Carl Olsson Conversation at M7

”Vintersaga” was shown the other day at the Magnificent7 Festival in Belgrade. Scandinavian (born in Sweden, educated and living in Denmark) Olsson had been in Belgrade in 2020 for the festival before with “Patrimonium” about the Danish aristocracy and their way of living.

“Vintersaga” is a look at “my home country” as he said on the stage. A description of a state of mind, maybe the state of a nation. Funny but also dark, sometimes mean, a film that could not have been made by a Dane. He said it himself, Olsson, it is seen from inside and from outside. A mixture. The inspiration from Roy Andersson is clear, and I wonder how the reaction will be when the film is released in cinemas in Sweden in October. Andersson was met with silence when he presented the short film “World of Glory” (“Dejlig er Jorden”) at the Gothenburg Film Festival. The audience did not like the satirical approach to Sweden. But there were few objections when he took back one award after the other at prestigious festivals like Venice.

Let´s see – Olsson is obviously a great talent and he will grow, I am sure. Because of his visual talent and originality.

In the conversation he had at the festival with a small group of people, he showed on his computer, how he sketched all scenes precisely and talked about how he set up some rules for shooting the scenes, rules that he broke down on several occasions.

With his protagonists he never told them what to say, just sketched out the content – there is a wonderful three part scene of two men drinking beer, where one of them constantly praises the other – or himself – saying words like “you can always come to me”, “come to my hotel you are not going to pay” and in the end scene, the third of them, “the other” sits alone. It is hilarious, and mean. And in a poetic three part sequence of a house near trains that are passing by – first we see the house at night, when the lights are turned off, then an old lady inside the house is doing puzzles with the train passing by and then the snow-covered house. Loneliness depicted precisely. Olsson should definitely develop that side of his talent.

Is he a documentarist? Does not matter, he is a Filmmaker, who “wants to control”, “the more control the more authenticity”. “The trivial is what I like”, “I want to keep it trivial, I don’t want to kill my darlings”. The music raises the trivial – no narration, no development of protagonists.

Melancholy, yes. Dreamlike as festival director Zoran Popovic said, pointing at Hopper, yes. Tableaux as in the films of Danish Jørgen Leth.

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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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