Film Archive

International Programme 2012
Big Boys Gone Bananas!* Fredrik Gertten

A small film company’s almost hopeless battle against the Dole food corporation. The connections between consumption, freedom of opinion and democracy as a thriller.

Big Boys Gone Bananas!*

Documentary Film
Sweden
2012
90 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Margarete Jangård, WG Film
Fredrik Gertten
Conny Malmqvist, Dan "Gisen" Malmquist
Frank Pineda, Joe Aguirre, David McGuire, Malin Korkeasalo, Stefan berg, Kasia Winograd, Sasha Snow, Terese Mörnvik
Jesper Osmund, Benjamin Binderup
Charlotte Rodenstedt
Fredrik Gertten
Alexander Thörnqvist
In 1989, when a whole nation "was gone bananas”, the banana was regarded as the ultimate symbol of the good life in East Germany. The freedom of unlimited consumption seemed to go hand in hand with the freedom of speech and the arts. Frederik Gertten is about to teach us about the real link between bananas and democracy.
In his last film Gertten proved that their cultivation on Nicaraguan plantations owned by the Dole food corporation is extremely harmful to the workers. Before the opening of that film, the filmmaker got a 200-page letter from the corporation trying to stop the screening. An unprecedented campaign – documented and retold by Gertten in this film – begins. A small, independent production company stands up to a big player who seems to be able to buy, manipulate, threaten or even destroy at will everything and everyone from the legal system to the L.A. Film Festival, from the press to the whole Internet. An uneven, practically hopeless fight against a power that dwarfs even George Orwell’s imagination.
Only when the civil society in the shape of the Swedish parliament and a handful of enlightened consumers begins to understand that responsibility for the freedom of opinion and the arts cannot lie solely with the individual artist but is a good everyone must defend does the case take an unexpected turn, which – don’t we know it – has something to do with banana consumption...
– Grit Lemke
International Programme 2012
Der Große Irrtum Dirk Heth, Olaf Winkler

Eggesin and elsewhere: committed people who work – without an income. The concept of citizen work reflected in a thoughtful and multilayered essay.

Der Große Irrtum

Documentary Film
Germany
2012
105 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Dirk Heth, Olaf Winkler
Dirk Heth, Olaf Winkler
Melanie Barth, Wolfgang Adams
Dirk Heth
Dirk Heth, Olaf Winkler
Olaf Winkler
Raimund von Scheibner
How do you determine the value of a human being? In our society the answer seems obvious: through the market. But Olaf Winkler and Dirk Heth are interested in “how to be happy without a market value”. They return to the shrinking town of Eggesin, which they filmed once before in 2002, to find an unemployment rate of 20 percent and dedicated people who work without earning a real income: Marion who has her own business but is still dependent on welfare. The single mother Diana who scratches along on “job creation schemes”. The one-Euro jobber Irina who may be lucky enough to rise to 1.50 Euros per hour or a part-time job. Mrs. Westholm and her “Heimatstube” volunteers. The concept of citizen work, promoted by politician Rainer Bomba on the state and federal levels, seems to be a solution. In Eggesin the mayor is launching a time bank project. The film never uses these people as props but sees their biographies and constraints and takes them seriously. At the same time, the first person narrator – a cameraman in letters to his children – becomes one of them, because the market doesn’t need him anymore, either.
The filmmakers and their protagonists both see how the “ruthless paradigm of unconditional marketability threatened to swallow an intact city.” They discover ideas and commitment that seem to go nowhere. Caught between hope and a growing feeling of impotence, they ask questions that must be heard.

Grit Lemke



Film Prize "Leipziger Ring" 2012

International Programme 2012
Der Prozess Gerald Igor Hauzenberger

The biggest criminal case in Austria, where harmless animal rights activists were accused and convicted of being enemies of the state. A Kafkaesque swan song for Western democracy.

Der Prozess

Documentary Film
Austria
2012
112 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Michael Seeber, Gerald Igor Hauzenberger, framelab filmproduktion
Gerald Igor Hauzenberger
Bernhard Fleischmann
Dominik Spritzendorfer, Gerald Igor Hauzenberger
Michael Palm
Chris Moser
Gerald Igor Hauzenberger
Michael Palm
Igor Hauzenberger’s film is extremely disturbing. When, in the name of article 278a, which was adopted to fight organisations like the Mafia and Al Qaeda, a protest letter is turned into a threat, an animal rights activist into an enemy of the state, and an NGO into a terrorist organisation, the pillars of our civil society are beginning to totter alarmingly. Thirteen animal rights activists are facing trial in Vienna because they staged some high-profile protests against factory farming and fur trading in front of stables and department stores. Sure, naked protesters in the Viennese city in the middle of winter, carrying dead animals or, covered in blood, crucified pigs’ heads through the streets, are not a pleasant sight. It’s also annoying that this Association against Factory Farming (VGT) is not simply a gang of losers but an international network among whose leaders are scientists and green politicians, including the charismatic Dr. Dr. Martin Balluch who chose the way of the street after a university career. Igor Hauzenberger follows the protesters over several years, tries to shed some light on the legal jungle and persistently tries to get public attorneys, press officers and department store operators in front of his camera. In vain. This biggest criminal case in Austria yet is turning into a test case: democracy versus those who are not averse to shouting “we need Hitler back” occasionally.
– Cornelia Klauß
International Programme 2012
Isqat al Nizam - At The Regime Border Antonio Martino

An expedition to the Syrian border, encounters with refugees, deserted soldiers, Internet activists. Blood, beatings, torture, executions. A harrowing border experience.

Isqat al Nizam - At The Regime Border

Documentary Film
Italy
2012
78 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Roberto Ruini, Pulsemedia
Antonio Martino
Mario Romanazzi, Valerio Pellegri, Vincenzo Scorza
Antonio Martino
Giuseppe Trepiccione, Simone Incerti Zambelli
Giordano Raggi
Diego Schiavo
This powerful film about the Syrian revolution features a variety of borderline experiences. For example the exiled journalist who is collecting material for an oppositional television network at the Turkish-Syrian border. He meets compatriots from all population groups – deserted soldiers, Internet fighters, refugees. The camera in these live sound passages is almost frozen, the shadows on the faces sharply delineated: stories of the beginning of the revolution, of dead friends and siblings. Then there are the disturbing YouTube films produced by the hundreds every day – a system running amuck. Soldiers in heavy boots jumping on the heads of tied-up protesters. Soldiers shooting a prisoner. Soldiers taking whole cities hostage. Orders to snipers: shoot everyone filming with a mobile phone! A young man who a moment ago was recording is bleeding to death on the backseat of a taxi. His brother continues. Upload to the Web. It’s mind-boggling when the agents of the system film each other at work. On camera torture. Executions. And beatings, beatings, beatings. There are no more restraints here. Finally the panic in a young girl’s voice as she watches soldiers storming her parents’ house. And we, who are watching all this? We allow the statesmen and special envoys and commissioners to play their game of oil, military bases and geopolitics. We have become so tired of all the images flooding us, and so weak. Still – there is no alternative to publishing this horror. The revolt is circling on the web. The fever is rising.
– Matthias Heeder
International Programme 2012
No Harm Done Nadia El Fani, Alina Isabel Perèz

A Tunisian filmmaker who documented the Arab Spring is fighting for her life: against cancer and against the Islamists who are threatening her. Angry and courageous.

No Harm Done

Documentary Film
France
2012
66 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jan Vasak, K'ien Productions
Nadia El Fani, Alina Isabel Perèz
With “No Harm Done”, Tunisian director Nadia El Fani follows up on her film “Securalism – Inch’Allah”, screened in the Special Programme on the Arab Revolution at Leipzig last year. While the earlier film still depicted the conflict between enlightened and fundamentalist forces in post-revolutionary Tunisia with humour and in the hope of a secular constitution, the tone in “No Harm Done” has become darker, the director’s attitude noticeably more radical. This may be due in part to her personal history: her cancer, the operation, chemotherapy on the one hand, paralleled by the unprecedented radical Islamist hate campaign against her film in Tunisia, which culminated in death threats against the director published on the social networks. “No Harm Done” links both strands in an overwhelmingly simple and personal image: the cell. Cancer cells attacking her body; Salafist cells, Islamist cells, terrorist cells proliferating in the social body, attacking and destroying everything that is different. Even though this is a universal experience, artists and intellectuals are the first to be targeted. In that sense, the title of the film reads like the defiant creed of a courageous woman and determined filmmaker: for the uncompromising fight for disobedience, variety and artistic freedom. We owe her respect and gratitude for that.
– Matthias Heeder
International Programme 2012
The Blockade Igor Bezinović

A student strike in Zagreb spreads across the whole country but then inner conflicts threaten to break it up... the anatomy of a revolt, brash, clever and captivating.

The Blockade

Documentary Film
Croatia
2012
92 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Nenad Puhovski, Factum Documentary Project, Oliver Sertić, Restart
Igor Bezinović
Zli bubnjari, Antenat, Ibrica Jusić, Naš mali Afro bend, Tigrova mast, Idoli
Đuro Gavran, Eva Kraljević, Igor Bezinović, Haris Berbić
Hrvoslava Brkušić, Maida Srabović, Miro Manojlović
Igor Bezinović
Occupy, sit-ins, or punk performances in churches – civil disobedience is spreading like wildfire across the globe. In Zagreb, too, students of the Philosophy Department were no longer willing to accept the constantly rising tuition fees and decided to organise a student strike, the biggest since 1971. The revolt quickly spread to other universities. What started more or less spontaneously out of anger soon developed its own rules. Democracy needs practice, too, and there are no manuals on how to keep the protests going, mobilise the public and find an appropriate form of resistance; there’s only the process itself. Director Igor Bezinovic used to be a student of this department. His film is an anatomy of the asynchronous processes, the shifting hierarchies, the debates about opposition and opportunism, the fear of failing under public pressure. The Minister of Education on the other side knows exactly where the weak points of such a protest lie. How long will the students hold out and know that the teachers are on their side once the money stops coming? “Blokada” openly sympathises with the students but does not conceal how lonely and wearying it can be to be radical. The filmmaker is always present and very precise in his observations. Despite the many different perspectives Bezinovic managed to make a very coherent film.
– Cornelia Klauß
International Programme 2012
The Khmer Rouge and the Man of Non-Violence Bernard Mangiante

The trial against Douch, responsible for the death of 14,000 people under Pol Pot. A court room drama about the abyss of the human soul and the universal validity of the law.

The Khmer Rouge and the Man of Non-Violence

Documentary Film
Cambodia,
France
2011
87 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Serge Lalou, Les Films d'Ici
Bernard Mangiante
Mieczyslaw Weinberg
Bernard Mangiante
Catherine Gouze (Image)/ Bernard Mangiante/(son) Carole Verner
Bernard Mangiante
Bernard Mangiante
Phnom-Penh in the spring of 2009. Kaing Guek Eav, aka Duch, was the warden of Tuol Sleng prison, notoriously known as S 21, from 1976 to 1978. He is a defendant before the international Khmer Rouge Tribunal, accused of being responsible for the death of 14,000 prisoners. While his French lawyer François Roux is preparing for the trial, Duch assumes responsibility for the charges, wants to plead guilty and ask for forgiveness. This is the basis on which his defence counsel develops his strategy. Since the trial is going to follow both international and national Cambodian law, though, the international defence counsel is assisted by a Cambodian lawyer who has a wholly different strategy in mind. This defence counsel, Kar Savuth, claims that the requirements of official Cambodian politics play a vital role here. He enters a plea of not guilty and generally questions the jurisdiction of an international court of law. On several occasion the trial threatens to fall apart. Director Bernard Mangiante restricted himself to absolute stylistic severity in his film: he shot an intense court room drama that hardly ever leaves the court, the corridors or conference rooms on its dizzying tour de force through the depths of human nature, the banality of evil and universal questions of the interpretability of fundamental values of civilisation.
– Ralph Eue
International Programme 2012
Winter, Go Away! Elena Khoreva, Denis Klebleev, Dmitry Kubasov, Askold Kurov, Nadezhda Leonteva, Anna Moiseenko, Madina Mustafina, Sofia Rodkevich, Anton Seregin, Alexey Zhiryakov

Snapshots of the anti-Putin protest movement: from Pussy Riot across the street to the election office. Courageous, ingenious, occasionally funny and radical.

Winter, Go Away!

Documentary Film
Russia
2012
79 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Marina Razbezhkina, Risk Film Studio
Elena Khoreva, Denis Klebleev, Dmitry Kubasov, Askold Kurov, Nadezhda Leonteva, Anna Moiseenko, Madina Mustafina, Sofia Rodkevich, Anton Seregin, Alexey Zhiryakov
Thaw, frost or the banishment of winter: there always seems to have been a correspondence between the important turning points of Soviet (now Russian) political history and a variety of extreme climatic conditions. Today it’s Vladimir Putin who personifies winter, the cold and dark weather in his great realm. But it was in winter (last year) that the first heavy protests against the sovereign started. How to cope with the anger and outrage at a corrupt system displaying more and more marks of a dictatorship? How to get rid of one’s fury at, even hatred of the man who has firmly drawn the (obviously arbitrary) line between detention and freedom somewhere between Khodorkovsky and Pussy Riot? The people portrayed in this film are courageous and refreshing, just like the young filmmakers themselves, a ten-person collective headed by Marina Razbezkina, who on behalf of the “Novaya Gazeta” follow the various opposition movements’ attempts to politicise society and create a civic public. It’s a difficult, often violent and sometimes even funny undertaking. Whether we see them as observers in an election office (whose chairman steals away through the backdoor to escape charges of fraud) or as protesters in the midst of a host of militia truncheons, there can be no more question of a “United Russia”. An instructive film and a radical diagnosis of its (our) age.
– Barbara Wurm