Film Archive

24 Buckets, 7 Mice, 18 Years

Documentary Film
Romania
2012
30 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Pintilie Adina, Manekino Film
Iacob Marius
Marius Iacob
Marius Iacob, Vlad Voinescu
Marius Iacob
Vlad Voinescu
Numbers figure prominently in the lives of the Hungarian-Romanian charcoal burners Piroska and Imre – just like the wireless, the Caribbean and a booming poverty tourism industry. The young directors Iacob Marius and Vlad Voinescu mix these ingredients with a light touch and a sure sense of drama.
Imre and Piroska spend their summers in a forest in Transylvania piling up pyramids of wood that will travel to the whole of Europe as charcoal. Which means it travels further than the couple who live in a rundown railway car with no electricity and spend their evenings listening to radio features about distant countries and discussing the perfect lottery numbers. The world regularly visits them in the shape of tourists wheeled in on horse carts – how authentic! – and willing to pay a small consideration for permission to take pictures of real Eastern European poverty, preferably featuring themselves posing with the shovel. Piroska and Imre take it with a sense of humour and prefer to think about the problem of transforming 230 bags of coal into the lottery ticket that will take them to the beach of their dreams – one day.
A smart reflection on the allegedly documentary view, for the affluent citizen feels deliciously horrified, fills his memory card with photos and decamps. Left behind in their authentic filth, the others must continue to hope for a miracle – or the right number.

– Grit Lemke

A Story for the Modlins

Documentary Film
Spain
2012
26 minutes
subtitles: 
No

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Sergio Oksman, Documenta Films
Sergio Oksman
Sergei Rachmaninov
Migue Amoedo
Fernando Franco, Sergio Oksman
Carlos Muguiro, Emilio Tomé, Sergio Oksman
Carlos Bonmatí
Are you in the wrong film? Didn’t you expect to see a short documentary about the souvenirs of a deceased American couple? Why are they screening the opening credits of a Hollywood movie: Mia Farrow in “Rosemary’s Baby”?
Fiction and documentary reality keep clashing in this film. The hero is not Mia Farrow, but the bit player Elmer Modlin and his wife Margaret, a passionate painter. Based exclusively on found letters, photos and other documents, the director reconstructs these two people’s life stories. Having appeared in “Rosemary’s Baby” as an extra, Elmer left the States with his wife and son to move to Madrid, where they lived a reclusive life in a small flat for more than 30 years. Margret played the artist; Elmer worked as a television actor. What is left of them? An empty flat and a dustbin full of discarded souvenirs. Evidence of their lives, discovered by chance by the filmmaker on a walk through Madrid. It’s true that the most exciting stories are found in the street.

– Antje Stamer

Bouchbennersch Otto

Documentary Film
Germany
2012
29 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln
Janina Jung
Janina Jung
Quimu Casalprim i Suárez
Janina Jung
Janina Jung u.a.
Villagers in the Westerwald remember one of their own, Bouchbennersch Otto. He was born Otto Müller in 1907, survived two world wars, learned to be a bookbinder and later became the beadle. Otto was known all over the village and in the surrounding villages. And he did stick out somewhat: unlike everyone else, someone who was different, had aberrant thoughts and feelings and spoke differently, also a man of extreme emotional intelligence, a gifted pub entertainer and most certainly a desperate man in the line of Woyzeck and Kaspar Hauser. Under Hitler Otto was sterilised by force; he died an alcoholic in a home in the early 1990s. Janina Jung has composed a beautifully modern “heimatfilm” with “Bouchbennersch Otto”, whose best moments offer us a flashing glimpse of how memories always shed a light on those who remember, too.

Ralph Eue



Golden Dove in the International Short Documentary Competition 2012

Earth

Documentary Film
Belarus
2012
30 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jaroslav Kamienski, Belsat TV
Victor Asliuk
Ivan Hancharuk
Victor Asliuk
Victor Asliuk
World War II – also known as the Great Patriotic War – is far from over, especially in the Soviet Union’s successor states, as the passion for grandiose “Victory Day” celebrations proves. Usually a whole album of mythological images is evoked, with the “heroic courage” motif so dominant that there is little room left for actual remembrance, compassion or coming to terms with the past. “Zemlya” takes the opposite path. With the persistence and visual intensity that made Victor Asliuk one of the outstanding documentarians of post-Soviet history, the Byelorussian focuses on the protracted search for buried soldiers’ bodies – palpable relics of the former battle fields. Volunteers from all corners of Russia, often whole families, search the forests for bone fragments. They dig them (the unburied) up to bury them again. A seemingly absurd, ghostly cycle, observed with stoic calm – which also rules when Asliuk casually interweaves these scenes with unique archival footage of the winter war. The nameless dead become eerily real – young men connected through the earth with their descendants, who are as young as they once were and confronted with death for the first time. Even if they sometimes play at war in the breaks, the dominant feeling is reverence. A film that connects the past of a lost future with the present.

– Barbara Wurm

Kiran

Documentary Film
Germany
2012
30 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Bettina Timm, Alexander Riedel, Pelle Film
Bettina Timm, Alexander Riedel
Antun Opic
Philip Vogt
Frank Müller
Bettina Timm, Alexander Riedel
Hannes Ullmann
Parents decide, sure. When to go to bed and whether you’re allowed candy before, but also your religion and the type of school you attend – where would we be without this?
Kiran for his part would like to have a say in the choice of school. The 8-year-old French boy lives with his mother in a yurt in the forest. He knows which plants are edible and where there are bales of straw to play on. A sheltered life, at one with nature, full of love and freedom. No angry words, no junk food. But no washing machine either, no electric light, no computer. In the free school the children pray to the elements and play the flute.
But Kiran longs for dissonance instead of harmony, a little trouble instead of eternal goodwill. He wants to eat hot dogs with ketchup and go to a school where Pokémon cards are permitted and children are taught to read – even if his mother thinks that’s overrated. And Kiran is resourceful...
Bettina Timm and Alexander Riedel’s account is full of gentle humour, but never discrediting. They create magic moments when the boy seems to be one with his environment. But they also find images for his gradual detachment from this world as he starts to walk his own path – on the trails of Max and Moritz or Tom Sawyer.

– Grit Lemke

Lisa, Go Home!

Documentary Film
Estonia,
Lithuania
2012
27 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Uljana Kim, Studio Uljana Kim
Oksana Buraja
Kristina Sereikaite
Oksana Buraja
Oksana Buraja
Giedrius Aleknavicius
Liza has a secret. It will be there, that place somewhere high above where nobody hurts anybody, where everything is beautiful. “That’s where we will live, my family and I.” Liza whispers to herself when she expresses her feelings, which are the focus of Oksana Buraja’s fairly provocative film. Her mother “counts to three”, then the tears must be wiped off and “commands to be merry” are issued. “Standing in the corner” is also part of the daily routine. The girl regularly runs away from home, away from this world of subalterns which is depicted as so deficient, disgusting and horrible that it feels like more than borderline voyeurism. But the focus is always on Liza. We watch her mother and a friend on their tipsy, smoky dancing parties (with men who are barely good enough for partying) from her perspective. Her child’s eyes create idyllic counter-worlds – from the Virgin Mary to a babbling brook. Liza walks barefoot, Liza sings. Liza whispers. Pure innocence. A child. It’s almost a miracle (but then again perhaps not) that she wants to have her family with her “up there” where it’s so nice.

– Barbara Wurm

Little Afghanistan

Documentary Film
Afghanistan
2011
28 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Stéphane Jourdain, La Huit Production
Basir Seerat
Basir Seerat
Laurence Attali
Nasim Karawan, Reza Sahel, Mirwais Wahja, Zahra Sadat, Taj Mohammad Bakhtari
Afghanistan, the never-ending story? Tired of embedded reports about the hardships of the allied professional soldiers’ mission in treacherous enemy country? If the answer is yes, have a look at Qala-e Wahid Street in Kabul – a microcosm that reflects all the misery of this tormented country. Supported by the French Atelier Varant film school, which provides funding for young filmmakers to delve deeply into the social life of their country, Afghan director Basir Seerat observes the daily hardships suffered by ordinary people – in this case the coachmen of the last horse-drawn carriages in Kabul. They are fighting on many fronts: against the growing flood of cars; against shop owners who are sick and tired of the smell of horse piss; against pedestrians, stray dogs, idle local politicians, frequently against each other, and all together against the potholes yawning everywhere. For Qala-e Wahid can only be called a street because it runs between two rows of houses. In reality it’s a rough unpaved dust track in summer and a sludgy mud path in winter. Basir Seerat takes an ambivalent look at this busy Little Afghanistan so ill-suited to the Western modernity prescribed from above: on the one hand there is a great sympathy for the people, their worries, occasionally filthy jokes and rough manners. On the other hand we feel a deep melancholy at the barbarisation of a country whose social structures have dissolved in the chaos left by the war. Afghanistan, so we hear, is standing there with its pants down and its neighbour is a thief. Its people – embedded in permanent crisis.

– Matthias Heeder

Night's Drifters

Documentary Film
France
2012
45 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Paul Costes
Alexandra Mélot
Bijan Anquetil
News coming out of the darkness of night is like a journey into another reality, which is why the good citizen, effortlessly ignoring the brothers and sisters pushed into the shadow during the day, prefers to draw the curtains at night to protect himself from the worlds of refugees, migrants, the fragile survival economies of the invisible people. But the Iranian-French director Bijan Anquetil carries us off into a different kind of night. It works like developer in an analogue photo lab, slowly bringing faces, fates, longings and defeats out of invisibility. Under a bridge in a Paris industrial district Anquetil meets Sodan and Hamid, two illegal immigrants from Afghanistan. An improvised campfire, a forlorn moon in the sky, but no trace of fatigue or anger. Instead Anquetil’s night is filled with hunger for life, laughter, plans and an endless supply of stories. The short films Hamid recorded on his mobile phone during their long march into the promised land disrupt the darkness of their camp like the light from a torch, illuminating the refugee lorries in the Greek port of Patras, a burning refugee camp or protesters demanding asylum – brief flashbacks which also chronicle the time lost in waiting. And this is the real problem of these passengers of the night: they have reached their goal without ever really having arrived and are therefore no longer masters of their own time.

Matthias Heeder



Honorary Mention in the International Short Documentary Competition 2012

Overtime

Documentary Film
Turkey
2012
20 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Gürcan Keltek, 29P
Gürcan Keltek
Rick Tomlinson
Gürcan Keltek & Murat Tuncel
Eytan İpeker
Marc Van Goethem
“Overtime” is a stylistically idiosyncratic look at the working world of the Turkish-curdish low-wage labourers who, attracted by a booming Istanbul, still stay what they have always been – underdogs: badly educated, no insurance or work protection, subject to the despotism of their bosses and with absolutely no perspective of ever improving their situation. The film translates its protagonists’ attitude to life into a visual language as precarious as their lives. Rough, grainy black and white, a handheld, long focal distance camera, intercut travellings, restless images, always on the run, always moving, accompanied by the terse, well-timed off-screen tales of these people. Brief insights into mentalities shaped by bowing down: to the boss who beats them, the state that doesn’t help, life which takes the loved one away because there’s no money for marrying. Only the rent boy whose work concludes this visual journey through the industrial outskirts of a grey Istanbul seems to revolt against this order. But his experience does not suggest a better life. Only bodies subjugated by work. It’s a bold and depressing picture. And was the Bosporus Bridge, symbol of a prospering, future-oriented Turkey, ever photographed as sadly as in this film?

– Matthias Heeder

Presence

Documentary Film
India
2012
18 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Ekta Mittal, Maraa
Yashaswini Raghunandan, Ekta Mittal
Paromita Dhar
Abhro Banerjee
Budhaditya Chattopadhay
An elevated railway construction site in a big Asian city: a transit space, the new nibbling away at the old, frictional losses between remembering and forgetting, a teeming wasteland, a growth in the old city’s tissue. The population of this site consists of workers, mainly working nomads from far away. They bring not only their manpower but their own and highly diverse customs, traditions and (hi)stories. These stories are like bottled genies and sometimes, usually at night, they resume their shape in the telling, flowing out of their narrow vials to haunt the half finished railway tracks, marauding component parts and provisional handrails. Sometimes beautiful, occasionally dreary, even scary, these spooks reach our ears. The visible reality doesn’t care, would deny having anything to do with these goings-on. But for the duration of this film, reality has been expanded, filled with the fleeting aura of the supernatural.

– Ralph Eue

The Wait

Documentary Film
Finland,
UK
2012
25 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Inka Achté
Inka Achté
Graham Hadfield
Inka Achté
Rodrigo Saquel
Nina Rice
They vanish without warning: fathers, husbands, sons who leave their home to meet someone and never come back. They leave behind families who may never learn whether something happened or whether they were abandoned. Sleeplessly, they keep turning over the clues in their minds, desperately looking for signs they might have overlooked in this puzzle, reconstructing every detail of the last hours. They wait for years, fearing nothing more than getting an answer. Director Inka Achté has found a shimmering visual language for this almost unbearable atmosphere of uncertainty. The views of train stations and crowds always carry the deceptive hope that the missing person might be among them. They are interspersed with images of the protagonists as silhouettes torn from the darkness by the camera. These oscillating images illustrate the fateful ties between those who are present and those who are absent, this life and the other. Only the pudgy boy who resembles his vanished father so much has something to cling to as he gingerly holds his guinea pig in his arms.

– Cornelia Klauß