DOXBOX Damascus Diary 3

No, they don’t know it or them, says Orwa Nyrabia, one of the DOX BOX organisers, when I doubt him stating that the audience to the seminar of French academic Martin Barbier, ”Back to Basics”, had never heard about ”Nanook of the North” or its director Robert Flaherty.

DOXBOX has thus not only an actual role to play by presenting new films, it also wants to educate an audience and invite them to know about the history of documentary film.

Barbier served that purpose when he talked about sound and documentary and showed clips from all the classics, especially from a French point of view. Among others the wonderful Clouzot film about Picasso, which is available in all Fnac shops in France. And Alain Resnais and Chris Marker.

After the screening I asked a couple of young Syrians if they learned anything. One of them answered immediately: Yes, Nazis suck… She referred to the clip from Leni Riefenstahl ”Olympia” and to the last clip from Claude Lanzmann´s ”Shoah”!

In the afternoon one more look at ”3 Rooms of Melancholia” by Pirjo Honkasalo. I have seen it several times and yet it makes a big impression one more time. There are not many documentary filmmakers like Pirjo with such a humanistic commitment and such a courage to do a different and much more poignant narrative. She makes the rest of the documentariands look like pedestrians.

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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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