Film Archive

Appunti del passaggio

Documentary Film
Belgium,
Italy,
Switzerland
2016
44 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Maria Iorio, Le Souvenir du Présent
Maria Iorio, Raphaël Cuomo
Alessandra Eramo
Gilles Aubry
“I have no visual memory. I remember emotions.” In their remarkably artistically dense documentary Maria Iorio and Raphaël Cuomo combine various statements of contemporary witnesses into the personal report of an Italian who entered Switzerland in 1965 as a migrant labourer. At the core of this representative of many economic refugees from Southern Europe of the time lies the feeling that she is an “outlaw working body”. She feels humiliated and controlled by procedures at the “border health check”, by massive underpay, dangerous working conditions, psychological pressure in the factory and openly expressed, wounding resentment against the foreigners.

The film is a collage of memories given a voice by a female narrator and kept deliberately vague on the visual level. Vague, but extremely effective and openly sceptical about the reality promised by visual evidence. Besides distorted details and negatives of a few surviving photos it’s the restful contemporary video recordings, for example of an abandoned building with all the traces of use, which offer a suitable poetic space to the narrator’s audio report and a voice performance.

André Eckardt
International Programme 2017
Die fünfte Himmelsrichtung Martin Prinoth

A family film about the search for one’s biological mother, for roots, one’s identity. The trail leads to the Dolomite Alps, Brazil and even the bottom of the ocean.

Die fünfte Himmelsrichtung

Documentary Film
Germany,
Italy
2017
78 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Martin Prinoth, Valerio B. Moser, Andreas Pichler
Martin Prinoth
Max Andrzejewski, Marco Mlynek
Jytte Hill
Martin Prinoth
Martin Prinoth, Akın E. Şipal
Martin Prinoth
The drama is reflected in geological dimensions, in primeval depths. Where does mankind’s desire to learn how the world was created come from? Where do we come from? There is stardust, the primary matter, the answer to the question, in the rocks at the bottom of the ocean. The origin of all life can be studied, but not necessarily the origin of an individual life.

Martin Prinoth took his film to the bottom of the sea – where the primary stone is found. And where his cousin Georg’s body sank when he was killed in a plane crash over the Atlantic in 2009. Georg was adopted, like his brother Markus. They were born in Brazil and moved into a village in the Dolomites when they were small children, with no knowledge of their origin and who were or are their biological mothers. “The Fifth Point of the Compass” goes on an exceptionally sensitive and attentive quest for the roots and identities of its protagonists – from South Tyrol to Brazilia and finally to the bottom of the ocean.

Lukas Stern


Nominated for Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize
International Programme 2015
Haircut Virginia Mori

A pupil and a teacher, alone in a bare classroom. On the surface this is about the girl’s hairdo. But what exactly is it that unfolds around the long pigtail: a power game, a showdown, or just a fantasy?

Haircut

Animated Film
France,
Italy
2014
8 minutes
subtitles: 
_without dialogue / subtitles

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Pascaline Saillant
Virginia Mori
Andrea Martignoni
Lola Capote Ortiz
Virginia Mori
Virginia Mori
Andrea Martignoni
A pupil and a teacher, alone in a bare classroom. On the surface this is about the girl’s hairdo. But what exactly is it that unfolds around the long pigtail: a power game, a showdown, or just a fantasy? Virginia Mori spent a year drawing with pencil and ballpoint pen on paper. Her 3,000 drawings, set to Andrea Martignoni’s music, are condensed into a melancholy and dreamlike chamber play about power and submission.

Nadja Rademacher
International Programme 2012
Isqat al Nizam - At The Regime Border Antonio Martino

An expedition to the Syrian border, encounters with refugees, deserted soldiers, Internet activists. Blood, beatings, torture, executions. A harrowing border experience.

Isqat al Nizam - At The Regime Border

Documentary Film
Italy
2012
78 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Roberto Ruini, Pulsemedia
Antonio Martino
Mario Romanazzi, Valerio Pellegri, Vincenzo Scorza
Antonio Martino
Giuseppe Trepiccione, Simone Incerti Zambelli
Giordano Raggi
Diego Schiavo
This powerful film about the Syrian revolution features a variety of borderline experiences. For example the exiled journalist who is collecting material for an oppositional television network at the Turkish-Syrian border. He meets compatriots from all population groups – deserted soldiers, Internet fighters, refugees. The camera in these live sound passages is almost frozen, the shadows on the faces sharply delineated: stories of the beginning of the revolution, of dead friends and siblings. Then there are the disturbing YouTube films produced by the hundreds every day – a system running amuck. Soldiers in heavy boots jumping on the heads of tied-up protesters. Soldiers shooting a prisoner. Soldiers taking whole cities hostage. Orders to snipers: shoot everyone filming with a mobile phone! A young man who a moment ago was recording is bleeding to death on the backseat of a taxi. His brother continues. Upload to the Web. It’s mind-boggling when the agents of the system film each other at work. On camera torture. Executions. And beatings, beatings, beatings. There are no more restraints here. Finally the panic in a young girl’s voice as she watches soldiers storming her parents’ house. And we, who are watching all this? We allow the statesmen and special envoys and commissioners to play their game of oil, military bases and geopolitics. We have become so tired of all the images flooding us, and so weak. Still – there is no alternative to publishing this horror. The revolt is circling on the web. The fever is rising.
– Matthias Heeder
International Programme 2013
Last Call Enrico Cerasuolo

The story of a legendary book that was going to change the world: “The Limits of Growth”, the Club of Rome, its founders and what became of them and their ideas.

Last Call

Documentary Film
Italy
2013
90 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Massimo Arvat, Ingunn Knudsen
Enrico Cerasuolo
Gregorio Caporale, Antonio Raspanti, Tommaso Cerasuolo
Krister Johnson
Marco Duretti
Tommaso Cerasuolo, Pietro Luzzati, Tipper
Enrico Cerasuolo
Torstein Nodland
Growth seems to be the answer to all the challenges our society faces – if you believe the politicians that govern us. As if a book bearing the warning title “The Limits of Growth” hadn’t been awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade and become a bestseller as far back as 40 years ago. A group of international scientists, united in the “Club of Rome”, had plainly pointed out the dangers of climate change, outlining what had to be done. The authors of the book were young and optimistic, even amazingly naive from today’s point of view. We meet them again 40 years later.
Various crises and shocks could not make mankind switch from short-term to long-term thinking. What are the lessons of history? Are we resistant to learning? Is there still a chance, a “last call”? The former founders of the Club seem to have developed different theories. But one thing seems certain: the options that still existed 40 years ago are no longer available. This film follows the creation, reception and defence of a legendary book that should have changed the world. The extensive archive material is always referred back to the present day. And following the traces of the “Club of Rome” yields a number of stimulating brainteasers along the way.

Lars Meyer
International Programme 2018
My Home, in Libya Martina Melilli

Assisted by young Mahmoud, the director looks from the distant Italian city of Padua to Tripoli – in search of her grandparents’ story.

My Home, in Libya

Documentary Film
Italy
2018
66 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Edoardo Fracchia, Stefano Tealdi, Elena Filippini
Martina Melilli
Nicola Ratti
Nicola Pertino
Enrica Gatto
Martina Melilli
Matteo Valeri
The director’s great-grandfather emigrated from Sicily to Tripoli in the 1930s, in the midst of the colonial war waged by Italy against Libya, and decided to stay. Martina Melilli paints the picture of a distant city from conversations with her grandfather in Padua, photos, street sketches improvised coram publico, Polaroid pictures and memories. Since the filmmaker does not get a visa for Libya she asks young Mahmoud to be her eye in Tripoli. From the chats between the two arises a complex image of the chequered and sometimes violent relations between Italy and Libya, but also a new view of their lives. The search for the right door, the balcony that fits her grandparents’ memories, the empty plots where cinemas used to do business in Tripoli, are set against the present: stagnation in Libya, death in the Mediterranean, communication via Internet: “I want to get as close as I can,” a superimposed handwritten note claims. The closeness is achieved: on circuitous paths, images, writings, communicated and authentic in this communicatedness.

Fabian Tietke
International Programme 2013
On the Art of War Luca Bellino, Silvia Luzi

The long struggle of a group of Italian workers for their factory: occupation, strike, and back-breaking civil war manoeuvres. A complex investigation between hot agitation and cold analysis.

On the Art of War

Documentary Film
Italy,
USA
2012
85 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Giovanni Pompili, Margherita Di Paola, Claudia Antonucci
Luca Bellino, Silvia Luzi
Nicolò Mulas
Vania Tegamelli, Giorgio Carella
Luca Bellino
Luca Bellino, Silvia Luzi
Paolo Benvenuti, Stefano Grosso, Marzia Cordò
On 31 May 2008, a quiet and sunny Sunday, the staff of a heavy metal assembly plant in Milan-Lambrate met for a picnic. They had hardly unwrapped their sandwiches when a short message from the then current owner, who had bought the plant only in 2006, reached them: “We have decided to cease all activity as of 31 May 2008.”
Luca Bellino’s and Silvia Luzi’s film sheds light on the 50 workers’ long struggle, which started with the occupation of the facility on the same day, led to continued production under a worker’s management and, after the factory was cleared by the police for the first time, resulted in an open-ended strike in front of the factory gates to prevent the secret removal of the machinery. Finally, on 2 August 2009, a large number of police attacked the strikers in a civil war-like operation, upon which five of them seized an industrial crane on the grounds and occupied it for several weeks. The activists’ determination triggered a broad wave of international support and attracted a lot of media attention, which finally contributed to a long-term resolution of this conflict. Bellino and Luzi manage to create a complex cinematic investigation of an intense, real-life example of anarcho-syndicalist theory and practice in Italy, supremely balanced between hot agitation and cold analysis.

Ralph Eue
International Programme 2018
Open to the Public Silvia Bellotti

From snappishness to shared smiles – the helpdesk for social tenants in Naples as a stage of life and joint emotional frontline against the multicoloured beast of bureaucracy.

Open to the Public

Documentary Film
Italy
2017
60 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Antonella Di Nocera
Silvia Bellotti
Silvia Bellotti
Silvia Bellotti
Lea Dicursi
Silvia Bellotti
Marco Saitta
Dawn in Naples, neon lamps open blinking eyes in an office, their light in the high cream-coloured old rooms waking up the registries and piles of cardboard files from which peep isolated form sheets and that indicate lengthy proceedings. The quiet yields to growing murmurs and the first sounds of discontent: a queue jumper on one of the two weekly opening days of the helpdesk for social tenants. The day is gathering momentum. The neatly dressed Signora – one of a conspicuous number of widows – and the nonchalant counsellor play their roles between snappishness and shared smiles with passion: “You don’t let us speak.” – “If I have to listen to the crap people talk, it’s better that I speak.” And the hand casually puts another sheet of paper in its proper place.

Four desks in a room whose door is open to a line of waiting people in the corridor – Silvia Bellotti’s film discretely skirts the conversations, attentively squeezes into its position on this narrow and unique stage of life. This is where the desperate, demanding, and understanding negotiate existential housing needs with the counsellors. The employees and psychologists of daily life work at the frontlines of emotion in this bustle, trying to tame the multicoloured beast of bureaucracy and find loopholes in the countless regulations for their customers.

André Eckardt


Honorable Mention Healthy Workplaces Film Award

International Programme 2018
Pierino Luca Ferri

The filmmaker follows Pierino, a pensioner and cinephile, over one calendar year. They meet for a shooting date in the latter’s flat every Thursday at 10.30 a.m. on the dot.

Pierino

Documentary Film
Italy
2018
70 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Andrea Zanoli
Luca Ferri
Luca Ferri, Samantha Angeloni
Stefano P. Testa
Stefano P. Testa, Luca Ferri
Luca Severino
Pierino is a cheerful pensioner, single and a cinephile. His structured daily life follows a never-changing weekly rhythm. Shopping on Mondays and Fridays are fixed points, as are regular visits to his mother’s grave or the hairdresser – unless the weather doesn’t cooperate.

Luca Ferri follows the well-organised pensioner over one calendar year, starting in January. Shooting is fitted into his schedule, which means their meetings take place every Thursday at 10.30 a.m. on the dot and always begin with a review of the week. Pierino doesn’t mind the camera, because he likes to comment on what he experiences. He turns out to be a fellow with a detailed memory and a broad general knowledge. The protagonist’s meticulousness is not just reflected in the punctuality and reliability of the shooting dates arranged by the filmmaker, but also in the visual tools he employs. The patina of the flat in which nothing has changed for years finds a congenial echo in the 1970s music and in the materiality: shot on VHS, the film is a tribute to the analogue age which is manifest in the images as well as in Pierino’s countless film notebooks and his collection of video tapes. The warm hearted and offbeat chronicle of an unassuming life.

Annina Wettstein
International Programme 2019
Score for Joanna Kotze Shelly Silver

A space that can be everything. Or nothing. A four-minute essayistic stream of consciousness about the American choreographer Joanna Kotze – and pollution in the Mediterranean.

Score for Joanna Kotze

Documentary Film
Italy,
USA
2019
4 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Shelly Silver
Shelly Silver
Shelly Silver
Shelly Silver
Shelly Silver
Shelly Silver
Maureen McLane
An imaginary space that could be anything. Or nothing. A space that is everything one wants it to be. Dancers co-opt spaces and transform them into an irresistible pull – as does the American choreographer Joanna Kotze, for whom this essayistic score of words and images was written. Shelly Silver created a four-minute associative flow of consciousness that is an indictment of pollution in the Italian Mediterranean, too.

Julia Weigl

The Lives of Mecca

Documentary Film
Italy,
Switzerland
2015
54 minutes
subtitles: 
German

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Nicola Genni, Domenico Lucchini, Enrica Viola
Stefano Etter
Mariangela Marletta
Amos Pellegrinelli
Nick Bedo
This Mecca is in the West, on Coney Island Beach, Brooklyn. This is the place to which the maestros of pleasurable idling have for years made their pilgrimage to indulge in a shared passion: American handball. The men, most of them freaks of rather advanced age, take turns as players or spectators. In one scene two protagonists are arguing about the right title for the film they are part of. It should be about handball, says the first, who takes the game seriously and believes that its spirit is sacred. The second wants it to be about the fauna of characters that grows like weed around the game: the lives of Mecca.

That’s Patrick, the second one, something of a serene pantheist philosopher. Sometimes he dictates the music that booms from an old ghetto blaster, and he serves as the therapist to this friendly little spot, seconded by the boasters and the taciturn ones, children and old people, the perturbed and the unperturbed. Each of them is a gifted performer of their own story/ies. What this is really about: the diversity of the margins. The chaos of everyday life. The full energy of the sport. And the total relaxedness of this neighbourly get-together.

Ralph Eue
International Programme 2013
The Valley of the Jato Caterina Monzani, Sergio Vega Borrego

A polluted river, a broken transmitter mast, the fight against the Mafia – Pino, chain-smoking patron of a Sicilian local radio station, takes care of everything. A turbulent plea for independent journalism.

The Valley of the Jato

Documentary Film
Italy,
UK
2012
67 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Caterina Monzani, Sergio Vega Borrego
Caterina Monzani, Sergio Vega Borrego
Roger Goula
Sergio Vega Borrego
Sergio Vega Borrego
Zhe Wu
You have to do everything yourself as a local journalist and patron: talk to the people in the factories and on the streets, research names, write commentaries, hop on the “News Chair” to read the (two-hour!) news, snub the staff, take samples of the polluted river for analysis, report the 105th birthday of a local, repair the channel’s transmitter mast with a small screwdriver, keep your wife happy with a kiss and the whole operation going. The lean, moustached, and hectic chain-smoker Pino Maniaci is an institution in Partinico, a town in the Sicilian province of Palermo. He and his whole family run the local TV channel, waging an embittered war of ruthless exposure against the Mafia, who frequently strike back just as ruthlessly. All the hopes of the long-suffering population rest on him. But the law to digitise television is threatening to bring the small channel to its financial knees …
Caterina Monzani and Sergio Vega Borrego tell this tale of a modern-day Don Quixote fighting against the windmills of corruption and capitalism in the turbulent style of the Italian comedy. Above all, they show that the disappearance of independent local journalism is an irrecoverable loss for democracy.

Grit Lemke

Una Primavera

Documentary Film
Austria,
Germany,
Italy
2018
80 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Johannes Schubert
Valentina Primavera
Macarena Solervicens
Valentina Primavera
Federico Neri
Valentina Primavera
Valentina Primavera, Macarena Solervicens
The photos from the time when Fiorella and Bruno married bear the marks of a lost epoch. The bride – white dress, lace veil – looks slightly upward, like a picture of the Virgin Mary. The groom – black hair, black suit – looks straight into the lens, piercing and dark. She can’t say whether she ever loved him, Fiorella, who has just put the heavy, encyclopaedia-sized wedding album on her lap, says. 40 years lie between those photos and the presence of this film – 40 years of losing herself, as Fiorella once confesses in tears.

Valentina Primavera, the couple’s youngest daughter, returns to her parental home with a camera to expose a decade-long history of fights, insults and domestic violence. And she accompanies her mother’s attempt to finally and definitely break up with her husband after 40 years of marriage. The camera is a merciless device. Facing up to its relentlessness, that’s where the physical strength and effort of this film lie.

Lukas Stern


Nominated for the Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize

International Programme 2015
Winter Love Isabel Herguera

A winter landscape in Spain, hunters are crossing the field, bare shrubs stand out against the sky. In her atmospheric animation Isabel Herguera gathers a dreamy company of humans and animals around the table, set to the melancholy sound of a guitar.

Winter Love

Animated Film
Italy,
Spain
2015
8 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Isabel Herguera, Alessandro Ingaria
Isabel Herguera
Gianmarco Serra
Arun Prakash
Gianmarco Serra
Ranjeeta Rajeevan, Arun Prakash, Isabel Herguera
Isabel Herguera, Gianmarco Serra, Alessandro Ingaria
Gianmarco Serra, Xabi Erkizia
A winter landscape in Spain, hunters are crossing the field, bare shrubs stand out against the sky. In her atmospheric animation Isabel Herguera gathers a dreamy company of humans and animals around the table, set to the melancholy sound of a guitar. “Love me without talking” – silence unites, even evokes the mythical past and, quite in passing, joins painting and cut-out. A passionate appeal to listen to one’s interior and not to the murmur of the world.

Lars Meyer