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Best of TV - POV
A Perfect Candidate R.J. Cutler, David van Taylor

A charismatic candidate in the Virginia senatorial race, and his democratic opponent. The mechanisms of politics and its string-pullers. Gripping.

1996

A Perfect Candidate

(none)
1996
105 minutes
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Ted Skillman, Dan Portland
R.J. Cutler, David van Taylor
Nicolas Doob
Remember Oliver North? In the late 1980s under President Reagan he secretly sold weapons to Iran and used the profits to support Contra rebels in Nicaragua. Risqué – the United States had issued an arms embargo against Iran and Congress had prohibited any support for the Contras. When the scandal was exposed, Reagan dropped Oliver North. The lieutenant-colonel was found guilty of corruption, lying and destruction of evidence. He appealed and was acquitted – for reasons of immunity. Now he needed a new job. This is where “A Perfect Candidate” comes in: the charismatic North entered the senatorial race in Virginia as the Republican candidate. Over seven months, we follow him and his opponent, the democratic incumbent Charles Robb, through the highs and lows of campaigning. Following the “spin doctors”, the people who pull the strings behind the scenes, very closely, Cutler and Taylor open up deep insights into the strategies and pitfalls of the political machine. The result is a captivating and extremely thrilling film in the spirit of Robert Drew’s and Richard Leacock’s Direct Cinema classic “Primary”. The Washington Post praised “A Perfect Candidate” as the “best American documentary since Hoop Dreams” and called it “one of a small handful of essential films about the politics in this country”.
– Claas Danielsen

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.

Best of TV - POV
Better This World Kelly Duane de la Vega, Katie Galloway

Two young Americans who campaigned against Republican politics end up in prison as terrorists. Idealism, betrayal, fear, and hysteria in the “war against terror.”

Better This World

Documentary Film
2011
89 minutes
subtitles: 
No
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Katie Galloway, Loteria Films
Kelly Duane de la Vega, Katie Galloway
Paul Brill
David Layton
Greg O’Toole
Katie Galloway, Kelly Duane de la Vega
In the United States, too, young people are actively engaged against war, globalisation and right-wing ideologies. David McKay and Bradley Crowder are political, they want to change the world and go out into the streets for their ideals. But Washington is a long way from Midland, Texas – their hometown, the birthplace of George W. Bush of all things. But one day the fascinating Brandon Darby arrives, a real activist and revolutionary, who takes them under his wings. Their shared goal: raise a riot at the Republican National Convention.
What began as the adventure of a group of slightly left-wing young people ended with charges of terrorism in an America marked and deeply divided by the “war on terror”. A shocking film about idealism, betrayal, fear and forgiveness.
Claas Danielsen

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.

Best of TV - POV
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers Judith Ehrlich, Rick Goldsmith

A political thriller about Daniel Ellsberg, who made confidential documents about the Vietnam War public in 1971. A story of violence, cover-ups and lies.

The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

Documentary Film
2009
94 minutes
subtitles: 
No
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Judith Ehrlich, Rick Goldsmith
Judith Ehrlich, Rick Goldsmith
Blake Leyh
Vicente Franco
Michael Chandler, Rick Goldsmith, Lawrence Lerew
Lawrence Lerew, Rick Goldsmith, Judith Ehrlich, Michael Chandler Based, in part, on Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers by Daniel Ellsberg
In 1971, in the midst of the turmoil of the Vietnam War, a bombshell more powerful than any weapon used in that war was dropped in Washington. Daniel Ellsberg, one of the leading American war strategists, became its embittered opponent and leaked 7,000 pages of top-secret documents about the true history of the US engagement in Vietnam to the press. The “Pentagon Papers” prove that four US-Presidents systematically lied to their nation and the world about the true motives and activities of the United States. They preached peace and sowed war. Henry Kissinger, then President Nixon’s national security advisor, declared Ellsberg “the most dangerous man in America”, who had to be stopped by all means.
Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith cleverly interweave Ellsberg’s lively memories with statements by contemporary witnesses, archive material and unobtrusively staged scenes to open up fascinating insights into the American political system and the workings of democracy. The story of violence, cover-ups and lies on one side and honesty, courage and truth on the other escalates into a breathtaking political thriller which garnered an Academy Award nomination in 2010.
– Claas Danielsen

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.

Best of TV - POV
The Oath Laura Poitras

One of them used to be Bin Laden’s bodyguard, now rehabilitated; the other was his driver, still being detained in Guantanamo. Spectacular insights into the practices of Al Qaeda and the US Army.

The Oath

Documentary Film
2010
96 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Laura Poitras, Praxis Films
Laura Poitras
Osvaldo Golijov
Kirsten Johnson, Laura Poitras
Jonathan Oppenheim
Director Laura Poitras’s original plan was to accompany prisoners after their release from Guantánamo. Taking the American 9/11 trauma as her starting point, she wanted to show the traumas of the people who were detained there. Her finished film, though, is a far more complex story of loyalty, betrayal, guilt and justice.
In “The Oath” she interweaves the stories of two men who met in 1996 and whose fateful journey took them to Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Abu Jandal was Bin Laden’s bodyguard, Salim Hamdan his driver. After Osama Bin Laden married them to a pair of sisters, they were even connected by family ties. But one of them cleared out in time to enter a re-integration programme for former Jihadists in Sanaa. The other was arrested in Afghanistan and disappeared in Guantánamo for years. While Abu Jandal worked as a taxi driver in Yemen, Salim Handan was the first Guantánamo prisoner to face a military tribunal.
Poitras gives us more than a fascinating insight into the American system of military law; she has produced an incredibly condensed and disturbing film about the field of tensions between individual rights and public authority.
– Claas Danielsen

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.