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

International Programme 2013
Men at Work Kesang Tseten

A boy at play, a mechanic, a Buddhist Monk, and a soldier in training – masculinity, work, and social environments in Nepal, quietly and precisely observed.

Men at Work

Documentary Film
Nepal
2013
66 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Kesang Tseten
Kesang Tseten
Arjun Sen
Gairik Sarkar, Kesang Tseten
Sankha Biswajit, Kesang Tseten
Kesang Tseten
Sukanto Majumdar
Kesang Tseten, a documentary filmmaker from Nepal who had two films at DOK Leipzig before, has united several films in one this time. In four stylistically and dramatically diverse episodes, he examines everyday life and work processes. They revolve around the theme of “Men at Work” in a mixture of meditation, interview, observation, and investigation.
There’s an observation of a boy on a terrace who is dedicatedly washing laundry while he frequently casts curious glances at a few other boys who are playing football. The next location is a garage where old car bodies that have really seen better days are welded together and polished with stoic patience. Kesang Tseten takes us to a priests’ school next, to which mostly boys from poor families are sent to prepare for their lives as priests. Hard work and suppressed tears are their daily bread.
Last in this round is a look at a post-colonial relic, the Ghurkha. Many young Nepalese men still regard it as the highest honour to be recruited as a soldier of the British armed forces: not just a job, a mission.

Lina Dinkla
International Programme 2013
On the Art of War Luca Bellino, Silvia Luzi

The long struggle of a group of Italian workers for their factory: occupation, strike, and back-breaking civil war manoeuvres. A complex investigation between hot agitation and cold analysis.

On the Art of War

Documentary Film
Italy,
USA
2012
85 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Giovanni Pompili, Margherita Di Paola, Claudia Antonucci
Luca Bellino, Silvia Luzi
Nicolò Mulas
Vania Tegamelli, Giorgio Carella
Luca Bellino
Luca Bellino, Silvia Luzi
Paolo Benvenuti, Stefano Grosso, Marzia Cordò
On 31 May 2008, a quiet and sunny Sunday, the staff of a heavy metal assembly plant in Milan-Lambrate met for a picnic. They had hardly unwrapped their sandwiches when a short message from the then current owner, who had bought the plant only in 2006, reached them: “We have decided to cease all activity as of 31 May 2008.”
Luca Bellino’s and Silvia Luzi’s film sheds light on the 50 workers’ long struggle, which started with the occupation of the facility on the same day, led to continued production under a worker’s management and, after the factory was cleared by the police for the first time, resulted in an open-ended strike in front of the factory gates to prevent the secret removal of the machinery. Finally, on 2 August 2009, a large number of police attacked the strikers in a civil war-like operation, upon which five of them seized an industrial crane on the grounds and occupied it for several weeks. The activists’ determination triggered a broad wave of international support and attracted a lot of media attention, which finally contributed to a long-term resolution of this conflict. Bellino and Luzi manage to create a complex cinematic investigation of an intense, real-life example of anarcho-syndicalist theory and practice in Italy, supremely balanced between hot agitation and cold analysis.

Ralph Eue
International Programme 2013
Opel Efficiency Andy Michaelis, Erik Wittbusch

Opel factories in Europe, closed down in the West, re-opened in the East. A calm long-term observation of four workers in Antwerp. Profit seeking and powerlessness.

Opel Efficiency

Documentary Film
Germany
2013
75 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Andy Michaelis, Erik Wittbusch
Andy Michaelis, Erik Wittbusch
Andy Michaelis, Erik Wittbusch
Peter Badel, Andy Michaelis, Gisela Tuchtenhagen, Erik Wittbusch
Peter Badel, Andy Michaelis, Erik Wittbusch
Andy Michaelis, Erik Wittbusch
Efficiency is the killer argument in our economic system. If you can’t keep up, make way. But why companies that are in the black are closed down cannot be explained by this logic.
Pablo, Nico, and Els, who assemble cars at Opel’s Antwerp plant, and Rudi, their union representative for 28 years, have worked efficiently, too. But General Motors can make higher profits in Eastern Europe – so the Antwerp plant is demolished. Andy Michaelis and Erik Wittbusch accompanied this process for over five years in the tradition of Klaus Wildenhahn and with the collaboration of Gisela Tuchtenhagen. They map its complexity, visiting other Opel plants in Portugal and Germany and talking to new Polish Opel workers. The latter especially dispels all romantic notions of the possibility of solidarity across national borders. The recurring conversations in Antwerp, too – first in the factory, then private –, are sobering. There are sadness and anxiety about the future, anger, too, but most of all there’s a fatalistic submission and a point when this end is seen as a new beginning. “That’s life.” What sticks in the mind are moments like the one when the union representative, asked about the workers’ options for action, breaks into maniacal laughter.

Grit Lemke

Second Class

Documentary Film
Lithuania,
Sweden
2012
60 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Elisabeth Marjanović Cronvall, Marta Dauliūtė
Marta Dauliūtė, Elisabeth Marjanović Cronvall
Elisabeth Marjanović Cronvall
Elisabeth Marjanović Cronvall
Thomas Jansson
The balancing act that filmmakers meeting their protagonists have to perform is well-known as a path strewn with snares, frustration and surprises. Patience is the prime virtue and a certain degree of empathy also helps. Marta Dauliūté and Elisabeth Marjanović Cronvall meet a group of young Lithuanian men aboard a “Swede ferry” and decide to make a film about these migrant workers. The men refuse, mostly because they do not understand what’s interesting enough about them for two women to fill a whole film with. They don’t want to confirm the stereotype of the migrant worker and feel no inclination to feed the media-induced sympathy machine. A documentary about earthquakes, that’s something they could understand. But about them?
Marta and Elisabeth are not deterred; they drink and dance with the men – and despite their initial resistance, their “subjects of study” gradually begin to acquiesce. Despite their aggressive refusal and stereotypical macho behaviour, the women with the camera manage to scratch their facades after a while and expose – disguised as flirty posing – their innermost thoughts. The result is an attentive study that lays bare a whole series of current social injustices while also providing a clever commentary on the specifically female look at a male object.

Lina Dinkla

Super Women

Documentary Film
Israel
2013
79 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Yael Kipper
Yael Kipper, Ronen Zaretzky
Eyal Shechter, Menny Barzilay
Avigail Sperber
Tor Ben Mayor
Eyal Shechter, Menny Barzilay
Avigail Sperber
Trolleys rattle, the cash till beeps and the loudspeakers ceaselessly advertise special offers. In acoustic terms alone the things the cashiers of a supermarket in Tel Aviv are forced to endure are an imposition. If you do this job, underpaid and right at the bottom of the social scale, you don’t have much to lose – at least that’s what the boss thinks. He constantly plagues the shift supervisor with suggestions and orders on how to cut more wages, save more staff, promote competitiveness, or make working hours more flexible. While one feels how the noose around the women’s necks – most of them Russian immigrants and single mothers or 55 plus – is tightening …
By precise observation and structuring, Yael Kipper and Ronen Zaretzky manage to achieve a social study of great clarity and emotion. Moments of intimacy and closeness when the women talk about their problems in the breakfast room or smoke a cigarette by the delivery entrance alternate with the monotony of a thoroughly automated working world. In which the women, who were once Julia, Maya, Nella, Ella, and Levana, are reduced to cheap human resources. The film gives them back their dignity, not just by showing their world as what it is (too): great cinema. The fairy tale- (and fiction-)like ending explains “Super Women” of the title, compared to whom the hero with the “S” on his chest is a pale little manikin.

Grit Lemke



Honorary Mention in the International Competition Documentary Film 2013