THE NAGAS

No Eng­lish trans­la­tion avail­able.

The iron ministry

P. Sni­adec­ki, who lived in China for a long time and trav­elled all over the coun­try by train, con­densed the results of these ethno­graph­ic excur­sions into a mul­ti­far­i­ous and col­or­ful film. The entire cosmos of this part of the world can be found in the trou­bles, sto­ries, hopes, and expec­ta­tions of people from all walks of life moving amidst heavy lug­gage, small chil­dren, strict rail­way con­duc­tors and chick­ens flying around. Out­side is the vast, expan­sive for­eign coun­try. (Vien­nale)

Sni­adec­ki offers a for­mal­ly con­trolled look at the range of class­es, the implied changes wrought by China’s eco­nom­ic boom, and the inter­ac­tions par­tic­u­lar to train travel. Refresh­ing­ly, Sni­adec­ki allows the film — or rather, some pas­sen­gers — to engage in pol­i­tics, from the rights of minori­ties to eco­nom­ic pres­sures. While cere­bral in intent and plan­ning, the pic doesn’t feel overly strait­jack­et­ed by theory and offers unex­pect­ed moments of amuse­ment.” (Jay Weiss­berg, Vari­ety)

The train’s roar is a con­stant, inter­rupt­ed by some amaz­ing mono­logues and con­ver­sa­tions: a young woman, work weary, musing about how nice it would be to do noth­ing than eat and sleep all day; a con­ver­sa­tion about the par­tic­u­lars of Muslim life in the outer provinces, and a young boy’s daz­zling­ly nihilis­tic parody of a train conductor’s set­ting-off speech.” (filmmakermagazine.com)

Elephant´s Dream

After a lengthy and dev­as­tat­ing civil war in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Repub­lic of Congo (DRC), the cap­i­tal city of Kin­shasa is rebuild­ing. Through the eyes of three civic work­ers strug­gling to recon­struct the foun­da­tion of the city’s public ser­vices, we wit­ness a tale of nation­al transformation—at a snail’s pace. Driven by des­per­ate ambi­tion, postal worker Hen­ri­ette faces a system defined by stag­na­tion, even as she rises through its ranks. With ram­shackle equip­ment, a fire­fight­er is forced to watch as every­thing he helped build burns to the ground. Mean­while, opti­mistic rail­way worker Simon stands guard over an unused rail station—unsure of what he is pro­tect­ing. Their sto­ries allow direc­tor Kristof Bilsen to offer a rare look at the DRC, filled with poetry and absur­di­ty that is brim­ming with com­pas­sion­ate insight. Elephant’s Dream is a modern mas­ter­piece that is not to be missed. - Eli Hor­watt, Hot­docs

 

The film is a lesson in resilience, devo­tion. An ode to the invin­ci­ble obsti­na­cy, full of poetry reflect­ing the after-effects of Mubutism – show­ing how in a dis­as­trous­ly gov­erned, yet orga­nized chaos, one’s mental hygiene man­ages to pre­vail.” (Baloji)

Iulian. A True Story

Iulian, an orphan boy living on the streets of Bucharest, is look­ing for his family. He final­ly finds a new one when he is an adult. The charis­mat­ic young man openly talks about his expe­ri­ences in a Roman­ian orphan­age, his strug­gles living on the streets, and his attempts to create an inde­pen­dent exis­tence. His sup­port­ers are deeply touched by his open heart, his good man­ners, and his will to fight for an inde­pen­dent life in the urban jungle.

Abdo

Just like any teenag­er the young Egypt­ian Abdo is in search for his iden­ti­ty. One dif­fer­ence is, how­ev­er, that his coming of age hap­pens to be in the midst of the Egypt rev­o­lu­tion: a time of bloody hos­til­i­ties. Abdo finds his mis­sion in street fights and soccer sta­di­ums. On the Tahrir square he is a con­vinced rev­o­lu­tion­ist, while in the sta­di­um he joins the world­wide ultra-move­ment. But what hap­pens to the youth­ful striv­ing for change when there is no point in any­thing, the rev­o­lu­tion has come to an end and soccer is banned? Abdo also is an enthu­si­as­tic ama­teur film maker. His camera makes us wit­ness street­fights as well as his every­day life, show­ing home­less people, under­ground trav­el­ers or garbage col­lec­tors. His video diary gives the viewer insight into Abdo’s life, who grows up in the tur­moil of the rev­o­lu­tion. The impact of the Arabic spring on his indi­vid­ual story exem­pli­fies how
the rad­i­cal changes in soci­ety affect his gen­er­a­tion.

Gone

After China imple­ment­ed its family plan­ning policy, the pop­u­la­tion declined sharply. As a result of the con­struc­tion boom in the 1960s, every Chi­nese vil­lage has an ele­men­tary school, and every larger town has at least one middle school, but there are less and less chil­dren in the schools. As the econ­o­my is rapid­ly chang­ing the coun­try, farm­ers are leav­ing their vil­lages to earn a living in the city. Fam­i­lies, teach­ers, and stu­dents seem to dis­ap­pear, leav­ing huge school build­ings aban­doned in the land­scape. LI KAI tells the slowly evolv­ing story of a family bit­ter­ly affect­ed by the pol­i­tics of this coun­try. The camera always stays at eye level, reveal­ing sen­si­tive insights into a Chi­nese schoolchild’s life.

Fidelity

In Istan­bul 2014, the young nurse Asli becomes a polit­i­cal oppo­nent by chance when she spon­ta­neous­ly hides a pro­tes­tor from a police crack­down during a polit­i­cal protest out­side the hos­pi­tal. She helps him to leave the hos­pi­tal unseen with­out con­sid­er­ing the con­se­quences her sol­i­dar­i­ty might have on her calm and peace­ful family life in one of Istanbul’s wealth­i­er dis­tricts. When the police invade her pri­vate life, Asli faces the threat of a polit­i­cal system as well as the limits of her husband’s sol­i­dar­i­ty. SADAKAT is a fic­tion­al story about the still cur­rent ques­tion of per­son­al and public respon­si­bil­i­ty and the limits of polit­i­cal resis­tance.

Bintou

While I was doing research in Oua­gadougou, Burk­i­na Faso, for a film about the rela­tion­ship between Africa and Europe, I became acquaint­ed with the young dress­mak­er Bintou. She spent a lot of time with white expats and dreamed of a career in Europe. The closer I got to Bintou, the more I under­stood about her family back­ground. She has a seven-year-old daugh­ter, Chris­tiane, born from a painful inci­dent in her past. Chris­tiane was raised at a children’s home, so Bintou could com­plete her appren­tice­ship. Bintou some­how man­aged to live her life and bal­ance her work, her dream of a career, and taking care of her child on week­ends – in everybody’s view, she was the sweet, young dress­mak­er, who was always happy, making non-expen­sive, lovely African clothes. I was fas­ci­nat­ed by Bintou and the way she man­aged her life. I wanted to tell others about her story, about the soci­ety in Burk­i­na Faso, and Bintou’s courage in deal­ing with all this. In spite of all the obsta­cles, she con­stant­ly works to achieve her dreams.” (Simone Cathe­ri­na Gaul)

Little Short Film

This LITTLE SHORT FILM is an exper­i­men­tal auto-ethno­graph­i­cal ani­ma­tion based on a con­ver­sa­tion between the direc­tor and her mother. The short film impli­cates Euro­pean his­to­ry, war and regret. LITTLE SHORT FILM was screened as part of the Chan­tal Aker­man ret­ro­spec­tive in London Octo­ber 2014. (JW3)

The Backstage of Tradition

What is it like to grow up in a world that is on the verge of dis­ap­pear­ing? Descend­ing from a long line of actors in an ancient Indian the­ater tra­di­tion, the ten-year-old Sree­hari search­es for a stage on which to per­form his art in a world that leaves tra­di­tion behind in its quest for mod­ern­iza­tion. THE BACKSTAGE OF TRADITION accom­pa­nies Sree­hari, a young actor in the Kūṭiyāṭṭam tra­di­tion, the last living rem­nant of ancient Indian drama. In the temple, Sree­hari encoun­ters Kūṭiyāṭṭam as a visual sac­ri­fice to the gods and as a ritual that only those of the actors’ caste are allowed to per­form there. At home, we see him with his par­ents – both dis­tin­guished Kūṭiyāṭṭam per­form­ers. Back­stage, in the sec­u­lar the­ater con­struct­ed by his par­ents out­side the temple walls, Sree­hari wit­ness­es the para­dox of tra­di­tion: in order to keep a tra­di­tion alive, one has to change it. THE BACKSTAGE OF TRADITION is a story about how the trans­for­ma­tions on and off the stage are trans­ferred to a sec­u­lar world. It is a story about the ulti­mate stage – the human face and its meta­mor­pho­sis. (Augohr Medien)