Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 10:23 pm 
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Heating up a cold case

In September 1962 Dag Hammarsjöld, Secretary General of the United Nations, died in a plane crash in Africa. The circumstances were suspicious. He was believed to have been assassinated. Former President Truman was sure of it. There was an investigation, but it was fruitless. Now over half a century later, the bold, sometimes tongue-in-cheek Danish documentary filmmaker Mads Brügger reveals his six-year investigation of this "cold case" of the presumed murder of Dag Hammarsjöld.

In his Indiewire review Dave Erlich calls this a "wild doc" and also "far and away the best and most shocking" of Brûgger's films. These include (the two I've seen: there is one other) his 2009 Red Chapel about a risky trip into the closed world of North Korea posing as a goofy theatrical act on a cultural mission, and his 2011The Ambassador, in which he films his effort to assume a fake identity as a diplomat to deal blood diamonds in Africa, or to show he could do that. (Both these films I reviewed at successive Lincoln Center New Directors/New Films events, in 2010 and 2012).

The first film was an infiltration. The next was an impersonation. This one is an investigation. Though mocking the meandering, uncertain ways of the obsessive investigator, seeming to lose his way and go down the rabbit hole of irrelevant distractions, Brügger gets to the heart of evil manipulations of politics, race, and greed in this, his most serious, surprising, and shocking documentary yet.

Stay tuned for the full review and watch for this movie to come out.

Cold Case Hammarskjöld, 128 mins., debuted at Sundance Jan. 2019, wwinner of the World Cinema Documentary Directing Award; 44 subsequent domestic and international festival showings of this film are listed on IMDb. US theatrical release Aug. 16, 2019. Metascore was an unblemished rave: 88%.

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