Film Archive

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German Competition 2015
Akt Mario Schneider

Nude models in Leipzig: nudity motivates reflections on injuries and human warmth. A declaration of love to life and bodies that wear their scars with dignity.

Akt

Documentary Film
Germany
2015
105 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Christoph Kukula
Mario Schneider
Cornelius Renz, Mario Schneider
Friede Clausz
Gudrun Steinbrück-Plenert
Mario Schneider
Johannes Doberenz, Christian Carl, Kai Hesselbarth, Frieder Wohlfarth
After his award winning Mansfeld trilogy Mario Schneider returns to Leipzig with a simply astonishing film. The basic idea is brilliant: on one level, it’s the story of three people who pose nude at the local art academy. This creates a point of intersection from which the film credibly moves in and out of the protagonists’ worlds while linking the work with art with the work of life. At the same time, the scenes where they pose nude invite us to contemplate the human body.

In these moments the stories we just followed – a childhood memory, the beginning of a love story – find surprising physical correspondences that invite us to take a look at ourselves. Another layer is added to this narrative structure, introduced by an art student who poses nude herself and is searching for the artistic expression of an old question: how does human closeness work? Intelligently deployed in the dramaturgy, this subject merges the individual narratives into a social experience that is artist Mario Schneider’s real motif. Multilayered, masterfully edited and timed and sustained by its excellent cinematography, “Naked Beauty” is a declaration of love to the human body that bears its scars with dignity.

Matthias Heeder
German Competition 2015
Atl Tlachinolli Alexander Hick

Mexico City, a juggernaut of millions of inhabitants, fighting for survival. Its counterpoint is the mythical Axolotl, which does not undergo any metamorphosis but is losing its biotope. A bold portrait of a city.

Atl Tlachinolli

Documentary Film
Germany,
Mexico
2015
76 minutes
subtitles: 
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

University for Television and Films Munich, Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica, A.C.
Alexander Hick
Juan Pablo Villa
Alexander Hick
Julian Sarmiento
Alexander Hick, Ileana Villareal
You don’t have to be a zoologist to understand Alexander Hick’s fascination with an animal singularly adapted to the formation of myths. The axolotl, a caudate, refuses to metamorphose. It will not go ashore but prefers to remain in the water as a larva and still manages to breed and regrow limbs. Even its heart and brain regenerate! The only problem is that its habitat has vanished. An 8-million metropolis is now rising where there used to be water: Mexico City. Alexander Hick asks how humans treat the conquered paradise through insistent images full of cultural historical, religious and mythological references. In fragmented parallel episodes he sketches the inhabitants of this megacity and their struggle for survival. Violence and corruption have hollowed out everything: the family, the institutions, the state. The film does not give us any faith in their self-“regeneration”. On the contrary.

So the axolotl, worshipped by the Aztecs, is the last witness of an oppressed and abused landscape and an age when humans were still capable of building advanced civilisations. An intelligent – in the noblest sense of the word – essay film, and the bold portrait of a city.

Cornelia Klauß
German Competition 2015
Café Waldluft Matthias Koßmehl

Now that the Italian tourists no longer come refugees live in this hotel in the idyllic Bavarian Alps. Their lives intersect, sometimes as comedy, sometimes as tragedy. A different kind of “Heimatfilm”.

Café Waldluft

Documentary Film
Germany
2015
79 minutes
subtitles: 
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Matthias Koßmehl
Matthias Koßmehl
André Feldhaus
Bastian Esser
Andreas Nicolai
Matthias Koßmehl
Till Wollenweber
Tourists used to come by the busload for their place in the sun at the beautiful Café Waldluft, at least during their well-earned holidays. For the past two years, though, the long-established hotel in Berchtesgaden with its view of the “fateful mountain” of the Germans, the Watzmann and its foothills, has accommodated guests from other regions of the world: they came from Syria, Afghanistan or Sierra Leone and have certainly not chosen this alpine idyll freely. Their stay as asylum seekers consists of endless waiting, tiring visits to administrative offices, being homesick and worrying about relatives.

The dynamics in the small town have also changed. But if Matthias Koßmehl opens his film with a traditional Bavarian costume parade in slow motion his only motive is to eliminate the expectations raised by this stereotype. Instead he takes a sober but open-hearted look at the encounters that actually happen in this strange place. There is Mama Flora, the owner, who trusts in God and takes care of each of her protégés, and there is the East German cook who has found her elective home here. Chance encounters with regulars or hikers and the everyday coexistence at the house match a whole range of intersecting lives. The Watzmann, covered in clouds or clearly visible, is always on the horizon. A documentary “Heimatfilm” in which the term home has many facets.

Lars Meyer



Award winner of the DEFA Sponsoring Prize 2015

German Competition 2015
Der Kuaför aus der Keupstraße Andreas Maus

The NSU nail bomb attack that injured 22 people in Cologne in 2004, where only the victims were suspected later. Complex reconstruction of a scandal.

Der Kuaför aus der Keupstraße

Documentary Film
Germany
2015
92 minutes
subtitles: 
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Herbert Schwering, Christine Kiauk
Andreas Maus
Maciej Sledziecki
Hajo Schomerus
Rolf Mertler
Maik Baumgärtner, Andreas Maus
Ralf Weber
Wednesday afternoon was deliberately chosen. There were a lot of customers in front of and in the brothers Özcan and Hasan Yildirim’s barbershop on 9 June 2004, when 700 three-inch carpenters’ nails turned into projectiles with a 250 metre range. 22 people were injured. The attack was infamous; the course of the investigations was equally scandalous: the victims were suspected. CCTV material was not analysed and Federal Minister of the Interior Otto Schily decisively ruled out a right wing background. It was only in 2001 that this crime was solved in the course of the revelations concerning the right wing extremist terrorist “National Socialist Underground” group. The trial continues until the present day.

Ten years after the Cologne nail bomb attack, director Andreas Maus focuses on giving a voice to those whom nobody wanted to hear for a long time. He deploys narrative strategies to establish a distance in order to expose how systematically matters were hushed up, suppressed and denied. Documentary and re-enacted material are interwoven, actors perform next to affected persons, spaces are reconstructed. Maus overwrites the hackneyed televised images with his own visual inventions. The camera stops, the look at the audience freezes. One is tempted to ask what exactly is supposed to come after the “culture of welcome”?

Cornelia Klauß
German Competition 2015
Fastentuch 1472 Bernhard Sallmann

The Zittau Lenten Veil as a Bible comic. Stories, the study of pictures and a reflection about faith and seeing. The conscientious examination of an artefact.

Fastentuch 1472

Documentary Film
Germany
2015
93 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jens Körner
Bernhard Sallmann
Jürgen Kurz
Andreas Bergmann
Christoph Krüger
Harald Kögler, Christoph Krüger
Klaus Barm
A Franciscan film in attitude, theme and style: a cinematic approach to the Great Zittau Lenten Veil and the biblical legends painted on it. Plus: an essay about the origins of this particular form of imagery in occidental history and culture. Plus: a briefing on the precarious present existence of this 8.2 m high and 6.8 m wide veil in the Holy Cross Church in Zittau.

“Lenten Veil 1472” is a pleasantly old-fashioned attempt to enter into the various realities of this artefact by different approaches. No less pleasant is the instructive tone pervading this work. It is as educational as the eleven simple stories (which seem to disregard every rule of plotting ever invented) that make up Roberto Rossellini’s “The Flowers of St. Francis” (1950). At the time the critics were extremely divided between those who thought it “ancient” and those who thought it “ultra-modern”. In any case, the film must have seemed like something from another planet when it was released. “Lenten Veil 1472” may divide audiences in a similar way. One could quote Pier Paolo Pasolini in this context: “One should always bear in mind that one of the first and foremost tasks of the artist is to have no fear of being unpopular.”

Ralph Eue
German Competition 2015
Herr von Bohlen André Schäfer

Arndt von Bohlen und Halbach, last scion of the Krupp dynasty, gay eccentric and an outsider all his life. Somewhere between documentary and fiction, trash and tragedy.

Herr von Bohlen

Documentary Film
Germany
2015
90 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Marianne Schäfer
André Schäfer
Ritchie Staringer
Andy Lehmann
Fritz Busse
André Schäfer
Maximilian Pellnitz, Thorsten Czart, Alexander Czart, Christian Hermanns
The contemporary German documentary film, too, incorporates media trends: in “Herr von Bohlen Private”, the boundaries between fiction and reality, re-enactment and authentic archive material are blurred. The director states this clearly at the start of the film: “We are making a documentary that’s not really a documentary, or a feature film that’s not a feature film.” The casting of the right actor for the protagonist is part of the film’s narrative, as are the statements of his contemporaries and friends. The story is that of Arndt von Bohlen und Halbach (1938–1986), last scion of one of the great German noble families: the Krupp dynasty, whose guns killed countless people in two World Wars. For his family and milieu the gay playboy was always an exotic bird who voluntarily renounced his inheritance. Abundant quotes from the German tabloids provide the basis for re-enacted scenes that open up access to the life of an outsider. The film takes us on a journey to the 1970s – when Paragraph 175 still made homosexual acts between males a crime – and reveals the life of a lonely eccentric in search of love and recognition.

Zaza Rusadze
German Competition 2015
Könige Hristiana Raykova, Lisa Block

They used to be called vagabonds: people who live on the streets for freedom’s sake. Not victims but self-determined. A film about life plans and searching.

Könige

Documentary Film
Germany
2014
83 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

FB2 Medienproduktion Hochschule Ostwestfalen-Lippe / pöapö filmproduktion
Hristiana Raykova, Lisa Block
Hristiana Raykova
Hristiana Raykova
Hristiana Raykova, Lisa Block
Lisa Block
Who wants to live in the streets? Not Michael. Faced with the eviction notice he swears: “That would be the most shameful thing for me. An insult to my existence.” Ben, Knüppel and Chris disagree. For them the streets represent self-chosen freedom: a deliberate rejection of the “semi-detached”, dropping out of the system, anarchy. They resemble the “Vagabonds” who founded a movement in the 1930s, though the film makes it clear that a lot must happen before someone takes this step. Hristiana Raykova’s and Lisa Block’s subject is not “homelessness in Germany”, nor misery or poor victims and least of all compassion (or, if at all, for the semi-detached). The film neither idealises nor sugarcoats anything as it examines life plans and the existential question: what is happiness? Being able to leave whenever you want? Or perhaps having a safe haven and security after all? The protagonists aren’t too sure about this, as we learn. But who is?

And so this is primarily a film about searching. For a “donation of small change”, a place, a meaning. Consequently, the camera restlessly follows the “Kings” through the cities which we learn to see with new eyes. No, this is not about “beautiful” images. But, for example, about the interesting question Knüppel raises: can a man with a job still be a good punk?

Grit Lemke
German Competition 2015
Parchim International Stefan Eberlein, Manuel Fenn

A small airport in Mecklenburg and a Chinese investor with a great vision. Provincial farce and intelligent culture clash comedy between Parchim and Beijing.

Parchim International

Documentary Film
Germany
2015
93 minutes
subtitles: 
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Kathrin Lemme
Stefan Eberlein, Manuel Fenn
Eckart Gadow
Manuel Fenn
Antonia Fenn
Stefanie Saghri
Stefan Eberlein
Urs Krüger
Parchim is surrounded by a “flourishing landscape” consisting mainly of rape fields. North of Berlin (“near Hamburg”, says Mr. Pang), far removed from the world and economic growth. Mr. Pang, the Chinese multi-millionaire, is going to change this. Because Parchim has a small, formerly military airport whose landing strip is populated by rabbits instead of airplanes. Mr. Pang has visions, and global air traffic is the smallest among them: business centre, brand temple, artificial mountains, hotels, hundreds of jobs, thousands of shops, millions of customers, billions of sales – wealth for everyone from Parchim to Beijing, which is something the politicians in this economically underdeveloped region dearly love to hear. But while Mr. Pang travels up and down the world to woo financially powerful investors, the mills of Mecklenburg grind slowly and the fire brigade continue to mow the lawn on the empty plot. “Next year we’ll start on a grand scale”, says Mr. Pang and keeps running …

Stefan Eberlein and Manuel Fenn pull off a solid balancing act between culture clash comedy and provincial farce, never exposing their plot or protagonists to ridicule. They take particular care to avoid presenting Jonathan Pang as “the Chinese” by giving him depth and some tragic aspects, too. The hackneyed term “upswing” is given a new dimension – even if they are still waiting for it in Parchim.

Grit Lemke



Honorary Mention in the German Competition 2015