Boris Mitic: Goodbye, How are You?

A special treat for those of us who have access to Swedish television, SVT2, that tonight at 8pm shows one of the most original Serbian documentaries from the last years. With repeats Saturday April 17 at 11.20 am, and Tuesday April 20 at 11.15 pm. This is the review that was written for this blog:

It is one of those films where you are attracted by the visual and the tone of the film and the words, in other words by the film, and still feel like you want to watch and listen again. Because you did not get it all. Being a chaptered film essay of highest originality, with funny playful captions, you can actually do your re-view by clicking your remote control. To pick the chapters. And you can visit the (also) rich website to get on your screen the aphorisms. Simply to read what you heard.

I say so because it is a difficult film for someone from outside of Serbia and ex-Yugoslavia to fully recognise and sense the constant dialogue between image and words. Much is archive from places and demonstrations, and conflict and war situations. Also from today, also from Kosovo, but also here you have to give up sometimes as you dont have the references in your visual memory. At the same time as the images and the tone and the words keep your attention the whole way through.

Nevertheless, let me skip the eternal (Nordic?) rational wish to understand everything… there is so much to discover in this ambitious journey in absurdity and subtlety where you are taken by the hand by a ”me”, the voice of an old man, who is summarising his life and talks about his friend and about the duels he would love to have. With other people and with himself. My Serbian language knowledge does not exist but the voice of the old man sets me in the mood of laughing of what is being said and what I watch. But not only laughing. There is also a sadness, a sad wisdom I would call it, from the writers and philosophers, who have inspired director Boris Mitic for making this clever satirical catalogue of image & words. It took him ”4 years of travelling 50.000 km along Balkan side roads to make 400 shots” for a story and a visualisation to which there is but one thing to say: Good Day, I am fine. I saw your film. I feel it like I do when I have seen a play of Samuel Beckett. Provoked and entertained in a creative way. Want to see it again. Bravo!

Serbia, 2009, 60 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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