Film Archive

Jahr

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

Under the Sun

Documentary Film
Czech Republic,
Germany,
North Korea,
Russia
2015
110 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Natalya Manskaya, Simone Baumann, Filip Remunda
Vitaly Mansky
Kārlis Auzāns
Alexandra Ivanova, Mikhail Gorobchuk
Andrej Paperny
Vitaly Mansky
Evgeniya Lachina, Anrijs Krenbergs
North Korea wants to be the best of all possible worlds. Everything and everyone is taken care off. Pyongyang is a clean, modern metropolis. 8-year-old Zin-mi, who is at the centre of this film, takes us through the stations of a happy childhood: becoming a member of the pioneer organisation, brisk flag ceremonies, enough food and always a song in praise of the Great Leader Kim Jong-un on her lips.

Russian-Ukrainian director Vitaly Mansky got the official permission to document the ordinary life of the city and country for one year. He knows that he is being instrumentalised and simply turns the tables by exposing how the presentations and arrangements are fabricated. His official minder proves to be a real “co-director”. So it’s the apparent details and minor matters Mansky asks us to discover. They offer insights into a well-trained and dulled society. Though we feel like we’re in “1984”, Mansky has come neither as a voyeur nor as a cynic. His camera is looking for the human element behind the mask of the official bulletins: a yawn or a moment of insecurity in this land of the ever-rising sun.

Cornelia Klauß