Nicolas Barthez: Great Run

The start is wonderful. Young runners on the road in sunset light, in the middle of the car traffic. The narrative follows one of them home, Fassika, 14 years old – she wants to run for fame and to get away. In general the camerawork is good. “Anywhere would be better for me”, Fassika says, and dreams about France, England, USA, whatever would be possible. It is revealed that she and her family, as the family of Enok, a boy of 11, come from Eritrea and are deported to the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Abeba.

This conflicted political aspect is not further developed in the film. Focus is on the runners. One more is introduced, Tariku, who are from Bokoji, which is a small village, from where all the well known world champion athletes come. The scenes from Bokoji has stunning images from training in the forest and on the field (especially one where you see a runner training by chasing a horse) and the film, it is felt, is made with full commitment but without much knowledge about how to structure the story. We go from here to there, from one person to the other, without getting a sufficiently satisfying impression of the characters, except for Fassika. It is the first film of the director, the photographer Nicolas Barthez, well done but he should get a bit of storybuilding assistance for the next one.

France, 2008, 45 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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