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A Million

A Million
Arata Mori
Camera Lucida – Out of Competition 2021
Documentary Film
Japan,
Germany
2021
65 minutes
Japanese
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Arata Mori
Arata Mori
Andreas Hartmann
Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese
Arata Mori
Arata Mori
Philippe Ciompi
Yu Miyashita

The account of a journey through an imaginary city, filmed along China’s new trade routes. Like the fictionalized Marco Polo from Italo Calvino’s “Invisible Cities”, the traveller in this film talks of worlds that resemble familiar places but follow their own, sometimes seemingly incredible rules. The observations condense into a meditation about the nature of cities and the transformation of the concept of globalization.

The foreign visitor’s voice sounds muffled, as if it were coming out of the cave whose interior views open the film. Time and again, the eye returns there – but the fluorescent rock faces soon turn into the sparkle of distant galaxies, the narrow confines of the cave indistinguishable from the vastness of space. It is a symbol of the decoupling of sign and meaning, of “real” and “false”, of sensual impressions and their positive geographical allocation that pervades the film: Daft Punk perform in front of a Chinese shopping mall; the Eiffel Tower stands first in a housing estate, then, folded up to a fraction of its size, in view of Big Ben and Tower Bridge.
Felix Mende
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Rural vs. Urban
Sense and Being
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A Night of Knowing Nothing

A Night of Knowing Nothing
Payal Kapadia
Camera Lucida – Out of Competition 2021
Documentary Film
France,
India
2021
96 minutes
Hindi,
Bengali
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Payal Kapadia
Thomas Hakim
Julien Graff
Ranabir Das
Wouter Jansen
Ranabir Das
Ranabir Das
Moinak Bose
Romain Ozanne
Payal Kapadia
Himanshu Prajapati

Riots and protests at an Indian film school, told in letters written by student L to her lover K, in which she reflects on what’s happening around her. While government forces gradually push back the rebellion, L realizes that she will never receive an answer because K belongs to a higher caste. The anonymous lines are wistful echoes of a love tragedy in times of the resurgence of a nationalistic class society.

Director Payal Kapadia steeps the visual material, compiled from a variety of sources and testifying to long, draining nights of protest, but also to great determination and a youthful exuberance, almost consistently in grainy black and white. Even mobile phone or surveillance camera footage are thus aesthetically related to 16mm student films from past decades. But against this contrast the immediate, unfinished nature of what is shown becomes all the more apparent, referencing the complex dialogue between a fragile memory and a tumultuous present that goes on in the film. A present in which questions of artistic representation, but also of personal responsibility, must be renegotiated.
Felix Mende
#
Redistribution and Having a Say
Poetry and Crossing Boundaries

Avalon

Dan sak sit
Thunska Pansittivorakul
Camera Lucida – Out of Competition 2020
Documentary Film
Thailand
2020
63 minutes
Thai
subtitles: 
German Subtitles for deaf and hard-of-hearing

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Thunska Pansittivorakul
Jürgen Brüning
Jürgen Brüning
Thunska Pansittivorakul
Thunska Pansittivorakul
Thunska Pansittivorakul
Space 360

Perth has broken off contact with Poon. What’s left are images showing the two men’s sex life. Perth was Poon’s twenty years younger cinematographer. His images, as impressive as they are intimate, contain the beginning and end of a relationship which Thunska Pansittivorakul confronts again for “Avalon”. A painful look back that raises existential questions and is immediately affecting.

“In Thailand, sex is considered shameful, sinful, disgusting, and not to be spoken of in public. Sex is a personal and private mystery, revealed only to those who engage in it together”, Thunska Pansittivorakul comments his film in which he liberally subverts precisely this taboo. It shows not only two men who meet and unite in explicit poses – Adolf Hitler and King Rama VII, too, show up at a Berlin airport, the tender serenade of a Thai prince (said to be an expression of his unrequited love for a foreign princess) enters into a dialogue with the exuberant electronic compositions of the Thai musician Space360. And time and again the planes denoting distance and leave-taking fly by on the horizon. “You used to like my cock more. Don’t you remember?”
Carolin Weidner
#
Poesie und Grenzgänge
Small Worlds, Big People
Liebe/ ohne Liebe
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Everything That Is Forgotten in an Instant

Todo lo que se olvida en un instante
Richard Shpuntoff
Camera Lucida – Out of Competition 2020
Documentary Film
Argentina
2020
71 minutes
Spanish,
English
subtitles: 
English, Spanish

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Richard Shpuntoff
Nadia Jacky
Richard Shpuntoff
Richard Shpuntoff
Luciana Foglio
Galope Cine
Luján Monte

Everyday observations from Buenos Aires, shot on black-and-white 16mm film material, alternate with twenty-year-old Hi8 colour shots from New York. The perspective of a father who collects memories for his daughters. The perspective of a son who records his father’s reminiscences. Richard Shpuntoff’s multi-layered montage film is a clever essay on cultural identities, on cities and languages.

When we watch a subtitled film, we look, listen and read at the same time. We assume that the three levels are congruent or at least add up to form a whole. “Even the best subtitles suck”, the subtitles of this film announce, however, because “You are still reading instead of looking at the images.” Translating means rewriting. Therefore, “Everything That Is Forgotten in an Instant” tells parallel stories in images, words and writing: of urban development and power structures in two distant metropolises, of identity and its transgenerational transfer, of three continents and three languages which draw equally dividing and connecting lines through a family. The insecurity caused by the discrepancy between the filmic elements turns into a school of selective perception. Images, languages and texts are no dictate, after all: They leave us a choice.
Christoph Terhechte
#
Zustand der Welt
Umverteilen und Mitreden
Poesie und Grenzgänge
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Lamentations of Judas

Les lamentations de Judas
Boris Gerrets
Camera Lucida – Out of Competition 2020
Documentary Film
Netherlands,
France
2020
94 minutes
English,
Portuguese (Portugal)
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Boris Gerrets
Iris Lammertsma
Boudewijn Koole
Eric Velthuis
Serge Lalou
Camille Laemle
Nic Hofmeyr
Boris Gerrets
President Kapa
Dominique Vieillard
Thuthuka Sibisi

A group of old men in an abandoned asbestos mining town on the edge of the Kalahari Desert resist evacuation. They have no place to go because they were once notorious as soldiers of the infamous South African Battalion 32, also known as “The Terrible Ones”. Both perpetrators and victims of history, they become actors in the biblical story of Judas Iscariot in Boris Gerrets’ equally disturbing and fascinating cinematic legacy.

The spectacle under a blazing sun confronts the men, who live in abject poverty, with their unresolved past. Many of them had been forcibly recruited by the FNLA and UNITA resistance movements in the Angolan War of Independence against Portugal. After the communist MPLA took power, they found themselves as mercenaries fighting alongside white South Africans against their own people and finally defending the Apartheid regime in the colonial struggle in Namibia and the South African townships. On the fringes of the surreal film location between the decaying buildings of the old mining town, they speak for the first time about their life stories, talk about betrayal, guilt and remorse. Having been steamrolled by global politics, turned into undesirables, exiles, forgotten, suppressed and broken men, they finally become visible again as human beings in front of the camera.
Christoph Terhechte
#
Zustand der Welt
Sinn und Sein
Umverteilen und Mitreden
Poesie und Grenzgänge
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Our Quiet Place

Un endroit silencieux
Elitza Gueorguieva
Camera Lucida – Out of Competition 2021
Documentary Film
France,
Bulgaria
2021
68 minutes
French,
Bulgarian,
English
subtitles: 
English, German Subtitles for deaf and hard-of-hearing

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Elitza Gueorguieva
Eugénie Michel Villette
Martichka Bozhilova
Thomas Favel
Elitza Gueorguieva
Mélanie Braux
Arno Ledoux
Damien Pelletier Brun
Arno Ledoux

By adopting the French language, Belarusian writer Aliona Gloukhova has found a way to write about her vanished father. Director Elitza Gueorguieva follows this process, which culminates in the publication of a book. At the same time, the lives of two women cross paths who ended up in Western Europe partly to gain distance from their home countries, Belarus and Bulgaria.

Using the coordinate system of a foreign language to express what would feel dramatic or pathetic otherwise: Aliona Gloukhova chose this method to write down the story of her father, a quiet dissident and Chernobyl expert who suddenly disappeared in the mid-1990s. The memories of him are sketchy, and perhaps even what masquerades as memory isn’t real. Aliona immerses herself in fiction and the French vocabulary that gives her the freedom to formulate her own version of what happened. Elitza Gueorguieva follows this cautious approach to the biographical-linguistic complex, which also appeals to her own memories. Because on the streets of Minsk, which she walks with Aliona, she immediately feels the familiar childhood fear. It overwhelms her like biting into a madeleine she had better not tasted.
Carolin Weidner
Nominated for MDR Film Prize
#
Sense and Being
Exile
Family Ties
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The Shadow Workers

De schaduwwerkers
Annelein Pompe
Camera Lucida – Out of Competition 2021
Documentary Film
Belgium
2021
47 minutes
French,
Dutch
subtitles: 
English, French, German Subtitles for deaf and hard-of-hearing

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Annelein Pompe
Ellen Meiresonne
Dany Deprez
VAF Vlaams Audiovisueel Fonds
Bart Hoevenaars
Eric Pauwels
Pierre De Bellefroid
Miléna Trivier
Achilles Van Den Abeele
Annelein Pompe
Annelein Pompe

A place in Ghent, watched by the flightless and garrulous pigeon Lukaku. Living in a particularly close relationship with its owner, Francesco D’Amico, he gains insights into the human grotesque. Director Annelein Pompe lets him talk, introduce us to the world of pigeon breeding and reveal the thoughts of a few persons who retain small, hidden refuges in the mundane daily business.

“I look behind things,” says Lukaku. Neck twisted so that he sees the world upside down, strange things are revealed. He guides us through a Flemish microcosm that tells of a honey shop as well as a kiosk. Usman, a Pakistani pigeon lover, works in the latter. He is his own boss, unlike the “Dutch good-for-nothing” of the honey shop who is harassed by surveillance cameras and must fear for his job. Annelein Pompe creates a modern fable that tells of people’s attachment to their ordinary existence – but also of those invisible moments when spirit and body drift apart, when dreams and poetry begin. Pompe intertwines this human talent for shadow work with the fascination for pigeons, which always return to their owners and yet live in freedom.
Carolin Weidner
Nominated for Young Eyes Film Award
#
Small Worlds, Big People
Witty
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The Still Side

El lado quieto
Miko Revereza, Carolina Fusilier
Camera Lucida – Out of Competition 2021
Documentary Film
Philippines,
South Korea,
Argentina,
Mexico
2021
70 minutes
Spanish,
English
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Miko Revereza
Carolina Fusilier
Miko Revereza
Carolina Fusilier
Miko Revereza
Miko Revereza
Miko Revereza
Miko Revereza
Miko Revereza
Carolina Fusilier
Carolina Fusilier
Carolina Fusilier
Carolina Fusilier
Carolina Fusilier
Mateo Fusilier

The Mexican island of Capaluco was once home to a flourishing holiday resort. Now it is deserted. The tides are chipping away at the ruins of the amusement park and hotel complex. Sensory explorations of the terrain meet tales of a mythical sea monster from the Philippines that ended up here. Beguiling science fiction in the mirror of post-humanist theory.

“Welcome to Capaluco, the only all-inclusive island in the world! A place where fun is guaranteed for the whole family,” echoes from the loudspeakers. Gaudy dolphin sculptures stare into space. A crumbling Nestlé emblem reminds us of the glory days of an out-of-date civilization. Miko Revereza and Carolina Fusilier stage their location as an in-between place where the past reverberates and the future pushes its way in. In the meticulous observation of formations and textures, architecture and nature begin to converge. Is that still the droning of a radio mast or is it the ocean? The two directors speculate from offscreen who will be next to make use of the relics of the human empire in the relay race of the species.
Sarina Lacaf
#
Poetry and Crossing Boundaries
Intervening Nature
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To the Moon

To the Moon
Tadhg O’Sullivan
Camera Lucida – Out of Competition 2020
Documentary Film
Ireland
2020
76 minutes
Czech,
German,
English,
Estonian,
Persian (Farsi),
French,
Irish,
Italian,
Japanese,
Norwegian,
Portuguese (Brazil),
Romanian,
Russian,
Albanian,
Swedish,
Chinese
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Tadhg O’Sullivan
Clare Stronge
Heino Deckert
Sara Ross-Samko
Amanda Feery
Feargal Ward
Michael Walsh
Apal Singh
Margaret Salmon
Peter Rubi
Sam Hamilton
Ian Powell
Ben Mullen
Jimmy Gimferrer
Lorenzo Gattorna
Joshua Bonnetta
Scott Barley
Tadhg O’Sullivan
Linda Buckley

How come the moon is able to pour such equally familiar and mysterious light on the earth it shines on? And why have the countless lunar addicts among international filmmakers been so willingly seduced by this magic power that they set important scenes of their works in the somnambulistic mood between a deeply decadent blood moon and the fresh innocence of the new moon? “To the Moon” is an entrancing ode to one of cinema’s central motifs.

Director Tadhg O’Sullivan, too, surrendered like a hypnotized man to the strange light of the moon and its cinematic supercharge. Using 130 sequences from international film history and enchanting 16mm footage shot exclusively for this project he weaves an immersive meta-narrative in which precisely placed film dialogues, literary “moon passages” and an ingeniously eclectic soundtrack also do their part. Is this where you find your own moon films, with which you were hopelessly struck at a time? Did Tadhg O’Sullivan give due space to “Black Moon” (no), “Suspiria” (no) or “Carnival of Souls” (yes)? Many may ask this. But profound consolation awaits the disappointed ones: Every missing film is outweighed by three others that are so amazing that the loss is easily got over with.
Ralph Eue
#
Poesie und Grenzgänge
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Zaho Zay

Zaho Zay
Maéva Ranaïvojaona, Georg Tiller
Camera Lucida – Out of Competition 2020
Documentary Film
Austria,
France,
Madagascar
2020
79 minutes
French,
Malagasy
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Maéva Ranaïvojaona
Georg Tiller
Georg Tiller
Maéva Ranaïvojaona
Thomas Lambert
Georg Tiller
Maéva Ranaïvojaona
Georg Tiller
Barbara Bossuet
André Fèvre
Térence Meunier
Herimandresy Randriambololona
André Fèvre

“Zaho Zay!”, it’s me. This is the daily salute of the prisoners in a crowded Madagascan prison whose guard looks for her lost father in each new prisoner. Her projections and fantasies let the mystical, murderous father figure roam the island in simultaneously dreamlike and nightmarish sequences, accompanied by a poetic voiceover. A hybrid narrative, speculating about the mysterious paths and profound traumas of its landscapes and all who walk in them.

A pair of dice, a quiet murderer and his victims, traces of history and magic realism. Rituals and riddles, revenge, remorse and imprisonment are unravelled and re-interlaced between the brutal reality of a detention centre, the fantasies of the fictionalised narrator and the vast natural spaces of an island – slowly and poetically. Crises, colonial violence and its continuities are suggested and condensed. The montage of documentary material and staged sequences references western and film noir and develops an intense visual and narrative pull. An almost lyrical text and the precisely framed images bear witness to an impossible quest that’s actually a haunting, referring to individual and collective traumas and the strange forces with which such shocks inscribe themselves into narratives and places.
Djamila Grandits
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Poesie und Grenzgänge
Umverteilen und Mitreden
Sinn und Sein
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