Magnificent 7 Belgrade Day 6 & 7

Finnish Virpi Suutari visited the festival for a very short time. She had just left the national documentary celebration DocPoint on Finland where her ”Garden Lovers” got the Jussi award as the best Finnish documentary and composer Sanna Salmenkallio received the award for the best music for that film. Knowing the general high quality of Finnish documentaries, I can only say – tough competition but the right winner, the film is a poetic masterpiece and has a universal appeal. I see it as one long visit to a Garden of Love, an hommage to people, who have lived for a long time together and care about their garden and each other. Virpi Suutari has her own style, there is unique flow in her narrative supported by the music. ”Garden Lovers” got applause for minutes, was enormously appreciated by the Belgrade audience – I know I repeat myself: the best in Europe!

In her masterclass Suutari (photo) talked about and showed her inspiration that comes from her education as a photographer (never been to film school). ”It affects your aesthetics what you have experienced in your childhood”, she said and referred to Martin Parr , Billy Brandt, Hopper and Billingham. She showed clips from ”Sin”, that she made together with Susanne Helke, a true inspiration from Swedish master Roy Andersson, and from ”White Sky”, also together with Helke, from Northern Russia, before she showed clips from ”Hilton”, made at the same time as ”Garden Lovers” in a completely different style.

The last screening at Magnificent 7 was ”Rules of the Game” by Claudine Bories and Patrice Chagnard, who returned to Belgrade after their ”Les Arrivants”, another political-social documentary. Shown at Magnificent 7. As with that one, Bories and Chagnard invites the audience to a direct cinema, observational documentary, a ”cinema documentary” piece, as the situation in France is like this for auteurs”: ”television does not like us, we don’t like television” and after Thierry Garrel left arte also this channel pays little attention and support to the creative documentary. ”Cinema documentaire”, the couple told the participants of the workshop, because your application process to the CNC is equal to the fictions to be supported: you write a scenario, they did so after having been on research at the ”tour”, where the youngsters are trained tools to apply for jobs. Three weeks of research, back to write the scenario, that is actually what they imagine could happen – and before the final casting has been done. The final result looked very much like the scenario written. ”Anticiper le réel” as said Claudine Bories – oh, the French are so good in talking about films, their language is better fit for definition of the creative process, I think. Right? Chagnard told us how important the sound is, the sound brought us direct cinema in the 60’es, he said, and the sound engineer has to be a dancer, when he or she records dialogues.

The film about Lolita, Kevin, Hamid – who are trained to be ”employable” – is in Parisian cinemas right now (had its premiere the day where Charlie Hebdo was attacked!) and the two directors tour the country to discuss the film and its important theme with coaches and those, who could employ young people like the three and thousands of other young unemployed. Great film, call it what you like, Werner Herzog, but the observational documentary is very much alive and kicking!

Also this year local BelMedic awarded a film – “Rules of the Game”.

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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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