Film Archive

Next Masters Wettbewerb 2018
Animus Animalis (A Story About People, Animals and Things) Aistė Žegulytė

For animals killed in a hunt death is the start of an existence as objects. Mounted to look lifelike they are being exhibited – and looking at you.

Animus Animalis (A Story About People, Animals and Things)

Documentary Film
Lithuania
2018
69 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Giedrė Burokaitė
Aistė Žegulytė
Gediminas Jakubka
Vytautas Katkus
Mikas Žukauskas
Aistė Žegulytė, Titas Laucius
The trees are covered in thick snow. A peaceful group of hunters tramp through the forest. At night they celebrate their kill. A group of men sworn to their own ethics of the dignity of all creatures. It’s only in the death of the opposite they aimed at that they find respect for the existence of the killed game, for which this violent end of life is the beginning of an existence as an object. Mounted and worked on with extreme skill until they once more resemble the vibrant “before”, the carcasses are processed and made suitable for the human eye and its desire to feast on things. Former but never quite gone deer, muskrats and birds look at you.

The line between the life and death of these animals seems to get blurred in the course of the film, only to be drawn even more strongly. The adoration of the wilderness of tamed nature in rituals of presentation made for humans clearly follows different logics than the comfortable and presentable one of keeping pets. Dead eyes do not look back.

Fabian Tietke


Nominated for the MDR Film Prize

Next Masters Wettbewerb 2018
Cinema Morocco Ricardo Calil

Homeless persons occupy the formerly glamorous cinema palace in São Paulo. A theatre workshop recalls the building’s past – and creates projection surfaces for broken biographies.

Cinema Morocco

Documentary Film
Brazil
2018
76 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Eliane Ferreira, Pablo Iraola
Ricardo Calil
André Namur
Loiro Cunha, Carol Quintanilha
Jordana Berg
Ricardo Calil
Flávio Guedes, Ricardo Pinta
A strange newsreel report is all that recalls the glamorous past of the Cine Marrocos in São Paulo today. We see Irene Dunne, Erich von Stroheim and Abel Gance at the International Film Festival of Brazil 1954, walking up the red carpet to the opulent cinema palace, and Fubuki Koshiji stumbling and “revealing her delicate eastern foot” (original voiceover). Forty years later the twelve-floor building was suddenly empty, for two decades. When the announced renovation didn’t happen, a community of homeless people squatted there in 2013. At times more than 2,000 people from 17 countries lived in the gutted and graffiti covered ruin.

At the initiative of the eponymous film project, films from the first festival year were screened in the re-opened cinema and a theatre workshop was founded where the actor-squatters worked on iconic film scenes, for example from “Sunset Boulevard”, “La Grande Illusion”, “Julius Caesar” and “Sawdust and Tinsel.” On the backdrop of imminent eviction, the film documents the theatre work, “co-written” by broken biographies and resulting in cinematographic re-enactments. Norma Desmond, Marc Anthony, the circus rider Anne and the fighter pilot Maréchal literally become projection surfaces – for experiences as varied as war trauma, depression, disgust of affluence and post-colonial alienation.

Esther Buss



Golden Dove in the Next Masters Competition Long Film

Next Masters Wettbewerb 2018
Denisa, a Story of a Friend Mária Brnušáková

All Denisa really wants is love. She’s been looking for it in men ever since she was a teenager. Mária Brnušáková has filmed her friend over a couple of years – the portrait is rough.

Denisa, a Story of a Friend

Documentary Film
Slovakia
2017
53 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Academy of Performing Arts – Film and Television Faculty
Mária Brnušáková
Mária Brnušáková
Mária Brnušáková, Tomáš Holocsy
Mária Brnušáková
Mária Brnušáková
There’s not only love but also the craving for love. Denisa, a young Slovak woman, is craving it, as she explains right at the start: “I want love. Not money, cash, bucks … Just love, that’s it.” Denisa wants to be in a relationship with a man at all costs, and she has very precise ideas of what he should look and be like: one of them resembled a member of the Kelly Family, before she fixated on police officers. All her relationships are bumpy. The first also produced a little boy whom Denisa loses sight of after separating from his father. Mária Brnušáková’s long term portrait is rough and unadorned. While we first meet Denisa as a giddy teenager who considers cooking for her husband a fun way to pass the time, the young woman’s attitude changes over the years. A special sense of humour and a certain indomitable air stay the same, though: at first Denisa struggles to win the men’s love, but the focus of her fight later shifts to re-establishing contact with her son.

Carolin Weidner


Nominated for the MDR Film Prize

Homo Botanicus

Documentary Film
Colombia,
France
2018
88 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Nicolás Van Hemelryck, Clare Weiskopf, Pierre-Emmanuel Urcun, Guillermo Quintero
Guillermo Quintero
Violeta Cruz
Guillermo Quintero
Julie Borvon, Guillermo Quintero
Guillermo Quintero
Marc-Olivier Brullé
A professor and his master student set out to explore the untouched tropical Andes Mountains. The eminent botanist Julio Betancur has already collected more than 19,000 species of plants and archived them in a giant herbarium in Bogotá that he keeps expanding, assisted at the moment by his young follower Cristian. The director, Guillermo Quintero, was a student of Betancur more than fifteen years ago before he studied philosophy in Paris and later turned to filmmaking. He still feels respect for his former mentor today, and fascination for the seemingly anachronistic and romantic scientist’s view of the rich flora. The filmmaker follows the unusual pair, commenting events from offscreen as an outside observer. We detect admiration for their passion, but also doubt about their meticulous collecting. Is this kind of classification of nature still in keeping with the times?

In his debut film Quintero allows himself to be pulled into the eddying timelessness of the tropical forest. Varied and artful shots of the fauna show a surprisingly different and mystic view of Colombia, communicating the image of a country with a budding film industry whose authors devote themselves predominantly to political or personal conflicts.

Annina Wettstein

Nijolė

Documentary Film
Italy,
Lithuania
2018
79 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Dagnė Vildžiūnaitė, Max Chicco
Sandro Bozzolo
Lina Lapelytė
Sandro Bozzolo
Silvija Vilkaitė, María Cecilia Reyes
Maria Cecilia Reyes, Sandro Bozzolo
Vytis Puronas
Antanas Mockus was Mayor of Bogotá, several times Colombian presidential candidate, and voted into the senate in 2018. But this film is not about the politician, but about his 88-year-old mother, the idiosyncratic artist Nijolė Šivickas. She has consistently protected her private life from the public eye, agreeing only reluctantly to media interviews. Even her son knew almost nothing about her Lithuanian childhood. In her artistic practice, but also emotionally, she had turned her back on her homeland.

Now Nijolė has been invited to give a workshop on the occasion of a great retrospective in Vilnius. The film follows her and Antanas on this journey. It’s basically a son’s look at a mother whose independence and critical social spirit were his constant inspiration. Sandro Bozzolo and his team approach their protagonists with restraint, adapt the montage to their rhythm and focus on the rooms of their creative work, on Nijolė’s meetings with Antanas and their journey home together, which moves both deeply. The son takes his mother by the hand, as does this story of an outer and inner journey with the audience. Which events continue to shape one’s life and which had better be forgotten?

Annina Wettstein


Nominated for the MDR Film Prize

Next Masters Wettbewerb 2018
Sentenced to Death Ahmad Jalili Jahromi

A group portrait of confident female criminals in Iran: neither charismatic bad girls nor victims of circumstances, but women with soft spots and hard edges, beyond familiar stereotypes.

Sentenced to Death

Documentary Film
Iran
2018
48 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Didar Shomali, Ahmad Jalili Jahromi
Ahmad Jalili Jahromi
Abbas Sarafraz
Sajjad Avarand, Ali Baghaei
Ahmad Jalili Jahromi
Ahmad Jalili Jahromi
Ensiyeh Maleki
A group portrait of evil women in Iran. One of them, Marjan, has been a drug dealer since childhood. She was imprisoned for gang crimes in conjunction with armed robbery and kidnapping. With other inmates, some of them convicted for murder, she founded a theatre group that was allowed to perform outside the prison, too. The work bound the women together, changed their perspectives and priorities, but did not turn them into new persons. Nor did it effect any delays in the execution of verdicts – including death sentences. During rehearsals, one of the actors, Safieh, learns that she will be executed on the next day.

Director Ahmad Jalili Jahromi meets his protagonists on equal terms, appoints himself neither lawyer nor judge, and certainly not the women’s probation officer. It’s astounding how the filmmaker manages to steer his narrative around the stereotypes of tragic victim or charismatic gangster moll and equally astounding how little effort is made in this film to court reflexive affection or compassion. Not to belittle affection and compassion, but especially in the cinema they are no more than reflexes and, as such, easily activated. “Sentenced to Death” chooses the harder path.

Ralph Eue

Stress

Documentary Film
Germany,
USA
2018
83 minutes
subtitles: 
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Florian Baron, Herbert Burkert
Florian Baron
Yunas Orchestra, Jana Irmert, Fatima Camara
Johannes Waltermann
Clemens Walter
Florian Baron
Jana Irmert, Linus Nickl, Nils Vogel-Bartling
The trauma of 9/11, the ideology of violent retribution, military service as a patriotic family tradition, the “unfairness” of today’s warfare – in their voice-overs, five young Afghanistan war veterans first establish familiar foundations. Joe, Torrie, Mike, James and Justin from Pittsburgh are slow to show us their faces. Physically unharmed but full of inner pain they have become the misunderstood upon their return. Their violent experiences speak a language that the people at home don’t understand.

“Stress” finds an artistic approach that impressively emphasizes the spoken word with all its unmistakeable signals of emotions and produces a physical experience of the tension of a permanent state of alarm in all its complexity. An extremely slow camera and sound follow the verbal descriptions of war experiences with everyday scenes, like a somnambulistic nightmare, creating plastic almost-still lives where everything can be looked at from every side but still remains intangible. They reveal a life behind glass and in a leaden time that moves inexorably forward but allows no real progress. The coda of this intoxicating and oppressive composition reverberates for a long time: it’s Torrie’s conviction that ultimately the army is still a good place to grow up.

André Eckardt


Awarded with the DEFA Sponsoring Prize for an outstanding long German documentary film
Nominated for the Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize

Next Masters Wettbewerb 2018
Symphony of the Ursus Factory Jaśmina Wójcik

The evocation of a lost way of living and working. The phonosphere of heavy industry, re-created by means of tractors, compositions and body memories.

Symphony of the Ursus Factory

Documentary Film
Poland
2018
61 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Zuzanna Król
Jaśmina Wójcik
Dominik Strycharski
Kacper Czubak, Jakub Wróblewski
Aleksandra Gowin
Jaśmina Wójcik, Igor Stokfiszewski
Dominik Strycharski
The symbolic revival of the glorious age of Polish agricultural machine production. The long-established Ursus company was once among the biggest of its kind in the whole of Europe. When communism collapsed, though, the fate of Ursus was sealed, too. Today the factories are in ruins and to thousands of former employees their own working biography seems no more than a distant, even alien shadow.

A few years ago, a group of choreographers, musicians and filmmakers around the artist Jaśmina Wójcik began to contact former Ursus workers and employees. All participants were astonished to realise how much, in uncontrolled moments, the protagonists’ past activities influenced, even controlled their body language. Body memory, it seems, was better trained than cognitive memory. The resulting film, a documentary re-enactment, is a performance structured according to musical rules. As actors of themselves, the participants play characters they once were in the reality of the factory. In the lamentable reality of today’s ruins, they ritually re-enact a former working day, culminating in a sumptuous tractor ballet that would be a credit to any big budget Hollywood musical.

Ralph Eue


Nominated for the Healthy Workplaces Film Award and the MDR Film Prize

Tan

Documentary Film
France,
Iran
2018
72 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Elsa Klughertz (Jonas Films), Ali Shirkhodaei (Reyhan Film)
Elika Hedayat
9T Antiope
Ali Shirkhodaei
Maxence Voiseux
Elika Hedayat
Amaury Arboun, Vincent Pateau
Elika Hedayat distinguishes between the bodies made available to her as models at drawing school and those she encounters in her mind. The former are maimed, sometimes monstrous, they have missing limbs and painful expressions on their faces. Hedayat begins to search for the real persons behind the figures her imagination is projecting on the walls of her skull. She meets Iranian men whose bodies were maimed and thus formed by war. But also men who increase their body mass by disciplined exercise, seemingly compensating for the lack of arms and legs of the others. The young woman is fascinated by the human, male body which she regards as potentially the result and imprint of a much bigger one – the social body. “Tan” is the filmic investigation of this connection which Hedayat grasps intuitively. Together with some of the protagonists she literally dives into the depths to look for the bottom, the reasons. The others’, but also her own.

Carolin Weidner

The Shape of Now

Documentary Film
Colombia,
Norway
2018
70 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Augusto Cesar Sandino, Emil Olsen, Manuel Correa
Manuel Correa
Simón Mesa Giraldo
Manuel Correa, Angelica Toro, John Jarlen Quiroz
Manuel Correa
Sebastián Munera, Manuel Correa, Francisco Londoño, Emil Olsen
Francisco Londoño, Emil Olsen
At first an insect works its way out of the ground – laboriously, trying to get its bearings, brushing the heavy sand from its wings. Coming out of the soil it pierces the surface of the planet and turns once around itself, exactly as if it was taking a look around the present it just crawled into. Manuel Correa’s experimental documentary is a lot like this industrious animal that has soil sticking to its body, whose eyes are still clouded and whose wings are still flapping slowly.

According to estimates around 200,000 people lost their lives in the 50-year Colombian civil war. Another 25,000 were kidnapped, many are still considered missing. When the peace deal between the government and the FARC rebels was made in November 2016, guns were banned from the conflict. But the country’s population have since faced the almost impossible task of having to agree on a common past. “The Shape of Now” illuminates this strenuous process and thus Colombia’s leaden present from very different perspectives. And just like the people of this country – the survivors, the grieving mothers, the historians and experts – this film, too, is still in first orientation mode.

Lukas Stern
Next Masters Wettbewerb 2018
The Sleeping Land José Bautista, Alfons Rodríguez

This journey with the Trans-Siberian sounds like a concept album, a driving, sometimes raw mixture of sounds and songs, carried by a frozen soil and those who walk on it.

The Sleeping Land

Documentary Film
Spain
2017
64 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

José Bautista, Alfons Rodríguez
José Bautista, Alfons Rodríguez
José Bautista
Alfons Rodríguez
José Bautista
José Bautista, Alfons Rodríguez
José Bautista
This land can be heard before it is seen, approaching by taps and hums, announcing itself in harsh rhythms and tinny sounds. A journey with the Trans-Siberian Railway, a distance of 10,000 kilometres, is also a musical one. The passengers meet singing women who dream of living in Manhattan, sharing their secrets with Demi Moore and acting in a Tarkovsky film. They meet a guitar player with a mouth full of gold teeth who believes that he sees a light behind his feverish delirium. The images are colourless but very close, faces are there to be explored, colours and patterns of the iris, lips, teeth, the texture of skin. What is the meaning of calm? Everybody has a different answer to this question. At the same time the film itself refuses to calm down, does not permit itself any rest. It doesn’t rush either but rather surrenders to a groove that takes it from city to city where it meets the local artists, musicians and failures. “The Sleeping Land” is a jam session taking us through a frozen but far from paralysed Russia.

Carolin Weidner