Film Archive

Jahr

Death of the Serpent God

Documentary Film
France
2014
91 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Xavier Pons
Damien Froidevaux
Ian Saboya
Damien Froidevaux
David Jungman
The back story sounds like a caustic fairytale but is a common practice in Europe. At the age of two, Koumba came to Paris from a Senegalese village with her parents. For 18 years, the French capital was all she knew until she ended up at a police station after a nocturnal fight and was deported within 48 hours.
She finds herself in the isolated village of her ancestors, among relatives she doesn’t know. The old legends in which snake kings rule the people’s fates are still alive here. The upheaval is a brutal shock. “White Koumba”, as she is called here – quite contemptuously – is now the mother of an illegitimate son and trapped. She reacts as she usually does: lashing out fearlessly and rebelliously, making demands and insulting her environment – including the filmmaker, whom she calls selfish. So at first the film is made against its protagonist’s desperate resistance. But Damien Froidevaux doesn’t give up, doesn’t abandon the rebellious girl. Over a period of five years he frequently returns from Paris to Senegal until he finally becomes part of a coping process. Koumba goes through a fascinating change of personality to become the heroine of her own odyssey, while always aware of the role of the camera.
Lars Meyer

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.

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.

National Diploma

Documentary Film
DR Congo,
France
2014
92 minutes
subtitles: 
English
French
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Marie Balducchi
Dieudo Hamadi
Dieudo Hamadi
Rodolphe Molla
Dieudo Hamadi
Dieudo Hamadi
“Lord, give me a diploma!” are the not so silent prayers of Congolese high school students just before their final exams. Instead of the Mercedes Benz of Janis Joplin’s American version a graduation diploma is considered to be the key to happiness. Getting it, however, is nothing short of a miracle, because the school system is part of the institutionalised corruption: if you can’t pay the “teachers’ fee”, you’re expelled.
A group of students in Kisangani, however, refuse to put up with this any longer – among them Joël, who can’t scrape the necessary money together even though he works hard every day carrying crates on the market. They take the initiative and move into an empty house to prepare for the exams, self-organised and with the aid of “little tricks”. They have two months left, two months in which they will live, discuss, pray and sing together.
Dieudo Hamadi manages to be always at the centre of things with his camera and to show the group’s dynamics from inside. His tale of the fragile democracy in the Congo is told not with resignation but with a touch of utopia that makes real democratic participation seem possible – and with an explosive finale. You’ve never seen a real graduation party until you’ve seen this film, though he doesn’t conceal either that the students don’t escape the logic of the system after all.
Lars Meyer

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.

Casa

Documentary Film
France
2013
54 minutes
subtitles: 
English
French
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Marc Faye, Gerald Leroux
Daniela De Felice
Matthieu Chatellier, Daniela De Felice
Alessandro Comodin, Daniela De Felice
Daniela De Felice
Daniela De Felice
Xavier Thibault
The house is crammed with objects of no great material value. Years after her father’s death, the director, her mother and brother clear the family home, once a promise of social advancement and now a place nobody wants to live in. The memories lie in the remains of everyday life and the junk of countless boxes of dusty entomological specimens. The mother tried to stop the passing of time by excessive collecting. And so the dialogues between the members of the family revolve around the big question of transience. Can memories be shared? What’s left of a life when the next generation attaches a different value to its objects? When memories disintegrate like the wings of the butterflies in their glass cases?
De Felice focuses on the process of remembrance and the question of what our memory retains. It’s not about the faces in the photographs, but the process of posing for the camera, filming and commenting. And the moments of silence while the camera is still running. And most of all the shape our memories assume. In this case, it’s the ink watercolours sketched by the director. Pared-down and delicate, sparingly animated from time to time, they do what only art can do: take us into the inner spaces where our families continue to live when all artefacts have long crumbled to dust.

Grit Lemke



Golden Dove Animated Documentary 2013

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.

Silence Radio

Documentary Film
Belgium,
France
2012
52 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Isabelle Mathy, Delphine Schmit, Denis Delcampe
Valéry Rosier
Olivier Vanaschen, Mathieu Cauville
Nicolas Rumpl, Didier Vandewattyne
Valéry Rosier
Arnaud Calvar, Guilhem Donzel
Life is a chanson. Alain Resnais is not the only one who knows this; so do the operators of the “Puisaleine” community radio in rural Picardie. We see for the most part elderly people at the controls, struggling with the computer (occasionally the wrong song will be played), accepting music requests, telling jokes and giggling hysterically into the microphone, or dispensing esoteric to hands-on life counselling (“Leave the house!”). Their listeners sit in interiors that will soon be history, filmed with sociological precision: heart-shaped cushions, pictures of cats, teddy bears, artificial flowers, tassels and baroque curlicues. They sit alone on fully automated beds in rooms that are far too big for them and in which only the photos on the windowsill recall the families that once existed. And they listen to the radio: the song about the white roses, or the one about the love that lasted fifty years. We learn a story with every song, about nights of bombings and burning airplanes, about great love, or the child who died before the parents. And at some point they start to sing.
The elegant arrangements and meaningful montage of this tender film, imbued with loss and loneliness, but also with a quiet kind of humour, keep it firmly on the thin line between kitsch and great drama. A film for the heart, whose needs cannot be overestimated.

Grit Lemke



Honorary Mention in the Young Cinema Competition 2013

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.

Stop-Over

Documentary Film
France,
Switzerland
2013
100 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Heinz Dill, Elisabeth Garbar, Sophie Germain, Olivier Charvet
Kaveh Bakhtiari
Kaveh Bakhtiari
Kaveh Bakhtiari, Charlotte Tourres, Sou Abadi
What is a human being without a passport? The question B. Traven discussed in his classic novel “The Death Ship” is still disturbingly topical. The death ship that director Kaveh Bakhtiari finds is called Athens. This is where he happens to run into his Iranian cousin Mohsen. But while he himself has had a Swiss passport from childhood, is able to move freely and cross borders, Mohsen is an illegal immigrant. He spent three months in prison for this and is now stuck in Athens – like thousands of others for whom Greece was to be no more than a stop-over. He shares a flat with curtained windows with other “illegals”. Kaveh decides to move in and share their life.
For almost a year he accompanies their daily life, which looks like the life in an ordinary flat-share only at first glance but is essentially marked by fear, claustrophobia and deprivation. The days move past the curtains like a shadow-play, while every day people risk their lives for their hopes, put themselves at the mercy of smugglers or wait years for fake passports. The film registers directly how their hopes crumble – an intense experience for the audience, who are “locked up” with the protagonists at least for the duration of the film. A courageous film that brings to light what is otherwise concealed by the shadow of the European crisis.

Lars Meyer



Talent Dove in the Young Cinema Competition 2013

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.

What a Fuck Am I Doing on This Battlefield

Documentary Film
France
2013
53 minutes
subtitles: 
No
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Nico Peletier, Julien Fezans
Nico Peletier, Julien Fezans
Elliott Matt
Nico Peletier
Nico Peletier, Julien Fezans
Nico Peletier, Julien Fezans
Julien Fezans
A record of various encounters with musician Matt Elliott before and after a number of concerts, filmed in expressive black and white. A fascinating simultaneity of absolute directness and extreme stylisation in the tradition of the legendary conversations recorded in Andy Warhol’s “Interview”. A music film, certainly, but working with precise understatement to resist the temptations of becoming a mere product sales channel. Matt Elliott’s works are usually defined as somewhere between dark folk and melancholic-electric avant-garde. His albums are appropriately entitled “Howling Songs” or “The Broken Man”. Obviously trusting the two filmmakers Julien Fezans and Nico Peltier completely, the musician opens up and talks in disturbing clarity about God, the world, the role nightmares and episodes of depression play for his creativity, his sympathetic refusal to play the Angry Young Man in everyday life, and his hatred of political manipulation and despotism. By the way: the central chapter of this film bears the allusive title “The Howl”, which suggests associations with literature. We have good reasons to assume that some poses and gestures explicitly refer to Edvard Munch’s expressionist painting “The Scream”.

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.