DOK Leipzig Film Festival

8, Lenin Avenue

8, Lenin Avenue

Long-term observations have their own rules. They often evolve out of earlier film projects and a continued contact with the protagonists. Anna Pitoun and Valérie Mitteaux have followed their protagonist Salcuta Filan’s fate with the camera for almost 15 years, which allows them to draw a wide narrative arc and reveal developments. The first images, showing the citizens of Achères, a community to the north-east of Paris, trying to protect a Roma camp from evacuation were shot in 2003. That was when the first film about Salcuta and her two children, Denisa and Gabi, was produced, “Caravan 55”.

The directors want to show that integration is possible, even for Roma, who are up against stronger prejudices than other immigrants. Right-wing populists use them as scapegoats to be made political examples of. Despite the warm-hearted helpers whose friendship with Salcuta’s family is real, everyday racism and antiziganism are clearly apparent, just like the shift to the right of the past few years which has changed the social climate in France. Nonetheless Salcuta grows from a shy, single widow to a confident matriarch who fights for her rights. In France she finds a voice she never had as a Romani in her home country of Romania.

Sirkka Möller

Nominated for Filmprize "Leipziger Ring"
Original Title: 8, avenue Lénine
Country: France
Year: 2017
Language: French, Romanian
Subtitle: English
Runtime: 101 min.
Format: HD Videofile (ProRes 422 HQ 1080p)
Color: Colour and B&W
Director: Valérie Mitteaux, Anna Pitoun
Producer: Igor Ochronowicz
Cinematographer: Valérie Mitteaux, Anna Pitoun, Raquel Freire, Sébastien Balanger
Editor: Fabrice Rouaud
Sound: Hugo Leitão

The annotations to the films in the Official Selection were written by the members of the selection committee and guest authors. All quotes from DOK Leipzig 2018 catalogue articles must be identified as such and cite the author's name. All articles where no author’s name is given are production notes.