Film Archive

Beyond the Wave

Documentary Film
Germany,
Japan
2013
83 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Gregor Streiber
Kyoko Miyake
Shigeru Umebayashi
Kozo Natsuumi, Shai Levy
Joby Gee
Kyoko Miyake
Dominik Raetz, Tsukada Dai
Collapsed roofs, broken windowpanes, withered plants, dead animals – a deserted place. A grocery store looks almost exactly as it did on that day in March 2011. The few people one sees wear white paper suits and surgical masks. They are the ones who lost the world they lived in on that March day. One of them is aunt Kuniko. “It’s only natural to look for new sources of energy.” These words once advertised the construction of a nuclear plant in this now dead region. “Beyond the Wave” is a unique demonstration that after the disaster of Fukushima this sentence should become the leitmotif of our future. Caught between the grief of having lost their past and hopes of a personal perspective, the protagonists are forced to redefine themselves in their ruined home, this no-man’s country that many left long ago. Kyoko Miyake shows, not least through her personal voice-over, how a fairly atypical, albeit non-angry rebellion starts to germinate in the remaining Japanese citizens, and how her businesslike aunt and many others are ceaseless attempting to reclaim the meaning of their lives, against all prejudice and in the spirit of “I cannot let this disaster ruin all my efforts.”

Claudia Lehmann

Bianca läuft …

Documentary Film
Austria,
Germany
2013
83 minutes
subtitles: 
No

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Tina Bara
Tina Bara
Bianca Maria Samer
Tina Bara
Tina Bara, Oliver Brodt
Tina Bara
Tina Bara, Oliver Brodt
Bianca, a young woman living in the Austrian province of Burgenland, is a mystery. She is a passionate runner, but when she walks her legs fail. She is a highly talented painter, who keeps sketching photorealistic images of herself that show her pierced, nailed, cut, in flowing robes, or tied to her running shoes. She talks about her diseases, the collapses happening at shorter and shorter intervals, and her passion for collecting dead animals, always with a smile on her ageless face.
The photographer and filmmaker Tina Bara respects her protagonist’s cocoon. She lets the paintings speak, which show cruel signs of self-destruction and self-hatred, screaming out for someone to probe the causes of this. At the same time, “Bianca Is Running” is a very quiet film whose strength lies in uncertainty. The director turns this cautious, gradual approach and her own doubts into the dramatic principle of her debut film, creating a structure that is open to interpretation. The encounters with Bianca take us into uncertain territory – neither she nor the film offer any footholds.

Cornelia Klauß
International Programme 2013
Die Gelübde meines Bruders Stephanie Weimar

A young man who wants to lead a life of celibacy and poverty at a monastery – and his lesbian sister who asks questions: about the church, sexuality, and religion. An unexpected lesson in tolerance.

Die Gelübde meines Bruders

Documentary Film
Canada,
Germany
2013
88 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Frederic Bohbot, Andre Schaefer
Stephanie Weimar
Andre Feldhaus
Fabio DeFelice, Erik Schimschar, Sebastian Lange, Christopher Yapp, Stephanie Weimar
Oliver Bronner, Carl Freed
Stephanie Weimar
Ralf Jakubski, Kyle Stanfield, Frank Mertes
Gregor and Stephanie are siblings who couldn’t be more different. She jets across the world, living with women. It’s not even worth her while to rent a flat because she is so committed to being on the road and getting away from the narrow confines of home. Her top priority is self-fulfilment. Her brother Gregor, on the other hand, looks for contemplation, steadiness and a vocation in this world. A monastery, in a nutshell. To understand his choice, Stephanie Weimar takes up the camera and accompanies him from his first instructions to the day he makes his final vows with the Steyler Missionaries in the monastery of St. Augustin. How can a person voluntarily submit to obedience, poverty, and chastity – and do without sex his whole life? Her perplexity and anger at a church that condemns homosexuality in the name of God, bans condoms, and bears part of the blame for Aids drive this film and determine its perspective. We share Gregor’s – whose decision is a radical one – doubts and reflections on this road to enlightenment. But it’s the director who learns what real tolerance means. Because the fact is that we are all seekers for meaning.

Cornelia Klauß

Finistere

Documentary Film
France,
Germany
2013
26 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

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

In die Innereien

Documentary Film
Germany
2013
21 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Nicole Vögele
Nicole Vögele
Emre Türker
Markus Nestroy
Nicole Vögele
Nicole Vögele
Emre Türker
Imagine little Alice meeting not a white rabbit but a mountain goat. In which case she may not have ended up in Wonderland but on a hike to “Innereien” (innards) – a no less adventurous mountain region in the Swiss canton of Appenzell. “I came here especially yesterday …” Nicole Vögele tells a helter-skelter tale in forced irony mode of one who set out on a journey. And by the time this bumblebee has gotten away with spreading a feeling of restlessness one realises that one has come across a gem of filmic nonsense that Jerry Lewis would have enjoyed thoroughly. Encounters and incidents on the hike disturb its flow. But disturbances are welcome. They disperse the hiker’s feeling of forlornness for a moment, contributing their part to becoming one with the ups and downs of the trail. Granted, there’s no arguing about taste, much less about humour. But what’s the use, it must be said: “Into the Innards” is perhaps the funniest film in this year’s programme. Funny, not sunny!

Ralph Eue
International Programme 2013
La Deutsche Vita Alessandro Cassigoli, Tania Masi

What do you do when you’re an underachiever in Italy? You go to Berlin to be an underachiever there! A wild ride through every stereotype, Fellini on speed. A spaghetti-doc-comedy.

La Deutsche Vita

Documentary Film
Germany
2013
61 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Alessandro Cassigoli, Tania Masi
Alessandro Cassigoli, Tania Masi
Kapaikos, Deacon Dunlop
William Chicarelli Filho
Kathrin Dietzel
Alessandro Cassigoli
Alberto Sanchez, Luciana Bass
What do you do when you’re an underachiever at home? You go to Berlin to become an underachiever there. At least that’s true for thousands of “creatives” who flock to the German capital every year. They are mostly young Italians looking for success in times of crisis and, together with those who came as guest workers in the 1970s, they form the third-largest migrant community. One of them is Alessandro Cassigoli, who joins Tania Masi from Florence and cinematographer William Chicarelli Filho from Brazil on an Italian journey through Berlin to cope with his homesickness.
That at least should be done with at the end. For what could you possibly long for here, when original Italian mozzarella cheese is actually produced in Berlin and the Italian owner of the pizzeria around the corner comes from Bosnia. The much more important question is how to endure those Germans who only eat to fill their stomachs, always want to discuss everything, and ride bicycles to boot. In a wild ride through every Italian and German stereotype (it’s all true!) you don’t just feel that you’re in a Fellini film (on speed), you also find the familiar mirrored in the foreign. Big issues like migration, identity, crisis, and globalisation are taken up almost in passing. Italians abroad cope with them in their own way: “This is the room where Mama will live.”

Grit Lemke

Mohammad Saved From the Waters

Documentary Film
Egypt,
France,
Germany
2012
93 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Delphine Morel, Tamer El Said, Christian Popp
Safaa Fathy
Vincent Buron
Pauline Casalis
Mustafa Shaaban
The Nile, the cradle of Egyptian culture, is said to be a gentle mother, Paris-based writer and director Safaa Fathy says about her home country. But the Nile is an old, sick man, humiliated by those who owe him their lives. The river is polluted, the hospitals crowded with dialysis patients they can barely take care of. Like Mohammad, Safaa’s brother. A kidney disease is gnawing away at his health. But he refuses a transplant for ethical reasons, because organs are a gift from God. The sister who follows him with her camera finds this hard to accept. He is 42, has two children, and looks for new hope every day. He dies on the eve of the revolution. But his story continues posthumously as a dialogue between sister and brother. “It’s a shame for you to film me when I’m melancholy.” The evenings on the Nile depress Mohammad. He feels like a boat drifting on the shoreless waters. Safaa, on the other hand, remembers the legend of Isis, who collected her brother Osiris’s pieces from all over Egypt after he had been hacked to death. So she tries to fit the pieces together and understand this Egypt and its ailing health system, which remains blocked even after the revolution. She does this in an essay that is both personal and political.

Lars Meyer
International Programme 2013
Opel Efficiency Andy Michaelis, Erik Wittbusch

Opel factories in Europe, closed down in the West, re-opened in the East. A calm long-term observation of four workers in Antwerp. Profit seeking and powerlessness.

Opel Efficiency

Documentary Film
Germany
2013
75 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Andy Michaelis, Erik Wittbusch
Andy Michaelis, Erik Wittbusch
Andy Michaelis, Erik Wittbusch
Peter Badel, Andy Michaelis, Gisela Tuchtenhagen, Erik Wittbusch
Peter Badel, Andy Michaelis, Erik Wittbusch
Andy Michaelis, Erik Wittbusch
Efficiency is the killer argument in our economic system. If you can’t keep up, make way. But why companies that are in the black are closed down cannot be explained by this logic.
Pablo, Nico, and Els, who assemble cars at Opel’s Antwerp plant, and Rudi, their union representative for 28 years, have worked efficiently, too. But General Motors can make higher profits in Eastern Europe – so the Antwerp plant is demolished. Andy Michaelis and Erik Wittbusch accompanied this process for over five years in the tradition of Klaus Wildenhahn and with the collaboration of Gisela Tuchtenhagen. They map its complexity, visiting other Opel plants in Portugal and Germany and talking to new Polish Opel workers. The latter especially dispels all romantic notions of the possibility of solidarity across national borders. The recurring conversations in Antwerp, too – first in the factory, then private –, are sobering. There are sadness and anxiety about the future, anger, too, but most of all there’s a fatalistic submission and a point when this end is seen as a new beginning. “That’s life.” What sticks in the mind are moments like the one when the union representative, asked about the workers’ options for action, breaks into maniacal laughter.

Grit Lemke