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Screening: ‘Gottland’ at the Frontline Club reviewed by Julia Secklehner

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‘Gottland is about interesting people,’ Mariusz Szczygiel said at the opening discussion of Frontline cinema’s screening of the film modelled on his stories. Joined by Bloomberg News writer Doug Lytle and translator Antonia Lloyd-Jones, Szczygiel told us there are only two kinds of people in this world: those that are quiet and calm, and those that…

Julia Secklehner | 04/07/2015
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The Excursionist (Juzėnas, 2013) reviewed by Agne Dovydaityte

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Hearing about The Excursionist (2013), a Lithuanian historical drama of the post-war years in Lithuania,  I remembered a short conversation I’d had with a young Russian student: ‘Why do a lot of older Lithuanians understand the Russian language?’ he asked. ‘Well, because we were occupied for 50 years,’ I said. ‘So that’s what you call it,…

Agne Dovydaityte | 04/07/2015
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‘Toto and His Sisters’ (Nanau, 2014) reviewed by Depo Olukotun

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Toto and His Sisters’, the title of the new documentary from Alexandre Nanau, is,  as titles go, unremarkable and innocuous enough. Likewise the Emmy Award-winning director, in the promotional text accompanying it, merely promises  “the astonishing family story of Toto (10) his sisters Ana (17) and Andreea (15)”. Neither of these things prepares you in…

Depo Olukotun | 29/06/2015
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‘Diaries and Communities’ – Czech Underground Cinema of the 1980s, reviewed by Jo Varney

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Since the Velvet Revolution of 1989, Czechoslovakia’s underground movements have been slowly rediscovered and the numerous communities of musicians, poets and fine artists accorded their proper place in history. Meanwhile, underground films from the 1980s – and the stories of the men and women who made and watched them  – have languished undiscovered for nearly…

Jo Varney | 25/06/2015
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OPEN CITY DOCS 2015: ‘Together’ (Shabaev, 2014) reviewed by Robin Ashenden

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Watching Denis Shabaev’s Together, his documentary about a road trip from Russia to Scandinavia with his nine-year-old daughter, you remember the words of the late, great television writer Dennis Potter: ‘Present tense… that’s all a small child lives in. So a wet Tuesday afternoon can actually be years long, and it – childhood – is…

Robin Ashenden | 21/06/2015
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OPEN CITY DOCS 2015: ‘Daniel’s World’ (Lišková, 2015) reviewed by Ollie Buxton

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In the wake of the convictions of Gary Glitter and Rolf Harris, the post-mortem dissection of Jimmy Savile’s character, and murmurings of a historic cover-up that protected and enabled paedophiles going right to the heart of British politics,  the topic of sexual criminality has perhaps never been such an acutely sensitive area, at least within…

Oliver Buxton | 16/06/2015
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OPEN CITY DOCS 2015: ‘The Waiting Point’ (Drndic, 2013) reviewed by Valenka Navea

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Croatian director Masa Drndic describes her filmmaking as ‘documenting everyday life… where figures, spaces and situations mirror shadows’ – and certainly one gets a strong sense of the philosophical aesthetic in her films, which grasp these metaphorical ‘shadows’ through a creative use of sound. Layers of meaning are added above the central narrative, but what’s really…

Valenka Navea | 15/06/2015
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OPEN CITY DOCS 2015: ‘Naked Island’ (Gudac, 2014), reviewed by Judith Fagelson

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Growing up in post-communist Croatia, documentary-maker Tiha Gudac lived a relatively normal life. She played with her friends, went to school and spent her summers camping with her grandparents. But throughout all this time a shadow hung over her family history.  After decades of silence, the aptly named Tiha (Croatian for “silent”) decides to uncover…

Judith Fagelson | 12/06/2015
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Open City Docs Festival: London 16th – 21st June 2015

For details and listings of the 2015 Open City Docs Fest (16 – 21 June) – which this year includes works from Czech Republic, Romania, Croatia and Russia, please click on the right-hand image.    

Robin Ashenden | 09/06/2015