Maria Kravchenko: Body Parts

This film has a powerful rythm that you seldom meet. It is not the MTV-style that is so much present in modern documentaries, it is more carried by an expressive associative editing that could be compared to a Russian tradition that again could be said to go back to the principles of Eisenstein. Or to – in some sequences – Armenian director Pelichian and his masterpiece ”Seasons”. Contrary to that one, young Kravchenko, her second documentary it is, uses interviews with characters, who are filmed in ultra close-ups, intercut with images of landscapes, of old women, of wedding rituals, from the country side, and with archive material from war and destruction, and building-up again. Accompanied by a sound design that stresses the tension and vulnerability in the treated theme.

It is Chechnya and it is young people, who got tragically hurt during the Chechen wars, 1994/95-1996 & 1999/2000. They lost – most of the ones in the film – a leg as kids, and they are now part of a one-legged football team that in the film is going back to Grozny after a tournament in Moscow (my guess, it is not being said). Adam, Muslim, Ibrahim, Aslanbek, Isa and others survived ”a childhood in war”.

Red Cross has supported the film and the fact that the youngsters are together and do something, is in itself uplifting. You want to believe that they still have the chance to get a decent life. With her unconventional interpretation of their situation and her energy in filmmaking, through the excellent scenes from the football matches and the beautiful way the young men express themselves… she gives hope. Even if a tragicomic scene in the film reveals that the word ”happiness” does not exist in Chechnyan!

Russia, Ostrov Studio, 2009, 39 mins. Producer: Sergey Miroschnicenko.

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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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