Robert Kirchhoff: To Choose Your Genre

This is a clip from an interview with Slovak Robert Kirchhoff, whose ”A Hole in the Head” was reviewed on this site:

Cineuropa: In your previous documentary, Normalization, you investigated a sensitive issue, and you are now pursuing another difficult theme, the Roma Holocaust, in A Hole in the Head. Why do you choose such difficult subjects? 
Robert Kirchhoff: Every subject that I have chosen to make a film about or to think about is an opportunity to approach that topic differently. It’s a challenge. And this is the way I feel about it. Neither of those subjects came to me by chance; it was always some particular story that brought them to my attention. With Normalization, I attempted to shoot a genre film, an investigative crime film, but there is a difference between the two films. Normalization depends on facts, literally — you have to follow the continuity in terms of the story, the past and the present, and you are working with people you do not necessarily like. In the case of A Hole in the Head, I got to pick the characters myself and I came up with the form of the film. I was facing a dilemma in terms of genre between a classic historic documentary or a documentary essay; I picked the latter. I intentionally resisted pathos — that’s why you can encounter humour in a film revolving around the Holocaust and the Roma genocide — and I resisted any kind of pathos that might have resulted from tying different meanings to a particular character. Those characters lived with their memories and the holes in their heads and I approached them not through the past but the present. That may be one of the reasons why I did not use any of the archive footage, period photos or illustrations.

http://cineuropa.org/it.aspx?t=interview&l=en&did=326167 

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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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