Film Archive

Jahr

International Competition 2021
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A Custom of the Sea Fabrizio Polpettini
Three friends explore the radiance of the Mediterranean, which connects Christian and Islamic countries and has always been and still is a site of conflicts.
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A Custom of the Sea

Un usage de la mer
Fabrizio Polpettini
International Competition 2021
Documentary Film
France
2021
52 minutes
French,
Italian,
Arabic,
English
subtitles: 
English, German Subtitles for deaf and hard-of-hearing

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Fabrizio Polpettini
Fabrizio Polpettini
Pierre-André Belin
Valentina Provini
Marylou Vergès

Porto Maurizio, where the director, who lives in France today, grew up, is located on the Ligurian coast. The village is the starting point for a cinematic journey into the past that spans a surprisingly wide arc to a time when Muslim pirates, the corsairs, haunted the Mediterranean and took Europeans as slaves. To this end, the film light-handedly draws from the rich fund of film history and its iconography.

Adventure films from the 1940s and historical murals depict the naval battles of the early 19th century in powerful images. The director ingeniously combines such visual finds with analogue new recordings of a journey with two friends. Their seemingly loosely told anecdotes and chance encounters combine to form a coherent whole, forming a geopolitical system of coordinates around the Mediterranean that deals with eurocentrism, colonial history and religiously motivated conflicts between Christian and Islamic countries. The subjects couldn’t be more topical.
Annina Wettstein
Nominated for Young Eyes Film Award, Prize of the Interreligious Jury, FIPRESCI Prize
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Witty
Migration
International Competition 2020
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Considering the Ends Elsa Maury
Shepherdess Nathalie learns what it means to kill with one’s own hands. Her process of development turns out to be a holistic learning experience: about responsibility, care and knives.
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Considering the Ends

Nous la mangerons, c’est la moindre des choses
Elsa Maury
International Competition 2020
Documentary Film
Belgium,
France
2020
67 minutes
French
subtitles: 
English, German Subtitles for deaf and hard-of-hearing

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Elsa Maury
Cyril Bibas
Luc Reder
Olivier Burlet
Javier Packer-Comyn
Philippe Cotte
Marc Siffert
Mathieu Cauville
Loïc Villiot
Galaad Germa
Willy Boutet
Christian Tessier
Elsa Maury
Geoffroy Cernaix
Pauline Piris-Nury
Martin Flament
Elsa Maury
Nathalie Savalois

The vultures are circling over the Cevennes, the south-eastern part of the French Massif Central. They are part of the holistic cycle of becoming and passing away which shepherdess Nathalie seeks to come closer to. Because the vultures are gnawing at the remains of her beloved animals. She considers herself responsible not only for their lives, but also for their death. Elsa Maury’s film is an unequivocal testimony to what it means to wield the fatal knife oneself.

The sounds made by a ewe when a lamb is born seem almost human. And when a little later the newborn turns out to be unwilling to live it seems as if one could detect pain in the mother’s eyes. The shepherdess Nathalie’s empathic look at her flock was transferred directly to the viewer. Each animal here has its own name, each has a biography that Nathalie knows by heart. And it’s ultimately up to her to finally decide when the end of a sheep is near. In diary-like sequences we learn about her feelings, take part in a difficult process of development which results in new self-confidence, perhaps even new wisdom. Elsa Maury shows a perennial school of killing and death. She leaves the events uncommented, but achieves an intensity through images and editing that stays with us for a long time.
Carolin Weidner
Nominated for Prize of the Interreligious Jury, FIPRESCI Prize
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Natur in Bearbeitung
Umverteilen und Mitreden
Rural vs. Urban
Small Worlds, Big People
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Conversations with Siro

Conversations avec Siro
Dima El-Horr
International Competition 2021
Documentary Film
Lebanon,
France
2021
52 minutes
Arabic,
French
subtitles: 
French, English

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Dima El-Horr
Paul Rognoni
Sabine Sidawi
Dima El-Horr
Catherine Zins
Jean-Pierre Dussardier

Lebanese filmmaker Dima El-Horr moved to Paris several years ago. Among the friends who stayed at home is the artist Sirvat Fazlian, whom she regularly visits in Beirut until the failed revolution of 2019, the COVID lockdown, the devastating port explosion and finally the dramatic economic crisis put a temporary end to their meetings. So the director decides to give her conversations with Siro a cinematic form.

Ever since the death of her husband, the well-known Armenian actor Berj Fazlian, Siro has lived alone in a flat filled with souvenirs and devoted most of her time to music and painting. In this film, footage from the years before 2019 blends with recorded phone calls between Siro and Dima and recent scenes from Paris, coming together in a densely woven portrait of life in exile. While snow falls in Paris, Siro talks about warm days on the Mediterranean coast and sings Armenian songs. She rails against the permanent crisis in Lebanon, but her nature is not affected. For one thing, Siro personifies the legendary Lebanese resilience. Yet for the filmmaker she represents that part of the heart that people in exile leave behind. So almost inevitably, “Conversations with Siro” becomes the director’s dialogue with herself.
Christoph Terhechte
Nominated for FIPRESCI Prize, Prize of the Interreligious Jury
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Exile
State of the World
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Downstream to Kinshasa

En route pour le milliard
Dieudo Hamadi
International Competition 2020
Documentary Film
Belgium,
DR Congo,
France
2020
90 minutes
Lingala,
Swahili
subtitles: 
English

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Dieudo Hamadi
Quentin Laurent
Frédéric Féraud
Dieudo Hamadi
Aurelien Bodinaux
Stephan Riguet
Dieudo Hamadi
Hélène Ballis
Catherine Catella
Sylvain Aketi
Dieudo Hamadi
Les Zombies de Kisangani

In the summer of 2000 Ugandan and Rwandan troops fought a devastating battle in Kisangani. The International Court of Justice sentenced Uganda to pay one billion U.S. dollars to the civilian victims. After almost twenty years of waiting in vain, some of them set out for Kinshasa to enforce their legal claim. The physical and theatrical power of their mission both drives and radiates from this film.

Dieudo Hamadi has given the women and men he is about to follow down the Congo a visually confident and assured exposition. Gathered on an inky black stage, they look at us and sing: of blood spilled, of money forgotten. Then the march of the maimed sets itself in motion, on crutches, with prostheses, past the nearby pits of the dead and out into the country. Every metre covered is an act of rebellion. When the procession of beggars, who rightly won’t tolerate this designation, finally climbs the stairs of the National Parliament, iconic scenes of Soviet revolutionary cinema seem to shine through. But the crowd that is moving here is different. Its individual bodies push back with all their weight both against the casual shrug of the shoulders of political routine and the carelessly rounded calculations of loss and equivalent value of the arithmetic of war.
Sylvia Görke
#
Umverteilen und Mitreden
Rural vs. Urban
Small Worlds, Big People
Zustand der Welt
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International Competition 2021
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May God Be with You Cléo Cohen
The young Frenchwoman Cléo Cohen has an identity crisis: Is she Jewish? Arab? Even her grandparents seem unclear about this. Cléo struggles for clarity: intensely, playfully.
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May God Be with You

Que Dieu te protège
Cléo Cohen
International Competition 2021
Documentary Film
France
2021
77 minutes
French
subtitles: 
English, German Subtitles for deaf and hard-of-hearing

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Cléo Cohen
Rebecca Houzel
Maria Knoch
Pascale Ramonda
Saskia Berthod
Patrick Bismuth
Gilles Bénardeau
Graziella Zanoni
Cléo Cohen
Petit à Petit Production

The director makes an attempt to locate herself, because historical erosions in society and politics have led to an identity crisis for Cléo Cohen, a young Frenchwoman. Is she Arab? Jewish? She struggles for clarification, aided by her grandparents, who all emigrated from the Maghreb to France as Jews. The questioning is playful, but determined. Cléo awakens memories, confronts, muses in the bathtub.

Cléo wants to find out from her grandmother Flavie whether she’s “sedje”, able to marry. Flavie reacts evasively. Her sister would definitely be, Flavie thinks, and Cléo, too, knows roughly how to go about things. But she doesn’t seem entirely convinced. Cléo Cohen is in the middle of a process of discovery. Her grandparents play a role in this. While some came to France as Algerian Jews, others relocated from the neighbouring country of Tunisia, also as Jews. Cléo is confused. Denise’s native tongue, for example, is Arabic, she knows Arabic cuisine, but she’s not an Arab? Cléo talks to everyone, shoulders her way briskly but warmly into the past. She reads the writings of Albert Memmi, who grew up in Tunis as the son of Jewish parents under French colonial rule; she listens to Philippe Katerine’s song “Juifs arabes”. She travels to Tunisia.
Carolin Weidner
Nominated for Young Eyes Film Award, Prize of the Interreligious Jury, FIPRESCI Prize
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Witty
Family Ties
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Republic of Silence

Republic of Silence
Diana El Jeiroudi
International Competition 2021
Documentary Film
Germany,
France,
Syria,
Qatar,
Italy
2021
183 minutes
Arabic,
English,
German,
Kurdish
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Diana El Jeiroudi
Orwa Nyrabia
Diana El Jeiroudi
Camille Laemlé
Sebastian Bäumler
Diana El Jeiroudi
Orwa Nyrabia
Guevara Namer
Diana El Jeiroudi
Katja Dringenberg
Diana El Jeiroudi
Raphaël Girardot
Nathalie Vidal
Pascal Capitolin

Silence reigns in the Berlin flat, but the film, whose complex montage encompasses the disintegration of Syria and life in exile, leaves no doubt that things are different in director Diana El Jeiroudi’s mind. Archival footage, loose portraits of confidants and an intimate perspective that explores her own position and her way of coping with trauma add up to a multi-layered document.

“Evil has a very loud and terrifying sound,” El Jeiroudi already noted as a child. Growing up in a country marked by surveillance and military parades has left its mark. In “Republic of Silence”, she looks for a way to come to terms with it, condensing old material, some of which shot in Syria, with a written monologue and stories of persons who also chose exile in the course of the civil war. The result is a complex filmic space that reveals the political and social disintegration of a nation. El Jeiroudi increasingly concentrates on showing a present outside Syria, life in emigration. Passing her husband's  nocturnal teeth grinding, birthday parties and disruptions in the international film festival scene, a life between tension and new beginnings becomes apparent.
Carolin Weidner
Nominated for Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize, Prize of the Interreligious Jury, FIPRESCI Prize
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Migration
Exile
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Their Algeria

Leur Algérie
Lina Soualem
International Competition 2020
Documentary Film
Algeria,
France,
Switzerland,
Qatar
2020
70 minutes
Arabic,
French
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Lina Soualem
Marie Balducchi
Karima Chouikh
Palmyre Badinier
Anna Berthollet
Gladys Joujou
Julie Tribout
Rémi Durel

After 62 years of marriage Aïcha Soualem is on her own again. Mabrouk, whom she has left, is nevertheless supplied by her daily with food and sugar cubes. Director Lina Soualem is interested in the relationship between her grandparents, who, as the last remaining Algerians in Thiers, France, look back on an eventful past. An empathic investigation all the way back to their native village of Laaouamer which leaves room for ambiguous emotions.

“Soualem” is the password which not only enables Lina Soualem to unlock the tiny, snow-covered village full of cousins in Algeria, which her grandparents left a long time ago. In a sense, “Soualem” is also the title of this gentle investigation of a granddaughter. And Laaouamer, that little place in Algeria, is only the final destination of a long journey which may be narrated via geographical coordinates but interweaves them closely with biographical and emotional ones. Aïcha and Mabrouk rarely talk about themselves. Instead, self-affixed wall badges speak: “The world’s best mom lives here” or “Welcome to the world’s best grandma’s”. To learn more about the couple, whose lives were shaped by French colonialism, Lina Soualem uses private photos and videos. Her investigation is full of love: persistent, but never prying.
Carolin Weidner
Nominated for Prize of the Interreligious Jury, FIPRESCI Prize
#
Family Ties
Rural vs. Urban
Liebe/ ohne Liebe
Small Worlds, Big People
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Water Has No Borders

Tskals sazghvrebi ar akvs
Maradia Tsaava
International Competition 2021
Documentary Film
Georgia,
France
2021
85 minutes
Georgian,
Russian
subtitles: 
English

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Maradia Tsaava
Mariam Chachia
Luciano Goor
Edith Farine
Nik Voigt
Maradia Tsaava
Anne Jochum
Jérôme Huguenin-Virchaux
Geoffroy Garing
Paata Godziashvili
Maradia Tsaava

Since the end of the civil war in the early 1990s, the region of Abkhazia has been acting independently of Georgia. This has turned a massive dam into a border. But the hydroelectric power station also connects the two political entities: Because over a distance of fifteen kilometres the water flows freely, underground, from one side to the other. When a young journalist gets stranded here, stories of division emerge.

On the way back from a reportage trip to the dam, director Maradia and her cameraman’s car breaks down. Ika takes care of them. For decades, the joyous engineer has worked – in cooperation with his colleagues on the Abkhazian territory – on the maintenance of the plant. Maradia, representative of a whole generation of Georgians who know this place of longing on the Black Sea only from stories, becomes curious. But while the workers take the bus across the border every morning, the film crew is thwarted by bureaucracy. Time and again they are denied passage. This turns out to be fortunate for the film, because waiting for the permission, in the cafeteria of the dam, in drives around the river, the stories of people emerge whose lives are shaped by the secession. They talk of legal and clandestine border crossings, weddings and funerals and of life in the here and there.
Marie Kloos
Nominated for MDR Film Prize, Prize of the Interreligious Jury, FIPRESCI Prize
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Exile
Redistribution and Having a Say
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Words of Negroes

Paroles de nègres
Sylvaine Dampierre
International Competition 2021
Documentary Film
France
2020
78 minutes
French
subtitles: 
English, German Subtitles for deaf and hard-of-hearing

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Sylvaine Dampierre
Sophie Salbot
Renaud Personnaz
Sophie Reiter

On Guadeloupe, an archipelago in the Caribbean, the past speaks up. Sylvaine Dampierre has the workers of an old sugar refinery read passages from the transcripts of an 1842 court case, while the machines roar and groan in the background. The testimonies of the slaves from back then in the rusty halls of today give rise to a polyphony both explosive and poetic in nature.

The “Grande Anse” sugar refinery is a monster from a distant past: Flames like long tongues spew from the furnaces, piles resembling bones everywhere. The workers cut them with machetes in the plantations of Marie-Galante, a tiny island that belongs to the archipelago of Guadeloupe. The long bones, the sugar cane, are the scaffold that keeps everything together here. Sylvaine Dampierre is in the thick of it, shows the pulsating factory and the hard labour that goes on inside. Seasonal workers come and go; the men organize themselves. They are free. There are occasional flashes of the peculiar bond with France, of which this overseas territory is an integral part, but Dampierre foregrounds the transcripts of a court case from almost two hundred years ago, in which slaves testified against their violent master. An act of self-empowerment, whose gestus the director brings into dialogue with the present.
Carolin Weidner
Nominated for Leipziger Ring, Prize of the Interreligious Jury, FIPRESCI Prize
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Rural vs. Urban
Redistribution and Having a Say