Student Film Competition continued
Sky, Earth and Man, Our Freedom, Now I Am Dead, Paani. Of Women and Water, Kashi Labh, A New Era, Chidra, Sudanese Industrial Sound: Sonic Labour in a Truck Workshop, Baraka, the Cow, Love in Close-Up, Scenes from a Transient Home, Knots and Holes. An Essay Film on the Life of Nets, A Journey to the Makonde, Palimpsest of the Africa Museum
Discussions online: morning, afternoon, evening
Sky, Earth and Man
Germany, 2018, 70 min / Original languages: Arabic, Berber Dialect Tamazight
A Film by: Carolien Reucker
The wind is ever-present in this portrait of the Moroccan desert. “Sky, Earth and Man” tries to get a hold of the windswept cities and landscapes of the Atlas Mountains and the people who live there. It follows Ahmed, Yusself, Lahcen and Idir whose stories enable the viewer to witness their daily lives, desires and feeling of belonging. They are members of the Berber tribe Ait Seghrouchen. While a part of them still leads a traditional lifesytle based on animal breeding, more and more members leave the normadic tradition behind to follow their own, more modern way of living. That does not go without conflict but once a year, everyone meets up again to celebrate the Lemma Festival together.
Germany, 2017, 52 min / Original languages: German, Russian
Location: Russia, Kirov
A Film by: Laura Kuen, Yury Snigirev
The inhabitants of the village of Pungino mostly live beyond the reach of the Russian state. Here, in this remote rural location, they create their own sphere of personal freedom. The film explores the possibilities and practices that emerge when money is scarce, time is abundant, and neither help nor control of the state seems present. While people garden, forage, hunt or reconstruct the local church, they address the philosophical question of what it means to have a good life; whilst independent self-sufficiency seems important, so does a connection with the natural world, and the protective role of community bonds.
See biography Laura Kuen and Yury Snigirev
Now I Am Dead
Germany, 2018, 19,5 min / Original languages: German, English, Ewe
A Film by: Isabel Bredenbröker, Philipp Bergmann
“Now I am Dead” is an ethnographic film on death in a Ghanaian town. The story takes an unexpected turn when the filmmaker’s grandfather suddenly passes away back in Germany. Baffled by the coincidence, in between assisting an undertaker, visiting the morgue, attending funerals and inspecting cemeteries, she asks for advice. How to respond to the death of a far-away family member whilst shooting a film on death in West Africa? Help comes from friends and collaborators: an undertaker, a neighbor, a research assistant and friend, a priest. The narrative transforms from meta-critical docu-fiction into an immersive tale, blurring the lines between the other culture and one’s own as well as between life and death.
See biography Isabel Bredenbröker and Philipp Bergmann
Paani. Of Women and Water
Great Britain, 2018, 22 min / Original languages: Rajasthani, Hindi
Location: India, Rajasthan
A Film by: Costanza Burstin
This ethnographic documentary is about women fighting against water shortage. It explores the peculiar but constant relationship between women and water in a small village of the Rajasthani desert in India. Albeit water scarcity, which represents a real and severe issue in terms of daily maintenance, health and sanitation, local women tackle this daily struggle with tenacity, determination, elegance and sometimes humor. The film highlights the ways in which female agency and behavior emerge through the collection and management of water – fundamental responsibilities for the survival of their family and the whole community.
See biography Costanza Burstin
Canada, 2019, 43 min / Original languages: Hindi
Location: India, Varanasi
A Film by: Rajat Nayyar
“Kashi Labh” is an ethnographic film about the asthetics of dying. It explores the way in which Hindu pilgrims and their families stage a distinctive politics-of-care, while they anticipate and create the possibility of Moksha (salvation) for their dying relatives in Varanasi, India's holy city. The filmmaker’s research examines audiovisual ethnography as facilitator of a performative space that allows him and his interlocutor Shiv to navigate the holy city and improvise different possibilities for his mother’s Moksha during their ten-day stay in Varanasi. The film was screened at numerous anthropological film festivals including the Royal Anthropological Institute Film Festival (RAI).
See biography Rajat Nayyar
Discussion Thursday morning
Participants: Laura Kuen, Isabel Bredenbröker, Philipp Bergmann, Costanza Burstin, Rajat Nayyar
Moderation: Felix Heller, Merle Sommer
A New Era
France, 2019, 71 min / Original languages: Chinese
A Film by: Boris Svartzman
In 2008, local authorities evict 2000 villagers from Guanzhou, a river island in Southern China, to make way for new urban planning projects – a fate shared by many rural citizens yearly. In spite of the demolition of their houses and police pressure, a handful of inhabitants returns to the island. For seven years, the filmmaker has been visiting affected families in their homes who tell him about their battle to save their ancestral land, from the ruins of the village where nature is slowly reasserting itself to the worksites of the mega city which inexorably advances towards them.
See biography Boris Svartzman
Israel, 2018, 40 min / Original languages: English, Hindi, Kullui
A Film by: Nadav Harel and Arik Moran
Every couple of years, Ram Nath leaves his fields and buffaloes to play the part of a human sacrifice in a hitherto undocumented mysterious ritual of purification in the Himalayan Valley of Kullu, North India. During the ritual, Ram Nath transforms from a highland peasant into the master of ceremonies. As a powerful redeemer, he cuts holes – chidra – into the fabric of society, collecting sins in a cosmic trap that only he can operate. “Chidra” follows Ram Nath through the ritual, revealing how men, gods, and mediums handle the dangerous substance of actions – karma – at the frontier of the Hindu cultural sphere.
See biography Nadav Harel and Arik Moran
Sudanese Industrial Sound: Sonic Labour in a Truck Workshop
Germany, 2019, 3 min / Original languages: no dialogue
A Film by: Valerie Hänsch
The video installation explores the relationship between manual labor, sound and rhythm among Sudanese blacksmiths specialized in modifying the English Bedford truck. Sometimes, the master craftsman Abd al-Ghani and his crew create rhythms by hammering specific patterns of beats. “The rhythm we create with the hammer is like music for us. You hear it like music in your heart and it gives you enthusiasm for the work”, he said at one point during the ethnographic research. The created rhythm supports control of and immersion into work and keeps up the workflow. The short video (re-)mixes different types and episodes of “musical” forging in Abd al-Ghani’s workshop into a web of Sudanese industrial sound.
See biography Valerie Hänsch
Baraka, the Cow
Iran, 2019, 4,5 min / Original languages: Persian
Location: Iran, Varzaneh
A Film by: Komeil Soheili
An elderly man falls in love with his cow, and the cow knows it. Komeil Soheili is a documentary filmmaker and producer. He has worked as director, producer, cameraman and researcher in multiple international projects. He focuses on social topics and the environment.
See biography Komeil Soheili
Love in Close-Up
Germany, 2019, 48 min / Original languages: Persian
A Film by: Iman Behrouzi
Iman Behrouzi is back with the love stories of four Iranian women in the streets of Tehran.
His new film centers around “Tehran’s symbol of love”. Three women dressed in red tell their love stories to a car driver (who is also the director of the film). “Love in Close-Up” is a documentary about love, waiting, longing and self-sacrifice set in nowadays Iran.
See biography Iman Behrouzi
Scenes from a Transient Home
<pGermany, 2019, 13 min / Original languages: Shona
Location: Zimbabwe; South Africa
A Film by: Roger Horn
Filmed on Super 8mm, “Scenes from a Transient Home” presents a fractured portrait of Zimbabwean migrants when they travel back home to visit. Christmas dancing, New Year’s Eve celebrations, house floods, and illegal gold panning are just a few of the events filmed by Roger Horn who ends the film with a major life event of his own family. Visuals were recorded on multiple Super 8mm film stocks in Cape Town, South Africa, and Harare, Victoria Falls, and Kadoma, Zimbabwe. The audio spans four years of casual conversations, observations, and video elicitation of Zimbabwean migrant women as part of filmmaker Roger Horn’s PhD research.
See biography Roger Horn
Israel, USA, 2019, 62 min / Original languages: Hebrew
A Film by: Karin Kainer
It is only half an hour drive from Bnei-Brak, a closed Orthodox city, to Tel Aviv's shore. But for the women going there it is light years away. “The Kosher Beach” is a gated and secluded 100 meter-long strip with dedicated bathing days for women and men. Only a wooden fence separates them from the freedom of the gay beach. The “Brave Bunch”, a secret female orthodox sisterhood, arrives to what is a source of quiet sanity for them and they consider it a safe haven away from social and family issues. Their own private and free heaven. Here, they can be themselves, take a deep ocean breath and open their hearts to the sea, until the day the rabbis try to close it down.
See biography Karin Kainer
Discussion Thursday afternoon
Participants: Boris Svartzman, Nadav Harel, Arik Moran, Valerie Hänsch, Komeil Soheili, Iman Behrouzi, Karin Kainer
Moderation: Robert.Scheck, Ruoyu.Qu, Anna Ramella
Knots and Holes. An Essay Film on the Life of Nets
The Netherlands, 2018, 74 min / Original languages: Portuguese
Location: Brazil, Bahia
A Film by: Mattijs Van de Port
Nets are all around us. They materialize such principles as connecting, filtering and patterning, which is why we might take a closer look at what people do with them – and what they do with people. In Bahia, Brazil, people work with nets. The filmmaker recorded the conversations, emotions and sensations that occur in the presence of these nets. He went on a fishing trip with Tico, spoke with evangelicals explaining the biblical parable of the fishing net and hung out with the boys from the Candomblé religion, who have their shirts made of lace. This film invites its audience to ponder the observation that all we humans do is to impose structure onto life, only to find that life does not follow our designs.
See biography Mattijs Van de Port
A Journey to the Makonde
Portugal, 2019, 55 min / Original languages: Portuguese, Makonde
Location: Mozambique, Maputo
A Film by: Catarina Alves Costa
With a subjective narration and an experimental use of film archives, the film depicts the journey to Mozambique in search of a hidden story. The filmmaker travels to Maputo to meet the Makonde ethnic group that lives there. She carries with her the films and photographs by ethnologist Margot Dias. Between 1958 and 1961, Dias filmed the Makonde in Northern Mozambique, a former Portuguese colony until 1975. “A Journey to the Makonde” is an inward journey that will gradually unravel the circumstances in which these original films were shot.
See biography Catarina Alves Costa
Palimpsest of the Africa Museum
Belgium, 2019, 69 min / Original languages: French, Dutch
Location: Belgium, Brussels
A Film by: Matthias De Groof
In 2013, the Museum of Central Africa in Belgium is closed for renovation work. This provides an opportunity for a new interpretation of the museum and its mission. The stuffed animals, the traditional masks and the dusted artifacts are to make way for a more complete, modern view on Africa. The process of decolonisation leads to heated discussions. Fundamental questions need to be addressed. Who is looking at whom? And whose story is being told? The film documents the move of the Africa Museum as an aesthetic mourning process. It accompanies the changes and shows through the eyes of the Belgian-Congolese diaspora what is really at stake in the renovation: the decolonization of the self.
See biography Matthias De Groof
Discussion Thursday evening
Participants: Mattijs Van de Port, Catarina Alves Costa, Matthias De Groof
Moderation: Peter I. Crawford