Planete+ Doc Film Festival/ 2

I was invited to the Warsaw festival to talk about film critic, which I did last saturday morning with a general introduction followed by a screening of Maciej Drygas ”Abu Haraz” and a discussion of which points should be dealt with in a review. A dozen people took part, some found that Drygas film was boring because of its slow contemplative rythm, others went straight to the content, which they found actual, one used the phrase that the film was about ”uprooting”. Two psychology students pointed out that the director maybe had fallen in love with his own aesteticism in some sequences. Might be right… Anyway, I wrote my review text (see below) after a computer screening, changing a word or two after the cinema screening. Which makes repeat the banality that films like that has to be seen on a big screen, there is no comparison. I saw many details that I simply could not see on the computer.

The Planete+ Doc Review Festival was well attended, the hospitality from the staff was great, the weather was superb summer-like, but as said, nevertheless there was an audience that left the sun to enter the darkness.

I arrived thursday evening and left sunday. I watched six films: Peter Liechti’s ”Father’s Garden” (read Sevara Pan’s enthusiastic review below), Swedish Martin Widerberg’s film ”Everyone is Older than I Am” about his father Bo, who never finished the film about Arvid, his father. The film is complicated when it comes to the storytelling structure but has a lot of fine moments with Arvid and first of all clips from Bo Widerberg’s wonderful films like ”Kvarteret Korpen”, ”Barnvagnen” and ”Elvira Madigan”.

I saw Nicholas Philibert’s ”Maison de la Radio”, review will follow and the new film of the directors, who made ”Rabbit a la Berlin”, Bartek Konopka and Piotr Rosolowski’s ”The Art of Disappearing”. Again an original film with an incredible fairy tale story about Polish theatre guru Jerzy Grotowski who lands in a helicopter in Haïti to take with him vodoo priest Amon Frémon. I met with the directors after the screening as well as with Anna Wydra, the super-energetic and competent producer, who said that she would bring ”Rabbit a la

Berlin” to the Oscar – which she did even if we were many, who thought she was dreaming. The new film I have to see again to get it all but here is their own description:

Poland was a strange place for him. Even the rain was louder, as if in a land of deaf people. People gathered in queues for hours but they never spoke to each other. A romantic poet Adam Mickiewicz led him to the underworld and helped him contact Polish spirits. He survived the martial law period when the evil white water came from the sky, water that could not satisfy thirst. Finally he decided to perform a great vodoo ceremony to free the Polish people from evil forces. The dead and alive unite in battle. The spirit of the Polish romanticism unites with the Haitian loa spirits just as 200 years ago, during the great revolution in Haiti.

An unknown story of a Haitian vodoo priest, Amon Frémon, who visited the People’s Republic of Poland in 1980. A metaphysical view on time of socialism through the eyes of a stranger form a different culture.”

Film number 5 I saw, was ”I am in Space” by Dana Raga, a compilation of NASA material from space journeys with text quote bites from interviews the director had done with astronuats. Funny moments from life on board a space station but it does not really work as a film story.

And finally Danish Andreas Koefoed’s music documentary with the band Efterklang, ”The Ghost of Piramida”, review follows.

PS. “The Last Station” by Chilean Cristian Soto and Catalina Vergara won a prize for its brilliant cinematography as did “Elena” (Photo) by Petra Costa from Brazil.

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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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