In case you didn’t know, Leipzig’s annual documentary film fest just happened. We’ve given you some of the highlights in article format: free DOK, movies with coming-of-age themes, DOK Neuland, amazing characters. There were just too many movies, though, and we could only focus on a few we heard about and managed to see. For episode 2 of The Leipzig Glocal Podcast, dedicated to cinema, I shared with the host Rachael the audio I captured while chasing those stories at DOK Leipzig.
Luckily, I got to watch two of the cinema gems that would go on to nab top awards at the fest: Muhi – Generally Temporary (a German-Israeli co-production) and Licu, a Romanian Story (Romania).
Both films happen to have female directors who are veteran photojournalists – the Israeli Rina Castelnuovo-Hollander and the Romanian Ana Dumitrescu, respectively. We hear from the Muhi co-director in the podcast about some of the obstacles she faced in shooting the film. She was the only female director in DOK Leipzig’s German Competition, and with this in mind, the fest is adopting a quota for female directors in next year’s competition.
Both Muhi and Licu give us a window into historic conflicts in a very personal way through their title characters, though in very different settings. The former takes place in Israel and Gaza, and follows an Arab boy whose hands and feet had to be amputated, and whose spirit inspires all around him through tender moments as well as family tragedies. In the latter, we get to know an incredible 92-year-old man who has outlived war, Communism and almost all his family members in Romania.
The cinematography in Licu particularly impressed me: It all takes place in the man’s home, using daily life objects to illustrate his story. Meanwhile, the theme in Muhi was more compelling, and the risks the filmmakers took to make the movie happen blew my mind.
Luckily for those who missed the festival’s highlights, at least a couple of the major DOK films will open in the local cinema circuit in coming months, and Rachael gives us one of them – a documentary that swept the fest’s awards. You have to listen to find out which, and when it comes out.
But the podcast doesn’t only tackle DOK stuff.
Cinema buff Kapuczino gives us insights into Blade Runner 2049. He has been a great fan of the 1982 version starring Harrison Ford, and wasn’t disappointed at its new incarnation with Ryan Gosling. I’m not nearly as big of a fan of either version, but you be the judge. The film has been playing in Leipzig in the original, so if you hurry up, you might still catch it on the silver screen locally.
As I said last time, we welcome any suggestions and story ideas for future podcasts. Don’t be shy.