Film Archive

Jahr

From My Syrian Room

Documentary Film
France,
Germany,
Lebanon,
Syria
2014
70 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Nathalie Combe, Heino Deckert, Georges Schoucair, Myriam Sassine, Hazem Alhamwi
Hazem Alhamwi
Sivan
Hazem Alhamwi, Ghassan Katlabi
Florence Jacquet
Hazem Alhamwi
Nuzha Al Nazer, Frédéric Maury
A feeling of oppression creeps in. Hazem Alhamwi’s nib scratches over a black and white sketch worthy of Hieronymus Bosch. Apocalyptic motives and mordant satire are his speciality and were his salvation. In a country like Syria, where everything, even breathing – as someone bitterly comments – was controlled, havens were needed. Art that resigns itself to being non-public, can be one. This film was made when the protests following the Arab Spring raised hopes that something might change: saying out loud at last what was suppressed and would have lead to long prison sentences for decades. The director talks to friends and relatives to find causes and origins, beginning with childhood experiences of propaganda and personality cults, adaptation and fear. Today, when events happen so fast, we are in the age of fast media. Alhamwi’s nuanced tones, associative motives and trips into the visual worlds of childhood have a hard time keeping up in a present in which Syria is crushed between religious and ethnic interests as well as those of foreign countries. The voices from Alhamwi’s room are echoes of a time when people demanded democratisation and freedom. The film records those short moments when the opposition tried to form and articulate itself. The time allotted to the idealists was very short.
Cornelia Klauß

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.

No Land's Song

Documentary Film
France,
Germany
2014
90 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Gunter Hanfgarn, Rouven Rech, Teresa Renn, Anne Grange
Ayat Najafi
Koohyar Kalari, Sarah Blum
Julia Wiedwald, Schokofeh Kamiz
Ayat Najafi
Sasan Nakhai, Dana Farzanehpour, Julien Brossier
“The female voice is fading away.” Iranian composer Sara Najafi’s statement must be taken literally, for the Islamic revolution of 1979 banned female singers from appearing in public in Iran. They are not allowed to perform solo any more, unless to an exclusively female audience. Recordings of former female icons can only be bought on the black market. What a grievous loss. But Sara is determined to refresh the cultural memory by roaming Teheran in the footsteps of famous singers of the 1920s and 60s and is about to revive the female voices in the present: she courageously plans an evening of Iranian and French soloists to rebuild shattered cultural bridges.
A concert that’s not allowed to take place. For two and a half years, director Ayat Najafi, who lives in Berlin today and shows a flair for the right scene, follows the preparations between Teheran and Paris that are always touch and go. What’s still possible, what goes too far? Sara’s regular audiences at the Ministry of Culture shed light on the interior logic and arbitrariness of the system, though they can only be heard (always to a black screen). Can intercultural solidarity and the revolutionary power of music accomplish anything here? A political thriller and at the same time a musical journey, this film never loses sight of its real centre: the female voice.

Lars Meyer



Prize of the Youth Jury 2014

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
No Harm Done Nadia El Fani, Alina Isabel Perèz

A Tunisian filmmaker who documented the Arab Spring is fighting for her life: against cancer and against the Islamists who are threatening her. Angry and courageous.

No Harm Done

Documentary Film
France
2012
66 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Jan Vasak, K'ien Productions
Nadia El Fani, Alina Isabel Perèz
With “No Harm Done”, Tunisian director Nadia El Fani follows up on her film “Securalism – Inch’Allah”, screened in the Special Programme on the Arab Revolution at Leipzig last year. While the earlier film still depicted the conflict between enlightened and fundamentalist forces in post-revolutionary Tunisia with humour and in the hope of a secular constitution, the tone in “No Harm Done” has become darker, the director’s attitude noticeably more radical. This may be due in part to her personal history: her cancer, the operation, chemotherapy on the one hand, paralleled by the unprecedented radical Islamist hate campaign against her film in Tunisia, which culminated in death threats against the director published on the social networks. “No Harm Done” links both strands in an overwhelmingly simple and personal image: the cell. Cancer cells attacking her body; Salafist cells, Islamist cells, terrorist cells proliferating in the social body, attacking and destroying everything that is different. Even though this is a universal experience, artists and intellectuals are the first to be targeted. In that sense, the title of the film reads like the defiant creed of a courageous woman and determined filmmaker: for the uncompromising fight for disobedience, variety and artistic freedom. We owe her respect and gratitude for that.
– Matthias Heeder

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
The Khmer Rouge and the Man of Non-Violence Bernard Mangiante

The trial against Douch, responsible for the death of 14,000 people under Pol Pot. A court room drama about the abyss of the human soul and the universal validity of the law.

The Khmer Rouge and the Man of Non-Violence

Documentary Film
Cambodia,
France
2011
87 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Serge Lalou, Les Films d'Ici
Bernard Mangiante
Mieczyslaw Weinberg
Bernard Mangiante
Catherine Gouze (Image)/ Bernard Mangiante/(son) Carole Verner
Bernard Mangiante
Bernard Mangiante
Phnom-Penh in the spring of 2009. Kaing Guek Eav, aka Duch, was the warden of Tuol Sleng prison, notoriously known as S 21, from 1976 to 1978. He is a defendant before the international Khmer Rouge Tribunal, accused of being responsible for the death of 14,000 prisoners. While his French lawyer François Roux is preparing for the trial, Duch assumes responsibility for the charges, wants to plead guilty and ask for forgiveness. This is the basis on which his defence counsel develops his strategy. Since the trial is going to follow both international and national Cambodian law, though, the international defence counsel is assisted by a Cambodian lawyer who has a wholly different strategy in mind. This defence counsel, Kar Savuth, claims that the requirements of official Cambodian politics play a vital role here. He enters a plea of not guilty and generally questions the jurisdiction of an international court of law. On several occasion the trial threatens to fall apart. Director Bernard Mangiante restricted himself to absolute stylistic severity in his film: he shot an intense court room drama that hardly ever leaves the court, the corridors or conference rooms on its dizzying tour de force through the depths of human nature, the banality of evil and universal questions of the interpretability of fundamental values of civilisation.
– Ralph Eue

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.