Film Archive

Francofonia

Documentary Film
France,
Germany,
Netherlands
2015
87 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Pierre-Olivier Bardet, Thomas Kufus, Els Vandevorst
Alexander Sokurov
Murat Kabardokov
Bruno Delbonnel
Alexei Jankowski, Hansjörg Weissbrich
Alexander Sokurov
André Rigaut, Jac Vleeshouwer
His oeuvre is among the most original produced by the (Russian) cinema of the past decades. In “Francofonia”, the idiosyncrasies of the “grand auteur” Alexander Sokurov reach a new dimension. The result is an animated fictional documentary essay collage of historical archive and re-enacted material about the eventful history of the Louvre in Paris, complete with Skype-based container philosophy, a drone-driven bird’s eye view of the world today and a personally voiced (only slightly cryptic) comment on the eternal relationship between art and war, humanism and power and (cultural) heritage and ideology.

While Hitler is invading France (as seen in Ophül’s “Le Chagrin et la pitié”) and Franz Graf von Wolff-Metternich is collaborating with the Louvre’s director Jacques Jaujard to evacuate the cultural goods according to the “art protection law”, Mrs. Marianne or Mr. Bonaparte occasionally drop by from the hereafter … Or the two Russian immortals, Tolstoy and Chekhov, appear, though at the deathbed …

The great nations, their spirit (and ghosts), Europe and art, the world and its condition. Wild chains of associations are cast here, but Sokurov is in full control of his powers. Amazing enough when we consider the waves of opposition this contemplative artist faces today.

Barbara Wurm

The Magic Mountain

Animadoc
France,
Poland,
Romania
2015
87 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Anca Damian, Guillaume de Seille, Joanna Ronnikier
Anca Damian
Alexander Balanescu
Ion Ioachim Stroe
Theodore Ushev, Sergiu Negulici, Raluca Popa, Dan Panaitescu and Tomek Ducki
Anca Damian, Anna Winkler
Frédéric Théry, Sebastian Wlodarczyk

“Sometimes I feel I wasn’t made for these times.” This laconic statement of the protagonist of Anca Damian’s second animated documentary defines his position early in the narrative: somehow off kilter. Adam Jacek Winkler, Polish photographer, anti-communist dissident, mountain climber and artist, is a restless spirit, always on the lookout for the noble cause worth fighting and dying for. A modern Don Quixote, whose obsession takes him to Afghanistan where he joins the Mujahidin’s fight against the Red Army. It’s a romantic and torn hero the director portrays here, combining material from Winkler’s personal archive (photos, sketches, videos) with the stylistic wealth of artistic animation, including collages, graphically distorted film and photo material, drawings, plasticine animations or simply painted paper folded into mountains. The various techniques address the various situations, managing to translate the protagonist’s emotional world into a highly original filmic reality, sometimes surreal, sometimes absurd and bitter. “The Magic Mountain” is the second part of a planned trilogy about modern heroes whose third and last instalment this cinematic experience gives us every reason to look forward to. Mattias Heeder





MDR Film Prize 2015


The Other Side

Documentary Film
France,
Italy
2015
92 minutes
subtitles: 
No

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Muriel Meynard, Paolo Benzi, Dario Zonta
Roberto Minervini
Diego Romero Suarez-Llanos
Marie-Hélène Dozo
Bernat Fortiana Chico
Once more, Roberto Minervini travels the American South, this time Louisiana. Life and the people here are rough, the images, however, are dazzlingly beautiful, almost tender. The ambivalence is deliberate. It’s the tenderness of “I love you, bitch”, spoken while high on drugs. The sultriness of a summer of quick sex in the trailer, alcohol and crystal meth. A physicality bordering on intimacy determines the poor whites’ life in this film. All that’s left of the American Dream are drugs, racist slogans and slurs on Obama.

Even if this world of the underdogs is uncomfortable – it’s there and has a ghostlike existence in the shadow of American history. Like the protagonist Mark, whom Minervini shows in a dream sequence, naked on a country road as if he was already on the other side. But then he allows this Louisiana ghost, who is supplying his family, girl friend and friends with homemade drugs while on the run from a prison sentence, to become a human being of flesh and blood.

Some shoot up, others shoot: paramilitary groups train in the forest for the worst case, to save America from its own authorities. What seems like a film within a film is united by the slogan: “To protect our families, our freedom.” But which families, which freedom?

Lars Meyer