Victor Asliuk: Vostrau Belarus

Asliuk is a veteran at Cinéma du Réel. He has won prizes at the festival for his lyrical short documentaries from the countryside of Belarus. It is therefore only natural that he is invited back with his new one-hour long documentary, English title ”Island Belarus”.

But it is painful to experience that Asliuk does not master the long format at all. He goes from one more inauguration of the president Lukashenko to an old man in his garden in the countryside where he has placed small sculptures that illustrates the agricultural life as it was. Which is a theme for the film – the disappearance of traditional agriculture and values in the countryside, while people are demonstrating against the dictator in the capital Minsk. Being brutally beaten by the gorillas of Lukashenko.

Two different worlds, yes, a divided country, yes, an elegy for a culture and a nation, yes maybe, but it is not enough to just go from A to B and back again, where is the director? Asliuk has chosen a genre, a political statement that is not the right one for him.

The film is shown at Cinema du Réel friday the 26th and saturday the 27th.

Belarus, 2009, 52 mins.

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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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