Doc Air Press Release:
The film The Human Dutch by Dutch director Bert Haanstra is not the last of his films to be watched at www.doc-air.com. In December we will bring you another sample of his work in the form of three short films. The film Mirror of Holland (Spiegel van Holland, 1950) was awarded the Grand Prix for the best short film at the Cannes Film Festival in 1951. It is a modern experimental film where Haanstra gives his vision – a watery one – of tranquil Holland, holding the camera upside down during filming.
The film Glass (Glas, 1958) won Haanstra an Oscar in 1959. This short “free” film, shot in the glass factories in Leerdam and Schiedam, demonstrates the work of glass blowers. Thanks to the superbly edited ballet of working hands and the sequence of mechanical motions of the engines, it is rather a cinematic tour de force. The last film in the trio is the merry film Zoo (1962). Haanstra uses hidden camera images from the Amsterdam Zoo Artis to show the similarities between man and animal. The images without words are accompanied by the ironic music of Pim Jacobs.
From among the Czech documentaries we will introduce a film from a mining colony near Ostrava. In Industrial Elegies (Industriální elegie, 2006) director Daniela Gébová sets for a region inhabited by people coming from various parts of Europe a hundred and fifty years ago, looking for a job; today, everything looks the same as in the times of its formation. The film is a manifold mixture of images of the inhabitants’ peculiar recollections, blending joy and sadness, optimism and hopelessness.
The Austrian film Beyond the Forest (Einst süße Heimat, 2007) by director Gerald Igor Hauzenberger tells about one of the last Saxons living in a little Carpathian village of Romania. Fifty kilometers away, a woman sits at her gravestone; she is a Landleri and has already lived five years past the date of death that is engraved on her stone. The National Socialist regime turned both of them into perpetrators and into victims. Both of them witnessed the disappearance of their own culture but their national pride forbade them to mix with other people. Now both of them are old, alone, and they want to die, and yet they tell their life stories with humor.
In his film Their Helicopter (2006), Salome Jashi documents the quiet life of a Georgian country family; the father working in the field, the mother cooking or washing the dishes, the children playing or singing lullabies. The calm flow of their time, however, is disturbed by the discovery of a Chechnyan helicopter wreck which had crashed there years ago.
A touching story about a small gypsy girl is told in a documentary of the same name (Sheori, 2006) by Sergey Krivosudov. Sheori lives in a little gypsy town in Moldova, speaking frankly about her life, her relations with people, her sorrows and joys. Vivid scenes from gypsy life are the background to her story…
In the last – Belgian - film Surya, from Eloquence to Dawn (2006), director Laurent Van Lancker sets on a journey from the West to the East, meeting people from various cultures. Their storytelling creates an imaginary epic story, oscillating between imagination and reality, the inner world and the outside world, documentary and fiction. Each of the storytellers draws on his own style and own language so that the viewers can experience the various cultural worlds as lived by the local people.