Film Archive

Countries (Film Archive)

79 Springtimes

Documentary Film
Cuba
1969
25 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

ICAIC
Santiago Álvarez
Idalberto Gálvez
Iván Nápoles
Norma Torrado
Santiago Álvarez
Carlos Fernández, Raúl Pérez Ureta
Agit pop art condensed and charged to the maximum. Frenetic ingenuity full of a genuinely materialist sensuality and a visually powerful forward thrust. In terms of content: a cinematic brotherly kiss on the occasion of the death of Bác Hồ, also known as Hồ Chí Minh (1890–1969). Also: formulating the certainty that the fight will go on, must go on.

Ralph Eue

Balcony Tales

Documentary Film
Cuba,
Denmark
2013
36 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Ellen Riis
Helle Windeløv-Lidzélius
Christian Schrøder, Max Bering, Peter Johansson, Christer Windeløv-Lidzélius
Adam Morris Philp, Denis Guerra Ribas, Rocío Aballí Hernández
Mette Esmark, Nanna Frank Møller
Helle Windeløv-Lidzélius, Janis Reyes Hernández
Niels Arild
Everybody in the city of Havana knows that it’s better to walk in the middle of the street and not on the sidewalk, where you may be hit by a crumbling balcony. Still: the balcony is a loyal friend, connecting people with their neighbours, the hawkers, the noise and smell of the street. Ceci has spent his whole life here. Now he is old and blind, but not alone. He has his balcony, from which he shops, hears important news and calls for Edilia, a young woman from the opposite side of the street who takes care of him like a daughter. This warm-hearted, unspectacular relationship forms the framework for a filmic declaration of love to the balconies of Havana. Each of them has their own story, their own soul and magic. It’s a bitter thing for anyone not to have one, for then you are cut off from life, which displays the full panorama of human diversity only to the viewer from above.
Matthias Heeder

Duel

Documentary Film
Cuba
2017
13 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Alejandro Alonso Estrella, Rafael Ramírez
Alejandro Alonso Estrella
Alejandro Alonso Estrella
Alejandro Alonso Estrella
Rafael Ramírez, Jesús Bermúdez
A young man builds a white wooden cross and carries it into the jungle. Yoan suffers from insomnia and mysterious fits, is beleaguered by thoughts of his absent father and haunting ghosts. He must dare to go into the “heart of darkness” before he can achieve peace again. It is an intensely filmed duel, fought with the weapons of Christian prayer and symbols and the images and laws of the jungle.

Frederik Lang
Re-Visionen 2018
Hanoi, Tuesday 13th Santiago Álvarez

The montage of a day in the North Vietnamese capital, including the inferno of an air raid.

Hanoi, Tuesday 13th

Documentary Film
Cuba
1967
38 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

ICAIC
Santiago Álvarez
Leo Brouwer
Iván Nápoles
Norma Torrado, Idalberto Gálvez
Jorge Pucheaux, Pepín Rodríguez, Adalberto Hernández
Santiago Álvarez, José Martí
Carlos Fernández
The montage of a day in the North Vietnamese capital, including the inferno of an air raid. Álvarez saw himself as an interventionist artist, as a contributor to building a new and hopefully better world which was to be defined on the basis of present conditions and then advanced. The reality of his films is that of his ideals, opinions and aspirations.

Ralph Eue

L.B.J.

Documentary Film
Cuba
1968
18 minutes
subtitles: 
Spanish

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

ICAIC
Santiago Álvarez
Leo Brouwer, Pablo Milanés
Norma Torrado, Idalberto Gálvez
José Pepìn Rodríguez, Adalberto Hernández
Santiago Álvarez
Santiago Álvarez
Lyndon B. Johnson, also known as L.B.J., politician of the Democratic Party of the United States of America, Vice President under John F. Kennedy and his successor after the latter was assassinated. L.B.J. was also responsible for the first deployment of American troops to Vietnam in 1965. A film about Lyndon B. Johnson then? No doubt, but rather indirectly. Directly, Santiago Álvarez’s film seems like a pop pamphlet about assassination as the ultima ratio of U.S. politics in the 1960s. And suddenly L.B.J. reads quite differently, with L like (Martin) Luther (King), B like Bobby (Kennedy) and J like John (F. Kennedy).

Ralph Eue

My Brother Fidel

Documentary Film
Cuba
1977
16 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Carlos H. Canals
Santiago Álvarez
Iván Nápoles, Raúl Pérez Ureta
Miriam Talavera
Rebeca Chávez, Santiago Ávarez
In 1977, Fidel Castro (1926–2016) visited a blind 93-year-old in the mountains of Cuba, who told him about his childhood meeting with the Cuban national hero José Martí (1853–1895), shortly before he was killed in the Cuban War of Independence against Spain. The old man did not know who his visitor was ...

Ralph Eue
Re-Visionen 2018
Now Santiago Álvarez

Give me two photos, an editing table and a piece of music, Santiago Álvarez (1919–1998) is said to have claimed as his filmmaking motto.

Now

Documentary Film
Cuba
1965
6 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

ICAIC
Santiago Álvarez
Pepín Rodríguez, Adalberto Hernández
Norma Torrado, Idalberto Gálvez
Adalberto Jiménez
Give me two photos, an editing table and a piece of music, Santiago Álvarez (1919–1998) is said to have claimed as his filmmaking motto. He was speaking literally, even though in the end it was never just a couple of photos. In this case: pages torn from “Time Magazine”, especially pictures of police brutality in the US, plus Lena Horne’s jazz version of the Hebrew folksong “Hava Nagila.”

Ralph Eue

Onironauta

Documentary Film
Cuba,
Germany
2019
21 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Valerie-Malin Schmid, KHM Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln, EICTV
Valerie-Malin Schmid
Joel Jaffe, Mira Rachel Hanak
Natalia Medina Leiva, David Aguilera Cogollo, Valerie-Malin Schmid
Rita Schwarze, Valerie-Malin Schmid
Henning Hein, Janis Ahnert, Marek Forreiter, Matthias Rohde
Rambling through Havana, the Afro-Cuban poet Omar reflects on memories and farewells, patriotism and censorship, his mythical verses blending the past and the present. It is the portrait of a poet and of an isolated island state, recorded in seemingly timeless everyday observations in words and images, filmed on 16 mm stock.

Frederik Lang
International Programme 2015
Outside Laurentia Genske

Sex tourism in Cuba: two young men believe they can build a future via foreign women – and maybe even that love exists. But everyday life is exhausting …

Outside

Documentary Film
Cuba
2015
64 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Ute Dilger, Luis Alejandro Yero
Laurentia Genske
Laurentia Genske
Lara Rodriguez Cruz, Laurentia Genske
Laurentia Genske
Robert Keilbar, Damian Rubiera Hernandez
Today’s Cuba under the aegis of Raúl Castro has a booming shadow economy. Anyone who can tries to earn a little extra, sell something or profit from the tourists. Two young men from Baracoa try their luck with female foreigners. Yohan especially is a dreamer who believes his own tactics when he talks about love. His greatest dream, however, is Europe.

Laurentia Genske, who spent two years as a guest student in Cuba, follows the arduous daily life of the two who are increasingly coming under pressure: from their mothers, who want proper sons, from the police, who sanction unregistered contact with foreigners, from criminals who want to defend their territory. What looks playful and naive at first turns out to be bitterly serious. Money drives a wedge into every relationship and leaves a bitter taste. Neither the lascivious Salsa rhythms nor the gentle swoosh of the palm fronds can hide this.

Cornelia Klauß
Focus Latin America 2012
Stretcher Marcel Beltrán

An old man on a painstaking journey through the Cuban Sierra Maestra. An atmospheric look at a world where time seems to have stopped.

Stretcher

Documentary Film
Cuba
2010
13 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Marcel Beltrán, Pablo García Barbán, Carlos Y. Rodríguez
Marcel Beltrán
Marcel Beltrán
Marcel Beltrán
Marcel Beltrán
Morning in the lonely mountains of the Cuban Sierra Maestra. An old man sets out to purchase rice for his daily meal. He packs a few belongings to offer them to his neighbours to buy or exchange for food. As he is walking, the poverty and lack of the simplest necessities of life in this remote region are revealed with every step. The neighbours have no use for what he has to sell and nothing to give away. So he takes the bus to try his luck in the valley. When the bus breaks down halfway to the valley, the man continues on foot. Suddenly the call “Parihuela!” is heard from somewhere in the wilderness. People emerge from the forest carrying a sick man on a traditional stretcher. The old man helps and for a second becomes part of a community... The talented young Cuban director Marcel Beltrán manages to create an atmospheric view of a world where time seems to have stopped.

– Paulo de Carvalho
International Competition (from 2015) 2017
The Project Alejandro Alonso Estrella

The Citrus tristeza virus turns a once glowing vision of a cast-in-concrete future in Cuba into an otherworldly place, lethargically poised between the past and the future.

2017

The Project

Animadoc
Cuba
2017
60 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Yamila M. Montero
Alejandro Alonso Estrella
Rafael Ramírez
Alejandro Alonso Estrella
Emmanuel Peña
Andy F. Pérez
Jesús Bermúdez
Brilliant yellow protection suits with oxygen masks cautiously explore a withered orange plantation. Architectural elements float like loose space ship parts through the white void of a 3D visualisation. The camera investigates the ruined interior of an extensive building complex, the fading beauty of a glowing promise for the future, cast in concrete. In Cuba.

What looks like science fiction is actually the legacy of a utopia. The five-storied, elongated complex in the midst of orange plantations was once built as an agricultural school for 50,000 students. Attracted by the visionary project, people from other regions of the island republic settled here. Today they live like ghosts in the long corridors of a place that is lethargically floating between the past and the future because of the effects of the Citrus tristeza virus. The static shots of this film, however, don’t record decay but a quiet change. Alejandro Alonso Estrella and his team have created an aesthetically impressive haptic cinema of the smells and buzzing of the rooms – a gentle approach to an actual building, its inhabitants and the ideas behind it. Faced with this drawing board communism the film doubts its own visual recollections. The invisible censor is full of suspicion – and has other reasons, too.

André Eckardt



Prize of the Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique 2017

Re-Visionen 2018
The Tiger Leaps and Kills but It Will Die … It Will Die Santiago Álvarez

A story in four songs and a monument to the victims of Chilean fascism.

The Tiger Leaps and Kills but It Will Die … It Will Die

Documentary Film
Cuba
1973
16 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

ICAIC
Santiago Álvarez
Noticiero ICAIC Latinoamericano
Gloria Argüelles
Adalberto Hernández, Santiago Peñate
Santiago Álvarez
Juan Demósthene
A story in four songs and a monument to the victims of Chilean fascism. Even before the opening credits we hear Violeta Parra’s accusing song “¿Que dirá el Santo Padre?” to images of the august understanding between the church and the dictator. Accompanying and following the credits: three sequences featuring the murdered singer Víctor Jara (1932–1973) – recording in a studio, as a people’s tribune and as an iconic martyr.

Ralph Eue
We Are Hip Hop 2016
This Is What It Is

Los Aldeanos and Silvito el Libre are Cuban hip-hop artists. The whole island listens to their music which can be bought only under the counter at the local greengrocer’s.

This Is What It Is

Documentary Film
Cuba,
France
2015
100 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Léa Rinaldi, Stéphane Plat
AL2 El Aldeano, Silvito El Libre, Julien Tekeyan
Coralie von Rietschoten
Los Aldeanos and Silvito el Libre are Cuban hip-hop artists. The whole island listens to their music which can be bought only under the counter at the local greengrocer’s. They are rebels in the land of eternal revolution. The three are allowed to leave the country only after Cuba begins to open up. On the trip they are surprised by their worldwide fame and also by the fact that here, too, everything is determined by others. All that keeps them together is the music they share and their love for Cuba.

Kim Busch