Film Archive

International Programme
Bruder Jakob Elí Roland Sachs

The path of a young German who converts to Islam and gets more and more radical as an earnest search for spiritual support and a very personal dialogue between brothers.

Bruder Jakob

Documentary Film
Germany
2016
92 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Elí Roland Sachs
Elí Roland Sachs
Antonio de Luca
Elí Roland Sachs
Yana Höhnerbach
Elí Roland Sachs
Antonio de Luca
Jakob had his epiphany in the Moroccan mountains where he came across an English language edition of the Quran and converted to Islam. That day changed his relationship with his family, relatives and friends fundamentally. Especially the one with his brother, the director of this very personal film about an alienation. For two years he followed Jakob’s development as the latter quickly radicalised himself and considers himself a Salafist. His attitude became doctrinaire. Believing meant not doubting.

This transformation is hard to bear for the family. His wife in a full black veil causes an argument at a family meeting – one of the most exciting moments which condenses the lack of understanding for Jakob’s way in one cipher: the veil. The camera captures Jakob’s reaction, a mixture of disturbance and the helplessness of a little boy. But then a surprising turn of events opens a door and the brothers start a new dialogue. This very special relationship between the director and his protagonists allows rare insights into the inner world of a young man who is earnestly searching for spiritual support in this world.

Matthias Heeder


Nominated for Goethe-Institute Documentary Film Prize

Cabbage, Potatoes and Other Demons

Documentary Film
Germany,
Romania
2016
62 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Alex Iordăchescu, Șerban Georgescu, Heino Deckert
Șerban Georgescu
Vlad Blîndu
Bogdan Slăvescu
Șerban Georgescu
Șerban Georgescu
Alex Iosub
In the small town of Lunguleţu in Southern Romania there are around 1,000 farmers who own the same number of tractors and produce 100,000 tons of cabbage and potatoes per year. Every one of these thousand farmers will then stand on the local market square in summer after the potato harvest and in late autumn after the cabbage harvest, sacks of cabbage and potatoes piled up in huge pyramids as far as the eye can see. Any attempt to make a profit by selling the produce is, of course, in vain in view of this absurd overproduction. The diligent farmers underbid each other until they end up either losing money or ploughing the harvest under right away.

When director Şerban Georgescu buys a ton of white cabbage for his mother for 20 Euros here, he begins to wonder and decides to spend a year in Lunguleţu and cultivate cabbage and potatoes himself. He investigates why the farmers voluntarily enter this economic dead end. Even though the mayor and a few villagers have some good ideas for finding a way out of this misery, a common solution is not in sight. The suspicion among them sits deep and the fear of any kind of cooperative is great – the memories of expropriation under Ceauşescu are still too fresh, potential success by competition seems too tempting, even if they are threatened by bankruptcy every day.

Lina Dinkla

Dann muss es ja ein was weiß ich was Gutes geben

Documentary Film
Germany
2016
32 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Florian Dedek
Florian Dedek
Rahel Hutter, Florian Dedek
Florian Dedek
Florian Dedek, Timo Herbst
Michael Schiedt
False witness reports lead to an error of justice paid for by Florian Dedek’s parents with an eight year prison sentence. They are said to have organised an attack on a transmitter tower – an act which they could have committed since they did indeed sympathise with the ideas of the RAF, but which they never did. The reconstruction of the case reveals who profited: the state, the RAF and the Stasi. But nobody can restore Florian Dedek’s lost childhood. A haunting, rough reckoning.

Cornelia Klauß

EGOnomics

Animadoc
Germany
2016
52 minutes
subtitles: 
VO_German
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
TAG/TRAUM Filmproduktion GmbH & Co.KG
Katja Duregger
Fabian Berghofer
Klaus Sturm
Michael Wende
Michael Wende, Andrea Wende
Katja Duregger
Lenin de Los Reyes, Manuel Ernst
In the age of global economic and banking crises, management culture gives rise to countless questions. The seemingly aloof parallel world of countless bosses and the behaviour of many managers – illustrated by animated sequences in this film – make us think. On this visual level of reflection there is one dominant element in addition to monitors and retractable arms: the triangle as the so-called dark triad of Machiavellism, narcissism and psychopathy. An analytical look at individuals in high positions and the system highlights the difference between managers and leaders as well as the character traits required to be successful as a natural leader in our current system. But what is to be or can be regarded as success?

The collected answers of the seven psychology, management, sociology and consulting experts interviewed here suggest that we are not only facing a crisis of economic growth but also a crisis of values, ethics and morals.

Nadja Rademacher

Fighter

Documentary Film
Germany
2016
103 minutes
subtitles: 
English
German
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Erik Winker, Martin Roelly (CORSO Film)
Susanne Binninger
Jörg Follert
Marcus Lenz
Chris Wright
Susanne Binninger
Alexander Czart
Their fighting names are “Big Daddy”, “Leon” or “Warrior”. Their arena is a cage. They are “fighters”. Susanne Binninger takes us into a very strange and unique world. Nothing for weaklings. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a combination of wrestling, kickboxing and karate in a sport where you’re allowed to kick, punch and hit your opponent even when he’s down. The fighting quite often ends in blood, something the arts pages have always deemed unsavoury. But what makes men fight each other in a cage?

The director addresses this question in a very personal, unobtrusive and atmospheric observation that revolves around three fighters: Andreas “Big Daddy” has only one honest answer: aggression is part of human nature and in our lives there is no other way to vent it than by fighting man to man. The duel as the original spiritual experience to find out what makes human beings tick. Leon and The Warrior, both from migrant backgrounds like Big Daddy, aren’t quite as eloquent but mean the same thing. This includes the daily struggle against one’s weaker self. Against hazelnut spread and other sweet temptations, against proteins, against the scales. MMA is a constant game of offence and defence. Like life, if we only took its uniqueness seriously.

Matthias Heeder



Nominated for Goethe-Institute Documentary Film Prize 2016

In Exile

Documentary Film
Myanmar,
Germany
2016
72 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Yasmin C. Rams
Tin Win Naing
Derek Baird
Tin Win Naing, Aung Ko Ko
Melanie Sandford
Ivan Horak
This is the kind of image we need! Not produced by news agencies or reporters rushing to the next hot spot, but by documentary filmmakers who live there – like the Burmese filmmaker Tin Win Naing, who filmed the violent attacks on protesting monks during the saffron revolution of 2007. The consequence: he was forced to leave the country overnight.

Here, where most stories end, Tin Win Naing’s story begins: in exile. What does it mean, to be saved? From off-screen the director talks in detail about the loneliness and the deprivations he suffers as an illegal refugee in Thailand – not knowing how to survive, let alone take care of the family he left behind. But being a documentary filmmaker also means retaining your curiosity and attention for others even in a strange land. They become his most important capital. He meets Burmese migrant workers in whose struggle for survival he sees a reflection of his own life. As he starts to portray them his self pity turns into humility and exile into an experience that will henceforth determine his view of the world. Where there’s poverty there’s also empathy, and fighting for justice gives you strength. Thanks to his unsparing honesty, including with himself, Tin Win Naing has achieved a film that fills a big word with life: humanity.

Cornelia Klauß

Mich vermisst keiner!

Documentary Film
Germany
2016
29 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Erik Lemke
Erik Lemke
Erik Lemke
Erik Lemke
Jonathan Ritzel, Ansgar Frerich
“I’m hard to kill”, says Evi, who used to be a man who lived in another country – the GDR, whose collapse took everything else down with it. Evi also was an athlete and has lost her legs. The past, in which her former self still assembled black and white television sets at Robotron, is preserved on videotape. Life in colour, however, is full of wounds that won’t heal.

Cornelia Klauß
International Programme
Pawlenski – Der Mensch und die Macht Irene Langemann

He sews his mouth shut, wraps himself in barbed wire and nails his scrotum to the ground in Red Square. A multifaceted portrait of Pyotr Pavlensky – a radical artist fighting Putin.

Pawlenski – Der Mensch und die Macht

Documentary Film
Germany
2016
99 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Wolfgang Bergmann
Irene Langemann
Daniel Langemann
Maksim Tarasyugin, Franz Koch
Lena Rem
Irene Langemann
Anna Sobova, Aleksandr Lemeshev
Pavlensky vs. Putin – an unequal fight. But David takes the risk and beats Goliath on exactly the field that the Russian State is particularly tetchy about claiming as its own: in public space and under the eyes of the international community – but silently. Petr Pavlensky is an exceptional artist, a man of pain. A man who risks everything: his freedom, his family. Who consistently uses his body. The vulnerability he displays is his most important tool. When he sews his lips shut it’s a cry. When he wraps himself in barbed wire it’s a modern age crown of thorns. He protests against violence by using violence on himself. His actions are based on a strong symbolism that everyone understands but that doesn’t express anything directly. So the police and national intelligence service helplessly fall back on the old methods of the Stalinist era: prison, psychiatry, accusations of “hooliganism”.

Director Irene Langemann followed Pavlensky over a long period of time. She confidently interweaves staged scenes, reconstructions, archive and documentary material, offering Pavlensky and his artistic interventions the space they need so that it’s not the spectacular element that is brought to the fore but their complexity.

Cornelia Klauß


Nominated for Goethe-Institute Documentary Film Prize

The Picture of the Day

Documentary Film
Canada,
Germany
2016
91 minutes
subtitles: 
English
German
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Eike Goreczka, Jo-Anne Velin
Jo-Anne Velin
Jo-Anne Velin, Thomas Beetz
Jo-Anne Velin
Jo-Anne Velin
Jo-Anne Velin, Florian Marquardt
When the mayor of Tröglitz had to resign because he had spoken up for refugees and their home burned a little while later, camera crews flocked to the small community in Saxony-Anhalt. When the media left, Jo-Anne Velin arrived – and stayed. She spent eleven months between the attack and the regional elections (a resounding success for the right-wing populists) with the residents of the place. She shared their life, went to football matches and antenatal exercise classes, drank coffee with the little old ladies, watched the bakers at work, observed children, explored vanished and existing industries, hiked through the forests, watched and listened closely.

As a Canadian living in Germany Velin brought a foreign element to the place which predestined her to ask, search and discover its many traces – especially in a history shaped by immigration and largely suppressed. She uncovered remarkable lines leading to the concentration camp barracks in the area, now used for various purposes, and ultimately to Imre Kertész. She made connections not only across time but also across geography. Again and again she intercuts images of refugees crossing the sea to Europe with images of the people of Tröglitz. This could be you, the images say. And – thinking further – you are Tröglitz, too. A bold step.

Grit Lemke


Nominated for Goethe-Institute Documentary Film Prize