Riga, very early morning. Because of crutch – pain, waiting for a hip replacement – chair-assistance in the airport and help from co-tutor at the Baltic Sea Docs, editor Phil Jandaly, who was on his way to another workshop.
One day in Copenhagen in the allotment garden (Danish kolonihave, German Schrebergarten) and then my wife and I went for Belgrade, for the 19th edition of Magnificent7, a unique festival in its format: 7 films, 7 days and a formidable hospitality from the side of the festival directors Svetlana and Zoran Popovic. That started already when we were met by – as always – Ema, who this year is helped by Katarina. They took us to the hotel and provided us with “survival kits”… biscuits in many different versions, juice, water, tissues – absolutely needed as it is hot in Belgrade.
Just had breakfast in the fine hotel that is 5 minutes from the cinema MTS Dvorana, where the opening film “All Men Become Brothers” by Robert Kirchhoff will be screened at 8pm. One of my heroes, Alexander Dubcek, is the one Kirchhoff describes – here is my intro to a review I wrote on filmkommentaren.dk, a scene that is not in the film: …I am sure many of you remember the iconic moment from November 1989, when Vaclav Havel and Alexander Dubcek stand on a balcony in the Wenceslas Square in Prague being welcomed enthusiastically by hundreds of thousands. It was the days of the Velvet revolution and the hero of 1968 and the hero of 1989 were there together. I get tears in my eyes whenever I see that clip with Dubcek with embracing the crowd with his arms…
Anyway, the film is here and it is a great film, another quote: … Thanks to Slovak Robert Kirchhoff there is now a detailed, well composed cinematic essay, a huge work that has taken him years of research and contemplation on how to tell the story about the man, who wanted “socialism with a human face”.
The festival has a focus on directors, several of them arrive today and stay to watch the films of their colleagues. They will not regret to be at this totally non-commercial festival with no industry event attached. For me coming from an excellent Baltic Sea Docs that dealt with film projects in progress and development a perfect change to film watching together with an audience.