Insight(s): Documentary films in Hof 2023


    Some stories make you wonder if they can be true or if they are fiction. But they reflect reality, life as it is. Filmmakers take us into unique, special, even painful stories, into the lives of people and places, into worlds that may seem far away, but are often closer than we imagine.

    Documentaries are well-represented at the 57th Hof International Film Festival with a total of 28 films. Among them is Austrian filmmaker Günter Schwaiger, who has already screened his films in Hof several times, and this time will present the German premiere of WHO IS AFRAID OF HITLER'S TOWN?, a very personal film that attracted international attention. We would be happy to give you an insight:

    WHO IS AFRAID OF HITLER'S TOWN? A HOUSE AND THE PAST WITHIN US, direction: Günter Schwaiger (Austria 2023)
    Why has no film ever been produced in Austria about Adolf Hitler's birthplace and house? Starting from this question, the director begins his five-year project. He accompanies the heated debates surrounding the subsequent use of the house after a state expropriation, deals with "brown clichés" of a city and finally confronts his own family history. In the meantime, a discovery in the newspaper archive leads to heated discussions among historians.

    BIS HIERHIN UND WIE WEITER?, direction: Felix Maria Bühler (Germany 2023)
    How far is climate activism allowed to go? Five protagonists try to find answers to this question after a climate hunger strike. In the meantime, Lina has taken to the streets for the "Last Generation". However, this kind of protest does not go far enough for Taura, Guerrero, Charly and Fuchs; they want to find other ways. The film, which does without interviews, provides intimate insights into the work of the organizations "Fridays For Future," "Letzte Generation," "End of Terrain" and "Extinction Rebellion."

    THE ART OF FRIENDS - BUSINESS UNUSUAL, direction: Lukas Riedl (Germany 2023)
    A fourth-generation family brewery is changing course from classic beer brewing to a street art location that can be experienced. An ambitious undertaking in Bayreuth, Bavaria, where art has always been associated with the composer Wagner. An exciting development story in which craft and art are to benefit from each other.

    QUEER EXILE BERLIN, direction: Jochen Hick (Germany 2023)
    The documentary accompanies six queer people from different backgrounds who have chosen Berlin as their home and live their identities there. Some because they wanted to, others because they had to. The film interweaves personal stories and ambitions with historical and current developments. A portrait of a city that is both a perpetual place of longing and a challenge.

    PROJECT BALLHAUSPLATZ – RISE AND FALL OF SEBASTIAN KURZ, direction: Kurt Langbein (Austria 2023)
    A critical film about how a group of young men managed, through meticulous planning, to take over the government and lead it to the brink of democracy. A film that attempts to decode the "Kurz system" and retell the path of the Austrian ex-chancellor using video and film archive collages as well as descriptions from companions.

    DETZMAN WALKING, direction: Kai-Uwe Kohlschmidt (Germany 2022)
    German colonial officer Hermann Detzner hid in the jungles of what is now Papua New Guinea during the First World War. He later wrote a glorified book about that time that helped him achieve brief fame. A group of artists explores this story of post-colonial dislocation on an expedition.

    HARRAGA - THOSE WHO BURN THEIR LIVES, direction: Benjamin Rost (Germany, Morocco 2023)
    Five Moroccan teenagers live in a cave under a lighthouse and call themselves: Harraga - those who burn their lives. The film accompanies them for half a decade between a life in a micro-society with its own rules and attempts to escape to Europe.

    A COOLER CLIMATE, direction: James Ivory, Giles Gardener (United Kingdom 2022)
    In 1960, filmmaker and Academy Award® winner James Ivory, made a trip to Afghanistan to shoot scenes for a documentary film. However, it was never completed. In 2022, at the age of 94, Ivory decided to review the old footage with editor and documentary filmmaker Giles Gardener. The result is a very personal film about James Ivory as a traveler, outsider and artist.

    THE PENPAL, direction: Sarah Klewes (Germany 2023)
    Director Sarah Klewes is 12 years old when she meets 77-year-old writer Claretta Cerio in Tuscany. This develops into a pen friendship that lasts until Cerio's death. In 2022, Sarah travels to Italy with the letters in her luggage to remember her beloved friend. In a mix of fictional scenes and documentary interviews, a portrait of a special writer unfolds.

    BEHIND GOOD DOORS, direction: Julia Beerhold (Germany 2023)
    Two siblings. The parents love and encourage them, but also use brute force against them. No contradiction for them. Blows, even on wounds, slaps when they fall down. Sometimes without reason. The siblings are the director and her brother. The film documents the story of a family and makes an attempt to talk about something that is usually kept quiet: The abuse of their own children.

    MOTHERLAND, direction: Miriam Pucitta (Germany, Switzerland 2022)
    As a daughter, director Miriam Pucitta was given to strangers by her mother so that she could keep her job. Was she a "forbidden child"? Today, together with her own daughter, she searches for traces and injuries of her family in Germany, Italy and Switzerland and discovers a chapter of labor migration that is widely unknown.

    WHAT REMAINS - JOURNALISTS IN CRISIS AREAS, direction: Lotta Pommerien (Germany 2023)
    This film accompanies three female crisis reporters in their work. It asks what their job entails for them, how they react in situations of stress and fear, and whether it makes a difference that they, as women, report from patriarchal countries and regions.

    SLEEPING GIANT, Regie: Markus Schröder (Germany 2023)
    50 years after the end of the war, two former commanders of the FARC rebels return to Colombia. In a hostile society, they quickly realize that the wounds of the conflict have still not healed. When the new president allows the peace process to fail, their names appear on paramilitary death lists and a fight for survival begins.

    DISTURBANCE, Regie: Constantin Hatz (Germany 2022)
    In 2015, the director's best friend takes his own life. He had fled the war in Yugoslavia as a child, never really arriving in his new homeland. Over the years, he wrote down his thoughts in notes that represent a self-reflection on his life, which was marked by war and flight. With an ensemble of laymen and actors, Constantin Hatz brings this written material in monologue form to a documentary film in five episodes.

    The film takes a time travel through the underground of the GDR until its collapse. It is a documentary about the punk musician Dieter "Otze" Ehrlich and his band Schleimkeim. The fall of the Wall costs Otze not only his enemy imagery, but ultimately his life.

    IN THE LAND OF WOLVES, Regie: Ralf Bücheler (Germany 2023)
    100 years after their extinction, wolves are returning to Germany, a densely populated and human-dominated country. This was decided democratically. The film tells about the life of the new neighbors and about the lives of those who do everything to make this new community succeed.