Sérgio Tréfaut: Treblinka

The portuguese director Sérgio Tréfaut/ Serge Tréfaut (http://www.filmkommentaren.dk/blog/blogpost/3388/) was back in Copenhagen with the film Treblinka. The screening took place at the Cinématheque at the Film House.
The Cinématheque that we so often have praised on this site for its excellent programming  and that I (Allan Berg lives in Randers hours away from Copenhagen) visit far too little even if it is only 10 minutes walk from home. Well, not totally right, we often go with the grandchildren to watch the morning screenings of mainly animation films.
Back to Tréfaut saturday night 7pm. Almost full house, a majority invited through the culturally active Portuguese embassy. Jesper Andersen.
programmer, who like me admires Tréfaut and his work, had chosen “Treblinka” knowing that the director also is a great speaker, which he
demonstrated before and after the 61 minutes long film.
About the background for the film he told the audience that he had had long conversations with the French director and writer AND holocaust
survivor Marceline Loridan-Ivens (born 1928); her last name refers to her long life with legendary documentarian Joris Ivens. He was impressed
by her will to life – “this small woman is like a bomb” – and had read her memoirs and heard her talk about her relations to trains. She is still
scared to enter a train… the trains to the camps…
That was one of the reasons why Tréfaut chose to let his film take place in trains passing though foggy or snowy Eastern European landscapes, with images that are most often doubled, with naked men and women sitting in the trains, some of them reciting the text, with the constant train sound. The images, composed by João Ribeiro, and the editing, create a dreamerish atmosphere, something horrible that happened in the past, the ghosts are still there for the survivors whatever they do to enjoy the Life.
The film essay, yes that’s what it is, is based on the memoirs of Chil Rajchman (Treblinka: A Survivor’s Memory), a Polish Jew, who was arrested
with his younger sister in 1942 and sent to Treblinka – a death camp where more than 750,000 were murdered before it was abandoned by German soldiers.
It took Tréfaut only weeks to film in the trains but a year to edit the work, that has been to festivals in 20 countries.
I had seen the film before on my computer, I can not recommend that. Was happy to watch it on a big screen with the brilliant aesthetic choice of
image and sound to convey an almost unbearable theme. No more holocaust films, it has been said many times especially at pitching sessions. Nonsense, you think, when you see Sérgio Tréfaut’s masterly done piece of Cinema.
Portugal, 2016, 61 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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