Dogan & Eskikoy: On the Way to School

The Kurdish in Turkey – a long and complicated story about a people being suppressed. We have seen loads of news reports and some political documentaries about a conflict full of blood, and also for that reason it is nice to see this well made (beautiful cinematography, slow insisting editing, simple structure) documentary about a teacher, who arrives to teach Kurdish children Turkish, a language that only a few of them knows about.

Young he is the teacher, but committed to his cause; he wants to establish a contact with the children, and he ”survives” that there is no running water at least in the beginning of his stay that in the film constitutes one year. There is a lot of ”Etre et Avoir” in this film, but where Philibert makes a focus on specific children and folllow them, the two Turkish directors have chosen to let the teacher  (could have been the title of the film) be at the centre, including his phone calls to his mother far far away.

”Happy is the one who says: I am a Turk”. The teacher teaches them the words of Atatürk, so of course this film also shows the propaganda machine in function. What stays with me is, however, the fine moments between teacher and school children, and the discreet warm observation scenes in the poor homes of the parents.

The Netherlands/Turkey, 80 mins. World Premiere at idfa, 2008.

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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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