Film Archive

Countries (Film Archive)

Arid Zone

Documentary Film
76 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Antônio Junior, Fernanda Pessoa
Fernanda Pessoa
Pedro Santiago
Rodrigo Levy
Germano de Oliveira, Mari Moraga
Fernanda Pessoa
Daniel Turini
Mesa, Arizona, east of Phoenix and about 200 kilometres from the Mexican border, is said to be the most conservative city in the U.S. In 2001, Fernanda Pessoa was an exchange student in Mesa. She was 15 years old at the time. 15 years later she returned, in the weeks before the presidential election won by Donald Trump. Starting with numerous photos of that earlier time, Pessoa searches out people she met as a teenager. She finds a new approach to the United States, is more aware of everything she experiences; after all, she has grown up in the meantime. She conducts an inner dialogue with her former self as she rediscovers this country whose inhabitants are so proud of the fact that it’s theirs: America. The land of firearms and peculiar sports, the land that invented the shopping mall and the Western movie.

Pessoa quotes the philosopher Baudrillard, to whom America seemed like a fiction. With her film, she turns it into an experience of reality that ultimately makes her understand more about her own country: “Our cultural colonialism came to collect the bill.” “Arid Zone” (Arizona) opposes that colonialism with the gentle resistance of precise observation.

Bert Rebhandl

Honorable Mention in the Next Masters Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film.


Documentary Film
South Korea
90 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Kelvin Kyung Kun Park, Junho Park
Kelvin Kyung Kun Park
Kelvin Kyung Kun Park, David Park
Kelvin Kyung Kun Park, Hein Seok
Paulo Vivacqua
Woochul’s face is running with sweat. Another one of those countless parades during which one is supposed to let the gun in one’s hand dance, following a strict choreography. Eternal drill. Permanent exercises. It’s hot and Woochul’s eyes flash with effort and nerves. The military training that’s compulsory for all young South Koreans lasts two years. Director Kelvin Kyung Kun Park himself is haunted until today by his traumatic time as a recruit. In his film, Woochul turns into an alter ego he uses to reflect on himself and Korean society, including the military system.

Ufos play a role, since these are seen with inordinate frequency by soldiers, a fact Park interprets as the expression of a specific mental state. Religion, too. In “Army”, a Christian K-Pop girl band performs no less than twice to frenetic cheering, calling upon their emotionally softened audience to write to them. How many men may actually do this and hope for an answer? Last, but not least, “Army” is about depression, from which both, director and protagonist, suffer in the course of their service. Kelvin Kyung Kun Park reports (and stays silent) in a basic tone of dry empathy. The film is dedicated to all those who lost their lives during military service.

Carolin Weidner