cph:dox 9-17/11 Mechanical Love

Phie Ambo is one of the most obvious talents in new Danish documentary film. She showed great observational skills in her last film “Gambler” about the filmmaker Nikolaj Refn Winding (the “Pusher” trilogy), skills she is also using in her “Mechanical Love”, which is primarily about the robot research and fabrication done in Japan.

Stylistically, however, the film is completely different. Ambo has decided to use static panoramic totals, that enables her to stay “cool” when it comes to the Japanese researcher(s), and that makes it easy for her to swift from Japan to Germany, to the old lady that loves her robot baby seal as was it a living pet.

It seems like Ambo has decided not to fall into the trap of an easy condemnation of the robot making as “inhuman” and dangerous for our future. Her withdrawn position makes her open to hear and watch what the researchers are actually able to do. This makes the Japanese part of the film exciting. And scary, of course, when we see the daughter of the researcher look at a geminoid of her father, not wanting to touch it. The mother, on the contrary, has no problem in wiping away the left chocolate from her geminoid husband’s lips. The researcher is the one that carries the film with his philosophical reflective remarks to the director. A clever, yet also obsessed man… who has made copies of his daughter and wife. They can move their heads and their bodies, next step: can they have feelings? Like the baby seal that makes the every day of frau Körner in Germany endurable.

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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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