Nordisk Panorama 2020 Opening

I was there. Not on the couch, sorry, but in my old armchair (Børge Mogensen, black leather, for you, at least the Danes, to know the quality…) from where I normally watch football on television, with my feet up on a footstool, wearing slippers. Just back from the garden house and the warm September day…

…with my laptop, ready for a festive opening. Anita Reher, the boss of Nordisk Panorama, welcomed with warm words to the filmmakers, the audience, the team behind her and the funders. She then passed the word to Nadia Jebril – Palestinian parents – from Malmö, on her couch, a superb host, who took us through the program in the warming-up for a festival mood, from her couch, including a couple of obligatory talks from funders from the city and the region. All in a very professional and inviting atmosphere…

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Two opening films. The first one, five minutes long, «Something to Remember» by Niki Linderoth von Bahr. Magnificent. Big word. But that’s what this short film is. A visual poem with puppets (see the photo), arranged as a “lullaby before the big disaster”. So happy to have been given the chance to leave the documentaries for some few minutes to experience an artist that makes me smile and think about our civilisation exactly like Roy Andersson does. I have seen it a couple of times since this opening, the lyrics, the singing, the décor, “the locations”… I have read that the director has made many short films that have travelled the world, and thank you Nordisk Panorama to give us a retrospective  and a masterclass (on Sunday) with Niki Linderoth von Bahr. Must be a highlight of the festival.

The second film, the documentary “Lady Time” by Finnish Elina Talvensaari, did not catch my attention. The story about Sirkka-Liisa, an old woman who died alone leaving furniture and personal things in the flat that the director moves into, has a very sad tone to match the loneliness of the former resident in the flat. The director investigates her life through family photo albums, letters, diaries – to give her Life. And the director seeks to do so through a visual language that for me very often becomes demonstratively “filmic” and pathetic. In the Q&A, half an hour, where the director talks to festival programmer Cecilia Lidin, she stresses that she felt that she had to include herself in the story, and in some of these moments there is some humour, otherwise I had a hard time to stay with the monotonous bringing to life Sirkka-Liisa, who had a tough but also good life with her husband, and lived alone the last twenty years of her life – she died more than 90 years old. And I have to confess that I – during the watching –  was thinking of the ethics connected to the director opening very private letters from the dead woman, to make her film. Actually I remembered my own hesitation when I sat with my mother’s letters and diaries after her death. Same generation by the way.

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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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