Film Archive

International Programme 2019
A New Era Boris Svartzman

A long-term observation of the upheavals in China, exemplified by a group of resistant islanders. They refuse to be resettled, they defend their homes, they achieve …

A New Era

Documentary Film
France
2019
71 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Anne-Catherine Witt, Antonio Magliano
Boris Svartzman
Boris Svartzman
Suzana Pedro, Emma Augier
Boris Svartzman, Laurine Estrade
Boris Svartzman
Over ten years, the director and photographer Boris Svartzman repeatedly visited the inhabitants of a plot of land in China. The houses and gardens there are in dispute, above all because of their specific location: an island in the Pearl River, in the middle of the megalopolis of Guangzhou. The area is to be transformed into a “nature paradise” with residential estates and parks for the new Chinese middle class. But the people resist. Their homes were destroyed in 2008. Life went on, just in ruins. They were ejected and returned. Life went on, but not necessarily in the new settlements they were given. Their gardens were destroyed. Life went on, in the gardens they rebuilt.

Loud and quiet resistance against the modernisation that’s going on all over the world seems especially dramatic in China. Svartzman captures in detail the co-existence of a modern, Western-inspired lifestyle and ancient traditions and architectures. This turns the life story of the old gentleman who always cordially welcomes the foreign guest like a ghost into a requiem. The West, fixated on cities, Svartzman says, could have learned a lot about “rural democracy” from China – had the Far East not trampled down its rural spaces and people in such a Western fashion.

Saskia Walker
International Programme 2019
Black Hole Arnaud Deshayes, Emmanuel Grimaud

Two French filmmakers trawl the unconscious for clues to find the ghosts of India’s colonial past there. Therapeutic, hypnotic, richly emblematic.

Black Hole

Documentary Film
France
2019
69 minutes
subtitles: 
English
French

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Giulia Olivieri, Fabrizio Polpettini
Arnaud Deshayes, Emmanuel Grimaud
Arnaud Deshayes, Emmanuel Grimaud
Arnaud Deshayes, Emmanuel Grimaud, Gabriel Gonzalez
Arnaud Deshayes, Emmanuel Grimaud
Mikaël Barre
A dark room. The focus is on a woman’s relaxed face. The cherry-red lips are starting to move. The eyes are closed. In trance, a young Indian woman slips into her earlier incarnations – for example the role of a liberal man who fought for equality and freedom. While her body seems to fade into the black background, her re-experience becomes clearer and more visual.

Trupti Jayin, a well-known hypnotherapist in Kolkata, uses the image of the black hole for her patients. If they dare make the leap into the dark nothingness, they may be able to enter more deeply into their subconscious, find or even come to terms with repressed memories. In India’s colonial history, though, the so-called “Black Hole” has a different meaning. The eponymous 18th century prison where some British soldiers died is still regarded as a historical blind spot today, where myth and reality have become indistinguishable. The French filmmakers Emmanuel Grimaud and Arnaud Deshayes go in search of traces in the subconscious to confront the ghosts of the past there. In private and in public. Because in addition to the hypnotherapy sessions, we follow a group of ghost hunters who chase the restless souls through the dark alleys and empty houses of the West Bengali capital.

Julia Weigl

Bread, Revenge?

Documentary Film
France,
Germany
2019
76 minutes
subtitles: 
English
German

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Stefan Hayn (Stefan Hayn Filme und Malerei)
Stefan Hayn
Till Megerle
Stefan Hayn
Stefan Hayn
Klaus Barm
In 1944, the French resistance fighter Robert Antelme was captured by the Germans. He was taken to Gandersheim, a satellite camp of the Buchenwald concentration camp. In the last months of the Second World War, Antelme got to experience the whole extent of dehumanisation under National Socialist tyranny. Soon after his liberation he wrote the book “The Human Race” about it, which today is a classic of coming to terms with the past.

Stefan Hayn already dealt with Antelme in his film “Straub” (2014). Now he examines in more detail a series of texts which contributed to the post-war debate about how to deal with German guilt. Hayn calls his film a “lecture filmée” in the opening credits, a “filmed reading”. It is of crucial importance that the texts (including reflections on a theft of bread among prisoners) are present in the French original, even if recited by German native speakers. Different forms of “reading” that culminate in a sketch-like scenic re-enactment are interlaced with contemporary shots of memorial sites today to form a multi-layered film essay, historical-political in the best sense.

Bert Rebhandl
International Programme 2019
Heart of Stone Olivier Jobard, Claire Billet

Ghorban, then thirteen, travelled alone from Afghanistan to France. In Paris at last, he hopes to be allowed to go to school. This long-term observation follows him over eight years.

Heart of Stone

Documentary Film
France
2018
89 minutes
subtitles: 
English
French

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Juliette Guigon, Patrick Winocour
Olivier Jobard, Claire Billet
Antoine Léonpaul, Laurent Saligault
Olivier Jobard, Claire Billet
Ronan Sinquin
Olivier Jobard, Claire Billet
Thirteen-year-old Ghorban arrives in Paris after having made the 8,000 kilometre journey from Afghanistan on his own. In France, however, he is faced with an absurd situation: He’s stuck. “There is neither a beginning nor an end”, is his own diagnosis. They can’t just send him to school. One of the reasons is that there is a date that doesn’t exist on his birth certificate: 31 November. Another administrative file to be re-opened.

Claire Billet and Olivier Jobard followed the sensitive boy, whose great goal is to arrive in a society, over eight years. Fixed points are provided not only by Ghorban’s constantly changing hairstyles and his ever improving French, but also by regular conversations with a therapist that provide deeper insights into his mental state. For in addition to the difficulties brought by assimilation, relatives he left behind and is now gradually contacting again are still meandering through the back of Ghorban’s mind. Still, the final chapter of this long-term observation which ends in a return to Afghanistan reveals how deep the chasm has become after a youth spent in France.

Carolin Weidner
International Programme 2019
History of the Revolution Maxime Martinot

An equally intelligent and psychedelic essay trip through the visual and intellectual worlds associated with the word “revolution”: yesterday and today, in success and failure.

History of the Revolution

Documentary Film
France
2019
30 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Quentin Brayer
Maxime Martinot
Robin Fresson, Théophile Gay-Mazas
Maxime Martinot
Victor Praud
The history of the revolution – but which one? Or isn’t it rather a history of the term “revolution”, the variety of its meanings and uses in the here and now as well as in history, in words, images and deeds? Maxime Martinot undertakes an equally intelligent and psychedelic essay trip through the visual and mental worlds of transgression, struggle, success and failure of all things revolutionary.

Frederik Lang
International Programme 2019
I Invite You to My Execution Nino Kirtadze

The dramatic publication history of Boris Pasternak’s novel “Doctor Zhivago” in the Cold War, when literature could be a danger to the state and its publication life-threatening.

I Invite You to My Execution

Documentary Film
France
2018
56 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Paul Rozenberg, Céline Nusse
Nino Kirtadze
Siegfried Canto
Cédric Dupire
Christel Aubert
Stephan Bauer
“This summer I committed the greatest crime a Soviet writer could commit. According to Soviet rules here, publication of a book abroad before it comes out in the Soviet Union is an illegal act of which I would severely be punished. I don’t know how.” Since he saw no prospect for his epochal work “Doctor Zhivago” to be published in the Soviet Union, the writer Boris Pasternak smuggled several copies of his manuscript abroad. He had worked on his first and only novel for almost ten years. Rejected as “anti-Soviet” because of its supposedly critical view of the October Revolution, a publication of the work, which had been finished in 1956, in its country of origin had become inconceivable. Pasternak would have stopped at nothing to save the text. “Doctor Zhivago” was first published in 1957 in an Italian translation; its author was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in the following year – which had consequences. Using archive documents, interviews and Pasternak’s own notes, the film reconstructs a dramatic story from the Cold War period when literature could be a danger to the state and its publication life-threatening.

Frederik Lang

Insectopedia

Documentary Film
Belgium,
France,
Portugal
2018
23 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Victor Candeias (DocNomads), Lucie Rego (Hutong Productions)
Antoine Fontaine
Erwan Evin
Antoine Fontaine
Antoine Fontaine
Antoine Fontaine
Arnout Colaert
Over 36 years, an unmarried surgeon filmed and dissected insects in his Brussels apartment. 600 reels of wonderful, obsessively precise recordings and increasingly confused commentary paint a strange psychological profile. During his research on Dr. Veroft, Antoine Fontaine comes across a species of man whose social behaviour is conspicuously focused on six-legged creatures and who share their habitat with audibly scurrying chitin carapaces and Darth Vader figurines.

André Eckardt
International Programme 2019
L’Ultimu Sognu Lisa Reboulleau

An old man alone in the forest, with a gun, a dog, a torchlight – and the memory of Lucia, the woman who was in touch with the animals. She’s dead, but her voice comes back.

L’Ultimu Sognu

Documentary Film
France
2019
33 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Eugénie Michel-Villette
Lisa Reboulleau
Pierre Reboulleau, Diana Saliceti
Lisa Reboulleau, Tarek Sami
Elsa Jonquet
Arno Ledoux, Lisa Reboulleau
The woman who was in touch with animals was called Lucia. She is no longer alive, but her voice comes back, bringing images, coarse-grained and analogue, from a time when people still knew that there is a connection between the death of the animals and the death of the people. Today, in the digital present, there is only an old man alone in the forest, with a gun, a dog, a flashlight and the memory of Lucia. What do the sheep dream of, he wonders? And the donkeys?

Lukas Foerster

Our Lucky Hours

Documentary Film
Belgium,
France,
Switzerland
2019
77 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Alexandre Cornu
Martine Deyres
Olivier Brisson, Nicola Marinoni
Jean-Christophe Beauvallet, Dino Berguglia, Antoine-Marie Meert
Philippe Boucq, Catherine Catella, Martine Deyeres
Martine Deyeres, Anne Paschetta
Olivier Hespel, Marianne Roussy, Olivier Schwob
Between 1939 and 1945, 45,000 patients died in French mental institutions. There was only one place where the patients survived the euthanasia: the hospital in the remote village of Saint-Alban. In addition, the doctors, nursing staff and patients there worked with the residents of the village to hide a number of war refugees, resistance fighters and persecuted Jews and thus save them from certain death.

What made Saint-Alban so exceptional? During her research, director Martine Deyres found photos, home movies and sound recordings in the hospital archives. She uses this material to draw the portrait of an institution that was far ahead of its time. The patients were respected, integrated and individually supported. By working in the household or on the fields, they also contributed, especially during the war, to the fact that no one in Saint-Alban had to go hungry. There was a patient newspaper and various arts and crafts classes. Auguste Forestier’s wooden sculptures even became famous as “art brut”, when the painter Jean Dubuffet discovered the works of the Saint-Alban patient after the war. All this coalesces into a rousing plea for a respectful treatment of the mentally ill, which is more important than ever in an age of economic constrictions and strong normative tendencies.

Luc-Carolin Ziemann
International Programme 2019
Sankara Is Not Dead Lucie Viver

A walk through the West African country of Burkina Faso in search of the political hopes of the time of the revolutionary Thomas Sankara, who was murdered in 1987.

Sankara Is Not Dead

Documentary Film
France
2019
109 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Eugénie Michel-Villette
Lucie Viver
Rodolphe Burger
Lucie Viver
Nicolas Milteau
Lucie Viver
Dominique Vieillard
Stay or leave? This is the question Bikontine, a writer and intellectual from Burkina Faso, is thinking about. Should he leave his home to find new perspectives elsewhere or should he stay and contribute to the attempts to organise better politics? Bikontine does not want to choose lightly. So he sets out to cross Burkina Faso, once from the southwest to the northeast, along a railway track that guides him. This route is also meaningful with regard to Bikontine’s political hopes, for it was built at the time of departures under the revolutionary Thomas Sankara, who was assassinated in 1987. Only recently did the Burkinabe force his hated successor Blaise Compaoré to resign. So Bikontine is travelling along a spatial and a historical axis, talking to people and sometimes to the ancestors. With her film, Lucie Viver, who accompanied him, opens up a country and introduces an impressive man.

Bert Rebhandl

Toomas Beneath the Valley of the Wild Wolves

Animated Film
Croatia,
Estonia,
France
2019
18 minutes
subtitles: 
No

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Chintis Lundgren, Draško Ivezić, Emmanuel-Alain Raynal, Pierre Baussaron
Chintis Lundgren
Terence Dunn
Chintis Lundgren
Chintis Lundgren, Draško Ivezić
Chintis Lundgren, Draško Ivezić, Darko Vidačković
Chintis Lundgren, Draško Ivezić
Pierre Yves Drapeau, Benoît Coallier
Toomas, an attractive wolf who meets with many immoral offers, opens a gigolo service after losing his job. After slow beginnings, business is soon flourishing – even a film offer is not long in coming. He keeps it all to himself. And thus imitates his wife, who, instead of Yoga classes, goes to a female empowerment guru called Alexandra Horn-Eye who was suggested to her via Juutub. Their relationship gradually gains momentum.

Carolin Weidner
International Programme 2019
Vertigo Nicole Zeizig

Everything lives and everything moves. Cinematic animism created by moving text, pictures, sound and animation. The associative and finely spun chronicle of a slow liberation.

Vertigo

Documentary Film
France
2018
52 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Colette Quesson (À Perte de Vue)
Nicole Zeizig
François Villevieille
Nicole Zeizig
Juliette Kempf
Bertrand Latouche, Luc Munier, Etienne Grisel, Olivier Perola
Nicole Zeizig
Frédéric Hamelin
“Issue de secours”. Emergency exit. No entry. High Voltage. What if one were to read the omnipresent signs in trains and at stations as signals and signposts for one’s own life? What if the familiar voice from the public announcement system suddenly, instead of announcing the next connections to Paris or Montpellier, announced that the departure of a ghost train will be delayed infinitely. And what if constellations changed into sentimental kissing silhouettes?

In her second directorial work, the producer Nicole Zeizig demonstrates the high art of filmic animism by poeticising mundane conditions. The ingredients: a real-time generated computer screen text chronicle in the third person in which letters and meanings are constantly shifting. A depression. A plot that takes up the mechanisms of asymmetrical romantic encounters in the form of quotes. Photos of train stations, suburbs and construction sites. Winding overhead lines, dancing their way through animations. And a soundtrack that interweaves the rustling of the computer keyboard with the acoustic world of train journeys and some melancholy musical fragments.

Silvia Hallensleben
International Programme 2019
We the People Claudine Bories, Patrice Chagnard

What would it look like if citizens really had a say in society? The document of a practical experiment in grassroots democracy – with a lasting learning effect.

We the People

Documentary Film
France
2019
102 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Patrick Sobelman, Catherine Bizern
Claudine Bories, Patrice Chagnard
Patrice Chagnard
Emeline Gendrot
Pierre Carrasco
In 2018 the Fifth French Republic celebrated its 60th anniversary. While the National Assembly debated a modernisation of the constitution amidst red plush, marble, gold leaf and verbal flourishes, activists of the “Les Lucioles du Doc” group tackled something similar, though in quite a different fashion. They brought together three groups of people who usually don’t have much say in society to discuss their wishes for a new constitution: male prisoners, the women’s association “Femmes Solidaires” from Villeneuve-Saint-Georges and a group of grammar school students.

For technical reasons, exchange among the groups is organised via collectively screened videos and turns out to be full of solidarity in general and full of conflict in detail. The first goal of “Nous le peuple”, as the participants confidently call themselves, is a hearing of their delegates before members of the National Assembly. Or might the disappointment be too much when their proposals meet only with the arrogance of power there? The film, shot from a position of emphatic observation, demonstrates what it could be like if Macron’s slogan of the “République en marche” were taken seriously and lead to action. And it asks whether participation can be demanded in other ways than the spectacular actions of the Yellow Vests.

Silvia Hallensleben
International Programme 2019
Words of Bandits Jean Boiron Lajous

There is a resistant community in the foggy gorges of the Italian-French border region. A film about arriving, progressing, and approaching each other.

Words of Bandits

Documentary Film
France
2019
90 minutes
subtitles: 
English
German

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Loïc Legrand
Jean Boiron Lajous
Raphael Hénard, N’dembo Ziavoula
Jean Boiron Lajous
Myriam Ayçager
Christine Dancausse, Aurélien Marsais, Hadrien Basch
Without solidarity, hope would long since have died. The borders in the Italian-French Roya valley have been closed since 2015. Countless refugees try in vain to leave the Italian town of Ventimiglia for France and are sent back again and again. But the liberal inhabitants of this stubborn region refuse to settle for this. Together they oppose the law, shelter young migrants, provide them with bread behind the backs of the police – plainly doing everything to give these people a future. So in the foggy gorges far from the great European metropolises there is a community that stands together and just wants to help, resists – out of love of their homeland, out of human kindness, out of the shared belief in a world where we can live together peacefully and which is worth fighting for. “Words of Bandits” shows an oasis of hope. A film about arriving, progressing and approaching each other.

Julia Weigl