DocLisboa Diary 3

Talking faces. Normally you associate this stylistical element to journalistic programmes on television. And not to creative documentaries. The Israeli documentary, “To See if I’m Smiling” by Tamar Yaron, builds its whole narrative on talking faces. Young women who have served in IDF, the Israeli army, on the West Bank, look back on incidents of death and violence in which they have taken part. Interrupted by mostly home video material from the “happy” days in the army. Out comes a shocking documentary so well edited that you are nailed to the screen.

As you are with another masterpiece by another great documentarian from the UK, Molly Dineen. I have for years used her “Heart of the Angel” (1989) from the tube in London, whenever the talk was about bringing in several layers to your story. Now, almost 20 years later, she makes “The Lie of the Land”, a report from the British countryside where the farmers have their healthy mostly male animals shot because they are without any value on the market. This is the starting point for a human tragedy for people who have built their life on breeding animals, and who so far have been able to live from that. Molly Dineen is behind the camera constantly asking questions to the people whose confidence she has gained and she does so with all that curiosity, interest and yes compassion that a documentary director should have.

Wow, it’s a festival with strong stories I thought after another long day at the videothèque.

Still: To See if I’m Smiling by Tamar Yaron     

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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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