May 5, 2021 is the opening day of the 36th edition of the documentary film festival in Munich. And as is so often the case in our pandemic times, there are winners in the exceptional situation: We can take part in the festival without being in Munich. Like many other festivals, DOK.fest has moved to the Internet with its 131 films – and can be enjoyed all over Germany. The films can be seen from May 6th to May 23rd at www.dokfestmuenchen.de, individual films cost 6 € – or voluntarily 7 € with a € 1 donation to partner cinemas. The festival pass costs € 70.
Festival director Daniel Sponsel says about the pandemic festival situation: “I was recently asked in an interview whether bad times are particularly good times for documentaries. But the requierements and the need to show relevant documentaries are always there. „
The festival opens with Daniel Sagers “Behind the Headlines” about two investigative journalists from the Süddeutsche Zeitung. The festival’s guest country is Canada, represented by Lulu Wei’s film „There’s no place like this place, anyplace“. The international festival contributions include Helena Třeštíkovás “Anny” and Eva Küpper’s “Dark Rider”. Erec Brehmers and Angelina Zeidler’s “Who We Will Have Been” represents German-speaking countries, as will Christian Bäucker’s “Heimatkunde”. The retrospective is dedicated to documentary film production by DEFA, which will be 75 years old in 2021.
Further films from the program:
SCHOOL OF HOPE
(Director: Mohamed El Aboudi / Finland, France, Morocco 2020/72 minutes)
The School of Hope stands in the middle of the Moroccan steppe: an adobe building without heating, but with a committed teacher who shows nomad children the way into the future. Their lives are characterized by increasing drought, the herd has to be looked after and the way to school is up to twelve kilometers long. Finally arrived, the children enjoy the hours in which they can be carefree. They learn and play together. But not all children are allowed to participate.
(Director: Laurentia Genske, Robin Humboldt / Germany 2021/89 minutes)
Having fled the civil war in Syria, teenagers Lohan and Samar and their families are given asylum in Germany. Both feel born in the wrong body. Little by little they dare to live out their feminine identity, while the believing parents consider it a sin to be trans. Lohan and Samar are torn between their Muslim community and secular values in Germany that enable them to express their true selves. For three years the film accompanies the two on their forays and their search for their own identity.
THE CASE YOU
(Director: Alison Kuhn / Germany 2020/80 minutes)
Five young actresses spend a few days in a theater. You all went to a casting a few years ago that resulted in sexual and violent assault. The director was also one of the applicants at the time. Together the women break their silence, and little by little it becomes clear what happened back then.
(Director: Hauke Wendler / Germany 2021/90 minutes)
The Monobloc plastic chair: It stands in every garden, every beach bar, in front of every chip shop. Who invented it? Who mass-produced it? Why is it even in the museum? Director Hauke Wendler went on a curious journey to Africa, India, the USA, France and Brazil – in search of a chair that is always there before you even arrive. And it tells a story about economics, justice, equal opportunities, dignity and the strange relationship between people and things.
FORMAN VS. FORMAN
(Director: Helena Třeštíková, Jakub Hejna / Czech Republic 2019/78 min.)
His parents died in the concentration camp; relatives hid him during the war; at the orphanage he made friends with Václav Havel and discovered his love for the cinema. Director Milos Forman became world famous with „One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest“ and „Amadeus“. His colleague and girlfriend Helena Třeštíková and Jakub Hejna portray him in FORMAN VS. FORMAN.