Film Archive

C(us)todians

Documentary Film
Brazil
2013
89 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Antônio Jr.
Aly Muritiba
Elisandro Dalcin
João Menna Barreto, Aly Muritiba
Aly Muritiba
Alexandre Rogoski, João Menna Barreto
Jefferson Walkiu is the new chief superintendent of the “Alpha Team” of a Brazilian prison housing more than 900 inmates. Quite a dangerous job, for criminal organisations are active outside and inside the prison walls and the guards are badly equipped. Walkiu sets out with a lot of resolutions to professionalise his department. But the prison dynamics work against him.
The fact that there is only one nurse and three working handcuffs for all prisoners is only one of many challenges. Every day Walkiu has discussions with prisoners, employees and superiors who don’t feel bound by any rules. But even his permanent crisis management cannot avoid mishaps. All the more surprising is his apparently fulfilling double life as the minister of a small community. This is where the man who strives for constant control lets off emotional steam.
Daily life in prison from the guards’ perspective and the portrait of a man who wants to do it right and comes up against walls. Director Aly Muritiba worked in the Alpha Team for a long time and visibly knows his way around the high, narrow prison corridors. The long shots and systematic changes of perspective in his film create the impression of an increasing loss of control.

Lars Meyer



Healthy Workplaces Film Award 2013

Casa

Documentary Film
France
2013
54 minutes
subtitles: 
English
French

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Marc Faye, Gerald Leroux
Daniela De Felice
Matthieu Chatellier, Daniela De Felice
Alessandro Comodin, Daniela De Felice
Daniela De Felice
Daniela De Felice
Xavier Thibault
The house is crammed with objects of no great material value. Years after her father’s death, the director, her mother and brother clear the family home, once a promise of social advancement and now a place nobody wants to live in. The memories lie in the remains of everyday life and the junk of countless boxes of dusty entomological specimens. The mother tried to stop the passing of time by excessive collecting. And so the dialogues between the members of the family revolve around the big question of transience. Can memories be shared? What’s left of a life when the next generation attaches a different value to its objects? When memories disintegrate like the wings of the butterflies in their glass cases?
De Felice focuses on the process of remembrance and the question of what our memory retains. It’s not about the faces in the photographs, but the process of posing for the camera, filming and commenting. And the moments of silence while the camera is still running. And most of all the shape our memories assume. In this case, it’s the ink watercolours sketched by the director. Pared-down and delicate, sparingly animated from time to time, they do what only art can do: take us into the inner spaces where our families continue to live when all artefacts have long crumbled to dust.

Grit Lemke



Golden Dove Animated Documentary 2013

Crop

Documentary Film
Egypt
2013
47 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Johanna Domke
Johanna Domke, Marouan Omara
Melanie Brugger
Johanna Domke, Emad Maher
Johanna Domke, Marouan Omara
Bilgehan Özis
Everyone deserves their own image, that’s the gist of an old Egyptian pop song. In reality there used to be only one official image along the Nile for a long time: that of a strong and powerful Egypt, embodied by its rulers. The majority of the population had no place in it. The young revolution was a revolution of images, too: the people conquered the right to be represented with their digital cameras and mobile phones, and reached the world. But how representative are those new images, one wonders in view of the more than uncertain current situation. This film takes a step back to look behind the structures of the old power. Tableau-like shots on an insider’s tour of the apparatus of power: the oldest and most important national daily, Al-Ahram, in which official Egypt reproduced itself since Nasser’s day. Starting with the conference rooms under the roof down to the basement garages where the papers are bundled for delivery, we meet a multitude of employees doing their various jobs, while a narrator’s voice, an intersubjective surrogate of interviews with photo journalists, recites a first-hand account, as it were, of Egyptian media history. The strict division between the visual and audio levels makes us look more closely and raises questions: for whom will this apparatus work in the future?

Lars Meyer

Everybody’s Child

Documentary Film
UK
2013
75 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Aimara Reques
Garry Fraser
Stuart Jackson
Garry Torrance
Lee Archer
Lorna Hutcheon
This is no flawless sample of a cool no-drugs campaign, but the story of a worker in the quarry of his own life. Also: a travel diary, though the external radius of this journey is relatively limited. Director and protagonist Garry Fraser rarely moves far beyond Edinburgh in his film, the city that acquired a dubious reputation in the 1980s as Europe’s Aids and drugs capital. Fraser’s journey takes us into the interior of his own story, for the filmmaker sees himself as the sad offspring of this place and time which hang on him like a curse as he tries to free himself of their destructive power.
“Everybody’s Child” is a beautiful example of a simplicity that’s hard to achieve. Because this is ultimately an existential experiment for Fraser (and us, the audience): is the course of a story – one’s own or the big story – carved in stone and unchangeable or are deviations imaginable and achievable? In this sense, “Everybody’s Child” sets out without reservations to be a film for the big screen and not the small one. Because while (according to Hartmut Bitomsky) it’s one of the fundamental strategies of television to simplify complex things, cinema is about bringing out the complexities in simple things – a lucid distinction.

Ralph Eue

Kalyug

Documentary Film
Italy
2013
74 minutes
subtitles: 
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Heidi Gronauer, Lorenzo Paccagnella
Juri Mazumdar
Anke Riester
Giorgio Chiodi
Gero Hecker
Once upon a time there were a brother and sister who had illicit sexual relations. That was the beginning of the age of Kalyug, the age of downfall in Hindu cosmology. Has it started again? The Bhil, an ancient tribe, must think so. Modern society has condemned them to live in poverty and loneliness as migrant workers. Worse, a terrible disease is raging among them: HIV. It’s hard to develop a rational attitude towards the causes and effects of the virus on the background of traditional beliefs and the hierarchy in Indian hospitals. At least now the medicine is reaching the patients. A young medical student brings it on his motorcycle, travelling endless miles through a barren, dusty landscape. But his fight for enlightenment seems a fight against windmills.
“Kalyug”’s sophisticated dialectic narrative, which interweaves ancient legends and the stories of the present age, is compelling. The film moves without breaks from a background story, a storyteller at a campfire, to three different internal stories which in turn are linked in a kind of circular structure, with one motive prompting the next. Embedded in the serene flow of the narrative, the archaic images have a mythical effect – while remaining firmly rooted in the reality of the here and now.

Lars Meyer

Sickfuckpeople

Documentary Film
Austria
2013
75 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Franz Novotny, Alexander Glehr
Juri Rechinsky
Anton Baibakov
Alex Zaporoshchenko, Serhiy Stetsenko
Juri Rechinsky
Juri Rechinsky
They’re really only children, giggling on that merry-go-round – no more than a vision. The reality is different. Not only do they search the garbage in decaying cellars for anything valuable, they live in this filth. This is where they cook their soup, smoke, sniff and shoot up anything they can. Poverty has rarely looked sadder.
Ukrainian director Juri Rechinsky has arranged his film in three chapters, like a triptych. The first is entitled “Childhood” and portrays something these Odessa street kids never had. In the second part, the director travels with one of the kids through snowy landscapes to the village where the boy hopes to find his mother. But just as there was no childhood, there is no home any more. Alcoholism and the cynical and brutal way the villagers treat each other have buried all humanity. In the third part, “Love”, an almost biblical cadence is added in the story of Dennis and Anna. The two, who are so drugged up their words are no more than a slur, live in a ruin and are expecting a child. They share a pair of shoes – it’s all they can afford.
In his debut film director Rechinsky aims the camera at those who were cast out by Ukrainian society and, what’s more, for whom no opportunity to return is provided. He follows through, staying in contact over several years, sparing the audience nothing – just a nightmare from beginning to end.

Cornelia Klauß

Silence Radio

Documentary Film
Belgium,
France
2012
52 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Isabelle Mathy, Delphine Schmit, Denis Delcampe
Valéry Rosier
Olivier Vanaschen, Mathieu Cauville
Nicolas Rumpl, Didier Vandewattyne
Valéry Rosier
Arnaud Calvar, Guilhem Donzel
Life is a chanson. Alain Resnais is not the only one who knows this; so do the operators of the “Puisaleine” community radio in rural Picardie. We see for the most part elderly people at the controls, struggling with the computer (occasionally the wrong song will be played), accepting music requests, telling jokes and giggling hysterically into the microphone, or dispensing esoteric to hands-on life counselling (“Leave the house!”). Their listeners sit in interiors that will soon be history, filmed with sociological precision: heart-shaped cushions, pictures of cats, teddy bears, artificial flowers, tassels and baroque curlicues. They sit alone on fully automated beds in rooms that are far too big for them and in which only the photos on the windowsill recall the families that once existed. And they listen to the radio: the song about the white roses, or the one about the love that lasted fifty years. We learn a story with every song, about nights of bombings and burning airplanes, about great love, or the child who died before the parents. And at some point they start to sing.
The elegant arrangements and meaningful montage of this tender film, imbued with loss and loneliness, but also with a quiet kind of humour, keep it firmly on the thin line between kitsch and great drama. A film for the heart, whose needs cannot be overestimated.

Grit Lemke



Honorary Mention in the Young Cinema Competition 2013

Stop-Over

Documentary Film
France,
Switzerland
2013
100 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Heinz Dill, Elisabeth Garbar, Sophie Germain, Olivier Charvet
Kaveh Bakhtiari
Kaveh Bakhtiari
Kaveh Bakhtiari, Charlotte Tourres, Sou Abadi
What is a human being without a passport? The question B. Traven discussed in his classic novel “The Death Ship” is still disturbingly topical. The death ship that director Kaveh Bakhtiari finds is called Athens. This is where he happens to run into his Iranian cousin Mohsen. But while he himself has had a Swiss passport from childhood, is able to move freely and cross borders, Mohsen is an illegal immigrant. He spent three months in prison for this and is now stuck in Athens – like thousands of others for whom Greece was to be no more than a stop-over. He shares a flat with curtained windows with other “illegals”. Kaveh decides to move in and share their life.
For almost a year he accompanies their daily life, which looks like the life in an ordinary flat-share only at first glance but is essentially marked by fear, claustrophobia and deprivation. The days move past the curtains like a shadow-play, while every day people risk their lives for their hopes, put themselves at the mercy of smugglers or wait years for fake passports. The film registers directly how their hopes crumble – an intense experience for the audience, who are “locked up” with the protagonists at least for the duration of the film. A courageous film that brings to light what is otherwise concealed by the shadow of the European crisis.

Lars Meyer



Talent Dove in the Young Cinema Competition 2013

The Last Black Sea Pirates

Documentary Film
Bulgaria
2013
72 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Martichka Bozhilova, Agitprop
Svetoslav Stoyanov
Orlin Ruevski, Ivan Nikolov
Petar Marinov
Vanya Raynova
Momchil Bozhkov, BFSA
Once upon a time there was a fearless pirate who robbed Turkish galleys, captured a lot of gold, and buried his treasure near the mouth of a river on the coast of the Black Sea. Two centuries later, Captain Jack has settled on this beach with a handful of criminals and alcoholics, far removed from civilisation, and built his own little realm there. Two construction trailers, a rowing boat, fresh fish, schnapps, and dynamite – that’s all the modern pirates need on their quest for the legendary treasure.
But this outlaw’s paradise is threatened – the Bulgarian Prime Minister’s brother wants to build five tourist resorts and a yacht harbour in the middle of the nature reserve. This makes the group of outlaws so restless they challenge their captain’s authoritarian regime. Mutiny looms...
Svetoslav Stoyanov tells a quirky documentarian fairy tale in which the boundaries between reality and fiction are blurred. His hero is trying to defy the modern age, where corruption and global capitalism have replaced the old order. Captain Jack takes rough but hearty care of his men as long as they don’t question the search for the legendary treasure. Can their dreams and their friendship survive the new era?

Claas Danielsen
Young Cinema Competition (until 2014) 2013
What a Fuck Am I Doing on This Battlefield Nico Peletier, Julien Fezans

Avantgarde musician Matt Elliott talks in disturbing clarity and expressive black and white about God, the world, and his demons. A precisely understated music film.

What a Fuck Am I Doing on This Battlefield

Documentary Film
France
2013
53 minutes
subtitles: 
No

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Nico Peletier, Julien Fezans
Nico Peletier, Julien Fezans
Elliott Matt
Nico Peletier
Nico Peletier, Julien Fezans
Nico Peletier, Julien Fezans
Julien Fezans
A record of various encounters with musician Matt Elliott before and after a number of concerts, filmed in expressive black and white. A fascinating simultaneity of absolute directness and extreme stylisation in the tradition of the legendary conversations recorded in Andy Warhol’s “Interview”. A music film, certainly, but working with precise understatement to resist the temptations of becoming a mere product sales channel. Matt Elliott’s works are usually defined as somewhere between dark folk and melancholic-electric avant-garde. His albums are appropriately entitled “Howling Songs” or “The Broken Man”. Obviously trusting the two filmmakers Julien Fezans and Nico Peltier completely, the musician opens up and talks in disturbing clarity about God, the world, the role nightmares and episodes of depression play for his creativity, his sympathetic refusal to play the Angry Young Man in everyday life, and his hatred of political manipulation and despotism. By the way: the central chapter of this film bears the allusive title “The Howl”, which suggests associations with literature. We have good reasons to assume that some poses and gestures explicitly refer to Edvard Munch’s expressionist painting “The Scream”.

Ralph Eue