Film Archive

Countries (Film Archive)

International Programme 2016
Cities of Sleep Shaunak Sen

Sleepless in Delhi: the never-ending search for a place to rest under bridges and in shelters that are marketed for high prices, mafia-style. A science fiction-like dystopia in feverish images.

Cities of Sleep

Documentary Film
India
2015
74 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Virender Kundu
Shaunak Sen
Ritwik De
Salim Khan, Shaunak Sen
Sreya Chatterjee, Shaunak Sen
Aman Mann, Sahil Dhingra
No charter in the world lists sleep as a human right. Least of all in Delhi, a city where it’s a precious commodity and insomnia the fate of those who can’t afford a shelter for the night. This is about survival pure and simple, for the darkness brings the mosquitoes that carry the deadly dengue fever. “Cities of Sleep” is about the restless search for a place to sleep, be it under a car, a bridge or in barracks that are crowded and unsafe. Night after night. Sleeping well has its price.

The film’s rhythm adopts the fretful delirium of the sleepless who are called “djinns” because they haunt the streets like ghosts. The camera follows them on their endless walks attended by humiliations they have to endure. The images radiate a feverish, nervous quality. People huddle everywhere; the smallest niche is used for shelter, lights flicker, bustling activity everywhere. There is no orientation; everything merges in an inferno of noise and dirt. It would seem almost like a science fiction film if this dystopia hadn’t long ago become part of contemporary life.

Cornelia Klauß

Daughter’s Mother

Documentary Film
Hungary,
India
2018
26 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

DocNomads European Masters, NoCut Film Collective
Arya Rothe
Arya Rothe
Arya Rothe
Arya Rothe
Isabella Rinaldi, Rudolf Várhegyi, Péter Attila
Ica is still in her prime, but fading. The 65-year-old lady, witty and with a dry sense of humour, increasingly stumbles over memory gaps, though the city offers her a safe banister through daily life. Her daughter Judit patiently tries to fit Ica’s care into her working life and village idyll. Via stops at a dice game, a furniture store and the “Café Alzheimer” she looks for a shared home suited to the different needs of two closely linked women.

André Eckardt

Distance

Documentary Film
India
2013
38 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Ekta Mittal
Ekta Mittal, Yashaswini B. Raghunandan
Rahul Giri
Paromita Dhar, Amith Surendran
Abhro Banerjee
Ekta Mittal, Yashaswini B. Raghunandan
Abhro Banerjee, Christopher Burchell
Bangalore City, the realm of migrant workers. A realm that can be found right behind the station or on the other side of the railway, where the big scaffolds are, among which you see squat corrugated iron huts one might (and probably has to) call provisional, where people have built a few makeshift square metres to live in. When life itself has become a construction site, dreams fly away. Love is mainly a memory or desire, in other words, the past or the future. In the world of today it’s mostly a gap. So stories of love become all the more important. Told or heard directly or absorbed from Bollywood via tiny mobile phone screens and speakers, these stories also supply adaptable patterns in whose intricate plots the boys on the construction sites can easily imagine themselves as actors.
Yashaswini Raghunandan and Ekta Mittal show the same sure instinct and brilliant cinematic intuition they did in their first film as they follow the fleeting auras of people and places – last year, their film “Presence” was also screened in the Leipzig competition. And they once more un-fold (in the true sense of the word) realities that would otherwise remain inaccessible to us.

Ralph Eue



Golden Dove in the International Short Documentary Competition 2013

International Programme 2015
Floating Life Haobam Paban Kumar

The fishermen of Lake Loktak in India have always lived on floating islands. Until the government ordered their evacuation … A moving document of desperate resistance.

Floating Life

Documentary Film
India
2014
54 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Films Division
Haobam Paban Kumar
Sankha
Lake Loktak is the biggest freshwater lake in northeast India and unique because of its floating reed islands. For centuries, fishermen have used the floating biomass as building ground for their huts. But this ended in 2011, when the government decided to resettle the approximately 4,000 people living on the lake on the grounds that the fishermen were responsible for the increasing ecological pollution of Lake Loktak. During a first evacuation operation that year the police burned down 300 huts. Many of the people who subsequently left returned because they had no alternative.

About three years later, Haobam Paban Kumar started to follow the events on the lake in his film which won a number of awards in India. He shows a sure grasp of the fears and needs of the people as he starts by observing their busy lives. The events of 2011 are present everywhere, as is the island dwellers’ determination not to be driven out again – because the state is once more getting ready to drive away a traditional lifestyle for alleged higher interests. The film depicts the evacuation of the settlement in touching scenes. The fishermen and their families defend themselves with the power of desperation. Where they win the police withdraw – for the moment. Where the huts are burned down they rebuild them.

Matthias Heeder
Retrospective 2018
I Am 20 S.N.S. Sastry

They are as old as their state and were born in 1947, the year of India’s independence: what drives them 20 years later?

I Am 20

Documentary Film
India
1968
19 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

J.S. Bhownagary, K.L. Khandpur (Films Division of India)
S.N.S. Sastry
Vijay Raghava Rao
H.S. Kapadia
J. Raghavendra Rao, T.A. Jagannathan
M.N. Chaubal
They are as old as their state and were born in 1947, the year of India’s independence: what drives them 20 years later?

Ralph Eue

Machines

Documentary Film
Finland,
Germany,
India
2016
71 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Rahul Jain, Thanassis Karathanos, Iikka Vehkalahti
Rahul Jain
Rodrigo Trejo Villanueva
Rahul Jain, Yaël Bitton
Susmit Nath, Adrian Baumeister
The camera movements are ghostlike because it is a disembodied presence floating through the factory. But what it captures is surreal: infernal fires and reams of fabric falling like water. It’s noisy, it’s dark, but on the back of this image-hungry creature we move quickly through the rooms. It’s not clear what it is looking for. Sometimes it will hide, crouching in a corner, lurking for the workers who don’t seem to notice. There’s humidity everywhere, liquids, tinctures and sweat. And the sound of turning rollers. A textile factory in the Indian state of Gujarat, which nobody visits unless absolutely forced to. Still, there are jobs here, albeit badly paid, and no trace of union structures. “The state of Gujarat has fed the stomachs of the poor,” somebody says in the film.

Carolin Weidner


Nominated for Healthy Workplaces Film Award
Extended Reality: DOK Neuland 2017 Interactive Project
Notes to My Father Jayisha Patel

This delicate 360-degree film takes us to India, into the life and memories of Ramadevi, a woman sold to sex traffickers under cover of an arranged marriage.

Notes to My Father

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Amy Seidenwurm, Paula Cuneo, Joanne Sprague, Tiffany Kieran
Jayisha Patel
Jo Paterson
Dalton Gaudin
Quan Tran
Jayisha Patel
Vineet Vashishtha
Sneha Jawale
“We never talked about what happened to me there. But the truth is darker than any memory could be. So black that its silence haunts me. How do you go on living when you’ve played dead to escape reality for such a long time?”

This delicate 360-degree film takes us to India, into the life and memories of Ramadevi, a woman sold to sex traffickers under cover of an arranged marriage. She is one of the few who escaped the brothel and were reunited with their families. This piece is dedicated to her father, who gave away his daughter in the belief that he was giving her a better life.



DOK Neuland Audience Award

Presence

Documentary Film
India
2012
18 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Ekta Mittal, Maraa
Yashaswini Raghunandan, Ekta Mittal
Paromita Dhar
Abhro Banerjee
Budhaditya Chattopadhay
An elevated railway construction site in a big Asian city: a transit space, the new nibbling away at the old, frictional losses between remembering and forgetting, a teeming wasteland, a growth in the old city’s tissue. The population of this site consists of workers, mainly working nomads from far away. They bring not only their manpower but their own and highly diverse customs, traditions and (hi)stories. These stories are like bottled genies and sometimes, usually at night, they resume their shape in the telling, flowing out of their narrow vials to haunt the half finished railway tracks, marauding component parts and provisional handrails. Sometimes beautiful, occasionally dreary, even scary, these spooks reach our ears. The visible reality doesn’t care, would deny having anything to do with these goings-on. But for the duration of this film, reality has been expanded, filled with the fleeting aura of the supernatural.

– Ralph Eue

Pushkar Myths

Documentary Film
India,
USA
2017
104 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Vijay Pratap Singh
Kamal Swaroop
Ashok Meena, Kumar Avyaya
Shweta Rai
Radhamohini Prasad, Hansa Thapliyal
Kamal Swaroop
Kanishk Bhoklay, Manish Pal Singh, Gautam Nair
“All year one sensed a hidden tension, all year something was going on in preparation for those days, as if the ultimate purpose of the year was to home in on those three days.” (Roberto Calasso, “Ka: Stories of the Mind and Gods of India”)

Pushkar is a small town in the Federal State of Rajasthan in northwest India and one of the holiest places of Hinduism. Once a year, however, during the full moon in the autumn month of Kartik, the town and the desert surrounding it turn into a sprawling fun fair with Ferris wheels and carousels, music from folklore to rock and colourful dance performances. Thousands of people, Hindus and Muslims alike, pour in from villages in the whole region to trade camels, horses and cattle. The spectacle appears in the desert as suddenly as a Fata Morgana. And just as suddenly the colourful magic is over. Director Kamal Swaroop – who shot one of the (post-)modern classics of Indian cinema with “Om Dar-B-Dar” in 1988 – captures the exuberant goings-on with a precise eye for strong images and details, exploring the myths and gods of India as well as their political instrumentalisation.

Frederik Lang

Shivering

Animated Film
India
2017
8 minutes
subtitles: 
_without dialogue / subtitles

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Divyansh Ganjoo, Mahima Sharma
Keyur Dekate
Swapneel Mahindre
Keyur Dekate
Dev Prajapati
Saurav Tripathi, Ashish Hedaoo
Keyur Dekate
Swapneel Mahindre
The worst enemy in the morning, even for the strongest man: the cold shower. Our hero tries to shirk it – by hook or by crook.

Lina Dinkla

That Elephant From the Bridge

Documentary Film
India
2013
26 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

D. J. Narain
Abhilash Vijayan
Sahil Bhardwaj
Abhilash Vijayan
Abhilash Vijayan
Roopak Kalyani
A metal rod stuck in the ground is treated with an oversized hammer. An old man washes his feet. A short-statured artist stabilises his rusty bedstead with a few stones. Over here someone takes a curious look out of the window, over there a little discussion whether the man with the muscles is wearing his shirt inside out or not is going on. Posts are erected, ropes tightened. And at last the big tent rises from the ground. The people turn into clowns and artists.
This film portrays the arrival of an Indian travelling circus in a new town in impressionistic and sensual images. The focus is not on the magic of the performance, though, but on the things that go on around it, the handiwork, the community of very different personalities living under the same roof. This doesn’t destroy the aura of the circus. On the contrary, its mystery is preserved in the fragments. And the collage erects a big top of moods.

Lars Meyer
Next Masters Wettbewerb 2019
The Ebb Tide Renu Savant

Men, fish and a dying occupation at the coast of India. The director explores her homeland and portrays the village of Mirya in documentary and re-staged close-up and long-distance views.

The Ebb Tide

Documentary Film
India
2019
60 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Public Service Broadcasting Trust
Renu Savant
Sunayana Singh
Rikhav Desai
Renu Savant
Ved Madesia, Sidardh Ramesh
Even in the Indian coastal town of Mirya, about 300 kilometres south of Mumbai, fishing is a dying occupation. The younger fishermen have high school diplomas but can’t find work – blame it on Prime Minister Modi. Buying a boat is being considered, even though the marine animals are becoming increasingly scarce. The big market is far away and selling locally is hardly worthwhile because prices are too high. A young woman follows a man, committed despite everything to catching crabs, into the dark and swampy mangrove forest.

“The Ebb Tide” is an exploration of home and the second film about her village by the young director Renu Savant who studied at the Film and Television Institute of India in Pune. Savant stages the residents on the waterfront by the bay. She makes the documentary abstract, has them read texts and people play roles that are close to their lives. With this hybrid approach she also reflects on her position as a director: close-ups and long shots of a familiar region that allows itself to be captured quite openly and in all its aspects. The mysterious imagery of this film, shot during the 2018 monsoon season, opens the viewers’ eyes to an unknown life and feeds them intellectually with knowledge about the multi-layered nature of the present.

Saskia Walker
International Programme 2017
The Fish Curry Abhishek Verma

All fish eyes are on Lalit Ghosh. The gay young man is facing his coming out. On this nerve-racking occasion he cooks his father’s favourite dish for him.

The Fish Curry

Animated Film
India
2017
12 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Abhishek Verma, Jamuura.com
Abhishek Verma
The 126ers
Antariksh
Abhishek Verma
Abhishek Verma, Jayesh Bhosale
Shantanu Yennemadi
All fish eyes are on Lalit Ghosh. The gay young man is facing his coming out. On this nerve-racking occasion he cooks his father’s favourite dish for him, a traditional fish curry. A radio cooking show says about this Bengal dish, called “Maacher Jhol”, that it is good for the heart and the brain. A good omen at least.

Esther Buss
International Programme 2013
The Textures of Loss Pankaj Butalia

The surviving dependants of the fathers and sons of Kashmir who were killed in the war. The mosaic of a collective nightmare, the emotional trauma of a region in permanent unrest.

The Textures of Loss

Documentary Film
India
2013
61 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Pankaj Butalia
Pankaj Butalia
Arjun Sen, Mohd. Yakub
Ranjan Palit, Pankaj Butalia
Pankaj Butalia
Pankaj Butalia
There is a whole generation today who knows nothing but war in Kashmir, which for the past two decades has been a permanent trouble spot between Pakistan and India. In view of the omnipresence of the military, the smallest spark is enough to set off this powder keg. Almost every family has suffered a loss. The bodies of the fathers and sons are brought home. How to deal with the loss; who takes care of the relatives?
The director’s journey to the various provinces resembles a journey into the wounded soul of a region that can find no rest. How do pain, grief, and fear etch themselves into the individual’s psyche? There are no authorities, no therapists, only the gods and the surviving family who move closer together in their corrugated iron shacks. Depression and sleep disorders are common. A boy can’t bear to see the colour red, so he paints green blood. Director Pankaj Butalia composes the mosaic of a collective nightmare from many interviews and sparingly inserted archive footage of fighting in the streets. With his previous film “Manipur Song”, which was also screened at DOK Leipzig, and his next project, “Assamblog”, “The Texture of Loss” forms a trilogy of the bereaved.

Cornelia Klauß
International Programme 2012
When Hari Got Married Ritu Sarin, Tenzing Sonam

It’s okay when you’ve never seen your bride before the wedding. But what will she be like? Forced marriage in India as a comedy with a touch of Bollywood, featuring an enchanting hero.

When Hari Got Married

Documentary Film
India,
Norway,
UK,
USA
2012
75 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Ritu Sarin, White Crane Films
Ritu Sarin, Tenzing Sonam
Arjun Sen
Tenzing Sonam
Tenzing Sonam
Tenzing Sonam
Saying “I love you” on the phone presupposes a personal history. But Hari has never met his future bride Suman, with whom he exchanges these tender words daily over the phone while driving his taxi over the bumpy streets of his Indian hometown at the foot of the Himalaya Mountains. It’s an arranged wedding, its history the thousand-year-old tradition behind it. Hari’s father won’t rest until his youngest son, who is already 30 after all, is finally married. He invests all his money in this project, for one thing is certain: the wedding will be colourful and expensive.
Who wants to make their father unhappy? And yet Hari has found a way to soften the tradition a bit: his mobile phone. “When you talk on the phone every day you would even fall in love with a stone”, he says in his inimitable and practical way. The usually cheerful young man’s straightforwardness is a constant surprise. And yet the closer the wedding approaches the more thoughtful and withdrawn the young man seems to be. Because he knows that Suman is not a stone and there’s a real concern that she won’t be able to handle the separation from her family. This unusual love must still pass its acid test – at the end of a long ceremony on which the bridal couple have the least influence. The story of this traditional wedding comes alive with its small signs of cautious modernisation to which Hari makes his modest contribution.
– Lars Meyer