Die Wächterin

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Die Wächterin

Die Wächterin
Martina Priessner
German Competition
Documentary Film
Germany
2020
87 minutes
Kurdish,
Turkish,
Turoyo
subtitles: 
German
World premiere

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Credits DOK Leipzig Logo
Martina Priessner
Gregor Streiber
Friedemann Hottenbacher
Martina Priessner
Gregor Streiber
Meryem Yavuz
Martina Priessner
Özlem Sarıyıldız
Robert F. Kellner

In a dilapidated village in south-eastern Turkey, a Syrian Orthodox nun endures alone with her animals. However strong the hostility of her predominantly Muslim neighbourhood may be: she won’t be driven out, for she has sworn to protect the church and not to leave the sacred place. This quietly filmed observation of everyday life focuses on an isolated woman who carries the pain of a whole community inside her.

The population of the village was tortured and driven away in the 1990s. The nun Dayrayto came here only afterwards. Today she rarely receives visits from passing believers. She usually spends her days doing maintenance work on the church and taking care of the animals. Right now she is worried about her old dog. Has he been poisoned? What to make of the provocations and threats she talks about? Dayrayto is always vigilant, even when she’s resting. From her elevated dwelling she looks far across the landscape, registering every vehicle, however distant. But she is in no way distracted by the presence of the film crew. The unobtrusive camera follows the nun – not at every turn, but as a constant, protective companion as she endures on her “bastion”. Loneliness, worries and fear shape this sparse life. They made her suspicious, but also fearless.
Annina Wettstein
Nominated for DEFA Sponsoring Prize, Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize, VER.DI Prize for Solidarity, Humanity and Fairness
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