Article written by Gloria De Felice
We are living in a saturated society, covered by a crowd of news and data. We are living in the era of why, with a focus on appearance and the free knowledge. Nonetheless, we feel we are more ignorant than the day we were born because when we get too much, we are not able to be grateful anymore. We are from the capitalistic World, in 2018, we hope to be enlightened by easy-access to information. Some of us live for appearance, some for money, some for research, some the need of being appreciated by others, some live for technology, and the knowledge of being connected all the time with machines. This doesn´t mean that we live mediocre lives because some of us take advantage to use technology for good reasons. For instance, the documentary director (who is always connected with the video camera), spreads culture and information to people through a unique and powerful way. This can change the mind of many people. Once a year, during the cold and frosty Finnish winter, there is one week which is dedicated to the projection of documentaries. This event, held in Helsinki, gives a light through the darkness which surrounds the streets and the sky. It is entitled DocPoint, and this year, Nur Magazine had a second chance to review it.
In this article, I will focus on documentaries that in my view were not only visually and technically well done, but also tell stories about people who live their life differently, either by choice or misfortune.
“Untitled” by Michael Glawogger (2017)
“I want to give a view of the world that can only emerge by not pursuing any particular theme, by refraining from passing judgment, proceeding without aim. Drifting with no direction except one’s own curiosity and intuition.” Michalel Glawogger
This was raw documentary since there was not that much postproduction work. The director, Michael Glawogger, died before finishing it because he was infested with malaria in Africa. Glawogger aimed to make a film about his travels through different images, without a precise order or sense, for this reason, the film was called just “Untitled”.
The shooting lasted 4 months and 19 days through the Balkans, Italy, Northwest and West Africa. It took place in areas with different temperatures, people, views, laughs, children and cultures.
The reality of the countries is portrayed through wonderful pictures. The director hopes to show more the human soul in the skeleton of Mother Earth.
“The distant barking of dogs” by Simon Lereng Wilmont (2017)
War is scary for everyone. But what about a documentary saw through the eyes of a child?
This film portrayed the life of a family in Ukraine (1 grandmother, 2 grandsons) during the time of heavy shelling. And the war there has still not ended. (last footage was from November 2017).
It is a film that takes you inside their lives. It brings you in the present moment with them but leaves the viewer with the burden of not being able to do anything to change their destiny or stop the atrocious and wistful circumstances they witness.
When the film was over, there were no whispers coming up from the public, no comments, just silence. The theatre was full, yet everyone was completely silent.
“Childhood” by Margreth Olin (2017)
This documentary portrayed one year in a special Norwegian kindergarten.
Nowadays technology is predominant and machines have almost reached the human brain, these children are going to a school where there is no technology. They just have simple contact with Mother Nature and learn to use tools. The role the teachers play is also unique, based on the Steiner Education Approach.
They spend most of their time outdoors, appreciating the simple things that Nature is giving. Watching the group of children who are the main protagonists grow throughout the film, the viewer may start to realize how efficient and healthy this teaching method can be.
It is easy to see how happy the children look from their expressions, and this is very meaningful in the life of a child.
“Between the land and sea” by Ross Whitaker (2017)
If you were enamoured with something, would you be willing to leave your daily comforts to follow your dream?
Many habitats of Lahinch in County Clare, near the splendid Cliffs of Moher, in Ireland, chose to move to this city to pursue their dream: living in a small, windy surf town, where they sought true happiness.
The documentary follows one year of life in the city, meeting different surfers, and citizens that were born, raised or moved in the town.
Even if it is not easy the choice to live in such a small and different city, the faces of those people are portrayed by happiness, since they live constantly supported by their passion: surfing.
The documentary is extremely engaging a has good shooting in and out the water.
I recommend everyone to watch it: both people passionate about surfing and those who don’t know much about it. You will probably after be tempted to try this sport.
Docpoint had over 30000 visitors this year
Nowadays, cinema is one of the most useful ways to inform people. We live in a society distracted by smartphones, tablets, and too much information. When you get inside a cinema, you are forced to be quiet and not use your devices, at least during the time of the screening. Cinema and theatre are still some of the only ways to inform without any kind of distractions. A good documentary calls people to learn more about some topic.
Documentaries are more difficult to watch than fictional films, yet DocPoint had over 30,000 visitors this year.
Maybe we should give even more credit to the cinema. Unfortunately, in Finland, the cost of a ticket for a movie ticket is very experience. I appreciate that during many festivals prices are cheaper in order to give the opportunity to a wider group of people and students.
Photos: press kit.