Film Archive

Sections (Film Archive)

Sugar Cage

Documentary Film
Egypt,
Lebanon,
Syria
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
Egypt
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.