Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Love after all

"Forever Yours", YLE, Finland
Children taken into custody and being raised in foster families will always keep longing for their biological parents. "Forever Yours" (YLE, Finland) tries to explore these bonds - using the example of a child brought to a shelter home, a teenager's life in a foster family, and siblings about to be moved back to their mother after having been separated from her for five years.

"Forever yours" is s slow-paced, sensitive tale on what ties parents and children together, and a powerful film about love and loss in everyday life.

Painting of a monarchy

"Ballad For a Queen", Arte France
2012. Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee. "Ballad For a Queen" ("Ballade pour une reine", Arte France) attempts to draw an unprecedented portrait of the British monarchy and its relations with the public in the last 60 years. The 90-minutes documentary offers a vast amount of so far unpublished material and exclusive and controversial interviews. Even if the film locks out reality and keeps looping glossy scenes of pomp and glory: It paints an enormously rich, sophisticated, multi-faceted image of an anachronism, a political and social icon for generations, and what remains, one way or another, an anchor of stability in a world changing faster and faster.

Thanks to a 86-year old woman, better known as Elizabeth II.

Skateboarding to freedom

"This Ain't California",
Wildfremd Production
The color of the GDR was grey: the walls, the homes, the uniforms, the Plattenbauten and the Trabis: all grey. "The streets were not for playing", as one of the protagonists puts it. And yet there was a life as colorful as it can be: Skateboarding in a dull and uniform world. "This Ain't California" ("Hier ist nicht Kalifornien", Wildfremd Production, Arte, RBB, MDR Leipzig) is a fresh, funny, yet thoughtful and profound documentary telling the story of a skateboard society, of freedom on little wheels, by means of lots and lots of orignal film documents, original music, and animated cartoons. Stunning.

A full-blown 96 minute documentary on the revolutionary power of skateboarding, and despite the underlying tragedies: I can't get the smile out of my face.

Nightmares of the past

"My Name Is Druillet", Catalonian Television
Philippe Druillet is an French artist devoted to the world of comics. He lost his father when he was a young boy, and he knows hardly anything about him. Yet the few things he has heard about his father, Victor Drouillet, being a French fascist having been involved in the persecution of Spanish republicans during the Franco regime - is enough to start a long and turturing quest for the historical truth. "My Name Is Druillet" (Catalonian Television) is an extensive research, a voyage into a violent past, opulent, maybe overburdened, but dense and disturbing.

PS: Philippe Drouillet will not be able to finish the documentary; the truth about his father proves to be too frightening. And yet he has decided to give his own son his father's name: Victor.

Stuff everywhere

"Stuff Everywhere",
Viewpoint Productions, BOS, Netherlands
A simple question may be the starting point: Where's my mobile? We start emptying our pockets and bags and drawers only to discover how much stuff we actually have. (Except for the mobile we were looking for of course. Murphy's Law, but that's another story.) Author Judith de Leeuw does the experiment on herself. She starts meticulously counting, categorizing, listing and displaying all her furniture, knives and forks, clothes, books, gadgets, toys.

"Stuff Everywhere" (Viewpoint Productions, BOS, Netherlands) asks a few seemingly simple questions: Why do we buy so many things? What do they mean to us? What do they tell others about us? Why do things get broken so fast? What will they do to our planet in the end? And, of course, that nasty simple question again and again: How much stuff do we actually have? The video-style film is witty and weird, joyful and choking, orginal and abysmal at the same time. "Stuff everywhere" is a stunning study on the stuff we keep piling up. Brilliant.

Update: 17.534 is the precise number of things Judith de Leeuw ends up with. So far.

Day three: TV documentary

Berlin is cloudy and grey, it keeps drizzling every now and then - just a perfect day for watching TV. Day three: TV documentary.