Tereza Nvotová: Take it Jeasy!

Total respect for the 20 year old Czech director, who has completed her first feature length documentary and got it into cinemas where it still runs after a month. And even more respect for her choice of own childhood experience as the starting point for a film about – with her own words – faith, education and manipulation in a Christian controversial movement, the Triumphal Center of Faith, that comes out of the American ”Word of Faith”. Which stood ideologically behind the childhood school Tereza Nvotová attended.

The young director gathers her former school mates, also very young but adult enough to be able to comment and look back at 1995 where they attended the Word of Faith school. They sit in a studio, pass the ball to each other and have a rather loose talk. There is much more action, of course, when the camera attends the religious meetings, one of them called the ”Conference of Faith and Fire”. Here you find verbally screaming, aggressive preachers accompanied by an orchestra. In sessions where there is healing and ”touching” by Him and the Holy Spirit. Close-ups of people in a kind of ecstasy totally taken by being ”children of God and God is our Father”. And with Halleluja in every other second. In longer parts there is a cross-cut between ceremonies for the adults and ceremonies for the children. Including  the shooting of a small boy, who collapses in front of the camera in total despair and afterwards talks about that he met Jesus. Crosses my borders, should not have been in the film.

The film has the problem that the director obviously wants to observe and show to us what happens in these brainwashing (my word, not the filmmaker´s) sessions and let us judge, as I just did. At the same time as the director wants to include her own school experience that of course has influenced her view on the sessions she has filmed. It is an illusion to think you can make an open film by just observing and then have a couple of interviews. I would have preferred a clear and not a vague standpoint on this mass hysteria.

Czech Republic, 2008, 66 mins.

http://www.jezisjenormalni.cz

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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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