Film Archive

Jahr

Countries (Film Archive)

Homage Peter Liechti
Das Summen der Insekten – Bericht einer Mumie Peter Liechti

A man decides to starve to death in the forest. A novel-based diary of a suicide and a meditation on nature, life and dying. A film that transcends all categories.

Das Summen der Insekten – Bericht einer Mumie

Documentary Film
Switzerland
2009
88 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Peter Liechti
Peter Liechti
Norbert Möslang
Matthias Kälin, Peter Liechti
Tania Stöcklin
Peter Liechti
Peter Mettler, Alexander Tschernek
“My death is everywhere, my death dreams.” (Jean Baudrillard). A man decides to commit suicide by starving to death because this world was not made for him. He writes a diary about his dying, whose literary adaptation provided the starting point for “The Sound of Insects”. Is this a documentary? And is that relevant in the first place? Peter Liechti’s films are hard to label anyway, characterised as they are by transgressions and artistic radicalism in their reflections on life. And death. The format of this investigation is cleverly chosen, because it keeps emotions at bay. Instead of responding defensively to the idea of death we follow the agony of this unknown man somewhere in the solitude of the forest at first from a distance, then increasingly relaxed. “The Sound of Insects” is a meditation on life, which encompasses death as much as the beauty of the raindrops that slowly run down the plastic sheets of the improvised deathbed, as much as the repeated looks at the sky or the right to self-determination. Peter Liechti proves once again that he is a great storyteller, who effortlessly combines scattered, archived, found and own material into sequences that bring us a bit closer to understanding and, in this case, the sky. That is great cinema.

---Matthias Heeder

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.

Homage Peter Liechti
Hans im Glück – Drei Versuche, das Rauchen aufzugeben Peter Liechti

The story of one who set out to stop smoking. A visually rich self-experiment in the form of a radical analysis of one’s self and one’s Swiss home country. A cheerful withdrawal.

Hans im Glück – Drei Versuche, das Rauchen aufzugeben

Documentary Film
Switzerland
2003
90 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Peter Liechti
Peter Liechti
Norbert Möslang, Voice Crack
Peter Liechti
Tania Stöcklin
Peter Liechti
Hanspeter Müller
“Lucky Jack” is the story of one who set out to quit smoking. Following Peter Liechti on his nicotine-withdrawal marches through Switzerland is tantamount to participating in an experiment, open end, no guarantee of success – as a film or as an attempt to break a habit. In the process, smoking gradually blends into the background. After all, what can you say about smoking? Giving it up is far more interesting. Giving up something that feels familiar, provides security, and forms one’s identity. Smoker, non-smoker, ex-smoker – and Swiss. In fact, the narrator’s experiment on himself becomes a sounding board for his radical and very personal exploration of his own personality, the landscape he traverses and its inhabitants, his compatriots. This is where the film describes a different kind of withdrawal, that of giving up one’s ties to one’s home country – which is why the director must invent his world all over again every day. And that in turn brings us back to filmmaking as an artistic practice that couldn’t be farther removed from prudence. Life in Peter Liechti’s film, with or without a cigarette, is a protean, visually rich and intellectually broad Panopticon of challenges. Serenely, with senses sharpened by withdrawal, he traces an arc from the local to the universal, from the artificial to lung cancer, from mockery to a dream that turns out to be the revenge of the un-smoked cigarette on him, the renegade. Life is hard and then you die.

---Matthias Heeder

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.

Homage Peter Liechti
Signers Koffer – Unterwegs mit Roman Signer Peter Liechti

An emotionally and intellectually complex journey with action artist Roman Signer. The anarchic gaiety of Fluxus, flying chairs and two chief blasters of art.

Signers Koffer – Unterwegs mit Roman Signer

Documentary Film
Switzerland
1996
82 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Peter Liechti
Peter Liechti
Dieter Gränicher
Peter Liechti
Peter Guyer, Res Balzli, Ingrid Städeli
This is really funny. We see a man standing in a winter landscape. Next to him a small rocket is stuck in the snow, tied to his ski hat with a ribbon. Rocket launches into sky, hat launches into sky, man watches. Cut. The works of Swiss artist Roman Signer are informed by the anarchic cheerfulness of the Fluxus and performance movements of the 1960s and 70s, though his greatest passion is gun powder. He is art’s chief blaster. And once again a table or a row of chairs blow up. “Signer’s Suitcase”, filmed over many years and on many journeys, is neither an artist’s portrait nor the study of a movement or biography. Instead, two gleeful experimenters have collaborated on this project that explores boundaries – each bringing the tools of his craft. On one side are Roman Signer’s setups and actions with extreme shutter speeds (the nature of explosions, the game of elements), on the other Peter Liechti’s brilliant organisation and adaptation of the material, which expands Signer’s sculptures of the moment by the magic of cinema – on the visual level as well as on that of sounds and voices. The result is an emotionally and intellectually complex journey along the “magically charged furrows of the landscape”, as Signer calls the routes that took him across Europe. What this in turn has to do with the “ideal speed of travel” can only be experienced at the cinema.

---Matthias Heeder

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.

Homage Peter Liechti
Vaters Garten – Die Liebe meiner Eltern Peter Liechti

The parents: daily rituals, norms as the scaffold of life, bizarre fights about nothing. Family as puppet show and great drama. A loving look at a dying past.

Vaters Garten – Die Liebe meiner Eltern

Documentary Film
Switzerland
2013
93 minutes
subtitles: 
English
German
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Peter Liechti
Peter Liechti
Dominik Blum, Steamboat, Tamriko Kordzaia, Irina Vardeli
Peter Liechti, Peter Guyer
Tania Stöcklin
Peter Liechti
Florian Eidenbenz, Peter Bräker
Horst Warning, Nikola Weisse, Stefan Kurt
Peter Liechti is a restless wanderer in search of personal truth. Since filmmaking is his way of thinking about life it seems obvious that he should focus on his parents at some point. So there they sit in their modest home, with their modest wishes, exposing themselves to the camera and questions. Just like they expose themselves to life, without much resistance, really. Which makes the dramatic twist of shifting from documentary action to a puppet stage, where the parents appear as mummy and daddy rabbit while actors say their lines quite artful. This holds any hard-to-stomach nuggets at a distance while enveloping the narrative in the warm coat of a childhood perspective that promotes a charitable attitude. No accusations, no poking around in the past; just the attempt to approach the love of this couple. With amazement we follow their bizarre arguments about practically nothing, the routes of escape from their lonely intimacy, the construction of a daily life confined by a normative fence of “you may” and “you mustn’t”. The focus on the parents opens a door to a past whose cultural fabric is crumbling slowly. Fortunately. And yet: however unagitated the life of this couple may appear, it is still as valuable as our existence is unique.

---Matthias Heeder

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.