Adam Ol´ha: New Life of a Family Album

It is a bit difficult for me to verbalise precisely, what this film is about. It goes in many directions and I have to confess that I sometimes lackd a focus while watching. However, the reason you stay with the film is the tone and the footage available for the male director, family archive footage shot by his father over a period of almost 20 years. I write male as the director is the only male in the family with mother, grandmother and 5 sisters! The Man with the Moving Camera he calls his father in the beginning of the film, or the father calls himself so, ending up giving himself the same characteristic as the one, who is never really involved, always on a distance, always observing. We dont get to know a lot about the son, the one making the film – and we don’t get to know much about the father, who left the family to marry another woman. Why? He does not talk about it.

On the contrary when it comes to the females in the film, they are open-minded, when they talk. The mother, a famous actress, the grandmother with her photos, talking about her good looking husband, who had many affairs, and the daughters, who grow up looking for their own way of life.

The material is impressive. The father took pictures – he even made an exhibition about the Ol´ha family – and the mother acted. As she says, now with parts as either a mother or a prostitute. We see her in close-ups and we see a lot of photos and the super 8mm footage of a happy family. The sunflower sequence in the beginning of the film is gorgeous. The happy family that was apparently not so happy. Suddenly the father was not there any longer and the son felt he had to ”rewrite history”. The father who, when young in the photos, looked fresh and optimistic is now closed and reluctant to answer the questions from the son. Who never dares to ask the question – why did you leave us, your big family?

A few words about the tone of a film that has many loveable moments, difficult not to fall in love with the little girl – the youngest daughter – who in songs/rappings comment on the new interpretation of a family without a father. Maybe a bit confusing structure but seldom a dull moment.

Slovakia/Czech Republic, 2012, 80 mins.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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