Tue Steen Müller: The Antalya Masterclass

Dear Allan. You asked me what I told the participants at the masterclass at the Antalya Film Forum the other day. Well, I was as usual “jumping” a bit around in the past and present, showed clips, gave advice, told them that the main difference between them and me was that I have been watching documentaries since the 1970’es, having a passion become a profession during the years at the National Film Board (Statens Filmcentral), EDN (European Documentary Network) and as freelance consultant and blogger since 2005. The starting point was my recent visit to Paris to meet again Robert Frank, this magnificent documentarian, in photos and films, the working title of his “Don’t Blink”, made by Laura Israel, was “You have got Eyes”… From that to Wojciech Staron and his “Argentinian Lesson”, where the first almost 10 minutes have no words, he tells through images and he is one of my favorite director/cameraman in one person, who knows how to catch moments and convey them beautifully. As a contrast to the wordless I went to “Twilight of a Life”, Sylvain Biegeleisen’s wonderful emotional meeting with his 94 year old wise mother, here you have literally the first person documentary based on close-ups and conversation. And the third reference was to the hybrid genre with talk about “Act of Killing” and the adventure of this film, that many had already watched as well as the sequel, “The Look of Silence”. Finally, and it won’t come as a surprise for you, “Ten Minutes Older”, 1978, Herz Frank and Juris Podnieks with a declaration of love to these masters. That was all and I am happy that I got so many good reactions, and we several new readers of Filmkommentaren.

(Jeg bringer da så Tue Steen Müllers mailsvar her på vores blog og illustrerer med stills fra filmene, han viste klip fra, og forsyner dem med citater fra hans anmeldelser. Og så har jeg fundet nogle små statements på Antalya Film Forums Facebookside, hvor Müller tilsyneladende taler tyrkisk, som Facebook så venligt oversætter til engelsk. Link til facebooksiden nedenfor. ABN) 


Laura Israel: Don’t Blink

“Don’t Blink is an excellent introduction to the now 91 year old legendary photographer and filmmaker made by his editor and collaborator in many films, a warm and generous portrait and a look into the creative process of a lovely man, a great artist, who has suffered personal tragedies in his life, that is very much present in his work…”

Wojciech Staron: Argentinian Lesson

“This is a film with a social content, but also a love story with many levels where much emotion is to be read in the faces of the characters. Dialogue is sparse, images give the information needed, step by step there is a development and an interpretation being made with painting-kind-of-tableaux, from the location, from the small village where it all takes place, to chapter a narrative with many sensitive and metaphoric images…”

Sylvain Biegeleisen: Twilight of a Life

” In documentary workshops and film schools all over I have forbidden the participants to use the term ”poetic” talking about films. It’s banal, over-used and what does it really mean? Nevertheless this is the only word to be used for this film, here it does fit perfectly, to summarize a wonderful intimate chamber play featuring mother and son in a room, he the filmmaker, she the 94 old mother, he wants to make a film with…”

Joshua Oppenheimer: The Act of Killing

“Behind the scenes, the making of.. a film. We have seen them lots of times, following how the actors prepare for their roles, how the shooting was done, how the director directed. This is exactly what ”The Act of Killing” does, with the big difference that the film being made is, to use a kliché, ”based on a true story”. A story about the mass murder of around 1 million people in Indonesia in the 1960’es…”

Herz Frank and Juris Podnieks: Ten Minutes Older

“… I introduced the film mentioning Juris Podnieks as well, the cameraman of Herz for this film and the man who later became the Perestroika filmmaker, and who got a much shorter life than Herz: 1950-1992. After the screening I came up with the often used banality about the film: You are ten minutes older now, you have just watched the story of our lives. And it is what it is. The director himself has formulated it like this: For ten minutes, uninterruptedly, we were looking into the face of a little boy on the third row… And in the half-dark of the theatre hall we were watching the depths of the human soul as reflected in this tremulous face.”


Tue Steen Müller: “Filminizin ne anlattığını çok iyi biliyorsanız, yapmayın daha iyi! Eskilerin dediği gibi: “Mesaj gönderecekseniz postaneyi kullanın.”

“If you know all too well what your film is about, don’t bother making it! As they say, “If you want to send a message, use the post office.”

Tue Steen Müller: ”Burada söylemek istediğim şu izlemek,hissetmek, keşfetmek…bunlar klişe ve sıkıcı gelebilir…ama bunlar hala önemlidir.”

“Watching, feeling, discovering… It may sound like a boring cliché, but these things still matter.”

Tue Steen Müller: “Son dönemde belgeseller müziğe boğuluyor. Müzik harika bir şey, ama izleyiciye ne hissedeceğini dikte etmek için kullanılmamalı.”

“Documentaries are drowning in music recently. Music is wonderful, but it shouldn’t be used to dictate to the viewer what to feel.”


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Allan Berg Nielsen
Allan Berg Nielsen

Allan Berg Nielsen started the first documentary cinema in Randers, Denmark way back in the 1970’es. He did so at the museum, where he was employed. He got the (16mm) films from the collection of the National Film Board of Denmark (Statens Filmcentral). He organised a film festival in his home city, became a member of the Board of Directors of the Film Board, started to write about films in diverse magazines, were a juror at several festivals and wrote television critiques in the local newspaper. From 1998-2003 Allan Berg was documentary film consultant (commissioning editor) at The Danish Film Institute, a continuation of the Film Board. Since then free lance consultant in documentary matters.


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