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Looking beyond the borders

The Distant Barking of Dogs / The Deminer
Danish The Distant Barking of Dogs depicts a ten-year-old boy growing up on the frontline of Ukraine, while Swedish The Deminer is about a mine-raiser in IS-ravaged Iraq. 

This month (Jan / Feb), eight films compete for the Dragon Award for best Nordic documentary during the Gothenburg Film Festival. Three of them are Norwegian: Golden Dawn Girls, where director Håvard Bustnes follows three women with central positions in the right-wing Greek party Gyllent Daggry, Sofia Haugan's personal documentary Røverdatter about her relationship with her criminal father and Letters, which is a cinematic exchange of letters between Norwegian filmmaker Marte Vold and her South Korean colleague Jero Yun.

However, competition from our neighboring countries is strong. Unpatriotically, we will focus here on two of these other titles, which even saw awards at the important documentary film festival in Amsterdam (IDFA) in November last year.

Childhood in war zone. The Distant Barking of Dogs won the prize in the First Appearance competition in Amsterdam. This documentary is about ten-year-old Oleg, who lives in a small town in the Donetsk region east of Ukraine. Although the First Appearance program is for debutants in the long format, Danish Simon Lereng Wilmont has previously made two shorter documentaries about children of the same age – then focusing on sports environments. IN The Distant Barking of Dogs he wanted to portray what it is like to be a child in a war zone.

Basically, it could have been a which. . .

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Aleksander Huser
Huser is a regular film critic in Ny Tid.

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