Docs and de-powering

FESTIVALS: Can documentaries be a part of de-powering – «destitution» – most needed in today’s power-driven societies?
Truls Lie
Editor-in-chief, Modern Times Review
Published date: February 21, 2020
MTR-European documentary magazine-7-featured
POPULISM. ©BERTRAMS JOEP (NETHERLAND), SEE WWW .LIBEX.EU

You are now one of the around 20 000 people who will have this European documentary magazine in their hands. Our independent journalism is written by more than ten regular doc critics from all over Europe. Modern Times Review (MTR) is now in its fourth year, planning to be a quarterly magazine. And we are doing podcasts – so maybe you will meet me around with a microphone…(See our article on DIY Podcast on page 36).

This spring issue is handed out to professionals at six key doc festivals in Europe. From thousands of docs sent to festivals, festivals carefully do their selections: Some are looking for the «auteur» aspect (#Majordocs), others for ecological ones (#One World#), or Human Rights oriented films (#Human), as one of several selection criteria. Or could it be the dispotif (#Cinéma du réel#), something with structure? As you can read in our interviews, festival futures are discussed: With increasing online activity, one tells how important it is to keep up «meeting places» to discuss films. My guess is that in the future several festivals will follow Human in Oslo’s lead, which has expanded the concept of doc festival into documentary theatre, art exhibition, and a lot of in-depth debates connected (or not connected) to doc films.

And here in MTR we too extend the D-word into documentary photos, books, and interactive projects as you can see on several pages in this issue.

We are living in the ongoing metaphysics of the western military-industrial complex, with consumerism and competition as ongoing aims.

Unfortunately, mass media have become more and more ridden by populism and easily digested trivial articles blurred by the streams of social media. Luckily, a lot of doc directors have taken on the role of investigative journalists with years of work voluntarily invested – combined with visual style. One great example is Caught in the Net which shows a social media setup, where 2500 sexually single-minded men quickly showed up at screens to chat with who they think are 12-year old vulnerable girls – apparently curious to talk to someone through social media. Statistics shows that there are many young girls out there chatting, who can be exposed to this – as the film tells. The four paid female actors are actually 19 years old – and we also see them meet some of these men at cafes, where …


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