Loznitsa and Dostoyevsky

One more Odessa-story of quite a different flavour. Vassilis Economou has for Cineuropa interviewed Sergei Loznitsa, whose fiction film, ”A Gentle Creature”, was shown at the festival. As always it is interesting to listen to the director, whose documentary ”Austerlitz” has travelled the world. Read the whole interview, link below, here is a clip:

Cineuropa: A Gentle Creature is loosely based on the short story of the same name by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Do you think that he still remains an inspiration for current events?

Sergei Loznitsa: I believe that nothing much has actually changed in Russia since Dostoyevsky wrote his story. Dostoyevsky was a prophetic author. He predicted the horror that arrived in Russia soon after. In The Demons, one of his most prophetic novels, he describes a very particular type of human being – immoral, very devious and dishonest. They appeared in

Russia at the turn of the century; they multiplied massively and at a certain point took over the country. Dostoyevsky depicted this atmosphere that generates the “demons” and encourages this type of devious behaviour. I was inspired by this concept introduced by Dostoyevsky, and I used it as a starting point for my film.

Are we still facing the same demons? 
If we compare the Dostoyevskian era to our contemporary situation, I feel that we are in a worse position now. In a way, this is quite logical if we consider the millions of people who have perished in this country over the past 100 years. Those who were sacrificed certainly represented a different spectrum of the human character, totally opposite to the one of the demons. The negative selection in the population led to devastating results…

Looking forward to seeing the film and to the upcoming documentaries by the super-productive director: I’m working on two documentaries. The first, entitled Victory Day, was shot in Treptower Park in Berlin on 8 and 9 May; it’s a place that ex-Soviet citizens, now German residents, visit to commemorate the victory in WWII. The second is a montage of archive footage of the show trials that were held in Moscow during the Stalinist period. The film will be called The Trial. I’m also preparing a new feature film, and I just came from a location-scouting trip in Central Ukraine.


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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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