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Phoenix Bird

2014 DOK Leipzig, Homage Jon Bang Carlsen
Denmark | 1984 | 45 min. | English |
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Phoenix Bird | Fugl Fønix

The very first shot of the film is testimony to the director’s joy of storytelling: a flock of birds in front of a mountain range, backlighted by the rising hot Arizona sun, a crushing off commentary by the protagonist about God’s work, cut to a gun, up close. From here on everything in this story can be traced back to this gun – the violence it embodies, the survival it promises, the individual freedom it secures. At least in the eyes of the protagonist of this exciting film about security paranoia – Vietnam vet and ex CIA agent James R. Jarrett, who operates a survival training camp; a warrior of life who relieves his customers of the fear of killing. You can do it! Bang Carlsen has developed his method of “documentary staging” to the point where the staging of the protagonist as a lone cowboy evokes the corresponding Hollywood motive. Which, however, is not used here to calm or legitimise but revealed as the mask of a reality where people mistake individual freedom for the right to use violence.
Matthias Heeder
Original Title: Fugl Fønix
Country: Denmark
Year: 1984
Language: English
Runtime: 45 min.
Format: HD Videofile (ProRes 422 HQ 1080p)
Color: Colour
Director: Jon Bang Carlsen
Producer: Jon Bang Carlsen
Cinematographer: Alexander Gruszynski
Editor: Anders Refn
Sound: Peter Witt
Script: Jon Bang Carlsen
Jon Bang Carlsen
C & C Productions ApS

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The texts to the Documentary Competition films and the International Programme films were written by the members of the selection committee. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. All articles where no author’s name is given are production notes.