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
International Programme 2013
My Stolen Revolution Nahid Persson Sarvestani

Women who were tortured in Iranian prisons after the Shah was overthrown meet again for the first time to break their silence. Liberation through the power of art.

My Stolen Revolution

Documentary Film
Norway,
Sweden
2013
75 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Nahid Persson Sarvestani
Nahid Persson Sarvestani
Adam Norden
Nicklas Karpaty, Makan
Emil Engerdahl, Nahid Persson Sarvestani
The archive material in the opening sequence evokes life in Iran in the 1970s. Many people managed to “lead a normal life”, while the oppositional groups still fought the Shah side by side. The Shah was thrown over, “but the Islamists were better organised than us”. Nahid Persson Sarvestani was a leftist activist at the time. She escaped brutal detention, which meant torture, rape and mass executions, only by great luck and her brother Rostam’s help. Rostam himself was killed.
A stubborn feeling of guilt makes Nahid Persson Sarvestani bring some of the few survivors of the former movement together many years later. The suggestive power of the objects and works of art created in and through prison and the five women’s harrowing memories of a regime that is still in power today are juxtaposed with a very personal approach and a discourse reflecting private thoughts and questions. More than that, the director manages to depict a profound feeling of fellowship by confronting us with the moving stories of strong personalities who shook off the chador not only symbolically.

Claudia Lehmann



Film Prize "Leipziger Ring" 2013

The Dybbuk. A Tale of Wandering Souls

Documentary Film
Poland,
Sweden,
Ukraine
2015
90 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Krzysztof Kopczyński, David Herdies, Gennady Kofman
Krzysztof Kopczyński
Jacek Petrycki, Serhiy Stefan Stetsenko
Michał Leszczyłowski
Krzysztof Kopczyński
Mateusz Adamczyk, Marcin Lenarczyk, Sebastian Witkowski
Right at the start, an excerpt from the Yiddish-language Polish 1930s classic “The Dybbuk” opens an old wound: the world of the shtetl with its old folk beliefs has vanished. But the spirit of the dead, the Dibbuk, is still walking among us. And it has many faces.

We re-emerge from the past to find ourselves in the Ukrainian town of Uman just before “Euromaidan”. A sacred place for thousands of orthodox Jews who make the pilgrimage to the grave of the Hassidic rabbi Nachman and transform the town, annoying the Ukrainian citizens who are afraid of a sell-out and react with provocations. Sometimes it’s an illegally raised cross, sometimes an information board in honour of the anti-Semitic Cossack leader and butcher Ivan Gonta. Or, rather more subtly, extra fees for kosher snacks.

The worlds clash on many levels. With great curiosity, Krzysztof Kopczyński captures the almost incompatible legends and rituals that come alive on both sides. On the one hand a completely impoverished country in the process of finding its identity, accompanied by nationalistic overtones. On the other hand a lost tradition and the experience of the Holocaust. Who owns the country? The film mines a wealth of material full of impressions, rough scenes and fables to bring the unexpected to light.

Lars Meyer