As in past years, the documentary sector appears to be consistently stabile, politically engaged and in its diversity well equipped for the cinema. Moreover, it’s a treasure trove for themes that inspire fictional films.
On February 10, 2012, in Cinestar7, the Panorama Dokumente will open with The Reluctant Revolutionary by British director Sean McAllister. The film is about a Yemenite tourist guide who slowly abandons his professional distance towards the political “spring” in his country. His experiences with the filmmaker, who he befriends as one the last 'tourists' in these turbulent times, politicize him.
Fields of Focus
The Arab World and the Middle East
The opening film begins the exploration of works about the Arab world and the Middle East. For example, of the fictional films: Wilaya, which is set in West Africa where nomads are being forced to become sedentary; and Sharqiya, in which Israeli Bedouins are losing the ancestral lands where they rove and are supposed to settle in brand new villages. Three documentaries set in Cairo provide powerful insights into events surrounding the Arab Spring: In Words of Witness, a 22-year-old woman journalist questions people on the streets about parliamentary elections and democracy, and so conveys the picture of a well-informed public whose goals often turn into clearly formulated demands on this new era. In In the Shadow of a Man, women eloquently portray their views of events and take a crucial look at the long years of pre-revolutionary times without which present-day uprisings are not understandable: then as now, it’s about the equal distribution of power and this cannot be achieved without gender empowerment, as revealed by slogans such as: “my silence makes me lose my rights”, “divorce is freedom” or “my patience has reached its end”. And last but not least, there’s the entirely different La Vierge, les Coptes et Moi, which presents events following a Marian apparition in a Coptic village – the only proof of the miracle is a rather unconvincing VHS recording. Here, too, the women are strong, whether in their new French homeland or their native villages in Egypt.
G8 and Anti-Globalisation
Europe still has not recovered from the traumatic effects of police brutality during the G8 Summit in Genoa in 2001. One man lost his life and hundreds of anti-globalists were, in part, seriously injured. Italian director Daniele Vicari’s fictional film Diaz - Don’t Clean Up This Blood attempts to show from a number of perspectives what happened when the authorities lost all self-control and overstepped the law. The film presents the ugly face of New Europe so vividly that the events are experienced as an urgent warning for what threatens today. The documentary on the same topic is The Summit. It gives the backdrop and exposes the web of lies related to the death of the demonstrator Carlo Giuliani. It also tells how neo-fascist provocateurs were involved in escalating the violence, and gives insight into the development of the brutality of the state at previous demonstrations, from Brokdorf to Naples, Gothenburg and Seattle.
In documentary films from the USA, Uganda, Indonesia and Germany, “queer memory” becomes visible.
Vito brings back to life the political days of the 1980s. American film historian Vito Russo gave his famous lecture “The Celluloid Closet” during the Panorama in 1983, when it was still called the Info-Schau. The book that expanded this lecture became a standard work of queer film history. Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman made a film of the same name, which won the Berlinale’s TEDDY Award in 1996. The film Audre Lorde - The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 focuses on this self-defined “black, lesbian, feminist, mother, warrior, poet” and her years in Berlin. It recounts how she inspired the development of an Afro-German movement and became a mentor for an entire generation of young women students. Anak-Anak Srikandi is a film made by a collective of eight young women and describes what it means to be a queer woman in Muslim Indonesia. Call Me Kuchu examines the life and death of Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato, and the role of religion and the media in state-sanctioned homophobia. The German gay movements in the East and West are explored in two films: Unter Männern - Schwul in der DDR and Detlef. In König des Comics, Rosa von Praunheim tells about the life and work of Ralf König, one of Germany’s greatest cartoonist and comic book creators.
With further works by renowned filmmakers, including Andreas Dresen, Romuald Karmakar, Brigitte Kramer and Uli M Schueppel, German productions display their strong documentary qualities in the Panorama 2012.
The Panorama Main Programme 2012 is opening at the CinemaxX on February 9 with a new discovery from Austria, Kuma by Umut Dag.
Anak-Anak Srikandi (Children of Srikandi) by the Children of Srikandi Collective, Germany/Indonesia - WP
Angriff auf die Demokratie - Eine Intervention (Democracy Under Attack - An Intervention) by Romuald Karmakar, Germany - WP
Audre Lorde - The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 by Dagmar Schultz, Germany - WP
Brötzmann - Da gehört die Welt mal mir (Brötzmann – That’s When The World Is Mine) by Uli M Schueppel, Germany - WP
with Caspar Brötzmann, Eduardo Delgado Lopez, Danny Lommen
Call Me Kuchu by Malika Zouhali-Worrall, Katherine Fairfax Wright, USA - WP
Detlef by Stefan Westerwelle, Jan Rothstein, Germany
with Detlef Stoffel, Anneliese Stoffel, Gustav-Peter Wöhler, Lilo Wanders, Corny Littmann - WP
Herr Wichmann aus der dritten Reihe (Henryk from the back row) by Andreas Dresen, Germany - WP
In the Shadow of a Man by Hanan Abdalla, Egypt - WP
König des Comics (King of Comics) by Rosa von Praunheim, Germany - WP
with Ralf König, Joachim Król, Hella von Sinnen, Ralph Morgenstern
La Vierge, les Coptes et Moi (The Virgin, the Copts and Me) by Namir Abdel Messeeh, France/Qatar/Egypt
Marina Abramović The Artist is Present (Marina Abramović The Artist is Present) by Matthew Akers, USA
Olhe pra mim de novo (Look at me again) by Kiko Goifman, Claudia Priscilla, Brazil
The Reluctant Revolutionary by Sean McAllister, Great Britain/Ireland
The Summit by Franco Fracassi, Massimo Lauria, Italy - WP
Ulrike Ottinger - die Nomadin vom See (Ulrike Ottinger - nomad from the lake) by Brigitte Kramer, Germany - WP
with Ulrike Ottinger, Ingvild Goetz, Irm Hermann, Ulrich Gregor
Unter Männern - Schwul in der DDR (Among Men – Gay in East Germany) by Markus Stein, Ringo Rösener, Germany - WP
with Eduard Stapel, Frank Schäfer, Jürgen Wittdorf, John Zinner, Helwin Leuschner
Vito by Jeffrey Schwarz, USA
Words of Witness by Mai Iskander, USA - WP
Diaz - Don’t Clean Up This Blood by Daniele Vicari,
Italy/Romania/ France - WP
with Elio Germano, Alessandro Roja, Claudio Santamaria
Sharqiya by Ami Livne, Israel/France/Germany - WP
with Adnan Abu – wadi, Maysa Abed Alhadi
The complete programme will be announced at the end of January.
January 18, 2012