CPH:DOX 2018/ Giants…


I saw a clip of this Swedish documentary in Malmø at the DocIncubator presentation of new projects in connection with the Nordisk Panorama. Promising it was and I was not disappointed, when I saw the final result, a warm and beautifully shot documentary from the small community Ydre; quite right decision of the organisers to put the film in the main competition of CPH:DOX.

There he is, Sven-Inge, the mayor who welcomes new citizens to Ydre by going to the parents and the baby with a small welcome gift for the latter – encouraging the parents to continue to make babies in a town suffering from depopulation. Around 3000 they are but there is a slight increase, which makes the old white-bearded man happy. You see him often in the film studying the population statistics, when he is not taking part in the many activities that the film crew has caught so well during filming over several seasons.

And there are other characters of importance – the owner of the

sawmill, a third generation factory, that has problems to overcome but succeeds. You see him with his wife, and you see him in a lovely scene with his daughter, where they are decorating the xmas tree. Daughter: Cool down, let’s have a nice and quiet xmas, she says. Father is stressed but ”yes, and Aleppo is liberated”! Dialogues like that pop up in the film in situations of understated humour that there are so many of. The film lives from situations that are put very well together following the seasons.

And for a jealous Dane: Swedish summer, forest, it’s green, lakes, cows, horses and blond young girls and boys, who sing and dance, when it is mid summer and make activities like setting up ”Annie”. There is a positive welcome attitude to immigrants and to the parliament member, who come to learn about the problems the community have, like falling prices on milk.

11 meter tall Bule and the saga about him, the Giant, the symbol of Ydre, is embracing the film and its characters, Sven-Inge and his lovely citizens in a film that is much more than a report from a depopulated town due to the excellent cinematic storytelling that made me sit with a smile the whole film along. This is how life, according to the filmmaker’s interpretation, should be lived in small towns!


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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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