Scorsese & Tedeschi: The 50 Year Argument

”Cinematekets egne premiere-dokumentarer – håndplukkede historier fra virkeligheden”, sådan præsenteres et fint initiativ, som også kaldes ”månedens dokumentar”, som vises i Filmhuset ved 6 forevisninger, således også januar måneds bemærkelsesværdige ”The 50 Year Argument”, der vises i sin originalversion og uden danske undertekster. Premiere den 29. Januar. En filmisk hyldest til legendariske New York Review of Books i anledning af bladets 50 års jubillæum. Martin Scorsese og David Tedeschi har løst opgaven (bestilt af bladet) med humor og respekt for det skrevne ord, men også med sans for det historiske og tematiske, med tankevækkende og undertiden gribende nedslag i tekster og personer, som vil blive stående i litteraturen og journalistikken. Man får lyst til straks at få fat i bladet og dets artikler skrevet af en række fremragende forfattere, filosoffer, videnskabsfolk og journalister.

The main character is the fine gentleman Robert Silvers, 84 years old, one of the founders, who (together with Barbara Epstein (died in 2006)) ”has guided the Review since its launch”, quote from HBO press material. He is working from morning till night seven days a week and he is the one behind the 50 year celebration event that has been filmed with several contributors reading texts from the essays, they have delivered. Boring with people reading from a speakers podium? Not at all, the texts are put in excerpts on the screen, often accompanied with archive footage and photos of the contributors, beautiful b/w works, and for instance archive footage with James Baldwin, Susan Sontag, Noman Mailer, Gore

Vidal, Isaiah Berlin and Vaclav Havel. The latter is dealt with by Timothy Garton Ash, historian and essayist, professor at Oxford University, who followed and wrote about Prague 1989/90, with Havel in focus.

The narrative goes from the 60’es, the killing of Kennedy till today’s Occupy movement caught in the streets of Manhattan. Not necessarily in a chronological structure. Thematically the film covers the wars, the women’s liberation movement (with clips of the debate between Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer), the art scene with Warhol of course and much more, as New York Review of Books has always been precisely much more than a biweekly magazine. It has covered political events and wars, often with a controversial approach.

There are many roses to Silvers, often like ”he trusted me as a writer”, and many stresses the fact that he (Silvers) very often has asked writers far away from a subject to write. Like Joan Didion did with The Central Park Case. Silvers stresses that an editor is one, who asks, he should never command.

An entertaining and fascinating visual hommage to Words as they are being loved by and cared for by brilliant writers inspired by a unique editor.

USA, 2014, 95 mins.

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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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