55. Nordic Film Days Lübeck: documentary film programme presents expeditions into nature and the humane between poetry and politics

Lübeck, 28.10.2013 – This year the documentary film section of the 55. Nordic Film Days Lübeck is showing four short and 26 full-length documentaries. The topics oscillate between the ideas of departure and (re-)discovery: Expedition to the End of the World (director: Daniel Dencik) accompanies a team of scientists and artists on an expedition to the coast of Greenland. In North of the Sun, two young directors explore the Arctic Ocean, displaying a passion both for surfing and for the environment. In The Way is No Aim, cameraman Martin Varga provides a sober, personal depiction of the endurances of a North Greenland expedition, including his cravings for a currywurst sausage after weeks of hiking.

In Nowhere Home by Margreth Olin, on the other hand, juvenile refugees wish to stay in their new homeland of Norway after the woeful Odyssey that lies behind them. In her 90-minute documentary, Olin draws parallels to the young victims of the Utøya attacks, which Kari Anne Moe gives a sensitive portrait of in Bravehearts. Flowers from the Mount of Olives by Heilika Pikkov tells the moving biography of an Estonian nun who has been living in Israel for more than 20 years.

Nature plays a very special role as both location and topic in Tale of a Forest, in which the directing duo Ville Suhonen and Kim Saarniluoto draw a magical image of the beauty of Finnish forests. Dreaming of the Golden Eagle (director: Benjamin Ree) is shown as a supporting film. Juha Suonpää’s Wolfman shows animals from the point of view of the wolf keeper Seppo Ronkainen.

The internationally highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning documentary film THE ACT OF KILLING by Joshua Oppenheimer meanders between the bounds of poetry and politics. Iva Heinmaa’s The Samurai of Chernobyl commemorates the deathly reality of the innumerable Estonian helpers after the reactor catastrophe. Further north, in Belarus, the Irish filmmakers Mark Byrne and Rob Dennis accompanied opposition members in the capital of Minsk as well as in rural areas, and report of spying and repression in Under the Hood. In OPEN, director Ivalo Frank shows criminals from Greenland who live in a closed psychiatric clinic in Denmark, while Possibility of an Island is dedicated to an abandoned church on the Estonian island of Ruhnu.

In Ash, we meet people who suffer from the effects of ecological catastrophes. Director Herbert Sveinsbjörnsson interviewed farmers from Iceland after the eruption of the volcano Eyjafjallajökull. In Kiruna – Space Road, Liselotte Wajstedt returns to her Swedish hometown of the same name to revive the history and personal memories of the mining town. In The Laxá Farmers, Grímur Hákonarson lets the accomplices behind the 1970 bombing of an Icelandic dam explain the background to their actions, and Chronicles of the Last Temple reflects the highly controversial, most expensive public building in Latvia: the national library.

Three extraordinary films form a musical focus within this year’s documentary film section: Complaints Choir by director Ada Bligaard Søby is the film to the participative NFL choir project in cooperation with the Academy of Music. In Midsummer Night's Tango, the German director Viviane Blumenschein sets out on the tracks of Finnish and Argentinean tango, and Mika Ronkainen merges the memories of a father and son with the history of Finnish migration to Sweden in the musical road movie Finnish Blood, Swedish Heart. The two latter films are accompanied by a “Finnish Tango Night” on 31.10.13, organized by Nordic Film Days Lübeck in cooperation with Klaffi Productions and the Finnish Film Foundation. Here, the films’ audiences can attend a concert by Mirella Hautala and the band Månskensorkestern at 9.30pm at the Kolosseum.

The following documentaries concentrate on interpersonal relationships and confrontations with life crises. In Dance for Me, Katrine Philp sensitively portrays a young, Russian professional dancer on his way to the top. The protagonists of Sources of Strength (directors: Joonas Berghäll and Katja Gauriloff) require great strength as they are confronted with being diagnosed with cancer. The twelve-year-old Katrine suffers a similar fate, with stem cell therapy becoming her only hope. Her family does what it can to enable her A Normal Life (director: Mikala Krogh). A Boy Like Her, by the popular Icelandic TV presenter Ragnhildur Steinunn Jónsdóttir, touches on a social taboo as it accompanies a young woman on her way to gender reassignment surgery. Conversations on Serious Topics by director Giedre Beinoriuté allows children and adolescents to talk freely about various topics in front of the camera, and Father is Marat Sargsyan’s extraordinary portrait of a family father with a criminal past. The past catches up with director Mia Engberg in BELLEVILLE BABY after many years, when she is contacted by a former lover from her university days. In My Stuff, the photographer and filmmaker Petri Luukkainen places all his material belongings in storage, allowing himself to retrieve only one piece per day. In this way he intends to renounce consumerism.

On 2. November 2013, the Documentary Film Prize of the Lübeck Trade Unions, endowed with 2,500 euros, is presented to a “socially and politically committed film” from the festival’s documentary film programme at the Film Prize Night.  

Please find further information on the complete programme of Nordic Film Days Lübeck at www.filmtage.luebeck.de

Silke Lehmann
Margarita Junowitsch
Jule Hoffmann
Nordic Film Days Lübeck

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