Oscar Perez: Ventrada

Nothing happens. Or a lot happens. Up to you as audience. It depends on how you define ”a story”. In mainstream definition terms one would say that there is no story, and yet here is an outline of the short documentary shot in the countryside near the delta of Ebro:

An old man in an electric wheelchair is the ruler of an old farm with dogs and sheep. From his chair he orders the others around, including the sound man from the film team, when some puppies just born are about to be killed unintentionally by the dog ”bitch”, who protects her litter.

His wife (or sister?) walks into the picture, and another character, an old man who seems to be a bit retarded, is the one that the ruler commands to get rid of most of the puppies leaving only two to live. At the end of the film the camera goes with the ruler on his way into the marshes to follow his sheep. It is almost like a still life, brutal in tone, he is not really likeable, you start wondering about the kind of life he has had, he just sits there without a smile on his stone-face.

A story or a tableau, both I would say. Because of the stubborness/patience/eye of the film director/cameraman who waits to seize the moments. And gets some. Classical documentary observation, and multi-layered like a creative documentary should be.

Spain, 2009, 22 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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