Mikala Krogh: Everything is Relative

Surprise me, please, it is often said to filmmakers when films are to be thought of, written, pitched, filmed and put together. Nothing is worse, or more boring, than the predictability in narration where you know where it goes, from the very beginning.

Mikala Krogh surprises the viewer. She has chosen an unconventional chaptered structure with captions like ”love”, ”illness”, ”happiness”, ”time”, ”loss” and ”light” – and conveys these themes through the introduction of characters and small actions from all over the world. She puts them one after the other and cuts the geographical context. From (to take an example, under ”time”, one of the best performed chapters) a man from BanglaDesh who works in Dubai far away from family, to an old Danish woman who takes long time to button her sweater, back to Dubai skyline where cows slowly pass by on the ground, to a waiting room in a welfare society (pure Roy Andersson set-up), to a long emotionally impressive queu of Asian workers who line up to be ordered to get into a train, to American soldiers who receive orders, to a sequence of clocks and watches caught on a white background, to the Danish young woman who has cancer, and to Mogens Rukov, co-scenarist of the film, who reflect on time.

It is sometimes very cleverly constructed, yet with different tension in the individual scenes which have to be strong on their own as there is no story in a normal way. I like the abstract arrangement of people on a white background in a studio – it reminds me of early films by Danish documentarian Jørgen Leth – and I like the intentional hybrid form that Mikala Krogh uses in her reflection on the universality of love and happiness, illness and sorrow. The question is of course if this is a reasonable and relevant way of comparing or if it is a kaleidoscopic banality.

Judge for yourself, the film will come to a festival near you, for instance to Karlovy Vary beginning of July.

Denmark, 2008, 73 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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