Krakow FF: New York, New York

Oh New York, this urban jungle full of tales and stories. Of people who long for a good life. Or just for a life. Rich and poor, all ages, all colours. All languages. Michael Glawogger (RIP) was there to make his masterpiece ”Megacities”. He allowed Timon Novotny to remake the film with his band, Sofasurfers. There are in these films unforgettable images from New York, filmed by the superb cinematographer Wolfgang Thaler. Unforgettable portraits of outsiders, who fight to survive. Danish director Jakob Thuesen made his best documentary ”Under New York” in the subway 20 years ago with homeless people. Stories which move you. Another Danish director Pernille Grønkjær, famous for her ”The Monastery” was there a few years ago to catch people with a ”Love Addiction”. And British Gary Tarn, who looked at the Big Apple with the eyes of a blinded man in almost psychedelic ”Black Sun”. And many, many others to remember in documentaries and in fiction… Martin Scorcese, just to mention the most prominent.

And now Piotr Stasik comes with his 71 minutes long 21 x New York, the opening film of the Krakow Film Festival. For me an international breakthrough for him with a feature documentary, that places him in the first division of European documentary directors.

I was sceptic, I had to admit. There are, as mentioned, loads of films on New York, this city that we urban cowboys love to go to – to feel the pulse of Life when it is high, to see, to go by underground, to look at people first of all. Yes, at ”all the lonely people where do they all belong” as the Four Fab sang. In New York you can find them, for sure.

What is it that makes Stasik’s film so attractive… Everything actually. It is a musical composition with a superb score, with use of music of very different nature, with a sound design that includes all that comes from the subway trains with an editing and a rythm, that is carried by the director’s fascination and ability to bring the film to a level of reflection on human existence. ”Time is Up”, one cries, Big Bang Two will arrive at a place on this earth of ours, where there is a constant longing for Love. In the film we meet characters, who have failed in creating relationships, who have dates, that work and do not work, who think they have found Love and then is was ”only” sex. With shots from inside the tube as the backbone of the way the film is built, but also with scenes that make you smile like the wonderful scene (he is wonderful) with the 13 year old boy in conversation with a grown-up man, who tells him that ”Men Follow the Penis”. A conversation on a bench in a park – a reference to Lozinski’s ”Anything Can Happen”? More subtle is the Japanese (or is he Chinese?) young man, who walk around and observe, with his thoughts on our existence as a voice-off. It is mesmerising!

Stasik, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere!

Share your love
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.

Articles: 3872