Film Archive

Sections (Film Archive)

(Be)Longing

Documentary Film
France,
Portugal,
Switzerland
2014
77 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Luís Urbano
João Pedro Plácido
João Pedro Plácido
Pedro Marques
João Pedro Plácido, Laurence Ferreira Barbosa
Hugo Leitão
Uz, a hamlet in the north of Portugal, is home to about 50 people. Four generations, including the filmmaker João Pedro Plácido’s grandparents, so there’s reason to assume that he was emotionally involved with this project long before the first take was even a remote possibility. In Uz time passes as if clocks didn’t exist. Few things happen, lots of things are going on. The elements provide the rhythm. The story of village life over the course of a year develops organically between cattle drives, an overturned dung cart, harvest and the feast on the day the animals are slaughtered, between vespers and fireworks, confession and longing. The characters, too, develop quite naturally. There’s even a boy-meets-girl story which gradually emerges from the flow of events between Daniel, the youngest lad in this village community, and a young woman from nearby. It’s a touching moment when Daniel thinks about what kind of relationship a guy like him can probably expect from the future – that is “ordering” a Thai or Brazilian bride on the Internet. Even more touching is the fact that he (and the Brazilian or Thai) are spared this fate, at least for the time being. The film portrays people and events with sober tenderness, beautifully balanced between precise observation and sparing poetry.

Ralph Eue
Next Masters Wettbewerb 2016
#uploading_holocaust Sagi Bornstein, Udi Nir

Young Israelis performing a rite of initiation, the “Journey to Poland”: seven days, three mass graves, four concentration camps, and cameras running all the time. An exercise in identity made up of YouTube videos – horror 2.0.

#uploading_holocaust

Documentary Film
Austria,
Germany,
Israel
2016
75 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Gebrüder Beetz Filmproduktion, udiVsagi production
Sagi Bornstein, Udi Nir
Uri Agnon
Sagi Bornstein, Gal Goffer
Aviv Aldema
It’s like an initiation ritual. Every year 25,000 Israeli pupils and students go on a trip to Poland, visiting four concentration camps, three mass graves and two ghettos in seven days. It’s a journey to the dead, their roots, and themselves: as Jews and citizens of Israel. They document everything on their smartphones: hotel rooms, barracks, shooting ranges, themselves, their friends. The material shared on YouTube is the basis of this film – and it’s revealing. The two Israeli directors Sagi Bornstein and Udi Nir set contemporary recordings against videotapes from the 1980s. How will the memory change when there are no more contemporary witnesses? What can the crumbling sites still reveal? When will the rituals become hollow?

The Holocaust is the narrative of Israel, the constituent element of the state, even more than Zionism. That’s what the young people are taught to believe. The concept is historical imagination and immersion. They are supposed to feel the squeeze of the cattle wagons, the hardness of the narrow pallets and the oppression of the gas chambers. Horror 2.0. The video material also shows, however, how much smarter the young people are. There are no stupid questions, documentary filmmaker Marcel Ophüls once said, only stupid answers.

Cornelia Klauß


Nominated for Young Eyes Film Award
Next Masters Wettbewerb 2015
A Summer Love Jean-François Lesage

Glaring neon lights, pounding Techno rhythms, lying in the grass, talking and dancing … the midsummer night’s dream of a group of adolescents, a sensuous feast.

A Summer Love

Documentary Film
Canada
2015
63 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jean-François Lesage
Jean-François Lesage
Gold Zebra
Jean-François Lesage, Marianne Ploska
Mathieu Bouchard-Malo, Ariane Pétel-Despots
Jean-François Lesage
Bruno Bélanger, Alexis Pilon-Gladu, Aude Renaud-Lorrain
Bright neon colours are reflected in the faces of young people in a nocturnal park. The rhythms of electronic music can be heard from a distance. In the darkness big trees can be discerned whose branches grow high into the sky and which stand there as if they were guarding the young people lying in the grass. After a while they dance... and talk... a lot. Sometimes you feel like you’re in one of those French black and white films from the 1960s where people also talk incessantly. French is also spoken in this work by the Canadian director Jean-François Lesage – the main subjects are nothingness, and love. We hear a young man’s poetic off screen comment: “Love exists anyway.” The digital generation obviously has a lot to think and talk about concerning relationships and romantic dramas. The neon lights show them the way through a nocturnal nature, into the uncertain future of adulthood. Watching this is a sensuous experience.

Zaza Rusadze
Next Masters Wettbewerb 2018
Animus Animalis (A Story About People, Animals and Things) Aistė Žegulytė

For animals killed in a hunt death is the start of an existence as objects. Mounted to look lifelike they are being exhibited – and looking at you.

Animus Animalis (A Story About People, Animals and Things)

Documentary Film
Lithuania
2018
69 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Giedrė Burokaitė
Aistė Žegulytė
Gediminas Jakubka
Vytautas Katkus
Mikas Žukauskas
Aistė Žegulytė, Titas Laucius
The trees are covered in thick snow. A peaceful group of hunters tramp through the forest. At night they celebrate their kill. A group of men sworn to their own ethics of the dignity of all creatures. It’s only in the death of the opposite they aimed at that they find respect for the existence of the killed game, for which this violent end of life is the beginning of an existence as an object. Mounted and worked on with extreme skill until they once more resemble the vibrant “before”, the carcasses are processed and made suitable for the human eye and its desire to feast on things. Former but never quite gone deer, muskrats and birds look at you.

The line between the life and death of these animals seems to get blurred in the course of the film, only to be drawn even more strongly. The adoration of the wilderness of tamed nature in rituals of presentation made for humans clearly follows different logics than the comfortable and presentable one of keeping pets. Dead eyes do not look back.

Fabian Tietke


Nominated for the MDR Film Prize

Arid Zone

Documentary Film
Brazil
2019
76 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Antônio Junior, Fernanda Pessoa
Fernanda Pessoa
Pedro Santiago
Rodrigo Levy
Germano de Oliveira, Mari Moraga
Fernanda Pessoa
Daniel Turini
Mesa, Arizona, east of Phoenix and about 200 kilometres from the Mexican border, is said to be the most conservative city in the U.S. In 2001, Fernanda Pessoa was an exchange student in Mesa. She was 15 years old at the time. 15 years later she returned, in the weeks before the presidential election won by Donald Trump. Starting with numerous photos of that earlier time, Pessoa searches out people she met as a teenager. She finds a new approach to the United States, is more aware of everything she experiences; after all, she has grown up in the meantime. She conducts an inner dialogue with her former self as she rediscovers this country whose inhabitants are so proud of the fact that it’s theirs: America. The land of firearms and peculiar sports, the land that invented the shopping mall and the Western movie.

Pessoa quotes the philosopher Baudrillard, to whom America seemed like a fiction. With her film, she turns it into an experience of reality that ultimately makes her understand more about her own country: “Our cultural colonialism came to collect the bill.” “Arid Zone” (Arizona) opposes that colonialism with the gentle resistance of precise observation.

Bert Rebhandl



Honorable Mention in the Next Masters Competition Long Documentary and Animated Film.

Army

Documentary Film
South Korea
2018
90 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Kelvin Kyung Kun Park, Junho Park
Kelvin Kyung Kun Park
Kelvin Kyung Kun Park, David Park
Kelvin Kyung Kun Park, Hein Seok
Paulo Vivacqua
Woochul’s face is running with sweat. Another one of those countless parades during which one is supposed to let the gun in one’s hand dance, following a strict choreography. Eternal drill. Permanent exercises. It’s hot and Woochul’s eyes flash with effort and nerves. The military training that’s compulsory for all young South Koreans lasts two years. Director Kelvin Kyung Kun Park himself is haunted until today by his traumatic time as a recruit. In his film, Woochul turns into an alter ego he uses to reflect on himself and Korean society, including the military system.

Ufos play a role, since these are seen with inordinate frequency by soldiers, a fact Park interprets as the expression of a specific mental state. Religion, too. In “Army”, a Christian K-Pop girl band performs no less than twice to frenetic cheering, calling upon their emotionally softened audience to write to them. How many men may actually do this and hope for an answer? Last, but not least, “Army” is about depression, from which both, director and protagonist, suffer in the course of their service. Kelvin Kyung Kun Park reports (and stays silent) in a basic tone of dry empathy. The film is dedicated to all those who lost their lives during military service.

Carolin Weidner

Baek-gu

Documentary Film
South Korea
2017
83 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Yuri Lee
Boram Kim
Boram Kim, Chohyun Na, Jeonghyn Mun Junho Kim Jaehong Koh, Jaehon Choi
Boram Kim
A limping old dog lives in a shed in a quiet district of Seoul. If it was human it would be called a hermit. One day the director notices the dog and becomes curious. She talks to neighbours, passers-by, playing children, who all crossed paths with this dog but never noticed it, or came to some banal conclusion and then forgot it again. Their statements are as diverse as witness statements after an accident: if an identikit picture or psychological profile were assembled from them it would be a magnificently grotesque creature – perhaps a hybrid of Quasimodo and the donkey from Bresson’s “Balthazar”.

In the course of the film, though, the statements respectively narratives respectively narrators themselves become more and more interesting. It seems as if every person there (only there?) lives in their own, separate world, rarely intersecting with the worlds of the others. A universe of melancholy. Who can tell what the director’s intention may have been at the start? She may simply, and rightly, have trusted that detours increase your local knowledge. Or followed the aphorism of the great Berlin pub-poet Jürgen K. Hultenreich: “Goals are in the way.”

Ralph Eue



Golden Dove Next Masters Competition

Next Masters Wettbewerb 2016
Behind the Stone Wall Magali Roucaut

A small factory in the middle of Paris where for decades the finest cardboards were manufactured. A last look at a working world driven from our environment and a quiet, finely observed requiem.

Behind the Stone Wall

Documentary Film
France
2016
59 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Docks 66
Magali Roucaut
Magali Roucaut
Laureline Delom
Magali Roucaut
The machines rattle and hiss, squeak and groan. Every second robot arms dart forward and back, again and again. The people are part of the machines, pushing cardboard into steel mouths and pulling it out, in, out, to the rhythm of the machines. Punching, folding, riveting, wrapping. They stop briefly only when director Magali Roucaut asks a question, to talk about their life in the rhythm of the machines, behind the stone wall.

Over decades the inhabitants of this district in the middle of Paris, who speak from off-screen, hardly noticed the fact that a medium-sized company produced cardboard boxes here. No mass-produced goods for Scandinavian furniture stores but carefully manufactured special containers for archives and libraries. Now the small factory must go – the facade already bears a poster for the lofts that are to be built here to “upgrade” the district. Roucaut is interested in what is about to vanish here, the workers’ lives and biographies – all of them migrants, some of them second generation employees. She documents the disappearance of labour from our environment, its move to the periphery and probably soon to Asia. You only realise that some things were there when they are gone, which is what Roucaut opposes in her quiet, precisely observed requiem.

Grit Lemke


Nominated for Healthy Workplaces Film Award
Next Masters Wettbewerb 2015
Brumaire Joseph Gordillo

The last French coal miners in charismatic photos. The present day holds only precarious jobs for the young generation. The end of work in suggestive images.

Brumaire

Documentary Film
France
2015
66 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Juan Gordillo, Martine Vidalenc
Joseph Gordillo
Hervé Birolini
Laetitia Giroux
Dominique Petitjean
Cynthia Gonzalez
Sandrine Mercier, Christian Lamalle
When the last French coal mine in Lorraine was closed in 2004, Joseph Gordillo had already gone down many times with the miners to photograph them and capture his own fascination for this underground world in the pictures. He portrays the mine as a living cosmos the workers are part of. Even in individual portraits they stay a part of the whole. Their charisma is visible in their shining eyes, their strength in the group.

In his film Gordillo reworks the photographic material, reconstructing the age of mining through pans, processed images and abstract sound collages. A former miner lends his voice – a vivid field report and flow of thoughts.

But Gordillo’s theme is not work in the past but its social significance. And so he adds a second voice, that of a young woman, a miner’s daughter. She can still be proud of her father but no longer of herself. Her life as a cleaning woman in a town marked by decline is captured in its sterility and lack of perspective. The step away from the solidarity and identity of the miners leads directly into isolation. With noticeable consequences: de-politisation, unemployment, a shift to the right. In suggestive images, the film portrays the autumn of the work society over two generations.

Lars Meyer
Next Masters Wettbewerb 2018
Cinema Morocco Ricardo Calil

Homeless persons occupy the formerly glamorous cinema palace in São Paulo. A theatre workshop recalls the building’s past – and creates projection surfaces for broken biographies.

Cinema Morocco

Documentary Film
Brazil
2018
76 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Eliane Ferreira, Pablo Iraola
Ricardo Calil
André Namur
Loiro Cunha, Carol Quintanilha
Jordana Berg
Ricardo Calil
Flávio Guedes, Ricardo Pinta
A strange newsreel report is all that recalls the glamorous past of the Cine Marrocos in São Paulo today. We see Irene Dunne, Erich von Stroheim and Abel Gance at the International Film Festival of Brazil 1954, walking up the red carpet to the opulent cinema palace, and Fubuki Koshiji stumbling and “revealing her delicate eastern foot” (original voiceover). Forty years later the twelve-floor building was suddenly empty, for two decades. When the announced renovation didn’t happen, a community of homeless people squatted there in 2013. At times more than 2,000 people from 17 countries lived in the gutted and graffiti covered ruin.

At the initiative of the eponymous film project, films from the first festival year were screened in the re-opened cinema and a theatre workshop was founded where the actor-squatters worked on iconic film scenes, for example from “Sunset Boulevard”, “La Grande Illusion”, “Julius Caesar” and “Sawdust and Tinsel.” On the backdrop of imminent eviction, the film documents the theatre work, “co-written” by broken biographies and resulting in cinematographic re-enactments. Norma Desmond, Marc Anthony, the circus rider Anne and the fighter pilot Maréchal literally become projection surfaces – for experiences as varied as war trauma, depression, disgust of affluence and post-colonial alienation.

Esther Buss



Golden Dove in the Next Masters Competition Long Film

Cinema, Mon Amour

Documentary Film
Czech Republic,
Romania
2015
74 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Tudor Giurgiu
Alexandru Belc
Tudor Vladimir Panduru
Ion Ioachim Stroe
Alexandru Belc, Tudor Giurgiu
Vlad Voinescu
Victor Purice definitely deserves a medal as a “Hero of Socialist Labour”. Witnessing the desperation, the vigour, the persistence with which he keeps fighting for his cinema brings tears to the eyes. The “Dacia” Panorama Film Theatre, somewhere in the Romanian province, a concrete beauty with several hundred seats, a good-sized foyer and solid 35 mm projection equipment is on the brink of failure. It shares the fate of many Romanian cinemas; there are less than 30 left. The others were privatised, sold off, turned into amusement arcades or discotheques, even the film studio sold many of them. What nonsense – just as we are celebrating the new golden age of Romanian cinema in our part of the world!

But Victor Purice and the small staff he has left will not be driven out of their dream cinema that easily. They live and cook among film reels, turn the foyer into a table tennis hall and watch a Hollywood blockbuster alone, if need be. All this is narrated affectionately and full of admiration for this modern Don Quixote who is fighting mismanagement, digital progress and a broken heating system. The price he pays is high. It’s to be feared that this story will not have a happy ending. Mission: Impossible.

Cornelia Klauß

Convictions

Documentary Film
Poland,
Russia
2016
63 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Vlad Ketkovich, Mariya Chuprinskaya, Maciek Hamela, Tatyana Chistova
Tatyana Chistova
Omari Zverkov
Mariya Falileyeva , Omari Zverkov, Miroslav Mishinov, Aleksey Strelov, Dmitriy Medvedev
Tatyana Chistova
Marina Sheinman
These are the stories and trials of four young men who decided that to them “pacifism” is not a swearword. But this conviction means they are swimming against the tide of a thoroughly re-militarised society which has been forging men of steel for years now. Conscientious objection is listed in section 328 of Russian criminal law.

Shy Roman is well-briefed and tries his luck with great idols like Leo Tolstoy and Albert Einstein, which only earns him a reputation as a “pseudo-Dostoyevsky”, though. With Viktor, the draft board wonder whether he’s under their jurisdiction at all (“Boy or girl?”) and then vote – much to the annoyance of some bigwigs – for alternative service. This is where the story takes an incredibly funny turn, because he is assigned to the woman veterans’ dance company “Sudarushka”. However, Lyosha, a solitaire and determined opponent of the Ukraine war, and Johnny, professional protester with a remarkable rhetorical talent, are denied this kind of kitsch ending.

And yet we may raise our hopes along with them and this film – despite the basic bitterness provoked by all this: because anyone who imagined that political repression makes us braindead and mute is taught better by Chistova’s unsubdued look behind the scenes of collective opinion and mood making.

Barbara Wurm



MDR Film Prize 2016

Next Masters Wettbewerb 2015
Dead When I Got Here Mark Aitken

An asylum for the mentally ill in Juárez, Mexico, where the ex-junkie Josué takes care of the castaways. An amazing ballad of difference and loss, violence and caring.

Dead When I Got Here

Documentary Film
Mexico,
UK
2015
72 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Mark Aitken
Mark Aitken
Mark Pilkington
Mark Aitken
Sibila Estruch
Alex Bryce, John Thorpe
At first sight Josué looks like an ageing heavyweight boxer who found his way back to life – and his vocation – after a knockout. We are at “Visión en Acción”, a home for the mentally disturbed on the outskirts of Juárez, Mexico. A violent city in which Josué wasted his life as a heroin junkie. Six years ago they dumped him here, half-dead. At “Visión en Acción” there are no doctors or nurses, there’s not enough money, only a kind of self-administration run by the inmates. They opened their arms to Josué and healed him. He has lived here ever since and managed the home with the dedication of a man who crossed a border and was brought back to serve his fellow humans in the spirit of charity. “Visión en Acción” is an amazing place, whose daily routines Mark Aitken shows us in very factual images. The situations need no spectacular highlights, they speak for themselves: of being mentally different, of loss, caring and the violence of the city. At the same time this point of view forces us again and again to recognise our own limits in the face of abnormalities. That’s one of the things Josué teaches us, who, in some shots, doesn’t look like a boxer at all but rather like a slumped, thoughtful Buddha.

Matthias Heeder
Next Masters Wettbewerb 2019
Deep Waters Alice Heit

An opulent film essay celebrating autonomous female sexuality. Its attitude and style playfully take up the feminist departure of the 1970s, but are firmly aimed at the present.

Deep Waters

Documentary Film
France
2019
53 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Alice Heit
Alice Heit
Alice Heit
Alice Heit
Alice Heit
Alice Heit
Alice Heit
Alice Heit
In the early 1970s, countless women in Western Europe and the U.S. fervently set out to explore their own bodies in self-help groups. Alice Heit’s film draws on this historic space of experience, opening on the sound level with personal reports of female sexuality affirming itself. Soon, a wide-ranging visual journey rich in associations develops, exploring and celebrating the physical phenomenon of female ejaculation suppressed in popular images of sexiness. Vulva-shaped sculptures and small statues of ancient mother goddesses lead the way to the spiritual emanations of the sexual and to creation myths in ancient India and Anatolia.

The shimmering Super 8 images, manually developed by the filmmaker (and looking beautifully homemade on all levels!) spread retro feelings on the formal level, too. Stop motion animations of crawling starfish evoke the surrealist film avant-garde. Other ingredients of this sex film of a different kind overflowing with motifs: lots of seawater. Dark snakes on pale skin. Trance-like chanting. And (with a title banner raised by two female divers underwater) perhaps the most poetic opening credits in the history of cinema.

Silvia Hallensleben
Next Masters Wettbewerb 2017
Delta Oleksandr Techynskyi

Deep winter in the Bukovina in the thinly populated Danube delta: the season of the tough reed harvest. In this inhospitable and remote region, spirituality offers a sheltering home to the community.

Delta

Documentary Film
Germany,
Ukraine
2017
80 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Yulia Serdyukova, Gennady Kofman, Kirill Krasovski
Oleksandr Techynskyi
Oleksandr Techynskyi
Marina Maykovskaya
Oleg Golovoshkin
The thinly populated Danube delta in the Bukovina is situated at the EU’s exterior border on Romanian and Ukrainian territory. Far from the container ships on the main stream a network of tributaries branches out in an endless reed forest. Warm and cold browns alternate in the shifting light of midwinter. Walls of fog and grey water blur the horizon. Men cut their way through the high canes to harvest the reed. The camera pushes them to the edge of the frame. The strictly limited sharp focus sometimes turns them into strangers in an unreal landscape by which they are occasionally absorbed. It’s cold and wet as they cut the huge reeds, gather them in massive bunches and carry them across ice channels. The work is hard, the voices of the rural workers rough, the daily grind that must be survived is tough. In the pathless, wild isolation of this region, the orthodox faith offers shelter. Hectic and chaotic, buckets and bottles filmed from up close scoop the holy water out of the river. At the last benediction the village mourns by chanting, tightly packed around the deceased – the spiritual rituals of a small, isolated community encircled by the veins of the mighty Danube. Oleksandr Techynskyis haptic film captures the closeness in this wide expanse.

André Eckardt



Honorary Mention Next Masters Competition;
Nominated for MDR Film Prize, Healthy Workplaces Film Award, Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize

Next Masters Wettbewerb 2018
Denisa, a Story of a Friend Mária Brnušáková

All Denisa really wants is love. She’s been looking for it in men ever since she was a teenager. Mária Brnušáková has filmed her friend over a couple of years – the portrait is rough.

Denisa, a Story of a Friend

Documentary Film
Slovakia
2017
53 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Academy of Performing Arts – Film and Television Faculty
Mária Brnušáková
Mária Brnušáková
Mária Brnušáková, Tomáš Holocsy
Mária Brnušáková
Mária Brnušáková
There’s not only love but also the craving for love. Denisa, a young Slovak woman, is craving it, as she explains right at the start: “I want love. Not money, cash, bucks … Just love, that’s it.” Denisa wants to be in a relationship with a man at all costs, and she has very precise ideas of what he should look and be like: one of them resembled a member of the Kelly Family, before she fixated on police officers. All her relationships are bumpy. The first also produced a little boy whom Denisa loses sight of after separating from his father. Mária Brnušáková’s long term portrait is rough and unadorned. While we first meet Denisa as a giddy teenager who considers cooking for her husband a fun way to pass the time, the young woman’s attitude changes over the years. A special sense of humour and a certain indomitable air stay the same, though: at first Denisa struggles to win the men’s love, but the focus of her fight later shifts to re-establishing contact with her son.

Carolin Weidner


Nominated for the MDR Film Prize