Film Archive

Sections (Film Archive)

Jahr

Beerland

Documentary Film
Germany
2011
85 minutes
subtitles: 
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Olaf Jacobs, Hoferichter & Jacobs GmbH
Matt Sweetwood
Eike Hosenfeld, Moritz Denis, Tim Stanzel
Thomas Lütz, Axel Schneppat
Stefan Buschner, Markus Stein
Makks Moond
Matt Sweetwood
Robert F. Kellner, Raimund von Scheibner
An American who after ten years still feels like a stranger in Germany wants to learn more about the Germans. Where would these people be more themselves than at the “Stammtisch”, the regulars’ table? And didn’t Tacitus already describe the Teutons’ drinking habits? So the stranger embarks on a journey to Beerland.
This framework is based on the American cultural anthropologists’ tried and proven concept of thick description: “reading” a culture like a text via a phenomenon or ritual. The self-made anthropologist Matt Sweetwood follows the concept in an experiment on himself as a kind of Michael Moore of applied beer research. This takes him from the Oktoberfest on mysterious “beer paths” to a Berlin corner pub and the Cologne Carnival, to the spectacle of a beer war, into a private brewery, to the coronation of a beer queen and at last even to a shooting club. He merrily travels the length and breadth of the Republic, German history and film genres from road movie to comedy, report and even animation. He encounters plenty of tradition, absurdity and mummery, occasionally even the proverbial ugly, stupid, roaring German full of xenophobia. But most of them are likeable fellows who will gladly explain the only true way of touching glasses to a stranger. A persistent folk culture and indeed something like a German identity emerge. Yes, there’s truth even in beer.
– Grit Lemke

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

Mother's Day

Documentary Film
Germany
2012
80 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Gunter Hanfgarn, Hanfgarn & Ufer Filmproduktion
Bin Chuen Choi
Bin Chuen Choi, Thomas Ladenburger
Bin Chuen Choi, Thomas Ladenburger
Paul Leyton
Bin Chuen Choi
Bin Chuen Choi, Thomas Ladenburger
Sometimes art grows out of very simple things. Like Bin Chuen Choi’s introductory statement: “Everyone has a mother.” What does it imply, apart from a biological fact? What does it mean to have been abandoned by your mother as a young boy like the Chinese-born filmmaker who lives in Germany? When there is just a gap where love and comfort should be? He sets out to fill this gap. His relatives in Hong Kong are helpful, but don’t understand: why look for someone you might as well have declared dead? Approaching his goal via friends of the family, colleagues of his mother’s, a famous writer, and chance acquaintances, he is confronted with various concepts of parenthood and love or family he must measure against his own ideas of being a father. Is the love for a child a universal constant, independent of culture, society and biography? When the pivotal meeting finally takes place, it turns out that the gap isn’t filled so easily and that this is where the real questions start.
How to narrate the invisible? Bin Chuen Choi works with animations that never function as surrogates of non-existing documentary material but whose surreal, ambivalent imagery takes us deep into the world of the imagination, even the unconscious – the place where the child in us is looking for the mother.
– Grit Lemke

The Land Beneath the Fog

Documentary Film
Germany,
Indonesia
2011
105 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Shalahuddin Siregar, STUDIOKECIL
Shalahuddin Siregar
Shalahuddin Siregar
Shalahuddin Siregar, Fajar Kurniawan
Tommy Fahrizal
Land behind the fog, what an enchanting title. But be careful. It’s actually a pretty trap set by the filmmaker, because the life of the farmers of Genikan, a remote village somewhere in the mountains of Central Java in Indonesia, is no fairytale. Even if everything can be grown here and the people could live well. But the rainy season lasts longer every time. The dry season was far too early this year and too hot. There’s something going on with the seasons that the farmers can’t understand. The Indonesian filmmaker Shalahuddin Sireggar observed several families in Genikan over a period of two years and in the process came across the consequences of climate change. Unspectacular, observant and with a great sense of a narrative rhythm that corresponds to the old-fashioned sense of time of this place, Shalahuddin Siregar portrays a community that threatens to fall apart because of inexplicable weather phenomena. Whole harvests are lost. It’s true that the people are traditionally willing to help each other, but what if more and more of them earn less and less? The children are the first to suffer the consequences: since there is no more money for school fees, they are sent to Islam schools. These may be worse than public schools but they are cheaper. To learn what? Or perhaps go straight to the mines? The land behind the fog is gradually unveiled through the young filmmaker’s observations and we discover a site of the global crisis. We know about this place but prefer to leave it where it always was – behind a dense wall of media fog, waste recycling and biofuel. If only we had the courage to look more closely.
– Matthias Heeder