FILMKLUB 2015 at Volkskundemuseum Wien
SPIRITS OF ENVY
Helene Basu | India, Germany 2013 | 83 Min. | OmeU
The idea that feelings of envy constitute moral threats to human bonds and personal well-being is widely shared across cultures, religions and historical periods. In contemporary India, people live in a competitive environment of a booming economy which produces winners and losers. Hindu and Islamic notions converge in translating envy into an aggressive, evil power enacted in practices of sorcery targeting at the ruin of success and a good life by attacking minds, bodies and persons’ wealth. The Sufi shrine of Mira Datar in Gujarat provides ritual healing and a refuge to those who became victims of black magic and subsequently suffer from madness or other illnesses, experience financial losses, homelessness, social ostracism and the breaking up of domestic and kinship relationships. The film presents an ethnography of the shrine by exploring the moral discourse of sorcery, afflictions of madness and practices of ritual healing through prayer and possession-trance. Priests share their knowledge of how black magic is done and removed, while afflicted women, men and caretaking relatives tell their own stories of suffering and spiritual deliverance. The protagonists’ narratives and performances provide insights into predicaments shared across religious boundaries as well as into a lived Islamic ethos which is rarely acknowledged in global media representations of Islam.
THE BASTARD SINGS THE SWEETEST SONG
Christy Garland | Guyana, Canada, Denmark 2012 | 71 Min. | OmeU
Georgetown, Guyana, South America. Muscle is a busy man. He has his eye fixed firmly on the middle class, hoping to pull his extended family up with him. In the meantime, his birds need constant attending, as he ekes out a living raising fighting cocks and songbirds. And heʼs trying, not very successfully, to get his mother Mary off the booze. At 75, Mary has had a number of falls on her frequent stopovers outside the family compound, searching for drink. Mary drinks to forget, in particularly to drown out the night, which she has good reason to dread. Sheʼs still able to recite by heart some of her moving poems, to her family who listen with love and admiration. But her determination to thwart Muscle and his flawed attempts to control her drinking, has led her son to take more drastic action.
SINCE I WAS BORN
Laura Delle Piane | Palestine, France 2013 | 54 Min. | OmeU
Dheisheh refugee camp, West Bank. Over 13,000 people live in 1.5 square km. One of them is eleven year old Tamer. Like all his friends in the camp, Tamer dreams of liberating his country and about being a member of the resistance. His father and personal hero tries to protect his son from the dangers of life under Israeli occupation. But he also wants to help him fulfill his dream of seeing the sea, which is only 40 kilometers away but on the other side of the wall.
Martin Gruber | Guinea 2013 | 8 Min. | OmeU
A small village on the coast of Guinea, West Africa. Missionaries settled here in their effort to bring Christianity to this Muslim dominated area. The villagers still speak warmly about their visitors. Nevertheless, the missionaries left after some years – seemingly in a rush, leaving behind many of their belongings. The film “Our Missionaries” tells the story of a misconceived intercultural encounter throgh the villagers’ memories and images of the missionaries’ material legacy.
FRAMING THE OTHER
Ilja Kok, Willem Timmers | Ethiopia, Netherlands 2011 | 25 Min. | OmeU
The Mursi tribe resides in the basin of the Omo River, in the east African state of Ethiopia. Mursi women are known for placing large plates in their lower lips and wearing enormous, richly decorated earrings, which has become a subject of tourist attraction in recent years. Each year, hundreds of Western tourists come to see the unusually adorned Mursi; posing for camera-toting visitors has become the main source of income for them. To make more money, they embellish their “costumes” and finery to appear more exotic to those outsiders. However, by exaggerating their habits and lifestyle in such a manner they are beginning to cause their traditional culture to disintegrate. Framing the Other portrays the complex relationship between tourism and indigenous communities by revealing the intimate and intriguing thoughts of a Mursi woman from Southern Ethiopia and a Dutch tourist as they prepare to meet each other. This humorous, yet simultaneously uncomfortable, film shows the destructive impact tourism can have on traditional communities.
Anna Brass | Greece, Germany 2013 | 79 Min. | OmeU
Like thousand others, three young Afghan refugees are stranded in front of the gates of Europe. The young men live in an isolated house near the Greek coast, where they have been waiting to find a way through the bureaucratic jungle of asylum procedures – often hiding away and avoiding immigration authorities. This is not only a film about pressing political questions, but one that allows us, by displaying a lot of sensitivity and intuition, to learn about their hopes and fears, in a situation where their future is completely uncertain.
WHAT IS A PEOPLE WITHOUT LAND?
Kathrin Gradt, Erwin Schweitzer, Martin Lintner | South Africa, Austria 2015 | 60 Min. | Omdu
Many South Africans perceive land as foundation for economic development, cultural expression und self-defined identity. Since the dawn of democracy in South Africa in 1994, people can claim land which was dispossessed during colonialism and apartheid. The documentary shows how indigenous Griqua people make use of these new legal opportunities to struggle for the restitution of their ancestral land. Through a range of cases in various provinces in South Africa the documentary illustrates the strong emotional bond between individual Griqua and their land. At the same time, these cases reveal the interrelation between land rights and cultural expression, development issues, education, livelihood as well as spirituality.
DONKEYMENTARY – LIFE THROUGH THE EYES OF A DONKEY
Arman Yeritsyan, Vardan Hovhannisyan | Armenia 2012 | 52 Min. | OmeU
This is a donkeymentary – a humorous documentary about a small island with many donkeys. Lamu, just off the coast of Kenya, is the home of 24,000 people, 6,000 donkeys, just 2 cars and a 14-year-old donkey race champion, Shee Famao, whose fondest dream in life is nothing more than having a donkey of his own. Shee, one of the most well known boys in Lamu, is a three time champion of the famous donkey races on the island, a place where everyone will inevitably get stuck in donkey traffic, where the largest humanitarian organization is a donkey hospital, and where the donkeys are the key to earning a living for the majority of people. But the life of Shee is full of contrasts, he is the most popular, but also the poorest boy of the island, he is a schoolboy trapped with the responsibility of being a “providing father” for his family, he is criminal who is respected by his community and even the police, he is a hero of the island but without his victorious horse – the donkey!
FOUR YEARS OF NIGHT
Itamar Alcalay | Israel 2013 | 54 Min. | OmeU
“Am I a traitor? Obviously.” In the late 1970s the Jewish photographer Esaias Baitel spent four years with a violent Parisian neo-Nazi gang. While hiding his real identity, he was able to gain their trust and live among the gang members. Thereby he photographed intimate portraits of their daily lives. Born in Sweden to a father who survived Auschwitz, Baitel, by then a young father himself, spent several years in a double life. Despite witnessing horrifying events, he established close ties to these young people and portrayed them as individuals with hopes, wishes and stories. A one-of-a-kind collection of gripping stills and audio evolved, providing an insight in the complexities of human nature and the almost impossible coexistence of tolerance and intolerance. Now, over thirty years later, Baitel is able to reflect upon this stage in his life and the marks left of this conflicting experience. In between past and present, in expressive black-and-white, a rare and sensitive artist is revealed. “Four Years of Night” shows an unpredictable compassion and humanity towards those, who have done the most terrible deeds.