Written 30-06-2012 08:54:56 by Tue Steen Müller
Legendary Estonian documentarian, artist, politician etc. Mark Soosaar lives in Pärnu at the Baltic Sea, and has since 1987 been, he calls himself so, “the chief” of Pärnu Int. Documentary Film Festival, the oldest film festival in Estonia. According to the website, “the aim of the festival in general is to support cultural survival of peoples. Only documentary films of high value and quality, recording human activities in social, historical or ecological context are accepted for competition screenings.”
This year´s festival starts July 2nd and has indeed a programme of high value, and many awards to distribute at the Museum of New Art on July 8th.
But that is only part of the festival, that travels to other Estonian towns until July 22nd, and includes the broadcast of six documentaries on Estonian public television, with the tv-audience voting for the best of these films on the last night. Great initiative!
Among the films at the festival are Michal Marczak’s “At the Edge of Russia”, “Vivan las Antipodas” by Kossakovsky, “Ballroom Dancer” by Andreas Koefoed and Christian Bonke, “La Machina” (photo) by Thierry Paladino – and in the Estonian competition new high quality films like “New World” by Jaan Tootsen, “The Russians on Crow Island” by Sulev Keedus and “Working Title: Wunderkind” by Marianna Kaat, all films that you will see on the festival circuit in the coming year.
Written 27-06-2012 10:38:38 by Tue Steen Müller
Two of his films have been reviewed on this site (”I will Marry the Whole Village” and ”The Long Road Through Balkan History”). I have known him for a decade, admired his commitment and seen his strong development as a filmmaker. He is a good friend, who (with his family) I appreciate very much to see at least once per year, when I am in Belgrade. Of course his company is called Optimistic Film, of course he uses facebook (2824 friends!), twitter, youtube etc. to draw people’s attention to what he is doing. Some days ago Zeljko sent me news about the film he is making, and of course, and well deserved, his upcoming film has caught the interest of the media. Here is a text clip (from Wild Rooster), you can read more using the links below as well as see the trailer of the film:
“When two fighting men crossed paths over the skies of Yugoslavia nobody could have guessed that it would set in motion a serious of events that have seen two families becoming firm friends. By orchestrating emotional meetings between a Serbian baker and a former US airman and capturing them on film, Serbian documentary maker Željko Mirković has produced a film that is grounded in a message of reconciliation.
The Second Meeting is a film about the touching reunion and shared memories of a US F117A stealth pilot Dale Zelko and the Yugoslav missile colonel Zoltan Dani who shot him down over Yugoslavia on March 27, 1999. The plane crashed and everyone had a chance to see for themselves, and live. Thankfully, the pilot ejected and was successfully evacuated eight hours later.”
Written 27-06-2012 09:29:06 by Tue Steen Müller
The excellent French-language Le Blog Documentaire (more about that on a later occasion) has published an interesting interview (this time in English) with the director of the Sunny Side of the Doc that opened yesterday in la Rochelle:
Here is a clip from the opening of the talk with Jeanneau’s answer to why he chose the theme ”Resistances, support the power of documentary” for 2012:
Sunny Side’s point of view is neither French nor european, it is international. Everybody noticed that last year was marked by major upheavals, particulary in the Arab world. Resistances, in plural, because we are living in a word in crisis, particularly in the Middle East. Resistances are, for me, one of the ontological characteristics of documentary film – its rebellious side. In every crisis, or almost, we see a renewal of the international community of documentary film. A new responsibility appears.
During the Arab spring, we saw new players appear, making documentaries as they had never been made before. They used their mobile phone because no other means was available. In cities, in the countryside, people started making films very quickly, sometime broadcast on cobbled-together channels, sometime shown in festivals. This movement provoked new meetings, discussions and exchanges. In this way, documentary film can be seen to play a very real role in resistance. Today these film makers are uniting, coming together to form a new middle-eastern community, which is worth following.
Read the interview on
Written 27-06-2012 09:04:09 by Tue Steen Müller
If you happen to be in Edinburgh today read what you should do to watch films, have a drink, eat some takeaway and go to tango nuevo... If you are not in Edinburgh, well enjoy the tone of this text (and all the film links) that reached filmkommentaren this morning, and be inspired to do your celebration of documentaries:
Make this Wednesday a total Documentary Day with the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Creative Scotland, and the Scottish Documentary Institute. Here's how to navigate it: First, there's this year's Bridging the Gap premiere in Cameo 1 at 5pm. Check our website to learn more on our four latest Scottish short docs. Directors Chico Pereira ("Just like sex in public places") and Paul Fegan ("Doo or die") have just written new blog posts which include their trailers. EIFF tickets here.
Then, around 6.30pm, those of us with an EIFF delegate pass will migrate just down the road to the bar in the Traverse Theatre, where we're inviting you to drinks and a chat. This, of course, is just a pit-stop for your way along the Grassmarket and up Victoria Street to the Liquid Room, where doors open at 7.30pm. You should probably grab some takeaway along the way, as it'll be a long night...
From 8pm, we're delighted to welcome the brilliant Swedish New Tango Orquesta for a one-off concert in Scotland. They provided the score for our film Future My Love which has been creating quite a bit of buzz at EIFF. And their music isn't just tango as you know it. For 90 minutes, they'll be taking so-called tango nuevo to new levels, then followed by DJ Larry from 9.30pm (you may need to use the side entrance if you're arriving late). Not to be missed! The Future My Love Tango Concert & Launch Party is free for EIFF passholders (and that's not just delegates and press, also staff and volunteers...
Written 24-06-2012 23:21:45 by Tue Steen Müller
The innovative festival in Skopje is over and awards have been distributed. Apart from two of the films, frequent readers of filmkommentaren.dk will know the winning films very well from reviews and notes. Here you are, and below you get descriptions of the two last ones:
Best creative documentary in main selection-"ARGENTINIAN LESSON" (Wojciech Staron).
The award for ethical ideas- "CELL PHONE"(Nedzat Begovic)
The award for best presentation for human rights-"NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT" (Patricio Guzman).
Best newcomer documentary-"HE THINKS HE IS THE BEST". Director: Maria Kuhlberg, Sweden, 2011, 75 mins. A documentary film which reflects the turbulent history of a family following its emigration to Italy. At the centre of the story is the conflict between two brothers which lasts for more than fifty years. The beginning of the film reveals that the brothers haven’t had contact for thirteen years.
Best documentary for kids and youth- "NICKY'S FAMILY". Slovakia/Czech Republic, 2011, 96’. (Photo). Director: Matej Mináč. A visually magnificent, emotionally packed journey through the almost forgotten work of a humble man. The true new ‘Schindler’s List’, without the commercial aspect. The man is now over 100 years old; he managed to save so many young people’s lives without mentioning anything about it for 50 years. This film will make you believe in grand noble deeds again, as is the case with ‘Nicky’s family’ – thousands of young people inspired to get engaged in acts of good deeds around the world.
Written 22-06-2012 16:59:00 by Tue Steen Müller
June 26-29, la Rochelle, the 23rd edition of an event that used to be in Marseilles but now has moved to the Bay of the Bascay on the Atlantic Coast. Among professionals it has been stated that the Sheffield DocFest has put the Sunny Side into the shadow but if you look at the programme and the attendance, there is no sign of crisis for the classic international market in France.
There are introductions to broadcasters, a welcome to and presentation of Chinese documentarians, project presentations, 3D, sessions on webdoc and crowd funding, screenings, docu-games, ”arte france transmedia projects”, a case study of ”Senna” called ”How to make a Documentary Without a Camera”, many screenings most of them linked to the Chinese focus – and a 25 year celebration of the Marseilles-based production company Les Films du Tambour de Soie, congratulations to Alexandre Cornu and his team! Photo from new film project from the company: Tokyo Blue, pitched at the Edinburgh Pitch 2012.
And of course a video library for the many buyers who go to find documentaries for their tv stations. Attendance? Well, it is significant that EDN (European Documentary Network) which has been at the Sunny Side since it (the EDN) started its work in 1996, this year hosts a stand for 50 companies from all over Europe, the biggest number ever.
Written 22-06-2012 15:58:44 by Tue Steen Müller
Miff stands for Moscow International Film Festival that started its 34th edition last night, again with a strong documentary element. For the second year the MIFF has a documentary competition programme with 7 films plus a section with 18 long and shorter documentaries, most of them known for festival goers, including this traveller, who on that background can only praise the selection for its high quality.
In the competition programme you find Danish ”The Ambassador” (photo) by Mads Brügger, ”Searching for Sugarman” by Malik Bendjelloul, Swedish production directed by a first time feature director, ”Colors of Math” by Russian Ekaterina Eremenko with Pavel Kostomarov on camera, and the fascinating Czech ”Theatre Svoboda” about legendary stage designer Josef Svoboda, directed by Jakub Hejna.
In the ”Free Thought” programme of 18 films there are great films like ”Argentinean Lesson” by Polish Staron, Scorcese’s George Harrison-film, ”5 Broken Cameras”, ”Give Up Tomorrow”, ”Planet of Snail” and ”Vivan las Antipodas”.
Written 22-06-2012 11:55:16 by Tue Steen Müller
A small afterthought to the fine pitching session in Edinburgh, see below, related to comments to one of the films presented on this occasion. Comments from a panel with good people from good tv stations and distribution companies. But also comments that reflect the limitations of the simplification that is always called upon when film projects are put forward at one of the wide range of pitching sessions all over the world.
The example was ”Cause of Death: Unknown” presented by Manifesto Film. Here is an edited version of the synopsis:
”Norway 2005 – Renate Hoel, sister of filmmaker Anniken Hoel, dies suddenly and inexplicably while being treated with antipsychotic drugs. Her autopsy concludes that the cause of death is unknown. Anniken begins working on a film about Renate, and of growing up with a sister who was schizophrenic. But the circumstances around her death remain a mystery, and Anniken starts investigating the medical treatment her sister received prior to her death...
What begins as a simple investigation into the inexplicable death of a sister soon becomes an issue of global concern. Cause of death: Unknown questions and reveals the practices of the pharmaceutical industry, and exposes how multinational corporations dictate the rules and regulations of our democracies, with one goal: maximize profits at any cost.”
A well made trailer included these two elements – a personal story combined with an investigation by the director. Professionally presented by director and producer, but with the instant reaction from the panel: you have to decide which film you want to make, the personal human story or the more current affair investigation. You can not have both in your film. The comment was echoed by several other at the table.
Understandable if you think about the way television slots are constructed – slots for creative personal stories and slots for the investigative more journalistic documentaries – but totally unfair if you think in artistic storytelling and content terms where emotion and information of course can go together. (Read below the review of the new Danish film ”Free the Mind”, a masterly done example of this). In the case from Edinburgh you have a rich, personal starting point that can catch the interest of us viewers and make us learn about the medical industry. Please let us keep the richness in the proposals and avoid (too much) simplification in the pitches themselves, in the trailers, in the communication between pitchers and panelists, in the training we make! Even if we have lost the battle of having generous documentary slots in television.
Written 21-06-2012 11:07:49 by Tue Steen Müller
”Make Docs Happen” on the catalogue and on the posters surrounding the theatre where the pitch of 11 projects from all over Europe – to a panel of 11 broadcasters and distributors – took place. And make docs happen is what the Scottish Documentary Institute (SDI) has done for years now, with enthusiasm and competence. The SDI introduces itself as a ”documentary research centre at Edinburgh College of Art specialised in documentary training, production and distribution, running annual programmes such as ”Bridging the Gap” (short documentaries) and Interdoc (feature documentaries) helping filmmakers and producers to develop their projects”.
Among the pitched projects were ”Borrowed Memories” by Maria Clara Escobar from Brazil, a promising personal story where the director wants her father to tell her what happened to him during the dictatorship, where he – a poet and playwright – was jailed and tortured for his political work. Also a film about father and daughter is ”Fatherland” by Sara Ishaq (photo), who has a Scottish mother and a yemenite father, who at a very early stage wanted to find a man for her (old, fat and bald according to the daughter’s memory), which he does not remember... The daughter goes to Yemen and other serious matters comes up, the revolution, that brings father and daughter to the streets and closer to each other. Easy to see that this film will be strong and with an international potential. The director has an Egyptian and a Syrian coproducer. An award for the best pitch was given to ”Chuck Norris vs Communism” by Ilinca Calugareanu, who brought a charming story to the panel about the illegal distribution of Western films, translated by Irina Nistor ”whose husky, high-pitched voice became known throughout Romania”.
The SDI also arranged a session with ”Docs in Progress” and has a premiere tonight of a film coproduced with Sweden, ”Future My Love”, directed by Maja Borg. This happens within the frames of the Edinburgh International Film Festival.
Written 19-06-2012 09:08:51 by Tue Steen Müller
It is the third edition, it takes place in Skopje, it goes on until June 22nd, it is a festival with its own, original profile and a special communication strategy – subscribe to its free newsletter, from where the following text is taken:
“This Friday the Old Bazaar in Skopje smelled differently. Apart from the smell of barbecue, baklava and other delicious pastry, one could feel the strong odor of onion. Kurshumli an opened its archway and welcomed the audience at the third edition of the Creative Documentary Film Festival “MakeDox”.
It was only the first of the many nights to come that are celebrating the documentary film under the starry sky among impressive and historically significant stone walls. Starting from yesterday, Skopje will smell like onion. Because the onion stands for MakeDox. It is a structure without center but with an objective. And the objective is the new onion: the new life justifies the existence of the onion.”
“Under” this very inviting text the festival includes a high class programme, divided into categories like “Multilayered Onion” (main programme), “Spring Onion” (newcomers), “Balkan Onion”, “Kids on planet Onion”, “Sliced Onion” (short films) and a special focus on the work of Serbian director Zelimir Zilnik. To exemplify: In the main programme you will find “The Interrupters” by Steve James, “The Cell Phone” by Nedzat Begovic, “The Ambassador” by Mads Brugger, “Nostalgia for the Light” by Patricio Guzman and “Argentinian Lesson” (photo) by Wojciek Staron.
Written 18-06-2012 09:24:35 by Tue Steen Müller
The work of the Polish master of documentary (born 1940) is being very well introduced in an article by Katerina Surmanová on the website of IDF (Institute of Documentary Film). And for newcomers to the impressive filmography of Lozinski it is good to know that his films are published on a 2-set dvd box published by the Polish Film Institute – and available through Amazon as well.
At the Kracow film festival this year Marcel and his son Pawel told about their upcoming common film project, named by them as a psychological-movie experiment, a „Psycho Van” road movie. The father is quoted to have said the following:
"Father and son" (title of the film) decided to take a camper van trip to Paris, where 24 years ago in Luxemburg Gardens, Marcel Łoziński illegaly scattered his mother ashes. Both of them have a video camera, they can ask each other any question they want to. Two week trip was meant to be a remedy to „father and son” relationship. This film has the chance to become clear and universal story about hard and complicated family problems and relationships for all of us. „I needed this time (movie trip), to understand that I wasn't the father that I thought I was. It's possible that after our trip Paweł learns how to aviod mistakes I made. I feel that our story goes far beyond ourselves, it touches every family. I think it will be a very universal movie”
Judging from the clip on the IDF site, there is something great to look forward to. Photo from Marcel Lozinski’s last film “Tonia and her Children”.
Written 12-06-2012 15:07:29 by Tue Steen Müller
Emanuela Macchniz, student at Zelig School for Documentary, Television and New Media, placed in Bolzano Italy sent this report to filmkommentaren.dk:
Last April (25 - 30) the Association Ness El Fen organized for the seventh year the new documentary film festival “Doc à Tunis”. The festival offers every year the opportunity to discover the Tunisian documentary films, showing the life and the current problems of the country. The president of the association, Syhem Belkhodja, opened the screening with "Militantes ..." directed by the Tunisian director Sonia Chamkhi, who brings us into a post-revolutionary Tunisia in full democratic transition, where Tunisian women are candidates for the Assembly Constituency facing the political arena for the first time.” The screening was attended by the women protagonists who expressed their reflections about their electoral defeat. It was a very emotional moment.
After the opening day many other Tunisian films were in the list: “Himen National” (photo) by Jamel Mokni which treats the delicate subject of hymen reconstruction surgery, a practice increasingly common in Tunisia. Another powerful film was showed “Separation” directed by Felthi Saidi. Her story is about a Tunisian father of a family of four children. He sailed from Libya towards Lampedusa, risking his life, but convinced that Europe has the means to realize his dreams. This film is a double vision of two realities, one of the immigrant in France, and one of the family in Tunisia.
There were many exciting moments during the festival. One was when the rapper Mohamed Amine Bouhrizi commonly called “Madou”, came into the theatre to attend the screening of a short film about himself, "Golden Man" made by Hsan Abdelghani, showing the district where he was born “la Kabbariyya”, a place of both pride and with an intimate environment, but also the cause of his rebellion and his desire to leave the country .
The festival presented also international films: 6 from Lebanon including “Sector Zero” directed by Nadim Mishlawi present after the screening, “5 Broken Cameras” by Emrad Burnat e Guy Davidi from Palestine and Israel, “Letters from Iran” by Manoun Loizeau, Iran, “Indignados” by Tony Gatlif, “Good bye Moubarak!” by Katia Jarjoura, “Tous brulés” by Leila Chaibi, “Le Thé ou l’élèctricité” by Jérome Le Maire, “Arabe et fier de l’etre” by Lila Salimi and many other. “Vivan las antipodas” by Victor Kossakovski ended the festival. There were free admission to the screenings, and the theaters were full every day.
With me I carry the memory of a theater full of women and men, who participated with such interest, taking with them also their children.
Emanuela Macchniz, student of documentary at Zelig, Bolzano.
Written 11-06-2012 15:34:54 by Tue Steen Müller
The British newspaper, always strong on cinema, has launched a series of (sponsored) articles named “Destination Docs”, published in connection with the Sheffield DocFest. The headline goes like this, “Despite new documentary formats, traditional fact-based films still attract impressive audiences – and offer value for money”. The series reminds you of the constant documentary dominance in the UK of the broadcasting companies, contrary to the rest of Europe, it is good reading, even more so when the floor is given to one of the best documentarians of today, Molly Dineen:
“Bafta-winning documentary maker Molly Dineen believes Channel 4 has shown bravery in the past with its factual shows, but has a word of caution to all the broadcasters. "Channel 4 is still very cool for factual, but it needs to be stretched by the subject matter. There's a risk that all channels are suffering an unhealthy pressure for docs to become more light, sexy, cheap and overly dramatic.
"The adventure has got to be in tackling issues that need to be tackled, that could be expensive and unpopular. Filming real-life is expensive; structured reality is not," warns Dineen.
Channel 4 also risks losing out to competition from the web, she says. "There needs to be collusion between the mainstream and what young filmmakers are shooting [for the web] and their motivation." Dineen adds: "If C4 let too much of the genuine political underbelly of documentary move to the web, then they could be sunk because telly will then just be advertising and titillation, and the serious look at life will end up on the web."
Molly Dineen's documentaries will be out on dvd thanks to the British Film Institute: a three-volume collection. The first volume, out on 25 April, contains Home from the Hill, My African Farm, Heart of the Angel and In the Company of Men, her three-part examination of Welsh Guardsmen on a final tour of duty in pre-ceasefire Belfast.
Written 11-06-2012 14:56:40 by Tue Steen Müller
As part of the upcoming MIFF (Moscow International Film Festival) that runs from June 21 – 30 and again this year includes a competiton programme of documentaries as well as Panorama documentary section, you can go to Moscow to attend a Media Forum that looks quite interesting and intriguing.
The curator and founder of the programme, Olga Shishko, explains: "The Media Forum is a programme at the Moscow Film Festival which has been created especially to expand the familiar borders of cinema and to show that it can vary not only both in content and artistic construction of the text, but also from the formal point of view, the technology of its making and the viewing situation. The language that Media Forum uses to talk to its audience belongs to both cinematic and artistic principles, enriching them both equally…”
At the Ekaterina Cultural Foundation (June 22 – August 19) this is what is going on, a text taken from the site of the Forum:
Exhibition "The Immersions. Towards the Tactile Cinema" consists of several sections each belonging to a certain type of director’s approach to working with screen and viewer. The first section, Pure Cinema, is a reaction to art for art’ sake. Here screen is used as a canvas, actually presenting cinema as an apotheosis of painting. Works by Kazimir Malevich, Mikhail Matyushin, Nam June Paik, Ken Jacobs, Paul Clipson, Hans Richter, Konstantin Adzher, Oleg and Olda Ponomarev are presented.
Attractions’ Montage, the second section, is based on the “4D cinema” concept invented initially by Sergei Eisenstein and presents his followers: Pia Tikka, Herz Frank (photo from “10 Minutes Older, 1968, camera Juris Podnieks), Alexei Isaev and Elena Gorbacheva.
The third section, Tactile Cinema, is about films that can be “watched with hands”, starting with Salvador Dali’s ideas. While working with Luis Bunuel, Dali had quite another vision of the Chien Andalou realization. This is followed by Peter Weibel’s and VALIE EXPORT’s “gripping watching” (beside which works by the TOT-ART group, Valery Ayzenberg, Ekaterina Pavlova and Constantin Semin are presented).
The forth section explores the Machine vision idea by Woody and Steina Vasulkas — a device that can replace both the film director and the viewer, supplanting individual and inaccurate human vision by an objective gaze of the camera itself. Here Ken Jacobs, Dina Karaman and Alexandra Kuznetsova are also presented.
The Interactive Cinema that unfolds with viewers’ participation is the fifth section comprised of works by Zbigniew Rybczyński, Chris Hales, Boris Debackere, Perry Bard, Mark Amerika and Olga Kisseleva.
Written 08-06-2012 16:33:32 by Tue Steen Müller
Copenhagen Photo Festival runs until June 17 with exhibitions all around the city. The Danish Film Institute joins the event with an offer to access 6 fine films online – if you are living in Denmark. Therefore this change to Danish language:
Og det er en flot lille samling som DFI tilbyder københavnerne at se gratis i Filmhusets videotek (åbent tirsdag og torsdag 12-19, onsdag og fredag 12-16) eller via filmstriben (spørg om dette på dit lokale bibliotek, hvis du ikke kender ordningen):
DFI kalder serien for ”Nærvær/ om fotografer og fotografi” med brug af titlen, ”Nærvær”, på svenske Jan Troells smukke film om sin ven og kollega Georg Oddner, en film som allle dokumentarister bør se, dels på grund af dens kvalitet, dels fordi Oddner siger så mange vigtige og inspirerende ting om sin métier.
Steen Møller Rasmussen, selv en fremragende fotograf, serverer 33 intense minutter med sin ”Fotografi” (2006), hvor han lader publikum møde Keld Helmer Petersen, Per Bak Jensen, Krass Clement og Kirsten Klein. Det er så stramt og præcist, som kun Møller Rasmussen kan gøre det. Uden ligegyldige omsvøb.
Omsvøb, i form af veloplagte og velfortalte anekdoter, er der til gengæld i Jørgen Roos 13 minutter lange kortfilmklassiker om hans elskede H.C. Andersen, en film der baserer sig på ca. 160 forskellige billeder taget af digteren fra han var 45 år.
Robert Fox ”Flash of a Dream” (2002) giver os historien om Jacob A. Riis, Kai Michelsen lavede sammen med Ole Brage fra DR ”Et andet København 1870-1910” (1980), en uvurderlig ikonografisk dokumentar bygget på fotografier fra Københavns bymuseum, og som endnu en gave til et fotointeresseret publikum kan man se Troells spillefilm ”Maria Larssons evige øjeblik”, hvor Jesper Christensen spiller fotograf Pedersen. Herligt!
Foto af Georg Oddner fra Jan Troells film "Nærvær".
Written 08-06-2012 15:53:26 by Tue Steen Müller
Football starts tonight, will try NOT to write too much about it unless there are real great creative moments documented, but I could not resist this wonderful piece of Irish humour taken from facebook. Enjoy that and some fine matches, hopefully.
Written 07-06-2012 16:56:01 by Tue Steen Müller
It has always been important for a documentary to be screened at the International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary that this year runs from June 29 to July 7 with a strong programme that was announced two days ago. There is fine variety in countries represented, Brazil and Uruguay as well as Denmark and Poland are on the list with the 16 titles that have been picked.
Helena Trestikova’s excellent ”Private Universe” is there, the Cannes premiered and awarded ”Sofia’s Last Ambulance” by Ilian Metev will be screened, and for this film blogger it is exciting to see that Austrian Timo Novotny ”Trains of Thoughts” (photo) will have its premiere in Karlovy Vary. Novotny made years ago the fascinating ”Life in Loops”, a remix of Glawogger’s ”Megacities”. With his new film, the director also works with his friends from the band ”Sofa Surfers”. This is the short description of the film from the Karlovy Vary site:
The Sofa Surfers’ original soundtrack accompanies the special rhythm of Timo Novotny’s audiovisual essay as it takes us on a journey through the subways of several world cities, discovering what makes them unique. This whimsical movie stands out for its effective interplay of music and image.
Written 06-06-2012 13:38:43 by Tue Steen Müller
It is old news, but still interesting to look at, as it lists the 25 films that the 3000 members of the IDA (International Documentary Association) announced as the best documentaries ever in connection with the celebration of the association's 25 years in 2007. Here it goes, they are all good films, you should definitely watch them if you have not done so already, but where are the European films – apart from a few – where is “Shoah”, where is a film by Sokurov, Herz Frank, Dvortsevoy, Kossakovsky, Patricio Guzman, Pierre Perrault, Jean Rouch and so on, so forth. The members of IDA chose the 25 from a list of 700.
1. "Hoop Dreams," (photo) directed by Steve James, Peter Gilbert and Frederick Marx 2. "The Thin Blue Line," directed by Errol Morris 3. "Bowling for Columbine," directed by Michael Moore 4. "Spellbound," directed by Jeffery Blitz 5. "Harlan County USA," directed by Barbara Kopple 6. "An Inconvenient Truth," directed by Davis Guggenheim 7. "Crumb," directed by Terry Zwigoff's Crumb 8. "Gimme Shelter," directed by Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin 9. "The Fog of War," directed by Errol Morris 10. "Roger and Me," directed by Michael Moore 11. "Super Size Me," directed by Morgan Spurlock 12. "Don't Look Back," directed by DA Pennebaker 13. "Salesman," directed by Albert and David Maysles 14. "Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance," directed by Godfrey Reggio 15. "Sherman's March," directed by Ross McElwee 16. "Grey Gardens," directed by Albert and David Maysles, Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer 17. "Capturing the Friedmans," directed by Andrew Jarecki 18. "Born into Brothels," directed by Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski 19. "Titticut Follies," directed by Frederick Wiseman 20. "Buena Vista Social Club," directed by Wim Wenders 21. "Fahrenheit 9/11," directed by Michael Moore 22. "Winged Migration," directed by Jacques Perrin 23. "Grizzly Man," directed by Werner Herzog 24. "Night and Fog," directed by Alain Resnais 25. "Woodstock," directed by Michael Wadleigh.
Written 04-06-2012 15:51:20 by Tue Steen Müller
If all goes wrong, you can always turn to Mother, which is what the director of the film does in the film, when his producer no longer wants to support him. This storytelling tool, including the making of the film in the narrative, a meta plan, works in this case as the film is about a young French filmmaker who, after 15 years, goes back to his Egyptian coptic roots in a village, against the will of the mother, who in the beginning says that ”no members of the family (should be) in the film”. But the help of mum gets the film to be finished, the family members all end up in the film, which adds to the film’s light-hearted entertaining qualities at the same time as it gives a beautiful hommage to people far away from Tahrir Square, in a small village where someone once saw the apparation of Virgin Mary.
For that it is the core of the story, did these apparitions really happen, is there any proof, any documentation? This was what made the director interested, what motivated him to go on a quest among coptic religious people. Especially in 1968 where some film footage could indicate the apparation. He puts an ad in the newspaper, he has people to help him find witnesses, but is does not really give results, when he is in Cairo. So off he goes to mother’s village, ”the french guy”, as they call him, and fine situations are caught between him and his grandmother. Mum leaves France to help the son, mum is not happy, ”c’est un film de merde”, she says, how can you film a miracle. Stubborn Namir decides to create the apparation and deceides to do casting of young women for the role of Virgin Mary. He sets up a very fine, warm and humane atmosphere, and he describes himself in a very funny way with the director (Me) filmed as was he God. Which in a way he is,the director, on the set, and film is magic, isn’t it?
A post scriptum comes up – the producer calls the director to tell him that he can raise funding for the film, if he includes something about the revolution at Tahrir Square... on a personal note, oh yes, this is what ”they”, the broadcasters, want, thanks to the director for giving us something else, non-journalistic. Photo: Son and mother, director and producer.
France, 2011, 85 mins.
The film is to be released in France by
international sales and festivals:
Written 04-06-2012 12:08:12 by Tue Steen Müller
You should know that I am totally biased, as I work for the company, Parallel 40, that among other initiatives stand behind DocsBarcelona, nevertheless I find it important to post a congratulation greeting to visionary Joan Gonzalez (photo) and his staff in Barcelona, for an award, not a film award, there are hundreds of them, but an award for the important work in society that the company has done and does through the production and distribution of documentaries with a social perspective.
Training, production, distribution, film commission administration, festivals, tv management – it is all happening or has happened under the umbrella of Parallel 40, and with a clear goal statement, here taken from the site of the company: ”Parallel 40's mission is to contribute to society's cultural enrichment through the audiovisual medium.”
The award is part of a Momentum Project, an initiative from ESADE (ESADE is an independent nonprofit university institution) and BBVA (a multinational Spanish banking group) aimed at promoting social entrepreneurship in Spain.
10 companies (one for film) were awarded – nice to be reminded that people outside the film propfessional circles recognise the value of documentaries!
Written 02-06-2012 23:44:35 by Tue Steen Müller
The Danish Øregård Museum in the North of Copenhagen hosts currently an exhibition of works of legendary model, surrealist and war photographer Lee Miller (1907-77).
Her role is known as part of the surrealist movement in the Parisian Montparnasse period, she was the muse of Man Ray and a photo documentarian of all the gurus of the art revolution of the 19020'es, like Dali, Max Ernst and Picasso. But she was also a war photographer, who documented, what she saw when the concentration camps were freed by the allied forces. Horrible pictures of piled up corpses, of SS-men beaten up or killed, very strong pictures which stand in contrast to the picture of Lee Miller in the bathtub of Hitler in Munich, a picture taken by American photographer David Scherman, who takes part in the documentary, see below, made in 1995. ”She was always for the extraordinary”, says Scherman, who thinks she was best in pictures that included arrangements, more than she was a classic war correspondent. Take a look!
OBS: For the Danish and/or visitors to Copenhagen – the exhibition is open until June 20. The DR K has shown a tv documentary made by Helle Retbøll Carl, based on an interview with the son of Lee Miller and Ronald Penrose, the surrealist painter who died in 1984. On the same channel, that often schedules re-runs, the very good documentary by Sylvain Roumette has been shown, see below.
Photo: Lee Miller: David Scherman Dressed for War. ©Lee Miller Archives, England. All Rights Reserved.
Sylvain Roumette: The Mirror Crossing, France, 1995,55 mins.
Released on DVD by ARTE VIDEO.
Written 01-06-2012 11:16:48 by Tue Steen Müller
Danish Cinemateket presents 8 films in a retrospective of the Russian master Aleksandr Sokurov. Even if 8 is not a lot when you take a look at the impressive, huge filmography of the director, whose latest work ”Faust” received the first prize at the Venice Film Festival 2011, this retrospective consists of several of his ”elegy” documentaries, among them ”Moscow Elegy” (1988) about Andrei Tarkovsky.
På dansk: Cinematekets program for juni omfatter bl.a. en serie med 8 af russiske Aleksandr Sokurovs dokumentarfilm, bl.a. ”Moscow Elegy” om Andrei Tarkovsky, og flere andre af hans elegier, men også hans bravournummer fra Vinterpaladset, ”Russian Ark”. Rasmus Brendstrup fra Cinemateket skriver flot om instruktøren:
Aleksandr Sokurov (f. 1951) begyndte – som så mange af Ruslands store filmnavne – sin karriere med at klippe dokumentariske arkivbidder sammen på nye måder. I dag har han favnet både logistiske mammut-produktioner (som i one-take-filmen ’Russian Ark’) og ny special effect-teknologi, sådan som det sås i Venedig-vinderen ’Faust’, der var Månedens Film i maj. Sokurov har over årene udviklet sig fra at være kendt som Tarkovskys åndelige arvtager til at være Ruslands største nulevende arthouse-instruktør i egen ret. Men han er også en sjælden race inden for kunstfilmen. Han kan dårligt længere kaldes auteur, for han kan være lige så storladen og fyldt med overraskelser, som han andre gange fremstår kompromisløs og kryptisk. Og så er det tydeligt på filmenes vidt forskellige form, at hans karrierebane spænder fra censur-hylderne under Sovjetunionens statsstyrede filmepoke til nutidens ubegrænsede muligheder. Centralt i Aleksandr Sokurovs film finder vi imidlertid altid det sårbare menneske, der tvivler, føler eller forhandler sig frem, ofte uden klart mål eller reelt håb for succes. Sokurov har det seneste årti med sine spillefilm om magt-dinosaurerne Hitler, Hirohito og Lenin (tre værker, som vi viser senere på året) vist, at han er lagt mere interesseret i det sårbare individ end det opblæste ego. Hans film – som det bl.a. ses i Tarkovsky-portrættet ’Moscow Elegy’ – bærer præg af det samme: Her råder sanselighed, subjektivitet og søgen. Foto: Source: ITAR-TASS
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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....
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Tue Steen Müller: The films mentioned in the text of Sevare Pan are available on arteeast.org...