Mads Hedegaard: Cannon Arm and The Arcade Quest

To sit in a cinema watching documentaries! In Malmø where the 32nd Nordisk Panorama takes place. Anita Reher, my colleague from the time where EDN (European Documentary Network) was alive and kicking, invited me to be a juror in the competition for new talents called New Nordic Voice. Thanks. To sit in a cinema… have not done so for a loong time. 

The festival opened Thursday night as always at this Nordic gathering in a good atmosphere.

To be honest I considered not to go to watch a film having read that it dealt with a man, who would beat a record of playing arcade games… what is that?

I went and liked the film a lot. I did not learn anything about arcade games but I met some great personalities, “heroic outsiders”, they are called in the describtion below that I have taken from the website of the Danish Film Institute. I would add artists to characterise them. The protagonist Kim “Kanonarm” Købke who is not, to say the least, a big talker. During the film he mumbles, hmmm, strange sounds come from him while he is playing – and still the line I remember so well is “oh, some wonderful plants” said by the player, while he is out in the dark peeing in a small break from the ambition to beat the record! One of his friends (Michael) Dyst is a writer, who reads some of his fine poems in between the arcade games. Reminds me of Yahya Hassan. And Carsten (Tommy Lauridsen) who has dedicated his life to analyse the music of Johan Sebastian Bach! There are other personalities in the Bip Bip Bar on Fælledvej in Copenhagen and there is a lot beer and music. And fun. The film has a flow with energetic scenes put together in a way so there are also pauses from the sound of the arcade machines. Here is the synopsis: 

 «A film about friendship and arcade games that will put a smile on your face and tug at your heartstrings. With the help from his friends at Bip Bip Bar, Kim Cannon Arm attempts to be the first in the world to play an arcade machine from the early ’80s for 100 consecutive hours. With its collection of heroic outsiders, dreams about legendary world records, quirky hairdos and brilliant players, the documentary praises solidarity and the attempt to achieve the sublime.”

Quite a refreshing documentary!

Will come back with more small reports but not about the films from the competition – the jury still have 6 long documentaries to watch before deciding the winner.

Denmark, 2021, 97 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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