Film Archive

Baek-gu

Documentary Film
South Korea
2017
83 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Yuri Lee
Boram Kim
Boram Kim, Chohyun Na, Jeonghyn Mun Junho Kim Jaehong Koh, Jaehon Choi
Boram Kim
A limping old dog lives in a shed in a quiet district of Seoul. If it was human it would be called a hermit. One day the director notices the dog and becomes curious. She talks to neighbours, passers-by, playing children, who all crossed paths with this dog but never noticed it, or came to some banal conclusion and then forgot it again. Their statements are as diverse as witness statements after an accident: if an identikit picture or psychological profile were assembled from them it would be a magnificently grotesque creature – perhaps a hybrid of Quasimodo and the donkey from Bresson’s “Balthazar”.

In the course of the film, though, the statements respectively narratives respectively narrators themselves become more and more interesting. It seems as if every person there (only there?) lives in their own, separate world, rarely intersecting with the worlds of the others. A universe of melancholy. Who can tell what the director’s intention may have been at the start? She may simply, and rightly, have trusted that detours increase your local knowledge. Or followed the aphorism of the great Berlin pub-poet Jürgen K. Hultenreich: “Goals are in the way.”

Ralph Eue



Golden Dove Next Masters Competition

Next Masters Wettbewerb 2017
Delta Oleksandr Techynskyi

Deep winter in the Bukovina in the thinly populated Danube delta: the season of the tough reed harvest. In this inhospitable and remote region, spirituality offers a sheltering home to the community.

Delta

Documentary Film
Germany,
Ukraine
2017
80 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Yulia Serdyukova, Gennady Kofman, Kirill Krasovski
Oleksandr Techynskyi
Oleksandr Techynskyi
Marina Maykovskaya
Oleg Golovoshkin
The thinly populated Danube delta in the Bukovina is situated at the EU’s exterior border on Romanian and Ukrainian territory. Far from the container ships on the main stream a network of tributaries branches out in an endless reed forest. Warm and cold browns alternate in the shifting light of midwinter. Walls of fog and grey water blur the horizon. Men cut their way through the high canes to harvest the reed. The camera pushes them to the edge of the frame. The strictly limited sharp focus sometimes turns them into strangers in an unreal landscape by which they are occasionally absorbed. It’s cold and wet as they cut the huge reeds, gather them in massive bunches and carry them across ice channels. The work is hard, the voices of the rural workers rough, the daily grind that must be survived is tough. In the pathless, wild isolation of this region, the orthodox faith offers shelter. Hectic and chaotic, buckets and bottles filmed from up close scoop the holy water out of the river. At the last benediction the village mourns by chanting, tightly packed around the deceased – the spiritual rituals of a small, isolated community encircled by the veins of the mighty Danube. Oleksandr Techynskyis haptic film captures the closeness in this wide expanse.

André Eckardt



Honorary Mention Next Masters Competition;
Nominated for MDR Film Prize, Healthy Workplaces Film Award, Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize

Next Masters Wettbewerb 2017
Farewell Essay Macarena Albalustri

An intimate film essay about the death of one’s mother and the development of personal forms of mourning everyone has to find/invent for themselves to cope with painful losses.

Farewell Essay

Documentary Film
Argentina
2016
79 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Macarena Albalustri, Tomás Dotta
Macarena Albalustri
Odín Schwartz
Tebbe Schöningh
Iara Rodríguez Vilardebó
Macarena Albalustri, Tomás Dotta
Sofía Straface, Lucas Larriera
Conversations in a veterinarian’s waiting room: Liza, director Macarena Albalustri’s over-ten-year-old cat, doesn’t eat any more. The imminent death of a beloved pet evokes memories of another loss, that of her mother, who died ten years ago and whom Albalustri hardly remembers. As she is coping with the grief over her cat, buried feelings and questions are uncovered again, an emotional search begins. Using photos, letters and objects from her childhood, the director tries to re-awaken memories – in herself and in others. She talks to persons who were close to her mother, to the latter’s friends and her father. She even manages to find the psychotherapist consulted by her mother at the time. The conversations are always about coping with loss, dying and one’s own death. It’s a very intimate film essay about saying farewell, about developing rituals and personal forms of mourning which everyone has to find and invent for themselves to deal with the pain of farewell.

Frederik Lang
Next Masters Wettbewerb 2017
Funeralopolis. A Suburban Portrait Alessandro Redaelli

Two young men in a town near Milan who challenge life itself, love and death. They risk themselves because everything else seems even riskier.

Funeralopolis. A Suburban Portrait

Documentary Film
Italy
2017
94 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Barbara Guieu
Alessandro Redaelli
Ruggero Melis
Alessandro Radaelli
Daniele Fagone, Ruggero Melis, Alessandro Redaelli
Daniele Fagone, Ruggero Melis, Alessandro Redaelli
Michele Benedetti
Losing senses is often the path to finding meaning. Drug paraphernalia in the tiny dirty train toilet. Cut. A belt around a thin upper arm. Fade to black. A needle hanging from a vein. Fade to black. A trickle of blood on the arm. Can you use the water here to wash yourself? Better not. We meet Vash and Felce between Bresso, Sesto San Giovanni and Milan. Vash is younger than Felce, cheerful, with his hair in something that makes him look “like a mushroom”. Felce used to study architecture. They make music, party and take drugs.

Alessandro Redaelli used to shoot juice commercials featuring colourfully dressed and laughing young people. But in this film there are no colours. Some laughing though – and crying. Everything races past and we don’t know where. This “suburban portrait” deals with vanities and fashion, provocation and the right timing. Redaelli insists that his film is not about heroin and definitely not an educational film about the consequences of addiction. To him it’s a film about two friends looking for a meaning in life.

Carolin Weidner
Next Masters Wettbewerb 2017
Granny Project Bálint Révész

Three grandsons embark with their grannies on an anarchic journey into the past – a complex road movie about intergenerational dialogue in Great Britain, Hungary and Germany.

Granny Project

Documentary Film
Hungary
2017
90 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

László Kántor, Bálint Révész
Bálint Révész
Albert Márkos
Ruben Woodin Dechamps
Károly Szalay
Bálint Révész, Meredith Colchester, Ruben Woodin Dechamps
How does memory work? How can experiences be handed down from generation to generation? How does the act of narration change the experience? Three young men and their grannies go on a quest for their historic and personal legacy. There’s the British spy with a bone-dry sense of humour, the Hungarian communist who survived the Holocaust and the German dancer whose look back turns out to be the most difficult.

Unlike many recent documentaries which focused on conversation and raised their protagonists on a pedestal of awe, the “Granny Project” takes a different approach: playful, not afraid of confrontations, sometimes silly and seconds later honest and emotional. An unconventional attempt of the grandchildren’s generation to ask, on a different level, questions that drove their parents to the streets in the 1960s. This film neither aims to be antagonistic nor accusatory. Instead it’s a perhaps naive but no less necessary attempt to understand the other. When the three grannies sit around a table with their grandsons and various interpreters we realise that two things at least are necessary to really bring the past and present in contact with each other: an honest interest in one’s opposite party and a good translation.

Luc-Carolin Ziemann



Award winner of the MDR Film Prize;
Nominated for Young Eyes Film Award

Next Masters Wettbewerb 2017
Paulistas Daniel Nolasco

Somewhere in the Brazilian savannah Paulistas is struggling to survive. The rural region has lost its youth and the abuse of nature has left it cracked, but its soul still colours everything.

Paulistas

Documentary Film
Brazil
2017
76 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Matheus Peçanha, Lidiana Reis, Daniel Nolasco, Thiago Yamachita, Aline Mazzarella
Daniel Nolasco
Larry Sullivan
Will Domingos
Daniel Nolasco
Jesse Marmo
Somewhere in the Central Brazilian savannah Paulistas is scraping by. The rural region has lost its youth, the houses are cracked, but it has preserved its dignity. Meadow, river, sparsely furnished interiors – like the landscape and the environments the sounds and images of this film expand gently, but with impressive power. Quiet, superbly framed shots and perfectly timed sounds portraying farm work and daily routines say what they have to say without becoming garrulous. In the midst of desertion they reveal a warmth kept alive by the inhabitants.

“Paulistas” may sing their praise but it doesn’t glorify anything. The televised philanthropic assurances of the operators of the nearby dam crumble like the damaged houses made uninhabitable because people meddled with nature. And then it’s July and the young people return briefly for the holidays. The mobile phone into which love messages are typed shines like a star in the nocturnal cornfield, the motorcycle leaves a curved line of dust running along the whole width of the summer meadows. A motif of hard to describe sounds somewhere between machine metal and brass instruments is heard. Paulistas is marked by circumstances, but its soul still colours everything.

André Eckardt

Project 55

Documentary Film
Argentina
2017
73 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Miguel Colombo
Miguel Colombo
Miguel Rivarola
Alejandra Almirón, Miguel Colombo
Miguel Colombo
Jorge Gutiérrez Jiménez
A historic Argentinean event, the bombing of the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires by the military in a coup d’état on 16 June 1955, is haunting a filmmaker’s nightmares, though he was only born in 1978. As if the ghosts of national history had recruited him, who never saw a war in his life: as a medium to work through this trauma. He and some colleagues initiate a project of audiovisual basic research. How can one translate and communicate the experience of war at all? Or, in other words: is history a stream or a pile? The film discourse of “Project 55” seems like the slow fabrication of thoughts by talking or filming. And if this reminds anyone of Heinrich von Kleist it’s neither coincidental nor intentional but inevitable. The journey of this film goes from Buenos Aires via Vietnam and nuclear arms tests back to family history – or rather that part of history that is yet to be written by future generations.

Sounds rather cerebral? Certainly! But whoever started the rumour that films should be made from the hip? There is some sense in every sensuality – and not just in the words.

Ralph Eue
Next Masters Wettbewerb 2017
The Strange Sound of Happiness Diego Pascal Panarello

The Sicilian Diego, plagued by existential crises, is haunted by a vision: the image of a Jew’s harp. His search for the history of this instrument takes him into deepest Siberia.

The Strange Sound of Happiness

Documentary Film
Germany,
Italy
2017
89 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Edoardo Fracchia
Diego Pascal Panarello
Bartolomeo Sailer
Matteo Cocco
Enrica Gatto, Carmen Kirchweger
Alvise Renzini
Diego Pascal Panarello
Danilo Romancino, Michael Haesters, Sorin Apostol
After twenty years, the failed musician Diego returns to his Sicilian hometown of Augusta with no money, job or perspectives. In a dream he has a vision of a Jew’s harp, called Marranzano in Italian. The half vibrant, half buzzing sound of this small musical instrument echoes in the chant of the omnipresent cicadas – and in the sound of an electric shaver. After some initial research at the local souvenir shop, Diego soon finds himself in freezing Yakutia, where the Jew’s harp is called Khomus and considered a lucky charm. In Siberia Diego also meets the most famous Khomus player in the world, a generally respected blacksmith with a striking resemblance to the master from “The Karate Kid”, and learns about the rich mythology of the instrument. People say, for example, that one of the best Marranzani flew into space one night to be played by a Russian cosmonaut. Diego’s research on the universal history of the Jew’s harp merges with the story of his personal pursuit of happiness, while his journey is driven in equal measure by self-questioning, ethnographical interest and associative enthusiasm.

Esther Buss



Honorary Mention Next Masters Competition;
Nominated for Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize

Next Masters Wettbewerb 2017
The Wolf and the Seven Kids Elena Gutkina, Genrikh Ignatov

Father and son live in a house on the edge of the forest. An unusually close look at their daily life which nonetheless – or perhaps because of this – does not yield a general view.

The Wolf and the Seven Kids

Documentary Film
Russia
2017
52 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Elena Gutkina, Genrikh Ignatov
Elena Gutkina, Genrikh Ignatov
Elena Gutkina, Genrikh Ignatov
Elena Gutkina, Genrikh Ignatov
Elena Gutkina, Genrikh Ignatov
Anna Voskoboynikova
It’s as if a curtain was pushed aside. But there is no long shot of the stage or any interaction discernible from the distance. In Elena Gutkina’s and Genrikh Ignatov’s film we’re very close to everything. Very. As if a camera had focused on the interior of a doll’s house, standing fixedly still on thresholds and waiting, or lurking in front of a bed. The frame is just big enough to show the lower body and thighs. This is what we get for a while: a young man pulling up his underpants and pulling them down again, making sounds, perhaps singing.

Gutkina and Ignatov take their time. And so do the two men in whose world they are staying, albeit not moving. A father and his adult son, living in a shabby house on the edge of a forest. It’s hard to know what’s going on here. But something is going on, all the time, this much we know: fingers move, hands grasp. The unusual framing makes the content look abstract, even though everyday life is observed here. Gutkina and Ignatov offer no answers to the question of what to make of it.

Carolin Weidner


Nominated for MDR Film Prize

Toward a Common Tenderness

Documentary Film
Bosnia-Herzegovina,
Japan
2017
64 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Shinji Kitagawa
Kaori Oda
Mono Fontana
Kaori Oda
Kaori Oda
Kaori Oda
Kaori Oda
A young Japanese woman in Bosnia-Herzegovina. She is both subject and object of a poetic film research in a foreign land. Attempts to inscribe herself into unfamiliar daily routines. Nomadic invididuality on lonely outposts. What could easily have become self-satisfied introspection is shown in “Toward a Common Tenderness” as a deficient state of being that must be cracked open. The camera becomes the filmmaker’s physical and spiritual tool to capture her own story, her current human and geographical environment and a path through life that may or may not result from this.

Kaori Oda’s film has a mysterious beauty, a beauty on uncertain terrain. Perhaps it most resembles the kind described by Robert Bresson in his “Notes on Cinematography”: “The beauty of your film will not be in the images (postcardism) but in the ineffable that they will emit.”

Ralph Eue

Wall

Documentary Film
Israel
2017
64 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Michal Weits, Moran Ifergan
Moran Ifergan
Moran Ifergan
Moran Ifergan
Shahaf Wagshall
“I know how lonely Jerusalem can be. And with all your depressing beliefs about how hard life is and how all men cheat. It doesn’t have to be that way, Mori. Come to Tel Aviv, you can see the sun and make your films here.” Moran Ifergan’s mailbox is full. Relatives and friends worry about her. Her marriage has failed and faith didn’t work out either. But she doesn’t want to go to Tel Aviv, she wants to stay in Jerusalem, where she films the Western Wall and all those who approach it: men on one side, women on the other.

Moran Ifergan takes her camera close to the wall, shows its cracks stuffed with prayer notes. Mountains of scribbled-on paper that must be removed with sticks later. How do the contents differ on the two sides that are themselves separated by a kind of wall? And what is that wall between Ifergan and her mother, who considers her daughter’s lifestyle an imposition? This film is a personal testimony communicated through recorded phone calls as well as the very intimate look of its maker. A film full of solidarity and curiosity, but also defiance.

Carolin Weidner