Film Archive

Keeping & Saving – Or How to Live

Documentary Film
Netherlands
2018
85 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Monique Busman, Michiel van Erp
Digna Sinke
Jan Wich
Albert Elings
Digna Sinke
Mark Wessner
An old box full of various treasures: a bracelet made of chicken bones, a small paper fan in which razor blades used to be concealed, a beer mat carrying the signature of a crush. And a notebook with a few brown stains: “Right, I had a nosebleed.”

Director Digna Sinke knows that she likes to collect lots of stuff. But: “We have to tidy up, is what I read everywhere. A tidy home is a tidy life.” She’s attached to objects to which she in turn attaches wishes, hopes, passions – in brief, everything that makes up a human life. And she is not the only one. She meets persons with similar leanings everywhere. But also those who decided to get rid of everything. The director begins to realise that she is caught in an interim time. On the one hand there’s the material past, full of bric-a-brac, tangible stuff, ballast. On the other there’s the digital future with its clouds, collective owners, impersonal things. Sinke weighs both options against each other, examines her own tendency, her own attachment and the freedom of others that she doesn’t quite seem to trust but addresses with an open mind.

Carolin Weidner

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.

The Principal Wife

Documentary Film
Netherlands
2018
70 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Koert Davidse, Marc Thelosen
Hester Overmars
Diego van Uden
Jefrim Rothuizen
Ralf Verbeek
Hester Overmars
Diego van Uden
“The Principal Wife” is an impressive and moving demonstration of how to trace one’s family history even if no one is willing to talk about it. At its centre is the 38-year-old painter Marijke van der Meulen, whose mother Aagje left her and the family to join a Christian sect when her daughter was eight. Aagje became the wife of the sect leader, who manipulated his followers and was later convicted of child abuse. Marijke herself escaped the abuse but, without knowing exactly what really happened, is still haunted by traumatic memories of that time.

She comes up against a wall of silence with her questions. Family members and friends grudgingly agree to be interviewed but demand to remain anonymous. Marijke accepts. Henceforth the camera focuses only on her, showing emotions and fears, anger and sadness play over her face. Flanked by her artistic works, the creative stopgap becomes a cinematic godsend. Rarely has a film managed so intensely and thrillingly to be there when an individual recollects the story of her life and makes sense of what happened. At the end only one interview partner is left on Marijke’s list …

Luc-Carolin Ziemann

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.

The Trial

Documentary Film
Netherlands
2018
127 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Sergei Loznitsa, Maria Choustova, Peter Warnier
Sergei Loznitsa
Danielius Kokanauskis
Sergei Loznitsa
Vladimir Golovnitski
The trial against the so-called “Industrial Party” took place in the fateful year of the USSR’s first five-year-plan, from 25 November to 7 December 1930. It was not the first show trial under Stalin but it was a crucial moment in history because the show worked and the political calculations paid off. While some of the accused at the Shakhty Trial in 1928 still denied their guilt, everybody involved here confessed, saw reason and showed remorse – completely, ardently, calling themselves “wreckers” and “saboteurs,” in short, “counter revolutionaries.” Consequently, “extreme measures” had to be taken – the thousands in court and the marchers in the streets agreed – for the purposes of “social security:” “death by firing squad.” That was the verdict after whose proclamation, to roaring applause, the crowds burst into tears of joy.

Every new film by Sergei Loznitsa makes one think that it doesn’t get eerier than that. And yet this time the horrors of Soviet rule crawl a bit further under the skin. The historical analyst of cinema combines his carefully researched and uncommented archival footage into a chamber play of rhetorical and directorial perfidiousness. And he reconstructs – necessarily brutal in its wealth of detail – the incident of an all-encompassing legal and political fabrication. An “Industrial Party” never existed …

Barbara Wurm

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.

Love Is Potatoes

Documentary Film
Netherlands
2017
90 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Frank van den Engel
Aliona van der Horst
Stefano Sasso
Aliona van der Horst, Maasja Ooms
Maasja Ooms, Ollie Huddleston, Aliona van der Horst
Simone Massi
Aliona van der Horst
Tim van Peppen
A cheerful woman exercises on the balcony. Paper is burnt in the snow. A whole room full of worn shoes. The house is bursting with souvenirs, details, whose meaning is elusive – or lost forever. One day the Dutch filmmaker Aliona van der Horst’s mother met a Dutch man, married him and left Russia. Only when van der Horst receives her inheritance – a dilapidated wooden house somewhere in Russia – does she take a closer look at her mother’s, and her mother’s mother’s background and that of the latter’s five daughters.

Intercut with Italian artist Simone Massi’s powerful animations, “Love Is Potatoes” brings a dark chapter of Soviet Russian history to life, faced in various ways by those affected. Dismissal and denial are among their strategies, but also a written approach by letters. This film is informed by great pain. Nonetheless, the director never yields to the temptation to turn it into a showpiece. In a well-composed and measured way she brings together elements that often seem like pieces of a puzzle.

Carolin Weidner



Honorary Mention in the International Competition
Prize of the Interreligious Jury

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.

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

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.

The Event

Documentary Film
Belgium,
Netherlands
2015
74 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Sergei Loznitsa, Maria Choustova, Nicola Mazzanti
Sergei Loznitsa
Sergei Loznitsa, Danielius Kokanauskis
Sergei Loznitsa
Vladimir Golovnitski
As in earlier films, Sergei Loznitsa uses black and white archive material to reconstruct, if not construct, history. In this case images of the historic event that inaugurated the final collapse of the Soviet Union: the failed coup of 19 August 1991. People are standing in the streets of St. Petersburg, which was still called Leningrad then. The camera moves through the crowds, capturing faces whose expression is one of ignorance. They are all waiting, listening to the endless announcements.

Loznitsa’s ingenious artistic intervention happens on the soundtrack. During the three-day coup d’état, the national television of the USSR continuously broadcast – as usual in crisis situations – recordings of Tchaikovsky’s ballet “Swan Lake”. The director takes up the musical motif and uses it to divide his film into chapters. Radio reports are another narrative element which Loznitsa turns into a quasi comment that underlines the state of insecurity, not knowing and non-information. This is not a re-interpretation of history, though, but rather an attempt to pierce the surface of reality and look for possible interpretations – in the hope of gaining insights into how insurgencies and changes of power work in general.

Zaza Rusadze



Award winner of the Film Prize "Leipziger Ring"

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.