DocsBarcelona: Chechen Family

On the last day of DocsBarcelona – in the afternoon – I attended the screening of ”Chechen Family” (”La Familia Chechena”) by Argentinian director Martin Solá, who brought to me not only a strong film but also the best Q&A discussion after the film, led by my colleague programmer Daniel Jariod, who provoked by me translated the words of the director into English – at a festival that still hesitates when it comes to use the English language at opening and closing ceremonies and at Question and Answer sessions.

Anyway, Solá told the audience how he worked with camera and sound to get into the sufist spiritual sessions, which are the core of this both beautiful and at the same time frightening tough interpretation of a phenomenon in an oppressing country. Solá sees the religion as a resistance to the official Chechnya that he visually catches in a long travelling scene from Grozny, the shining city or could one say the shined-up city. The film lives up to a sentence so often used on this site, a quote from Richard Leacock, it conveys ”the feeling of being there”.

No surprise that Solá got the first prize later that night at the closing ceremony of the festival. The English version of the jury motivation is not available yet – here comes the local:  

“una manera poètica de fer sentir l’interior d’una comunitat i de mostrar la identitat d’un poble en un context de violència històrica, a través d’un fort compromís amb la forma.”

and why not bring the English one used at the Visions du Réel in Nyon, where ”Chechen Family” won as well:

The Chechen Family is an intense, unique, uncompromising film. This award is for the radical cinematographic gesture of making a film with and not about a community: a trance-like movie that disrupts the conventional flux of time and that offers both an individual and collective, ethic and aesthetic experience.”

I will get back with a mention of the other awards. Photo: the team behind the film and the main character. Taken from FB page og Solá.

Share your love
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.

Articles: 3839