DOK Leipzig 2008/2

I have previously – in my diaries from DocLisboa – mentioned the new masterpiece by Avi Mograbi, Z32. It was also shown at DOK Leipzig, Avi Mograbi was there and I told him again, as in Lisbon, that his films divide people, for which reason he will never get a prize in a documentary festival, as juries tend to go for compromises. Right I was, no prize for Mograbi in Leipzig.

One of the reasons could be found in the review of the film from the Leipziger Volkszeitung, November 1st, written by Norbert Wehrstedt, who, as many others, objects to having talking faces in documentaries… he had hoped that this narrative element had died long time ago. He reduces thus the film to be a ”Hörbuch mit Bildern” that nobody needs. Words, words, words to put it in another words.

I totally disagree to this classical rejection of talking faces. It depends on who is talking, on camera angle, light, rythm and reason for using talking faces. What Avi Mograbi does, is that he innovates the documentary language by using talking masks, as his main character, the killing Israeli soldier, does not want to face the camera. Very intelligent trick that combined with his Brechtian musical element, himself singing comments to the soldier’s crime, makes the film into a universal essayistic wish for reflection.

Z32 runs in festivals all over, look out for it and if you are in Copenhagen, you can reach it at cph:dox.

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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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