Film Archive

Countries (Film Archive)

German Competition 2013
Art War Marco Wilms

Art as a weapon! Graffiti on Cairo’s walls as a medium of rebellion, Egyptian underground artists as the chroniclers of events. A frenzied trip through colours and rhythms.

Art War

Documentary Film
Germany
2013
87 minutes
subtitles: 
German
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Marlen Burghardt, Marco Wilms
Marco Wilms
Ramy Essam, Bosaina and Wetrobots, Tonbüro Berlin
Marco Wilms, Abdelrhman Zin Eldin, Emanuele Ira, Bashir Mohamed Wagih, Ali Khaled
Stephan Talneau
Mohamed Khaled
Marco Wilms
Art is a weapon! This motto still holds true in Cairo. After 30 years of autocracy, President Mubarak was swept away by his people. Now the street belongs to them, the young rebels and artists. Graffiti sprayers and painters make the walls speak. They recount the days of fighting in blood-smeared portraits, the time of anarchy in wild collages, the attempts of liberation from a suppressed sexuality in obscene pictures. Walls become a chronicle of the rush of events; electro pop and rap supply a thrilling soundtrack. Euphoria is followed by overpainting and destruction. Snipers are at work, aiming at the protesters’ eyes. The revolution is no more romantic than this underground art, whose aim is to provoke and take risks, is accommodating.
In one episode, director Marco Wilms draws a line back to the historic murals of the age of the Pharaohs. In a country with a high illiteracy rate, such traditions become a tried and tested medium of revolt. In a wild tour de force through the past two years of permanent and radical upheavals, “Art War” shows the dangerous dance on the volcano as a trip driven forward by the colours and rhythms of the Egyptian painters and musicians.

Cornelia Klauß



Honorary Mention in the German Competition Documentary Film 2013

German Competition 2013
Caracas Maximilian Feldmann

The chronicle of a psychological disorder, told by relatives and friends. The formally rigorous portrait of a family and a society in which everyone has to function.

Caracas

Documentary Film
Germany
2013
54 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jana Beyer
Maximilian Feldmann
Marcel Walter
Luise Schröder
Anne Goldenbaum
Maximilian Feldmann
Dominik Leube
The distance between Germany and Caracas is about 8,000 kilometres as the crow flies. At first glance, this seems enough to forget everything that might sicken the human soul in our part of the world. Even if he doesn’t remember exactly why, Maximilian Feldmann was there, as proven by the few pertinent shots in his film. As for the rest, he decided to find his interlocutors in his home country of Germany and confront them only with the cause of his journey. To this end, he places them in slightly “crazy” frames. “We didn’t think it was an illness for a long time”, a lady says directly into the camera. Another man talks about authenticity as the theme of life. The film only gradually reveals the true identity of these people, to whom you feel surprisingly close, through the way they deal with a disorder. Taking a very personal problem as the point of departure, a formally stringent, in fact authentic portrait of a family emerges and, beyond that, a haunting image of our society. That was definitely worth the journey.

Claudia Lehmann
German Competition 2013
Das kalte Eisen Thomas Lauterbach

Weapons in Germany: riflemen and collectors, the parents of the Winnenden victims, a gunsmith with a sense of professional honour. A multi-faceted examination of guilt and responsibility.

Das kalte Eisen

Documentary Film
Germany
2013
89 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Florian Fickel
Thomas Lauterbach
Christian Biegai
Gunther Merz
Ana R. Fernandes
Thomas Lauterbach
Thomas Lauterbach
The volume of arms seized or turned in and annually destroyed by Baden-Württemberg’s arms disposal service is said to be measured in tons. It’s a measure taken to minimize violence, or at least “opportunity” – such as the one taken by a 17-year-old boy in March 2009 when he took his father’s gun to his former school and killed 15 people. Jana Schober and Nina Denise Mayer were among the victims. Jana’s father and Nina’s mother have been actively working to support the destruction of firearms ever since. The amateur shooters, hunters and gun collectors, though, are rather sceptical, sometimes even angry, about this so-called “review of Winnenden”. And then there is the local gunsmith, who makes excellent precision firearms and suffers because nowadays, as he says, his profession is more despised than a prostitute’s. Thomas Lauterbach takes a close look at the personal concerns of his protagonists, giving us extraordinary insights into the different perspectives on the issue. His film examines very diverse facets of the question of guilt and responsibility. But above all, he finds astonishing ways to shake up a specific view of life.

Claudia Lehmann
German Competition 2013
Die Welt für sich und die Welt für mich. Bernhard Sallmann

Travelling along the Danube on the traces of August Strindberg. Text fragments against a backdrop of natural spectacles, colour scales, and light reflexes in a thoughtful essay about fear, desperation, and madness.

Die Welt für sich und die Welt für mich.

Documentary Film
Germany
2013
45 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Bernhard Sallmann
Bernhard Sallmann
Hans Peneder
Bernhard Sallmann
Christoph Krüger
Bernhard Sallmann
In these parts, the Swedish writer August Strindberg is known primarily for his plays. And yet for a long time he was also an equally unrecognized and ostracized novelist, painter, photographer, scientist, and alchemist, periodically obsessed with occultism, hallucinations and paranoia. He escaped the contemporary press who derided his works and imminent trial by fleeing abroad. In Berlin, Strindberg met Frida Uhl, a young journalist. When they expected a child they sought refuge on her grandparents’ manor, idyllically situated on the banks of the Danube. But soon this place turned out to be a curse, Strindberg’s Golgotha.
The episode inspired this thoughtful essay by the Austrian, Berlin-based director Bernhard Sallmann. As in his earlier films, he focuses on nature as a metaphorically charged resonance chamber of human actions. In this case, the Danube is completely detached from its concrete geography. In long shots that savour space and time to the full the river unfolds its whole repertoire of natural spectacles, colour scales and light reflexes, which in turn serve as reflections of Strindberg’s mental hardships – extreme peaks between fear, desperation, and delusion. In the meantime, narrator Judica Albrecht combines fragments from his books “The Cloister” and “Inferno” in a haunting voice-over.

Cornelia Klauß
German Competition 2013
Holanda del Sol Daniel Abma, Florian Lampersberger

Dutch pensioners at the Costa Blanca: singing lessons at the rest home, dancing teas with paper hats, callisthenics on the beach, looking at the sea, waiting. Old age in carefully composed images and dialogues full of slightly absurd humour.

Holanda del Sol

Documentary Film
Germany
2013
45 minutes
subtitles: 
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Holger Lochau
Daniel Abma, Florian Lampersberger
Lucía Martínez
Florian Lampersberger
Gesa Jäger
Anna Yamamoto
One should always carry one’s testament – in Spanish, if possible. A language not necessarily spoken by those who spend their twilight years or at least the cold season at the Costa Blanca. It’s enough, at a pinch, to occasionally intone “Bésame mucho” at the regular singing lessons with the other residents, though usually a strictly religious repertoire is cultivated and the ladies’ party is altogether quite devoted to our Lord. They look at the sea, thoughtfully exercise their old bones and new hips on the beach, meet for dancing teas or trips, celebrate carnival with party hats, discuss whether they’re allowed ice cream with the nurse, and wait for death.
Last year, film student Daniel Abma demonstrated a remarkable sense of social contexts and a highly developed documentary intuition with “Beyond Wriezen”. Now he has collaborated with Florian Lampersberger to produce a touching look at old age in the affluent society, in carefully framed images and episodes full of wry humour. The Dutch pensioners who populate the skyscraper universe of Benidorm lack nothing. And yet this film shows us a world where a piece of chocolate and a hug are the greatest, maybe the only, joy.

Grit Lemke
German Competition 2013
Land in Sicht Judith Keil, Antje Kruska

Asylum seekers in the East German provinces: red tape, officialise, depression, the search for jobs and women. Cultural misunderstandings with a lot of comic potential.

Land in Sicht

Documentary Film
Germany
2013
93 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Sonia Otto, Arek Gielnik, Dietmar Ratsch
Judith Keil, Antje Kruska
Michael Beckmann
Marcus Winterbauer
Calle Overweg
Judith Keil, Antje Kruska
Frank Bubenzer
Paradise does have its downsides. Unlike the biblical Christians who want to enlighten him, Brian, an asylum seeker from Cameroon, has hopes for this life – and that’s clearly situated in Germany. Unfortunately he has ended up in Bad Belzig in Brandenburg, where there’s little excitement except for an amateur belly dance group and a marching band. He has no “useful” country of origin to show for – right now there’s no war in Cameroon, only a lack of opportunity. The Yemenite soldier Abdul, who would rather carry arms in civilian life and work in security, is in a similar situation. Farid from Iran for his part can’t go back for political reasons and can’t bring his family over without residence status.
Three open-ended fates which the two directors accompany with their usual thoroughness over the course of a year in their fourth film together as they attempt to understand the wordings of the employment agency and the red tape jungle, and to find a German wife, if need be. Preferably one who doesn’t just guarantee a right of residence but also knows how to cook. Bad Belzig turns out to be a stroke of luck for the film, since the East German province shows a lot of comic potential in its touching attempts to help the foreigners. The intercultural misunderstandings in particular highlight our German “paradise”, which is founded solely on paper.

Cornelia Klauß



Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize 2013

German Competition 2013
Majubs Reise Eva Knopf

Majub, UFA’s black man-of-all-work, and his road from popular bit player and womanizer to concentration camp inmate. Film history as colonial history, a narrative full of heartbreakingly beautiful ideas.

Majubs Reise

Documentary Film
Germany
2013
48 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Simon Buchner, Christoph Arni
Eva Knopf
John Gürtler
Rainer Hoffmann
Anne Glossmann
Eva Knopf
It’s extremely unlikely that anyone remembers the name of Majub bin Adam Mohamed Hussein aka Mohamed Husen. Majub, born in Darussalam and a German colonial soldier in the First World War, was a popular extra and bit player in 1930s German cinema. When the films of the Nazi era called for a black character, it was usually Majub who was cast alongside Hans Albers, Heinz Rühmann or Zarah Leander.
Meticulously researched facts, circumstantial evidence and the reflections they give rise to (recited by Jule Böwe) form the energetic centre of this amazing biography of the African Majub on the background of German film and colonial history. Majub, who died in Sachsenhausen in 1944, is part of German cinema’s sky-full of stars. You won’t see him from a distance, because then you will only notice the light of the “A-list” artists whose big names are usually enough. But if you come closer and the B- and C-category stars begin to twinkle, each of them shining forth as part of a constellation, the world will open up wide and art will be enriched. In that sense, director Eva Knopf’s idea to have her film begin in an observatory is heartbreakingly beautiful.

Ralph Eue
German Competition 2013
One Fine Line Jo-Anne Velin

An impressionistic road movie on the trail of a concentration camp prisoners’ death march through Lusatia and Saxon Switzerland. A low-key and delicately wrought reflection about home.

One Fine Line

Documentary Film
Canada,
Germany
2013
65 minutes
subtitles: 
English
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jo-Anne Velin
Jo-Anne Velin
Thomas Beetz, Jo-Anne Velin, Erick Lignon
Katrin Dorner, Jo-Anne Velin
Jo-Anne Velin
Alexander Buck, Martin Steyer, Jo-Anne Velin
There used to be a satellite camp of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp on the grounds where the Schwarzheide BASF plant’s parking lot is today. In April 1945, the SS sent 1,000 prisoners on a death march from here through Lusatia and Saxon Switzerland to Bohemia. Only 200 of them survived, among them the father of the Canadian Jo-Anne Velin who lives in Berlin today. Her journey through Eastern Saxony – a region removed from the big events but not untouched by history. Velin meets people whose families have lived here for generations and whose children are leaving to get jobs elsewhere. A search for traces beyond the crumbling memorial stones nobody notices any more. Or does the landscape leave traces in us? The director neither confronts nor insists, even when she finds herself in neo-Nazi strongholds. People talk freely about the NPD, saying that they only vote for them as a “cry for help”; a Nazi rally moves ghostlike into the frame. The camera is reserved, doesn’t judge, and Velin carefully arranges fleeting impressions in an image that shows home as a delicate structure.
The off-screen conversations between the director and her daughter revolve around the fine line, visualised in many ways, that ties us to the past. One day it fades away but remains inscribed in us. And sometimes it comes in the shape of a fracture.

Grit Lemke
German Competition 2013
Romanze o.T. Elke Margarete Lehrenkrauss

He keeps things, she throws them away. He’s the past, she’s the future. Can you rekindle a love that seems impossible? An intimate chamber play full of tragicomic verbal duels.

Romanze o.T.

Documentary Film
Germany
2013
58 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Elke Margarete Lehrenkrauss
Elke Margarete Lehrenkrauss
Axel Tenner
Elke Margarete Lehrenkrauss, Kirstin Schmitt
Elke Margarete Lehrenkrauss, Inka Gradinger
Elke Margarete Lehrenkrauss
Elke Margarete Lehrenkrauss
“I love you”, was the last thing Claudia said to her husband Hans-Otto before she moved out of their home in the suburbs and left him to himself. Ten years have passed, the swimming pool is empty, weeds grow out of every crevice, and the cellar is crammed with boxes, old appliances and small parts Hans-Otto keeps just in case. You never know what Granddad’s glasses might still be good for. But gradually the hermit realises that this house needs the orderly touch of a woman, or more precisely: his wife. He calls Claudia and she comes. But can a relationship be unthawed that was impossible even then? The basic differences between the two seem to have grown: he lives completely in the past, she in the future. They take the plunge anyway and start to tidy up. Their middle-class suburban home becomes the stage of an intimate chamber play full of tragicomic verbal duels. But the gestures and looks, which the camera doesn’t miss, say more than a thousand words, inscribed as they are with their common story, a positively prototypical story of a marriage in which there are many persistent misunderstandings and injuries – but also the unfulfilled desire to be there for another human being.

Lars Meyer
German Competition 2013
Schnee von gestern Yael Reuveny

How a Jewish concentration camp inmate acquired a new identity and became a citizen of the GDR ... The descendants’ complex search for traces, somewhere between the perspectives of victim and perpetrator.

Schnee von gestern

Documentary Film
Germany,
Israel
2013
96 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Melanie Andernach (Made in Germany Filmproduktion GmbH), Saar Yogev, Naomi Levari (Black Sheep Film Prod.LTD)
Yael Reuveny
Volker Bertelmann
Andreas Köhler
Nicole Kortlüke, Assaf Lapid
Yael Reuveny
Cesar Fernandez Borras, Alfred Tesler, Nilly Kalmar, Idan Shemesh, Dovilas Meilus
A young Israeli woman moves to Germany. “To the Diaspora!” her horrified parents exclaim, to the place where most of her relatives died in the Holocaust. But as a representative of the third generation, Yael Reuveny insists on her right to move without prejudice to a city that’s hip, and not just among Israelis. But she’s wrong. The past is hard on her heels. In Schlieben, a nondescript small town in Brandenburg, she comes across clues that lead to her grandmother’s brother, long believed lost. In a thoughtful, intricately interwoven montage that keeps circling the sore spots of her family history Reuveny shows how Feiv’ke first became Feiwusch and ultimately Peter Schwarz. The director tentatively interviews three generations, both in the land of the perpetrators and the land of the victims, running through the various points of view of the difficult discussion about reconciliation. Could it be that suppression is a necessary prerequisite of reconciliation? Feiv’ke did not go to Israel after the war. Of all places, he chose to live in the town where he had been a prisoner in a concentration camp. The barracks were unceremoniously converted and former guards became neighbours, even football mates, as a photo proves. They didn’t talk about the past but rolled up their sleeves to build a “better Germany”. There are still many questions, but perhaps it’s a good thing they weren’t asked before.

Cornelia Klauß



DEFA Sponsoring Prize 2013

German Competition 2013
The Special Need Carlo Zarotti

A young man who is urgently looking for a girlfriend and first sex. The only thing “special” is that he is autistic. A tragicomic road movie filmed with a sense of humour and a very light touch.

The Special Need

Documentary Film
Germany,
Italy
2013
84 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Henning Kamm, Erica Barbiani, Fabian Gasmia
Carlo Zarotti
Dario Moroldo
Julián Elizalde
David Hartmann
Carlo Zoratti, Cosimo Bizzarri
Andrea Blasetig
Enea is 27, a young man with ordinary needs. What’s unusual is his direct way of expressing them. He carries his desire for a woman like a banner. Enea is autistic and often unable to interpret the reactions of the girls he approaches in the street. And he has yet to learn that it won’t exactly be the dream girl from the magazine who will say yes. Since he never had sex in his life, his friends Alex and Carlo, the director of the film, want to help him. Together they embark in an old VW bus on a journey from Italy through Austria to Germany. Because there is a place there where people like Enea with a “special need” can literally feel their way towards sexuality.
Sex in our society is usually charged with high expectations. Many people have trouble separating fantasy from reality, sexuality from love. Consequently, the film does not treat Enea as a special case. It follows its protagonist with great empathy on this all-male summer trip which is to become a journey of discovery into the world of feelings for all three. The camerawork makes this road movie seem very natural, while an instinct for tragicomic scenes adds a light touch.

Lars Meyer



Golden Dove in the German Competition Documentary Film 2013

German Competition 2013
Verlorener Horizont Robert Bohrer, Emma Simon

Bolivia, a country without a sea-coast, prepares its navy for the final strike: a kind of toy army with lots of macho strutting. Hilarious and scary.

Verlorener Horizont

Documentary Film
Bolivia,
Germany
2013
69 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Eva Kemme, Tobias Siebert, Ansgar Frerich
Robert Bohrer, Emma Simon
Jan Maihorn
Emma Rosa Simon, Max Preiss
Kathrin Dietzel
Robert Bohrer, Emma Simon, Marian Kaiser
Florian Dietrich
“One day the sea died, from one coast to the other, folding up, shrinking, a coat that is taken away.” This lament intoned by the Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral in her poem “The Death of the Sea”, this poeticised phantom pain, could just as well come from Bolivia. The country lost its access to the sea more than a hundred years ago – because of Chile. Unlike Mistral’s poem, however, they do not regard the sea as lost. It has survived as a lost horizon, a locus of national longing. One day Bolivia will return to the sea. This motto is repeated like a mantra, in schools, celebrating “Ocean Day”, in navy training. Yes, Bolivia allows itself the luxury of a navy in preparation of this glorious day, an “armada”, even if it’s navigating Lake Titicaca instead of the Pacific. The film delves deeply into the workings of this myth by following a group of conscripts through their naval training. Quite a few manoeuvres navigate the limits of absurdity, for example when the special divers’ unit leap into the lake with a bold “For Bolivia, goddam!”, or when the female soldiers wear fake high heels with their navy uniforms. Scenes that could have been captured by the wayside, between discipline and reverie, add to the panorama of a “maritime” country in the Andes that sticks to old ideals while taking tiny steps towards modernisation.

Lars Meyer
German Competition 2013
Wo der Wind so kalt weht Janina Jung

A village in the Westerwald, discussions round the kitchen table: about home, about yesterday and today, about what’s familiar and what’s foreign. A polyphonic and atmospheric snapshot of provincial Germany, funny and bitter.

Wo der Wind so kalt weht

Documentary Film
Germany
2013
80 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Janina Jung, Herbert Schwering, KHM Köln
Janina Jung
Janina Jung
Quimu Casalprim i Suárez
Janina Jung
Janina Jung
“How cold the wind blows in our beautiful Westerwald”, the locals like to sing with tears in their eyes. But feeling at home in Germany can be a thorny issue, because this also is the song the Wehrmacht soldiers sang as they marched east. Perhaps that’s why it’s almost considered improper to make a film (apart from satires) about provincial Germany and its – usually considered backward – idea of home. In this respect, Janina Jung shows courage when she returns to her home village – she won a Golden Dove for this once before – without letting her views be clouded by emotional closeness or intellectual distance.
One senses a familiarity, though, for apart from impressions of the village over the course of a year, the film was shot exclusively at the kitchen table. You don’t invite strangers there, and you talk frankly. Jung interviewed various villagers – old and young, long-time residents and recent new arrivals, Germans and migrants – about the same themes: the village community and how it is changing, nature and landscape, money and job, love and marriage, language, tradition, and faith. An intelligent montage turns this into a polyphonic snapshot of the atmosphere in provincial Germany in 2013. Full of funny as well as bitter moments, which combine with the theme of strangeness that runs through the film to remind us how problematic it is: home.

Grit Lemke