The film magazine Ekko reviews as always this year’s films in the main competition DOX:AWARD. On a scale from 1 to 4 stars the critics of the Ekko international star barometer give their take on this year’s winner – and they deeply disagree!

Who will win this year’s DOX: AWARD? The southern Italian magic-realistic ‘Lost and Beautiful’, the honest and strong in character ‘The Fear of 13’ or perhaps Austrian, probing ‘The Good American “? The critics, unlike last year, deeply disagree. Right now ‘Lost and Beautiful’ with the 3.5 stars on average is in the lead. ‘The Fear of 13’ also has a nice spot with with 3.4 stars and on a third place we have the social realistic ‘Mallory’ and the visually strong ‘Uncertain’ – both with 3 stars on average.

Renowned international critics are judging the documentaries in DOX:AWARD on the Ekko Starbarometer
Five international critics are handing out stars on the Ekko Starbarometer. The critics are: Lauren Wissot from Filmmaker Magazine, Neil Young from Indiewire, Carmen Gray from Senses of Cinema, Nick Bradshaw from Sight&Sound and Adam Woodward from Little White Lies. Read their favorites here.

Lauren Wissot:

Uncertain  ***
Undeniably poetic and cinematic – yet the filmmakers don’t get intimate enough access to their characters to allow the film to truly stand out from all the other recent (SXSW) docs about the inhabitants of forgotten, southern/Mid America towns.

The Fear of Thirteen ***
A bit too Errol Morris, but captivating nonetheless, as the subject of this character study is so compelling – and the filmmaking so artful – that we hang on every image and word (right up to the “shocking” ending that is truly a – highly disturbing – surprise).

Mallory ****
As the star of this dozen-years-in-the making, cinema verite portrait of a heroic ex-junkie with a heart of gold defying the odds (until life throws her yet another cruel punch) would say (in English subtitles), “Wowzers.”

Brødre ****
Highly cinematic – poetic and near Malick-like in its attention to detail, elegiac score and lush cinematography – the film is a gorgeous attempt to capture the moment-to-moment, elusive beauty of childhood.

Lost and Beautiful ****
With its classical score and painterly cinematography, this intoxicating work of magical realism feels timeless – harkening back to the Italian masters like Pasolini – and serves as a fine example of the exhilarating possibilities within the realm of cinematic nonfiction.

The Death of J.P. Cuenca ***
Artfully innovative, fun and quirky (and oddly, very much like “The Kidnapping of Michel Houellebecq,” another autobiographical, meta hybrid mystery about a writer) the film unfortunately loses focus towards the end – going out with a whimper instead of a bang.

The Moulin ****
Even short-lived things like blossoms can achieve perfection,” read the closing words onscreen – which happens to sum up this riveting tour de force, a delightful example of avant-garde filmmaking at its finest (not to mention filmmaking style mirroring its surrealist subject).

The Swedish Theory of Love ***
A fun, futuristic, philosophical, techno-pop look at Sweden’s focus on personal autonomy (first outlined in a 70s-era manifesto) – which has resulted in an Ayn Rand-like, socially engineered (and subsequently socially stunted) society.

Neil Young:

Fear of 13 ***
Gregarious gaolbird’s gabfest

God Bless the Child **
Brathood: quasi-documentary = pseudo-documentary

In Limbo **
dreamy-discursive digi-data dystopia.

Uncertain ***
Tender Texas Town-portrait

Lost and Beautiful ****  (favorite)
plangently puckish-poetic puzzle/picaresque

Mallory ***
Hard-knock homelessness heart-tugger.

Carmen Gray:

Uncertain ****
Surprising humour and surrealism bring to life these tales of redemption in the swamps of Texas, shot for atmospherically eerie beauty

The Moulin ***
Intriguing, ambitious attempt to bring a written poetic tradition important to Taiwan’s cultural history to visual life.

Birobidjan **** (Favorite)
Important, multi-layered testimony of a little told-of settlement, told with breadth of scope, originality and absorbing poetry

Mallory ***
A moving, human and socially incisive portrait on Czech society’s fringes, with great intimacy of access

The Fear of 13 ***
A fascinating character study wrapped up in a gripping tale of twists, told by a hard-to-pin-down narrator we’re unsure of right to the end

The Death of J. P Cuenca ***
Planes of reality are destabilised in this strange, absurdist mystery that questions the assured possession of identity.

Lost and Beautiful ****
Elegant, fantastical poetry probes reality’s power relations through the plight of a perceptive farm buffalo and other surprising allegories.

The Letters ****
Mesmerising, endlessly surprising and moving take on human resistance that uses its experimentation for strong political import

Nick Bradshaw:

God Bless the Child ***
The Letters ***
Man Falling **
Uncertain ***
Lost and Beautiful ****
Fear of 13 ****

Adam Woodward:

Uncertain ***
Unseen: The Lives of Looking ****
The Fear of 13 ***
Mallory ***
A Good American **** Favorite
The Letters ***
Brothers ***

Read the Ekko article on reflections on the winner! (Danish)
CPH:DOX will be covered by Politiken, Soundvenue and film magazine Ekko.