Film Archive

Countries (Film Archive)

German Competition 2018
Der Esel hieß Geronimo Arjun Talwar, Bigna Tomschin

The island was a shared dream that failed. Now all its former inhabitants are bobbing up and down in the harbour on their little boats, mourning, scolding, analysing mistakes.

Der Esel hieß Geronimo

Documentary Film
Germany,
Switzerland
2018
80 minutes
subtitles: 
English
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Arjun Talwar (Lo-Fi Films)
Arjun Talwar, Bigna Tomschin
Arjun Talwar
Bigna Tomschin
Arjun Talwar, Bigna Tomschin
Franek Kosłowski
“An island always has two sides. One is summer, the other is winter,” a man called Rüdiger says. A fact that makes life on the island more difficult, because farming and surviving are much harder in winter. Other obstacles of living together: the famous “island rage” which is probably found all over the world in every latitude and longitude.

The residents of Store Okseø in the Baltic Sea managed to withstand all this adversity for more than ten years. Then they quarrelled and left the island, almost all of them with a broken heart. Nobody got over this place and what happened there. The island is a subject of conversation, a niggling gap, a throbbing wound. There seems to have been a donkey called Geronimo there, but also countless varieties of roses, coffee and beer for all visitors, music, events, a shared dream. A fixed point in the ocean. Without it, the sailors would have lost their ground, a friend believes. And it’s true, they are all lying at anchor in their small boats now, rocking, drinking, scolding and spying on each other, and thinking.

Carolin Weidner


Nominated for the Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize

German Competition 2018
Der Funktionär Andreas Goldstein

A “Film about the Father”, the GDR functionary Klaus Gysi. And a film about a state often associated with injustice. Not here: the good communist is a tragic figure.

Der Funktionär

Documentary Film
Germany
2018
72 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Andreas Goldstein, Heino Deckert
Andreas Goldstein
Jakobine Motz
Chris Wright
Andreas Goldstein
The “Film about the Father” is a difficult genre. Andreas Goldstein, son of the GDR cultural functionary Klaus Gysi (1912–1999) has tackled this task with a complete lack of vanity, but with insistence: measured and calm, honest and intellectual, analytical and personal. He uncovers a mosaic that renounces both the teleologies of the self-styled winners of history and the simplifications of (West) German Oscar nominees. This film is not about the lives of others, but about his own life. Not about yesterday, about today, too.

The focus is on the father and his lifelong ambition to found a social order in which “spirit and power are in complete agreement”. It’s on the primal scene of the Jewish intellectual (the sight of a dead worker), the career of an SED Party communist (head of a publishing house, cultural minister, ambassador, state secretary for church matters), insights into a driven private life. Part of this “communist genealogy” himself, Goldstein comments own photos, found television material and images from Berlin (then, today) from offscreen, setting a high standard for a re-evaluation of the state that will always be his origin: “We would reject questions about the legitimacy of our present existence. How come we ask them about the past all the time?”

Barbara Wurm
German Competition 2018
Der Stein zum Leben Katinka Zeuner

Finding the stone that will do justice to the deceased’s personality, that’s what’s important for Michael Spengler and those who come to him. The process results in the individual “Grabzeichen”.

Der Stein zum Leben

Documentary Film
Germany
2018
77 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Katinka Zeuner
Katinka Zeuner
Katinka Zeuner
Anna Pesavento
Oliver Eberhard, Birte Gerstenkorn, Martin Nevoigt, Joel Vogel
“Well, people are usually quite complex,” says Michael Spengler. He is the man people turn to when they want a tombstone that’s different. One that will reflect the deceased’s personality, the life that has passed. In her film Katinka Zeuner records three deaths and the ensuing process of finding the right stone: a young couple who have lost their child, a woman with two sons who try to form an idea of their father’s respectively grandfather’s life with Spengler, and a woman looking for the right shape for a man called “Cliewe.” Spengler becomes a kind of medium who takes in his customers’ memories and emotions to translate them into material form. The process is collaborative; the parties meet frequently over weeks and months to create something that Michael Spengler calls a “tomb sign.”

Carolin Weidner


Awarded with the ver.di Prize for solidarity, humanity and fairness
Honorable Mention Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize

German Competition 2018
Der zweite Anschlag Mala Reinhardt

A precise study of the correlations between radical right wing attacks in Germany and the insufficient political and social ostracism of racism and violence.

Der zweite Anschlag

Documentary Film
Germany
2018
62 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Kate Blamire, Benjamin Cölle, Katharina Degen, Patrick Lohse, Mala Reinhardt
Mala Reinhardt
Macarena Solervicens
Patrick Lohse, Katharina Degen
Federico Neri
Kate Blamire, Gerald Mandl
As a child Ibrahim Arslan survived the arson attack on his parents’ home in Mölln in which three members of his family were killed. Today he says that his family suffered not just one, but two attacks. After the Molotov cocktails had burnt out, the Arslan family became a target of attacks again, this time coming from the media, politics and society. These attacks were worse than the incendiary devices because they could have been avoided, Arslan says.

In her film, Mala Reinhardt asks why even today many victims of radical right-wing violence are forced to live through the same experience of being treated with hostility and criminalised. The victims, who have formed a network, analyse with impressive clarity which conditions make racism still socially acceptable in our country. The essential thing now is to listen to them.

Luc-Carolin Ziemann


Honorable Mention ver.di Prize for solidarity, humanity and fairness
Nominated for the Film Prize Leipziger Ring and the Young Eyes Film Award

German Competition 2018
Die Sinfonie der Ungewissheit Claudia Lehmann

As clever as it is soulful. Anyone who has seen this symphonic essay and still claims that physics and documentary film have nothing in common must have blocked off their hearts, minds and all senses.

Die Sinfonie der Ungewissheit

Documentary Film
Germany
2018
95 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Andrea Schütte, Dirk Decker (Tamtam Film), Claudia Lehmann, Konrad Hempel (Institut für experimentelle Angelegenheiten IXA)
Claudia Lehmann
Konrad Hempel
Eike Zuleeg
Marianne von Deutsch, Claudia Lehmann
Claudia Lehmann, Konrad Hempel
Corinna Zink
This is a far-reaching interrogation of something that’s usually regarded as the undoubted precondition of life (generally) and filmmaking (specifically): an objective, at best yet interpretable reality.

Starting with Gerhard Mack, retired professor of theoretical elementary particle physics at the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg, Claudia Lehmann and Konrad Hempel set out on a filmic expedition that aims for the universal and at the same time delves into the molecular (and smaller) realm, asking for the meaning of every kind of life in our complex world. Mack is a recognised master of his field and anything but a blinkered nerd. In incredibly personal conversations with the hypnosis therapist Rosemarie Dypka and the filmmaker Hark Bohm, who act the double part of common sense, the physicist acts as the gifted translator of his own theories. And then, of course – last but not least – there is the score, composed by Konrad Hempel, which it would be a simplification to call industrial music. It’s the second, pulsating ventricle of this documentary essay. Generated from the DESY soundscapes, which means auditory field research, the music enters the stage step by step to become a co-actor of equal weight, structuring the film as a symphonic piece of work.

Ralph Eue


Nominated for the Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize

German Competition 2018
In Search … Beryl Magoko

A young woman in search of her femininity, which was taken from her by genital mutilation when she was a child. A courageous and multi-layered film narrated from the first person perspective.

In Search …

Documentary Film
Germany
2018
90 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Beryl Magoko
Beryl Magoko
Jule Katinka Cramer
Fani Schoinopoulou
Beryl Magoko
Malin Schmid, Johannes von Barsewisch
As a child in Kenya, the filmmaker Beryl Magoko was subjected to a life-threatening ritual which many girls undergo even today. At the time, “female circumcision” – a friendly, barely adequate term for the genital mutilation she endured with horrible pain – seemed to her like something that was an integral part of growing up. Today she knows that it doesn’t have to be that way. Knowledge alone doesn’t help her, so she meets other victims who, like her, waver between anger and shame and still suffer from the procedure decades later.

With her personal and highly political film, Beryl Magoko sets out on a journey that leads her both into the past and the future. Strikingly frank, but without anger, she confronts her own family with questions and reproaches. At the same time she is facing the decision whether to undergo reconstructive surgery and begin a new chapter in her life.

Luc-Carolin Ziemann


Awarded with the Film Prize Leipziger Ring

German Competition 2018
Le ciel, la terre et l’homme Caroline Reucker

A nomadic tribe in Morocco whose way of life in the midst of magnificent, lonely and windblown landscapes has been the same since time immemorial. Or not quite. They herd goats and sheep – and transmitter masts.

Le ciel, la terre et l’homme

Documentary Film
Germany
2018
70 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Caroline Reucker, Götz Reinicke (Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg)
Caroline Reucker
Moritz Laux, Max Clouth
David Finn
Isabella Kohl, Caroline Reucker
Caroline Reucker
Volker Ambruster
People from the Moroccan deserts. In the midst of magnificent, lonely and windswept landscapes the Aït Seghrouchen, a nomadic tribe who defy the sandstorms in tents and breed animals, live as they have done since time began. Or perhaps not quite. There are also radio masts guarded by individual men who are glad about contemporary amenities like mobile phones, television, Internet and electricity.

The children in the desert listen to the transistor radio with their big brother. The families herd goats and sheep together and sell them on the market, the best for 30 €. A son moved into the nearest town, a sand-coloured cluster of buildings, most of them still built with clay bricks. He is a day labourer and has already earned enough money to buy a plot of land. At the tribe’s great Lemma feast they dance all night and can meet their spirits. Others work in the garbage, sorting the leftovers of tourism in this still untouched-looking area. An ancient cycle of life and nature.

Saskia Walker
German Competition 2018
Lord of the Toys Pablo Ben Yakov

A group of Dresden video bloggers and their ambivalent ego show. The high of the permanent party around Adlersson, Inkognito Spastiko and Hector Panzer, complete with hangover.

Lord of the Toys

Documentary Film
Germany
2018
95 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Pablo Ben Yakov
Pablo Ben Yakov
Kat Kaufmann
André Krummel
Pablo Ben Yakov, André Krummel
Pablo Ben Yakov, André Krummel
Tobias Adam, Simon Peter
Roland Scheliga
Pour the bottle of bubbly into the melon half – and down the hatch and up on your video blog it goes. The lord of the flies 2017 attracts his followers with dissolution, gadgets, smartphones. Confident, narcissistic, 24/7 on YouTube. He shares exes with brandy and gambling bouts, things that are smart or just silly enough to laugh at: keeping them on the edge of their seats, trying to be cool. For that, this little fist of the east occasionally risks Nazi terms or cyber mobbing that escalates in real life. “At least the audience likes it. They imitate it and that’s the goal.” When everyone has gone home, text messages buzz through the red dawn sky – like a shield to protect the city from a pause in communication.

Ben Yakov and his team follow a group of Dresden YouTubers – too old for puberty, no desire to be adults. They come incredibly close as they capture the high of the permanent party around Adlersson, Inkognito Spastiko and Hector Panzer, including the hangover, and have no compunctions about occasionally leaving the stage to the boys– after all, this is about their very own profession. But the skilful narrative scratches holes in the wallpaper of the ambivalent ego shows. Fortunately they use every dramaturgical trick in the book, and pop appeal, to communicate an attitude and bring everything to a grand party finale, where stereotypes are tipped … and restaged.

André Eckardt


Awarded with a Golden Dove in the German Competition Long Film
Nominated for the Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize and the ver.di prize for solidarity, humanitiy and fairness

German Competition 2018
Nachtwanderer Benjamin Rost

The night makes people and things more beautiful, reveals rough and gritty stories. A German outsider genre picture in the light of neon lamps, floodlights and campfires.

Nachtwanderer

Documentary Film
Germany
2018
57 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Lennart Lenzing
Benjamin Rost
Leonhard Kaufmann
Janina Kaltenböck
Markus Rebholz, Oliver Kirschig, Lena Beck, Moritz Drath
Night makes people and objects more beautiful, makes faces shine, trucks glitter, fires flicker, lights sparkle. Night exposes raw and unadorned stories. Night is the time to look at them, study them and compose them into a genre picture of German outsiders. Depicting the loneliness of an elderly gay man who can’t out himself because his brother did it first and already brought grief to their catholic family. We are waiting with a hitchhiker who makes music to pass the hours of waiting. We see stressed men playing gambling machines, simple women in shops that sell sex, outdoor fans who – for the sake of wife and daughter – are afraid of refugees, and a former female bus driver, cheerful in a wheelchair today. Sparks of life that flare up, raw, close and precise. While all the while a highway bridge is being strenuously demolished.

Saskia Walker