Film Archive

Sections (Film Archive)

Filmpreis Leipziger Ring
Black Sheep Christian Cerami

Two brothers from a suburb in Northern England come under the influence of the right-wing “English Defence League”, known for its vociferous anti-Islam stance.

Black Sheep

Documentary Film
UK
2015
16 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Alex Sedgley
Christian Cerami
Simon Plunkett
Samuel Haskell
Vicky Harris

Two brothers from a suburb in Northern England come under the influence of the right-wing “English Defence League”, known for its vociferous anti-Islam stance. What starts as curiosity becomes a trip into the world of tough boys with outspoken attitudes for the older one and a nightmare for the 13-year-old Jack. With a feature-film-like camera the director captures the battle of wills between more than two different characters with impressive precision. Cornelia Klauß


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.

German Competition
Café Waldluft Matthias Koßmehl

Now that the Italian tourists no longer come refugees live in this hotel in the idyllic Bavarian Alps. Their lives intersect, sometimes as comedy, sometimes as tragedy. A different kind of “Heimatfilm”.

Café Waldluft

Documentary Film
Germany
2015
79 minutes
subtitles: 
German
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Matthias Koßmehl
Matthias Koßmehl
André Feldhaus
Bastian Esser
Andreas Nicolai
Matthias Koßmehl
Till Wollenweber
Tourists used to come by the busload for their place in the sun at the beautiful Café Waldluft, at least during their well-earned holidays. For the past two years, though, the long-established hotel in Berchtesgaden with its view of the “fateful mountain” of the Germans, the Watzmann and its foothills, has accommodated guests from other regions of the world: they came from Syria, Afghanistan or Sierra Leone and have certainly not chosen this alpine idyll freely. Their stay as asylum seekers consists of endless waiting, tiring visits to administrative offices, being homesick and worrying about relatives.

The dynamics in the small town have also changed. But if Matthias Koßmehl opens his film with a traditional Bavarian costume parade in slow motion his only motive is to eliminate the expectations raised by this stereotype. Instead he takes a sober but open-hearted look at the encounters that actually happen in this strange place. There is Mama Flora, the owner, who trusts in God and takes care of each of her protégés, and there is the East German cook who has found her elective home here. Chance encounters with regulars or hikers and the everyday coexistence at the house match a whole range of intersecting lives. The Watzmann, covered in clouds or clearly visible, is always on the horizon. A documentary “Heimatfilm” in which the term home has many facets.

Lars Meyer



Award winner of the DEFA Sponsoring Prize 2015

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.

German Competition
Der Kuaför aus der Keupstraße Andreas Maus

The NSU nail bomb attack that injured 22 people in Cologne in 2004, where only the victims were suspected later. Complex reconstruction of a scandal.

Der Kuaför aus der Keupstraße

Documentary Film
Germany
2015
92 minutes
subtitles: 
German
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Herbert Schwering, Christine Kiauk
Andreas Maus
Maciej Sledziecki
Hajo Schomerus
Rolf Mertler
Maik Baumgärtner, Andreas Maus
Ralf Weber
Wednesday afternoon was deliberately chosen. There were a lot of customers in front of and in the brothers Özcan and Hasan Yildirim’s barbershop on 9 June 2004, when 700 three-inch carpenters’ nails turned into projectiles with a 250 metre range. 22 people were injured. The attack was infamous; the course of the investigations was equally scandalous: the victims were suspected. CCTV material was not analysed and Federal Minister of the Interior Otto Schily decisively ruled out a right wing background. It was only in 2001 that this crime was solved in the course of the revelations concerning the right wing extremist terrorist “National Socialist Underground” group. The trial continues until the present day.

Ten years after the Cologne nail bomb attack, director Andreas Maus focuses on giving a voice to those whom nobody wanted to hear for a long time. He deploys narrative strategies to establish a distance in order to expose how systematically matters were hushed up, suppressed and denied. Documentary and re-enacted material are interwoven, actors perform next to affected persons, spaces are reconstructed. Maus overwrites the hackneyed televised images with his own visual inventions. The camera stops, the look at the audience freezes. One is tempted to ask what exactly is supposed to come after the “culture of welcome”?

Cornelia Klauß

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.

International Programme
Floating Life Haobam Paban Kumar

The fishermen of Lake Loktak in India have always lived on floating islands. Until the government ordered their evacuation … A moving document of desperate resistance.

Floating Life

Documentary Film
India
2014
54 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Films Division
Haobam Paban Kumar
Sankha
Lake Loktak is the biggest freshwater lake in northeast India and unique because of its floating reed islands. For centuries, fishermen have used the floating biomass as building ground for their huts. But this ended in 2011, when the government decided to resettle the approximately 4,000 people living on the lake on the grounds that the fishermen were responsible for the increasing ecological pollution of Lake Loktak. During a first evacuation operation that year the police burned down 300 huts. Many of the people who subsequently left returned because they had no alternative.

About three years later, Haobam Paban Kumar started to follow the events on the lake in his film which won a number of awards in India. He shows a sure grasp of the fears and needs of the people as he starts by observing their busy lives. The events of 2011 are present everywhere, as is the island dwellers’ determination not to be driven out again – because the state is once more getting ready to drive away a traditional lifestyle for alleged higher interests. The film depicts the evacuation of the settlement in touching scenes. The fishermen and their families defend themselves with the power of desperation. Where they win the police withdraw – for the moment. Where the huts are burned down they rebuild them.

Matthias Heeder

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.

Lampedusa in Winter

Documentary Film
Italy,
Austria,
Switzerland
2015
93 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Jakob Brossmann
Jakob Brossmann
Serafin Spitzer, Christian Flatzek
Nela Märki

When the flood of refugees began to cross the Mediterranean, the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa became a projection screen for paranoid xenophobes and a symbol of an inhumane asylum policy. In the winter of 2014, theatre artist and filmmaker Jakob Brossmann travelled to the island to find out what life there is really like. The tourists and media are gone and the inhabitants’ real problems come to the fore: the old ferry, essential for their survival, burnt down and was replaced by an even older one. That’s why the fishermen go on strike. A group of refugees who have been stuck on the island for months want to cross to the mainland. They are on strike in front of the church. Because there’s no ferry, waste is piling up and food is running out. In the midst of this tense situation two women, the mayor and a dedicated lawyer, are fighting for humane solutions out of deep personal conviction. Brossmann’s observations are unobtrusive and precise. He confidently guides us through the events of this crisis while introducing places and people that are linked to the immigrants’ fate. What’s remarkable is that the inhabitants and refugees refuse to be instrumentalised against each other. Both groups are victims of the same cynical policies. Showing this clearly is the great strength of the film. Matthias Heeder


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.

International Programme
North Çayan Demirel, Ertuğrul Mavioğlu

Through wild Kurdistan: PKK fighters talk about their motives, their lives, their people, their right to resist. A film that takes a stance, banned in Turkey.

North

Documentary Film
Turkey
2015
96 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Ayşe Çetinbaş
Çayan Demirel, Ertuğrul Mavioğlu
Koray Kesik
Burak Dal
Ahmet Bawer Aydemir
There was a considerable scandal at the Istanbul Film Festival 2015 which – see Internet censorship, see Taksim Square – was not really surprising: the screening of a film about the Kurdish PKK guerrilla had to be called off at short notice after the Turkish Ministry of Culture had intervened. “North” investigates issues of national identity, the history of the PKK, human rights and the role of women. The narrative is set against a backdrop of scenes from different PKK training camps in the mountainous border region between Turkey, Syria and Iraq, where the director met confident young people. Devoid of illusion in its depiction of the Kurds’ situation and very personal in the presentation of their motives, the film manages to link individual lives with ideas of home and the right to resistance in a credible and authentic manner. A second level expands this personal angle through political and historical evaluations by military and political PKK leaders. “North” is a political film that clearly takes a stance and describes self-determination as a universal human right. In a country where everyone who does not share the President’s opinion is a suspect that’s certainly a provocation. But what a paranoid response.

Matthias Heeder

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.

Oriented

Documentary Film
Israel
2015
83 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Jake Witzenfeld, Yoav Birenfeld
Jake Witzenfeld
Tamir Muskat
David Stragmeister, Michael Miroshnik, Omar Sawalha
Nili Feller
Jake Witzenfeld
Aviv Aldema
They are young and hungry for life, have academic degrees, their lifestyle is urban. Cool guys who want to prove that they represent a new generation. Khader, Fadi and Naeem have Israeli passports but consider themselves Palestinians first and foremost. They are also vegetarians, atheists and feminists. And most of all gay. While Naeem is still struggling with his coming out, Khader is a step further. His boyfriend is an Israeli. They are all outsiders, which unites them. Even if they can immerse themselves in the anonymity of long party nights in Tel Aviv, reality always catches up with them: a family who turn their backs and Israelis who are prejudiced against every Palestinian, straight or gay. The political conflict dominates everything.

British filmmaker Jake Witzenfeld followed his three friends over more than a year to get a look behind their cool facades. He makes them pose, arranges music clips, becomes part of their life, accompanies them on visits to their parents – and finds moments when the utopia of another life seems possible. In all the political and racist roaring and yelling the three friends seem like lambs.

Cornelia Klauß

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.

The Dybbuk. A Tale of Wandering Souls

Documentary Film
Poland,
Sweden,
Ukraine
2015
90 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Krzysztof Kopczyński, David Herdies, Gennady Kofman
Krzysztof Kopczyński
Jacek Petrycki, Serhiy Stefan Stetsenko
Michał Leszczyłowski
Krzysztof Kopczyński
Mateusz Adamczyk, Marcin Lenarczyk, Sebastian Witkowski
Right at the start, an excerpt from the Yiddish-language Polish 1930s classic “The Dybbuk” opens an old wound: the world of the shtetl with its old folk beliefs has vanished. But the spirit of the dead, the Dibbuk, is still walking among us. And it has many faces.

We re-emerge from the past to find ourselves in the Ukrainian town of Uman just before “Euromaidan”. A sacred place for thousands of orthodox Jews who make the pilgrimage to the grave of the Hassidic rabbi Nachman and transform the town, annoying the Ukrainian citizens who are afraid of a sell-out and react with provocations. Sometimes it’s an illegally raised cross, sometimes an information board in honour of the anti-Semitic Cossack leader and butcher Ivan Gonta. Or, rather more subtly, extra fees for kosher snacks.

The worlds clash on many levels. With great curiosity, Krzysztof Kopczyński captures the almost incompatible legends and rituals that come alive on both sides. On the one hand a completely impoverished country in the process of finding its identity, accompanied by nationalistic overtones. On the other hand a lost tradition and the experience of the Holocaust. Who owns the country? The film mines a wealth of material full of impressions, rough scenes and fables to bring the unexpected to light.

Lars Meyer

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.

The Event

Documentary Film
Belgium,
Netherlands
2015
74 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Sergei Loznitsa, Maria Choustova, Nicola Mazzanti
Sergei Loznitsa
Sergei Loznitsa, Danielius Kokanauskis
Sergei Loznitsa
Vladimir Golovnitski
As in earlier films, Sergei Loznitsa uses black and white archive material to reconstruct, if not construct, history. In this case images of the historic event that inaugurated the final collapse of the Soviet Union: the failed coup of 19 August 1991. People are standing in the streets of St. Petersburg, which was still called Leningrad then. The camera moves through the crowds, capturing faces whose expression is one of ignorance. They are all waiting, listening to the endless announcements.

Loznitsa’s ingenious artistic intervention happens on the soundtrack. During the three-day coup d’état, the national television of the USSR continuously broadcast – as usual in crisis situations – recordings of Tchaikovsky’s ballet “Swan Lake”. The director takes up the musical motif and uses it to divide his film into chapters. Radio reports are another narrative element which Loznitsa turns into a quasi comment that underlines the state of insecurity, not knowing and non-information. This is not a re-interpretation of history, though, but rather an attempt to pierce the surface of reality and look for possible interpretations – in the hope of gaining insights into how insurgencies and changes of power work in general.

Zaza Rusadze



Award winner of the Film Prize "Leipziger Ring"

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.

A Goat For a Vote

Documentary Film
Kenya,
Netherlands
2013
52 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Hasse van Nunen, Maarten van der Ven
Jeroen van Velzen
Alex Boon
Stef Tijdink
Daan Wijdeveld
Jeroen van Velzen
Robil Rahantoeknam
Let’s look at how democratic processes are practiced at a student election in rural Kenya: What exactly does the student representative do? Who cares. The point is the office, the prestige, the start of individual careers. The candidates: Magdalena, who traditionally has a tough stand as the only female candidate. Harry, who is dirt poor. To finance his campaign he sells fish and coconuts on the market. Said the charmer, who wants to be an army general. He is already a strategist: a photo call with the deputy who is made to stand a step behind him, putting up posters, asking relatives for money. And then this seductive smile! They all know that the only way to win is through campaign gifts. Or let’s call them by their real name, like Magdalena’s grandmother: bribes. So they distribute candy and “little somethings”. Harry even manages to wheedle a goat out of his relatives. Meat for all! Only Magdalena talks about content – which is why she will lose …
What does this teach us? School as a social microcosm teaches what promises to be successful. If the way there is through corruption, that’s a daily experience in many countries. What did they say at the beginning of the film? “The best way to understand our society is to look at one’s children”. In this sense: A vote for a goat!
Matthias Heeder

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.

Young Cinema Competition (until 2014)
All Things Ablaze Oleksandr Techynskyi, Aleksey Solodunov, Dmitry Stoykov

The Maidan as a battlefield: protest turns into violence and loss of control – on both sides. A breathless, unstoppable movement, driven by the energy of the masses, towards the inferno.

All Things Ablaze

Documentary Film
Ukraine
2014
82 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Yulia Serdyukova
Oleksandr Techynskyi, Aleksey Solodunov, Dmitry Stoykov
Anton Baibakov
Oleksandr Techynskyi, Aleksey Solodunov, Dmitry Stoykov
Marina Maykovskaya, Aleksey Solodunov
Oleg Golovoshkin, Boris Peter
The Ukraine may be ablaze for a while yet and the symbol of the Maidan in Kiev – burning barrels and tyre barricades – may continue to be the visual and olfactory nexus of the revolutionary memory. Sooty faces, determined but tired, their heads bloody but hard. The many-voiced battle cry “Glory to Ukraine, glory to the heroes”, a strange common denominator shared by all the rebels, echoes across the square. What started with drums, bagpipes and European flags and turned seamlessly into bloody resistance against the truncheon battalions and violence on both sides sparked – which this collective project, expressive and informative despite its abstinence of commentary makes abundantly clear – an energy in the masses that was unpredictable and unstoppable.
There is a scene at the heart of the film whose length takes it to the limits of endurance but makes its symbolism almost palpable: protesters joyfully and forcefully demolish a huge bust of Lenin, taking victory photos (not quite sure about what precisely Lenin has to do with their hatred) while an old Soviet character hugs his beloved colossal stone fragment and refuses to let go until he almost collapses. The Maidan as a battlefield. Quelle horreur!

Barbara Wurm



MDR Film Prize 2014

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.

International Programme
Amerykanka. All included Viktar Korzoun

Prison life in the dreaded KGB headquarters of Minsk, told by dissident poet Alyaksandr Fyaduta in front of an animated, cartoon-like prison backdrop. A bitter satire à la Erofeyev.

2013

Amerykanka. All included

Animadoc
Belarus
2013
52 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Kasia Kamockaja
Viktar Korzoun
Natalia Shyrko, Eugene Yellow
Viktar Tumar
Viktar Korzoun, Anatoly Todorsky
Alexander Fyaduta, Viktar Korzoun
Taras Senchuk
The “Amerykanka” is the headquarters and notorious torture centre of the KGB in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, the last dictatorship in Europe. Immediately following a protest against the results of the presidential elections of 19 December, 2010, a number of opposition members were arrested, among them Alyaksandr Fyaduta. He was detained at the “Amerykanka” over a period of three months, 50 days of which he spent in solitary confinement. During that time he wrote “American Poems”, the book on which this courageous and formally unusual film by Viktar Korzun is based. It revolves around Alyaksandr Fyaduta: his arrest, interrogations, humiliations, life in prison, though he appears not in a traditional interview setting but as an active agent in front of and in animated prison scenery. The real live image of the “slightly overweight protagonist with glasses”, as Fyaduta self-deprecatingly describes himself, constantly changes into his animated alter ego and vice versa. The way this artistic device, born out of the lack of a real location, is realised reveals a strong taste for playfulness and creates a surprisingly ironic distance both to the events and the state of the country. And perhaps mockery is the only possible attitude left in the face of a government that arrests people, as recently happened, merely for clapping their hands silently and in public.
Matthias Heeder

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.

CITIZENFOUR

Documentary Film
Germany,
USA
2014
114 minutes
subtitles: 
German
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Dirk Wilutzky, Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy
Laura Poitras
Laura Poitras, Kirsten Johnson, Katy Scoggin, Trevor Paglen
Mathilde Bonnefoy
In the last instalment of her post 9/11 “New American Century” trilogy, multiple award-winning director Laura Poitras shows how America’s so called “war on terror” is directed against the country’s own citizens, against everybody. It’s about surveillance – on the political, philosophical and psychological level. It’s about madness.
In January 2013, Poitras, who had already done some research on the subject and organised artistic interventions, was contacted by the then completely unknown Edward Snowden. In June, together with Guardian writer Glenn Greenwald, she published his material, followed by interviews with Snowden.
Poitras is interested in the point of intersection between politics and art. She designed “CITIZENFOUR” as a triptych of paranoia: from the pseudo-democratic statements of American politicians to the first whistleblowers, from panoramic shots of gigantic intelligence service headquarters to the claustrophobically small hotel room in Hong Kong where Snowden was waiting for the moment of exposure. Shooting continued almost until the film was released, depicting what Snowden set in motion.
Poitras’s artistic objective is to establish an emotional connection between us and the knowledge which is available and precisely not secret. “CITIZENFOUR” makes us experience almost physically what an authoritarian surveillance state is and that we are right in the middle of one, too. Not a pleasant feeling.

Grit Lemke



Film Prize "Leipziger Ring" 2014

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.

From My Syrian Room

Documentary Film
France,
Germany,
Lebanon,
Syria
2014
70 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Nathalie Combe, Heino Deckert, Georges Schoucair, Myriam Sassine, Hazem Alhamwi
Hazem Alhamwi
Sivan
Hazem Alhamwi, Ghassan Katlabi
Florence Jacquet
Hazem Alhamwi
Nuzha Al Nazer, Frédéric Maury
A feeling of oppression creeps in. Hazem Alhamwi’s nib scratches over a black and white sketch worthy of Hieronymus Bosch. Apocalyptic motives and mordant satire are his speciality and were his salvation. In a country like Syria, where everything, even breathing – as someone bitterly comments – was controlled, havens were needed. Art that resigns itself to being non-public, can be one. This film was made when the protests following the Arab Spring raised hopes that something might change: saying out loud at last what was suppressed and would have lead to long prison sentences for decades. The director talks to friends and relatives to find causes and origins, beginning with childhood experiences of propaganda and personality cults, adaptation and fear. Today, when events happen so fast, we are in the age of fast media. Alhamwi’s nuanced tones, associative motives and trips into the visual worlds of childhood have a hard time keeping up in a present in which Syria is crushed between religious and ethnic interests as well as those of foreign countries. The voices from Alhamwi’s room are echoes of a time when people demanded democratisation and freedom. The film records those short moments when the opposition tried to form and articulate itself. The time allotted to the idealists was very short.
Cornelia Klauß

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.

Maidan

Documentary Film
Netherlands,
Ukraine
2014
128 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Sergei Loznitsa, Maria Choustova-Baker
Sergei Loznitsa
Sergei Loznitsa, Serhiy Stefan Stetsenko, Mykhailo Yelchev
Danielius Kokanauskis, Sergei Loznitsa
Vladimir Golovnitski
They sing the national anthem, together and with pathos, alone and accompanied by a guitar. They sing (an allusion to their unpopular President Yanukovych) “Vitya, ciao, Vitya, ciao, Vitya, ciao ciao ciao!”, Christmas carols and Ukrainian folk songs, they versify, rhyme, mock, revolt, celebrate. They rest, take care of each other, warm, cook and feed each other. They stick together and feel free. A new time has come. They can feel it.
Putting current political events in documentary form rarely succeeds. Sergei Loznitsa’s film “Maidan” is all the more impressive since it was completed a few months after the decisive events in Kiev. His long, calm and uncommented shots gradually coalesce into a narrative and something much bigger: the chronicle of a revolutionary national awakening, and, on another, higher level, the universal image of a people’s rebellion. The presence of the rostrum announces itself only on the soundtrack, likewise the bangs of smoke bombs and snipers later. Chants turn into battle cries, enthusiasm and esprit turn into fighting, heaviness, grief and ultimately mourning.
Today, as another few months have passed, one wishes that time had come to a standstill with the end of this film.

Barbara Wurm



Honorary Mention in the International Competition Documentary Film 2014

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.

No Land's Song

Documentary Film
France,
Germany
2014
90 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Gunter Hanfgarn, Rouven Rech, Teresa Renn, Anne Grange
Ayat Najafi
Koohyar Kalari, Sarah Blum
Julia Wiedwald, Schokofeh Kamiz
Ayat Najafi
Sasan Nakhai, Dana Farzanehpour, Julien Brossier
“The female voice is fading away.” Iranian composer Sara Najafi’s statement must be taken literally, for the Islamic revolution of 1979 banned female singers from appearing in public in Iran. They are not allowed to perform solo any more, unless to an exclusively female audience. Recordings of former female icons can only be bought on the black market. What a grievous loss. But Sara is determined to refresh the cultural memory by roaming Teheran in the footsteps of famous singers of the 1920s and 60s and is about to revive the female voices in the present: she courageously plans an evening of Iranian and French soloists to rebuild shattered cultural bridges.
A concert that’s not allowed to take place. For two and a half years, director Ayat Najafi, who lives in Berlin today and shows a flair for the right scene, follows the preparations between Teheran and Paris that are always touch and go. What’s still possible, what goes too far? Sara’s regular audiences at the Ministry of Culture shed light on the interior logic and arbitrariness of the system, though they can only be heard (always to a black screen). Can intercultural solidarity and the revolutionary power of music accomplish anything here? A political thriller and at the same time a musical journey, this film never loses sight of its real centre: the female voice.

Lars Meyer



Prize of the Youth Jury 2014

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.