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International Programme 2013
Diary From the Revolution Nizam Najjar

A year among the Libyan rebels: skirmishes, provisional camp life, a charismatic patriarch. A rare insight into structures and the people behind them.

Diary From the Revolution

Documentary Film
79 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Kristine Ann Skaret, Geir Bølstad
Nizam Najjar
John Birger Wormdahl, Bjarne Larsen
Khalifa Elfetory, Sadoon Alamlas, Blade Kushba
Torkel Gjørv
Nizam Najar
Bernt Syvertsen
The first image: a reminiscence of Western movies – the director Nizam Najjar in a dusty landscape. But he can’t keep up this kind of cool for long; in Tripoli he is not deceived by the paroxysms of joy. Parts of the country are still occupied by Gaddafi’s troops; the front lines in Libya are confusing. He has spent the last ten years in the safety of exile in Oslo. Now that his country is in upheaval, nothing will keep him there. “Armed” with his camera he joins the rebels at Misrata, not concealing his fear. He is allowed to live among the irregular troops lead by Haj Siddiq as “one of them” for more than a year. He records skirmishes, problems with arms supplies and the provisional camp life in a video diary. His observations of the Al Gabra Brigade themselves are equally enlightening. What is its structure, how do the characters change? Even though they might die as heroes, all these young rebels have plans for a life on earth. The call for a “martyr’s death” sounds more and more like a hollow phrase. The charismatic figure of Haj Siddiq is at the centre of the filmmaker’s focus. Like a patriarch the former developer has gathered his family and former employees around him and made them his loyal followers. His smug style of leadership already contains calculations for the assumption of power after victory.

Cornelia Klauß
International Programme 2013
My Stolen Revolution Nahid Persson Sarvestani

Women who were tortured in Iranian prisons after the Shah was overthrown meet again for the first time to break their silence. Liberation through the power of art.

My Stolen Revolution

Documentary Film
75 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Nahid Persson Sarvestani
Nahid Persson Sarvestani
Adam Norden
Nicklas Karpaty, Makan
Emil Engerdahl, Nahid Persson Sarvestani
The archive material in the opening sequence evokes life in Iran in the 1970s. Many people managed to “lead a normal life”, while the oppositional groups still fought the Shah side by side. The Shah was thrown over, “but the Islamists were better organised than us”. Nahid Persson Sarvestani was a leftist activist at the time. She escaped brutal detention, which meant torture, rape and mass executions, only by great luck and her brother Rostam’s help. Rostam himself was killed.
A stubborn feeling of guilt makes Nahid Persson Sarvestani bring some of the few survivors of the former movement together many years later. The suggestive power of the objects and works of art created in and through prison and the five women’s harrowing memories of a regime that is still in power today are juxtaposed with a very personal approach and a discourse reflecting private thoughts and questions. More than that, the director manages to depict a profound feeling of fellowship by confronting us with the moving stories of strong personalities who shook off the chador not only symbolically.

Claudia Lehmann

Film Prize "Leipziger Ring" 2013