Peteris Krilovs: Deconstruction of an Artist

Tuesday evening May 6, Riga, the old fine cinema in the middle of the city.

I am invited to the premiere of a film, that I have had the privilege to follow for a couple of years. The director Peteris Krilovs and his producer Uldis Cekulis attended two MEDIA Training Programmes that I was involved in: Ex Oriente and Archidoc, and NOW was the moment to present the great, well crafted and well told story about the artist Gustavs Klucis, who was part of the Russian avant garde movement, served the Stalin propaganda machine and ended as a victim of the same regime. One day they came to get him…

The film has everything: wonderful archive footage, brilliant and playful sequences where the film team (including young Danish editor talent Julia Vinten) deconstructs the work of Klucis, makes small films ”within” the film and puts it together again, thus demonstrating his actuality for modern design. There is a very moving sound track with letters from his wife, with the director’s own fine text and some gently performed reconstruction scenes, an effectful accompagnement to the deconstructed photomontages and powerful music.

The version I saw in the full cinema was the local one – Russian and Latvian language – feature duration, the English version is to be made now, as are the tv versions. History, art, an interpretation of a period and a flamboyant artist. A search for a cinematic language and a dynamic that could  have been the one that Klucis would have chosen had he been a filmmaker.

I had decided not to review the film, I am biased, but anyway my entusiasm is evident: all you festival and tv people out there, watch out for this film, it has a big audience potential, far beyond the happy few who are in the art circle.

Thanks for the invitation to my dear friend, the MEDIA Desk Latvia, wonderful Lelda Ozola, who not only gave me the chance to be at a premiere but also through meetings to be updated on the Latvian documentary scene that I have followed since 1990, thanks to the Baltic Film/TV Festival and Baltic Media Centre on Bornholm.

and if you are near den Haag in Holland, there is an exhibition of Klucis works:  

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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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