DOK Leipzig Film Festival



The trauma of 9/11, the ideology of violent retribution, military service as a patriotic family tradition, the “unfairness” of today’s warfare – in their voice-overs, five young Afghanistan war veterans first establish familiar foundations. Joe, Torrie, Mike, James and Justin from Pittsburgh are slow to show us their faces. Physically unharmed but full of inner pain they have become the misunderstood upon their return. Their violent experiences speak a language that the people at home don’t understand.

“Stress” finds an artistic approach that impressively emphasizes the spoken word with all its unmistakeable signals of emotions and produces a physical experience of the tension of a permanent state of alarm in all its complexity. An extremely slow camera and sound follow the verbal descriptions of war experiences with everyday scenes, like a somnambulistic nightmare, creating plastic almost-still lives where everything can be looked at from every side but still remains intangible. They reveal a life behind glass and in a leaden time that moves inexorably forward but allows no real progress. The coda of this intoxicating and oppressive composition reverberates for a long time: it’s Torrie’s conviction that ultimately the army is still a good place to grow up.

André Eckardt

Awarded with the DEFA Sponsoring Prize for an outstanding long German documentary film
Nominated for the Goethe-Institut Documentary Film Prize

Original Title: Stress
Country: Germany, USA
Year: 2018
Language: English
Subtitle: German
Runtime: 83 min.
Format: DCP
Color: Colour
Director: Florian Baron
Producer: Florian Baron, Herbert Burkert
Cinematographer: Johannes Waltermann
Editor: Clemens Walter
Music: Yunas Orchestra, Jana Irmert, Fatima Camara
Sound: Jana Irmert, Linus Nickl, Nils Vogel-Bartling
Script: Florian Baron

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.