DocsBarcelona: Bride Kidnapping, I.F.Stone, Father

… and Son, and Jens Soering. I saw four films yesterday i.e. saturday here at the DocsBarcelona 20th edition. Let me start with a wonderful moment at the Q&A after the film ”All Governments Lie”. A 12 year old girl asked in fine English (not that common in Catalonia!) the director, Canadian Alfred Peabody, ”do you think that my generation can change the world”! Apparently she was inspired by the film and its timely subject, a free and independent press. The director told her ”why don’t you become a journalist” as was the man, who inspired Peabody to make the film, legendary journalist I.F. Stone. I am old enough to remember him and his direct criticism of the Americans being at Vietnam. There is great archive with Stone but the film also introduces people who have been inspired by him: Michael Moore, who of course praises Stone’s humour, Glenn Greenwald who worked on Laura Poitras’ Snowden film and set up The Intercept together with her and Jeremy Scahill. Greenwald says that had Stone been alive today, he would probably have been a blogger. Below a link to the website of the film, where you find all the journalists in the film and their comments on the mass media manipulated world we live in.

Before that film I had seen Catalan Roser Corella’s ”Grab and Run”, that introduces and discusses the Kirgisz tradition for kidnapping of women for marriage. An anthropological study that also includes a shocking ending, where the filmmakers follow a kidnapping of a woman. I did not follow the discussion in Catalan but I guess the ethics of filming this incident was raised. The photo pictures the couple, the photo was chosen by the festival to be the poster.

And then I had fun with father and son in ”Deux Cancres” by French Ludovic Vieuille (who will be present for the second screening May 26 20.15, COME!). It is an excellent piece of documentary, full of embarrassing moments when the two fight with the French grammar, the boy being impatient, the father trying his best, having to give up again and again because he does not understand the questions raised in the books the boy brings home. Shot over a long period, the camera registers their mood and lets us have a bitter-sweet laugh. Why does he have to go through all this stupidity in the French education system. OMG! It is a clever film, and emotional!

Where ”Deux Cancres” is minimalistic in tone and scope, Marcus Vetter’s ”The Promise” is a brilliant piece of journalism that is taken to the level of a Shakespearean drama, a love story, a demonstration of the crazy American judicial system, and first of all the meeting with German Jens Soering, who has been in jail for more than 30 years for something that he has not done; that is the conclusion you make having seen the film and listened to him. Vetter got permission to make an interview with him for four hours. I watched the television version, 3 hours, on Danish television and enjoyed to see it here in Barcelona on a big screen with Marcus Vetter present to answer questions at a screening that lasted till just after midnight.

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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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