Efthymia Zymvragaki: Light Falls Vertical

Thanks to my membership of the European Film Academy I could watch this emotionally strong, storytelling-wise original film after a masterclass at DocsBarcelona yesterday arranged by the festival and DocIncubator, whose founder and director Andrea Prenghyova was in a fine dialogue with the director talking about how the film ended up in the training program and profited from that. The film premiered at IDFA 2023, travelled to many festivals and was nominated for the European Film Awards. It is a film that uses metaphors, is visually constantly attractive and has a narrative text that is beautiful even if you – like me – have to read it as subtitles. Sorry for the superlatives, I now let others take the floor:

“When filmmaker Efthymia Zymvragaki fled her native island of Crete as a young adult, she hoped to leave her violent childhood behind. But in Spain, her memories come flooding back when a man asks her to make a film about him and his violence. The encounters with Ernesto and his alter ego Juan, the frank conversations about the violent acts he committed, and the scenes in which he or actors reenact parts of his autobiography provide unprecedented insight into the nature of an abuser – in this case, one who is painfully self-aware. At the same time, the filmmaker relives her own past. The quiet, almost whispered commentary and the poetic, cinematic shots of sun-drenched landscapes, details of flowers and the sea in which Zymvragaki’s father would eventually die, leave room for the viewer’s own reflections. In addition to the effects and causes of violence, the film is also about identity and the longing for a home. (Thurn Film)”When filmmaker Efthymia Zymvragaki fled her native island of Crete as a young adult, she hoped to leave her violent childhood behind. But in Spain, her memories come flooding back when a man asks her to make a film about him and his violence. The encounters with Ernesto and his alter ego Juan, the frank conversations about the violent acts he committed, and the scenes in which he or actors reenact parts of his autobiography provide unprecedented insight into the nature of an abuser – in this case, one who is painfully self-aware. At the same time, the filmmaker relives her own past. The quiet, almost whispered commentary and the poetic, cinematic shots of sun-drenched landscapes, details of flowers and the sea in which Zymvragaki’s father would eventually die, leave room for the viewer’s own reflections. In addition to the effects and causes of violence, the film is also about identity and the longing for a home.” (Thurn Film)

,,Light Falls Vertical” is a film about Ernesto and his struggle with his patterns of violence and abuse. It is also a film about his partner Juliane and her reality of the intense presence and absence of the man in her life absence of the man in her life. And finally and above all, it is a film about me and my encounter with the torment of my past,my late father, the silence that permeated our dialogue, and the circles of violence. (The director, October 2022)

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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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