Polish Documentaries

It is a tradition, and a good tradition: The Polish delegation invites for a dinner that includes an aperitif of clips from the films that take part in the DOK Leipzig (this year 12 docs and animation films) and a lot of films to come. Two of the films, ”A Diary of a Journey” and ”Joanna” have already been reviewed and highly appreciated on this site and I have seen two more of the twelve: ”Deep Love” by Jan P. Matuszynski and ”Father and Son” by Pawel Lozinski.

”Deep Love” is a multi-layered story. It is about a man, whose life first of all consists of a passion for diving, a passion that had severe consequences for him when his head hit a rock, making him a handicapped man, who understands what the people near him says to him but can not talk himself and has a paralysed arm and leg. Nevertheless, he wants to get into the sea again and go deeper, encouraged by his close friend and co-diver, yet discouraged by his girl friend, who is afraid of what could happen to him if he realises his wish to go 100 meter down. Here lies the core of the film, the relationship between them, the love story with her in the centre, with her constant care and anxiety. A very strong story but for my taste a bit too dramatic and disturbingly set up with music and sound.

The film of Pawel Lozinski is wonderful. It has this unique idea of the two of them going together on a tour to Paris to talk about and to each other, carrying along the conflicts they have had and the problems they never really got close to. There is love between them but also a hesitation to get to the core of it all, that goes back to the time when Marcel, the father, divorced Pawel’s mother and according to Pawel did not care about him any longer. And to the fact that they are both filmmakers, Marcel the Polish documentarian, and Pawel (my comment) quite on his level in many films, but does he sense that himself? The film has tenderness and anger and funny situations as well as scenes where Marcel does not want to continue the talk. They polish their glasses from Warsaw to Paris but if it makes them see clearer into the past and the present… the aftermath to the production of the film says no and has to be mentioned: It was from the beginning meant to be a film ”by Pawel and Marcel Lonzinski” but when it was finished, father Marcel decided to make his own version (could be seen in the Dok Leipzig Markt) which at some points is different from the one signed by Pawel, but apart from film freak analysts I wonder who can really see the reason for having two films. The conclusion is that the conflict between the two continues as when before the film idea came up. Father and son do not shake hands when they win prizes. As in Krakow this year.

Anyway, long live the Polish documentary, with its strong characters and creative directors it is definitely and artistically among the best in Europe! And thanks for a nice dinner to the organisers:



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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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