Film Archive

Fidaï

Documentary Film
Algeria,
China,
France
2012
83 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Mathieu Mullier, Kafard Films
Damien Ounouri
Matthieu Laclau
Mary Stephen
Damien Ounouri, Linda Amiri
Li Dan-Feng
When the Algerian War for Independence broke out in 1954, El Hadi, the protagonist of this cleverly constructed film about killing in times of war, had just turned 14. Six years later he was a Fidai, a fighter for the Algerian National Liberation Front FLN by whose orders he assassinated two people in Paris. El Hadi was a volunteer, his motive was simple: colonialism is intolerable. 50 years later director Damien Ounouri takes up his uncle El Hadi’s story again and together they embark on a journey into his past. Much has been buried, but the memories begin to return when they visit the sites of the Paris assassinations, where the director presses a gun into his uncle’s hand: I am your target. Show me how you shot him. El Hadi takes the pistol, which at first feels as alien as his memories, loads it and once more lives through the pivotal moments. Follow the victim, hold the pistol to his head, pull the trigger, run away. In this moment he is not aiming at his nephew but at the traitor who was sentenced to death by his superior officers. The situation may be contrived, El Hadi’s feelings aren’t. This filmic method works like a time machine which prepares the ground for the essential question: did you do the right thing then? Damien Ounouri respectfully follows up on this question posed to his uncle, embedded in the historic context of the anti-colonial movement of the 1960s and its countless victims. There is not even a hint of accusation or justification. Only the serious work of remembrance.

Matthias Heeder

Like Stone Lions at the Gateway Into Night

Documentary Film
France,
Greece,
Switzerland
2012
87 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Pierre-Alain Meier, prince Film SA
Olivier Zuchuat
Olivier Zuchuat
Olivier Zuchuat
Olivier Zuchuat, Eleni Gioti
Aris Athanassopoulos
The slow travelling shot along a stone wall through whose openings we get only occasional glimpses of the azure sea suggests an antique excavation. But appearances are deceptive, for this is 1948. The world is still under the shock of the World War when old frontlines re-emerge in Greece and a violent civil war begins. The Communist Party and the National Liberation Front, who just fought the Fascists in a gruelling partisan war, are banned and 80,000 Greeks are deported to barren islands like Makronisos. The crackling loudspeakers broadcast perfidious prohibitions and the mantra of the ten commandments which demand that people renounce communism and join the patriotic fight for “God, country and freedom”. Their goal: re-education. In reality this is psychological terror, combined with harassment and torture. But the walls of Makronisos aren’t silent. Their cracks used to hide poems by many poets like Yannis Ritsos, Tassos Livaditis and Mikis Theodorakis, who were interned here. Their yearning metaphors and powerful poetry are an attempt to stand up to the crude propaganda permanently broadcast throughout the tent camp. The Swiss director Oliver Zuchuat lets the texts clash and speak for themselves in a strict and consistent composition.

Cornelia Klauß



Preis der Ökumenischen Jury 2012