Oscar Doc Nominations/ 2

The Oscars are to be given out in a couple of days. The media are full of articles, where film journalists and reviewers tell the readers, who their favourites are and who they think will be the winners. It’s all about feature/fiction films and actors. Very seldom documentaries are mentioned. Although the Oscars is not the most important event for the it should be said that the selection of the films nominated as I wrote late January includes ”good and very good films”.

At that time I had only seen two of the films, ”Last Men in Aleppo” by Feras Fayyad with Søren Steen Jespersen and Kareem Abeed as producers. Happy to read that Abeed now has got his visa so he can take part in the ceremony. In her review (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3858/)

Sara Thelle praises the cinematography and editing and writes ” it is documentation of war crimes and crimes against humanity, right there in front of your eyes. It is extremely disturbing and hard to watch.” An obvious candidate for the Oscar.

The other film I had seen was ”Icarus” by Bryan Fogel and Dan Cogan (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3242/), the weakest of the five nominated films.

Whereas ”Faces, Places” by Agnès Varda & JR is such a warm and charming personal film made in the loose essayistic style, also an obvious candidate, read the review (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/4161/)

The same goes for ”Strong Island” by Yance Ford. On the website of the film it is characterised precisely as ”intimate and meditative”, it is brilliantly constructed, it never goes sensationalistic even if the film is about a murder (of the brother of the director), it has the most fantastic mother of the murdered and the way it holds back information for the viewer stresses that this is a film about a family and an unbearable loss. If the Oscar should go to a film because of its aesthetic qualities – cinematography, editing – ”Strong Island” stands out.

Steve James finally was nominated with his fine ”Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”, a warm portrait of the Chinese family Sun and their bank problems. I loved to be with them in NY Chinatown but was a bit disappointed after having seen he director’s previous films – ”Hoop Dreams”, ”The Interrupters”, ”Life Itself”.


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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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