IDFA: Kapanadze & van der Horst

A debutant and a veteran director, two very good films, award candidates I guess, I watched them, I give you some brief texts about them. Recommendations: Ketevan Kapanadze’s ”How the Room Felt” and Aliona van der Horst ”Turn Your Body to the Sun”.

An informative quote from the site text of the Georgian film: In the Georgian city of Kutaisi, a local women’s football team constitutes the heart of a group of female and non-binary queer people, who get together regularly to hang out, to party, to hug each other, and to discuss existential issues…

I had a smile on my face during the whole film because it is full of warmth and atmosphere, I loved watching and listening to the young women/girls, seeing them drink, dance, SMOKE (OMG!), expressing their feelings towards each other, being happy, being sad – hanging out as said above. Of course the film relates ”to a society that’s not known for embracing its LGBTQ+ community” but the film is far from being a campaign film or a journalistic report, it is an observational film about individuals to whom you get close – Lara (or is it Lana), Anuka, Anano, Sopo… and it is amazing to know that this is a first film, when you see the many tableau-like scenes, where nothing happens, and scenes full of poetry, so well set up and told. Talented film language.

The debutant is in the International Competition as is Dutch Aliona van der Horst with her touching, aesthetically superb «Turn Your Body to the Sun». An informative quote from the site text: The incredible life story of a Soviet soldier of Tatar descent who was captured by the Nazis during WWII. Today, his daughter Sana is tracing the path of her silent father, trying to understand what made him the man she knew as a child, through his diaries, as well as various personal and public archives and registries…

The daughter and her sister are on the train to Siberia, where the father was in a camp for 14 years! An incredible story, as written above and a Film that masters the many layers, giving the audience the necessary information to follow a man, who was in the Soviet and German army ending up in the American around D-Day. When he came back from the camp, where he was sent punished for being a traitor, he suddenly said ”I saw Notre Dame”. One of the beautiful moments that stand out in a narrative, where van der Horst succeeds brilliantly to make the fabulous archive alive, colouring those pieces that were b/w, and making the letters and diary fragments fine pieces of literature… they arrive to the camp in  Siberia in a poetic film that I feel happy to have seen. 

How the Room Felt, Georgia, 2021, 74 mins.

Turn Your Body to the Sun, Netherlands, 2021, 93 mins.

www.idfa.nl

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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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