Magnificent7 Belgrade 2018

There he stands, the Prince Waszyński, in his palazzo, smoking a cigarette. An elegant man. Like a character in a film by Luchino Visconti. Did they ever meet the two in Rome, where the Prince passed his last years? After the more than turbulent life he had lived. His story is what Polish Elvira Niewiera and Piotr Rosolowski unfolds in “The Prince and the Dybbuk”, that is the opening film for the 14th edition of the festival in its new venue, the Kombank Hall in central Belgrade.

And this is for sure, like all 7 films, a film that deserves the big screen. It is Cinema to be enjoyed because of its elegant narrative structure, its use of archive, the editing, the music, the dignity with which the directors treat the Prince.

Do we go for themes, when the selection for the festival takes place? No, we go for the Cinematic quality and originality, that our audience expect – and I say it again, the best audience in Europe is the one in Belgrade. Nevertheless, having done the selection this year, we discover that three of the films put the focus on children.

Oh, I would hope that teachers all over could see and learn from “Miss Kiet’s Children”, with the

amazing Kiet Engels, whose way of taking care of the refugee children is an example to follow. She has a teacher’s skills and she cares. Which is obvious in the superb piece of observational humanistic Cinema performed by Petra and Peter Lataster.

Likewise with “The Distant Barking of Dogs” by Simon Lereng Wilmont, who in several films has shown his ability to get close to and get the best out of children. In this case 10 year old Oleg and his cousin Yarik. It is a film with many layers from a war-torn area in Ukraine, and it has to be said with grandmother Alexandra in the centre of the story. A film about Childhood, about Fear, about Survival, about Love. Made with love. And cinematic skills on how to build a story, compose the images and put them together with a soundtrack that stresses the atmosphere of the scenes, without killing them.

Children play likewise a role in the Swedish “Giants and the Morning After”, where the lovely mayor of the small community Ydre welcome the newborn children with a gift to the parents, hoping they will stay and make more babies. Malla Grapengiesser, Per Bifrost and Alexander Rynéus stand behind the film with an old friend of the festival Finnish Mervi Junkkonen as the editor. It has a tone of humour, it has a universal theme (the depopulation of rural communities) and a cinematic language that adds mysterious connections to the surrounding nature.

Can we live without art? Of course not. The festival’s ambition is to be a tribute to the art of documentary Cinema and to bring in tributes to other art forms. We are very happy to have the latest film of Thomas Riedelsheimer in the program. His “Leaning into the Wind” with the extraordinary Andy Goldsworthy is about nature and how to explore and interpret it as Goldsworthy does, and as Riedelsheimer does so well including the artists he used for the “Touch the Sound”, the percussionist Evelyn Glennie and the composer Fred Frith.

Staying with landscapes depicted as paintings put together in a totally different way that we are used to is “Sleep has her House” by Scott Barley, who himself characterizes the film like this “through long static takes, the film develops a contemplative, hypnotic experience, akin to paintings that move, mixing live action and still photography (shot on iPhone) and hand-drawn images”. Wow, looking forward to see it on a big screen!

The closing film is “Entrepreneur” by Virpi Suutari, film director and professor of art. It is funny, it is about Love, it has magnificent music composed by Sanna Salmenkallio. It is like her previous M7 film, “Garden Lovers” about ordinary people, with an extraordinary Cinematic language.








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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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