Film Archive

Sections (Film Archive)

Austerlitz

Documentary Film
Germany
2016
94 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Imperativ Film
Sergei Loznitsa
Sergei Loznitsa, Jesse Mazuch
Danielius Kokanauskis
Sergei Loznitsa
Vladimir Golovnitski
Is this still memorial or already event culture? All those slogans on T-shirts we see every day, from “Cool Story, Bro” to “This Is Your Lucky Day” – what do they stand for when the context is a visit to a concentration camp? Are these misguided messages, errant people? And is “Work Makes You Free” just another slogan that calls for a pose with the selfie stick, either before or behind the gate?

Sergei Loznitsa’s camera is firmly set up at the place where ever new hosts of tourists stream through the site like through a theme park, neither stopping nor trying to connect to their environment. In carefully framed black and white tableaux he gives us, in proven fashion, the time necessary to become aware of every detail within the frame. The camera records several memorial sites (including Sachsenhausen and Dachau) like a single place that reveals nothing, a de-historicised and ultimately nameless sightseeing destination. Even the title of the film refers to the exchangeability of the content. At its centre are the visitors and with them the big issue of our identity and localisation in history. Nonetheless, individual speakers detach themselves from the murmur of the soundtrack; individual faces stand out of the crowd and invite us to take a closer look at the dynamics between the masses and the individual.

Lars Meyer



Golden Dove International Competition 2016

Cahier Africain

Documentary Film
Germany,
Switzerland
2016
119 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

PS Film GmbH, Filmpunkt GmbH
Heidi Specogna
Peter Scherer
Johann Feindt
Kaya Inan
Heidi Specogna
Karsten Höfer, Thomas Lüdemann, Florian Hoffmann, Andreas Turnwald
A film carried by the sad beauty of its images and the deep personal empathy the director feels with her protagonists’ fates. During a research trip to the Central African Republic Heidi Specogna comes across an exercise book. Its contents: photos and statements of 300 women who were raped by Congolese rebels in 2002 – a homemade piece of evidence that forms the starting point of this seven year observation.

In a spectacular operation the book, now the centre of the film, finds its way to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The women’s paths are different. Specogna follows Amzine, a young Muslim, and her 12-year-old daughter Fane, and Arlette, a Christian girl whose knee was shot to pieces by the rebels. The originally planned project to follow the woman on their difficult path back to a kind of normal life is changed when Islamic and Christian militias reappear out of thin air across the country, looting and killing. Once more Amzine, Fane and Arlette, who had just worked their way towards a bit of stability and safety, are forced to flee. As a viewer one must be prepared for this film which offers no comfort, only the women’s incredible will to survive in the face of the fragility of their existence.

Matthias Heeder



Silver Dove International Competition 2016, Prize of the Interreligious Jury 2016;
Nominated for Goethe-Institute Documentary Film Prize 2016

Das Forum

Documentary Film
Germany,
Switzerland
2019
116 minutes
subtitles: 
English
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Christian Beetz, Georg Tschurtschenthaler, Karin Koch, Marcus Vetter
Marcus Vetter
Marcel Vaid
Georg Zengerling
Marcus Vetter, Ana Fernandez Rocha, Michele Gentile
Christian Beetz
Melanie Westphal, Dieter Meyer, Marco Teufen, Jonathan Schorr, Marcus Vetter
Every year in January, the Swiss village of Davos provides the backdrop for the World Economic Forum (WEF). This conference is a meeting of the global economic and political elites. It’s true, the public debates and press conferences have been streamed on the WEF website for a while now, in the spirit of a transparent, albeit suspiciously semi-official, audiovisual protocol – but never in the now 49 years of the WEF’s history was an independent filmmaker allowed any insight into the machinery of the event or behind the facades of the institution.

Over a period of three years, director Marcus Vetter observed the workings of this machinery. He cast a few but highly concentrated looks at the history of the Forum, founded in 1971 by Klaus Schwab, and now very confidently combines individual biographies, historical moments, logical connections and matters flitting about at the periphery to form the complex picture of a global fabric. Klaus Schwab, 79 today, is pleased with the fabric metaphor, since he himself has repeatedly said that the threads of the world may be coming together at “his” WEF, but that its knots acquire meaning and purpose only when the threads are later redistributed responsibly. This film is about no less than those threads and thus the meaning and purpose of the WEF.

Ralph Eue

Das Kongo Tribunal

Documentary Film
Germany,
Switzerland
2017
100 minutes
subtitles: 
English
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Arne Birkenstock, Olivier Zobrist, Sebastian Lemke
Milo Rau
Marcel Vaid
Thomas Schneider
Katja Dringenberg
Milo Rau
Marco Teufen, Jens Baudisch
For more than 20 years, the tortuous civil war in Congo has transformed an area the size of Western Europe into hell on earth. This permanent conflict, also called World War Three because of the direct or indirect involvement of all superpowers, has killed about six million people so far. Director Milo Rau managed, for the first time in the history of this war and in the middle of the combat zone, to hold a symbolic tribunal involving many of the participating parties. His recordings from remote villages and nearly inaccessible mining areas and his factual and focused observation of the trial in a courthouse built specifically for the shooting paint a complex portrait of this exemplary economic war. This documentary examination of a global conflict is not about winning or losing but about the question of what we are willing to pay for the wealth of the First World.

Ralph Eue



Honorary Mention in the International Competition;
Nominated for Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize, DEFA Sponsoring Prize

Francofonia

Documentary Film
France,
Germany,
Netherlands
2015
87 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Pierre-Olivier Bardet, Thomas Kufus, Els Vandevorst
Alexander Sokurov
Murat Kabardokov
Bruno Delbonnel
Alexei Jankowski, Hansjörg Weissbrich
Alexander Sokurov
André Rigaut, Jac Vleeshouwer
His oeuvre is among the most original produced by the (Russian) cinema of the past decades. In “Francofonia”, the idiosyncrasies of the “grand auteur” Alexander Sokurov reach a new dimension. The result is an animated fictional documentary essay collage of historical archive and re-enacted material about the eventful history of the Louvre in Paris, complete with Skype-based container philosophy, a drone-driven bird’s eye view of the world today and a personally voiced (only slightly cryptic) comment on the eternal relationship between art and war, humanism and power and (cultural) heritage and ideology.

While Hitler is invading France (as seen in Ophül’s “Le Chagrin et la pitié”) and Franz Graf von Wolff-Metternich is collaborating with the Louvre’s director Jacques Jaujard to evacuate the cultural goods according to the “art protection law”, Mrs. Marianne or Mr. Bonaparte occasionally drop by from the hereafter … Or the two Russian immortals, Tolstoy and Chekhov, appear, though at the deathbed …

The great nations, their spirit (and ghosts), Europe and art, the world and its condition. Wild chains of associations are cast here, but Sokurov is in full control of his powers. Amazing enough when we consider the waves of opposition this contemplative artist faces today.

Barbara Wurm

Rodnye (Close Relations)

Documentary Film
Estonia,
Germany,
Latvia,
Ukraine
2016
112 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Simone Baumann, Guntis Trekteris, Natalya Manskaya, Marianna Kaat
Vitaly Mansky
Harmo Kallaste
Aleksandra Ivanova
Pēteris Ķimelis, Gunta Ikere
Vitaly Mansky
Harmo Kallaste
Over the past few years, Vitaly Mansky’s own voice has found its way into his films again and again. He is a laconic commentator, deliberately factual and yet not without emotions. He wishes he had never been forced to make this film. This is how “Rodnye (Close Relations)” begins, his report of the eventful year between May 2014 and May 2015. For the Ukraine – the subject of the film – it was the most important year since World War Two ended: an ongoing political earthquake that left no stone standing and – to stick to the metaphors of social seismography – opened deep rifts between the people. Mansky’s balancing act does not lead to just anybody but to his nearest relatives. His birthplace in Lviv is the starting point of a journey that has much to offer. Surprise: his mother speaks Ukrainian; his great uncle is still alive – in Donbass! But also disappointment: the aunts – one of them living in western Ukraine, the other on the Crimea – have stopped talking to each other. And shock: his cousin’s son was drafted, which in late 2014 carries a deeper meaning.

Mansky himself has now moved out of his home near the Kremlin and lives in emigration, like so many others. There’s no place for nostalgia in his still disintegrating “home country”, his film teaches us – an attempt to approach the issue by a man who’s deliberately growing more and more estranged.

Barbara Wurm


Nominated for MDR Film Prize

Under the Sun

Documentary Film
Czech Republic,
Germany,
North Korea,
Russia
2015
110 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Natalya Manskaya, Simone Baumann, Filip Remunda
Vitaly Mansky
Kārlis Auzāns
Alexandra Ivanova, Mikhail Gorobchuk
Andrej Paperny
Vitaly Mansky
Evgeniya Lachina, Anrijs Krenbergs
North Korea wants to be the best of all possible worlds. Everything and everyone is taken care off. Pyongyang is a clean, modern metropolis. 8-year-old Zin-mi, who is at the centre of this film, takes us through the stations of a happy childhood: becoming a member of the pioneer organisation, brisk flag ceremonies, enough food and always a song in praise of the Great Leader Kim Jong-un on her lips.

Russian-Ukrainian director Vitaly Mansky got the official permission to document the ordinary life of the city and country for one year. He knows that he is being instrumentalised and simply turns the tables by exposing how the presentations and arrangements are fabricated. His official minder proves to be a real “co-director”. So it’s the apparent details and minor matters Mansky asks us to discover. They offer insights into a well-trained and dulled society. Though we feel like we’re in “1984”, Mansky has come neither as a voyeur nor as a cynic. His camera is looking for the human element behind the mask of the official bulletins: a yawn or a moment of insecurity in this land of the ever-rising sun.

Cornelia Klauß