Jude Ratnam: Demons in Paradise

There are a handful of documentaries  in ”La Sélection officielle 2017” at the 70th edition of the Cannes Festival, May 17-28. No surprise that films by Agnès Varda, Raymond Depardon, Claude Lanzmann and Eugene Jarecki are listed, and no surprise that world famous actress Vanessa Redgrave’s directorial debut ”Sea of Sorrow” has been taken.

But such a pleasant surprise that Jude Ratnam´s personal and highly cinematic film essay ”Demons in Paradise” stands next to Lanzmann and Redgrave in the section ”Séances Spéciales”. World premiere for the director’s first film. Here is the synopsis of the film:

“In 1983, a Sri Lankan Tamil boy escapes an ethnic massacre by fleeing on a train. Today, now 30 years later a filmmaker, he boards a new train to revisit the recently ended civil war that tore his country apart. But once war is over, how does a country stop the never-ending cycle of fear and violence when that‘s all they‘ve ever known?”

I will write a review in connection with the screening in Cannes. With great pleasure as it also brings back memories of meetings with sympathetic Jude Ratnam, who took part in the valuable Archidoc sessions conducted by Héléna Fantl from la Fémis. His sense for cinematic language was obvious at this project level.

The film is co-produced with French Julie Paratian from Sister Productions and has achieved support from the IDFA Bertha Fund. They will not be disappointed with the final result.

Sri Lanka, France, 2017, 92 mins.



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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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