Film Archive

Sections (Film Archive)

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A Bay

Uma baía
Murilo Salles
International Competition 2021
Documentary Film
Brazil
2021
109 minutes
Portuguese (Brazil)
subtitles: 
English

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Murilo Salles
Murilo Salles
Eva Randolph
Léo Bittencourt
Fabrício Mota
João Jabace
Sarah Lelièvre
Felipe Luz
Murilo Salles
Eva Randolph
Itauana Coquet

The Baía de Guanabara is not just any bay: the metropolitan area of Rio de Janeiro has sprawled around it. Its waste water threatens the rich ecosystem, planes roar along the approach corridors above. These filmic explorations on the margins of the megacity portray various environments that are all connected to the bay in a specific way. The people here are micro-wage earners making a modest living.

At night the lights of the city and the promises of capitalism shine in the distance. To the people living at the periphery, they seem out of reach. In eight chapters this documentary essay meditates on their habitats along the bay, following the repetitive and physically exhausting activities of humans and farm animals. Unusual perspectives, careful camera work and a poignant sound design elevate these observations to a commentary on the crisis in Brazil. Murilo Salles, who won a Silver Dove in Leipzig in 1978 for his debut “These Are the Weapons”, sheds light on the close link between geographical space and social inequality.
Annina Wettstein
Nominated for FIPRESCI Prize, Prize of the Interreligious Jury
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Intervening Nature
Rural vs. Urban
International Competition 2021
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A Custom of the Sea Fabrizio Polpettini
Three friends explore the radiance of the Mediterranean, which connects Christian and Islamic countries and has always been and still is a site of conflicts.
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A Custom of the Sea

Un usage de la mer
Fabrizio Polpettini
International Competition 2021
Documentary Film
France
2021
52 minutes
French,
Italian,
Arabic,
English
subtitles: 
English, German Subtitles for deaf and hard-of-hearing

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Fabrizio Polpettini
Fabrizio Polpettini
Pierre-André Belin
Valentina Provini
Marylou Vergès

Porto Maurizio, where the director, who lives in France today, grew up, is located on the Ligurian coast. The village is the starting point for a cinematic journey into the past that spans a surprisingly wide arc to a time when Muslim pirates, the corsairs, haunted the Mediterranean and took Europeans as slaves. To this end, the film light-handedly draws from the rich fund of film history and its iconography.

Adventure films from the 1940s and historical murals depict the naval battles of the early 19th century in powerful images. The director ingeniously combines such visual finds with analogue new recordings of a journey with two friends. Their seemingly loosely told anecdotes and chance encounters combine to form a coherent whole, forming a geopolitical system of coordinates around the Mediterranean that deals with eurocentrism, colonial history and religiously motivated conflicts between Christian and Islamic countries. The subjects couldn’t be more topical.
Annina Wettstein
Nominated for Young Eyes Film Award, Prize of the Interreligious Jury, FIPRESCI Prize
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Witty
Migration

A Sister’s Song

Documentary Film
Canada,
Israel
2018
91 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Danae Elon, Paul Cadieux
Danae Elon
Peter Venne
Danae Elon, Itamar Mendes Flohr
Vincent Guignard, Alexandre Leblanc
Danae Elon
Benoît Dame
Marina and Tatiana moved from Russia to Israel with their family as children. Being immigrants, their arrival in the new country wasn’t easy. This back story resonates in their search for models and identity. The narrative focuses on Marina. As an adolescent her younger sister Tatiana followed her spiritual father to a strict Orthodox convent in Greece. That was twenty years ago. They last saw each other four years ago. Since then, Marina has more and more gained the impression that her sister is unhappy there, and she wants to get her back. But is she responsible for Tatiana’s happiness? How can you understand a close person’s decision that’s in conflict with your own position?

The Canada-based award-winning Israeli director and cinematographer Danae Elon returns once more to her home country for this film. Discretely and yet very much present, she watches the two sisters’ encounter, included only occasionally – but almost like an accomplice – in the protagonists’ conversation. Her tale of the sisters Marina and Tatiana is dramaturgically outstanding and innovative. “A Sister’s Song” – a film about love and loss and the art of following one’s inner voice.

Annina Wettstein

A Strange New Beauty

Documentary Film
USA
2017
51 minutes
subtitles: 
No

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Shelly Silver
Shelly Silver
Shelly Silver
Shelly Silver
Shelly Silver
Shelly Silver
Shelly Silver, Mike Degen
Entering the comfort zone of a luxury estate in Silicon Valley, inhabited but empty. The first impression: an illusion of Arcadia. A painstakingly created and maintained claim. Though the travails that went into the magnificent appearance of the garden were masterfully concealed and silenced too. Only the things and plants that make up this Arcadia know of its violence. And they have the power to tell us about it! But only those who look and listen closely will hear their ghostly-real voices and the eerie noise behind the silence. From the mouths of ghosts … Thus we learn of the world behind the appearances. A world ruled by dominance and submission. By strategies to overcome fear. And by the antagonism between the “natural” pursuit of happiness of a very few and the collateral damages produced in the process. Because ultimately this film by Shelly Silver is a narrative of barbarianism and how, brilliantly refined, it manages to present itself as strangely new and beautiful – “a strange new beauty” indeed.

Ralph Eue
International Competition 2016
A Young Girl in Her Nineties Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Yann Coridian

Blanche is vegetating in a nursing home, a victim of Alzheimer’s disease – until the choreographer Thierry Thieû Niang wakes this sleeping beauty through dance and she falls in love … enchanting and tender.

A Young Girl in Her Nineties

Documentary Film
France
2016
85 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Marie Balducchi
Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Yann Coridian
Hélène Louvart, Yann Coridian
Anne Weil
François Waledisch
Like many old people in nursing homes she seems to have drawn a curtain between herself and the world. Without relatives, in the company of other Alzheimer patients, she hardly remembers her melodious name: Blanche Moreau. But then choreographer Thierry Thieû Niang arrives at the hospital. Thierry incorporates the patients’ movements, gestures and words in his dance and doubly animates them: their bodies and their souls. Among the murmurs of French chansons which, of course, talk of the adventure of love, Blanche awakes from her enchanted sleep. And more than that. “Parlez-moi d’amour” and the handsome, attentive stranger open a space for her in which she can once more get lost – or find herself – in the ecstasy of being in love. For Thierry, visibly moved by this development, the task is to create the right balance through dance.

Holding and trusting each other – that also describes the careful attitude of the director towards the dancers: a successful actress and feature film director, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, in collaboration with Yann Coridian, now delivers a sensitive debut documentary. We learn only what is revealed by the place and situation about the patients’ lives. But in any case the film makes us sense that memories are less about one’s CV than about a reservoir of emotions.

Lars Meyer



Prize of the Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique 2016

A157

Documentary Film
Iran
2015
70 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Behrouz Nouranipour (Soureh Documentary Centre)
Behrouz Nouranipour
Mehdi Azadi
Behrouz Nooranipour, Kamran Jahedi
Behnam Sheikhahmadi
One of the most horrifying Isis operations was the physical and cultural genocide of the Yezidi Kurds in Iraq. After conquering the Shingal region west of Mossul the terrorist militia began to systematically kill the male population while thousands of children, girls and women were kidnapped, enslaved, forced into marriage or raped. Very few of them managed to escape and the survivors are marked for the rest of their lives. Like the sister Hailin and Roken and their friend Soolaf who live in a refugee camp on the Turkish-Syrian border in the UNHCR tent number 157. A miserable place, cold, rainy and oppressive, like the suffering etched deeply into the girls’ faces.

Iranian filmmaker Behrouz Nouranipour approaches the fate of his protagonists by reducing the visual level almost exclusively to the interior of the tent. This is where the girls huddle day after day, without expectations, alone, without protection. Their memories of the old life and its dreams, of parents and siblings who are lost or dead, and the depictions of the atrocities inflicted on them by the Jihadists evoke an image of dehumanisation that’s deeply harrowing. Who could close their heart to this suffering?

Matthias Heeder


Nominated for Young Eyes Film Award
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among us women

Unter uns Frauen
Sarah Noa Bozenhardt, Daniel Abate Tilahun
International Competition 2021
Documentary Film
Germany,
Ethiopia
2021
92 minutes
Amharic,
English
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Sarah Noa Bozenhardt
Daniel Abate Tilahun
Sonja Kilbertus
Hiwot Admasu
Beza Hailu Lemma
Andrea Munoz
Alex Praet
Bernarda Cornejo Pinto
Anna-Marlene Bicking
Sarah Noa Bozenhardt
Ana María Ormaza

In rural Ethiopia the staff of a health centre are fighting maternal mortality. They tirelessly appeal to women to give birth in the clinic. But reservations are strong, and so are the practical obstacles. How are heavily pregnant women supposed to arrive in time when the ambulance comes hours later or not at all? Against medical advice, Hulu Ager decides to give birth at home, assisted by a traditional midwife.

With palpable familiarity, the film crew captures moments of intimate communion between Hulu Ager, the midwives and other women. On the margins of the central conflict, the many challenges they face in a patriarchal society emerge. The debates are most lively under the hood dryer at the hairdresser’s: She doesn’t enjoy sex because of her circumcision, the medical professional Welela reports. “Sometimes you have to prepare yourself for sex,” another customer advises. Sometimes it helps to get drunk. But the perky hairdresser is sure: Bad sex is grounds for divorce. The women share their desires and woes with each other, experience solidarity and gather courage for small and great acts of departure and resistance. Men are relegated to the role of extras, if at all.
Sarina Lacaf
Nominated for DEFA Sponsoring Prize, Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize, Prize of the Interreligious Jury, FIPRESCI Prize
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Rural vs. Urban
Family Ties
International Competition 2018
Architektur der Unendlichkeit Christoph Schaub

On a personal journey through time and space the filmmaker, together with architects and artists, explores the magic of sacred buildings and opens a window: on infinity.

Architektur der Unendlichkeit

Documentary Film
Switzerland
2018
86 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Brigitte Hofer, Cornelia Seitler
Christoph Schaub
Jojo Mayer
Ramon Giger
Marina Wernli
William Crook
Christoph Schaub, Samuel Ammann
Jan Illing, Jacques Kieffer, Reto Stamm
In Japanese aesthetics, Wabi-Sabi describes a continuous cycle of becoming and passing away. Temporality and age are inherent in every object and creature and, depending on one’s outlook, may transcend to infinity. How can this be imagined? What goes beyond it? The filmmaker Christoph Schaub starts his very personal journey through time and space in his childhood, when his fascination with sacred buildings began – and his wonder at beginnings and ends.

Architecture helps separate the finite and the infinite. It offers protection from what is boundless, at the same time creating a sense of vastness, the narrator claims. Together with architects and artists he explores the magic of sacred spaces, defined here as far more than church buildings. The artist James Turrell, known, among other things, for his “Skyspaces”, reflects on who owns spirituality – fundamental for this film which follows “spiritual life” in architecture and the fine arts, but also in nature, and literally lifts it over and above the limits of thinking. A slightly floating camera immerses us in other-worldly, somnambulistic images, takes us on a sensual and sensing journey through vast spaces, and guides our eye towards the infinity of the starry sky and the depths of the ocean. Past and present, primeval times and light years, it’s all there.

Annina Wettstein
International Competition 2016
Austerlitz Sergei Loznitsa

Posing with selfie sticks, either in front of or behind the gate bearing the sign “Arbeit macht frei” (work sets you free). Concentration camp visitors, observed in sober black and white tableaux.

Austerlitz

Documentary Film
Germany
2016
94 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Imperativ Film
Sergei Loznitsa
Sergei Loznitsa, Jesse Mazuch
Danielius Kokanauskis
Sergei Loznitsa
Vladimir Golovnitski
Is this still memorial or already event culture? All those slogans on T-shirts we see every day, from “Cool Story, Bro” to “This Is Your Lucky Day” – what do they stand for when the context is a visit to a concentration camp? Are these misguided messages, errant people? And is “Work Makes You Free” just another slogan that calls for a pose with the selfie stick, either before or behind the gate?

Sergei Loznitsa’s camera is firmly set up at the place where ever new hosts of tourists stream through the site like through a theme park, neither stopping nor trying to connect to their environment. In carefully framed black and white tableaux he gives us, in proven fashion, the time necessary to become aware of every detail within the frame. The camera records several memorial sites (including Sachsenhausen and Dachau) like a single place that reveals nothing, a de-historicised and ultimately nameless sightseeing destination. Even the title of the film refers to the exchangeability of the content. At its centre are the visitors and with them the big issue of our identity and localisation in history. Nonetheless, individual speakers detach themselves from the murmur of the soundtrack; individual faces stand out of the crowd and invite us to take a closer look at the dynamics between the masses and the individual.

Lars Meyer



Golden Dove International Competition 2016

International Competition 2021
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Bucolic Karol Pałka
Country life as presented by Karol Pałka is not exactly romantic: two women, a ramshackle house, the ground wet, the clothes dirty. An unconventional visit to a wasteland.
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Bucolic

Bukolika
Karol Pałka
International Competition 2021
Documentary Film
Poland
2021
70 minutes
Polish
subtitles: 
German Subtitles for deaf and hard-of-hearing, English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Karol Pałka
Karolina Mróz
Wojciech Marczewski
National Film Archive – Audiovisual Institute
Marcella Jelic
Karol Pałka
Katarzyna Boniecka
Piotr Knop
Anna Rok
Karol Pałka

Danusia and Basia are a mother and daughter, sharing a life presented by director Karol Pałka as supremely secluded. Far removed from any comfort, the seasons pass, a priest comes to visit, the women wade through mud and cultivate their habits. But, unnoticed by Danusia, Basia moves on a few back roads of her own that lead in other directions.

The nearest town seems light years away. Danusia and her daughter Basia lead a reclusive life in a ramshackle house in the country. The rooms are decorated with flower arrangements, scattered with devotional objects. Mother and daughter cultivate their connection to the supernatural, either in the shape of a strict Catholicism or as small rituals in nature. In one scene Basia dances around a fire like a witch. She is also the one who repeatedly seeks contact with the outside world. We see her with a mobile phone then, but the person at the other end remains intangible, unable or unwilling to break the spell around the mother-and-daughter team. It is a dense, almost deserted world which Karol Pałka in his debut film renders in gloomy, shadowed images that grow brighter only when spring comes. But even then, the dramatic opening piece “Specially for You” by the Ukrainian band DakhaBrakha still resonates.
Carolin Weidner
Nominated for MDR Film Prize, Prize of the Interreligious Jury, FIPRESCI Prize
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Family Ties
Intervening Nature

Cahier Africain

Documentary Film
Germany,
Switzerland
2016
119 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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PS Film GmbH, Filmpunkt GmbH
Heidi Specogna
Peter Scherer
Johann Feindt
Kaya Inan
Heidi Specogna
Karsten Höfer, Thomas Lüdemann, Florian Hoffmann, Andreas Turnwald
A film carried by the sad beauty of its images and the deep personal empathy the director feels with her protagonists’ fates. During a research trip to the Central African Republic Heidi Specogna comes across an exercise book. Its contents: photos and statements of 300 women who were raped by Congolese rebels in 2002 – a homemade piece of evidence that forms the starting point of this seven year observation.

In a spectacular operation the book, now the centre of the film, finds its way to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The women’s paths are different. Specogna follows Amzine, a young Muslim, and her 12-year-old daughter Fane, and Arlette, a Christian girl whose knee was shot to pieces by the rebels. The originally planned project to follow the woman on their difficult path back to a kind of normal life is changed when Islamic and Christian militias reappear out of thin air across the country, looting and killing. Once more Amzine, Fane and Arlette, who had just worked their way towards a bit of stability and safety, are forced to flee. As a viewer one must be prepared for this film which offers no comfort, only the women’s incredible will to survive in the face of the fragility of their existence.

Matthias Heeder



Silver Dove International Competition 2016, Prize of the Interreligious Jury 2016;
Nominated for Goethe-Institute Documentary Film Prize 2016

Call Me Tony

Documentary Film
Poland
2017
63 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Klaudiusz Chrostowski, Michał Łuka
Klaudiusz Chrostowski
Wojtek Frycz
Michał Łuka
Sebastian Mialik
Klaudiusz Chrostowski
Olga Pasternak
Al Pacino, Robert De Niro or Dustin Hoffmann – these are the eccentrics, the non-conformists, in Konrad’s opinion. Men with exceptional style and intellect, which is why people can’t help giving them their whole attention. The young Pole feels especially close to Tony Montana, Al Pacino’s character in “Scarface”. At the start of the film he shaves the typical scar into one of his eyebrows. And if he can’t afford a white suite for the closing night ball, he can at least wear a blue one. He also spoons up food supplements, because Konrad is preparing for a bodybuilding competition. He wants to show the world that he’s special, too, that he can do something that will not be lost in the crowd. Konrad wants to stand out and he has clear visions.

Just like Klaudiusz Chrostowski, who frames him with no fear of poses, makes abrupt cuts and by this blows Konrad up to big screen format. When his look over the shoulder after the competition meets the camera, when the bronze makeup runs from his muscles under the shower or when he stands in front of the coffee machine in his leather jacket we see larger-than-life images that Konrad knows how to fill, despite everything.

Carolin Weidner


Nominated for Young Eyes Film Award, MDR Film Prize
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Camagroga

Camagroga
Alfonso Amador
International Competition 2020
Documentary Film
Spain
2019
111 minutes
Catalan,
Spanish
subtitles: 
English

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Alfonso Amador
Xavier Crespo
Alfonso Amador
Alfonso Amador
Alfonso Amador
Sergi Dies
Jorge Salvà
José Serrador
Carles Dènia
Pep Gimeno
Miquel Gil

The Huerta Valenciana is a unique cultural landscape of fields and plantations. For generations this region, mainly planted with perennially rotating crops of tigernuts, artichokes and onions, was regarded as the vegetable garden of Spain. “Camagroga” is a filmic elegy about peasant pride and how it is inscribed in the physiognomies, gestures and postures of the people behind these agricultural products.

Tardor, as autumn is called in the Valencian regional language, is the season when the tigernut straw is burned on the fields to make the winter harvest of the nut-sized bulbs easier. Antonio Ramon and his daughter Inma run a farm of just under four hectares north of Valencia – hardly a profitable size nowadays. And yet they apply a surfeit of care and traditional knowledge to their products, seemingly following the impulses of their vegetative nerve system rather than a deliberate programme. Ever since their fields were also identified as prime real estate in the development plan of the expanding provincial capital, however, they have known that the battle zone has already reached their barn door.
Ralph Eue
Nominated for Prize of the Interreligious Jury, FIPRESCI Prize
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Natur in Bearbeitung
Rural vs. Urban
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International Competition 2018
Charleroi, the Land of 60 Mountains Guy-Marc Hianant

The portrait of a city against the backdrop of a past that no longer exists and a future that hasn’t taken shape yet. An essayist-poetical large-scale experiment.

Charleroi, the Land of 60 Mountains

Documentary Film
Belgium
2018
126 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Cyril Bibas
Guy-Marc Hianant
Vincent Pinckaers
Simon Arazi
Dominique Goblet
Laszlo Umbreit
Charleroi, former centre of the Western European coal and steel industry. Once also a stronghold of plate glass production. For a long time this was a city on the sidelines, but now it has arrived in the middle of structural change, which, however, as the term suggests, is only provisional again. How is the spirit of community expressed today? Is it articulated on a temporal or spatial level? Horizontal or vertical? Is it athletic or rather artistic? Does it live in the built environment or in the faces and bodies of its inhabitants? Perhaps it’s just a complicated mixture? Or a complicated simplicity?

The Belgian writer, publisher, music producer and filmmaker Guy-Marc Hinant is a professed native “Carolorégien.” And he has set out to compose a complex portrait of his city. Poetic local knowledge with an enormous wingspan. Great events and tiny blind spots, and sometimes one in the other. All in all, an itinerary in the form of an essay along the director’s personal mythology.

Ralph Eue
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Children

Yeladim
Ada Ushpiz
International Competition 2020
Documentary Film
Israel
2020
128 minutes
Arabic
subtitles: 
English

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Ada Ushpiz
Ada Ushpiz
Philippa Kowarsky
Philippa Kowarsky
Channel 8
NFCT
Danor Glazer
Bilal Saed
Neta Braun
Aviv Aldema
Avi Balleli

There are children, too, among the Palestinian insurgents. For some time now, the Israeli side has observed minors who take an active part in an Intifada, especially with knives. They are harshly dealt with: prison, hardly any judiciary support. Ada Ushpiz, filmmaker and journalist, comes surprisingly close to some of the Palestinian families concerned. She has accompanied the dubious insurgents over several years and witnessed terrible pressure.

Freshly released from prison, 12-year-old Dima encounters a crowd of television people. A few months ago, she was caught with a knife. The attack was said to be aimed at Jewish Israelis. Now, in a frenzy of camera flashes, her mother stands close by her side. But instead of offering protection she assumes the role of an agitator, demanding that her daughter report how she was treated by the Israelis. But Dima remains silent. Her family describes the pubescent girl as mentally handicapped. Dareen is younger than Dima and lives with her brothers, father and a few snakes in the immediate vicinity of their Israeli neighbours. Soldiers stalk the house, sometimes stones fly, Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence service, is allegedly involved. In her astonishing film, Ushpiz shows a life in constant tension. Her approach is unapologetic and familiar.
Carolin Weidner
Nominated for Prize of the Interreligious Jury, FIPRESCI Prize
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Umverteilen und Mitreden
Zustand der Welt
Family Ties
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International Competition 2020
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Considering the Ends Elsa Maury
Shepherdess Nathalie learns what it means to kill with one’s own hands. Her process of development turns out to be a holistic learning experience: about responsibility, care and knives.
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Considering the Ends

Nous la mangerons, c’est la moindre des choses
Elsa Maury
International Competition 2020
Documentary Film
Belgium,
France
2020
67 minutes
French
subtitles: 
English, German Subtitles for deaf and hard-of-hearing

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Elsa Maury
Cyril Bibas
Luc Reder
Olivier Burlet
Javier Packer-Comyn
Philippe Cotte
Marc Siffert
Mathieu Cauville
Loïc Villiot
Galaad Germa
Willy Boutet
Christian Tessier
Elsa Maury
Geoffroy Cernaix
Pauline Piris-Nury
Martin Flament
Elsa Maury
Nathalie Savalois

The vultures are circling over the Cevennes, the south-eastern part of the French Massif Central. They are part of the holistic cycle of becoming and passing away which shepherdess Nathalie seeks to come closer to. Because the vultures are gnawing at the remains of her beloved animals. She considers herself responsible not only for their lives, but also for their death. Elsa Maury’s film is an unequivocal testimony to what it means to wield the fatal knife oneself.

The sounds made by a ewe when a lamb is born seem almost human. And when a little later the newborn turns out to be unwilling to live it seems as if one could detect pain in the mother’s eyes. The shepherdess Nathalie’s empathic look at her flock was transferred directly to the viewer. Each animal here has its own name, each has a biography that Nathalie knows by heart. And it’s ultimately up to her to finally decide when the end of a sheep is near. In diary-like sequences we learn about her feelings, take part in a difficult process of development which results in new self-confidence, perhaps even new wisdom. Elsa Maury shows a perennial school of killing and death. She leaves the events uncommented, but achieves an intensity through images and editing that stays with us for a long time.
Carolin Weidner
Nominated for Prize of the Interreligious Jury, FIPRESCI Prize
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Natur in Bearbeitung
Umverteilen und Mitreden
Rural vs. Urban
Small Worlds, Big People
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