Allan refers to the point 5 in the Minnesota Declaration of Werner Herzog:

“5. There are deeper strata of truth in cinema, and there is such a thing as poetic, ecstatic truth. It is mysterious and elusive, and can be reached only through fabrication and imagination and stylization.”

Noone will object to that this is what Herzog at his best has achieved, at least in his “Lessons of Darkness” – it is mysterious and elusive.

But I could mention several “mysterious and elusive” magical moments in films that have been made from the observational approach that Herzog’s whole Declaration was made to oppose.

It reminds me about la nouvelle vague in France (Godard, Truffaut et co.), who rejected the qualities of Jean Renoir and Marcel Carne when they launched their programmme.. Or, in a much friendlier way, our own Danish Jon Bang Carlsen, who had to fight for his “staged documentary” style for many years before it was accepted by hard core documentarians. But that was 20 years ago, long time ago, now we can value both Albert Maysles and Werner Herzog and Jon Bang Carlsen and Joergen Leth and Anne Wivel.

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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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