M. Obert: Song from the Forest/Sange fra skoven

Citat fra pressematerialet: Essensen i Bayaka kultur er deres ældgamle polyfoniske sang. Louis Sarno har gennem sine indspilninger af Bayaka folkets musik sikret en af verdens vigtige kulturarve; i 2003 fik Bayaka folkets musik UNESCO World Heritage Status. Louis Sarno har indspillet over 1000 timer af Bayaka folkets sang og musik. Bayaka folket kæmper i dag for deres overlevelse, da træfældere og guldspekulanter indtager deres leveareal. Over de sidste to årtier er 75 procent af Congo Basin regnskoven blevet ryddet…

Dette er baggrunden for Michael Oberts film, der fra i morgen, via Doxbio, har premiere I mere end 40 danske biografer. Den fortjener et stort publikum for sin smukke skildring af en mand, der I 25 år har levet I regnskoven hos Bayka-folket, hvor han har optaget deres enestående musik. Louis Sarno hviler I sig selv, når han sidder I sin lille hytte og udtrykker sin kærlighed til det samfund, som har taget ham til sig. Han har lovet sin søn, som han har med en Bayaka kvinde, Gomá, at vise ham hvor han selv er født og vokset op og turen til New York udgør anden halvdel af historien, hvor drengen Samedi oplever en helt anden verden, som selvfølgelig synes at fascinere ham.

This is what I wrote after the idfa festival, where the film got the main prize: The winner, ”Song from the Forest”, has an absolutely wonderful main character Louis Sarno, charismatic, sympathetic and his contribution to the collect of music from the pygmies is admirable and extraordinary. To see and listen to him is great, and there is a lot to get from his travel with the son, whereas it irritates when the filmmaker in the beginning of the story, as a kind of selling tool, brings in Jim Jarmusch to tell us how magnificent Louis and how apartheid is still to be found everywhere, there are other show-stoppers like that along the way…

I saw the film again this morning and focused on what I liked (still having problems with the editing structure of a film): Cinematographer Siri Klug) has amazingly beautiful images from the forest, this is where the film (accompanied by Bayaka music and renaissance music by William Byrd) lives aesthetically, whereas it falls a bit down when we go to the US with the interviews and family situations – maybe it was the intention to have it more prosaic to stay in harmony with what Sarno feels like when he is back to New York: I’m not a real person in this place. The story with him and the son is nice, father and son but not much more than that. In the forest he talks about the ”spiritual serenity” that he experiences, he talks in such a mild and calm and clever way when he sits in his humble house, but he (in the US part) is also more than concerned about the future of the Bayaka culture, and is he seriously ill, you think when you see him in New York?

Germany, 2013, 96 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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