Film Archive

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Sugar Cage

Documentary Film
2019
60 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Zeinah AlQahwaji, Ali Hammoud (Reader Films)
Zeinah AlQahwaji
Ali Assad, Hassan Ali
Zeinah AlQahwaji
Raya Yamisha
A swarm of storks circles above the barren plain. The migratory birds can move freely – unlike the director’s parents who are stuck in their apartment near Damascus. Every day they try to overcome the fear of a bomb impact, but also of isolation. The increasing infirmities of age don’t make the situation easier. Since the outbreak of the war in Syria, Zeinah AlQahwaji has visited her parents again and again and filmed them in their flat to find out what “home” means under such difficult circumstances. She consistently stays with them in their cramped apartment. Only the eyes and the camera constantly wander off into the distance, to the city. The apartment is a familiar refuge for her parents, though they are confined in it like in a cage.

In her feature-length film debut, the director weaves the material shot over several years into an intimate portrait. It is an unspectacular look at life in a war zone, far removed from journalistic reporting. The passing of time can be seen only in the changing seasons. The recurring interruptions of the water and power supply also provide a structure. But even the news seems monotonous: When international political attempts to help Syria are announced once again, the parents don’t even shrug their shoulders.

Annina Wettstein

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.

International Programme
Where Did Ramses Go? Amr Bayoumi

The subject is powerful men, politicians, kings, one’s father – and the costly move of the famous statue of Ramses. A personal look at a country between authority and revolution.

Where Did Ramses Go?

Documentary Film
2019
62 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Naji Ismail (Rahala Production & Distribution)
Amr Bayoumi
Magdy Youssef
Osama Elwerdany
This is about powerful men: politicians, king, one’s father. Amr Bayoumi’s old man was an authoritarian patriarch. On the old analogue black and white photos the head of the family sits between two other men, legs wide apart and a self-righteous, arrogant look in his eyes. Bayoumi’s relationship with him was never emotional.

Using personal memories – stories, pictures, newspaper cuttings, cartoons – the Egyptian filmmaker reconstructs the history of his native country since the 1950s, the political upheavals from Nasser to Mubarak and finally the 2001 revolution. He skilfully uses a larger metaphor for this purpose: the famous statue of Ramses II and its curious fate. It was found, reconstructed and erected several times at various locations. Most recently it had to move in 2006 from Ramses Square to another interim location– presumably because Mubarak and the underground station named after him would not tolerate a pharaoh above him. The mammoth project took twelve hours. Countless people followed the monument on its way through the crowded streets of Cairo, screaming farewells, shaking their heads without understanding. Ramses as a symbol of military, power and triumph becomes a political pawn here and the rhetorical question of the title becomes an emblem of a country between authority and revolution.

Julia Weigl

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.

Dreamaway

Documentary Film
2018
86 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Roman Roitman
Marouan Omara, Johanna Domke
Bilgehan Öziş
Jakob Beurle
Gesa Jäger, Louly Seif
Marouan Omara, Johanna Domke
A vision, a desert hike. We see a group of young Egyptians walking through the dark sands of the Sinai Peninsula, each on their own and yet together. The sun is low, their bodies are silent, tired and heavy. We see people who have set out, perhaps from a party. But we don’t see where they are headed. An image that’s so soaked with the past that it’s hard to discover a future in it.

The German-Egyptian directing duo Johanna Domke and Marouan Omara follow these young employees of one of the countless luxury hotels of Sharm El Sheikh. Post-revolutionary unrest and terrorist attacks have robbed the holiday resort on the Red Sea of all life: the hotels are empty, the pool gym units without participants, the party strips eerily deserted. The tourist planes, as we are shown again and again, fly over the town but no longer land here. With a kind of somnambulistic attention the film explores the lives, longings and plight of young Egyptians whose pasts suddenly no longer lead to futures.

Lukas Stern


Nominated for the Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.

Ana Ana (I Am Me)

Documentary Film
2013
75 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Corinne van Egeraat
Corinne van Egeraat, Petr Lom
Ryuichi Sakamoto
Petr Lom, Nadine Salib, Sondos Shabayek, Sarah Ibrahim, Wafaa Samir
Petr Lom
Jeroen Goeijers
Where censorship rules, the hour of the metaphor has come. The Arab Spring in Egypt didn’t change much about this. The traditional roles assigned to women are still the same. Four young female artists from Cairo are cautiously exploring this thin line between poetry and prohibition in their works. They still have to hide their longing for creativity and self-realisation as well as their own ideas of sexuality and physicality under headscarves. The film translates this dichotomy between being and appearing into oscillating images that make us feel some of the fear and tension these women experience.
The Czech-born Canadian director Petr Lom and the Dutch filmmaker Corinne van Egeraat met the four theatre, photo and video artists at a workshop. They have been working together on this project since 2011, not just as actors, but also as co-authors. Their artistic objects and performances unfold a kaleidoscope of associations that dominate the film’s visual world. Past master Ryūichi Sakamoto provided the discrete but effective score. Ultimately, “Ana Ana” is a poem that couldn’t be more political.
Cornelia Klauß

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.

Waves

Documentary Film
2013
71 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Ahmed Nour
Ahmed Nour
Markus Aust
Ahmed Fathy
Simon El Habre, Meriem Amrioui
Chadi Abo, Yasmin Finri
Ahmed Nour
Emile Aouad
Ahmed Nour’s first feature-length film is a melancholy and visually powerful investigation of the kidnapped 2011 revolution. What is left of the dreams so many died for? The rebellion began in Suez, his hometown, and he returns to Suez to come to his own personal conclusions about his Arab Spring. At the same time he describes the mental state of Egypt’s so-called “revolution generation”, who are tired and full of scepticism, facing an uncertain future.
The five chapters/waves, each in its own aesthetics – animation, archive and documentary material, sound – deal with stages in the life of the director resp. his town. The combination of personal memories and historical milestones not only serves to find personal certainty in times of doubt but also helps to recover the possibility of a better future from a disappointing present. Suez was a front-line town in the war against Israel, then an occupied town, then the “flame of the revolution” against the dictatorship. But what has changed for the people? Not much, if you believe the director. The infrastructure is crumbling, the drinking water is polluted, there are no jobs, rumours of foreign spies are making the rounds, and old alliances are falling apart. So who is the enemy today? To which his old mentor replies: “The enemy is within you.”
Matthias Heeder

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.

Crop

Documentary Film
2013
47 minutes
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Johanna Domke
Johanna Domke, Marouan Omara
Melanie Brugger
Johanna Domke, Emad Maher
Johanna Domke, Marouan Omara
Bilgehan Özis
Everyone deserves their own image, that’s the gist of an old Egyptian pop song. In reality there used to be only one official image along the Nile for a long time: that of a strong and powerful Egypt, embodied by its rulers. The majority of the population had no place in it. The young revolution was a revolution of images, too: the people conquered the right to be represented with their digital cameras and mobile phones, and reached the world. But how representative are those new images, one wonders in view of the more than uncertain current situation. This film takes a step back to look behind the structures of the old power. Tableau-like shots on an insider’s tour of the apparatus of power: the oldest and most important national daily, Al-Ahram, in which official Egypt reproduced itself since Nasser’s day. Starting with the conference rooms under the roof down to the basement garages where the papers are bundled for delivery, we meet a multitude of employees doing their various jobs, while a narrator’s voice, an intersubjective surrogate of interviews with photo journalists, recites a first-hand account, as it were, of Egyptian media history. The strict division between the visual and audio levels makes us look more closely and raises questions: for whom will this apparatus work in the future?

Lars Meyer

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.

Mohammad Saved From the Waters

Documentary Film
2012
93 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Delphine Morel, Tamer El Said, Christian Popp
Safaa Fathy
Vincent Buron
Pauline Casalis
Mustafa Shaaban
The Nile, the cradle of Egyptian culture, is said to be a gentle mother, Paris-based writer and director Safaa Fathy says about her home country. But the Nile is an old, sick man, humiliated by those who owe him their lives. The river is polluted, the hospitals crowded with dialysis patients they can barely take care of. Like Mohammad, Safaa’s brother. A kidney disease is gnawing away at his health. But he refuses a transplant for ethical reasons, because organs are a gift from God. The sister who follows him with her camera finds this hard to accept. He is 42, has two children, and looks for new hope every day. He dies on the eve of the revolution. But his story continues posthumously as a dialogue between sister and brother. “It’s a shame for you to film me when I’m melancholy.” The evenings on the Nile depress Mohammad. He feels like a boat drifting on the shoreless waters. Safaa, on the other hand, remembers the legend of Isis, who collected her brother Osiris’s pieces from all over Egypt after he had been hacked to death. So she tries to fit the pieces together and understand this Egypt and its ailing health system, which remains blocked even after the revolution. She does this in an essay that is both personal and political.

Lars Meyer

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.