DOK Leipzig Film Festival

Touching Concrete

Touching Concrete

An enriching encounter! Whether coincidental or stage-managed isn’t relevant for the further interactions between filmmaker and filmed subjects. Because that “feeling of being there” described by Richard Leacock as the essence of the documentary soon eclipses all doubts and reservations. Impressed by the sure sense of style with which Ilja Stahl establishes the “right” kind of intimacy with his youthful protagonists in an overpopulated neighbourhood of Johannesburg, one feels happy to be allowed to drift with 16-year-old Tebogo and 15-year-old Karabo through their turf as a spectator for one summer. Their turf, that’s underground car parks, high rise roofs, nocturnal streets, where they dawdle away the time, somewhere between boredom and energy to burn.

The conflicts with their single mothers, however, the violence and death in the streets are omnipresent. Karabo feels the pressure more and more while Tebogo sees it as a continuous supply of material for games. He lives by the “anyway” principle when he balances on the parapet of a high rise roof or dances into the path of moving cars with friends and defies everything with a provoking smile. It’s touching how the future looms over these kids’ presence. But they refuse to allow it to rule them. At least not yet.

Ralph Eue

Nominated for ver.di Prize for Solidarity, Humanity and Fairness, DEFA Sponsoring Prize
Original Title: Touching Concrete
Country: South Africa, Germany
Year: 2017
Language: English, Zulu
Subtitle: German
Runtime: 58 min.
Format: DCP
Color: Colour
Director: Ilja Stahl
Producer: Jonas Weydemann (Weydemann Bros), Ute Dilger (Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln)
Cinematographer: Niclas Reed Middleton
Editor: Florian Riegel
Sound: Ilja Stahl
Script: Ilja Stahl

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 2017 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.