Film Archive

Die Trasse

Documentary Film
Czech Republic,
Germany,
Russia
2013
121 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Natalia Manskaya, Filip Remunda, Vít Klusák, Simone Baumann
Vitaly Mansky
Alexandra Ivanova
Pavel Mendel-Ponamarev
Vitaly Mansky
Dmitry Nazarov
It was – as the “IG Erdgastrasse” (IG Natural Gas Pipeline) claims on a website still designed in the German-Soviet friendship style – the “construction of the century”. It started with the ground-breaking ceremony on 6 June 1966 in near-arctic West Siberia, took on real transcontinental form in the pre-Perestroika years (to Reagan’s horror) and today supplies, among other things, the raw material for one of the major ritual events in Western Europe: the Rheingas-fuelled Rose Monday Parade in Cologne. The “Urengoy-Pomary-Uzhgorod Pipeline” stretches from the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug to the Gulf of Biscay, as unnoticeable as everything else to do with our energy supply. But in terms of geo-politics, -ecologics and -economics, it’s a massive goldmine – with quite noticeable consequences (dependencies, blind faith in technology, environmental damage).
Vitaly Mansky, who last travelled through Cuba in “Motherland or Death”, now explores our own unfamiliar home along this subterranean trail. The politically obstinate documentary maestro is interested in the lives of those who live near and above the pipeline, though not necessarily off it (no money, no gas): indigenous ice fishers, Orthodox Church processions, Putin-supporting tuba players, Gorbachev-critical veterans, angry Roma, cursing Polish men and Virgin Mary-adoring Polish women. He flirts with stereotypes while adroitly avoiding them. Big screen cinema, visually powerful and with great sound design.

Barbara Wurm



MDR Film Prize 2013

In Sarmatien

Documentary Film
Germany
2013
120 minutes
subtitles: 
English
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Volker Koepp
Volker Koepp
Rainer Böhm
Thomas Plenert
Beatrice Babin
Thomas Huber
There are two contrasting ways to describe Sarmatia: as a region on the edge of the known world – that’s how the old Greeks saw it –, or as the part of Europe where the once carefully measured geographical centre of the continent is. However, you will probably look in vain for Sarmatia in your school atlas, it doesn’t exist as an administrative unit, and Google Maps won’t help either. Yet Sarmatia is not a chimera.
Volker Koepp travelled there for his new film, generously allowing us to share his impressions and encounters in a both unknown and nearby region between Lithuania and Belarus, the Ukraine and Poland, which borders on the Baltic in the North and the Black Sea in the South. This historic landscape has long made frequent appearances in his work, at least since 1972, when he made “Grüße aus Sarmatien für den Dichter Johannes Bobrowski” (Greetings from Sarmatia for the Poet Johannes Bobrowski”). Like Bobrowski, Volker Koepp recognises it as “that dreamland where all nations and religious would find their place if history had not ploughed it all up over and over again”. The rifts left by all this, especially in the people who live there, and how these people still manage to shine from inside, is beautifully depicted here.

Ralph Eue