Zalmanson-Kuznetsov:Operation Wedding

Master of documentary film Herz Frank made in 1989 “There were Seven Simeons”, a film that deals with a famous jazz family, who during Soviet time hijacked a plane to get out of the USSR.

They were not the only ones as shows the fine first film of Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov, “Operation Wedding”. The director tells the dramatic story about her parents, who were part of a group of Russian Jews who planned to kidnap a plane and get out of the USSR. From Leningrad. In 1970. They were arrested before getting into the plane, the parents were sentenced to be sent to Siberia (the mother) and the father got death penalty.

The daughter/director tells the story by talking to them in their homes in Israel and by going with the mother to Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, and to the disgusting prison in Riga, where she was before being sent to the Gulag.

Archive material are introduced that reveal how international protests freed them – Golda Meir played an important role in an exchange deal with the Soviets – and – very interesting – there are clips from recent Russian propaganda tv shows, where the parents and the other members of the group are characterised as “terrorists”. The last of these “documentary fairy tales” as the father calls them was made in 2010.

The film is emotionally strong first of all because of the mother whereas the charismatic father is the one who comes up with the sarchastic analytical comments, while he is pouring another good glass of vodka.    

The film will be screened as Documentary of the Month at
the Cinemateket in Copenhagen February 20 – March 2. In a
collaboration with Copenhagen Jewish Film Festival.

Israel, Latvia, 2016, 63 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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