Film Archive

Countries (Film Archive)

11 Images of a Human

Documentary Film
Finland
2012
75 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Markku Lehmuskallio, Giron Filmi Oy
Markku Lehmuskallio, Anastasia Lapsui
Heikki Laitinen, Anna-Kaisa Liedes
Johannes Lehmuskallio, Markku Lehmuskallio
Anastasia Lapsui, Markku Lehmuskallio
Anastasia Lapsui, Markku Lehmuskallio
Martti Turunen
A poetic and reflective exploration of the surviving silhouettes marked on rocks sometimes thousands of years ago: Anastasia Lapsui and Markku Lehmuskallio regard the petroglyphs they sought out in many places of the world as captions meant to express our ancestors’ understanding of the world, or as mirrors in which they saw their own reflection. But most of all they regard them as phenomena charged with a magic aura: objectifications of human amazement. Stories are adapted and transformed. “Make a picture in which you can live forever”, says one of the narrators. Subject-object relations apparently set in stone are made liquid again by the magic. Frequently the images in the film speak, say “I” and talk to “US”. Because not only do we look at the figures on the rock, they look back at us. At one point these enchanted creatures, animated by the filmmakers’ visionary power, even detach themselves from the rocks, cross to the other bank of reality like shamans – and immerse themselves for a moment into the present day of a dance ritual before they return, ghost-like and thoroughly unconcerned, to their stony eternity.
– Ralph Eue
Retrospective 2017
A Day at the Grave of Karl Marx Peter von Bagh

A century after his death, people from 20 different countries visit the grave of the philosopher Karl Marx.

A Day at the Grave of Karl Marx

Documentary Film
Finland
1984
30 minutes
subtitles: 
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Peter von Bagh
Peter von Bagh
Tapani Tamminen
Tony Chapman
Elina Katainen
Chris Barton
A century after his death, people from 20 different countries visit the grave of the philosopher Karl Marx (1818–1883) in Highgate Cemetery. Thoughts and discussions about him as well as dialogues with him.

Ralph Eue
International Programme 2018
A Life from Death Tuuli Teelahti

Death from the perspective of the attending carers: stylised and tangible. Dying is encircled by life. Sheets are changed, candles are lighted, sheets are changed.

A Life from Death

Documentary Film
Finland
2017
20 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Paria Eskandari, Aalto University, ELO Film School Finland
Tuuli Teelahti
Max Smeds
Tuuli Teelahti, Kai Rintamaa
Tuuli Teelahti
Tarmo Pehkonen
Sound seeps away from the piano, breath from life, focus from the film. A mimesis of dying, stylised, but tangible. Death from the perspective of the attending carers: changing the sheets, holding back tears, having a coffee break, holding fading hands, lighting candles. And once more: changing the sheets, holding back tears, the coffee … life cycles.

Lukas Stern
International Programme 2019
About Finnish Manhood Samuli Salonen

Finnish male poses: by the water, in front of the sauna, in the forest. They just stand there. But one can listen to them. They talk about closed-off feelings. And the desire to open up.

About Finnish Manhood

Documentary Film
Finland
2019
10 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Samuli Salonen (Kino Euphoria)
Samuli Salonen
Samuli Salonen
Samuli Salonen
Samuli Salonen
Samuli Salonen
One is staring out at the sea. The other is standing in the forest. One is trying to throw a basket. And there, in front of the sauna hut, someone is leaning against the railing. Men. Finnish men. Almost all of them share one thing: a state of emotional repression, deeply entrenched in their own self-conception. What seems frozen at first is quickly released – you just have to be willing to listen. “But if you can’t talk about feelings, then you can’t feel much,” one of them confesses. This is an invitation to talk.

Carolin Weidner

Alppikatu 25 – Home to the Homeless

Documentary Film
Finland
2012
27 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Cilla Werning, Liisa Juntunen
Inka Achté, Marika Väisänen
Graham Hadfield
Sari Aaltonen, Daniel Lindholm, Tuomas Järvelä
Hannele Majaniemi
Alppikatu Street No. 25 has been the address of a shelter for the homeless in Helsinki since 1937. A place for men who have no place of their own. Men without a past? “Create your own memories”, says the motto on a piece of paper pinned to the wall. And yet the memories and traces of the lives of many people who have made a minimal home here, if only temporary, are stored in the monotonous architecture, whose long, bare corridors and narrow cells make one think of a prison. Five of them tell their stories. For a moment, the film delves into each of their interior worlds using only their voices, to which subtle sound collages are added. Visually, the men are never more than phantoms. Sometimes they are caught in the blurriness of the room, sometimes they seem near stagnation. Only the cigarette smoke appears to move. The room, on the other hand, offers no resistance to the exploring camera, as if it could really tell us something about its inhabitants. The abstract brushes shoulders with the concrete, time brushes the room.

Lars Meyer
International Programme 2013
American Vagabond Susanna Helke

After his coming-out, teenager James is disowned by his parents and lives in the streets of San Francisco – until everything turns out differently. A touching coming-of-age drama.

American Vagabond

Documentary Film
Finland
2013
85 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Cilla Werning
Susanna Helke
Samuli Kosminen
Susanna Helke, Marko Luukkonen
Niels Pagh Andersen
It was never to be mentioned again, because if it wasn’t allowed it couldn’t be. But contrary to his father’s verdict, James did not become a “real” boy who loves hunting and fishing, but the worst this American middle-class family were able to imagine. So they threw their gay teenage son out of their home and left him to his fate as one of thousands of homeless adolescents in the States. Up to forty percent of them live on the streets because they belong to a “sexual minority”.
Susanne Helke accompanies James and Tyler, the love of his life, through the dirty streets and dark parks of San Francisco, the “gayest city in the world”. Instead of the hoped-for paradise they find themselves freezing, hungry, and marginalised, even by the established gay community. But things turn out differently: after the first part, where James tells his story from off screen, the second part is about his absence – he‘s behind bars as a “sexual offender”. Because while even his conservative family are now ready to reconsider their opinion, the “mother country of democracy” has nothing but severity against everything that’s different from the mainstream. This atmospheric and careful film is an equally tender and shocking coming-of-age story and at the same time a passionate plea to love your fellow human beings unconditionally.

Grit Lemke

Beginning Filmmaking

Documentary Film
Finland,
USA
2008
23 minutes
subtitles: 
English
English Captions

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jay Rosenblatt (Locomotion Films), YLE Teema
Jay Rosenblatt
Thomas Logoreci, Ella Rosenblatt
Jay Rosenblatt
Ella Rosenblatt, Jay Rosenblatt
Another film starring Ella, now four years old. The message: careful when you choose professions for your own kids!

Cheer Up

Documentary Film
Canada,
Finland
2016
82 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Liisa Juntunen
Christy Garland
Tom Third
Sari Aaltonen
Thor Ochsner, Graeme Ring
Try to cheer up! That’s what the girls get to hear even when one of their ingeniously constructed pyramids of bodies just collapsed and they lie on the floor, bleeding and injured. Cheerleading is the essence of the kind of motivation coaching that fills whole shelves of self-help books and always drives us to peak performances – since this is exactly what this sport is about. It’s just that the logic of the permanent drive to succeed doesn’t seem to work with the Arctic Circle Spirit Ice Queens in Rovaniemi near the Arctic Circle: they are Finland’s worst cheerleading team. But coach Miia is determined to change this. After a visit to the world’s top team in Dallas, Texas – which looks like brainwashing – she wants to make her flock “number one” by means of a “yes you can” strategy. But the flock have other worries: after the death of her mother Patu must cope with her father’s new partner; Aino is drawn into the wild party life and jeopardises her position in the team. Add first love and moving out from home. And Miia, too, realises that the American credo of “everything is possible” may be seen in a completely different light …

Christy Garland confidently mixes the narrative traditions of the classic sports film with those of the coming-of-age drama while staying close to her protagonists. Falling and getting up again. Sounds easier than it is.

Grit Lemke


Nominated for Young Eyes Film Award

Chris the Swiss

Documentary Film
Croatia,
Finland,
Germany,
Switzerland
2018
90 minutes
subtitles: 
English
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Samir (Dschoint Ventschr), Siniša Juričić (Nukleus Film), Heino Deckert (Ma.ja.de.), Iikka Vehkalahti (IV Films Ltd / p.s.72 productions)
Anja Kofmel
Marcel Vaid
Simon Guy Fässler
Stefan Kälin
Simon Eltz
Anja Kofmel
Daniel Hobi, Marco Teufen, Hrvoje Petek
Christian Würtenberg died in Croatia in 1992. Even though the young Swiss had come as a journalist, he was wearing the uniform of an international militia that fought on the Croatian side in the civil war. Why he took up arms has long remained a mystery. His cousin, the filmmaker Anja Kofmel, has confronted the question.

She interviews companions, complementing the documentary footage with dark, pared-down animated sequences which form the film’s narrative structure. Diving deeply into the political turmoil, the film portrays Chris’s path towards joining a group of nationalist mercenaries supported by Opus Dei. A politically explosive film even today, a visually impressive thriller that shows how quickly a person’s attitude can be devastated by war.

Luc-Carolin Ziemann


Nominated for the Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize and the MDR Film Prize; Swiss Film Award 2019: Best Documentary, Best Score, Best Editing

International Programme 2015
Daddy's Girl Melisa Üneri

Melisa moves to Turkey to escape her domineering father. But Granny is already waiting – Daddy, ten times worse … A magnificent black comedy about reaching adulthood.

Daddy's Girl

Documentary Film
Finland
2015
52 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Mika Ronkainen
Melisa Üneri
Olli Tuomainen
Melisa Üneri
Mesut Ulutas
Melisa Üneri
Esa Nissi
Granted, one doesn’t have to go to the movies to learn that families are a nuisance. But this film has more to offer. For example a family that is uniquely terrible in an almost made-for-the-movies way and gleefully plays this out for the camera. “Daddy’s Girl”, that’s the director, though everyone in this family wants to direct. Daddy himself most of all, a natural as a movie hero, rather exhausting as a father. A Turk who raised his daughter alone in Finland. (We will learn why he didn’t return home.) In order to escape his oppressive, dominant love, Melisa moves to the only place where Daddy is guaranteed not to follow her: Turkey. But that’s where Granny is waiting – Daddy, ten times worse. The family conflict is now exacerbated by a cultural conflict, because Granny knows exactly what respectable women should do and what they shouldn’t …

A brilliant black comedy full of cleverly observed and deployed details in which at least two of the three main protagonists are trying to make each other’s life hell according to every rule in the book of spitefulness. Behind all this is the question of how a generation whose parents removed every obstacle in their path can ever liberate themselves. In Istanbul Melisa meets angry young people whose Gezi protests are also directed against their parents’ generation.

Grit Lemke

Emergency Calls

Documentary Film
Finland
2013
15 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Hannes Vartiainen, Pekka Veikkolainen
Hannes Vartiainen, Pekka Veikkolainen
Joonatan Portaankorva
Hannes Vartiainen, Pekka Veikkolainen
Hannes Vartiainen, Pekka Veikkolainen
Hannes Vartiainen, Pekka Veikkolainen
Hannes Vartiainen, Pekka Veikkolainen
Joonatan Portaankorva
What is your emergency? The question that’s at the start of every call to an emergency centre is also at the start of this film. Excited, sometimes desperate people on the soundtrack. The emergencies: precipitate labour, a multiple car crash. But also a killing spree and the last radio message of the “Estonia”. The call marks the boundary between life and death which – perhaps – will be crossed. It also depends on those who take it: embodied here by white figures lacking any status-generating symbols such as clothing or hair. Reduced to the naked, pure human being everything depends on. Or are they the Erinyes who hold our fate in their hands?
There is no blood, no images of disasters. We see NASA footage of earth as seen from space instead, clouds, lightshows, radar signals, pointedly distorted. What is one man’s need in view of the infinity of the universe? – Everything, claims this film which, like all works by the directing duo Vartiainen/Veikkolainen, defies categorisation. It reminds us of the conjunctive which runs through our secure lives in the shape of the potential for the worst case. The writing on the wall that silently hovers above us. Would have. Could have. What is your emergency?

Grit Lemke

Every Other Couple

Documentary Film
Finland
2016
77 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Aleksi Salmenperä
Mia Halme
Ville A. Tanttu
Heikki Färm, Peter Flinckenberg
Antony Bentley
Mia Halme
Micke Nyström
Statistically speaking the cards are stacked against many married couples who swore each other eternal union ever achieving this goal. What fate holds in store for them is a day of separation in the near or distant future. This will cause pain to everyone concerned, the wounds will fester for a long time, and yet one day scars will cover them. There will also be memories of how it all was before that day, and an “afterwards” will take shape. In “Every Other Couple” Mia Halme makes the experience of separation the pivotal point of her biographical observations of broken families. From off screen we hear different stories of what the shared past once meant. We see how the people involved have accommodated themselves emotionally, mentally and socially in the aftermath of the separation.

At the very end of the film a young girl speaks directly into the camera about how she experiences the very first separation in her life. True, the story is far from original. And yet it feels as if a whole cloud of unhappiness was bursting (unfairly, too) over her head. With great empathy, “Every Other Couple” balances between the “on the one hand” and the “on the other hand”.

Ralph Eue
International Programme 2013
Hazards Virke Lehtinen

Is it coincidence that determines which leaf falls from the tree at what point, whether we get cancer, or what we remember? An artful essay about fate, cinema images, and memory.

Hazards

Documentary Film
Finland
2013
45 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Virke Lehtinen
Virke Lehtinen
Virke Lehtinen
Tuuli Kuittinen, Juuso Lavonen
Virke Lehtinen
Our lives are shaped by coincidences. At least that’s the point of view that strikes Virke Lehtinen as he revises the images of his life. He has worked as a cinematographer and documentary film director since the 1960s. There are enough events in his archive that were unintentionally exposed, as it were. A burning car by the side of the road on a snowy night is one of them. The camera stoically keeps recording while the cinematographer – Lehtinen – leaps onto the scene to help. The images haunt him. Is it really all coincidence? Which leaf falls from the tree at what time, whether we get cancer or not – and what we remember? For isn’t memory dependent on an infinite number of components?
The director turns his thesis into a visual principle, allowing himself to be guided from one image to the next, giving his thoughts free rein while everything is being woven into a dense carpet of motives. In the back of the spectator’s mind there may emerge an idea which the narrator of the epilogue of the cult movie “Magnolia” expresses in view of a sheer endless chain of accidents: “And you really want to tell me this is coincidence? That can’t be the answer!” With quiet melancholy, Lehtinen creates an artful essay film about the fateful connection between coincidence, memory and film images, which could also be interpreted as a kind of found footage autobiography.

Lars Meyer

Hilton! – Here For Life

Documentary Film
Finland
2013
75 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Markku Tuurna
Virpi Suutari
Matti Pentikäinen, Arto Tuunela
Heikki Färm
Jussi Rautaniemi
Virpi Suutari
The future? A bullet in the head. At least that’s what it feels like when you’re stranded at the “Hilton” council estate, a derelict new development in Helsinki. The people who live here aren’t 30 yet but have seen everything. They feel anger and a sadness that refuses to come out as grief but must be vented. By hitting one’s head against a wooden beam again and again. By hurting oneself or simply stopping to go out and getting used to it. People here sleep with a knife under their pillow because they have never learnt anything else, and tear up bills because it doesn’t make a difference anyway.
Virpi Suutari, emerging from the magic school of Finnish documentary cinema, doesn’t see welfare cases but individuals: Janne, Toni, Mira, Pete, and Make. While their stories, which almost inevitable lead downwards, are told, they begin to shine. The visuals are rough, nothing polished, the montage as impulsive as the protagonists’ emotions or the flash-like mobile phone images they shot themselves. Not a whiff of social romanticism, and yet the camera finds moments of purity, restfulness and warmth, a community that redefines the middle-class idea of the family. A child is born. It’s mostly owing to the power of Suutari’s narrative that this story ends in hope.

Grit Lemke



Prize of the Trade Union ver.di 2013

Escaping Realities 2017
Hobbyhorse Revolution Selma Vilhunen

Mariam aka Aisku is a prize winning athlete. She sacrifices a lot for her sport and she takes the risk of being laughed at. She specialises in hobbyhorsing.

Hobbyhorse Revolution

Documentary Film
Finland
2017
90 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Elli Toivoniemi, Venla Hellstedt
Selma Vilhunen
Henrik Oja
Sari Aaltonen, Selma Vilhunen
Okku Nuutilainen
Selma Vilhunen, Okku Nuutilainen
Christoffer Demby
Mariam aka Aisku is a prize winning athlete. She sacrifices a lot for her sport, where she performs at championship level, and she takes the risk of being laughed at. She specialises in hobbyhorsing. Aisku also works as a coach. One of her charges, Elsa, reveals quite openly how this unusual hobby helps her cope with difficult times. Many other young women and girls like her demonstrate in this film that hobbyhorsing is not a children’s game but a means to recharge one’s batteries, gain recognition and experience the feeling of belonging. “Respect to the hobbyhorses!”

Kim Busch

Kaisa’s Enchanted Forest

Animadoc
Finland
2016
85 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Joonas Berghäll, Satu Majava
Katja Gauriloff
Timo Peltola
Enrique Méndez, Heikki Färm
Timo Peltola
Veronika Besedina
Katja Gauriloff
Timo Peltola, Jukka Nurmela
A documentary fairytale with enchanting animations set in the land of the Skolt Sami people near the polar circle. The narrator is Kaisa, a charismatic storyteller and singer. The filmmaker Katja Gauriloff, her great-granddaughter, approaches her life from the perspective of a man who was initially a stranger: Robert Crottet, the Swiss writer who followed an urgent call he heard in a fever dream and went to Lapland in the 1930s, where he felt, as he wrote in his book “The Enchanted Forest”, “transported to a time when the separation between man and animal and the nature that surrounds us all was not as marked as in our day”. In Kaisa, who virtually adopted him, he found an enlightened representative of this Golden Age.

Over the years the two became soulmates. And like the Brothers Grimm, who produced their children’s and household tales in the 19th century by listening to oral traditions, Crottet recorded the myths and legends Kaisa told him and was increasingly filled and transformed by them. In the 1950s he also became the international ambassador of the nomadic Skolt Sami people while they were driven further and further north and forced to fight for survival.

Ralph Eue



Golden Dove International Competition Animated Documentary 2016