Steven Sebring:Patti Smith–Dream of Life/CPH:DOX 1

The film is a bombardment of words. From start till end Patti Smith reads texts of her own or by the many poets she has been inspired of in her multifacetted career as singer, painter, photographer, writer and visual artist. Actually, it is wrong to say that she reads the texts, she recites them as were they music, and this is what gives this film a flow and a rythm and a structure that is like a visual collage in very different styles and moods.

She goes to the places where were Arthur Rimbaud, she reads Allen Ginsberg to us, she travels the world, she takes notes, she takes pictures. And yet the most emotional parts are filmed in her big NY room, where she sits alone in the corner and comments on and shows her ”Objects in Life”.

She puts all her heart into this film that has been made over a period of 12 years, from the point when Patti Smith decided to get back to the music after having been living a family life out of the spotlight. There is a lot of concert sequences, there are photos that serve to take us back to Chelsea Hotel and Burroughs and Mapplethorpe, there are sequences with her and her children, there is a small jam session with Sam Shepard… it is a very rich film that you can only love for a 16mm (sometimes b/w, sometimes colour, sometimes direct cinema, sometimes interviews and staged scenes) camera work with nerve.

It premiered at the Sundance Festival, was at the Berlinale and will for sure come to a cinema or festival near you. I watched it on arte. AND NOW IT IS AT CPH:DOX AS IS PATTI SMITH HERSELF!

US, 2008, 108 mins

Photo: Patti Smith performing in Helsinki 2007

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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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