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Documentary Film
114 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Dirk Wilutzky, Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy
Laura Poitras
Laura Poitras, Kirsten Johnson, Katy Scoggin, Trevor Paglen
Mathilde Bonnefoy
In the last instalment of her post 9/11 “New American Century” trilogy, multiple award-winning director Laura Poitras shows how America’s so called “war on terror” is directed against the country’s own citizens, against everybody. It’s about surveillance – on the political, philosophical and psychological level. It’s about madness.
In January 2013, Poitras, who had already done some research on the subject and organised artistic interventions, was contacted by the then completely unknown Edward Snowden. In June, together with Guardian writer Glenn Greenwald, she published his material, followed by interviews with Snowden.
Poitras is interested in the point of intersection between politics and art. She designed “CITIZENFOUR” as a triptych of paranoia: from the pseudo-democratic statements of American politicians to the first whistleblowers, from panoramic shots of gigantic intelligence service headquarters to the claustrophobically small hotel room in Hong Kong where Snowden was waiting for the moment of exposure. Shooting continued almost until the film was released, depicting what Snowden set in motion.
Poitras’s artistic objective is to establish an emotional connection between us and the knowledge which is available and precisely not secret. “CITIZENFOUR” makes us experience almost physically what an authoritarian surveillance state is and that we are right in the middle of one, too. Not a pleasant feeling.

Grit Lemke

Film Prize "Leipziger Ring" 2014

Stop the Pounding Heart

Documentary Film
100 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Roberto Minervini
Roberto Minervini
Diego Romero Suarez-Llanos
Marie-Hélène Dozo
Fireworks burst into the sky above Texas – perceived light years away from the idyllic town where 14-year-old Sara is growing up as the oldest daughter of a large family of goat farmers. She takes tender care of the animals and the manufacture of various dairy products; helps raise her siblings who are home-schooled like her – according to a strict interpretation of the bible. Nearby, cowboys from the neighbourhood organise rodeos, showing us an America we have long believed forgotten. Sara’s inner conflict between her subtle attraction to the young bull-rider Colby and her future as a devout wife emerges almost imperceptibly.
The great lucidity of the narrative culminates as a child slips out of the mother’s womb in front of Sara’ eyes, confronting her directly with her destiny. The camera “breathes” incredibly close to the protagonists, capturing that inner turmoil in tender pastels. It makes the heart pound so hard that Sara’s mother can only pray for it to finally stop going crazy.

Claudia Lehmann

Golden Dove International Competition Documentary Film 2013