Viktor Kossakovsky: Varicella

I hope the audience will become infected, Kossakovsky said to me with a smile before the world premiere of his children documentary, ”Varicella” (Chickenpox). He was there on stage with one of his stars, Polina and with a twelve year old boy, who had made the music for the film! Sorry, did not catch his name…

The film is wonderful and beautiful, joyful and playful, you laugh and enjoy and you suffer a bit with big sister Nastya, when she cries and cries because she does not get the high mark, she had hoped for. But she qualifies for the next class at the ballet academy that is the main location of the film, where the sisters go to train with trainers, who demand quite a lot. But we also see them at home having their games – see photo.

Every image in this film is carefully composed, Kossakovsky lets them stand or have longer sequences like the pillow fights, girls against boys with Nastya in action, whereas the smaller Polina stands a bit in the background watching a world that will also be hers in some years. The girls are adorable because the camera makes them adorable, because the film has the right rythm of editing, because the director dares to stylize with some animation sequences, because Viktor Kossakovsky is a master in conveying emotions. The film is shot in St. Petersburg, like a painting a camera total shot of Neva marks that. Documentary poetry this is.

Infected? Totally!

The film is in the international short documentary competition here is St. Petersburg at the Message2Man festival.  

Sweden, Norway, Denmark, 2015, 22 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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