Film Archive

Die Menschenliebe

Documentary Film
Germany
2014
99 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jasper Mielke, Martin Backhaus
Maximilian Haslberger
Sebastian Mez
Katharina Fiedler
Martin Backhaus
Maximilian Haslberger
Martin Backhaus, Jochen Jezussek
It happens in the background, quite casually: a woman in a wheelchair, a minor character, smiles and waves. Suddenly her wheelchair takes off and leaves the earth with her. Anyone who notices this must wonder what is still documentary content here. In fact, this film sends out a number of signals that it doesn’t want to draw a categorical line between documentary and fiction. Its deliberate haziness, which continually tests the audience’s perception, corresponds with its refusal to accept the categories of “healthy” and “handicapped”. After all, everybody wants to live sexuality and love equally – and this brings us to the subject. There is Joachim on the one hand, who lives alone, seems completely healthy and yet lives in a grey area between relative independence and patronisation, especially by his sister who dismisses his infatuation with a prostitute as an anomaly. The subjective camera forces us to take Joachim’s perspective, the uncomfortable perspective of a stalker. Sven on the other hand, the protagonist of the second chapter, is physically deformed and wheelchair bound but has a remarkably strong awareness of his needs, which he articulates frankly and satisfies with the help of male and female prostitutes. His longing for love, however, is not fulfilled. What would it take for that to happen? A film that keeps raising questions that only the viewer can answer.

Lars Meyer



Honorary Mention in the Young Cinema Competition 2014

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