Film Archive

Die Tage wie das Jahr

Documentary Film
Austria
2018
86 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Othmar Schmiderer
Othmar Schmiderer
Othmar Schmiderer
Arthur Summereder
Angela Summereder, Othmar Schmiderer
Angela Summereder, Arthur Summereder, Othmar Schmiderer
A steady-handed film: a year on an organic farm in the Waldviertel in Lower Austria. Filmed from neither too close nor too far away but at the exactly right distance, portraying life and its various activities and incidents between the house and the stables. There is the ewe that sounds almost human as it gives birth to its lamb. The delicate kids skipping over the straw as if it concealed red-hot stones. The front loader whose long thin arms drive into the hay bales and skewer them. Or watching Elfie, the farmer, prepare glass bottles for labels with a glue stick. In the meantime, her husband Gottfried is setting up a small market stand. And during milking goats as well as people are entertained by historic dance music. Being present at all these processes has a meditative quality, the special rhythm created by a strong but not hectic and very regular beat communicates itself to the viewer and generates enjoyment and hope.

Carolin Weidner


Nominated for the Healthy Workplaces Film Award

Gwendolyn

Documentary Film
Austria
2017
85 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jürgen Karasek
Ruth Kaaserer
Serafin Spitzer
Joana Scrinzi
Ruth Kaaserer
Tong Zhang
Gwendolyn Leick is a master of countenance. It’s no coincidence that the retired anthropologist, writer and weight lifter quotes a passage from a poem by Gertrude Stein that refers to this: “If can in countenance to countenance a countenance as in as seen …” Gwen was born in Austria. She went to London in the mid-1970s to write her thesis on Babylonian curses. At the age of 52 the petite woman began to lift weights and has since won a number of international titles. While Gwen is preparing for the European Championship in Azerbaijan with her long-term coach Pat, she copes with unilateral facial paralysis and her third cancer operation.

After portraying female boxers in “Tough Cookies” in 2014, Ruth Kaaserer once more enters an athletic environment that has little to do with the familiar images of muscle building, grinding workouts and sweat. More restrained and graceful scenes were rarely scene at a gym. “Gwendolyn” pays the same direct attention to the everyday life of this unusual woman: visits to the doctor, life with her much younger husband Charlie, conversations with her son about what writing and sewing have in common. Sometimes there’s no choice – the seams must be unstitched.

Esther Buss

Lampedusa in Winter

Documentary Film
Italy,
Austria,
Switzerland
2015
93 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jakob Brossmann
Jakob Brossmann
Serafin Spitzer, Christian Flatzek
Nela Märki

When the flood of refugees began to cross the Mediterranean, the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa became a projection screen for paranoid xenophobes and a symbol of an inhumane asylum policy. In the winter of 2014, theatre artist and filmmaker Jakob Brossmann travelled to the island to find out what life there is really like. The tourists and media are gone and the inhabitants’ real problems come to the fore: the old ferry, essential for their survival, burnt down and was replaced by an even older one. That’s why the fishermen go on strike. A group of refugees who have been stuck on the island for months want to cross to the mainland. They are on strike in front of the church. Because there’s no ferry, waste is piling up and food is running out. In the midst of this tense situation two women, the mayor and a dedicated lawyer, are fighting for humane solutions out of deep personal conviction. Brossmann’s observations are unobtrusive and precise. He confidently guides us through the events of this crisis while introducing places and people that are linked to the immigrants’ fate. What’s remarkable is that the inhabitants and refugees refuse to be instrumentalised against each other. Both groups are victims of the same cynical policies. Showing this clearly is the great strength of the film. Matthias Heeder


Robolove

Documentary Film
Austria
2019
76 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Michael Kitzberger, Wolfgang Widerhofer, Markus Glaser, Nikolaus Geyrhalter
Maria Arlamovsky
Andreas Hamza, Boris Hauf
Sebastian Arlamovsky
Emily Artmann, Maria Arlamovsky, Alexander Gugitscher, Sebastian Arlamovsky
Maria Arlamovsky
Andreas Hamza
A few decades ago robots still looked like moving toolboxes. This has changed radically. Today’s humanoids not only look like people, they can roll their eyes and wink, too. In this film, they come mainly from Japan, Korea and the U.S. Ishiguro Hiroshi is a pioneer in the construction of such artificial humans. He even built himself a twin. But most of these new creatures are female and, in line with their creators’ fantasies, endowed with the attributes desired in a patriarchal society: “It’s going to be a woman, so the smile is important,” one of the developers instructs his assistant. Almost all the androids have a dollface bearing a none-too-intelligent and submissive expression, saucer eyes and a slightly opened mouth. Only at the Terasem company in Vermont a talking woman’s bust of more mature age called “BINA 48” is supposed to mimic human behaviour emotionally, too.

It’s not surprising that the developers attribute all kinds of world-improving qualities to their creatures and spurn potential criticism in advance. Or are human beings just machines anyway, as Ishiguro claims? This closely observing film without comments by Maria Arlamovsky offers deep insights into this Brave New World, allowing us to form our own judgement.

Silvia Hallensleben



Awarded with the Gedanken Aufschluss Prize.

The Royal Train

Documentary Film
Austria,
Romania
2019
92 minutes
subtitles: 
English
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Johannes Rosenberger, Constantin Wulff, Johannes Holzhausen (Navigator Film), Ada Solomon, Diana Păroiu (HiFilm)
Johannes Holzhausen
Joerg Burger
Dieter Pichler
Johannes Holzhausen, Constantin Wulff
Andreas Hamza, Vlad Voinescu
A lost monarchy is represented by a princess whose steadfast mission is to restore to her dynasty real political and economic responsibility in contemporary Romania. With great energy, sometimes funny slips, too, but mostly with the appropriate royalist seriousness, Princess Margareta of Romania plays her role as the subject and object of her own campaign. The performance is of the tale of new wine in old wineskins. Surrounded by her courtly entourage, Margareta travels through “her” country in the same old royal train, on the same royal route, in which her father, King Michael the First already sought contact with his subjects. It goes without saying that the red carpet as the most obvious symbol of monarchist grandeur must be immaculate even at the tiniest stop – though this isn’t always achieved perfectly.

Director Johannes Holzhausen observes the bustle around this backwards journey with a distanced and wide-eyed curiosity. After all, it reveals a telling (a-)simultaneity of the ancient k.u.k. ceremonial and current marketing visions.

Ralph Eue

Wie die anderen

Documentary Film
Austria
2015
86 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Johannes Rosenberger
Constantin Wulff
Johannes Hammel
Dieter Pichler
Constantin Wulff
Claus Benischke, Andreas Hamza, Klaus Kellermann
Once psychiatric institutions were regarded as the marginal zones of civilisation where the “deranged” people were excluded (or locked away) from the community of the “healthy”. Today this is considered an untenable stereotype, at least in theory. However, there is a lack of images suitable for internalising such assumptions in practice and permanently. Constantin Wulff, a dedicated representative of Direct Cinema, and his cinematographer Johannes Hammel spent one and a half years at the child and adolescent psychiatry of the hospital of Tulln in Lower Austria, observing the human and institutional processes set in motion when children and adolescents suddenly get off track. How does anyone end up in such an institution? How does one become a “case”? Even if such a “case” can only be worked out in any meaningful way when people look beyond the process and re-focus on the human being.

With admirable confidence Wulff balances his film between rash chumminess and cheap distance – always trying to do justice to the very complex interactions playing out in before his lens. Also at the focus: institutional work as a permanent balancing act between gentleness and pressure, routine and emotional involvement, regulations and improvisations.

Ralph Eue