DOK Leipzig 2017 Overview

The 60th anniversary DOK Leipzig

October 30-November 5

This long-running German festival of documentary and animated films features approximately 90 new and recent nonfiction films.


Among the dozen documentary films in the event’s International Competition are the world premieres of Klaudiusz Chrostowski’s CALL ME TONY, a portrait of a Polish bodybuilder who idolizes SCARFACE’s Tony Montana, and Sophie Bredier’s SECRET NEST, about the history of a French maternity hospital for unwed mothers; and the international premieres of Milo Rau’s THE CONGO TRIBUNAL, which assembled different factions to address the long-running civil war in Congo, and Aliona van der Horst’s LOVE IS POTATOES, on the painful history of the filmmaker’s mother, who left Russia to marry a Dutchman.


The German Competition includes the world premieres of Mark Michel’s SANDGIRL, a portrait of and collaboration with an autistic and disabled young girl; Stanislaw Mucha’s KOLYMA: ROAD OF BONES, in which the filmmaker searches for an old Soviet gulag; and Ilja Stahl’s TOUCHING CONCRETE, an immersion into the lives of two South African teenage boys; as well as the international premiere of Sebastian Winkels’ TALKING MONEY, which observes people meeting with their bank representatives.


World premieres in the Next Masters Competition include Miguel Colombo’s PROJECT 55, a meditation on war inspired by the Argentine coup d’etat of 1955; Elena Gutkina and Genrikh Ignatov’s THE WOLF AND THE SEVEN KIDS, an experimental portrait of a father and son; and Bálint Révész’s GRANNY PROJECT, which explores the memories of three men and their grandmothers. Alessandro Redaelli’s portrait of two friends addicted to heroin, FUNERALOPOLIS. A SUBURBAN PORTRAIT, makes its international premiere in this competition, while international premiere HAIRY, Anka Schmid’s playful exploration of body hair, is part of the International Competition for animated docs.


Outside of the competition, the International Programme features several world premieres, including Sabine Michel’s MERKEL MUST GO, an inside look at the anti-Islamic PEGIDA movement; Martin Farkas’ LIVING IN DEMMIN, about a small German town whose tragic WWII history has been co-opted by outside neo-Nazi extremists; Simone Catharina Gaul’s THE NEW CHILDREN OF GOLZOW, a continuation of sorts of a longitudinal documentary project but now focused on Syrian refugee children in German school; Valérie Mitteaux and Anna Pitoun’s 8, LENIN AVENUE, the latest in a longitudinal project about Roma integration in French society; and Robert Müller’s PURE CHARCOAL, an observational film about a charcoal maker in Switzerland.


Also appearing in the International Programme are international premieres such as Quentin Noirfalisse’s THE MINISTER OF GARBAGE, about a Congolese artist, and Mick Catmull’s DYING BREED, which follows three longtime traditional British farmers; European premieres of work like Ruth Zylberman’s 209 RUE SAINT-MAUR, PARIS, 10ÈME: THE NEIGHBOURS, which explores the titular address, where the filmmaker and his family were saved during WWII, and Dmitri Makhomet’s YOU WON’T COME BACK HERE (OR THE WIND IS LONELY WITHOUT ME), an observational portrait of a remote Belarusian village; and German premieres including Lidia Sheinin’s HARMONY, which follows the family dynamics between an older woman and the relatives who have invaded her home, and Susanne Helmer’s MELANIE, a speculative doc about the life of a woman in a 1970s advertising photo.


Finally, the fest’s Special Programmes include a focus on Georgian cinema, including Soso Dumbadze and Lea Hartlaub’s SUNNY NIGHT, a found footage essay on the interconnectedness of church and state in Georgia; and a sidebar called Escaping Realities, which offers Andreas Hartmann’s A FREE MAN, about a young Japanese man who decided to drop out of conventional society and live on the street.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Overviews, Recommendations

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