Mladen Kovacevic: 4 Years In 10 Minutes

I made the decision to take a look at the three documentaries praised for their editing by Sarajevo FF programmer Rada Sesic. After “Srbrenka” here comes my comments to “4 Years In 10 Minutes”. Sesic wrote this:  

“Mladen Kovacevic… is lucidly experimenting with someone else’s quite personal amateur footage and is confronting the audience with the notion of life and death.”

She refers to the material brought back from a Mount Everest expedition by Dragan Jacimovic, who reached the top in May 2000. It is amateur footage of quite bad quality and it is quotes from the diary of the climber, personal reflections the whole way through, put on the screen so it covers the whole picture. Again and again, quite a disturbing and boring cinematic decision, I have to confess was my impression until we get to the top with Jacimovic 36 mins. into the film, where we are with him, who is alone with no one to share his success and with huge problems in breathing. He shows the Yugoslav and Serbian flag and one from a sponsor I guess, “I am spitting blood”, 4 years in 10 minutes. This is where the film lives, were the viewer is invited to be present.

And then he has to hurry to go down again to get oxygen and his texts on the screen explain about hallucinations and about being unconscious; there is no pride in the texts it’s about life and death as Rada Sesic wrote.

The film was awarded as the best Serbian documentary at the Beldocs festival in Belgrade and it was premiered at Visions du Réel.

Serbia, 2018, 63 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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