Film Archive

Sections (Film Archive)

German Competition 2020
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80.000 Schnitzel Hannah Schweier
Monika has a new dream: She fights tirelessly to preserve her grandmother’s ailing inn and farm. A family chronicle and a film about life goals.
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80.000 Schnitzel

80.000 Schnitzel
Hannah Schweier
German Competition 2020
Documentary Film
Germany
2020
102 minutes
German
subtitles: 
English

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Hannah Schweier
Stefan Sporbert
Stefanie Reinhard
Romy Steyer
Johannes Kunz
Ella Zwietnig
Hannah Schweier

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Grandma Berta’s beloved “Zollhaus” is on the verge of ruin. She has dedicated her whole life to this inn and farm. Now her granddaughter Monika, the filmmaker’s sister, is to take over the heavily indebted family farm in the Upper Palatinate. What makes Monika decide to give up her previous plans and move to the countryside to live with her grandmother? The director decides to follow her sister for one year during this apparent labour of Sisyphus.

Monika puts all her energy into the ailing farm and is constantly confronted with its history: Grandma Berta’s schnitzel was legendary. But only the jukebox is left of the merry evenings in a packed inn. Berta had to bury her husband, two of her sons and a grandson. She is not a woman of tender words and unsparingly direct, which soon leads to conflict. The director at first watches her indefatigable sister in stunned disbelief. But gradually she understands that Monika has found a new dream in the “Zollhaus”. This enables her to offer an intimate insight into the chronicle of a family. The film confronts us with the universal question when it is the right time to live one’s dreams and how quickly this time may pass.
Annina Wettstein
Nominated for Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize, DEFA Sponsoring Prize, VER.DI Prize for Solidarity, Humanity and Fairness, Gedanken Aufschluss Prize
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Intervening Nature
Redistribution and Having a Say
Family Ties
Rural vs. Urban
Small Worlds, Big People
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German Competition 2015
Akt Mario Schneider

Nude models in Leipzig: nudity motivates reflections on injuries and human warmth. A declaration of love to life and bodies that wear their scars with dignity.

Akt

Documentary Film
Germany
2015
105 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Christoph Kukula
Mario Schneider
Cornelius Renz, Mario Schneider
Friede Clausz
Gudrun Steinbrück-Plenert
Mario Schneider
Johannes Doberenz, Christian Carl, Kai Hesselbarth, Frieder Wohlfarth
After his award winning Mansfeld trilogy Mario Schneider returns to Leipzig with a simply astonishing film. The basic idea is brilliant: on one level, it’s the story of three people who pose nude at the local art academy. This creates a point of intersection from which the film credibly moves in and out of the protagonists’ worlds while linking the work with art with the work of life. At the same time, the scenes where they pose nude invite us to contemplate the human body.

In these moments the stories we just followed – a childhood memory, the beginning of a love story – find surprising physical correspondences that invite us to take a look at ourselves. Another layer is added to this narrative structure, introduced by an art student who poses nude herself and is searching for the artistic expression of an old question: how does human closeness work? Intelligently deployed in the dramaturgy, this subject merges the individual narratives into a social experience that is artist Mario Schneider’s real motif. Multilayered, masterfully edited and timed and sustained by its excellent cinematography, “Naked Beauty” is a declaration of love to the human body that bears its scars with dignity.

Matthias Heeder
German Competition 2014
Am Kölnberg Robin Humboldt, Laurentia Genske

Four residents of Cologne in a prefabricated highrise on the edge of the city. A story of struggles against addiction and poverty, of lives that used to be different. And of friendship and happiness.

Am Kölnberg

Documentary Film
Germany
2014
85 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Kunsthochschule für Medien, Köln
Robin Humboldt, Laurentia Genske
Laurentia Genske, Robin Humboldt, Johannes Waltermann
Carina Mergens
Robert Keilbar
In 1974, a housing estate consisting of nine high-rises was built in the middle of a field on the southern edge of Cologne. Its silhouette, seen from a distance and in the right light, resembles a massive elevation, which soon earned it the name of Kölnberg (Cologne mountain). It also gained a reputation as a deprived area very quickly. People don’t like to talk about Kölnberg, and if they do, it’s usually in lurid headlines. In 2013, 4,100 men, women and children from around 60 nations lived in Kölnberg, the percentage of foreigners was listed as 61.8 %. Statistics are an effective tool and whoever has power over statistical definitions very much shapes our image of reality.
With patience and a lot of time, Filmmakers Robin Humboldt and Laurentia Genske worked their way behind the social stereotypes, headlines and statistics. Their film portrays four people to whom Kölnberg has become a home a long time ago or just recently. They avoid the equally well-meaning and condescending perspective of social services and try to realise a respectful, participatory encounter with the protagonists, who are both extraordinary and extraordinarily diverse in their respective “normalities”.

Ralph Eue



Honorary Mention in the German Competition 2014

German Competition 2013
Art War Marco Wilms

Art as a weapon! Graffiti on Cairo’s walls as a medium of rebellion, Egyptian underground artists as the chroniclers of events. A frenzied trip through colours and rhythms.

Art War

Documentary Film
Germany
2013
87 minutes
subtitles: 
German
English

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Marlen Burghardt, Marco Wilms
Marco Wilms
Ramy Essam, Bosaina and Wetrobots, Tonbüro Berlin
Marco Wilms, Abdelrhman Zin Eldin, Emanuele Ira, Bashir Mohamed Wagih, Ali Khaled
Stephan Talneau
Mohamed Khaled
Marco Wilms
Art is a weapon! This motto still holds true in Cairo. After 30 years of autocracy, President Mubarak was swept away by his people. Now the street belongs to them, the young rebels and artists. Graffiti sprayers and painters make the walls speak. They recount the days of fighting in blood-smeared portraits, the time of anarchy in wild collages, the attempts of liberation from a suppressed sexuality in obscene pictures. Walls become a chronicle of the rush of events; electro pop and rap supply a thrilling soundtrack. Euphoria is followed by overpainting and destruction. Snipers are at work, aiming at the protesters’ eyes. The revolution is no more romantic than this underground art, whose aim is to provoke and take risks, is accommodating.
In one episode, director Marco Wilms draws a line back to the historic murals of the age of the Pharaohs. In a country with a high illiteracy rate, such traditions become a tried and tested medium of revolt. In a wild tour de force through the past two years of permanent and radical upheavals, “Art War” shows the dangerous dance on the volcano as a trip driven forward by the colours and rhythms of the Egyptian painters and musicians.

Cornelia Klauß



Honorary Mention in the German Competition Documentary Film 2013

German Competition 2015
Atl Tlachinolli Alexander Hick

Mexico City, a juggernaut of millions of inhabitants, fighting for survival. Its counterpoint is the mythical Axolotl, which does not undergo any metamorphosis but is losing its biotope. A bold portrait of a city.

Atl Tlachinolli

Documentary Film
Germany,
Mexico
2015
76 minutes
subtitles: 
German

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University for Television and Films Munich, Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica, A.C.
Alexander Hick
Juan Pablo Villa
Alexander Hick
Julian Sarmiento
Alexander Hick, Ileana Villareal
You don’t have to be a zoologist to understand Alexander Hick’s fascination with an animal singularly adapted to the formation of myths. The axolotl, a caudate, refuses to metamorphose. It will not go ashore but prefers to remain in the water as a larva and still manages to breed and regrow limbs. Even its heart and brain regenerate! The only problem is that its habitat has vanished. An 8-million metropolis is now rising where there used to be water: Mexico City. Alexander Hick asks how humans treat the conquered paradise through insistent images full of cultural historical, religious and mythological references. In fragmented parallel episodes he sketches the inhabitants of this megacity and their struggle for survival. Violence and corruption have hollowed out everything: the family, the institutions, the state. The film does not give us any faith in their self-“regeneration”. On the contrary.

So the axolotl, worshipped by the Aztecs, is the last witness of an oppressed and abused landscape and an age when humans were still capable of building advanced civilisations. An intelligent – in the noblest sense of the word – essay film, and the bold portrait of a city.

Cornelia Klauß
German Competition 2020
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Atomkraft Forever Carsten Rau
A visually stunning and at the same time sober reckoning of the zero sum game between climate change and nuclear disaster: no dramatisation at all and yet deeply disturbing.
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Atomkraft Forever

Atomkraft Forever
Carsten Rau
German Competition 2020
Documentary Film
Germany
2020
94 minutes
German,
French
subtitles: 
German Subtitles for deaf and hard-of-hearing

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Carsten Rau
Hauke Wendler
Carsten Rau
SWR Südwestrundfunk
NDR Norddeutscher Rundfunk
Georg Gruber
Timo Grosspietsch
Andrzej Krol
Carsten Rau
Stephan Haase
Augusto Castellano
Ketan Bhatti
Vivan Bhatti

This detailed and sober look at the issue of nuclear power begins where Germany is currently standing: with shutting it off. It’s precisely because the film is anything but alarmist that the alarming aspect of the situation becomes clear. The nuclear nightmare is not over; a safe final nuclear waste repository is not in sight. And yet, boosted by the coal phase-out, many people seem to see “clean” nuclear energy as an option again. The terror of climate change trumps the terror of the nuclear worst case scenario. A zero sum game.

Carsten Rau succeeds masterfully in calmly probing the heated controversy. He talks to people who live with and off nuclear power. Engineer, scientist or innkeeper, he very deliberately frames them all with the same mixture of seriousness and nonchalance. The story is told without dramatisation, but with stunningly “beautiful” images that make the fascination with this technology quite comprehensible. When hip French nuclear engineers finally try to join the front line of climate protesters, we realise how false the talk of an “unavoidable option” is and always has been. The portrait of a society emerges that walked into a blind alley with open eyes and is slowly coming to realise that with every step it takes it is moving further away from the exit.
Luc-Carolin Ziemann
Nominated for DEFA Sponsoring Prize, Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize, VER.DI Prize for Solidarity, Humanity and Fairness, Gedanken Aufschluss Prize, Young Eyes Film Award
#
Intervening Nature
State of the World
Redistribution and Having a Say
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German Competition 2015
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

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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

German Competition 2013
Caracas Maximilian Feldmann

The chronicle of a psychological disorder, told by relatives and friends. The formally rigorous portrait of a family and a society in which everyone has to function.

Caracas

Documentary Film
Germany
2013
54 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Jana Beyer
Maximilian Feldmann
Marcel Walter
Luise Schröder
Anne Goldenbaum
Maximilian Feldmann
Dominik Leube
The distance between Germany and Caracas is about 8,000 kilometres as the crow flies. At first glance, this seems enough to forget everything that might sicken the human soul in our part of the world. Even if he doesn’t remember exactly why, Maximilian Feldmann was there, as proven by the few pertinent shots in his film. As for the rest, he decided to find his interlocutors in his home country of Germany and confront them only with the cause of his journey. To this end, he places them in slightly “crazy” frames. “We didn’t think it was an illness for a long time”, a lady says directly into the camera. Another man talks about authenticity as the theme of life. The film only gradually reveals the true identity of these people, to whom you feel surprisingly close, through the way they deal with a disorder. Taking a very personal problem as the point of departure, a formally stringent, in fact authentic portrait of a family emerges and, beyond that, a haunting image of our society. That was definitely worth the journey.

Claudia Lehmann
German Competition 2019
Coming off the Real Time, for a While Anna Friedrich

On the Swedish coast, the farmer Sven Axel lives with his mother, a few animals and a lot of imagination. He dreams of filmmaking and acting. Now he tries out both.

Coming off the Real Time, for a While

Documentary Film
Germany
2019
62 minutes
subtitles: 
English
German

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Anna Friedrich, Ray Peter Maletzki (ROSENPICTURES)
Anna Friedrich
Stef Ketteringham
Anna Friedrich
Anna Friedrich
Anna Friedrich
Andrea Rüthel, André Görbing, Leo Rocker, Maximilian Glaß, Anna Friedrich
Anna Friedrich follows Sven Axel Nilsson into the morning fog. Sven Axel works as a farmer somewhere in Sweden, the sea nearby. But he is much more than that. Friedrich teases it out of him by asking him about his dreams and fears, by wanting to know which of the four elements is his favourite. She hands him the camera because he wants to film stones, so a short but no less spectacular contribution about a mystical rock formation becomes part of this unconventional portrait. But Sven Axel also likes acting and so, without further ado, he becomes this, too: an actor.

Far away from almost any disturbance, the two begin a kind of game in which both Sven Axel’s mother and an area used by the Swedish army for exercises play roles. “For me the world is a quite big globe. ’Cause I haven’t travelled so much in my life,” he says. And adds: “Now, the wide, wide world seems very small. But it’s not true. If you sail, or you’re walking or you ride, it’s quite a big world, it is.” In any case, Sven Axel’s world is an extremely rich one. Anna Friedrich makes it negotiable.

Carolin Weidner
German Competition 2018
Der Esel hieß Geronimo Arjun Talwar, Bigna Tomschin

The island was a shared dream that failed. Now all its former inhabitants are bobbing up and down in the harbour on their little boats, mourning, scolding, analysing mistakes.

Der Esel hieß Geronimo

Documentary Film
Germany,
Switzerland
2018
80 minutes
subtitles: 
English
German

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Arjun Talwar (Lo-Fi Films)
Arjun Talwar, Bigna Tomschin
Arjun Talwar
Bigna Tomschin
Arjun Talwar, Bigna Tomschin
Franek Kosłowski
“An island always has two sides. One is summer, the other is winter,” a man called Rüdiger says. A fact that makes life on the island more difficult, because farming and surviving are much harder in winter. Other obstacles of living together: the famous “island rage” which is probably found all over the world in every latitude and longitude.

The residents of Store Okseø in the Baltic Sea managed to withstand all this adversity for more than ten years. Then they quarrelled and left the island, almost all of them with a broken heart. Nobody got over this place and what happened there. The island is a subject of conversation, a niggling gap, a throbbing wound. There seems to have been a donkey called Geronimo there, but also countless varieties of roses, coffee and beer for all visitors, music, events, a shared dream. A fixed point in the ocean. Without it, the sailors would have lost their ground, a friend believes. And it’s true, they are all lying at anchor in their small boats now, rocking, drinking, scolding and spying on each other, and thinking.

Carolin Weidner


Nominated for the Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize

German Competition 2018
Der Funktionär Andreas Goldstein

A “Film about the Father”, the GDR functionary Klaus Gysi. And a film about a state often associated with injustice. Not here: the good communist is a tragic figure.

Der Funktionär

Documentary Film
Germany
2018
72 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Andreas Goldstein, Heino Deckert
Andreas Goldstein
Jakobine Motz
Chris Wright
Andreas Goldstein
The “Film about the Father” is a difficult genre. Andreas Goldstein, son of the GDR cultural functionary Klaus Gysi (1912–1999) has tackled this task with a complete lack of vanity, but with insistence: measured and calm, honest and intellectual, analytical and personal. He uncovers a mosaic that renounces both the teleologies of the self-styled winners of history and the simplifications of (West) German Oscar nominees. This film is not about the lives of others, but about his own life. Not about yesterday, about today, too.

The focus is on the father and his lifelong ambition to found a social order in which “spirit and power are in complete agreement”. It’s on the primal scene of the Jewish intellectual (the sight of a dead worker), the career of an SED Party communist (head of a publishing house, cultural minister, ambassador, state secretary for church matters), insights into a driven private life. Part of this “communist genealogy” himself, Goldstein comments own photos, found television material and images from Berlin (then, today) from offscreen, setting a high standard for a re-evaluation of the state that will always be his origin: “We would reject questions about the legitimacy of our present existence. How come we ask them about the past all the time?”

Barbara Wurm
German Competition 2015
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

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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
German Competition 2018
Der Stein zum Leben Katinka Zeuner

Finding the stone that will do justice to the deceased’s personality, that’s what’s important for Michael Spengler and those who come to him. The process results in the individual “Grabzeichen”.

Der Stein zum Leben

Documentary Film
Germany
2018
77 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Katinka Zeuner
Katinka Zeuner
Katinka Zeuner
Anna Pesavento
Oliver Eberhard, Birte Gerstenkorn, Martin Nevoigt, Joel Vogel
“Well, people are usually quite complex,” says Michael Spengler. He is the man people turn to when they want a tombstone that’s different. One that will reflect the deceased’s personality, the life that has passed. In her film Katinka Zeuner records three deaths and the ensuing process of finding the right stone: a young couple who have lost their child, a woman with two sons who try to form an idea of their father’s respectively grandfather’s life with Spengler, and a woman looking for the right shape for a man called “Cliewe.” Spengler becomes a kind of medium who takes in his customers’ memories and emotions to translate them into material form. The process is collaborative; the parties meet frequently over weeks and months to create something that Michael Spengler calls a “tomb sign.”

Carolin Weidner


Awarded with the ver.di Prize for solidarity, humanity and fairness
Honorable Mention Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize

German Competition 2018
Der zweite Anschlag Mala Reinhardt

A precise study of the correlations between radical right wing attacks in Germany and the insufficient political and social ostracism of racism and violence.

Der zweite Anschlag

Documentary Film
Germany
2018
62 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Kate Blamire, Benjamin Cölle, Katharina Degen, Patrick Lohse, Mala Reinhardt
Mala Reinhardt
Macarena Solervicens
Patrick Lohse, Katharina Degen
Federico Neri
Kate Blamire, Gerald Mandl
As a child Ibrahim Arslan survived the arson attack on his parents’ home in Mölln in which three members of his family were killed. Today he says that his family suffered not just one, but two attacks. After the Molotov cocktails had burnt out, the Arslan family became a target of attacks again, this time coming from the media, politics and society. These attacks were worse than the incendiary devices because they could have been avoided, Arslan says.

In her film, Mala Reinhardt asks why even today many victims of radical right-wing violence are forced to live through the same experience of being treated with hostility and criminalised. The victims, who have formed a network, analyse with impressive clarity which conditions make racism still socially acceptable in our country. The essential thing now is to listen to them.

Luc-Carolin Ziemann


Honorable Mention ver.di Prize for solidarity, humanity and fairness
Nominated for the Film Prize Leipziger Ring and the Young Eyes Film Award

German Competition 2014
Die Böhms – Architektur einer Familie Maurizius Staerkle-Drux

Gottfried Böhm is “the boss”, the patriarch of an architects’ dynasty. But his wife’s death rocks the family’s very foundations. The meticulous exploration of a universe.

Die Böhms – Architektur einer Familie

Documentary Film
Germany,
Switzerland
2014
85 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Carl-Ludwig Rettinger, Lisa Blatter
Maurizius Staerkle-Drux
Jonas Buehler
Raphael Beinder
Anika Simon
Maurizius Staerkle-Drux
Maurizius Staerkle-Drux
Gottfried Böhm is one of the most important contemporary German architects. His fame is based on the creation of sculptural buildings of concrete, steel and glass, some of which are counted among the architectural icons of the 20th century. As the son of Dominikus Böhm, he is the patriarch of a dynasty of architects to which his sons Stephan, Peter and Paul Böhm have also belonged for a long time. 94 years old today, he still works daily on the development and construction designs of his office. When Gottfried Böhm’s wife Elisabeth, also an architect and the major source of inspiration for all four Böhms, died a few years ago, the family was robbed of its emotional centre.
Maurizius Staerkle-Drux investigates the Böhms’s various architectural universes with admirable visual sensitivity and at the same time traces the subtle differences between his protagonists’ image and self perception. The title of his film may be taken literally: it’s about the architecture of a family first and foremost, the portrait of a well-known family of architects later.

Ralph Eue



Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize 2014

German Competition 2018
Die Sinfonie der Ungewissheit Claudia Lehmann

As clever as it is soulful. Anyone who has seen this symphonic essay and still claims that physics and documentary film have nothing in common must have blocked off their hearts, minds and all senses.

Die Sinfonie der Ungewissheit

Documentary Film
Germany
2018
95 minutes
subtitles: 
English

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Andrea Schütte, Dirk Decker (Tamtam Film), Claudia Lehmann, Konrad Hempel (Institut für experimentelle Angelegenheiten IXA)
Claudia Lehmann
Konrad Hempel
Eike Zuleeg
Marianne von Deutsch, Claudia Lehmann
Claudia Lehmann, Konrad Hempel
Corinna Zink
This is a far-reaching interrogation of something that’s usually regarded as the undoubted precondition of life (generally) and filmmaking (specifically): an objective, at best yet interpretable reality.

Starting with Gerhard Mack, retired professor of theoretical elementary particle physics at the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg, Claudia Lehmann and Konrad Hempel set out on a filmic expedition that aims for the universal and at the same time delves into the molecular (and smaller) realm, asking for the meaning of every kind of life in our complex world. Mack is a recognised master of his field and anything but a blinkered nerd. In incredibly personal conversations with the hypnosis therapist Rosemarie Dypka and the filmmaker Hark Bohm, who act the double part of common sense, the physicist acts as the gifted translator of his own theories. And then, of course – last but not least – there is the score, composed by Konrad Hempel, which it would be a simplification to call industrial music. It’s the second, pulsating ventricle of this documentary essay. Generated from the DESY soundscapes, which means auditory field research, the music enters the stage step by step to become a co-actor of equal weight, structuring the film as a symphonic piece of work.

Ralph Eue


Nominated for the Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize