Bonke & Koefoed: Ballroom Dancer

Cph:dox opened with an entertaining documentary with Russian Slavik Kryklyvyy, Latin American dancer, as the main character, who tries to make his way back to the top, where he was the best in the world – 10 years ago.

The film shows him training and competing with the partner Anna Melnikova, also his girl friend, who suffers from the constant change of temperament of Slavik, who corrects her at the same time as he declares his love to her. One-dimensional, the film is, and mid way through the story, the film goes dead, for a long period, coming up again with a beautiful sequence where the two, after having been apart, and after she has met another man, good for her, perform in a rehearsal room to the tunes of ”You were on My Mind”. That dance is great to watch but after the dance, she leaves the room and he sits alone back. A real Film scene, but in this context far too pathetic as the story is not really developed to justify that point of drama.

There are for sure many fine documentary observations in the film, but why is it that you leave the cinema without being touched, is it because your reaction to the main character is ”who cares”, is it because you get no information about his previous life – it seems strange that there are no scenes with Slavik and his former partner Joanna, who wins all the competitions we see in the film – is it because the music score is far too loaded in its attack on making the viewer feel, is it because the filmmakers actually did not have enough material to make this feature duration drama that it is stretched out to be?

Christian Bonke & Andreas Koefoed, Denmark, 2011, 85 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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