Nick Holdsworth
Journalist, writer, author, filmmaker and film and TV industry expert – Central and Eastern Europe and Russia.

Boris Mitic’s In Praise of Nothing is probably the most unusual documentary you are likely to see this year.

In Praise of Nothing opens with a black screen framed in early 20th century cinema decorative title boundaries, against a crackling soundtrack.

The reminiscent of an old gramophone record left spinning after the end of a song – period typeface titles appear: «In Praise of Nothing/ a whistleblowing documentary parable/ (not exactly in prose)/ wherein Nothing tries to defend its cause».

To the haunting sound of dusty saxophone, images appear: first the sun piercing through blackened clouds, then endless whiteness seen from a passing icebreaker, next a vast desert highway, then a cat-food billboard in an apocalyptic landscape …

«The dogged determination over eight years has produced a film that is both lyrical and jarring.»

The titles continue: «One day nothing runs away from home, tired of being misunderstood/It crosses 8 mountains and 8 seas…/.. and arrives in our lost valley».

8 years, 62 cinematographers, 70 countries

Over more images, the nut brown, smoke and whisky tempered voice of Iggy Pop – a wild boy of the American punk scene in the 1970s, now a [unseen] wiry and weathered 71 year old – begins his voiceover: «Finally our first date;/not sure if I came early or late./ I’ve got so much to tell you but I’m still wondering how;/ I don’t wanna suck up to you nor make you bow./  There’s never been a less exciting time/to be behind a camera, on that I agree,/ so let’s up this game/a little bit differently…/ We will skip talking heads, expert analysis/special effects and cultural paralysis./No classic twists, no money shots,/no side characters, no subplots;/ No saving the world, no noble pretentions,/ – just portraits of you and me in everyday situations –/ And a few lines of comments,/to frame the debate,/just to make sure/ that you will bite the bait.»

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