Klara Trencsenyi & Vlad Naumescu: Birds Way

First the annotation as it appears on the cover of the dvd and on the site of the production company, Libra Film in Romania: “Birds Road is a creative documentary that follows the daily routine of a Russian Lipovan community struggling to survive and maintain their traditions in spite of the overwhelming intrusion of modernity. The testimonies of these Old Believers about recent transformations, dying religion and their struggle to preserve archaic traditions reveal the vulnerability and secretiveness of a traditional community.”

And then my congratulations to the directors for making a theme so far away from my urban jungle up in the Northern Europe – interesting, fascinating, warm and human. Why? Because of their obvious long stay down there close to the Danube where mostly – according to the film – old people live, close to their religion and language and rituals. The people in the film have found the filmmakers trustworthy and invited them into their houses. Here you are, this is our life.

The generous answer given to this hospitality and openness comes out in an amazing cinematography by Trencsenyi, who catches the simple life and its beauty with respect and love. Story? Not in a classical sense – one storyline, from a to z – but with many smaller stories being unfolded in a nice and quite way: About the prison for political prisoners at the the river, about tourism, about the lack of a priest chosen by the Believers themselves, about the young man they want as a priest but he has no wife (!), about funerals, and the Slavonic language that only two can read now. Empty village roads, children playing. A pleasure to watch and learn from this fine observational documentary.

Romania, 2009, 56 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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