Andrei Kutsila: When the Flowers are not Silent

There is still a media focus on Belarus – but now it seems that the first priority is the latest criminal action by Lukashenko and his regime: the flying in of migrants to Belarus pushing them on to the Polish, Lithuanian and Latvian borders, where they are met with wire and walls financed by the EU, including the country I live in, Denmark… Humanity?

There will be films about this. But luckily we are still met with not only reports but also films made by Belarussian filmmakers on the situation on the background of what happened primarily in August 2020, where the big demonstrations took place and was met with brutality and detainment of thousands of people; hundreds are still in prison and many of those, who are not suffer from nightmares and traumas.

Andrei Kutsila’s new film gives the audience a close look at the human consequences of living in a country being in opposition. The film is dedicated to the bravery of the women, mothers and grandmothers including family of the director. It is moving and heartbreaking to witness the goodbye scenes of a family, where the father, whose one leg was hit by a grenade leaves for Poland, being in facetime contact with his wife and kids. “Will dad walk again”? As well as following Oksana in conversation with her son Sasha about what is a state and what is a country, and why does the EU countries not help more; being hit by lack of energy and apathy constantly studying the atrocities documented and conveyed on cell phones. Two families but also footage shot in front of the prison, where women are hoping and waiting to hear from their men. 

And yet, the flowers are not silent – young girls pick them everyone as Pete Seeger sang – Oksana writes on a piece of paper that she goes to demonstrate – don’t tell dad! And Kutsila catches beautiful moments with Oksana and her mother enjoying the taste of a pear picked by her father, hugging each other, “I’m so happy to have such a young mother”. There is love in that film not only despair. “Long Live Belarus”, “You Must Go”.

Poland, 2021, 71 mins. 

The film won main documentary award at the Warsaw Film Festival two days ago. Kutsila has made several impressive films, for instance “Summa”, here is a link to a review on this blog: http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4410/.

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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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