Brook Lapping: The Blair Decade

This two part series is made by the famous British company Brook Lapping that has made countless high-budget series for television, broadcast all over the world. About the Vietnam war, about the crisis in the Middle East, about many other current affairs matters. The most famous series, however, was “The Death of Yugoslavia”.

“The Blair Decade” is characterised by the same journalistic approach: A lot of research has been done and characters for the film chosen after endless negociations. Top players – like Condoleeza Rice – agrees to be interviewed about Blair and his period as prime minister of England. The whole thing is put together according to chronology with the same “witnesses”, all of them close participants in the political game, to make the story unfold. There is a narrator, who links the interviewes and the archive material, that comes first of all from the news. We know as viewers how it ended, it is contemporary history that recorded what Blair did in his rise and fall (the title of another film about Blair) as prime minister and world political figure.

But it is not just putting things in the right order, and edit according to words and not images – as it is being done – it is also a documentary that offers the viewer an analysis of what went wrong and how it went wrong for Blair. It is not just telling what happened, there is a point of view. In the first part, from the very beginning, his relationship to Gordon Brown is the turning point. They wanted to change together, they chose “the great persuader”, Blair, to win the battle and settled as a strong couple until the moment where Brown thought that now it was his turn. And this is the focus of the second part. After having shown his perfect instinct for how to react in moments of importance: the death of princess Diana, the 9/11, the getting the Olympic games to London in 2012 etc. it all went wrong for Blair with his close link to George W. and the consequent decision to join the Iraq war taken without the support from the population.

UK/USA, 2007, 2 x 55 mins. Seen on DR2 20 & 27.7.08 (Danish television)

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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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