Film Archive

International Programme 2015
9 Days – From My Window in Aleppo Thomas Vroege, Floor van der Meulen

The photographer Issa Touma can’t leave is flat in Aleppo – there’s a fierce battle raging on his doorstep: Assad’s army against the insurgents, and then the IS enters the fray.

9 Days – From My Window in Aleppo

Documentary Film
Netherlands,
Syria
2015
13 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jos de Putter
Thomas Vroege, Floor van der Meulen
Issa Touma
Thomas Vroege, Floor van der Meulen
Issa Touma
Tom Jansen
The photographer Issa Touma can’t leave is flat in Aleppo – there’s a fierce battle raging on his doorstep: Assad’s army against the insurgents, and then the IS enters the fray. Issa points his camera at himself and, through the lowered blinds, out of the window, producing an authentic image that may seem familiar to people from conflict regions: televised news images, the sounds of real fighting outside and the “normality” of everyday life – the perversions of war.

Zaza Rusadze
International Programme 2014
A Goat For a Vote Jeroen van Velzen

Student elections in rural Kenya. What do the candidates stand for? Who cares? It’s about prestige, and “little somethings” they distribute to the electorate. A basic course in democracy.

A Goat For a Vote

Documentary Film
Kenya,
Netherlands
2013
52 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Hasse van Nunen, Maarten van der Ven
Jeroen van Velzen
Alex Boon
Stef Tijdink
Daan Wijdeveld
Jeroen van Velzen
Robil Rahantoeknam
Let’s look at how democratic processes are practiced at a student election in rural Kenya: What exactly does the student representative do? Who cares. The point is the office, the prestige, the start of individual careers. The candidates: Magdalena, who traditionally has a tough stand as the only female candidate. Harry, who is dirt poor. To finance his campaign he sells fish and coconuts on the market. Said the charmer, who wants to be an army general. He is already a strategist: a photo call with the deputy who is made to stand a step behind him, putting up posters, asking relatives for money. And then this seductive smile! They all know that the only way to win is through campaign gifts. Or let’s call them by their real name, like Magdalena’s grandmother: bribes. So they distribute candy and “little somethings”. Harry even manages to wheedle a goat out of his relatives. Meat for all! Only Magdalena talks about content – which is why she will lose …
What does this teach us? School as a social microcosm teaches what promises to be successful. If the way there is through corruption, that’s a daily experience in many countries. What did they say at the beginning of the film? “The best way to understand our society is to look at one’s children”. In this sense: A vote for a goat!
Matthias Heeder

Among Women

Documentary Film
Netherlands
2012
52 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Hasse van Nunen
Kim Brand
Harry de Wit
Suzan van Steenwijk
Joël Hielckert
Hips move rhythmically, bodies become entwined, a sexual dance is practised which at some point leads to a climax that will transport the dancer to another level. We are not in some night club in a European metropolis; we are among women in Zambia preparing each other for marriage. This is where they learn how to stay in control during intercourse, which naturally includes women pleasuring themselves. This is also where women are familiarised with the sight of the blood of defloration by making them cut the throat of a chicken clamped between their thighs. But women are not to behave like chickens under any circumstances! At any rate, it is said that after completing this course the ladies are able to carry their marriage, including the husband involved, “like a burden on their heads”.
Kim Brand approaches the rituals and thinking of another culture, not least by reflecting on her own relationship back home in Holland, opening quite original perspectives on the experience of pride, freedom, and happiness. An instructive film from every angle. We’re welcome to applaud these women at the end, as they do only after completing the act with their husband.

Claudia Lehmann
International Programme 2017
An Unforgettable Farewell Cláudio de Oliveira Marques

Dark thoughts lie over this film like fog over a city. You can’t look through them, you can’t touch them. Suicide and the life that led up to it, the grief that follows and the suicide note read aloud

An Unforgettable Farewell

Documentary Film
Netherlands
2017
23 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Denise van den Hoek, Bente Mars
Cláudio de Oliveira Marques
Maryna Boiko
Michel Rosendaal
Nikki Gorissen
Ruben Dekker, Karlijn Hendriksen
Dark thoughts lie over this film like fog over a city. You can’t look through them, you can’t touch them. Suicide and the life that led up to it, the grief that follows and the suicide note read aloud – in intimate conversations with concerned persons and surviving friends and family members, Cláudio de Oliveira Marques looks for ways to make such extremes communicable. Could they have known? Should they have known? And, most of all: would they have wanted to know?

Lukas Stern

Ana Ana (I Am Me)

Documentary Film
Egypt,
Netherlands,
Norway
2013
75 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Corinne van Egeraat
Corinne van Egeraat, Petr Lom
Ryuichi Sakamoto
Petr Lom, Nadine Salib, Sondos Shabayek, Sarah Ibrahim, Wafaa Samir
Petr Lom
Jeroen Goeijers
Where censorship rules, the hour of the metaphor has come. The Arab Spring in Egypt didn’t change much about this. The traditional roles assigned to women are still the same. Four young female artists from Cairo are cautiously exploring this thin line between poetry and prohibition in their works. They still have to hide their longing for creativity and self-realisation as well as their own ideas of sexuality and physicality under headscarves. The film translates this dichotomy between being and appearing into oscillating images that make us feel some of the fear and tension these women experience.
The Czech-born Canadian director Petr Lom and the Dutch filmmaker Corinne van Egeraat met the four theatre, photo and video artists at a workshop. They have been working together on this project since 2011, not just as actors, but also as co-authors. Their artistic objects and performances unfold a kaleidoscope of associations that dominate the film’s visual world. Past master Ryūichi Sakamoto provided the discrete but effective score. Ultimately, “Ana Ana” is a poem that couldn’t be more political.
Cornelia Klauß
International Programme 2015
Between the Devil and the Deep Heinrich Dahms

South African fishermen struggling to survive in the face of an official ban on fishing. Black fishing, drugs, family dramas, a love that falls apart, and always the sea.

Between the Devil and the Deep

Documentary Film
Netherlands
2015
98 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Michele Aime
Heinrich Dahms
Johan Bosgraaf
Heinrich Dahms
Heinrich Dahms
Peter Suyderhoud
There may be quite a few arguments in favour of protecting the endangered species of the abalone. Sold as an aphrodisiac in Asia, they are worth a lot of money and therefore almost extinct off the coast of South Africa. But the government’s ban on catching them primarily affects the fishermen, the weakest link in the production chain. What to do when there’s no other source of income? They dive for abalones illegally, which triggers a new cycle of violence and counter-violence, criminalisation and justice. Which is what the Dutch filmmaker Heinrich Dahms’s film portrays, exemplified by a small fishing village near Kapstadt. The stories of three families who are victims of the fishing ban coalesce into the portrait of a community crushed between the daily struggle for survival and the pitfalls of a corrupt and violent law enforcement system. The director creates impressive insights into the dangers (and beauty) of fishing as well as the lives and problems of his protagonists: a drowned son and the fight against the investigating authorities, the father of a family persecuted by the police, a meth-addicted small-time crook about to lose his wife’s love. Life in the new South Africa, as the film also shows, is full of disappointments.

Matthias Heeder
International Programme 2016
Bring the Jews Home Eefje Blankevoort, Arnold van Bruggen

When all Jews have returned to Israel the Messiah will come again. At least that’s what the Dutch missionary in Ukraine, Koen, believes. Christian fundamentalism as a whacky psycho trip.

Bring the Jews Home

Documentary Film
Netherlands
2016
56 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Iris Lammertsma, Boudewijn Koole
Eefje Blankevoort, Arnold van Bruggen
Harry de Wit, Stan Verberkt
Ton Peters
Patrick Schonewille
Alex Tugushin, Mark Glynne
How long must Christians still wait for the Second Coming? How will the prophecy be fulfilled and by whom? For example by Koen Carlier. At least that’s what the Flemish activist firmly believes. After all, the bible supplies precise instructions: Bring the Jews back home and the Messiah will come. So for more than 20 years he has been working in Ukraine on behalf of the Dutch branch of “Christians for Israel” in order to enlighten all the Jews still living there about their right (their duty, actually) to emigrate to Israel. But his life is a rather unglamorous one which resembles that of a commercial traveller. On his tours through underdeveloped regions he meets hospitable but also sceptical people. Some plead high blood pressure; others would rather emigrate to Germany. Carlier keeps preaching with gentle severity and unshakeable enthusiasm: Nobody will be left behind in the Diaspora, whether they like it or not.

Maidan and the outbreak of the Ukrainian conflict constitute a final change in his eyes. All signs and symbols point to Armageddon. This is where the film, too, radically changes direction: from the portrait of a confused family man to a psycho trip, working its way into the dangerous thinking of Christian religious fundamentalism, full visual power ahead.

Lars Meyer

Chopper

Animated Film
Netherlands
2012
2 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Sander Verdonck
Frederik Palmaers, Lars Damoiseaux
Joris Oonk
Daan Nieuwenhuijs
Lars Damoiseaux
Frederik Palmaers & Michael Palmaers
Michael Palmaers
Arno Willemstein
“Eat or be eaten”, people would have said in the past. Today we have a different, wider perspective on nature. A whole life cycle is contained in the crocodile’s stomach: a stork who ate a frog who ate a praying mantis who …
International Programme 2015
Erbarme Dich: Matthäus Passion Stories Ramón Gieling

Bach’s Matthew Passion: why does it move us even today? People talk about their relationship with God, grief and guilt. Powerfully staged music and visuals.

Erbarme Dich: Matthäus Passion Stories

Documentary Film
Netherlands
2015
99 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Sylvia Baan, Hans de Wolf, Janneke Doolaard, Hanneke Niens
Ramón Gieling
Goert Giltay
Barbara Hin
Wouter Veldhuis
Johann Sebastian Bach’s Matthew Passion is more than 250 years old and has kept moving and engaging its audiences deeply until today. Powerfully narrated and directed, the film is dedicated to this phenomenon in which an ensemble of characters are each linked by fate to the passion of Christ. Jesus’ life and death are not isolated but interwoven with the sufferings of humanity. Staged like a play, the painter, the dancer, the soprano and others talk about their first encounters with this work, their relationship with God, grief and guilt. All this is embedded in vibrant musical and scenic performances of the compositions. In addition to the interviews and the music, harsh lighting, changing perspectives and a gloomy visual language form the third, no less powerful element of the film. Highly symbolically, the extremely professional musicians are faced by a choir of homeless people who observe their performances and comment on them by their silent presence. What everyone shares in is the redeeming element of the music – a music that has mercy on them and lets them find their own passion.

Kim Busch

Genderblend

Documentary Film
Netherlands
2017
68 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Olivia Sophie van Leeuwen
Sophie Dros
Reinier van Harten
Boas van Milligen Bielke
Erik ten Brinke
Job Michel, Gijs den Hartogh
Gender benders subvert dual gender images and refuse to be classified by the traditional categories of male and female. Each of the five protagonists in Sophie Dros’s light-footed documentary has already taken the first step out of this convention and all are about to discover their own identity outside the norm. Confronted by reactions varying between incomprehension, interest and open aversion they waver between defiance, doubt and enthusiasm about every step that follows. Finally, each of them manages to come a little closer to themselves. Even when the world around them – despite its curiosity – isn’t always ready to follow.

Sophie Dros asks Lisa, Anne, Dennis, Lashawn and Selm about their experiences and dreams and creates enough space to let their different stories unfold on the narrative and visual level. While the football-playing twins Lisa and Anne seem impressively at ease with themselves, Dennis, Selm and Lashawn have to deal with the fact that other peoples’ perception of them differs from how they perceive themselves. They share these desires and contradictions with us. “Genderblend” celebrates them and their fight for a society in which gender no longer means two juxtaposed ideals but an individual and unique construction that encompasses both.

Luc-Carolin Ziemann


Nominated for Young Eyes Film Award
International Programme 2017
Greetings from Aleppo Issa Touma, Floor van der Meulen, Thomas Vroege

The Syrian photographer Issa Touma travels from Europe to his native city of Aleppo, visiting his family, old friends and students who still live there.

Greetings from Aleppo

Documentary Film
Netherlands,
Syria
2017
17 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jos de Putter, Bas Vroege
Issa Touma, Floor van der Meulen, Thomas Vroege
Darius Timmer
Issa Touma
Floor van der Meulen, Thomas Vroege
Tom Jansen
The Syrian photographer Issa Touma travels from Europe to his native city of Aleppo, visiting his family, old friends and students who still live there. It’s a film about the daily life and art of survival in the face of war and destruction, about the tragedy and absurdity of life in an extreme situation. Above all, it brings home with horrifying clarity how little the news images correspond to the real life and goings-on in Aleppo.

Frederik Lang

History of Pets

Animated Film
Netherlands
2013
6 minutes
subtitles: 
No

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Ton Crone
Kris Genijn
Made for Chickens by Robots
Kris Genijn
Kris Genijn
Senstudio, Dame Blanche
Sometimes adults visit the places of their childhood and remember their former playmates. In this case these were various pets which disappeared in droves, accompanied by the parents’ ever-changing explanations. But which adult still believes in the Easter Bunny? A mordant requiem.

Little Man, Time and the Troubadour

Documentary Film
Belgium,
Netherlands
2019
104 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Jan van der Zanden, Ineke Kanters
Ineke Smits
Walter Hus
Piotr Rosolowski
Katarina Türler
Ineke Smits, Sipa Labakhua
Jeroen Stout
“We didn’t care about nationality,” says an elderly lady. She is showing the house where she lived with her children as a young woman to her friend and the camera crew. The school was right around the corner. Everyone lived harmoniously door to door here: Armenians, Georgians, Abkhazians, Mingrelians. Until the war came. Everyone who could afford it fled. To Russia, to Turkey, to Georgia. Abkhazia, which considers itself a state, lies in the south of the Caucasus and borders on the Black Sea. Under international law the country belongs to Georgia, but has the status of an autonomous region.

The Abkhazian artist Sipa Labakhua has returned home after many years and now tours the country with his autobiographical puppet show. He tells of his own experiences, his flight, his father’s dreams – and collects more stories on his journeys: of Georgian peasants, Orthodox priests, Abkhazian nationalists, Syrian refugees and Russian hippies. The result is the poetic image of a society that couldn’t be more diverse and that is asking itself an essential question that concerns us all: How do you define the national and cultural identity of a country? Sipa Labakhua has a very original answer: He sees himself as a troubadour, his art as his country and his talent as his home.

Julia Weigl

Living the Light – Robby Müller

Documentary Film
Germany,
Netherlands
2018
87 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Carolijn Borgdorff, Alexander Wadouh, Sven Sauër
Claire Pijman
SQÜRL (Jim Jarmusch, Carter Logan)
Claire Pijman
Katharina Wartena
Claire Pijman
Robby Müller (1940–2018) was a luminary, but not in the way this term is commonly used. He could easily have played one of the wise and taciturn Indians in Jim Jarmusch’s Acid Western “Dead Man”. But that was impossible because he was the DOP of this film, for which he conjured his special, firm and almost painterly, but also transparent and shimmering light onto the screen, as he did for around 70 other masterpieces of international auteur cinema.

Over decades the cinematographer kept a video diary which the filmmaker Claire Pijman already worked with for the great exhibition “Master of Light” at the Amsterdam EYE Film Museum and which she now uses as the central pool of images for her own film, “Living the Light”. Fellow cinematographer Agnès Godard says about a sequence between Dennis Hopper and Nicholas Ray from Wim Wenders’ “The American Friend” that mastership for her is achieved only when the grandeur of the cinematography makes itself vanish from a scene because it becomes its natural component. Strange that one always feels that one can almost hear Robby Müller’s images. In “Living the Light”, this impression is underlined by delicately improvised soundscapes by Jim Jarmusch and Carter Logan.

Ralph Eue


Nominated for the Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize

International Programme 2019
Mama Mania Vincent Sparreboom

Mama, a neuroleptic, the telephone and the director: Using few words but telling much, Vincent Sparreboom unfolds t(his) mother-son relationship in which she hopes and he fears.

Mama Mania

Documentary Film
Netherlands
2019
13 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Vincent Sparreboom
Vincent Sparreboom
Joachim Lenting, Vincent Sparreboom
Vincent Sparreboom
Vincent Sparreboom
Erik Langhout, Vincent Sparreboom
“Hey mom, it’s me.” A phone call begins what a short film about a lifelong mother-son-relationship can tell in phone calls, text messages and impressions of the environment: much, all. The dialogue between word and image is sparse, but full of the unspoken. The camera descends from above into two inhabited solitudes: the filmmaker’s and his mother’s. The two discuss the neuroleptic Haldol and a new man in Mom’s life on the phone. Vincent is worried.

Sylvia Görke

Mario

Animated Film
Netherlands,
USA
2014
3 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Tess Martin
Tess Martin
In Italian playgrounds a song is chanted that dates back to World War I. It is a dark tale of a soldier who returns home to find his girlfriend in the arms of another man.