Film Archive

International Competition 2017
Licu, a Romanian Story Ana Dumitrescu

A delicate attempt at a biography of the 20th century in Romania. At the age of 92, Licu has seen a lot, and this quiet portrait provides a space for him and his story.

Licu, a Romanian Story

Documentary Film
86 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Ana Dumitrescu, Jonathan Boissay
Ana Dumitrescu
Ana Dumitrescu
Ana Dumitrescu
Jonathan Boissay
At the age of 92, Liviu Canţer, called Licu, has lived through the extremes of the 20th century in his home country of Romania – as an alert eye witness of the World War, expulsions, Ceauşescu’s industrialisation and surveillance, the revolution of 1989 and the corrupt post-communism at the margins of the EU, he has a lot of stories to tell. But being one of the last survivors of his generation he lacks contemporaries with whom he can share his experiences. Director Ana Dumitrescu takes time for him and his recollections. She keeps visiting Licu with her camera over the seasons. She films him in his house, where the family history is always present. Slowly the two develop a relationship – in the course of the film she turns from invisible observer to a visitor for whom Licu cooks and whom he offers homemade schnapps. He displays his photo archive. The happy and sad days are fairly balanced, but a certain resignation is obvious.

Dumitrescu, who grew up as a Romanian in France, creates an epic space for the history of her native country, at the centre of which we find Licu: a personal fate representing the tide of history. The black and white images, shot with minimum equipment, reveal her sensitivity as a photo journalist, which enables us to immerse ourselves in this man’s world.

Sirkka Möller

Golden Dove International Competition (long);
Nominated for MDR Film Prize

The Magic Mountain

87 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Anca Damian, Guillaume de Seille, Joanna Ronnikier
Anca Damian
Alexander Balanescu
Ion Ioachim Stroe
Theodore Ushev, Sergiu Negulici, Raluca Popa, Dan Panaitescu and Tomek Ducki
Anca Damian, Anna Winkler
Frédéric Théry, Sebastian Wlodarczyk

“Sometimes I feel I wasn’t made for these times.” This laconic statement of the protagonist of Anca Damian’s second animated documentary defines his position early in the narrative: somehow off kilter. Adam Jacek Winkler, Polish photographer, anti-communist dissident, mountain climber and artist, is a restless spirit, always on the lookout for the noble cause worth fighting and dying for. A modern Don Quixote, whose obsession takes him to Afghanistan where he joins the Mujahidin’s fight against the Red Army. It’s a romantic and torn hero the director portrays here, combining material from Winkler’s personal archive (photos, sketches, videos) with the stylistic wealth of artistic animation, including collages, graphically distorted film and photo material, drawings, plasticine animations or simply painted paper folded into mountains. The various techniques address the various situations, managing to translate the protagonist’s emotional world into a highly original filmic reality, sometimes surreal, sometimes absurd and bitter. “The Magic Mountain” is the second part of a planned trilogy about modern heroes whose third and last instalment this cinematic experience gives us every reason to look forward to. Mattias Heeder

MDR Film Prize 2015

The Royal Train

Documentary Film
92 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Johannes Rosenberger, Constantin Wulff, Johannes Holzhausen (Navigator Film), Ada Solomon, Diana Păroiu (HiFilm)
Johannes Holzhausen
Joerg Burger
Dieter Pichler
Johannes Holzhausen, Constantin Wulff
Andreas Hamza, Vlad Voinescu
A lost monarchy is represented by a princess whose steadfast mission is to restore to her dynasty real political and economic responsibility in contemporary Romania. With great energy, sometimes funny slips, too, but mostly with the appropriate royalist seriousness, Princess Margareta of Romania plays her role as the subject and object of her own campaign. The performance is of the tale of new wine in old wineskins. Surrounded by her courtly entourage, Margareta travels through “her” country in the same old royal train, on the same royal route, in which her father, King Michael the First already sought contact with his subjects. It goes without saying that the red carpet as the most obvious symbol of monarchist grandeur must be immaculate even at the tiniest stop – though this isn’t always achieved perfectly.

Director Johannes Holzhausen observes the bustle around this backwards journey with a distanced and wide-eyed curiosity. After all, it reveals a telling (a-)simultaneity of the ancient k.u.k. ceremonial and current marketing visions.

Ralph Eue