Zara Zerny: Echo of You

A brief and warm recommendation of the Danish debutant Zara Zerny’s film on a group of men and women between 80 and 100, who lost their husband, wife or partner and how they have overcome the grief connected. But mostly about the memories, the small and bigger moments of a long life together, and suddenly you are alone. Some of them, however, have found a new partner in life, some not but cope very well – from their home or from the nursing home they have moved into.

It sounds thematically like a déja vu so it´s all about how the film is constructed and the director’s skills to get close, asking questions in a fine respectful manner. Zara Zerny’s ambition is clear from the start, I am not going to make an interview film, it has to be lively and for my taste she succeeds fully. She is playing with the protagonists, they are playing with their bodies, there are movements and it helps of course, when one of them – the one on the photo – was performing at Cirque du Soleil togther with his late wife. They had a comeback when they were 73! Archive proofs their ability.

There is also the clever, reflective 100 year old woman, who is eating an ice. There is the homosexual, who has found or was found by a 20 year younger man, who finds him sexy. There is the woman from the countryside, who got a child before marriage, which was not approved by the parents. There is talk about being unfaithful, yes of course most of them say, not a big deal…

The tone is light and I understand completely, why the CPH:DOX has chosen to send this film to all corners of the kingdom. It will be appreciated as it was for me and my wife – we (at least I) are not 80 years yet. But we are getting there.

Denmark, 2023, 76 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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