Film Archive

Countries (Film Archive)

A Hole in the Head

Documentary Film
Czech Republic,
Slovakia
2016
92 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Barbara Janišová Feglová
Robert Kirchhoff
Miroslav Tóth
Juraj Chlpík
Jan Daňhel
Robert Kirchhoff
Václav Flégl
A small art gallery somewhere in Serbia which exhibits only works by Roma. Is Clinton not Roma, too? The gallery owner isn’t certain. But Antonio Banderas is Roma, and Yul Brynner. They just don’t have the courage to admit it. This touching scene of cultural self-assurance is part of a narrative about the Roma Holocaust which has been almost completely erased from European memory and whose traces the director follows meticulously. A film against forgetting.

We meet people from France, Serbia, Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland who got caught up in the Nazi murder machine as children. Rita was less than three weeks old when SS doctors performed horrible experiments on her in a Würzburg hospital. Her twin sister died, she survived with a “hole in the head”. Raymond, 90 years old, an extremely alert Roma, reminds us that it was the French Gendarmerie who herded them together, not the Germans. Today, the same police enter his caravan without a search warrant to arrest three of his sons because they came to his aid. So what has changed? A question that arises at every stop of this commemorative journey and forces us to take a stand and get rid of ideological garbage.

Matthias Heeder


Nominated for MDR Film Prize
International Programme 2017
A Marriage Story Helena Třeštíková

Helena Třeštíková observed the seemingly ordinary marriage of Ivana and Václav for more than three decades. Until we realise that “ordinary” exists only for the casual observer.

A Marriage Story

Documentary Film
Czech Republic
2017
102 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Kateřina Černá, Pavel Strnad
Helena Třeštíková
David Cysař, Vlastimil Hamerník, Jan Malíř, Miroslav Souček, Ervín Sanders, Jiří Chod, Robert Novák, Antonín Kutík
Jakub Hejna
Helena Třeštíková
Richard Müller
Helena Třeštíková from Prague has filmed marriage stories since the early 1980s, which yielded several long-term documentaries. Ivana and Václav’s holy bond of matrimony is the subject of observation in this instalment, which takes us from the day before wedding day to the present day. At the time, in December 1980, Ivana was 21 years old and Václav 24. They were both studying architecture and married “because we like each other. And other things. Things we shouldn’t talk about.” Their first child was born shortly after the wedding: Honza.

Helena Třeštíková’s film “René” won the Golden Dove in Leipzig in 2008; a piece about a hopeless but charming amoralist who was drawn again and again to the same place: prison. It seems as if Třeštíková, too, is attracted by certain places, but even more so by people and the way they try to give their life a meaningful direction. This “marriage story”, for example, reveals an incredible desire for enlargement and growth that shows in an accumulation of objects, children and responsibilities – one of the inner motives of the Strnads which unfolds over 35 years together.

Carolin Weidner


Nominated for MDR Film Prize
Kids DOK 2017
Awaker Filip Diviak

Every morning the awaker does his strenuous job. When his strength runs out one day his grandson has a brilliant idea.

Awaker

Animated Film
Czech Republic
2017
9 minutes
subtitles: 
_without dialogue / subtitles

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Lukáš Gregor
Filip Diviak
Jan Nevyjel, Noemi Valentíny, Vít Přibyla, Barbora Kadlíčková
Filip Diviak, Josef Erla
Filip Diviak
Filip Diviak
Jiří Hloušek
Every morning the awaker does his strenuous job. When his strength runs out one day his grandson has a brilliant idea.

Lina Dinkla

Chronicle of Oldrich S.

Animadoc
Czech Republic
2011
18 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jakub Hora, AniFest
Rudolf Šmíd
Jaroslav Koran
Jakub Halousek
Lucie Haladova
Rudolf Šmíd
Rudolf Šmíd
Jaroslav Koran
Mr Sedláček was writing one-sentence entries in his chronicle from 1981 to 2005. The chronicle assembles everyday stories of his and his family's life, the life of the village and its surroundings as well as international events side by side.
Narrating eigthy entries from a total of more than two thousand daily notes the film manages to provide a astonishingly concentrated overview of Mr. Sedláček's life and of our society.

Cinema, Mon Amour

Documentary Film
Czech Republic,
Romania
2015
74 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Tudor Giurgiu
Alexandru Belc
Tudor Vladimir Panduru
Ion Ioachim Stroe
Alexandru Belc, Tudor Giurgiu
Vlad Voinescu
Victor Purice definitely deserves a medal as a “Hero of Socialist Labour”. Witnessing the desperation, the vigour, the persistence with which he keeps fighting for his cinema brings tears to the eyes. The “Dacia” Panorama Film Theatre, somewhere in the Romanian province, a concrete beauty with several hundred seats, a good-sized foyer and solid 35 mm projection equipment is on the brink of failure. It shares the fate of many Romanian cinemas; there are less than 30 left. The others were privatised, sold off, turned into amusement arcades or discotheques, even the film studio sold many of them. What nonsense – just as we are celebrating the new golden age of Romanian cinema in our part of the world!

But Victor Purice and the small staff he has left will not be driven out of their dream cinema that easily. They live and cook among film reels, turn the foyer into a table tennis hall and watch a Hollywood blockbuster alone, if need be. All this is narrated affectionately and full of admiration for this modern Don Quixote who is fighting mismanagement, digital progress and a broken heating system. The price he pays is high. It’s to be feared that this story will not have a happy ending. Mission: Impossible.

Cornelia Klauß
Kids DOK 2016
Deep in Moss Filip Pošivač, Barbora Valecká

Aided by the two elves Josephine and Bertie a water nymph who can’t sing discovers her true strength: storytelling.

Deep in Moss

Animated Film
Czech Republic
2015
26 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Pavla Janoušková Kubečková
Filip Pošivač, Barbora Valecká
Matej Portes
Václav Fronk
Lucie Haladová
Barbora Valecká
Iva K. Jestřábová
Martin Blauber
Aided by the two elves Josephine and Bertie a water nymph who can’t sing discovers her true strength: storytelling.

Die Trasse

Documentary Film
Czech Republic,
Germany,
Russia
2013
121 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Natalia Manskaya, Filip Remunda, Vít Klusák, Simone Baumann
Vitaly Mansky
Alexandra Ivanova
Pavel Mendel-Ponamarev
Vitaly Mansky
Dmitry Nazarov
It was – as the “IG Erdgastrasse” (IG Natural Gas Pipeline) claims on a website still designed in the German-Soviet friendship style – the “construction of the century”. It started with the ground-breaking ceremony on 6 June 1966 in near-arctic West Siberia, took on real transcontinental form in the pre-Perestroika years (to Reagan’s horror) and today supplies, among other things, the raw material for one of the major ritual events in Western Europe: the Rheingas-fuelled Rose Monday Parade in Cologne. The “Urengoy-Pomary-Uzhgorod Pipeline” stretches from the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug to the Gulf of Biscay, as unnoticeable as everything else to do with our energy supply. But in terms of geo-politics, -ecologics and -economics, it’s a massive goldmine – with quite noticeable consequences (dependencies, blind faith in technology, environmental damage).
Vitaly Mansky, who last travelled through Cuba in “Motherland or Death”, now explores our own unfamiliar home along this subterranean trail. The politically obstinate documentary maestro is interested in the lives of those who live near and above the pipeline, though not necessarily off it (no money, no gas): indigenous ice fishers, Orthodox Church processions, Putin-supporting tuba players, Gorbachev-critical veterans, angry Roma, cursing Polish men and Virgin Mary-adoring Polish women. He flirts with stereotypes while adroitly avoiding them. Big screen cinema, visually powerful and with great sound design.

Barbara Wurm



MDR Film Prize 2013

Eugenic Minds

Documentary Film
Czech Republic,
Slovakia
2013
76 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jiří Konečný
Pavel Štingl
Jaroslav Kořán
Miroslav Janek
Tonička Janková, Otakar Šenovský
Jan Míka
Pavel Štingl
Vladimír Chrastil
Expressive faces, body parts, anatomical associations. Human beings come in a variety of forms: “Some are smart, some are dumb, some are good-looking, some are ugly …” The term eugenics comes from the Greek. It means something like “good lineage” and is the term used for the science of improving genetic disposition by choosing the right sexual partner. In order to spare humanity “genetic burdens”, the smart and good-looking ones are chosen. If humans make the selection, they take “God’s work into their own hands”. The Third Reich used and expanded this science to serve its ideology, with the result that the term was avoided and at last forgotten. Captivating archive material, original animations and their graphic “insemination”, for example when the “transparent woman” frequently mingles with the crowds, reflect the narrative of a fascinating science practiced to the point of lunacy. This tale reveals more about the human species than any anthropometrical measurement ever could.

Claudia Lehmann
Doc Alliance Selection 2013
Fortress Lukáš Kokeš, Klára Tasovská

Trans-Dniestr: a living museum of Soviet-style communism on the borders of the Moldavian Republic. Propaganda, secret police, and a bizarre refuge from the dangers of modern life.

Fortress

Documentary Film
Czech Republic
2012
70 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Pavla Kubečková, Tomas Hruby, nutprodukce
Lukáš Kokeš, Klára Tasovská
Lukáš Kokeš
Alexandra Gojdičová
Lukáš Kokeš, Klára Tasovská
Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic a.k.a. Trans-Dniestr. Imagine a space where time has frozen. The country, whose independence has been recognized by only a few other states, remains an isolated multi-ethnic enclave held together by an authoritarian regime. It’s a country where you are only allowed to film out of the window of a train, the locals are afraid of being denounced but are glad to live in a comfortable refuge from the hectic modern world, and songs on television celebrate the president. Time has stopped and life is stuck in a shape resembling the era of the Soviet Union. Somehow, people got used to the reign of the secret police and the fear of being spied upon. Soviet-style propaganda of the authoritative, power-based regime of President Igor Smirnov turns most of the PMR residents into simple workmen, without any will to understand how unbearable their situation is. Smirnov has been leading this non-existing country for as long as twenty years.
The film focuses on a couple of characters stuck in this geo-political gap, in between the European Union and Russia, in between the present and the past, crime and decency, decadence and hope for change. Framed by the time of the presidential elections, the film is presented as a trip to a museum of communist totalitarianism and analyzes the organization of a “non-state” and the rules of a regular life within.
Kids DOK 2018
Fruits of Clouds Kateřina Karhánková

A community of small furry creatures live deep in the forest. Every day they wait and yearn for the golden fruit of the clouds that fall from the sky.

Fruits of Clouds

Animated Film
Czech Republic
2017
10 minutes
subtitles: 
_without dialogue / subtitles

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Tomáš Michálek, Dagmar Sedláčková
Kateřina Karhánková
Jan Richtr
Kateřina Karhánková
Blanka Klímová
Alžběta Skálová
Kateřina Karhánková
Jan Richtr
A community of small furry creatures live deep in the forest. Every day they wait and yearn for the golden fruit of the clouds that fall from the sky, for without them neither light nor food reaches their burrows! But one day the fruit don’t come. Now great courage is needed: the dark forest must be crossed so the little community can survive.

Marie-Thérèse Antony

H*ART ON

Documentary Film
Czech Republic
2016
73 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Miroslav Novák
Andrea Culková
BAZEL
Lukáš Milota
Thomas Ernst
Despina Kannaourou
Andrea Culková, Thomas Ernst
Petr Čechák
An artist’s life can only be comprehended from another artist’s perspective, because their biographies all tend to be lies, the Czech writer Milada Součková believed. Andrea Culková approaches the life and works of Součková’s husband Zdeněk Rykr (1900-1940) from the perspective of contemporary artists and Rykr experts in the Czech Republic, Japan and France as well as through archive material. Rykr’s graphic heritage consists mainly of the design of Orion chocolate – his commercial work was successful very early on. Aside from such commissions, however, he got very little recognition as an avant-garde artist who anticipated many developments in 1960s conceptual art.

A search for clues, this many-voiced collage film compiles programmatic, proclamatory and provoking acts and statements by different persons. The field of tension between artistic expression, provocation, lifestyle and commercialism is still an important issue for artists and curators today. It’s found in the flat of a Czech artists’ couple, at the margins of Art Basel, in preparations for an exhibition in Japan … What unites them all is the exploration of the human body and (one’s own) mortality.

Nadja Rademacher


Nominated for MDR Film Prize

My Unknown Soldier

Documentary Film
Czech Republic,
Latvia,
Slovakia
2018
79 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Michal Kráčmer, Sergei Serpuhov
Anna Kryvenko
Andris Dzenitis, Yair Elazar Glotman, David Střeleček
Radka Šišuláková
Daria Chernyak
Anna Kryvenko
Viktor Krivosudský
The Prague Spring, Soviet tanks, the invasion of Warsaw Pact troops, the epoch-making year of 1968: the starting points of a family history between Czechia, Ukraine and Russia. “The occupation translates to a man with a dachshund being entitled to yell at a young girl in a tram because he can’t tell Ukrainian and Russian apart.”

A series of family album photos from which a man was removed sets Anna Kryvenko, a Ukrainian who studies film in Prague, on the trail of her great-uncle: the “unknown soldier”, to whom so many monuments are dedicated that one almost forgets that this sweeping gesture of remembrance refers to concrete faces, names, dates of birth and death, biographies cut short. After some initial hesitation the filmmaker’s family break their silence and gradually the pieces combine to form a new picture in which family and world history intersect.

Fabian Tietke


Nominated for the MDR Film Prize

Nabbin

Documentary Film
Czech Republic,
Israel
2018
30 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Nadav Harel, Kat Tolkovsky
Kat Tolkovsky
Kat Tolkovsky
Kat Tolkovsky
Kat Tolkovsky
Rotem Dror
After years in Israel the filmmaker returns to Nabbin in the Czech Republic, the place where she grew up, and to the people who surrounded her then.

None of Your Business

Documentary Film
Czech Republic,
Iran
2019
64 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Kaveh Farnam
Kamran Heidari
Kamran Heidari, Mansour Vahdani
Kamran Heidari
Saeideh Keshavarzi, Kamran Heidari
Ali Farmani
How he lived and died is nobody’s business, the singer Ebrahim Monsefi sings in a song documented in a video flickering with decay. It comes at the end of a film whose very existence asserts the opposite, because it narrates precisely that life, which was shaped by his love of music and a crash caused by the loss of loved ones. It started in the traditionally cosmopolitan southern Iranian seaport of Bandar Abbas at the Strait of Hormuz. There is even a (deserted) Hindu temple there, where the orphan grew up with his grandfather, surrounded by music from all over the world that was absorbed and interpreted by the locals. Thus Ebram learned to play the guitar at an early age and became a local star as a singer-songwriter, before he became addicted to heroin and died in 1997.

Today his songs are popular standards in the region. And catchy melancholy tunes which, in archive footage of Ebram himself and street sets of contemporary performers, become the vibrant framework of Kamran Heidari’s film. Added to this are restagings of individual stations of his life. And the artist as a spirit whose emerging, almost pathological obsession with femininity can also be read as a comment on the worldview of the never explicitly mentioned Islamic Revolution. Thus the film is more a parable than a biography, but also the portrait of a fascinating, vibrant city.

Silvia Hallensleben

Normal Autistic Film

Documentary Film
Czech Republic
2016
92 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jan Macola (Mimesis Film)
Miroslav Janek
Miroslav Janek
Tonička Janková
Miroslav Janek
Matěj Němec, Daniel Němec
One of the most amazing lines of dialogue in this very intimate portrait of young people with Asperger’s Syndrome is: “Aren’t autistic people sort of aliens, too? They think all the time.” Miroslav Janek followed several “Aspies” over a period of two years and discovered a fairytale world: hyper, obsessed, annoying, artistic, melancholy, weird. Full of self-hatred, too, when 14-year-old Majda furiously belts out her depressed Rap as she stomps through the village.

The film’s drive comes from the Aspies’ unique energy. The camera works mainly with close-ups, creating a surprising willingness in the audience to follow these strange people into their world. Strange from the point of view of a majority who determines what’s allowed and what isn’t to reaffirm its own “normality” or “mental health”. Which describes the challenge the young protagonists have to face every day: existing in an environment that doesn’t see, feel, think or perceive as they do. Miroslav Janek and Tonička Janková, to whose editing the film owes its remarkably light touch, translate this attitude to life into a great poetic tale about the beauty of being different.

Matthias Heeder


Nominated for MDR Film Prize, Young Eyes Film Award

Normalization

Documentary Film
Czech Republic,
Slovakia
2013
100 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Robert Kirchhoff, coproducer: Hypermarket Film, CzechTV
Robert Kirchhoff
Peter Zagar
Ján Meliš
Jana Vlčková, Adam Brothánek
Jozef Giertli Danglár
Robert Kirchhoff
Václav Flegl, Michal Gábor
Only a moment ago, 19-year-old medical student Ludmilla Cervanova had smiled into the camera. Her body was found in a river in a small Slovak town in 1976. Seven men were responsible for the horrifying rape and death of the girl. Fortunately, the perpetrators were apprehended and condemned. But though Ludmilla was drowned alive, oddly enough no signs of violence could be found on the body. Though the murderers have been in prison for years, not one of them can remember the terrible crime. Though a number of witnesses confirmed the innocence of the condemned men, none of them was heard in court. Robert Kirchhoff lets these people talk; many others fall silent when faced with his questions about plausible facts. He delves deeply into a case that has remained an unsolved puzzle in Slovak history until today. He reconstructs a “map of events” and paints a picture that shows power, its abuse, manipulation, the perfidiousness of intelligence services and the political machinations of a country. “Normalization” demonstrates in the best sense what film is capable of. And the truth is still concealed behind the innocent smile of a 19-year-old girl.

Claudia Lehmann



Awarded with a Honorary Mention in the International Competition Documentary Film and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury 2013