The Film Essay – Storydoc

Truls Lie, editor of DOX and filmmaker, made a fine inspirational introduction to what is the film essay. He stressed the characteristics of the genre and showed great classic clips from masters like Jean-Luc Godard (photo) (”L´Histoire du Cinema”, Chris Marker (”Sans Soleil”), Alain Resnais (”Night and Fog”) as well as Pier Paolo Pasolini and Haron Farocki. For Lie the essayistic documentary is ”a meeting ground for documentary, avant-garde and art impulses”. It can be a critical reflection (Marker’s many films on the American dominance of world politics) and/or an authorial ”voice” – great to watch Godard, cigar in mouth writing on his classical typewriter. The genre gives more freedom, it is elusive and inclusive, and it has an open structure. Lie also showed clips from his new film on Jørgen Leth, Danish filmmaker

The first half of Lie’s lecture was decicated to this historical perspective on great names of Cinema, whereas his second half included a trailer for his own film project from the Middle East, where he wants to focus on the situation of the women in Egypt and in other places in the region. His approach provoked a lot of comments from the participating film people, the strongest from Khaled Jarrar, Palestinian filmmaker, who argued that Lie with his images was just reinforcing the stereotypes that are always conveyed when Westerners want to make film. A couple of people in the auditorium said that Westerners should not make any films outside their own country!

Lie thought that the essay film was on its way back, I think he is right as it is one of the many ways being unfolded to fight against the mainstream documentary that lives under the tyranny of the (television) formats.

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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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