Film Archive

Jahr

Homo Botanicus

Documentary Film
Colombia,
France
2018
88 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Nicolás Van Hemelryck, Clare Weiskopf, Pierre-Emmanuel Urcun, Guillermo Quintero
Guillermo Quintero
Violeta Cruz
Guillermo Quintero
Julie Borvon, Guillermo Quintero
Guillermo Quintero
Marc-Olivier Brullé
A professor and his master student set out to explore the untouched tropical Andes Mountains. The eminent botanist Julio Betancur has already collected more than 19,000 species of plants and archived them in a giant herbarium in Bogotá that he keeps expanding, assisted at the moment by his young follower Cristian. The director, Guillermo Quintero, was a student of Betancur more than fifteen years ago before he studied philosophy in Paris and later turned to filmmaking. He still feels respect for his former mentor today, and fascination for the seemingly anachronistic and romantic scientist’s view of the rich flora. The filmmaker follows the unusual pair, commenting events from offscreen as an outside observer. We detect admiration for their passion, but also doubt about their meticulous collecting. Is this kind of classification of nature still in keeping with the times?

In his debut film Quintero allows himself to be pulled into the eddying timelessness of the tropical forest. Varied and artful shots of the fauna show a surprisingly different and mystic view of Colombia, communicating the image of a country with a budding film industry whose authors devote themselves predominantly to political or personal conflicts.

Annina Wettstein

Land Within

Documentary Film
Colombia,
Finland
2016
60 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Jenni Kivistö
Jenni Kivistö
Andrés Estefan Ramírez, Samuel Valkola
Otto Andersson
Jenni Kivistö
Jarkko Kela, Rafael Ospino Betancourt
A film in dreamtime and a nomadic reflection on the alien and the familiar: Finnish filmmaker Jenni Kivistö feels a strange kinship to the Wayuu tribe who live in the desert between Colombia and Venezuela. The seriousness, but also the silence of these people seem eerily familiar to her – a closeness she carefully nourishes and questions. She approaches the reality of this distant place in the north of South America in four chapters of enchanting and powerful imagery, interspersed with light and lyrical notes that resemble diary entries. The attention she pays to a Wayuu myth of origin is as great as the serene curiosity with which she incorporates everyday moments and dreams, strange rituals and ghostly incidents in her narrative.

At some point Kivistö relates her encounter with a little boy who teaches her a few words of his language while she in turn teaches him Finnish vocabulary. Some terms are similar. Others bear no relationship to each other at all. There’s only one word that means the same in Finnish and Wayuu: “maa”. It’s the word for earth. Or: the land.

Ralph Eue

The Shape of Now

Documentary Film
Colombia,
Norway
2018
70 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Augusto Cesar Sandino, Emil Olsen, Manuel Correa
Manuel Correa
Simón Mesa Giraldo
Manuel Correa, Angelica Toro, John Jarlen Quiroz
Manuel Correa
Sebastián Munera, Manuel Correa, Francisco Londoño, Emil Olsen
Francisco Londoño, Emil Olsen
At first an insect works its way out of the ground – laboriously, trying to get its bearings, brushing the heavy sand from its wings. Coming out of the soil it pierces the surface of the planet and turns once around itself, exactly as if it was taking a look around the present it just crawled into. Manuel Correa’s experimental documentary is a lot like this industrious animal that has soil sticking to its body, whose eyes are still clouded and whose wings are still flapping slowly.

According to estimates around 200,000 people lost their lives in the 50-year Colombian civil war. Another 25,000 were kidnapped, many are still considered missing. When the peace deal between the government and the FARC rebels was made in November 2016, guns were banned from the conflict. But the country’s population have since faced the almost impossible task of having to agree on a common past. “The Shape of Now” illuminates this strenuous process and thus Colombia’s leaden present from very different perspectives. And just like the people of this country – the survivors, the grieving mothers, the historians and experts – this film, too, is still in first orientation mode.

Lukas Stern