What do you do when you sit in an airplane, don’t want to read any more newspapers or have done enough mails for today? Well, I was lucky to have received the new DOX magazine, summer 2011, the 90th edition of the ”European Documentary Film Magazine”. It kept my attention for the a bit more than two hours it takes to go from Frankfurt to Sofia. I was informed and entertained – and simply happy to read about all the good documentaries which are being made.
I have previously saluted the editor, Truls Lie, for his own texts, and will do so again. I liked his worried editorial about ”aestheticizing” a theme like refugees, making them objects ”at the risk of somehow reducing their significant humanity” and he delivers a fine report from the Cinema for Peace ”circus” in Berlin with Sean Penn in the leading role. ”Sustaining Credibility” is the title of an informative and thoughtful article from German Bettina Rehmann, who refers to the many examples of branding within the modern documentary. Some, like the people around the Britdoc Foundation in the UK, live well with and support this development, others are worried that the independence of the documentary will go away.
DOX puts its emphasis on documentaries that are creative and relate to the world we live in. A good choice it is to have an article about ”Into Eternity” after Fukushima, and of course a report from a seminar in Berlin about docs on war has its tragic relevance. But for an old cat like me it is also nice to read an article on art films, where the name Luciano Emmer pops up, the master in this genre. There is also a historical element in the exemplary festival article on the festival Punto de Vista, where the memory of the masterpiece ”Les Statues meurent aussi” (1953) by Alain Resnais is brought back. Exemplary, I write, contrary to many articles in the magazine, because again the editor faces the problem on how to write festivals articles in a different way than by name-dropping of titles. Like Sverre V. Sand does so well. I know it is not easy… but also the critiques could be more precise in analysis, and less content descriptive. Yask Desai reviews Mark Isaacs ”Men of the City” first of all from a formal perspective. Well written and bringing new views.
I have still more to read in this important, high quality film magazine.
DOX, 58 pages, 10€, subscription: 28€, or membership of EDN. Photo from All that Glitters, reviewed in this issue, directed by Tomas Kudrna.