CPH:DOX – The Other Side of the River

The CPH:DOX programme is launched. The festival runs from April 21 to May 12. The cinemas are scheduled to re-open in the beginning of May so the festival intends to be part of this (cross fingers…) festive celebration of watching (also) documentaries on a big screen. Otherwise the festival’s 177 films will be available (for those who are in Denmark) online as well as an enormous line-up of events. Check the website: https://cphdox.dk/film/

On this site – www.filmkommentaren.dk – we will follow the festival from now on with recommendations of films to be watched. It will be in English as many of the films will show up to be watche at other festivals around the world.

Here is the first one to be strongly recommended, ”The Other Side of the River” the debut film of German Antonia Kilian as director and camerawoman, and with Arash Asadi and Guevara Namer as editor and co-authors. I met Antonia and Guevara at the Baltic Sea Docs in 2018, and I have great memories of meeting Guevara at the DoxBox in Damascus in the four years before the revolution in 2011. Guevara has also been showing her big talent as a photographer on this site. Here comes the description of the film from the CPH:DOX website:

“19-year-old Hala escaped an arranged marriage by crossing the Euphrates River and finding a new home in the Kurdish Women’s Protection Unit, which soon after liberated her hometown from Islamic State. For her female fellow soldiers, the enemy is not just IS, but the patriarchy in general, with marriage as the ultimate oppressive institution. So Hala decides to free her sisters before it is too late, and whatever the cost – even if this means disappearing from her own film to plan nothing less than an armed attack on her parents’ house. The threat of an arranged marriage and the brutal stories of violent husbands have made many young women like Hala cross the river to get trained in combat. Physically, but also intellectually. But is there still space for freedom and love in Hala’s life when her mission is all-consuming? First-time director Antonia Kilian introduces us to her own thoughts on being a cultural outsider in a situation where the term militant feminism should be understood literally.”

The film has moments of great beauty, it dares have long scenes, it shows what it means to gain trust from its protagonist, who is a more-than-brave young woman meeting an equally brave film team. It’s a world premiere here in Copenhagen but it will for sure travel. 

Trailer can be seen on Cineuropa.

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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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