Film Archive

(Be)Longing

Documentary Film
France,
Portugal,
Switzerland
2014
77 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Luís Urbano
João Pedro Plácido
João Pedro Plácido
Pedro Marques
João Pedro Plácido, Laurence Ferreira Barbosa
Hugo Leitão
Uz, a hamlet in the north of Portugal, is home to about 50 people. Four generations, including the filmmaker João Pedro Plácido’s grandparents, so there’s reason to assume that he was emotionally involved with this project long before the first take was even a remote possibility. In Uz time passes as if clocks didn’t exist. Few things happen, lots of things are going on. The elements provide the rhythm. The story of village life over the course of a year develops organically between cattle drives, an overturned dung cart, harvest and the feast on the day the animals are slaughtered, between vespers and fireworks, confession and longing. The characters, too, develop quite naturally. There’s even a boy-meets-girl story which gradually emerges from the flow of events between Daniel, the youngest lad in this village community, and a young woman from nearby. It’s a touching moment when Daniel thinks about what kind of relationship a guy like him can probably expect from the future – that is “ordering” a Thai or Brazilian bride on the Internet. Even more touching is the fact that he (and the Brazilian or Thai) are spared this fate, at least for the time being. The film portrays people and events with sober tenderness, beautifully balanced between precise observation and sparing poetry.

Ralph Eue
Next Masters Wettbewerb 2015
A Summer Love Jean-François Lesage

Glaring neon lights, pounding Techno rhythms, lying in the grass, talking and dancing … the midsummer night’s dream of a group of adolescents, a sensuous feast.

A Summer Love

Documentary Film
Canada
2015
63 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jean-François Lesage
Jean-François Lesage
Gold Zebra
Jean-François Lesage, Marianne Ploska
Mathieu Bouchard-Malo, Ariane Pétel-Despots
Jean-François Lesage
Bruno Bélanger, Alexis Pilon-Gladu, Aude Renaud-Lorrain
Bright neon colours are reflected in the faces of young people in a nocturnal park. The rhythms of electronic music can be heard from a distance. In the darkness big trees can be discerned whose branches grow high into the sky and which stand there as if they were guarding the young people lying in the grass. After a while they dance... and talk... a lot. Sometimes you feel like you’re in one of those French black and white films from the 1960s where people also talk incessantly. French is also spoken in this work by the Canadian director Jean-François Lesage – the main subjects are nothingness, and love. We hear a young man’s poetic off screen comment: “Love exists anyway.” The digital generation obviously has a lot to think and talk about concerning relationships and romantic dramas. The neon lights show them the way through a nocturnal nature, into the uncertain future of adulthood. Watching this is a sensuous experience.

Zaza Rusadze
Next Masters Wettbewerb 2015
Brumaire Joseph Gordillo

The last French coal miners in charismatic photos. The present day holds only precarious jobs for the young generation. The end of work in suggestive images.

Brumaire

Documentary Film
France
2015
66 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Juan Gordillo, Martine Vidalenc
Joseph Gordillo
Hervé Birolini
Laetitia Giroux
Dominique Petitjean
Cynthia Gonzalez
Sandrine Mercier, Christian Lamalle
When the last French coal mine in Lorraine was closed in 2004, Joseph Gordillo had already gone down many times with the miners to photograph them and capture his own fascination for this underground world in the pictures. He portrays the mine as a living cosmos the workers are part of. Even in individual portraits they stay a part of the whole. Their charisma is visible in their shining eyes, their strength in the group.

In his film Gordillo reworks the photographic material, reconstructing the age of mining through pans, processed images and abstract sound collages. A former miner lends his voice – a vivid field report and flow of thoughts.

But Gordillo’s theme is not work in the past but its social significance. And so he adds a second voice, that of a young woman, a miner’s daughter. She can still be proud of her father but no longer of herself. Her life as a cleaning woman in a town marked by decline is captured in its sterility and lack of perspective. The step away from the solidarity and identity of the miners leads directly into isolation. With noticeable consequences: de-politisation, unemployment, a shift to the right. In suggestive images, the film portrays the autumn of the work society over two generations.

Lars Meyer

Cinema, Mon Amour

Documentary Film
Czech Republic,
Romania
2015
74 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Tudor Giurgiu
Alexandru Belc
Tudor Vladimir Panduru
Ion Ioachim Stroe
Alexandru Belc, Tudor Giurgiu
Vlad Voinescu
Victor Purice definitely deserves a medal as a “Hero of Socialist Labour”. Witnessing the desperation, the vigour, the persistence with which he keeps fighting for his cinema brings tears to the eyes. The “Dacia” Panorama Film Theatre, somewhere in the Romanian province, a concrete beauty with several hundred seats, a good-sized foyer and solid 35 mm projection equipment is on the brink of failure. It shares the fate of many Romanian cinemas; there are less than 30 left. The others were privatised, sold off, turned into amusement arcades or discotheques, even the film studio sold many of them. What nonsense – just as we are celebrating the new golden age of Romanian cinema in our part of the world!

But Victor Purice and the small staff he has left will not be driven out of their dream cinema that easily. They live and cook among film reels, turn the foyer into a table tennis hall and watch a Hollywood blockbuster alone, if need be. All this is narrated affectionately and full of admiration for this modern Don Quixote who is fighting mismanagement, digital progress and a broken heating system. The price he pays is high. It’s to be feared that this story will not have a happy ending. Mission: Impossible.

Cornelia Klauß
Next Masters Wettbewerb 2015
Dead When I Got Here Mark Aitken

An asylum for the mentally ill in Juárez, Mexico, where the ex-junkie Josué takes care of the castaways. An amazing ballad of difference and loss, violence and caring.

Dead When I Got Here

Documentary Film
Mexico,
UK
2015
72 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Mark Aitken
Mark Aitken
Mark Pilkington
Mark Aitken
Sibila Estruch
Alex Bryce, John Thorpe
At first sight Josué looks like an ageing heavyweight boxer who found his way back to life – and his vocation – after a knockout. We are at “Visión en Acción”, a home for the mentally disturbed on the outskirts of Juárez, Mexico. A violent city in which Josué wasted his life as a heroin junkie. Six years ago they dumped him here, half-dead. At “Visión en Acción” there are no doctors or nurses, there’s not enough money, only a kind of self-administration run by the inmates. They opened their arms to Josué and healed him. He has lived here ever since and managed the home with the dedication of a man who crossed a border and was brought back to serve his fellow humans in the spirit of charity. “Visión en Acción” is an amazing place, whose daily routines Mark Aitken shows us in very factual images. The situations need no spectacular highlights, they speak for themselves: of being mentally different, of loss, caring and the violence of the city. At the same time this point of view forces us again and again to recognise our own limits in the face of abnormalities. That’s one of the things Josué teaches us, who, in some shots, doesn’t look like a boxer at all but rather like a slumped, thoughtful Buddha.

Matthias Heeder
Next Masters Wettbewerb 2015
Strange Particles Denis Klebleev

Quantum physics mean everything to Konstantin, but, alas, his students are more interested in girls. The loving portrait of a man who doesn’t fit into this world.

Strange Particles

Documentary Film
Russia
2015
52 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Denis Klebleev
Denis Klebleev
Denis Klebleev
Denis Klebleev
Denis Klebleev

Konstantin, an introverted young scientist, is tasked with familiarising the adolescents in a summer camp with physics. Denis Klebleev puts Konstantin at the centre of his observations and image compositions. There is almost no shot in this film that doesn’t live and breathe through the strong presence of this charismatic and weird oddball. The camera lingers on him, apparently uninterested in the environment in which the hero of the films seems to be drifting aimlessly back and forth. Konstantin’s thoughts perpetually revolve around quantum theory. He is obsessed with the idea of being able to explain the world by it somehow. All the more frustrating for him when he gradually finds out that the adolescents in the camp refuse to share his passion. Isolation drives him into a corner. The narrative space gets smaller, too, and Konstantin’s thoughtful and nervous face begins to dominate the screen. “Strange Particles” is a portrait that also stands for the suffering of everybody who believes: strongly, sometimes in something unexplainable that can’t be proved. An existential question. Zaza Rusadze





Honorary Mention in the Next Masters Competition 2015


Next Masters Wettbewerb 2015
The Amina Profile Sophie Deraspe

A Syrian blogger who becomes a media star during the revolution, a lesbian online relationship, a crime. An enigmatic puzzle revolving around Social Media, hype and hysteria.

The Amina Profile

Documentary Film
Canada
2015
75 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Isabelle Couture, Nathalie Cloutier
Sophie Deraspe
Sam Shalabi
Sophie Deraspe
Geoffrey Boulangé, Sophie Deraspe
Frédéric Cloutier

In old fairytales the children get lost in the forest, today people get lost in the depths of the Internet. A young woman, Sandra from Montreal, begins an online relationship with the Syrian blogger Amina. The digital flirt becomes a romance, erotic fantasies are inspired and exchanged. When the Syria insurgency breaks out in 2011, Sandra encourages Amina to report on her daily life. The international media lap it up in a knee-jerk reaction: “A Girl from Damascus” reporting from the chaos of the war, a tender female voice in the midst of ever more confusing frontlines, and “gay” to boot. Then Amina is kidnapped. What fits into the media’s preconceptions and leads to an international search operation becomes Sandra’s private mission – and obsession. But suddenly the trail goes cold … Canadian filmmaker Sophie Deraspe helps Sandra deconstruct the case which turns out to be a highly complicated mix of hype and hysteria. She confronts her material in a complex and fluid narrative that captures the superimpositions of reality and fiction, media reality and projection, desire and revolution, leading the audience into a labyrinth at whose exit an almost trivial but all too human insight is waiting for us. Cornelia Klauß


Next Masters Wettbewerb 2015
The Dangerous World of Doctor Doleček Kristýna Bartošová

A young director with Bosnian roots and the famous Dr. Doleček, half Serbian, denier of Srebrenica and a friend of Ratko Mladić. An inquiry with absurd elements.

The Dangerous World of Doctor Doleček

Documentary Film
Czech Republic
2015
75 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Kristýna Hněvsová, Dagmar Sedláčková, Tomáš Michálek
Kristýna Bartošová
Jakub Rataj
Kristýna Bartošová
Šimon Hájek
Kristýna Bartošová
Lukáš Ujčík
A film about Dr. Rajko Doleček – but how and to what purpose? A public figure as a doctor in Czechia, he appeared in the Yugoslavian war as a spokesman for the Serbian nationalistic view of the world. Even today the Knight of the Orthodox Church is proud of his friendship with General Ratko Mladić, about whom he wrote a book. Could it be possible at all to wrest some insight from this denier of the Srebrenica massacre – namely that he is wrong? The young director embarks on a delicate mission. Both are Czechs with roots in Yugoslavia. She has her Bosnian side, he his Serbian one. But the two are unequal opponents in terms of experience and social rank. What Kristýna Bartošová expected least, however, was that Doleček would disarm her with his openness, even introduce her to his friends. So she makes her doubts the content of this film as she ingeniously depicts the ambivalent relationship with her protagonist. She bakes him, who was fighting calories on television, a rich cake and takes him on a journey through the Republika Srpska, where his strategy of denial begins to look absurd. By exposing the limitations of her own film project she also exposes his limitations – and the limits of any historical (or documentary) search for truth.

Lars Meyer
Next Masters Wettbewerb 2015
Train to Adulthood Klára Trencsényi

Three children from Budapest on their way to adulthood: where the families struggle with poverty and the parents are absent, the pioneer railway provides security. A sensitive coming-of-age drama.

Train to Adulthood

Documentary Film
Hungary
2015
79 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Julianna Ugrin
Klára Trencsényi
Andor Sperling
Márton Vízkelety, Klára Trencsényi
Judit Czakó
Klára Trencsényi
Rudolf Várhegyi

The pioneer railway where children can be engine drivers or conductors, sell tickets or dispatch trains used to be the dream of every boy (and many girls) between Leipzig and Vladivostok. The Budapest twins Viktor and Karmen and their friend Gergő, too, operate old fashioned switches, levers and telephones, line up for the flag ceremony and sing the old hymn around the camp fire: “The pioneers’ land is full of happy tunes …” What could easily have been an exercise in sugary and phony nostalgia unfolds as a nuanced and sensitive coming of age drama – and not a happy one. Because the three of them, all on the threshold of adulthood, must shoulder responsibilities not only at the railway: they were confronted with the tough reality of capitalism at an early age. The twins’ single mother works hard but earns hardly enough to buy food, and the family are losing the roof over their heads. As for Gergő, he lives with his grandparents because his parents are forced to work abroad and he must decide whether this will be his future, too. Klára Trencsényi shows a world in which a relic from the past is the only thing that offers security on the road to the future, while all the institutions that are supposed to do this are absent. The image of the rolling train as a symbol of longing acquires a different meaning – a bitter railway romanticism. Grit Lemke





Golden Dove Next Masters Competition 2015


Next Masters Wettbewerb 2015
TransFatty Lives Patrick O'Brien

At the age of 30, DJ TransFatty gets the fatal diagnosis: Lou Gehrig’s disease … and henceforth points the camera at himself. A chronicle of decay – sarcastic, self-deprecating, bad, wild, off-beat. Wheelchair Punk.

TransFatty Lives

Documentary Film
USA
2015
84 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Patrick O'Brien, Michele Dupree, Amelia Green-Dove, Darin Hallinan, Marcia Mohiuddin, Doug Pray
Patrick O'Brien
Bradford Reed
Ian Dudley
Lasse Jarvi
Augenblick Studios, Inc.
Patrick O'Brien, Lasse Jarvi, Doug Pray
Lenny Schmitz

The author, director and protagonist of this moving “art project of my existence” was 30 when he was diagnosed with ALS. A degenerative nerve disease that switches off one muscle after the other until the patient finally suffocates. Only the brain remains intact to the last breath. Patrick, an anarchist underground filmmaker and known as DJ TransFatty to millions of online fans, points the camera at himself from the moment of diagnosis. Writing an imaginary letter to his son whom he fathered – incredible enough – when he was already half-paralysed, he tells the story of his increasing deterioration as a kind of travelogue. Memories of a past life depicted in clips from earlier, wilder films are disrupted by images of incipient paralysis until the narrative is completely focused on the now. Despite the increasing loss of control this now is an enormously busy place, also in terms of artistic creation, and brings us what must be the weirdest wheelchair sequence in recent documentary cinema. At the same time, doubts, lover’s grief or political comments are built into this chronicle in such a tongue-in-cheek and gaily sarcastic manner that the image of the paralysed body disappears behind the creative spirit determined to communicate with the world. The wonderful thing is that Patrick O’Brien really translated his life into a work of art. Matthias Heeder





Young Eyes Film Award 2015


Next Masters Wettbewerb 2015
Wedding: A Film Mohammadreza Farzad

Wedding films aplenty. A sugar coated children’s fantasy. Archive, amateur and own material, splendidly edited: reflections on a strange ritual.

Wedding: A Film

Documentary Film
Iran
2015
57 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Mohammadreza Farzad
Mohammadreza Farzad
Majid Mohammad Gholi
Farahnaz Sharifi
Mohammadreza Farzad
Mehrshad Malakouti
This film features weddings galore. Or rather, wedding films galore. Including Mohammadreza Farzad’s, who converted the material into a poetic essay about that strange custom of attaching a form and regulations to romance. It comes as no surprise that he had just gone through a divorce, which provided the occasion for this occasionally subversive meditation on the (according to the advertising) “most important day in a woman’s life”. A pure media fake (have you ever seen a bride falling down the stairs?), reality in wedding films is a child’s sugarcoated fantasy. Or isn’t it?

The director gleefully searches the material for signs of future breakups. This ramble through generations of weddings keeps offering brief glimpses of life outside, whose exclusion (evil reality, politics, war) in wedding films chains happiness firmly to the inside world, the family. A speculation: what would have happened if Farzad had followed his rebellious imagination on the day of his wedding? There would have been no divorce, this much is certain, but no reason either to make this film. A successful mixture of archive, amateur and own film material in brilliantly edited sequences, a private wedding loop and food for thought galore, “Wedding: A Film” is also a reflection about the burden of personal decisions.

Matthias Heeder