Film Archive

International Programme 2012
Big Boys Gone Bananas!* Fredrik Gertten

A small film company’s almost hopeless battle against the Dole food corporation. The connections between consumption, freedom of opinion and democracy as a thriller.

Big Boys Gone Bananas!*

Documentary Film
Sweden
2012
90 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Margarete Jangård, WG Film
Fredrik Gertten
Conny Malmqvist, Dan "Gisen" Malmquist
Frank Pineda, Joe Aguirre, David McGuire, Malin Korkeasalo, Stefan berg, Kasia Winograd, Sasha Snow, Terese Mörnvik
Jesper Osmund, Benjamin Binderup
Charlotte Rodenstedt
Fredrik Gertten
Alexander Thörnqvist
In 1989, when a whole nation "was gone bananas”, the banana was regarded as the ultimate symbol of the good life in East Germany. The freedom of unlimited consumption seemed to go hand in hand with the freedom of speech and the arts. Frederik Gertten is about to teach us about the real link between bananas and democracy.
In his last film Gertten proved that their cultivation on Nicaraguan plantations owned by the Dole food corporation is extremely harmful to the workers. Before the opening of that film, the filmmaker got a 200-page letter from the corporation trying to stop the screening. An unprecedented campaign – documented and retold by Gertten in this film – begins. A small, independent production company stands up to a big player who seems to be able to buy, manipulate, threaten or even destroy at will everything and everyone from the legal system to the L.A. Film Festival, from the press to the whole Internet. An uneven, practically hopeless fight against a power that dwarfs even George Orwell’s imagination.
Only when the civil society in the shape of the Swedish parliament and a handful of enlightened consumers begins to understand that responsibility for the freedom of opinion and the arts cannot lie solely with the individual artist but is a good everyone must defend does the case take an unexpected turn, which – don’t we know it – has something to do with banana consumption...
– Grit Lemke

Bilder von Vietnam

Documentary Film
Sweden
1972
24 minutes
subtitles: 
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Sveriges Radio SVT
Peter Nestler
Peter Nestler
Peter Nestler
The period from 1965 to 75, during which this film was presented at this festival, was called the “Vietnam decade” in Leipzig. “Documentarians” and photographers were the first to spotlight the horrors of a war which initially took place far from the eyes of the world. The two genres merged beautifully in the persons of Nestler and the renowned East German photographer Thomas Billhardt: Billhardt’s photos of the life of a tortured nation, but also of moments of respite and happiness, which sometimes – and this is where he is very close to Nestler – focus on the smallest details, burn themselves into the viewer’s memory. Cleverly edited, with a sober voice-over by Zsóka Nestler, contrasted with poems by Vietnamese children read by Swedish children – the only moving images.
– Grit Lemke

Chilefilm

Documentary Film
Sweden
1974
23 minutes
subtitles: 
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Sveriges Radio SVT
Peter Nestler
Luis Francisco Roca, Ramon Chavez
Peter Nestler
Peter Nestler
This feature was produced for a Swedish Public Television youth magazine as a simple and easy-to-follow explanation of the background of the military coup in Chile. In the typical Nestler style, the film uses historical documents, drawings and photos (including some by Thomas Billhardt) to trace an arc from the Indian struggle for liberation to Allende and his fall. Notwithstanding its ostentatious factuality it is a passionate plea for the cause of the Unidad Popular: “There’s a connection between the fact that many are so terribly poor and so many are rich.” The film was never broadcast.
– Grit Lemke

Colombianos

Documentary Film
Sweden
2012
90 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Antonio Russo Merenda, Hysteria Film AB
Tora Mårtens
Andreas Unge
Erik Vallsten
Tora Mårtens
The two Colombian brothers Pablo and Fernando are around 20 and couldn’t be more different. Pablo lives in Colombia, has clear goals and realises them with determination. Fernando, only a few years younger, is hanging out in Stockholm. A junkie with no direction, about to crash. And a therapy in Colombia supervised by Pablo is supposed to help? Tora Mårten’s film follows the unequal brothers and Olga, their mother, whose role in Fernando’s misery emerges more clearly the longer we observe them, over a period of one and a half years. Pablo has his share of the responsibility, too. He calls his younger brother Ferdi and treats him accordingly: he plans the therapy, demands, organises. They both love him, and that’s Fernando’s problem. How to escape this loving attention that bears down on him like lead? “Colombianos” displays a great sense of situations, quiet nuances and silent observations in this tale of a family whose balance of relationships is being re-arranged. In a reversal of his status as the baby of the family, Fernando forms the centre of gravity around which old family ties are dissolving to re-emerge on a new, cleansed level. Olga attends a self-help group to analyse her own behaviour. Pablo increases the pressure and throws off the responsibility for his brother, who finally prevails and returns to Sweden alone. Cut. A year later. Life sometimes does have happy endings. Just like the movies.

Matthias Heeder



Golden Dove in the International Competition Documentary Film 2012

Das Warten

Documentary Film
Sweden
1985
6 minutes
subtitles: 
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Sveriges Radio, Stockholm
Peter Nestler
Peter Nestler, Kenneth Jacobsson
Peter Nestler
In the archives of Swedish Public Television, Peter Nestler came across photos of a mining disaster in Lower Silesia that killed 155 miners in 1930. In only six minutes, the portrayals of the people waiting above ground, the desperate relatives and helpers, the memorial ceremony and the German Communist Party’s protests as well as the pictures of miners’ work at the time, combined with quotes from Swedish newspapers and sombre music by Weber and Grieg, outline a society that will literally walk over dead bodies to make a profit.
– Grit Lemke

Die Folgen der Unterdrückung

Documentary Film
Sweden
1982
40 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Sverige Radio SVT
Peter Nestler
Peter Nestler und ein Team aus Chile
Peter Nestler
Nine years after the military coup, Peter Nestler comes to a country that seems to have gone back to normal. But behind the images of wealth and urbanity he discovers the fault lines of the past: traumatised families, children who were forced to watch as their parents were arrested and tortured. Broken people who make their painstaking way back to a normal life. Oppression is also presented in its psychological form as a process of suppressing grief, anger and memories that makes a whole society sick.
– Grit Lemke

Die Hasen fangen und braten den Jäger

Animated Film
Sweden
1994
7 minutes
subtitles: 
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Peter Nestler Filmproduktion, München
Peter Nestler
Lennart Bang
Peter Nestler
Hans Sachs
A poem by Hans Sachs narrated in single frames of charcoal drawings by Peter Nestler: the rabbits team up against the hunter, a parable on the possibility of resistance.
– Grit Lemke

Meatballs and Catching Anger

Animated Film
Sweden
2011
5 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Johan Hagelbäck, HB Johan Hagelbäck Tecknad Film
Johan Hagelbäck
Johan Hagelbäck
Father Meatball’s boss is in a sour mood, which infects everyone around him. Will they ever be happy again?

Tzvetanka

Documentary Film
Bulgaria,
Sweden
2012
69 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Mårten Nilsson, GNUFILM; Martichka Bozhilova, AGITPROP
Youlian Tabakov
Rikard Borggård
Adam Nilsson
Nina Altaparmakova, Adam Nilsson,Youlian Tabakov, Johan Söderberg
Youlian Tabakov
In his opulent, playful and sometimes serene debut film Youlian Tabakov tells the chequered life story of a Bulgarian woman who survived three political regimes: monarchy, socialism and the present day. The director profits from having studied costume and design, which inspired him to interweave the documentary material with animated and staged sequences to produce a stream of imaginative and surprising images.
His grandmother, Tzvetanka Gosheva, was born in 1926 to a rich merchant’s family, which enabled her to attend a privileged school in Sofia. But this bourgeois background became her downfall after the war. Her parents were imprisoned as enemies of the party; her father would never recover from this. By sheer luck she managed to get permission to go to university. She became a doctor, though she suffered a lot of humiliation and obstruction in her work. Nonetheless she remained in the country even though she would have had opportunities to go abroad. Illness changes people, she says. Ironically, her last working day was 10 November 1989; the day Todor Zhivkov was overthrown. What follows is called democracy. Tzvetanka’s eye for politics remains sharp even though she is slowly going blind. To her the new system is corrupt. She originally wanted to become an actress: in this film the diminutive woman delivers a great performance.
– Cornelia Klauß

Zigeuner sein

Documentary Film
Sweden
1970
47 minutes
subtitles: 
Swedisch Captions

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Sveriges Radio SVT, Stockholm
Peter Nestler
Peter Nestler
Peter Nestler
Zsóka Nestler, Peter Nestler
Roma talk about their experiences in the Third Reich and the Federal Republic of Germany, inspired by Otto Pankok’s paintings of Roma in the 1930s. These are moving narratives of persecution, discrimination, marginalisation, of life as second-class human beings, all of which lasts, incredibly enough, right up to the allegedly democratic present day of the film, since they live in inhumane conditions in barracks at the margins of cities and society and are not officially recognised as Nazi victims. Long, nearly uncut sequences open up space for the people and their stories. That’s all it takes.
– Grit Lemke