Film Archive

Sections (Film Archive)

International Programme 2018
(M)Other Antonia Hungerland

How does the image of motherhood change when egg donation, surrogate motherhood or adoption add various alternatives to the male-female-intercourse-biology model?

(M)Other

Documentary Film
Germany
2018
88 minutes
subtitles: 
English
German

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Christopher Zitterbart, Saskia Veigel, Filmuniversität Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF
Antonia Hungerland
Markus Zierhofer
Antonia Hungerland
Antonella Sarubbi
Antonia Hungerland
Tim Altrichter, Benedikt Ludwig, Christoph Walter, Luise Hofmann
It’s quite realistic today for a child to have three mothers: an egg donor gives her genes to a baby who is born by a surrogate mother and raised by another woman or a person who may be male and gay. The classic concept of “natural” motherhood reaches its limits here (and elsewhere).

The definition of motherhood is being contested. The general controversy about changing social norms is reflected in the debate about (good) mothers. This discussion, as “(M)Other” very clearly demonstrates, concerns everybody. Both those who have to contend with stereotypes and prejudice as “classic” mothers and those who claim the term even though they do not correspond to the established “model” that stubbornly resists all obvious changes. Antonia Hungerland shows that the seemingly personal is still (or: today more than ever) highly political.

Luc-Carolin Ziemann


Nominated for the Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize

International Programme 2017
209 rue Saint-Maur, Paris, 10ème – The Neighbours Ruth Zylberman

The reconstruction of a dissolved house community. An experimental, historiographical look behind the scenes of a Paris building.

209 rue Saint-Maur, Paris, 10ème – The Neighbours

Documentary Film
France
2017
103 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Paul Rozenberg, Céline Nusse (Zadig Productions)
Ruth Zylberman
Nicolas Repac
Cédric Dupire
Valérie Loiseleux
Benjamin Bober, Graciela Barrault
The French director and historian Ruth Zylberman is sitting in a living room in the USA, visiting a 79-year-old man whom his Jewish parents hid with a stranger’s family during the German occupation of Paris. Henry Osman, born Henri Ossmann, hardly remembers his parents – not what they looked like, not what they did for a living. Zylberman has brought a pile of paper copies and is able to reconstruct parts of that childhood.

The house whose address gave the film its title – and where Osman lived as a small boy – is located in the Jewish district of Paris. Zylberman reconstructed the house community during the war in great detail: who lived here? Who knew whom? Re-enactments with dollhouse furniture and drawn floor plans at the former residents’ kitchen tables alternate with contemporary views of the building as she re-creates this typical Paris building in the Saint-Maur No. 209 as an anachronistic space in which history is still alive, right down to the cobbled courtyard. A highly focused and at the same time extremely emotional piece of experimental historiography.

Lukas Stern
International Programme 2016
21 x New York Piotr Stasik

Scared and wide-awake, enlightened and confused, horny and satisfied: people in NYC. The A-train provides the narrative pattern for fast-paced image flows and meditative passages. A pop pearl.

21 x New York

Documentary Film
Poland
2016
70 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Agnieszka Wasiak
Piotr Stasik
Piotr Stasik
Dorota Wardęszkiewicz, Tomasz Wolski, Piotr Stasik
Michał Fojcik
Maybe 21 is a random number: portraits of 21 people who together are supposed to represent the totality of the more than eight million inhabitants of New York City? Not a valid number, every statistician would say, and be right. But cinema, thank God, is only marginally concerned with statistics – if at all.

“21 x New York” opens with a picture of the A-train approaching in a subway tunnel, thus creating the pattern for its own narrative by this confident allusion to one of the greatest pieces of 20th century jazz music. What we see next: scared and cheerful people, enlightened and confused ones, horny passers-by and satisfied couples. Extremely rapid switches between them, not so much contrasting as kaleidoscopic. The fast-paced flow of images is frequently interrupted by meditative passages and overlaid by some of the protagonists’ tales or reasoning, like voices from the memory of an artificial neural network, rising from this exciting bubble. It’s almost as if Baudelaire had risen again, changed time, place and medium and started a new series of lyrical tableaux. The result would not be the “Tableaux Parisiens” but “Tableaux New Yorkaises” – or “21 x New York”.

Ralph Eue


Nominated for MDR Film Prize

32 Souls

Documentary Film
Myanmar
2016
26 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Lindsey Merrison (Yangon Film School)
Say Naw Kham
Nay Linn Htun
Say Na Kham
Sai Naw Kham
Soe Arkar Htun
There’s a belief in Myanmar that every person has 32 souls, but that we must call them back time and again. This film is both the portrait of a woman nearing the end of her life who lives alone in a humble cabin in the forest, and an invocation of the spirits of the past of a country devastated by war and loss. The observant, poetic flow of images is frequently interrupted by a ghostlike subjective camera – representing the wandering souls.

Lars Meyer
International Programme 2015
8 Bullets Frank Ternier

A French expat businessman in Taipei with a hole in his head who is lost in thought is driven over the edge by his obsession: the smell of fried fish.

8 Bullets

Animated Film
France
2014
12 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Maud Martin
Frank Ternier
Zed
Frank Ternier, Shihhan Shaw, Laurent Moulin
Frédéric Duzan
A French expat businessman in Taipei with a hole in his head who is lost in thought is driven over the edge by his obsession: the smell of fried fish. In reality, he is chasing the scent of revenge, one that will be fiercely wreaked with 8 bullets.
Through different points of view and flashbacks that are entangled like the tentacles of an octopus a disjointed narrative is built around a core of muted lines, backgrounds and colours.

Victor Orozco
International Programme 2017
8, Lenin Avenue Valérie Mitteaux, Anna Pitoun

Long-term observation of a successful integration: From an illegal caravan camp the Romanian Romani Salcuta made her way into French society.

8, Lenin Avenue

Documentary Film
France
2017
101 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Igor Ochronowicz
Valérie Mitteaux, Anna Pitoun
Valérie Mitteaux, Anna Pitoun, Raquel Freire, Sébastien Balanger
Fabrice Rouaud
Hugo Leitão
Long-term observations have their own rules. They often evolve out of earlier film projects and a continued contact with the protagonists. Anna Pitoun and Valérie Mitteaux have followed their protagonist Salcuta Filan’s fate with the camera for almost 15 years, which allows them to draw a wide narrative arc and reveal developments. The first images, showing the citizens of Achères, a community to the north-east of Paris, trying to protect a Roma camp from evacuation were shot in 2003. That was when the first film about Salcuta and her two children, Denisa and Gabi, was produced, “Caravan 55”.

The directors want to show that integration is possible, even for Roma, who are up against stronger prejudices than other immigrants. Right-wing populists use them as scapegoats to be made political examples of. Despite the warm-hearted helpers whose friendship with Salcuta’s family is real, everyday racism and antiziganism are clearly apparent, just like the shift to the right of the past few years which has changed the social climate in France. Nonetheless Salcuta grows from a shy, single widow to a confident matriarch who fights for her rights. In France she finds a voice she never had as a Romani in her home country of Romania.

Sirkka Möller


Nominated for Filmprize "Leipziger Ring"
International Programme 2015
9 Days – From My Window in Aleppo Thomas Vroege, Floor van der Meulen

The photographer Issa Touma can’t leave is flat in Aleppo – there’s a fierce battle raging on his doorstep: Assad’s army against the insurgents, and then the IS enters the fray.

9 Days – From My Window in Aleppo

Documentary Film
Netherlands,
Syria
2015
13 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jos de Putter
Thomas Vroege, Floor van der Meulen
Issa Touma
Thomas Vroege, Floor van der Meulen
Issa Touma
Tom Jansen
The photographer Issa Touma can’t leave is flat in Aleppo – there’s a fierce battle raging on his doorstep: Assad’s army against the insurgents, and then the IS enters the fray. Issa points his camera at himself and, through the lowered blinds, out of the window, producing an authentic image that may seem familiar to people from conflict regions: televised news images, the sounds of real fighting outside and the “normality” of everyday life – the perversions of war.

Zaza Rusadze
International Programme 2017
95 and 6 to Go Kimi Takesue

Looking for the title of a script and finding a grandpa. A home movie style, warmhearted and humorous look: at the grandfather, the family history and the ancestors’ landscapes.

95 and 6 to Go

Documentary Film
USA
2016
85 minutes
subtitles: 
No

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Kimi Takesue, Richard Beenen
Kimi Takesue
Paul Brill
Kimi Takesue
Kimi Takesue
Jeff Seelye
The filmmaker Kimi Takesue and her widowed grandfather Tom have big plans: first of all, Tom’s house must be cleared out. A lot of things have accumulated here since grandmother died, who didn’t really share Tom’s passion for film and television. Then there’s Kimi’s unfinished script which has been waiting for completion for years and really needs a new title. The spry pensioner comes up with many – sometimes corny – ideas which, unfortunately, do not always meet with much sympathy. And on top of it all his inquisitive granddaughter is trying to unravel her family history with the help of Tom’s memories. This yields insights into the living conditions of their ancestors, who tried to build a life as Japanese immigrants in Hawaii. The grandparents’ love story, too, is very interesting, especially the question how the two actually met and whether it was really love at first sight.

Shot like a home movie and intercut with archive material and shots of the Hawaiian landscape, Takesue takes a loving and humorous look at her grandfather and her roots. She may not get a new title for her script out of this, but it’s an enchanting way to get closer to her grandfather.

Kim Busch
International Programme 2015
A Baptism of Fire Jérôme Clément-Wilz

The lives of young war reporters who travel to crisis spots at their own expense and risk their lives to shoot the picture that will change everything. A precarious job.

A Baptism of Fire

Documentary Film
France
2015
58 minutes
subtitles: 
English
French

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Jérôme Caza – 2P2L
Jérôme Clément-Wilz
Jérôme Clément-Wilz
Ael Dallier Vega
Jérôme Clément-Wilz
Nowadays countless journalists and photographers are travelling the world to supply us with the latest news and images from conflict regions. Stories of heroic war reporters were often told in the cinema. Jérôme Clément-Wilz takes a different perspective: news journalism is an industry, too. Many freelance photographers, most of them young, travel to hotspots at their own expense – hoping to shoot the life-changing picture at the right place at the right time and sell it for a high price to the leading media or agencies. The film is an intimate observation of the lives of young French reporters that gives them the space to reflect on their work. Their dreams come true in the Arab Spring: their pictures make it to the cover pages of the biggest dailies. And yet Clément-Wilz avoids heroic pathos, concentrating instead on his young protagonists’ spirit of adventure and youthful recklessness on the one hand and on the tough business where there are no safety nets and where the ones who risk their lives most readily have the best chances of survival on the other. War reporter – a precarious job.

Zaza Rusadze
International Programme 2014
A Goat For a Vote Jeroen van Velzen

Student elections in rural Kenya. What do the candidates stand for? Who cares? It’s about prestige, and “little somethings” they distribute to the electorate. A basic course in democracy.

A Goat For a Vote

Documentary Film
Kenya,
Netherlands
2013
52 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Hasse van Nunen, Maarten van der Ven
Jeroen van Velzen
Alex Boon
Stef Tijdink
Daan Wijdeveld
Jeroen van Velzen
Robil Rahantoeknam
Let’s look at how democratic processes are practiced at a student election in rural Kenya: What exactly does the student representative do? Who cares. The point is the office, the prestige, the start of individual careers. The candidates: Magdalena, who traditionally has a tough stand as the only female candidate. Harry, who is dirt poor. To finance his campaign he sells fish and coconuts on the market. Said the charmer, who wants to be an army general. He is already a strategist: a photo call with the deputy who is made to stand a step behind him, putting up posters, asking relatives for money. And then this seductive smile! They all know that the only way to win is through campaign gifts. Or let’s call them by their real name, like Magdalena’s grandmother: bribes. So they distribute candy and “little somethings”. Harry even manages to wheedle a goat out of his relatives. Meat for all! Only Magdalena talks about content – which is why she will lose …
What does this teach us? School as a social microcosm teaches what promises to be successful. If the way there is through corruption, that’s a daily experience in many countries. What did they say at the beginning of the film? “The best way to understand our society is to look at one’s children”. In this sense: A vote for a goat!
Matthias Heeder

A Hole in the Head

Documentary Film
Czech Republic,
Slovakia
2016
92 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Barbara Janišová Feglová
Robert Kirchhoff
Miroslav Tóth
Juraj Chlpík
Jan Daňhel
Robert Kirchhoff
Václav Flégl
A small art gallery somewhere in Serbia which exhibits only works by Roma. Is Clinton not Roma, too? The gallery owner isn’t certain. But Antonio Banderas is Roma, and Yul Brynner. They just don’t have the courage to admit it. This touching scene of cultural self-assurance is part of a narrative about the Roma Holocaust which has been almost completely erased from European memory and whose traces the director follows meticulously. A film against forgetting.

We meet people from France, Serbia, Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland who got caught up in the Nazi murder machine as children. Rita was less than three weeks old when SS doctors performed horrible experiments on her in a Würzburg hospital. Her twin sister died, she survived with a “hole in the head”. Raymond, 90 years old, an extremely alert Roma, reminds us that it was the French Gendarmerie who herded them together, not the Germans. Today, the same police enter his caravan without a search warrant to arrest three of his sons because they came to his aid. So what has changed? A question that arises at every stop of this commemorative journey and forces us to take a stand and get rid of ideological garbage.

Matthias Heeder


Nominated for MDR Film Prize
International Programme 2014
A House in Fog Mokhtar Namdar

A woman alone in an old manor in the Iranian mountains. A simple life of hard work and caring for animals, painted in the warmest colours. But this idyll has enemies …

A House in Fog

Documentary Film
Iran
2014
27 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Javad Zahiri
Mokhtar Namdar
Mohammad Rasouli
Emad Khodabakhsh
Mokhtar Namdar
Mehdi Sadeghi, Ali Hasanzadeh
Of course the house is far too big for one person. The 100-year old mansion handed down through generations still looks majestic in this idyllic hilly landscape somewhere in Iran, despite its decrepitude. Nowadays it has only one inhabitant, Soraiia Hassani, who runs and maintains it. She needs nobody else, since she has the animals and the daily chores that make her life meaningful.
The camera paints this life in the warmest colours, finding or inventing in casual arrangements images that are closer to painting than photography. Dark colours dominate and yet there is no feeling of loneliness. Such a life becomes imaginable. Soraiia seems to miss no one, or perhaps only those who are already dead. But every paradise has its enemies. Is it the public welfare office or the law, is it her secret or is it the ghosts of the past that don’t trust Soraiia to be able to live this hermit’s life, only because she is a woman?
Cornelia Klauß
International Programme 2018
A Life from Death Tuuli Teelahti

Death from the perspective of the attending carers: stylised and tangible. Dying is encircled by life. Sheets are changed, candles are lighted, sheets are changed.

A Life from Death

Documentary Film
Finland
2017
20 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Paria Eskandari, Aalto University, ELO Film School Finland
Tuuli Teelahti
Max Smeds
Tuuli Teelahti, Kai Rintamaa
Tuuli Teelahti
Tarmo Pehkonen
Sound seeps away from the piano, breath from life, focus from the film. A mimesis of dying, stylised, but tangible. Death from the perspective of the attending carers: changing the sheets, holding back tears, having a coffee break, holding fading hands, lighting candles. And once more: changing the sheets, holding back tears, the coffee … life cycles.

Lukas Stern
International Programme 2017
A Marriage Story Helena Třeštíková

Helena Třeštíková observed the seemingly ordinary marriage of Ivana and Václav for more than three decades. Until we realise that “ordinary” exists only for the casual observer.

A Marriage Story

Documentary Film
Czech Republic
2017
102 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Kateřina Černá, Pavel Strnad
Helena Třeštíková
David Cysař, Vlastimil Hamerník, Jan Malíř, Miroslav Souček, Ervín Sanders, Jiří Chod, Robert Novák, Antonín Kutík
Jakub Hejna
Helena Třeštíková
Richard Müller
Helena Třeštíková from Prague has filmed marriage stories since the early 1980s, which yielded several long-term documentaries. Ivana and Václav’s holy bond of matrimony is the subject of observation in this instalment, which takes us from the day before wedding day to the present day. At the time, in December 1980, Ivana was 21 years old and Václav 24. They were both studying architecture and married “because we like each other. And other things. Things we shouldn’t talk about.” Their first child was born shortly after the wedding: Honza.

Helena Třeštíková’s film “René” won the Golden Dove in Leipzig in 2008; a piece about a hopeless but charming amoralist who was drawn again and again to the same place: prison. It seems as if Třeštíková, too, is attracted by certain places, but even more so by people and the way they try to give their life a meaningful direction. This “marriage story”, for example, reveals an incredible desire for enlargement and growth that shows in an accumulation of objects, children and responsibilities – one of the inner motives of the Strnads which unfolds over 35 years together.

Carolin Weidner


Nominated for MDR Film Prize
International Programme 2017
A Memory in Khaki Alfoz Tanjour

Khaki is the colour found in every Syrian, they say. This thesis is repeated in variations, soaring through art and ideas, while Alfoz Tanjour finds the right images to illustrate it.

A Memory in Khaki

Documentary Film
Qatar
2016
108 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Louai Haffar
Alfoz Tanjour
Kinan Azmeh
Ahmad Dakroub
Alfoz Tanjour
Alfoz Tanjour, Louai Haffar
“My blood is made of this city, of its stones, its neighbourhoods, its shops, its people and its mornings … My blood may be made of the smell of diesel in it.” Alfoz Tanjour visited the Syrian writer Ibrahim Samuel in Damascus in 2009 and filmed him sitting at his desk in an Adidas sweater, with coffee and cigarettes, in front of his manuscript. When Tanjour went to Moldavia to study film in the 1990s, a short story by Samuel was his first material. And this time, too, the intellectual inspires a work which despite its inherent weight is like a graceful flight. “A Memory in Khaki” shares the art and thoughts of people deeply marked by the oppressive Syrian regime – including a colour and its symbolism: khaki.

Carolin Weidner
International Programme 2019
A New Era Boris Svartzman

A long-term observation of the upheavals in China, exemplified by a group of resistant islanders. They refuse to be resettled, they defend their homes, they achieve …

A New Era

Documentary Film
France
2019
71 minutes
subtitles: 
English

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Anne-Catherine Witt, Antonio Magliano
Boris Svartzman
Boris Svartzman
Suzana Pedro, Emma Augier
Boris Svartzman, Laurine Estrade
Boris Svartzman
Over ten years, the director and photographer Boris Svartzman repeatedly visited the inhabitants of a plot of land in China. The houses and gardens there are in dispute, above all because of their specific location: an island in the Pearl River, in the middle of the megalopolis of Guangzhou. The area is to be transformed into a “nature paradise” with residential estates and parks for the new Chinese middle class. But the people resist. Their homes were destroyed in 2008. Life went on, just in ruins. They were ejected and returned. Life went on, but not necessarily in the new settlements they were given. Their gardens were destroyed. Life went on, in the gardens they rebuilt.

Loud and quiet resistance against the modernisation that’s going on all over the world seems especially dramatic in China. Svartzman captures in detail the co-existence of a modern, Western-inspired lifestyle and ancient traditions and architectures. This turns the life story of the old gentleman who always cordially welcomes the foreign guest like a ghost into a requiem. The West, fixated on cities, Svartzman says, could have learned a lot about “rural democracy” from China – had the Far East not trampled down its rural spaces and people in such a Western fashion.

Saskia Walker