Artemio Benki: Solo/ 2

Via the FNE (FilmNewEurope) I find a good interview with the director of ”Solo”, the Czech/French director and producer Artemio Benki, who reflects on being a French, yet living in Czech Republic for quite some time, chosing a theme for his film taking place in Argentina. For me I am happy every time I see this great film, premiered in Cannes, being selected for a festival, next one in Prizren, DokuFest. Here is a clip from the interview, read it all, link below, and read the enthusiatic and personal review I made, link also below. And hopefully I will have the chance to meet the protagonist Martin one day… Here is a quote:

How much of the result were you able to predict before you started shooting?
I spent a month with Martin before I brought any cameras. I decided first I need to know him as a person. During this time, I created some expectations about his behavior in different situations. I still can’t read his mind but I can predict his actions to some extent as you might be able to with your lover after six months of living together. For example, when he plays before his first serious audience after long time, I couldn’t predict he would fall off his chair but I knew him enough to be prepared for some kind of a complication – I know him to be a clumsy, anxious person. In this sense, I was often surprised but surprised to a degree I was able to predict.

When you work with people who have mental issues, it brings some moral and ethical dilemmas for you as a filmmaker.
When I was kid, I had my own experience with mental health care so I was drawn to this topic for personal reasons. It’s never been something sensational for me. And I spent enough time with my characters that I saw them as “my people”, they were close to me. So I think I never really was afraid that I would treat them in an ethically questionable way – I trusted my sense of empathy. I mean, documentary filmmakers, in a way, always “use” their protagonists but I knew I wouldn’t cross the line. Of course, I explained to Martin and everyone else what my intentions were and I included them only once they felt comfortable. I also felt a big amount of responsibility because Martin trusted me a lot. Had I wanted to shoot him masturbating, he’d probably have let me. But why would I do that? What would it add to the film? I respect the truth of a character – and I don’t want to muck it up with some gratuitously shocking scenes.

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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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