Film Archive

Sections (Film Archive)

Touching Concrete

Documentary Film
South Africa
58 minutes
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Jonas Weydemann (Weydemann Bros), Ute Dilger (Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln)
Ilja Stahl
Niclas Reed Middleton
Florian Riegel
Ilja Stahl
Ilja Stahl
An enriching encounter! Whether coincidental or stage-managed isn’t relevant for the further interactions between filmmaker and filmed subjects. Because that “feeling of being there” described by Richard Leacock as the essence of the documentary soon eclipses all doubts and reservations. Impressed by the sure sense of style with which Ilja Stahl establishes the “right” kind of intimacy with his youthful protagonists in an overpopulated neighbourhood of Johannesburg, one feels happy to be allowed to drift with 16-year-old Tebogo and 15-year-old Karabo through their turf as a spectator for one summer. Their turf, that’s underground car parks, high rise roofs, nocturnal streets, where they dawdle away the time, somewhere between boredom and energy to burn.

The conflicts with their single mothers, however, the violence and death in the streets are omnipresent. Karabo feels the pressure more and more while Tebogo sees it as a continuous supply of material for games. He lives by the “anyway” principle when he balances on the parapet of a high rise roof or dances into the path of moving cars with friends and defies everything with a provoking smile. It’s touching how the future looms over these kids’ presence. But they refuse to allow it to rule them. At least not yet.

Ralph Eue

Nominated for ver.di Prize for Solidarity, Humanity and Fairness, DEFA Sponsoring Prize

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