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My English Cousin

Documentary Film
2019
82 minutes
subtitles: 
English
German
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Joëlle Bertossa, Flavia Zanon
Karim Sayad
Patrick Tresch
Naïma Bachiri
Miguel Antunes Dias
Fahed wants to change his life. It’s been almost twenty years that he left Algeria. At the time he was full of hope when he arrived at the British seaport of Grimsby, which was long past its heyday. His dream of prosperity evaporated. In order to survive financially he works two jobs in a 50 hour week. It’s true that he now has a residence permit and leads a well-integrated life in a workers’ flat share, but now, at middle age, he longs to go back to his Algerian home, in order to be closer to his mother. And he has marriage plans! But will Fahed manage to settle back in there and find his role after such a long absence? His family don’t quite believe his intentions to return and tease him because his engagement remains a mystery. He has probably gotten too used to the British mentality, an aunt assumes.

So where is Fahed’s home now? Unprejudiced and with an eye for humorous details, Karim Sayad follows his taciturn cousin’s dithering back and forth. A film about personal and not least social turning points, because in the background the two countries England and Algeria are moving towards political upheavals.

Annina Wettstein

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.

Tiny Souls

Documentary Film
2019
85 minutes
subtitles: 
English
German
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Dina Naser
Dina Naser
Ronald Heu
Dina Naser, Hasan Abu Hammad
Najwa Khachimi, Qutaiba Barhamji
Dina Naser
Antonin Dalmasso
They and all the others will continue to inspire life, Dina Naser writes at the end of her film about three children of war in Syria. They grow up in a refugee camp in Jordan: Marwa is the eldest, then there’s her sister Ayah and finally Mahmoud, the youngest. They have seven other siblings, but the family was torn apart when one brother in Syria no longer wanted to serve in the army and thus the dictator Assad. Marwa is the heroine of the film. She will soon be grown-up or at least considered almost of marriageable age by her parents. Her mother and father now make sure she doesn’t go out any more. But she already has a boyfriend.

Dina Naser follows the three children’s fate and everyday life over an extended period of time, starting in 2014. The filmmaker even hands the camera temporarily over to her protagonists – for the time when she can’t be with them. This can and should be compared to the situation of Palestinian refugees in 1948, among them Dina Naser’s father, whose experiences are referenced by the director. This opens up a larger context for this story which is profoundly and universally human but at the same time linked closely to the complicated Syria and Middle East conflict by its wealth of detail.

Bert Rebhandl

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.

In the Claws of a Century Wanting

Documentary Film
2017
120 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Jewel Maranan
Jewel Maranan
Jewel Maranan
Lawrence S. Ang
Francis Raphael Solajes, Mikael Andres Quizon
This film comes to rest with the rainy season. Typhoons are brewing and the sounds – the calls of playing children, the creaking of huge loading cranes, the noisy life in the alleys, the rumbling of trucks – all give way to the monotonous and persistent sound of pouring water. Only now do we notice how transparent and delicate, unstable and rich this world is into which the Philippine director Jewel Maranan takes us in her film.

Makeshift shanty towns built of corrugated iron, wooden slats and plastic sheets sprawl along the edges of Manila’s giant commercial harbour. The people who live here are poor, work as day labourers or load containers at night. The harbour is flourishing, its facilities are expanding, and the people are forced by the government to resettle. Five protagonists open up perspectives right into the heart of the reality of a marginalised environment. And whenever the camera – through the tarpaulins and sheets of corrugated iron – gives us a glimpse of the gantry cranes and piles of containers behind the houses, we also get a glimpse of the frowning face of the globalised world economy.

Lukas Stern


Nominated for the Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize

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.

Nine Month War

Documentary Film
2018
73 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Ágnes Horváth-Szabó, András Pires Muhi
László Csuja
Zágon Nagy
Ágnes Mógor
László Csuja
Tamás Beke
János is in his early twenties when he is conscripted by the Ukrainian government. His family are part of the Hungarian minority in the country. Many flee to the EU to escape conscription, but János chooses military service. László Csuja follows him in the weeks before he sets out on the 1,500 km trip to the frontline, he is there when János returns to his family for the holidays and welcomes him home when his term of service has ended. He also uses material János himself recorded with a smartphone camera when he was a soldier – glimpses of life on the base.

It’s no coincidence that the nine months of the title evoke the duration of an average pregnancy – “Nine Month War” is the portrait of a development, perhaps not from embryo to baby but from boy to man, depending on one’s definition of man. János, the boy, seems equally strong and naive, is surrounded by the love of his fiancée and an ever-present mother. János, the man returned by the Ukrainian army after his service, is more inaccessible, sometimes rude. Resistance has formed against the main female protagonists in his life. János is preoccupied with himself, sitting around in semi-darkness and playing with his hands, looking after the soldiers who come to the kiosk where he works with an impenetrable expression.

Carolin Weidner


Nominated for the MDR Film Prize

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.

International Programme
A Memory in Khaki Alfoz Tanjour

Khaki is the colour found in every Syrian, they say. This thesis is repeated in variations, soaring through art and ideas, while Alfoz Tanjour finds the right images to illustrate it.

A Memory in Khaki

Documentary Film
2016
108 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Louai Haffar
Alfoz Tanjour
Kinan Azmeh
Ahmad Dakroub
Alfoz Tanjour
Alfoz Tanjour, Louai Haffar
“My blood is made of this city, of its stones, its neighbourhoods, its shops, its people and its mornings … My blood may be made of the smell of diesel in it.” Alfoz Tanjour visited the Syrian writer Ibrahim Samuel in Damascus in 2009 and filmed him sitting at his desk in an Adidas sweater, with coffee and cigarettes, in front of his manuscript. When Tanjour went to Moldavia to study film in the 1990s, a short story by Samuel was his first material. And this time, too, the intellectual inspires a work which despite its inherent weight is like a graceful flight. “A Memory in Khaki” shares the art and thoughts of people deeply marked by the oppressive Syrian regime – including a colour and its symbolism: khaki.

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.

City of the Sun

Documentary Film
2017
100 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Dea Kulumbegashvili, Rati Oneli, Jim Stark
Rati Oneli
Arseni Khachaturan
Ramiro Suárez
Dea Kulumbegashvili, Rati Oneli
Sonia Matrosova, Alexey Kobzar
Chiatura once set the pulse of the times. With the biggest manganese mine in the world, the city was a motor of the Soviet heavy industry. When Rati Oneli arrives, those days are over. Few things are moving, except for his camera which moves to capture a wide screen shot. Or perhaps there are: the minds and bodies of a music teacher, a miner and two young female athletes who persevere in what has become a ghost town. Oneli combines their portraits in a thrilling atmospheric tale that invokes the Georgian national epic and is enriched by suggestive music, giving a narrative form to his long film debut that at least gets the documentary elements flowing.

Zaza Rusadze

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.

Life to Come 360° – Through the Eyes of a Premature Baby

(none)
2016
9 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Cédric Bonin, Pascaline Geoffroy, Anton Iffland Stettner
Fouzi Louahem
Aïdan Obrist
Christophe Reynaud
Fouzi Louahem, Claudio Capanna
Yann-Elie Gorans
Sabine Lange (ARTE), Sophie Berque (RTBF interactive), Mohamed El Mongy (Aljazeera), Isabelle Christiaens (RTBF)
Jean-François Martin, Emilie Maréchal, Blanche Giraud-Beauregardt, Fred Cacheux, Coline Wauters
We don’t remember the first days of our life, especially the ones right after birth. Suddenly we’re in the world – the first vague memories of some day, somewhere emerge. Our long term memory only starts to develop in the second year of our life. The beginning of life remains a dim hole in our memory. With “Life to Come 360°” audiences can enter the virtual reality of a neonatal ward and experience life there from the point of view of a preemie. The docu-fiction is part of the “ARTE360” app.

Lars Rummel

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.

Damascus, My First Kiss

Documentary Film
2012
42 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Lina Al Abed, SakaDo Productions
Lina Al Abed
Wael al Kak
Joud Gorani
Andrijana Stojkovic, Rami Nihawi
Lina al Abed
Ghanem Al Mir
In her third documentary the Palestinian-Jordanian filmmaker Lina Alabed once more addresses the role of women in the Arab world. The location is Damascus, Syria. The revolt against Assad’s regime hasn’t started yet. But there is tension in the air and the question of the limitations set for women by a male-dominated society must necessarily lead to the question of freedom. Three women talk about their relationship to their bodies and sexuality, about the pressures of tradition and feelings of guilt. Asma, a Muslim woman who was married at 16 when she had no idea what marriage means; Lina, the daughter of a wealthy Christian family, who regrets that she doesn’t know her body yet at the age of 45; at last the director herself and her very personal off-screen comments which forge the voices of this film into a single narrative. It’s surprising how frankly Asma and Lina describe their lives, surprising to the protagonists themselves. In a wonderful scene – Asma has just described how stroking her daughter in her arms was criticised as designed to incite sexual arousal – she looks into the distance, lost in thought. Then she turns her head towards the camera and says: Where are you taking me? So how can conditions be changed? Lina and Asma have freed their daughters from social pressure by allowing them to make their own life decisions, cutting a swath through the petrified social conditions at whose end the director envisions the freedom of humanity, independent of sex.
– Matthias Heeder

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.