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IDFA Elsewhere

IDFA Elsewhere

As I’ve blogged before, Lya Guerra is representing SXSW at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) this week. I’ve attended IDFA the last two years, and it’s a great event. So, this year, I’m getting my fix via various online resources.

Eugene Hernandez at indieWIRE reports on the Opening Weekend festivities for the 20th anniversary of IDFA, where the relationship of politics and documentary was in focus:

Even with a jammed program of some 300 documentaries screening through Saturday here in The Netherlands, the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) was able to take a step back to look at the big picture during the fest’s first weekend. At a nearly four-hour anniversary lustrum celebrating and exploring the past, present and future of documentary, IDFA presented a unique doc vaudeville-style show that included live music, discussions, film clips, lectures, a comedian, and even a cartoonist celebrating its 20th year. Over the course of the afternoon, attendees were provoked by conflicting messages about the role of the non fiction film and lead through range of topics, including war, social engagement, and truth in mass media and non fiction film.

For GreenCine, David D’Arcy has filed a couple of dispatches reviewing highlights from this year’s program. Jean-Michel Carre and Jill Emery’s The Putin System is among the titles that sound especially intriguing:

Vladimir Putin mobilized his electorate in the wake of the 1999 bombings of apartment buildings in Moscow that he blamed on Muslim Chechens whom Putin called “wild animals.” It turned out that the wild animals were really trained agents of the FSB (former KGB), where Putin had received his training. It also turned out that Russians were willing to believe anything about Chechens. It didn’t help that Chechen commandos were responsible for the attack on a school in Beslan in 2000 that took the lives of 334 civilians. It was Putin’s 9/11, the doc’s narrator tells us.

The inquiry into a system that returns Russia to Soviet-style repressive government (and vast wealth for a business elite) deploys interviews, archival images and first-person narration, Adam Curtis-style. Not quite at Curtis’s edgy level, but worth a view for a one-stop primer, The Putin System shows you post-communist Russia in the hands of a hard-line communist. And Putin’s approval ratings are at more than 60 percent. The film has already played on television in Australia and Canada. More to come.


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