Tomasz Wolski: An Ordinary Country

Agnieszka from Fine Day Promotion invited me to watch a new film by Tomasz Wolski, ”An Ordinary Country” – look at the great film poster above, which reveals the content of the film perfectly, surveillance, not of today (could it be?… I have the feeling that the Danish authorities today could know everything about me, if they wanted. As the GDR people, when I went to Berlin and Leipzig in communist times. As the Polish when I went to Krakow and Warsaw FF’s before 1989?).

According to Tomasz Wolski I went, back then, to An Ordinary Country, where surveillance was being performed. A quote from the well written press material:  


„They were everywhere, though they tried to be invisible. Filming from hiding in restaurants, on the street, in shops. They registered illegal bottling of regulated fuel, lovers meeting in the hotel. They wiretapped phone calls with a man living abroad, during which Poles placed orders for hemorrhoid ointment. They filmed interviews during which, through blackmail, they carried out the process of breaking a detainee to persuade them to cooperate. Another time, they interrogated a woman from whom they required detailed billing of household expenses, including the type of meat and the number of butter cubes used. ‘An Ordinary Country’ is a found footage creative documentary based on film and videotapes recorded by officers of the Polish communist security services in the 1960s through the 1980s.”

Yes, it’s a cold war film and Wolski succeeds to create the claustrophobic feeling of being listened to, watched – because he has so well worked on combining image and sound, phone calls at the same time as he creates small visual stories like the ones mentioned in the quote. Doing so he lets an interpretation go hand in hand with information. Wolski received an award at the Visions du Réel in Nyon and the film is taken for the international competition at the upcoming online Krakow FF – together with two other films by fine directors, whose carreers I have followed with pleasure: Piotr Stasik and Maciej Cuske.

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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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