Film Archive

Countries (Film Archive)

German Competition 2012
Alleine Tanzen Biene Pilavci

Violence, hatred and alienation shaped the lives of this Turkish family in Germany. A very personal account of a failed migration and the attempt to start again.

Alleine Tanzen

Documentary Film
Germany
2012
98 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Max Milhahn, Telekult Film- und Medienproduktion GmbH
Biene Pilavci
Armin Dierolf
Biene Pilavci
Biene Pilavci
Daniel Engel
This sweeping visual investigation was prompted by the question, “After many years of hatred and extreme violence in our family, can my four siblings and I manage to forge sound relationships with other people, even though our parents and their parents before them were unable to?”
Birnur Pilavci deftly manoeuvres between the cliffs of contradictory certainties in her film. On the one hand there is the burden of the family we are born into and whose weight we are forced to carry, on the other hand there is the freedom to make decisions for oneself (or others), not resigned to fate but following one’s own inner compass. Or, as the great German journalist and exiled writer Willy Haas put it: “There are people who do wrong because they were wronged (like everybody). And there are those who do not do wrong, precisely because they were wronged.” The longer you watch it, the more it seems as if “Dancing Alone” wasn’t planned at all but more or less happened to all those involved – an open-ended experiment. “I doubt whether this is a good thing”, says the director, “but I guess it had to happen.”


– Ralph Eue
German Competition 2012
And Who Taught You to Drive Andrea Thiele

A German in Mumbai, an American in Tokyo and a Korean in Munich are desperately trying to get their driving licenses. Truly, globalisation has not spread to driving a car yet.

And Who Taught You to Drive

Documentary Film
Germany
2012
90 minutes
subtitles: 
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Stefan Kloos, Kloos & Co. Medien GmbH
Andrea Thiele
Michaela Kay, Hauke Kliem
Sebastian Bäumler
Christoph Senn, Ulf Albert
Lia Jaspers
Marcial Kuchelmeister
Mirela, a woman in her mid-30s, is standing in a street in the megacity of Mumbai and cursing. Once again the German has booked a car and driver for some business appointments. Once again the car has given out and the driver speaks practically no English. Jake, a US-American, is trying to comprehend the Tokyo public transport system and has squeezed himself and his backpack into one of the crowded subway cars. The student Hye-Won lives in Munich with her husband and little son. The South-Korean dreams of mobility. All three protagonists decide to get a driving license to be able to move freely in their adopted countries.
The filmmakers observe their driving lessons and show everyday scenes in which cultural differences emerge most clearly. Some of the situations with the driving instructors are hilarious, but we also see their desperation and the feeling of being strangers far from home. We may live in a globalised world, but this film demonstrates how deeply we are all marked by our culture and how hard it is to shed it. Preparing for a driving test in a foreign culture seems to be no less difficult than learning a foreign language. No doubt about it, globalisation has not spread to driving a car.
– Antje Stamer
German Competition 2012
Breathing Earth - Susumu Shingu's Dream Thomas Riedelsheimer

Shingu Susumu, the Japanese creator of kinetic sculptures, and his attempts to realise his “Breathing Earth” project. The power of the elements transferred to art and film.

Breathing Earth - Susumu Shingu's Dream

Documentary Film
Germany,
UK
2012
93 minutes
subtitles: 
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Stefan Tolz, Filmpunkt GmbH, Leslie Hills, Skyline Productions
Thomas Riedelsheimer
“There’s no such thing as rigid resistance in nature”, says Shingu Susumu, a Japanese creator of kinetic sculptures in the tradition of Alexander Calder and Jean Tinguely. For many years, Shingu has explored the energies of wind and water as an artist. As a seismographer of the state of our world he designs sculptures that face up to the forces of nature, absorb them and are transformed by them. Making the power of the elements visible is his credo. In "Breathing Earth - Susumu Shingu's Dream", Thomas Riedelsheimer accompanies the artist on a worldwide search for a suitable location where an interdisciplinary project initiated by him and called “Breathing Earth” could become reality: a community fuelled only by the natural energy of wind, water and the sun, serving as a place of inspiration for artists, scientists and children and thus becoming a prototypical future laboratory.

– Ralph Eue
German Competition 2012
Camp 14 - Total Control Zone Marc Wiese

A childhood and youth spent in a North Korean internment camp, surrounded by terror and death, and the attempt to build a life after that – a moving biography, intensely narrated.

Camp 14 - Total Control Zone

Documentary Film
Germany
2012
111 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Axel Engstfeld
Marc Wiese
Jörg Adams
Jean-Marc Lesguillons
cartoonamoon / Ali Soozandeh
Marc Wiese
Shin Dong-Hyuk was born in one of the toughest prison camps of North Korea in 1983 and grew up there. All he knew was the hell of the camp. He only learned of the world on the other side of the barbed wire when a fellow prisoner told him about his life before detention. Shin decided to escape – but it wasn’t freedom he wanted, because he didn’t even know what that was. He wanted to eat his fill just once, even at the risk of being shot afterwards. At the age of 22, Shin successfully escaped.
Today he lives alone in a small flat in South Korea, where Shin recounts his life in the penal colony in very intense interviews, his traumatisation obvious. But the director goes one step further by not limiting himself to the victim’s point of view. He also brings two perpetrators in front of his camera, people who tormented, tortured and killed. To illustrate life in the camp, he uses delicately drawn, restrained animations and original material. The quiet flow of the narrative and the unobtrusive but atmospheric soundtrack allow the protagonists and their stories the space they need. Gradually the inconceivable is taking shape, for even today 200 000 people in North Korea are living in internment camps.

– Antje Stamer

Das Venedig Prinzip

Documentary Film
Germany,
Italy,
Austria
2012
80 minutes
subtitles: 
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Thomas Tielsch, Filmtank GmbH
Andreas Pichler
Jan Tilman Schade
Attila Boa
Florian Miosge
Andreas Pichler, Thomas Tielsch
Stefano Bernardi
It’s hard to find a more popular city than Venice. But what is a dream for many people has become a nightmare for the residents. This film shows cruise ships and coaches spilling their loads of tourists at the banks of the old town, from which they flood squares, bridges and alleys. The tourists may bring money – especially for the big corporations -, but they are also the curse of this city.
This film follows a few residents, perhaps the last of their kind, through their Venice. They show an infrastructure on the verge of collapse. Food stores are rare; schools and post offices have closed, replaced by ever more hotels and piers for huge cruise ships. “What can you do?” a Venetian woman asks resignedly. “Sell glassware and souvenirs?” She too rents out her house to pay for its refurbishment. Another born Venetian is forced to move to the mainland because he can’t afford the rent. Only foreigners and rich Italians can pay the expensive prices per square meter, an embittered real estate agent concludes. Only 60000 residents still live in the historic city centre today. The same number of people visit the city every day. Venice is degenerating into an open air museum. The film takes a sobering look behind the picture postcard idylls of Doge’s Palace, Rialto Bridge and the pigeons of St. Mark’s Square.

– Antje Stamer

Eine Art Liebe

Documentary Film
Germany,
Turkey
2012
70 minutes
subtitles: 
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Dirk Schäfer
Dirk Schäfer
Armand Amar
Dirk Schäfer
Dirk Schäfer
Saydelizade
Even if he wouldn’t put it this way himself, Nevzat, the 30-year-old protagonist of this touching portrait from the depths of the Kurdish provinces, was a lifelong prisoner. Walled in between the archaic laws of his family clan and obedience to his father, he has no space left for his own desires or decisions. There’s only jobs he’s not allowed to choose and unwanted obligations. Saving money and leaving the village. Being in love just once. Somehow having a good life after all. The filmmaker Dirk Schäfer seems to have entered Nevzat’s life at the precise moment when his secret desires break free and he starts to throw off cultural ballast. He regularly commutes between Istanbul construction sites and his village. The promise of a metropolis there, the wall between him and his desires at home. On one level “Eine Art Liebe” portrays a man who believes in the right to a personal, self-determined happiness. On a second level a relationship between Nevzat and the director develops very carefully, often indicated only by a look or a gesture. Dirk Schäfer speaks Nevzat’s language, which enables him to enter into a reserved, direct dialogue with Nevzat, respecting the pre-existing limits. The filmmaker’s achievement lies in using his protagonist’s rebellion to open the door to a reality that seems alien and outdated. Nevzat profits from the exchange with the German who acts as a sounding board for his doubts and wishes. At the end he calls him teacher, because one doesn’t address one’s elders by their first name. But a teacher from whom he emancipates himself like he did from his cultural constraints.

Matthias Heeder



Honorary Mention in the German Competition Documentary Film 2012

German Competition 2012
Heino Jaeger - Look Before You Kuck Gerd Kroske

The rise and fall of a gifted painter and political comedian in post-war Germany. A search for traces in St. Pauli and a monument for a failure between genius and madness.

Heino Jaeger - Look Before You Kuck

Documentary Film
Germany
2012
120 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Gerd Kroske, realistfilm
Gerd Kroske
Klaus Janek
Susanne Schüle
Karin Gerda Schöning
Gerd Kroske
Genius and madness, those antipodes of artistic inspiration, are certainly true with regard to Heino Jaeger. Director Gerd Kroske doesn’t focus on the spectacular though; he is more interested in what lies between. How does a gifted painter and political comedian become a psychiatric case? After his films “The Boxing Prince” and “Wolli in Paradise”, Kroske is drawn once more to Hamburg’s red-light district. Heino Jaeger, too, owes his heyday to St. Pauli, where his gift for imitating voices and improvising maliciously funny lines was discovered. In the 70s he realised the “Ask Dr. Jaeger” radio show for Saarländischer Rundfunk, which soon gathered a cult following and was sold on record. But then the milieu that inspired him so much became his downfall. Gerd Kroske chooses conversations with Jaeger’s companions, to whom he gives a lot of space, to give a blow-by-blow account of his descent into alcoholism and uncover the traumas that mostly stemmed from the war. Jaeger neither managed to exploit the upswing in booming West Germany to suppress them nor to assume his middle-class friends’ cynical 1968 attitude. He was too much of an eccentric and hermit. In his film Gerd Kroske erects a monument to a man who failed, raising failure itself to the status of a logical reaction to the circumstances of that age.

Cornelia Klauß



Golden Dove in the German Competition Documentary Film 2012

German Competition 2012
MansFeld Mario Schneider

An archaic ritual winter exorcism in the Mansfelder Land. Sea changes: a post-industrial region and three boys about to grow up. Welcome and farewell.

MansFeld

Documentary Film
Germany
2012
98 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Mario Schneider, 42film GmbH
Mario Schneider
Cornelius Renz, Mario Schneider
Florian Kirchler, Mario Schneider
Gudrun Steinbrück, Mario Schneider
Mario Schneider
Henning Raatz
The slag heap rises like a wall above the small town in the Mansfelder Land. It’s a relic of a past when there was still mining and industry here – like the “Glückauf” song that’s always intonated at the start of the Whitsun celebrations. For centuries people have gathered on this date to drive out winter in an archaic ritual. Men wallow in the mud of the unthawed meadows, digging their nails in the earth to be chased away by boys in traditional white costumes decorated with flowers who carry long whips.
We see Tom, Paul and Sebastian practice swinging their whips time and again. The film observes them during the preparations for the big day and enters deep into their world. It’s a modest environment where they dream “that everyone has a job” and don’t talk about their feelings. Where they struggle not to go under at school or at the workplace and, above all, not to lose their solidarity – though everything else seems to dissolve.
In the last part of his Mansfeld trilogy, Mario Schneider once more looks at people neither the politicians nor the media are interested in. He does it with great warmth and respect. How seriously he takes the life here and the children’s and parents’ stories is proved by the music he devotes to them and uses as an important dramatic element. Nothing less than Stravinsky’s “Le sacre du printemps”, the “spring sacrifice”, stands for the expulsion of the old world. The new world is coming and it will be called Tom, Paul and Sebastian.

Grit Lemke



DEFA Sponsoring Prize 2012

German Competition 2012
Nach Wriezen - Ein Film über das Leben nach der Haft Daniel Abma

Just a normal life: almost impossible for three young men who were convicted of murder and violence and are now released in Brandenburg. Unusual long-term observation.

Nach Wriezen - Ein Film über das Leben nach der Haft

Documentary Film
Germany
2012
88 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Holger Lochau, HFF „Konrad Wolf“ Potsdam-Babelsberg
Daniel Abma
Henning Fuchs
Johannes Praus und Anja Läufer
Jana Dugnus
Daniel Abma
Kay Riedel und Christoph Walter
The world waiting for them outside is cold. Images of a Brandenburg winter pass by. No family, let alone the job market, is waiting for the three juvenile delinquents who did time for violence and murder at the Wriezen juvenile detention centre. At least Imo (22) can stay with a friend and Marcel (25) with his girlfriend. Jano, the youngest at 17, is only out on probation. Dutch filmmaker Daniel Abma, a student at the HFF Potsdam-Babelsberg, has been following the three for several years from the first day of their release. It took persistence, because the project threatened to fail. The crew was not always welcome, too many things went wrong. But Abma makes this process visible, doesn’t smooth things over. True life can’t always be arranged to suit the right camera position. The film follows those who are stigmatised, who, no matter how they twist and turn, will always be caught up by their old stories and the allure of fast money, even though they make every effort. They have girlfriends, children are born and even a container has room for a three piece suite. But a smug home won’t rescue you from your own erratic self. Only Marcel’s story offers a ray of hope. How to live when you were one of the perpetrators of Potzlow, where a 16-year-old was killed by three neo-Nazis? His girlfriend’s chutzpah in trying to give the former skinhead a home promises some stability. It takes courage for him, of all people, to face up to the camera. Daniel Abma takes us into a milieu that seems so hopeless that everyone looks away - and that takes just as much courage.

– Cornelia Klauß
German Competition 2012
Randland Leopold Grün, Dirk Uhlig

A tight-knit community in the nowhere land of eastern Germany struggle, slaughter animals, celebrate, work and wait for the future. A journey to the margins of society.

Randland

Documentary Film
Germany
2012
93 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Benny Drechsel, Rohfilm GmbH
Leopold Grün, Dirk Uhlig
Olivier Fröhlich, Jan Weber
Börres Weiffenbach
Leopold Grün, Dirk Uhlig
Leopold Grün, Dirk Uhlig
Klaus Barm
Above all there’s the sky. Changing colour, clouds floating across, while everything else stays the same in this small village somewhere in the province north of Berlin. There are no jobs and nobody believes in the future any more. But they have found their niche in the present: the tinkerer and fisherman-philosopher Harry, who repairs all appliances in the village; Gabi, who is raising five children and two horses; Maik, who muddles along as a temp worker for a pittance, Eastern Scale; Cordula, who found late love and wants to earn money again at some point in the future; the adolescent Uli, who has found no apprenticeship position and is romping through the fields with his siblings; farmer Maxe, who dreams of the days of collective farming and wants the Wall back, but not “that red shit.”
A community on the margins of a society who forgot them and from which they expect nothing. They help each other, slaughter animals, drink, have parties and mourn together. A kind of utopia that redefines work beyond the confines of industry and politics.
Börre Weiffenbach’s images give shape to a story that doesn’t really have a beginning or an end. When Harry vanishes on the horizon in his van, he becomes the Lonesome Cowboy. In settings that could look a little shabby but never do, the people begin to shine. For this is no swan song, it’s a blues in warm, strong notes.

– Grit Lemke
German Competition 2012
Vergiss mein nicht David Sieveking

Daily life with a mother suffering from Alzheimer's, exploring her biography: revolutionary groups, open relationships, women’s circles. And a quiet, tender farewell.

Vergiss mein nicht

Documentary Film
Germany
2012
88 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Martin Heisler, Lichtblick Media GmbH
David Sieveking
Jessica de Rooij
Adrian Stähli
Catrin Vogt
Filmmaker David Sieveking introduces us with astonishing candour to the life of his mother Gretel, an Alzheimer’s patient. His father Malte has been taking care of Gretel ever since he retired. The still youthful mathematics professor had imagined life after university a little differently, because it takes a lot of strength and time to care constantly for a person who forgets everything. Wants to go home even though she is at home. Refuses to co-operate and prefers to stay in bed. The son moves back home for a few weeks with a small film crew to relieve his father and document daily life with a dementia patient from up close. Sieveking uses the chance to get closer to his mother again. The more Gretel takes her leave from this world, the more Sieveking finds out about her and her past. Leftist revolutionary groups, an “open relationship”, women’s circles. Malte decides to read his wife’s diaries. The son talks to his father, his mother’s lover and her female friends. A biography gradually takes shape.
This quiet, touching film is a declaration of love for a mother and a family, but also a gradual farewell from a woman who may still be physically present but has long since become a different person.

Antje Stamer



Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize 2012