With Swedish Eyes on Russia

7 films on one disc – four ”With Russian Eyes on Sweden” and three ”With Swedish Eyes on Russia”. I will write about the latter, the Swedish documentaries.

The dvd was given to me by PeÅ Holmquist, veteran Swedish documentarian with an impressive filmography of high quality and integrity. PeÅ is professor at Stockholm Dramatiska Högskola, Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts, and he was the one who convinced Swedish Institute to finance a film production project with film school students from his school and students from the Russian VGIK, under the supervision of Sergey Miroshnichenko.

A good week of research followed by some few weeks of shooting in Archangelsk in the North West of Russia formed the conditions of the Swedish students, all in their graduation year from their school. Very good results came out of this.

Martina Carlstedt made ”The Love Agency” circling around a young positive and active woman, the local matchmaker for men and women, who search for someone to share their life with. The tone is light, matches are made, at least for some of the applicants. The film follows conversations in the office and assist at two dating dinners, where you get the impression that one match could work and one was meant to fail from the beginning. You smile when you watch this unpretentious well made documentary that is full of respect for the ones involved. The 27 minutes film will be screened on SVT2 (Swedish Television) May 23 8pm.

Equally well made, with a clear sense of form, is the film which was made by Ida Lindgren and Anna Padilla from a monastery outside Archangelsk. The nuns welcome girls, who have to stand on their own feet, away from parents who are not able to take care of them. The girls are caught by the camera in situations on their own and with the abess in the beautiful monastery, they have an English lesson – and have giggling intimate talks with each other. Girl’s life in other words, ”The Convent Girls” (photo) is 26 minutes of thoughtful precise cinematography, also with respect and warmth, indeed.

Shorter is ”Where the Birches” by Sylvelin Måkestad and Sven Blume, a more difficult film to make, you can easily see, when you go with an ambulance to patients, mostly old people, suffering, wanting to be helped, ”take me to the hospital”, several of them say in a film that is shot on an island outside the city.

Interest in getting hold of the dvd?: Peå Holmquist Pea.Holmquist@stdh.se



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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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