Riga International Film Festival

… starts this coming week, the 15th of October and runs for 10 days. With many interesting films to watch. Below you will find a review of ”Double Aliens” by Ugis Olte, that is on the programme that includes several documentaries. If I was there I would hurry up to get tickets for the new film of Sergei Loznitsa, ”The Event”, 74 mins., that is introduced like this: ”Leningrad 1991. TV broadcasts ”The Swan Lake”. The streets are full of anxious people. A rumour goes that a coup has taken place… the so-called August putsch will become a breaking poin in history, the beginning of drastic changes and the collapse of USSR…” No need to stress how strong Loznitsa is when he deals with archive material. I will watch the film in Leipzig.

The festival has an official competition, mostly fiction films, a section of ”auteur features” as they call them, a Latvian section, a Nordic Highlights, short films, films for children, a ”In Kino Veritas” that features what has led to what today is called hybrid films: Jean Rouch with ”Chronique d’un èté”, Cassavetes ”Faces” and (good move!) ”Golden Gloves” by Canadian Gilles Groulx.

Most interesting, however, is that the festival has given Russian director of films and the festival Artdocfest, Vitaly Mansky, space in

the programme to show 7 films that he would never get permission to show in Moscow, the city where his festival took place for years.

One of the films is Austrian Ivette Löcker’s ”When it Blinds, Open Your Eyes” that I reviewed on this site, first words: ”Zhanna, Lyosha and Maria. St. Petersburg 2013. Small apartment. Full of smoke from the cigarettes of Zhanna and Lyosha. Maria is the mother of Lyosha. She provides the two junkies with food – and love. She works, they do not – and yet, Lyosha is seen at the beginning of the film helping other drug addicts. He gets out of the appartment, Zhanna does not except for the ending of the film in a wheel chair pushed by Lyosha.”

Another one is from Abkhazia ”Domino Effect” (photo) by Polish Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Rosolowski, reviewed on this site, here is text of one paragraph: ”Co-director Rosolowski is also the cameraman, who brilliantly has captured the devastated Abkhazian capital Sukhumi, the empty houses, the ruins, it looks hopeless – and it is on this background that Rafael Ampar, minister of sports, a proud patriotic man, tries to build his life with Natasha, Russian opera singer and mother of a child, who comes to visit. She has – to say the least – huge problems to adapt to a culture and the Abkhazian language, she does not understand, she argues with Rafael, wants to leave, there is no job for her, whereas her daughter seems to have good time with Rafael.”

Lots of good films and of course the Riga film buffs also get the chance to watch ”Amy”!


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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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