Film Archive

International Programme 2017
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
Qatar
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

Damascus, My First Kiss

Documentary Film
Lebanon,
Qatar,
Syria
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

In the Claws of a Century Wanting

Documentary Film
Germany,
Philippines,
Qatar
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

Nine Month War

Documentary Film
Hungary,
Qatar
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