Film Archive

Sofia's Last Ambulance

Documentary Film
Bulgaria,
Croatia,
Germany
2012
75 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Ingmar Trost, Sutor Kolonko Filmproduktion,Siniša Juričić, Nukleus film d.o.o., Dimitar Gotchev, SIA Ltd, Ilian Metev
Ilian Metev
Ilian Metev
Betina Ip, Ilian Metev
Ilian Metev
Tom Kirk
The ambulance carries us on its bumpy ride through the streets of the Bulgarian capital. Dr. Krassimir Yordanov chain-smokes by the window. Sister Mila, who affectionately calls him Krassi and is as fond of nicotine as he is, sits between him and the friendly driver Pramen. This is the wonderful cast we follow to their various patients in Sofia. Heart attacks, junkies, abortion attempts and drunks, they’re all there. But the Bulgarian health system is as rotten as the streets of Sofia – there are exactly 13 ambulances servicing the city’s 1.2 million inhabitants. It’s easy to imagine what an exhausting and gruelling job this is. And it doesn’t make any difference that Mila stays calm even with the most difficult patients and calls everyone “darling” or “honey”.
The film follows a consistent narrative format. During the rides the camera is mounted on the dashboard, observing only the three protagonists or the street. Even in the patients’ homes, with worried relatives surrounding the rescue team, we glimpse a leg or the back of a patient’s head at best. No interviews, no voice-over, only live sound – a documentary film in its purest form. The director won the 2008 DOK Leipzig Talent Award and used the prize money to realise this film.

Antje Stamer



Silver Dove in the International Competition Documentary Film 2012


The Last Station

Documentary Film
Chile,
Germany
2012
90 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Catalina Vergara, Catalina Vergara Films/Globo Rojo; Co-Producer: Philip Gröning/Philip Gröning Filmproduktion
Cristian Soto, Catalina Vergara
The older you get the smaller your radius of movement, the slower everything you do. Time seems to crawl. Every errand is an effort and a tiny last rebellion against a leaden and inexorable death settling on the landscape in autumn colours. Mortality is concealed in everything you do: there are fewer and fewer names in your address book, the body sets new limits with each new operation and even the television programme only makes you sleepy. And yet this loss brings a benefit: everything becomes meaningful. It could be the last time. The two young Chilean filmmakers Christian Soto and Catalina Vergara portray the inhabitants of the Padre Hurtado retirement home from up close and with great empathy. They choreograph this floating existence between life and death in picturesque dark tableaux vivants and fluid lighting. Their images insist on the moment of pause, of immersion, taking up the rhythm of slowness and transforming it into poetry. They have the courage to take a step back from reality and construct a third place in the tradition of magic realism which tells us what it’s like to be not quite here and not yet there. There is a lot of beauty in that, and the recognition that it can relieve our fear of death for a moment.
– Cornelia Klauß