Archidoc. Romain Gary, Walter Benjamin and Fedya

Romain Gary (photo, long after Sofia), also known as Emila Ajar, a legendary French writer, right now subject of a photo exhibition in Paris, was in 1946 sent to Sofia in Bulgaria as a member of the French diplomacy delegation. He was there for two years with his wife Lesley Blanch, had several female relations like one with his Bulgarian secretary, who might have been a spy or just wanted to get help to get out of the country. ”The Bookseller” was the pseudonym given to Gary by the Bulgarian secret service which was following Gary’s life in the Bulgarian capital. The film, to be produced and directed by Assen Vladimirov, veteran in Bulgarian cinema, will be based on the files of the Service, on the memories of Gary, who as a writer was characterised as ”mediocre” by the Service! Vladimirov presented the project in a very entertaining way that fits to the ”funny yet serious” story about a meeting between West and East just after WW2.

Before the war another well known writer and philosopher, Walter Benjamin, was forced into exile in 1933 because of the start of the Nazi hunt on Jews. Benjamin goes to Ibiza, where he stays for one year. While hard times pass in Berlin, Benjamin thinks back on his childhood in the metropol, and starts writing about it. His life on Ibiza and his retro-thinking will be the basis of a film by Andreas Strasser, German director, who has been living in Spain, and who seeks to make the film on the basis of Benjamin’s prose, archive material from the island and from Berlin, as well as archive material made by the director to make Benjamin come alive.

Latvian director Kristine Zelve, however, intends to make a film about a totally unknown Finnish director, Teuvo Tulio, who was born in Latvia and had the nickname Fedya, that will also be the name of the film. Tulio’s name is on a stone monument in his native village, where the inhabitants do not know who he was. A master of melodramatic films, Tulio made his last film in 1972, ”Sensuela”, which was censored as being too erotic, for which reason Tulio withdrew from public life, never made any more films or interviews. In these years he is being taken back to have the recognition he, in the view of many film people, deserves.

Here is only space to mention 3 of the nine projects that were pitched in Paris at the final session of Archidoc. A catalogue can be acquired through:

Share your love
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.

Articles: 3838