Elvira Lind: Bobbi Jene

I had seen the film before via the vod Festival Scope on my MacBook. The vod allows only one screening but thanks to Youn Ji from the sales company Autlook I got the invitation to screen the film again, which I did on a big screen at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. Together with Lithuanian film students. They enjoyed – as I did – the film. The following review includes observations and evaliuations we made at the academy. For those who know nothing about the film and its content, see the neutral description below taken from the dfi.dk.

It’s so complex. It has so many layers. It is so well built. As a fiction film you are carried from one scene to the next, from one conflict to the next. Bobbi Jene is ambitious, she wants to try on her own after 10 years with Ohad and his Israeli dance group Batsheva, where she developed to be the star. She wants to leave Tel Aviv,

and the master and pupil situation with Ohad. There are some amazing scenes with the two. Intense. I think we agreed, the students and I, that this film is characterised by energy in all scenes. It’s unbelievable how close Elvira Lind, the director comes to Bobbi Jene. She is there when all important things happen. Did she really film everything herself, a student asked. According to the credits, yes. They must have been/are close friends. There are several scenes where Bobbi addresses the camera = the cameraperson.

Bobbi Jene wants to be on her own in the US, where she is born, this fascinating woman who also has a biological clock ticking, which is shown in scenes in her home with mum and sister, who has a baby. How do you hold a baby? That world is not known to Bobbi Jene.

The love she feels for the 10 year younger Or… of course we talked about that. She is so open about it and she expresses her feelings constantly. Her smiles, her doubts, her disappointment when he does not want to stay with her in NY. I am not ready, he says and Israel is my country.

A student referred to Pina Bausch. Dancing is healing. I don’t know if the artist Bobbi Jene, who works so hard ”to get to a place where there is nothing to hide”, would formulate it like that. Her dancing is so strong and expressive, sculptural, naked both literally and as a metaphor for her search for freedom in all aspects. Her nakedness, even her voice has this fragility that you could call naked, one student said.

What a drama, what a film. I explained the students that we at filmkommentaren work with a rating system. How many pens would they give? Strong majority for 6.

The film is on the program at Nordisk Panorama that starts in a week. It must be a strong candidate for the main award!

Denmark, 2017, 96 mins.

After a decade of stardom in Israel, American dancer Bobbi Jene takes intensity to a new level when she decides to leave behind her star position at the world-famous Batsheva Dance Company, as well as the love of her life, to return to the US to create her own boundary breaking performances. A love story, the film portrays the dilemmas and inevitable consequences of ambition. It is a film about a woman’s fight for independence and her attempt to succeed with her own art in the extremely competitive world of dance.

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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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