistan and Afghanistan. The omission of factual information, of the type that is common in the media, and the long sequences representing the soldiers' routines, face the viewer with an enigmatic chain of events. Not even the news on the war in Afghanistan, persistently broadcast, can attenuate the power of these images with which Sokurov tries to create a new event – which is no other than the one that takes place during the contemplation of the film”.
Written 17-05-2012 23:07:49 by Tue Steen Müller
The Latvian national premiere of the 15 Young by Young documentary series - 15 short films of 15 minutes from the former Soviet republics - young filmmakers making films about young people and their lives in today's independent countries 20 years after the fall of the empire - took place with a galla screening in Riga saturday, followed by a screening in Sigulda, a town one hour from the capital, very well known for its winter sport but also the town that hosted a seminar two years ago where the shaping of the series started with directors and tutors present. I was invited back to Sigulda to watch the films and enjoy the company of the directors. And it was indeed joyful to sit in the cosy cinema in the culture centre of Sigulda, to see the directors being lined up with flowers from the mayor, having an ice cream, a banana and a glass of red wine in the break of the around 3 hour long screening, that was well attended by locals. It reminded me very much of ten years of film festival in Bornholm, Denmark, great unpretentious atmosphere, warm-hearted.
The premiere(s), organised by the producer Ilona Bicevska and her team, also included an outside internet broadcast of a debate (in Russian, the language all directors spoke) that took place in a park in Riga and that you can find online. "Is it Easy to be Young", the moderator said with a fine reference to the classic documentary of Juris Podnieks. The answers were different depending on the country, the director lives in. Goes without saying that a young person in a Baltic country have better conditions than someone from Belarus or from Moldova or Kirgisztan or... if you talk in materialistic terms.
The series has already been broadcast on arte, hopefully many other channels (and festivals) will also take this unique insight to countries that we need to know more about as they are only present in the media when revolutions or catastrophies happen. Unique the series is also because it presents many different ways of making a short film, from pure observation to fictionalisation, and put together there is freshness and talent to experience. The link below invites you to know much more. With clips to enjoy. Do so! 15 countries. 15 directors. 15 stories. (Photo from the Russian short in the series)
Written 15-05-2012 16:45:21 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Birte Overlade spørger i en bemærkning (se højre spalte) til et blogindlæg fra 24. marts 2008 om von Lowzows film om Krøyer og kunstnerkolonien i Skagen hvilken stor kærlighedshistorie jeg refererer til, når jeg skriver, at de to medvirkende Jon Holden Dahl og Jette Thage meget bedre selv og alene kunne have fortalt ”den historie om Krøyer, vi alle sammen kender i alle detaljer, én gang til, på en ny måde og med deres værdige varme og ro.” For sådan er det, ”vi hører jo gerne de store kærlighedshistorier igen og igen…”
Jamen jeg tænker da i første række på kærlighedshistorien med Marie og Søren Krøyer. Og allerførst på hvordan de begge skildrer den i deres billeder. Dernæst – og nu kommer de referencer, som er mine, dem jeg lige havde i tankerne, da jeg skrev så kortfattet irriteret efter at have set filmen: Ole Wivel: Rejsen til Skagen, 1977, Jens Smærup Sørensen og Franz Ernst: Lyset over Skagen, 1986 (filmmanuskript), Marianne Saabye: P. S. Krøyers Fotografi, 1990 (udstilling og bog), Jacob Thage, red.: Portrætter fra et ægteskab, 1997 (udstilling og bog).
Marie og Søren Krøyers kærlighedshistorie er en stor kærlighedshistorie, en af dem ”vi” (altså jeg) gerne hører atter og atter. Som Marguerite Duras’ og kineserens (hendes to romaner), som jeg er så optaget af lige nu, hvor Elskeren fra Nordkina er kommet i dansk oversættelse, som Célines og Lilis (skrevet frem i hans sidste romaner), som Harriet Bosses og August Strindbergs (på den måde Lagercrantz skildrer den i sin biografi) og som Goethes og Ulrike von Levetzows kærlighedshistorie (fuld af fryd og smerte foldet ud i Martin Walsers roman Ein liebender Mann, 2008).
Written 13-05-2012 19:45:33 by Tue Steen Müller
The winning film of the festival was a local production by Carlos Sanchez-Libre and Josep Badell, ”From the Streets to the Fields”, 80 minutes long, shot at the World Cup of football in South Africa 2010, a film with many layers, a focus on social conditions in the post-apartheid country, personalised by three kids who got to meet their idols, including a poor, black boy, who meets Barca's Iniesta before the player becomes the hero of the tournament scoring the decisive goal for Spain. Yes, in the spirit of Mandela, and simple in construction the film is, but it catches you emotionally, and I dare say that the kids show playing quality, when they are in touch with the stars, Luis Suarez from Uruguay is another one. Parallel to the World Cup games, the kids have their own matches which are fascinating to watch clips from. Joy and playfulness.
Another prize-winner, in the category short film, was American ”Aquadettes” by Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper, 10 mins. long, with a wonderful, strong old woman as protagonist. She suffers from MS but has decided not to give up or rather give in to what the normal medical industry offers. She swims with other women, synchronized swimming, and she takes marihuana.
The jury decided to give the Special Jury Prize to ”Hannah” by Sergio Cruz, 5 mins. long, wordless, with a mongol young woman expressing herself through swimming and skiing. The film was awarded for its lyrical tone and fine camerawork.
Written 13-05-2012 19:37:57 by Tue Steen Müller
The Barcelona Sports Film festival is part of the FICTS, Fédération Internationale Cinema et Télévision Sporttifs. This organisation includes festivals all over the world, has its office in Milano, and has set up rules for the festivals that operate with a no-criticism of the Olympic idea and its implementation – the Games themselves. From what I saw as a jury member, a strong impact is put on the social power of sports, as activities that can change the life situation of for instance disabled people.
In a workshop arranged by the Nikita Distribution, the leading force behind the festival, the filmmaker Sergi Agusti told about his experience making the film ”One Goal” about one-legged football players in Sierra Leone. He made a one-hour version for Catalan TV3, and after that a 24 mins. film that has travelled the world, winning several awards. He is now in the process of enlarging his filming to other parts of Africa raising funding for this campaign outside the traditional sources of public television.
Sport festivals... Bruno Delaye, French, one of the speakers at the workshop, organises two of them in Biarritz. One in December devoted to films about skiing, and one in July for surfing. The latter, with outdoor screenings, ”sur grand écran”, could gather from 300 to 8/10.000 spectators (!), with a general audience that loves to watch talented people ”faire des images”, as Delaye said. 15 films are selected for each festival, 50 are submitted for selection.
But, films about sport are as films not different from films about nature, historical films, personal films etc. They have to be made from a strong motivation and a commitment, the filmmakers must know and show their storytelling skills, they have to inform and surprise and be emotional, was the banal content of my intervention t the workshop.
Written 13-05-2012 19:32:43 by Tue Steen Müller
It is new, it is not easy to get an audience, but it is there, said Barbara Destefanis, the driving force behind the festival and the enthusiastic and committed director of the Nikita Distribution company, that manages a sportsfilm online platform that offers 30 films, some in a section that are for free, some sectioned on a cheap vod basis, and one section for professionals who want to acquire films for broadcast or festivals.
To make a sport film festival in Barcelona, the city that hosts the world's best football team, is not easy either. And to make it in the three days that for the citizens were the first days of summer, another challenge. But it was made with screenings at the projection hall of the Olympic Museum at Montjuic, next to the Olympic Stadium, and in the warehouse El Corte Inglès that includes cultural events. The opening and closing sessions that I attended at the Museum (the jury members had seen the films before arriving to the festival) were well attended with a strong support to the festival team and its achievement.
Destefanis also told me that the festival has visited prisons in Catalunya to screen some of the festival films, with good success.
Written 10-05-2012 08:59:55 by Tue Steen Müller
The third edition of a Barcelona sports film festival runs the coming three days. Around 70 films dealing with sport will be presented, 25 of them in competititon, divided into different catagories, from animation films to short fiction to documentaries to ”sport and solidarity” etc. Approximately 30 countries are represented.
The opening took place yesterday at the Olympic Museum next to the Olympic Stadium where Barcelona hosted the games 20 years ago. It was therefore very natural that ”Barcelona`92. Donde Todo Empezó” was one of three opening films, directed by Michael Robinson for Canal+.
I am in the jury and will report further on the films and awards saturday after the closing ceremony saturday night. Needless to say, however, that for a football freak, member of FC Barcelona, it is the right place to be right now!
Photo: Thomas Olivarius Fausto, Danish upcoming football talent. Photo by courtesy of his parents.
Written 08-05-2012 15:20:07 by Tue Steen Müller
Finally! It has been and is being shown all over the world, the unique work of Viktor Kossakovsky, a generous and overwhelmingly beautiful film that also witnesses a new direction thematically, a new tone for a director whose filmography includes films that you want to see again and again, from ”Belovs” to ”Svyato” and ”Tishe”.
Finally, the film gets the first prize at an international festival. Not in Leipzig, where it was in competition, not in Barcelona where it was in competition – both places I had the impression that the juries thought that ”Kossakovsky has already been awarded so many times” – but in Trento, at the 60th edition of a festival that deals with films about nature, especially mountains. The jury phrased their motivation precisely:
The international jury had no doubts in assigning the Golden Gentian – City of Trento Grand Prize to this film, which is an unforgettable homage to the diversity, magnificence and antiquity of Mother Nature. The jury appreciated above all the ingenuity of the idea, the artistic quality and the technical brilliance of the film.
Written 08-05-2012 14:52:05 by Tue Steen Müller
The reason for this review that ends with concrete info in Danish: The DR documentary strand Dokumania invites to a screening at the Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen of this very entertaining documentary that is produced in the US, has travelled festivals over there, is American in tone, has been compared to ”Borat”, which is right as a starting point as the director also plays fake with his identity but this is where the comparison stops.
The power of illusion is the theme of the film – well, what could be a more precise description when it comes to cinema? The director of the film, that has the subtitle ”a true story about a false prophet”, ” is a young East Coast American from an Indian family. He is astonished by the success of Eastern-style gurus in the wealthiest parts of the world. As an experiment, Gandhi learns the tricks of the yoga trade, dresses himself as a guru, lets his beard grow, adopts a thick accent, and sets off under the name Kumaré to the desert city of Phoenix, Arizona. There, he quickly gathers a group of followers around him, whom he teaches to meditate to catchphrases such as "Be all that you can be." (text taken from idfa annotation 2011). With his own commentary the audience is guided through his journey that must stop at a point, “I am not who you think I am”, he must reveal his true identity. What is the reaction from the disciples, did they buy his “help yourself, you don’t need a Guru”?
Back to the power of illusion – in the beginning this blogger thought that the director wanted to reveal all the humbug in the commercial, spiritual world, but the film changes perspective and comes out differently, without (almost, I would say) making fun of the disciples who worship Sri Kumaré.
USA, 2011, 84 mins.
Photos courtesy of Kahlil Hudson and Daniel Leeb (according to site of the film)
Filmen vises på Det Kgl. Bilbiotek mandag den 14. Maj kl. 17. Instruktøren er til stede. Begrænset plads.
Filmen vises på Dokumania, 22.maj 2012 kl. 21 med genudsendelse 26.maj kl. 17
Written 08-05-2012 10:21:00 by Tue Steen Müller
In Danish – about an event in the Danish Cinemateket, where Ib Bondebjerg hosts his third session about the modern Danish documentary portrait linked to his book ”Virkelighedsbilleder”. Invited directors are Sami Saif and Jon Bang Carlsen:
De to film af Saif og Bang Carlsen er ”Family” (2001) og ”Livet vil leves – breve fra en mor” (1993) (foto), begge fremragende film, den første er vel de fleste bekendt som en både underholdende og gribende film om en ung mand, der leder efter sin far, hvorimod ”Livet vil leves” endnu ikke har fået den opmærksomhed, som et personligt, billedmæssigt originalt fortalt, tekstmæssigt smukt (Bodil Kjer lægger stemme til!) mesterværk af vor vigtigste nulevende danske dokumentarist. Her er teksten, som introducerer filmens visning i Cinemateket
Torsdag den 10. Maj kl. 19
Det føles forkert, at mødre kan dø. Men det gør de – reflekterer filminstruktøren Jon Bang Carlsen i slutningen af sit filmdigt til sin mor. Moren var altid i bevægelse, var bange for stilstand, for døden, men forblev hele livet i den lille landsby ved Vesterhavet, mens Jon Bang Carlsen flygtede fra landsbyen og rejste ud på en Amerikarejse. Mod erkendelse og modning. Men hele tiden var de i kontakt, og trods afstandene fandtes en nærhed og samhørighed. Moderen er nu død. Men hendes breve og tanker er tilbage - og Jon Bang Carlsens minder om hende.
Written 07-05-2012 22:45:42 by Tue Steen Müller
Syria has elections these days...
Written 07-05-2012 16:20:23 by Tue Steen Müller
According to this film blogger, their previous documentary “Living Room of a Nation” was one of 10 the best documentaries coming out in 2009. Now Jukka Kärkkäinen and J P Passi have done another strong film that travels from festival to festival, AND – writes the fine FilmNewEurope site today - was released on 4 May 2012 on 45 screens in Finland, a record for a domestic documentary in Finland.
From the site: "The film is a documentary about a punk group whose four members are all mentally handicapped. The filmmakers observed their private lives at improvised rehearsals and concerts resulting in a film that can be likened to a jam session of sound and fury, the essence of punk.
The Punk Syndrome is produced by Mouka Film Oy (www.mouka.fi). International sales are handled by Vienna-based Autlook Filmsales (www.autlookfilms.com). It premiered at Visions du Reel, winning the CHF 10,000 special prize for Most Innovative film."
Take a look at the film’s site to find out more about this original work.
Written 06-05-2012 08:56:59 by Tue Steen Müller
Poland is a big country with a strong tradition for festivals and an impressive national production of documentaries, many of them in the short format. I had never heard about it before, but reading the site there is also a well programmed documentary festival in Gdansk. Edition number 10 closes today. There are many Polish films in the competition section and a Polish as well as an international Panorama section. Good films like Piotr Stasik’s Last Day of Summer (photo), Romanian Anca Damian’s Crulic, Magdalena Pieta’s Planet Kirsan and Srdan Sarenac’ festival hit Village Without Women are at the programme. The idea of the festival in Gdansk has a political, historical reference:
Work is a special good and privilege of a human being. It should be the basis for dignified family life and stable social situation. Yet, so often in today's world work, and its lack, become the cause of human tragedies and social conflicts. Discrimination, violation of law and treatment of human beings at work as objects more and more often threaten the development of societies and indirectly undermine trust in democracy and moral order.
It is in Gdansk that working people started the fight for dignity and decent working conditions against the system that was destroying these values. This is how "Solidarnosc" came to being. It is important to continue the discussion on this subject here, with the participation of NSZZ "Solidarność", in an international group and on many levels - scientific, artistic, social and political. August 1980 needs not only to be remembered but also wisely continued. This is the origin of our Festival.
We want to accomplish it through, among others, presentation of works of world cinema and the debate about the role and significance of human being in the workplace - in the context of global economy, uniting Europe, on the background of company mergers, technological boom, but also bureaucracy and economy oligarchy.
Written 05-05-2012 13:46:12 by Tue Steen Müller
Even today, with the existing online possibilities, many come up with the usual comment and ask the eternal question: Yes, I love documentaries but where can I see them. And those who go to festivals with hundreds of films to choose from, often come back saying – I missed this or that masterpiece.
If you subscribe to the newsletter of the best vod for creative documentaries, the Doc Alliance, you will be helped to make your choices. Today the ”Events of the Months” was published and it shows perfectly the editorial skills of the Doc Alliance people.
From May 7 – 13 the theme is ”True Stories from Russia” including a slate of quality films like ”Mother” by Antoine Cattin and Pavel Kostomarov, and Nino Kirtadze’s "Durakovo – the Village of Fools". The week after (May 14 - 20) the distributor Taskovski Films generously offers three masterpieces for free: Bulgarian Andrey Paounov’s ”The Mosquito Problems and Other Stories”, ”Bahrtalo!” by Robert Lakatos and Serbian Aleksander Manic ”The Shutka Book of Records”. The headline is ”Trip to the Balkans” and there is wonderful humour in these storytellingwise original, non-mainstream documentaries.
The highlight, however, is that DocAlliance gives us the chance to watch, in the right order and in one two or three days, as you like, the Indonesian trilogy of Leonard Retel Helmrich, a strong humanistic work to be compared to Satayit Ray’s Pather Panchali work from India. ”The Eye of the Day” (2001), followed by ”Shape of the Moon” (2004) (photo) and ”Position Among the Stars” (2010) are the titles of Helmrich’s so-called ”Single Shot Cinema”. Watch it!
Again, I can only repeat a Bravo to what DocAlliance does for the artistic documentary!
Written 05-05-2012 09:24:49 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Det begynder med et citat af Victor Klemperer: ”Ord kan virke som bitte små doser arsenik. De sluges ubemærket, de synes ikke at have nogen virkning, men efter nogen tid viser giftens virkning sig alligevel.”
Måske skulle der være gjort lidt mere rede for Klemperers metode og teori, være diskuteret, hvordan han gennemførte sin undersøgelse af intolerancens skrevne sprog i 1930-erne, at mediet dengang var aviser og bøger, mens Helle Hansens film tager sig på at undersøge politikernes talte sprog et halvt århundrede senere, og finder sine eksempler i tv. Det gør en forskel. Der er en tøven, når der skrives, også når en politiker skriver, en eftertankens tøven. Og det er denne skriftens langsomhed, som gør det langt alvorligere og modbydeligere, det er jo omhyggeligt og skjult anbragte giftportioner. Det er det da næsten aldrig, når politikerne diskuterer i tv, her er fortalelser tilgivelige, troede jeg måske. Og filmen er for en stor del en montage af forbløffende politikerformuleringer netop fra ophidsede tv-debatter, hvor det ene ord tager det andet. Men Helle Hansen har imidlertid den pointe, at en stor del af sine belæg finder hun i skrevne taler, mange i Pia Kjærsgaards og Mogens Camres taler, som - skal vi sige – er de tydeligste. Og det er rystende, hvad vi genhører, hvad vi ligesom har vænnet vort øre til. De sagde det! Og de havde på forhånd skrevet det, langsomt måske, men uden tøven. Men langsomt har arsenikken virket, Villy Søvndal, viser det sig, er angrebet, og jeg tænker, at vi alle må undersøge vort sprog for forgiftede ord.
I begyndelsen af filmen er der en smuk fortællerstemme, Helle Hansens egen, som i et yderst velskrevet og venligt dansk begynder en reflekteret fortælling om den fremmedfjendske sprogbrug i de danske politikeres debat de seneste 25 år. Den stemme er en tryghed tænkte jeg, jeg kan godt lide fortællerstemmer i film, og den kunne fint have fortsat og uddybet det essay, som Anders Villadsens filmiske citatmontage etablerer. Men stemmen bliver væk, man har måske været bange for, at fremstillingen skulle blive litterær. Jeg synes det er ærgerligt, det var lige på nippet til at blive en klog, litterær og eftertænksom film, men det skulle altså være en såkaldt debatfilm, eller som det hedder i folkeoplysningen, debatskabende, og filminstituttet har da også som led i færdiggørelsen udarbejdet et undervisningsmateriale til Ordet fanger. Godt nok, den har altså været tænkt som skolefilm, er lavet som skolefilm, så kan den ikke samtidig være filmessay på højt plan. Eller kunne den ikke? Helle Hansens fortællerstemme lover det til at begynde med ret overbevisende, men holder det ligesom ikke.
Helle Hansen: Ordet fanger, Danmark 2012, 38 min. Manuskript: Helle Hansen, foto: Henrik Bohn Ipsen, klip: Anders Villadsen, producer: Søren Steen Jespersen, produktion: Monday Reporter og Bastard Film for DR2, distribution: DR2 og filmstriben.dk samt dvd-salg. Filmografi, Helle Hansen: Børn under jorden, 1977, Børnehuset 1997, BZ, 2006. Medvirkende i Dola Bonfils’ Billeder til tiden, 1994.
Written 04-05-2012 15:09:59 by Allan Berg Nielsen
Den lille ufuldendte skitse af en udsat tilstand skildret i en bevidst valgt kunstnerisk form er mere et anslag end det er et forløb eller en udvikling. Manden Asger taler om sig selv og den verden af fotografisk iagttagelse og fastholdelse, seksuel erkendelse og valg inde i en mulig psykose, som han siger er diagnosticeret som udefineret skizofreni. Fortællingen består af beskrivelse af en særegen sindstilstand, af erindring og af tanker og ideer om ved billeder og musik at nå det dækkende udtryk, ordet og sætningerne ikke magter. I konsekvens af dette er monologen akkompagneret af Trentemøllers musik og Signe Markvards filmfotografi. Musikalske og billedlige landskaber, som loyalt lægger sig blidt og forstående omkring mandens sarte, let skræmte betroelser og spinkle filosofi. Et enkelt sted manipuleres monologens lyd med en ekko- eller forsinkelseseffekt, som søger at være eller illustrere den drømmeagtige tilstand af uvirkelighed, som talen skildrer.
For mig understreges netop derved, at Asger ikke har ret, hans sprog skildrer faktisk allerede dækkende det, lyddesignet søger at nå eller illustrere. Hans monolog er gribende forståelig i sig selv, men den klæder og fortolker nydelsesfuldt Trentemøllers musik og Markvards billeder i en kammermusikalsk sats, som ikke fuldendes endsige efterfølges af yderligere satsers videre forløb og konklusion. Vi efterlades svævende i et menneskes sørgmodige resignation.
Men det er opløftende, at filmen har kunnet laves, at sådant kan blive til i et samarbejde mellem en medvirkende og en kunstner, som både kan og gør det hele selv: instruerer, interviewer, fotograferer, klipper og færdigproducerer samt via vimeo distribuerer en helstøbt dokumentarfilm. Nu er den også tilgængelig på filmstriben.dk efter den på filmfestivalen i Odense sidste år modtog publikumsprisen.
Signe Markvard: Asger, Danmark 2010, 10 min. Instruktion, kamera, klip og alt andet: Signe Markvard, musik: Trentemøller. Distribution: vimeo og filmstriben.dk
Written 03-05-2012 17:23:18 by Tue Steen Müller
It goes on and on… this is what I copied from BBC this afternoon:
“At least four people have been killed as security forces and militiamen raided student accommodation in Syria's second city, Aleppo, activists say. Live ammunition was reportedly used to disperse an anti-government protest outside dormitories adjacent to Aleppo University's campus late on Wednesday. As many as 200 students are thought to have been arrested during the raid. The university has announced it is suspending all classes for the rest of the current academic year. Aleppo has so far not experienced the violence and large-scale protests seen in other cities during the uprising. But there have been almost daily demonstrations by its students.” (Read the rest of the article, link below).
On Facebook there are texts and photos and drawings and cartoons from Syrians, who express their emotions and points of views and informs about what we do not get in the big printed and electronic media. Here is a wise pov from Orwa Nyrabia, who frequently writes in his “Syria and Me” FB page:
”Minorities, just like the west, the EU and the US, are afraid of an Islamist Jihadist Syria, they are skeptic and they withdraw, thinking they need to be sure. They are forgetting that every minute of withdrawal from their side is a great support to that jihadist potential they are afraid of. It is only by taking an active part, contributing in a proactive manner, that such tendencies can be minimzed.”
The photo speaks for itself: Homs...
Written 03-05-2012 16:57:55 by Tue Steen Müller
The Summer 2012 issue of the European Documentary Film Magazine DOX (number 94!) is out. The editor-in-chief Truls Lie uses his editorial to point at the values of the short documentary, which is forgotten by many. His starting point is his position as a juror at ZagrebDox, where the first prize was given to the Polish 7 minutes long “Returns” (photo) by Krzysztof Kadlubowski. In the same competition category with films with a duration around and over an hour. A good decision and a fine way of pointing at a film genre that was born with the Lumière Brothers and had its prime period when short films were screened in cinemas before the feature film. All big names in film history have made short films and many also short documentaries – Alain Resnais, Luis Bunuel, Antonioni etc. – not to mention the stars of the genre itself like Richard Leacock, Johan van der Keuken, Wolf Koenig and Roman Kroitor, Colin Low etc.
Today you can watch short documentaries in festivals, many of them are excellent works from film schools, and in very few tv stations. The latter is very difficult to understand as the short film has an immediate appeal to a young audience, which is the target of the public broadcasters, who complain that the average audience is 50+ or 60+. Is it too optimistic to believe that the commitment that the most innovative broadcasters make to include short films in their repertoire (like POV, arte) could spread to others for online distribution? The Latvian 15YoungByYoung, that includes 15 short documentaries from the former Soviet republics, as well as the upcoming series of shorts to be produced by the Why Poverty initiative are just two examples of subject orientated “packages” of short films, where also a creative element is sought.
Back to the editor and his editorial in DOX, where Truls Lie expresses his fatigue of long films – 8 out of 10 feature-length could be shorter, less than an hour, he states… well, maybe that is a bit exagerrated, of course it is, and less than an hour means tv-duration, 52-58 mins. Which for me is the most stupid decision on duration taken by the broadcasting companies, dictated solely by schedule thinking. Anyway, DOX deserves praise for this approach that also means that the buyers and subscribers receive a dvd with the magazine, this time with 7 short documentaries chosen by the editor. Bravo! In the magazine there are two articles about short documentaries, so yes, DOX is an edited magazine. Next time, to tease the editor a bit, the list in the back of “noteworthy film” could maybe also include shorts. This time there is more than 30 feature length documentaries mentioned.
Written 01-05-2012 21:40:11 by Tue Steen Müller
The Jan Vrijman Fund, part of the many actitivities run by idfa (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam), has supported lots of important films from countries with limited means for the creative documentary genre. For that reason it is rather sad news that was sent to many hopeful upcoming applicants the other day:
“The Jan Vrijman Fund has decided to cancel its second selection round of 2012, which was planned for May. This is due to the fact that as of 2013, the Fund will no longer be receiving government subsidies, which means that it will be forced to find alternative forms of financing. For projects that already have contracts with the Fund, there will be no change. We expect to hold the next selection round in 2013. Details will follow later this year. We regret this situation but see no alternative, except to focus on the future of the Fund. At the 25th IDFA, which will take place from November 14-25, 2012, the Fund will have a new crop of films in celebration of its 15th anniversary. For information about other financing opportunities, please see Other Funds & Resources.”
Photo: On the Way to School by Özgür Dogan & Orhan Eskikoy, Turkey, 2008, one of many strong films helped by JVF. Reviewed on this site.
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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...