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International Programme 2014
BrückenJahre Peter Benedix

The long lasting struggle of three Lusatian villages against demolition. A “bridge technology” from the point of view of those involved – including the coal miners. What’s more important: work or one’s home?

BrückenJahre

Documentary Film
Germany
2014
98 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Peter Benedix
Peter Benedix
Fabian Koppri
Peter Benedix, Andreas Albrecht
Peter Benedix, Andreas Albrecht
Peter Benedix
Fabian Koppri
Once a year the men of Kerkwitz meet to raise the maypole. Since 2008, Peter Benedix has been among them to follow their and the Lusatian villages of Atterwasch and Grabko’s struggle against the imminent excavation by Swedish energy giant Vattenfall. Four years after the spectacular “Limited Home” and financed mainly by crowd funding, he now delves even deeper into what this much-vaunted “bridge technology” really means – in a region that owed its survival to brown coal for more than a century and that has now become its victim. What’s more important: one’s home or work?
In addition to the question of what this does to people who are trying to live some kind of normal life in the middle of a long, gruelling conflict, Benedix pays more attention than in his first film to the political level, the level of arguments. He pulls off the feat of giving both sides – miners and protesters – space without giving up his author’s position. While there is a (far from stupid) counter-argument for every argument, while referendums and constitutional challenges fail and new protests are organised (by both sides), a village shop opens in Kerkwitz – apparently against all reason – and a child is born. And the men raise the maypole. But they are fewer now.
Grit Lemke
FilmFestival Cottbus 2012
Crulic - The Path to Beyond Anca Damian

The true story of a man who got tangled up and perished in the red tape of European bureaucracy. A masterfully animated ballad about the decline of humanity.

Crulic - The Path to Beyond

Animadoc
Poland,
Romania
2011
73 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Anca Damian, Aparte Film
Anca Damian
Ilija Zogowski
Catalin Cristutiu
Anca Damian
This highly original animated documentary reconstructs the true (!) story of an individual who gets caught up in the wheels of the murderous European bureaucratic machine. The director illuminates the dark side of the system in her second feature-length production using various animation techniques: hand drawn images, photo collages, computer trickery, plasticine figures and occasional slightly modified stock footage. One particularly distinctive feature: the main protagonist narrates and reconstructs his own life and death similar to Joe Gillis (William Holden) in Billy Wilder’s legendary feature film SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950). When Daniel Claudiu Crulic (voiced by actor Vlad Ivanov) begins his tale, he has in fact already passed away. The thirty three year old Romanian died in 2008 in a Polish prison while on hunger strike, having been accused of a crime he couldn’t possibly have committed and then dismissed by the bureaucratic machine as worthless.
This sophisticated montage, combining imagery and audio, lends this ballad of the decay of humanity and the omnipotence of boundless greed a delightful rhythm and tremendous pull, from which emerges an in equal measure unsettling and harrowing warning: a Europe, in which public authorities and civil servants prefer to sidestep responsibilities and in which the individual doesn't count for anything, makes for a life not worth living.

– Peter Claus, Katalog Cottbus
FilmFestival Cottbus 2013
Vojta Lavička: Ups and Downs Helena Třeštíková

A long-term observation of a Czech Roma musician who makes the charts with his band but continues to fail in his own community and due to the ethical stigma attached to him.

Vojta Lavička: Ups and Downs

Documentary Film
Czech Republic
2013
88 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Hana Třeštíková
Helena Třeštíková
Jiří Chod
Jakub Hejna
Helena Třeštíková
Czech director Helena Třeštíková specializes in long-term observations, always following several protagonists at the same time over years. Vojta Lavička has been one of them since 1996, a highly talented violin player and Roma who tries to make his way as a musician and would love to call the Czech Republic his home. But circumstances are against him. When the CSSR was still a socialist country, he had nothing to fear. But when the country was divided and proudly joined the EU, the situation changed dramatically. Now the only place he feels safe is on stage, were he is celebrated. The band in which Lavička plays confidently call themselves “gipsy.cz”, playing a style somewhere between gypsy groove, Balkan folk or Romano hip hop. Whatever you want to call it, they regularly bring the house down. One of their records even went gold once. In life, though, he has to suffer humiliations because his dark skin tone makes him easily identifiable. His girl-friends’ mothers forbid the relationships, he is threatened, starts to drink. Třeštíková soberly takes stock, following the strict chronology of events. Lavička fights this stigma, strongly at first, then more and more desperately, though he would love to bear it with pride.

Cornelia Klauß