Alex Holmes: Stop at Nothing

… the Lance Armstrong Story, to include the subtitle, was screened last night at the DR2 Dokumania, whose editors apparently do not hesitate to bring sport documentaries during events like Wimbledon (last week ”Serena” (Williams) was shown), and now, when the first stages of Tour de France are broadcast on tv screens all over, and is very popular in Denmark, a documentary about Lance Armstrong. One should think that there was enough sport on the channels, but here came another documentary on Lance Armstrong. I am sure many do remember the Alex Gibney documentary, where the director was finishing a portrait of the bicycle superman, when the news broke that he had been doped, confessed by himself in an Oprah show. In 2013. The director went back to Armstrong and made an interview with him that became the backbone of a film that shows a lot of material from the Tour with Armstrong in the winning role.

There is much less bicycling in this documentary that has its focus on the portrait of man – who happens to be an athlete – who is characterised by one of the many interviewed as a sociopath, who made his own myth, who bought victories, broke every decent rule of ”normal” friendship, shouted at one former team mate after the other, when they had suggested that he was doped, used his cancer illness in the foreground when going public… The film goes step by step into a case that we have heard about so many times, and is merciless in its portrait of the (lack of) human qualities of the Shakespearean Armstrong. No sympathy at all. I would not say that I had that for him in Gibney’s film that in a way makes him an archetype of a madman, who gets away with all king of lies without any scruples whatsoever.

As usual for the Dokumania series – stylistically a formatted, designed tv documentary.

For Danish readers – the film is available for a period on dr.dk

Australia, 2014, 90 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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