Film Archive

International Programme 2017
209 rue Saint-Maur, Paris, 10ème – The Neighbours Ruth Zylberman

The reconstruction of a dissolved house community. An experimental, historiographical look behind the scenes of a Paris building.

209 rue Saint-Maur, Paris, 10ème – The Neighbours

Documentary Film
France
2017
103 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Paul Rozenberg, Céline Nusse (Zadig Productions)
Ruth Zylberman
Nicolas Repac
Cédric Dupire
Valérie Loiseleux
Benjamin Bober, Graciela Barrault
The French director and historian Ruth Zylberman is sitting in a living room in the USA, visiting a 79-year-old man whom his Jewish parents hid with a stranger’s family during the German occupation of Paris. Henry Osman, born Henri Ossmann, hardly remembers his parents – not what they looked like, not what they did for a living. Zylberman has brought a pile of paper copies and is able to reconstruct parts of that childhood.

The house whose address gave the film its title – and where Osman lived as a small boy – is located in the Jewish district of Paris. Zylberman reconstructed the house community during the war in great detail: who lived here? Who knew whom? Re-enactments with dollhouse furniture and drawn floor plans at the former residents’ kitchen tables alternate with contemporary views of the building as she re-creates this typical Paris building in the Saint-Maur No. 209 as an anachronistic space in which history is still alive, right down to the cobbled courtyard. A highly focused and at the same time extremely emotional piece of experimental historiography.

Lukas Stern
International Programme 2015
8 Bullets Frank Ternier

A French expat businessman in Taipei with a hole in his head who is lost in thought is driven over the edge by his obsession: the smell of fried fish.

8 Bullets

Animated Film
France
2014
12 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Maud Martin
Frank Ternier
Zed
Frank Ternier, Shihhan Shaw, Laurent Moulin
Frédéric Duzan
A French expat businessman in Taipei with a hole in his head who is lost in thought is driven over the edge by his obsession: the smell of fried fish. In reality, he is chasing the scent of revenge, one that will be fiercely wreaked with 8 bullets.
Through different points of view and flashbacks that are entangled like the tentacles of an octopus a disjointed narrative is built around a core of muted lines, backgrounds and colours.

Victor Orozco
International Programme 2017
8, Lenin Avenue Valérie Mitteaux, Anna Pitoun

Long-term observation of a successful integration: From an illegal caravan camp the Romanian Romani Salcuta made her way into French society.

8, Lenin Avenue

Documentary Film
France
2017
101 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Igor Ochronowicz
Valérie Mitteaux, Anna Pitoun
Valérie Mitteaux, Anna Pitoun, Raquel Freire, Sébastien Balanger
Fabrice Rouaud
Hugo Leitão
Long-term observations have their own rules. They often evolve out of earlier film projects and a continued contact with the protagonists. Anna Pitoun and Valérie Mitteaux have followed their protagonist Salcuta Filan’s fate with the camera for almost 15 years, which allows them to draw a wide narrative arc and reveal developments. The first images, showing the citizens of Achères, a community to the north-east of Paris, trying to protect a Roma camp from evacuation were shot in 2003. That was when the first film about Salcuta and her two children, Denisa and Gabi, was produced, “Caravan 55”.

The directors want to show that integration is possible, even for Roma, who are up against stronger prejudices than other immigrants. Right-wing populists use them as scapegoats to be made political examples of. Despite the warm-hearted helpers whose friendship with Salcuta’s family is real, everyday racism and antiziganism are clearly apparent, just like the shift to the right of the past few years which has changed the social climate in France. Nonetheless Salcuta grows from a shy, single widow to a confident matriarch who fights for her rights. In France she finds a voice she never had as a Romani in her home country of Romania.

Sirkka Möller


Nominated for Filmprize "Leipziger Ring"
International Programme 2015
A Baptism of Fire Jérôme Clément-Wilz

The lives of young war reporters who travel to crisis spots at their own expense and risk their lives to shoot the picture that will change everything. A precarious job.

A Baptism of Fire

Documentary Film
France
2015
58 minutes
subtitles: 
English
French

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jérôme Caza – 2P2L
Jérôme Clément-Wilz
Jérôme Clément-Wilz
Ael Dallier Vega
Jérôme Clément-Wilz
Nowadays countless journalists and photographers are travelling the world to supply us with the latest news and images from conflict regions. Stories of heroic war reporters were often told in the cinema. Jérôme Clément-Wilz takes a different perspective: news journalism is an industry, too. Many freelance photographers, most of them young, travel to hotspots at their own expense – hoping to shoot the life-changing picture at the right place at the right time and sell it for a high price to the leading media or agencies. The film is an intimate observation of the lives of young French reporters that gives them the space to reflect on their work. Their dreams come true in the Arab Spring: their pictures make it to the cover pages of the biggest dailies. And yet Clément-Wilz avoids heroic pathos, concentrating instead on his young protagonists’ spirit of adventure and youthful recklessness on the one hand and on the tough business where there are no safety nets and where the ones who risk their lives most readily have the best chances of survival on the other. War reporter – a precarious job.

Zaza Rusadze
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 2018
Ash and Ember Manon Ott, Grégory Cohen

A banlieue film outside of hackneyed stereotypes in which we meet remarkable people. A confident statement on the history of European labour in the past half-century.

Ash and Ember

Documentary Film
France
2018
72 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Céline Loiseau
Manon Ott, Grégory Cohen
Akosh Szelevényi
Manon Ott, Grégory Cohen
Pascale Hannoyer
Manon Ott, Grégory Cohen
A waking city, presented in majestic black and white and equally sparse and elaborate percussion sounds. Les Mureaux is a banlieue west of Paris, built in the 1960s to house the people coming from Sub-Saharan Africa and the Maghreb as close as possible to the great Renault production facility in Flins-sur-Seine. At the time, the formerly state-owned car manufacturer’s hunger for labour was insatiable. You could, if not live well, at least work well here as a labourer. Later, in May 1968, Flins was the site of one of the longest-running factory occupations ever to take place in France.

Today Les Mureaux is ruled by a strange synchronicity of traditions and breaks. Manon Ott and Grégory Cohen meet their protagonists, who exist as contemporary pragmatists, on equal terms, thus bringing out their individual vitality. And what an ear! Testimonies, stories, statements that want to be more than just information, want to be sound, or let’s say: life as lived. Their film creates a collective discourse on the critique of daily life, from the labour struggles of the past to the social insecurity of the modern slaves, unemployed and temporary workers, which is at the same time a condensed testimony on the European social and labour history of the past half-century.

Ralph Eue


Nominated for the Healthy Workplaces Film Award

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

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

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 2017
Coal Heap Kids Frédéric Brunnquell

Northern France’s former coal mining region, now afflicted with poverty like an infectious disease. Two boys practise strengthening their immune system.

Coal Heap Kids

Documentary Film
France
2016
52 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Anne Gintzburger
Frédéric Brunnquell
Frédéric Brunnquell
Laure Matthey
Frédéric Brunnquell, Anne Gintzburger
Marc Soupa
There was a witticism among producers in old Hollywood that a great film must begin with an explosion and then work up to a climax. This film, shot in the former mining region of Northern France, starts with six explosions. What the brothers Théo (10) and Loïc (15) blow up may only be Chinese firecrackers, but they still announce in the first ten seconds that this is about something big: the poverty that plagues Théo’s and Loïc’s hometown of Lens and has eaten its way into all the crevices of the personal and the social like aggressive acid. Once upon a time one would have been justified in predicting a great future as working class heroes for the boys. But who would want to recommend this ethically charged and outdated model to a young person today? Who could?!

“Coal Heap Kids” was made as a contribution to the “Infrarouge” documentary film series on French television. The energy that drives it is purely cinematographic, though. What does this mean? A film like this justifies the survival of documentary cinema. Once this sentence is written down, a lot of things become easier. Because in cases where a pounding heart will not (or cannot) be translated into sober words, a hug is sometimes all it takes!

Ralph Eue
International Programme 2013
De que vuelan, vuelan Myriam Bou-Saha, Ananda Henry-Biabaud

Two women searching for spiritual healing in the world of the Venezuelan warlocks, shamans and soothsayers. Lots of black magic and even blacker humour.

De que vuelan, vuelan

Documentary Film
France
2013
53 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Spanish
French

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Alexis Taillant
Myriam Bou-Saha, Ananda Henry-Biabaud
Yannis Dumoutiers, Antony Antcliff, Julien Beaugé
Myriam Bou-Saha, Ananda Henry-Biabaud
Mélanie Brun
Sidonie Garnier, Myriam Bou-Saha, Ananda Henry-Biabaud
Capucine Caro, Thomas Prulière
Spiritism is rampant in Venezuela. All kinds of warlocks, shamans, priests, soothsayers offer their services in labyrinthine alleys. They evoke their African ancestors to fall into a trance, smoke fat cigars in whose ashes they read the future, occasionally spit heartily and perform ritual protective ablutions with chicken blood. The catholic cult of saints and Voodoo have formed a strange alliance on their altars and shrines. Healer or shaman? Whatever – many people who feel lost depend on them, including the two protagonists. One of them can’t get over the violent death of her son 16 years ago. Was it murder or suicide – or maybe even her own fault, as her sister claims? The other feels haunted by an evil spirit who forces her to thrash about, curse, and drink alcohol.
Their desperate search for the truth drives them from one redemptive ritual to the next. Through them, we take part in this sometimes shimmering, sometimes bizarre world of occultism. But where black magic is a natural part of life, there also seems to be black humour. Which is what the two women never lose despite all setbacks, and which gives the film a tongue-in-cheek quality.

Lars Meyer

Down the Deep, Dark Web

Documentary Film
France,
Israel
2016
56 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Duki Dror, Alexandre Brachet, Liat Kamay-Eshed, Margaux Missika
Tzachi Schiff, Duki Dror
Frank Ilfman
Philippe Bellaiche, Gleb Volkov
Dror Yaakobovich
Yuval Orr
Ronen Nagel
Under the surface of Google Land where life is so comfortable there is a world known as the Deep or Dark Net. A virtual data space whose content will not be found by conventional search engines and that remains closed to ordinary users – unless they install dedicated software. Governments, banks or corporations use the Deep Net, as well as all those who wish to keep their online activities hidden. In Google Land we leave traces, in the Deep Net special encryption technology allows us to remain anonymous. Duki Dror’s and Tzachi Schiff’s comprehensive film about the Internet, privacy, surveillance and the vision of a completely new economic structure opens with its worst variation: as a market platform for drugs, child pornography and arms. Is this the reason why governments are fighting the Net? On the other hand it’s the only digital space that offers protection to critical journalists, opposition members in dictatorships or whistleblowers.

The film works its detailed and knowledgeable way through the current developments of our digital world without passing judgement. What’s at stake is individual freedom. The sceptical summary: people want just enough freedom to feel good. Google Land. Who cares if we expose ourselves to constant surveillance that way?

Matthias Heeder

Duo de Volailles, Sauce Chasseur

Animated Film
Belgium,
France
2011
6 minutes
subtitles: 
_without dialogue / subtitles

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Thrierry Zamparutti, Ambiances...asbl
Pascale Hecquet
Pierre Gillet
Pascale Hecquet
Pascale Hecquet
Valerie Capoen
A black chicken and a white chicken are sitting in their living room when the door bell rings. It’s the fox with a raised gun – and a black/white vision deficiency.
International Programme 2018
Facing the Beast Emma Benestan, Adrien Lecouturier

A summer in the Camargue. 14-year-old Théo works as an intern on a farm for half-wild cattle. Monosyllabic, still lanky and boyish, he dreams of a future as a skilful Manadier.

Facing the Beast

Documentary Film
France
2018
26 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Jérémy Forni
Emma Benestan, Adrien Lecouturier
Alexis Paul
Emma Benestan, Adrien Lecouturier
Julie Borvon, Emma Benestan
Anne Dupouy
A summer in the Camargue. Théo is a holiday intern on a farm for half-wild cattle. Monosyllabic and still lanky and boyish he explores a men’s world, tests his strength against the “elemental force” of a young bull, dreams of a future as a Manadier – giving his mother cause for concerns about his health and less romantic career prospects. A quiet and honest film that takes a 14-year-old’s romanticising perspective on a holiday world bathed in warm sunlight and a changing corporeality.

André Eckardt


Nominated for the Young Eyes Film Award

Finistere

Documentary Film
France,
Germany
2013
26 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Simon Riedl
Daniel Andreas Sager
Andrej Ugoljew
Julia Hönemann
Isabella Kohl
Daniel Andreas Sager
Stefan Kesper
Finistère roughly means “the end of the earth”. It’s a place in France, at the tip of the Breton peninsula. In any case, the man with the small, mischievous eyes who leaves his tracks in the sand in this place speaks of the end. He never accepted his daughter’s death, he says, and is not afraid of his own. Daniel lives in a small boat on the beach, enjoys his cigarettes despite having lung cancer, writes poetry and likes to quote Léo Ferré. He “would rather be lonely than in bad company” and philosophises about carrying on, even though the end is as near as the sea. And Daniel does carry on. We see him in quiet moments with the water crashing against the rocky shore and the roaring ocean, a symbol for an unstoppable flow of energy. Daniel Andreas Sager discovered a truly amazing personality in this man who bears the same name as the filmmaker, giving us hope that Ferré may be right when he assumes that the silence of the ocean is a cursed pitching and tossing that will deliver our heart.

Claudia Lehmann

Grands Canons

Animated Film
France
2018
11 minutes
subtitles: 
_without dialogue / subtitles

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Girelle Production
Alain Biet
Pablo Pico, Yan Volsy
In his supernova of objects, Alain Biet gives the spotted surrealist screw one more turn with a drawn screwdriver. Deceptively real ink drawings of mundane mass products merge into jolly, large formations. Pincers, pliers and screwdrivers perform an obsessive Busby Berkeley show of symmetrically choreographed individualists, delivering, in passing, an ethnographic study of the world of still tangible consumerism.

André Eckardt
International Programme 2015
Haircut Virginia Mori

A pupil and a teacher, alone in a bare classroom. On the surface this is about the girl’s hairdo. But what exactly is it that unfolds around the long pigtail: a power game, a showdown, or just a fantasy?

Haircut

Animated Film
France,
Italy
2014
8 minutes
subtitles: 
_without dialogue / subtitles

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Pascaline Saillant
Virginia Mori
Andrea Martignoni
Lola Capote Ortiz
Virginia Mori
Virginia Mori
Andrea Martignoni
A pupil and a teacher, alone in a bare classroom. On the surface this is about the girl’s hairdo. But what exactly is it that unfolds around the long pigtail: a power game, a showdown, or just a fantasy? Virginia Mori spent a year drawing with pencil and ballpoint pen on paper. Her 3,000 drawings, set to Andrea Martignoni’s music, are condensed into a melancholy and dreamlike chamber play about power and submission.

Nadja Rademacher