Film Archive

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Symphony of the Ursus Factory Jaśmina Wójcik

The evocation of a lost way of living and working. The phonosphere of heavy industry, re-created by means of tractors, compositions and body memories.

Symphony of the Ursus Factory

Documentary Film
Poland
2018
61 minutes
subtitles: 
English
Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Zuzanna Król
Jaśmina Wójcik
Dominik Strycharski
Kacper Czubak, Jakub Wróblewski
Aleksandra Gowin
Jaśmina Wójcik, Igor Stokfiszewski
Dominik Strycharski
The symbolic revival of the glorious age of Polish agricultural machine production. The long-established Ursus company was once among the biggest of its kind in the whole of Europe. When communism collapsed, though, the fate of Ursus was sealed, too. Today the factories are in ruins and to thousands of former employees their own working biography seems no more than a distant, even alien shadow.

A few years ago, a group of choreographers, musicians and filmmakers around the artist Jaśmina Wójcik began to contact former Ursus workers and employees. All participants were astonished to realise how much, in uncontrolled moments, the protagonists’ past activities influenced, even controlled their body language. Body memory, it seems, was better trained than cognitive memory. The resulting film, a documentary re-enactment, is a performance structured according to musical rules. As actors of themselves, the participants play characters they once were in the reality of the factory. In the lamentable reality of today’s ruins, they ritually re-enact a former working day, culminating in a sumptuous tractor ballet that would be a credit to any big budget Hollywood musical.

Ralph Eue


Nominated for the Healthy Workplaces Film Award and the MDR Film Prize

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.

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

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author’s name. Some original titles and names have been transcribed resp. transliterated. We apologise that we cannot cite individual image sources and rights in our festival publications or festival coverage. Please note that the visual material is published exclusively for the purposes of promoting specific films or festival programmes. No transmission to third parties is provided and would only take place with the explicit agreement of the owners of the rights. The rights to the images lie with the respective copyright owners.