CPH:DOX 2023 online til April 2

Written 25-03-2023 20:05:27 by Sara Thelle

CPH:DOX 2023 online til April 2

CPH:DOX rolls over you like a strong warm pacific wave in the cold Danish springtime, and if, like most of us, you have your ordinary job to look after on the side, it can be hard to keep up, you just hold your breath and roll along.

By the time this year’s winners has been announced, you are only just getting a grip of what you would like to see. Planning your personal festival program (thank god the paper program is back!) takes time, changes as you read reviews and get recommendations from friends, and is often filled with regrets, as you realize you’ve missed the last screening of a film you didn’t know you MUST see.

On this last weekend of CPH:DOX, a few thoughts on what I have chosen to see this year. There are still films to see on the big screen, extra screenings are coming up in the following week and fortunately there is also the online platform PARA:DOX to catch up on a selection of the rest.


What I did see?

The Super 8 Years, literary cinema by Annie Ernaux and her son that adds another dimension to her oeuvre, made of private home movies beautifully filmed by her late ex-husband, wonderfully edited together with the authors words. Whether you have read the Nobel-prize winner or not, don’t miss the film on PARA:DOX.

Joan Baez in person. The air was thick with love when three generations were gathered in Bremen for the Danish premiere of Joan Baez, I Am a Noise, a well-crafted film made with an incredible personal archive, surprisingly private.. – “I want to leave an honest legacy” Baez said.

I only watched one of the films in the main competition, so that’s my personal winner for now: On the Edge, with the more pertinent original French title État limite, a highly relevant political film about a psychiatrist in a public hospital outside Paris trying to work humanely under inhuman conditions, asking questions about the state – and the limitations – of the welfare state today.

Hypermoon (after reading Tue’s comment) and Budding Humans (if you need a feelgood film, try a fly-on-the-wall doc about the friendship between two two-year-olds).

I also tried out UNG:DOX, the festival’s selection of films for high school students, where I watched two rather weak French films: The Other Profile (Le vrai du faux) and The Flag (Le Repli, interesting subject, terrible film).


What am I looking forward to:

Under the Sky of Damascus tonight Saturday in Empire, archive master Sergei Loznitsa’s latest film The Natural History of Destruction, The Hamlet Syndrome, The Eternal Memory and, of course, the winner of the festival Motherland, the winner of the Politiken:DOX Award Apolonia, Apolonia, now running in the Danish theatres, and much more online…


What do I miss?

Nicely curated thematic side programs and retrospectives. A big festival should also connect with the past and share film history with its audience. This year, for example, it could have been interesting to look back at how the Iraq War has been depicted and reflected on in documentary films..


Thank you for the feast so far CPH:DOX and happy birthday!

Watch CPH:DOX 202


Categories: Cinema, Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Jon Bang Carlsen: Dreaming Arizona

Written 22-03-2023 15:23:38 by Tue Steen Mller

Jon Bang Carlsen: Dreaming Arizona

”Most of what follows is true, but reality and dreams are like conjoined twins, if one dies both will perish”, a text from, who else, Danish master Jon Bang Carlsen, a text he could have used already almost 50 years ago, when he made “Jenny” and started his personal and unique storytelling in film after film, a gift to Danish cinema. And yet he always renews himself, this time working gently and caring with teenagers, who live in a small town in Arizona, Winslow is the name; at the same time as he is keeping the sound and the image of some of his favorite narrative elements, in this case the freight trains - do you remember his film on his mother, “Livet vil leves” (1994) (“Life will be Lived”), the trains were there and the fascinating sound of them passing through the landscape. As in Winslow. The film, before the title comes up, starts with that sound, it is never silent in Winslow, these damn trains as one of the girls say.

Her name is Makenzie, who in the film is joined by Amber and Kristin (both Navajos), Sydney and Bryson. The five get together on the stage of the local cinema to do this “documentary fantasy played by real people” as Bang Carlsen puts it. On a stage in front of the silver screen, where dreams can be dreamt and realized through the wonderful cinema language. They get together with Makenzie, who sells popcorn in the cinema, as the one taking the floor to tell her story asking the others to do the same. And they do. It becomes “our” story, which is not a happy one. Makenzie’ s father left to live with Sydney’s mother, Bryson would like to meet his grandfather who lives as a homeless, Kristin suffers from her sister’s loss of a child, Taylor, Amber wants to leave mother and child to go to study journalism in Los Angeles… To put it briefly and to say that from there they and the director go on to perform a visual poetic trip or - using the title of one of Bang Carlsen’s previous works - “invent reality”.

And visually it is breathtaking beautiful, I was thinking, when I saw the film on the big screen in the theatre in Copenhagen. Estonian cameraman Erik Põllumaa is visualizing as his director wishes him to do; Bang Carlsen is a cinematic painter.

The yellow school bus is there, white horses, one of them in Makenzie’s story passing by in the street in front of the cinema, the Navajo landscapes familiar to Amber’s story, Bryson in the church: “I call for your help but there´s no answer”, Kristin and the others in front of a closed mine from where Taylor comes out on a white horse, Sydney and Makenzie arguing on the stage and in the swimming pool hugging each other, stories after stories are connected to the five protagonists and to the magic screen up there, where Rose appears… there is a story about her, who lived in Winslow in the sixties, no spoiler from me.

“We all got baggage, we are not alone in this battle called life”, says Makenzie, who has a conversation with Amber leaving the hard stories of their childhood that they all carry and have put into the film. … played by real people, oh they play so well. Authenticity!

Denmark, Estonia, Norway, 2022, 76 mins.

Still: cph:dox


Categories: Film History, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH, Directors


Written 22-03-2023 11:07:44 by Tue Steen Mller


I've seen it many times before and I love the look of it! A huge room full of documentary people, directors and producers with ideas, more or less developed film projects, clips - called trailers or teasers - meeting with broadcasters, sales agents and distributors to pitch. 20 minutes so you have to be prepared to say what kind of help you need and you have to know in beforehand to whom you are talking... Lots of meetings...

I've seen it at IDFA in Amsterdam and at DOCSBarcelona and I´ve always admired the organisers, who - also here - make it work, creating the flow needed so the commissioning editors know where to go, helped by smiling staff members with lists and of course also one, who from the stage ring a bell to say "time is up, ladies and gentlemen, move to next meeting".

The Forum pitching itself takes place at the Royal Theatre's traditional "Stærekassen" (!) in the mornings and the meetings at Odd Fellow Palæet (!) five minutes from there, words from the internet:

"The Odd Fellows Mansion is a Rococo town mansion in Copenhagen, Denmark, named after the local branch of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows which acquired the building in 1900..."

So that's where I went after having been to the Cinemateket to watch Margreth Olin's impressive "Songs of Earth". Full house, applause after the film. Big audience potential.

Coming to the Odd Fellow Palæ I was not allowed to go into the Forum meeting hall as I have (only?) a press badge, but I met an old friend Massimo Arvat in the lobby, Italian producer from Turin, who is still going strong with a lot of work for television, corporate films and of course creative documentaries. He declared his love for CPH:DOX, second time he was here, no project this year but networking of course. We had a good chat.

Fortunately the artistic director of the festival Niklas Engstrøm passed by and I told him that I would like to experience the atmosphere and see how it goes for, especially, the Georgians who I know so well from working with the Film Mentoring Program of CinéDoc Tbilisi and from many visits to the country. He opened the door for me and I joined the table of producer Irina Gelashvili and director Keti Machavariani, who monday pitched the project Here, Between This Sea And Those Mountains, "A family saga of a father and daughter - Gogi and Helena, two politicians from different generations - is intertwined with Georgia's century-long struggle for freedom." It will be a good film, I am sure, that will also, of course, include the turbulent political situation of the country with massive demonstrations against the government. But I also went to say hello to Julien Pebrel and Tamar Kalandadze at their table, pitching with Sakdoc's Keti Kipiani a project called Kartli: "A former soviet sanatorium on the edge of the Tbilisi Sea has harbored refugees from Abkhazia for over 30 years. Now in a precarious state, the building can no longer shelter them, uprooting and pulling apart this big family of refugees yet again." And one more - dear to me - project from Georgia, Boxes from Georgia, presented by director Gvantsa Meparishvili and producer Tiko Nadirashvili: "Volunteers from Georgia, Ukraine, and Russia join a charity for Ukraine in Tbilisi. In this microcosm of regional issues, hard work and solidarity spark unlikely friendships - but power struggles ruin this dynamic, turning best friends into enemies."

Leaving the place having met so many good friends from my past at EDN, including many from arte - Germany and France, good to see them here in Copenhagen.

It's another sign of success for the Industry section of CPH:DOX - the amount of decision makers, who attend and take meetings with filmmakers from all over, including the Caucasus countries and of course Ukraine.


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

CPH:DOX: Morning With Filmmakers

Written 20-03-2023 21:43:24 by Tue Steen Mller

CPH:DOX: Morning With Filmmakers

“Dialogues on Craft” is the title of four morning sessions at the CPH:DOX in the Charlottenborg Kunsthal, that is turned into a cinema during the festival. 90 minutes per session. With Wendy Mitchell as moderator. I attended the first one, which was very interesting because of the well thought dramaturgy:

Two filmmakers on the stage, Estonian Anna Hints who has made “Smoke Sauna Sisterhood” and Chilean Maite Alberdi, whose “The Eternal Memory” was praised the other day on this site (

Introduction by the moderator, a few questions to have the filmmakers tell the audience about their films – I was surprised that we were very few who had seen both films out of a good audience, maybe 100.

And then the floor was given to the filmmakers. Maite Alberdi had chosen a clip from the Sauna film, Anna Hints a clip from the love story of Alberdi. The two films and directors were there because both go very close to vulnerable themes. 

For those of you who don’t know the Estonian film, here is the catalogue text from the Sundance Festival, where the film was awarded:

“Tucked in a lush green forest in southern Estonia, a group of women gather in the safe darkness of a smoke sauna to share their innermost thoughts and secrets. Enveloped by a warm, dense heat, they bare all to expel fears and shame trapped in their bodies and regain their strength.” 

And “The Eternal Memory”, also a Sundance winner, is ”an intimate account of a woman’s deep love for her husband, who is slowly losing his memory.”

The directors had good questions to each other; Anna Hints explained the dilemma she had when she had decided not to show the faces of the women, and then one said but I want my face to be shown. She found a solution that works so fine as she becomes the one, who reacts to the stories being told. Beautifully shot is the Sauna Sisterhood film and as Maite Alberdi said so well: In the beginning I was looking at the bodies but then I quickly started to feel comfortable and also listened to the stories… let me add that the film has not only strong stories but also great anecdotes full of humor. Like in the clip from Maite Alberdi’s film, where Augusto is suffering enormously, “help me” he says to his wife in the scene that is followed by another scene where he is dancing to a melody!

I had to leave before the end of this fine session going to Stærekassen, the small stage of the Royal Theatre, where 8 projects from Georgia, Armenia, Azerbadjan, Belarus and Ukraine were pitched. Also here lots of people, many taking notes before meetings that are held tomorrow.

Still: cph:dox


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Anne Regitze Wivel: Lige fr dden (2)

Written 19-03-2023 12:58:38 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Anne Regitze Wivel: Lige fr dden (2)

Det her er den bedste film jeg nogensinde har set. Sådan har jeg nogen gange efter teksterne til sidst sagt til mig selv og enkelte andre. Efter et filmværk af Bergman og af Tarkovskij, af Jon Bang Carlsen, Jørgen Leth og Anne Regitze Wivel - i biografen. Denne gang igen: Anne Wivels nye film er den bedste. For mig nogensinde, der hvor jeg er i mit liv nu. Netop lige nu i alderens memento og under smertens medicinbehov. For alle andre nårsomhelst, filmkunst i hemmelighedstilstanden, hvor ”den ydre verden er en til hemmelighedstilstand opløftet indre verden”.

 Har plejernes centrale uforglemmelige personalemøde ikke simpelthen en fælles sjæl af varme, forsigtighed, kyndighed, hensyn, kærlighed? Ligesom Anne Regitze Wivels fortællestemme er ét langt digt som i sig måske rummer hele filmen i en omfavnelse. Et digt, en poesi, et spring og en værdifuld ændring i betydning fra det konkrete i handlingen til det tankemæssige i forståelsen. Jeg kan se Anne Wivels film gang på gang og blive fortrolig med døden til den kommer bag på mig midt i mine forberedelser.   

 Denne indsigt ligger, tror jeg, ikke i de medvirkendes udsagn, i deres replikker, ikke i den vidunderlige scene under alle indlæggelser, at bestille morgenmad: juice, kaffe, bolle med ost og marmelade, nyt vand, iskoldt vand. ”Kan du huske alt det?”spørger han venligt. ”Ja”nikker sygeplejersken. Med det inderligste smil. Nej, indsigten ligger i hele det store filmdigts hemmelighedstilstand. 

”Lige før døden” er den bedste film jeg nogensinde har set.


Hemmelighedstilstand er Inger Christensens oversættelse af Novalis’ ”altomfattende sammensmeltning af ord og fænomen – ’das äussere ist ein in einen Geheimniszustand erhobenes Innere ’”

Læs i hvert fald også Tue Steen Müllers meget personlige anmeldelse nedenfor.

Still: Palliativ Afdeling, Bispebjerg Hospital, København.


Categories: Cinema, Festival, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Anne Regitze Wivel: Lige fr dden

Written 18-03-2023 15:18:46 by Tue Steen Mller

Anne Regitze Wivel: Lige fr dden

Jeg ved ikke om de studsede de to unge kvinder, som sad ved siden af mig i Cinemateket forleden aften. For der gik ikke længe efter filmens start før der kom nogle små hulk fra mig. Efterfulgt af øjne der skulle tørres, men det skulle kvindernes øjne også. For mit vedkommende fordi min søster Regitze (!) døde i år og en masse billeder væltede frem i mit hovede i mødet med billederne på lærredet. Men også fordi denne smukke film ramte præcist den stemning af omsorg og nænsomhed, som jeg oplevede på Rigshospitalet akkurat som det skildres her på Bispebjerg Hospital. Hvor er de dog fine sygerplejerskerne og lægerne, når de skal tage sig af mennesker... lige før døden. Hvor får de dog de kræfter fra? Det taler de klogt om. Om at huske.

Anne Regitze Wivel har fået adgang til at filme møder, hvor personalet på den palliative afdeling taler om de patienter, som filmen følger over lang tid, to kvinder og en mand. I situationer som virker så naturlige og kærlige også når deres tilstand forværres.

Det er så den observerende side af filmen, som forløber parallelt med instruktørens personlige fortælling om dengang for 12 år siden, hvor hun nærmest boede på hospitalet, på værelse 9, hvor hendes mand var, lige før døden. Anne Regitze Wivels evne til det poetiske filmsprog - det visuelle og hendes stemme og tekst - træder vidunderligt frem, som det har gjort i alle hendes film. Hun løfter fortællingen fra det registrerende og personlige, blandt andet ved at bevæge sig rundt på Bispebjerg Hospitals område med de mange skulpturer.

Ove hedder manden, som har ondt, men også kræfter til at tale med sygeplejersken og rose den trøje, som hun har strikket, en mand som siger at han har haft et langt og godt liv men som til sidst må give slip. Filmen følger ham til han ligger død på sengen påklædt, klar til at blive lagt i kiste.

Min far hed også Ove, så der kom lige et par hulk mere og nogle flere erindringsbilleder frem.

Den skulle jeg nok ikke have set, sagde jeg til min kone, da jeg lettere rystet kom hjem. Nu, nogle dage senere, er jeg glad for at jeg gik i biografen og for at filmen eksisterer og skal rundt i landet via CPH:DOX. Hvor er den vigtig!



Categories: Festival, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Eva Weber: Merkel

Written 18-03-2023 15:03:21 by Allan Berg Nielsen

Eva Weber: Merkel
  • ... Hun var opvokset i ddr og vænnet til at vente, afvente, aflæse, tie, lytte, overveje og tænke inden hun handlede. Husker tydeligt den “Elefantenrunde” på valgets aften i 2005 hvor hun var netop sådan indtil Schrøder havde talt sig tom! Og så slog hun til. Gysende god.
  • Sådan skriver Lise Amdisen, min gamle ven og kollega i en kommentar på min Facebook side og jeg vil om filmen føje til at det er en omhyggeligt gennemført og virkelig vigtig film som jeg vil se igen ja, igen og igen. Alene at følge Merkels blikke gennem optagelsernes vilje og klippets vedholdenhed. Det er smukt. 



Maite Alberdi: The Eternal Memory

Written 16-03-2023 16:42:11 by Tue Steen Mller

Maite Alberdi: The Eternal Memory

Take a look at the top page photos, Chilean director Maite Alberdi is the one to the left. A true documentary star, whose films "Tea Time", "The Grown-Ups" and "The Mole Agent" have been praised on this site. Her new film "The Eternal Memory" has been awarded many times. I have chosen to bring the fine annotation of CPH:DOX, here it is:

Beautiful and genuine, this Sundance winner from Chile is an intimate account of a woman’s deep love for her husband, who is slowly losing his memory. An audience favourite and a contender for most beautiful love film of the year.

Paulina and Augusto have been together for 23 years. She is a former Minister of Culture and an actress. He was a popular TV journalist for many years. They live in the beautiful house they built together many years ago. It is filled with memories that Augusto is slowly forgetting. For he has Alzheimer’s and his memory is leaking out of him until he can’t even recognise himself in the mirror. But even though Augusto is alone in his head, Paulina is constantly by his side. The more he forgets, the more her love for him grows, because even though he forgets, her feelings remain the same. ‘The Eternal Memory’ is a touchingly beautiful film about the love of two people cast in the purest form. A deserving winner of this year’s Sundance Festival.

Chile, 2003, 85 mins.

 Still: CPH:DOX


Categories: Festival, Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

Carl Olsson: Vintersaga

Written 13-03-2023 14:04:42 by Tue Steen Mller

Carl Olsson: Vintersaga

Jeg kan ikke lade være: Jeg bevæger mig her til morgen gennem et regnfyldt indre København, det nærmest flyder med vand i gader og stræder, for at komme frem til byens bedste biograf Grand Teatret, hvor der er pressevisning på Carl Olssons nye film, som er i hovedkonkurrence ved CPH:DOX. Hvor herligt det er at sidde i en varm og tør biograf OG se en flot film på det store lærred med en gennemarbejdet lydside og med masser af sne på de præcist komponerede flotte tableauer fra et smukt Sverige befolket af mennesker, som taler med hinanden i dialoger, som er ganske hverdagsagtige. Som når kvinden, som er lastbilchauffør, taler med sin mor, mens hun drøner gennem det sneklædte landskab. Hvordan har du det, hvad laver du, jeg har lige set xxx på tv, jeg stemte på ham, hvordan er vejret osv. Eller som når de to brødre ryger en cigaret udenfor det bageri, hvor de arbejder og taler om at brødre skal holde sammen. Eller som når to mænd sidder overfor hinanden og den ene taler om sig selv som en flink fyr og du kan stole på mig Jörn og kom bare forbi Gällivara om du vil. Words to that effect..

Carl Olsson har valgt ud med omhu. Der er unge piger i bil, som snakker om parfume og spiser en tør cheeseburger. Der er arbejdsmænd i et skur i en havn, som spiser. Der er chauffører på et cafeteria. Men der er også royalister, som spiser fint og synger en hyldest til kongen - og senere ser og hører man en pianist, som fører an da "Du Gamla, Du Fria" synges af en forsamling, man ikke ser. De sidste to er kostelige scener, den satiriske vinkel er klar. Ellers ser jeg filmen som en underfundig kærlighedserklæring fra instruktøren til sit land. En Sveriges-film langt væk fra den som Jan Troell lavede i sin tid, tættere på Roy Andersson i sine opstillinger og ordknappe situationer.

Med sans for det barokke som når den ene af to motorcykelpiger spørger hvad 5% af evigheden er!

Og med en unik sans for det visuelle, jeg har nævnt lastbilen på landevejen, men kunne også fremhæve isbryderen, som kværner gennem det frosne hav eller måske den smukkeste tre-delte sekvens: Et hus i baggrunden, lyset slukkes men kommer igen, da det bliver oplyst af et forbipasserende tog. Huset kommer igen senere i filmen, nu nærmest totalt dækket af sne og toget kører forbi. Og huset kommer igen, en ældre kvinde sidder ved et bord og læser eller gætter krydsord - og toget drøner forbi. 

En natklub set udefra, en altan med unge som ryger og snakker med hinanden, et par som boller på et hotelværelse, ikke meget romantik over den akt, men også to som er på ornitologisk udflugt og glæder sig, da de finder de fugle, som de havde ønsket at filme.

Der er mange, mange andre situationer og stemninger, som Olsson får frem i en smuk rytme. Han peger ikke fingre, hans ærinde er at fange en stemning i billeder og dialoger mellem ganske almindelige borgere af forskellige aldre i forskellige situationer, for det meste udenfor hjemmets fire vægge.

Jeg forlod biografen og gik ud i den danske regn godt underholdt og overbevist om at "Vintersaga" har fortjent at være i festivalens hovedkonkurrence. Gå i biografen og se den!  

Sverige, 2023, 82 mins.

Still: Final Cut For Real


Categories: Festival, Artikler/anmeldelser DANSK

Suzanne Raes: Close to Vermeer

Written 11-03-2023 13:13:41 by Tue Steen Mller

Suzanne Raes: Close to Vermeer

What a wonderful painter! Johannes Vermeer 1632-1675. 35 works are known from his hand. 28 of them are now on exhibition in Amsterdam at the Rijks Museum. Until June. Said to be all sold out! It's there after years of research and negociations with museums all over the world.

Which is so beautifully documented and interpreted by Suzanne Raes in her film "Close to Vermeer" that will run in theatres in Netherlands, maybe it already does and is of course taken for the respected art film festival in Montréal, where it is programmed for the 18th of March. Many other festivals will for sure pick it up from Decker Distribution in Germany.

High quality because it literally invites you to go close to Vermeer. To the painter to could catch the moment and knew how to deal with light. And women sitting at tables with men standing/flirting with them. Or sewing, or pouring milk or... pure beauty, making the spectator emotional. Also because of the curator Gregor Weber, whose last exhibition this is before retirement. He is asked what is so special about the painter, he starts to answer but stops, he can´t go, says "sorry", too emotional for him just as another expert, himself a painter who remembers the first Vermeer he saw and starts crying... the filmmaker gave me tears in eyes at these moments in a film that has many layers and qualities - the passion conveyed, the visits to the laboratories, the meetings with curators in other museums, the discussion about whether "The Woman with the Pen" is a Vermeer or not, the close-ups of the paintings, wonderful. Where the fine "My Rembrandt" by Oeke Hoogendijk gives a fascinating insight to the (commercial) world of art, "Close to Vermeer" is a multilayered, generous invitation to an Artist, we all love but here is invited to know so much more about than we did before.

The Netherlands, 2023, 78 mins. 


Categories: Articles/Reviews ENGLISH

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