Film Archive

Jahr

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The Annotated Field Guide of Ulysses S. Grant

The Annotated Field Guide of Ulysses S. Grant
Jim Finn
International Competition 2020
Documentary Film
USA
2020
61 minutes
English
subtitles: 
None

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jim Finn
Cat Mazza
Jim Finn
Jim Finn
Jim Finn
Dean De Matteis
Jim Finn
Alexander Panos
Jesse Stiles
Colleen Burke

Numerous films deal with the American Civil War, which raged between the northern Union States and the southern Confederate States from 1861 to 1865. One general who rose to become a war icon and the 18th president of the United States was Ulysses S. Grant. Director Jim Finn uses board games to reconstruct the battles and documents a divided nation full of rebellious factions.

“Bloody Pond” or “The Flaming Forest” are the names given to places below the Mason-Dixon Line where many cruel and confusing clashes took place within a few years. Today only cemeteries, memorial plaques, wax museums and obelisks bear witness to episodes of the war that was to be of such vital importance for the shape of the USA today. Jim Finn’s 16mm shots are a detailed inspection of various stations to which he adds macabre anecdotes and trenchant descriptions. Statesmen, ideologists and warlords haunt the forests, ruins and riverbanks here – like the incidences of light which make the footage light up time and again. There is beauty in these images, in the trickling synthesizer melodies, too, or in the stop motion animations of complicated board games. This beauty has little in common with the dark underpinning of this conflict: deep-seated racism and an adamant belief in the right to own slaves.
Carolin Weidner
Nominated for Prize of the Interreligious Jury, FIPRESCI Prize
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Zustand der Welt
Poesie und Grenzgänge
Rural vs. Urban
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The Great Basin

The Great Basin
Chivas DeVinck
International Competition 2021
Documentary Film
USA
2021
92 minutes
English,
Spanish
subtitles: 
French, English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Chivas DeVinck
Chivas DeVinck
Yoshio Kitagawa
Matthieu Laclau
Yann-Shan Tsai
Wen-Kai Hung
Danfeng Li
Felicia Atkinson

Chivas DeVinck works his way up from the soil to the stars to find out what constitutes Nevada outside of Las Vegas. Milieus, places and people are intertwined in a collage. The magnetic core of the whole is the subterranean water from which everything seems to grow and for which everyone strives. What looks like an arid desert landscape or a sleepy little town from afar, turns out on closer inspection to be an atmospheric representation of the rural U.S.

Just before the COVID pandemic brought the whole world to a standstill, DeVinck captures the curious, the mundane and the harrowing in White Pine County in eastern Nevada. There are well-nigh endless community meetings about dog-keeping issues, and farmers who talk to their Peruvian shepherds in appalling Spanglish. There are droning radio shows nobody may listen to anyway, and special church services for sex workers. But people are also preoccupied with explosive political issues: the distribution of water supplies in the arid region, the thirty-year dispute over the construction of a water pipeline to Las Vegas, the continuing discrimination against the indigenous people. Resonating in all this is the myth of the US concept of freedom, manifesting itself in gun possession, the idea of every man for himself and an unwavering faith in the healing powers of capitalism.
Kim Busch
Nominated for Prize of the Interreligious Jury, FIPRESCI Prize
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Rural vs. Urban
Small Worlds, Big People
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Truth or Consequences

Truth or Consequences
Hannah Jayanti
International Competition 2020
Documentary Film
USA
2020
103 minutes
English
subtitles: 
None

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Hannah Jayanti
Sara Archambault
Hannah Jayanti
Alexander Porter
Alexander Porter
Hannah Jayanti
Hannah Jayanti
Scott Hirsch
Bill Frisell

Forty kilometres outside the small town of Truth or Consequences in New Mexico, in the middle of the desert, lies “Spaceport America”, the first private space mission launch centre. People there have been dreaming of tourism in space for the past decade. Hannah Jayanti observes the people of the town who live in the shadow of such great ideas. She tells of tiger bites and scrap collectors, of sparkling stones, of trailer life and how painfully the past still affects the present.

What starts out as a tale about humanity’s great plans gradually turns into one of the dreams and stumbling blocks of human beings. Step by step, the film approaches its characters and unfurls into a reflection of what remains of a life. In addition to documentary and historical footage, the director also uses virtual reality techniques. When the camera travels through 3D simulations of empty streets and houses you feel that something long gone is made tangible again – like an expedition to a ghost town, at a time when the population will have long since left the planet in spaceships. But the created images remain patchy, the objects are captured only in spots, almost as if this was a map of the stars.
Marie Kloos
Nominated for Prize of the Interreligious Jury, FIPRESCI Prize
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Rural vs. Urban
Zustand der Welt
Poesie und Grenzgänge
Natur in Bearbeitung
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