Main Competition 2023

The international competition of DOK.fest München




Slices of life, insights and perspectives: The films of the International Competition open doors to new worlds for us. They compete for the VIKTOR Main Competition, which is endowed with 10,000 euros. The prize sponsor is Bayerischer Rundfunk.

The films of the competition

Belgium 2023, Sergio Guataquira Sarmiento, 92 min., original with English subtitles

Colombia, Amazon: The Cácuas are said to be unable to love because they have no words for such feelings. At the same time, suicides of young men are increasing among them, committed out of a broken heart. The filmmaker, himself a descendant of indigenous people, wants to get to the bottom of the phenomenon and travels to the jungle to live with the people there for a while. An almost tender approach begins.


Germany 2023, Lia Erbal, 92 min., German original version

The fight for democracy in Hong Kong has long been a battle of systems, as well as a brutal game of economic dependencies. With a collage of found footage, interviews with experts and sketches of the thoughts of young activists, the filmmaker paints a picture of a city between wild hope for change and resignation to the Chinese regime.


USA 2023, Hadley Austin, 88 min., original with English subtitles

On the territory of the Navajo Nation in USA, disused uranium mines pose an on-going threat to the environment of the indigenous people. Their efforts to reclaim their sacred earth and gain compensation are unfailing. Here the indigenous community of activists, artists and scientists have their say. A film manifesto that is intelligent in both its form and narrative content.


Sweden 2023, Mia Engberg, 75 min., original with English subtitles

“This day is forever going to divide time into a before and an after.” When Mia Engberg receives a devastating diagnosis, she has to call off the shoot she has planned for her new film. Instead she rummages deep into the archive of her filmed life and takes us on an extremely personal, touching journey between hospital visits, her memories and the universe.


France/Germany 2023, Tuki Jencquel, 93 min., original with English subtitles

A mulberry tree in the courtyard covered in green leaves. Growing old. The body deteriorates. No more sex. What is the point of a life like this if there is no purpose and no joy? For three years, a son follows his mother with his camera after she openly declares she wants to die. An open dialogue between a parent and child, lamentations about a life not properly lived. A touching sketch of a family. 


Germany 2022, André Siegers, 90 min., original with English subtitles

In search of a story, a German film crew ends up in El Alberto, Mexico. The village has become famous for the Caminata Nocturna – an attraction that re-enacts illegal border crossings to the USA and is based on the experiences of the locals. This keenly nuanced essay film grapples with the possibilities and limits of cinematic representation.


Georgia 2023, Mariam Chachia, Nik Voigt, 73 min., original with English subtitles

Pills, card games and cigarettes: this is how the days go by in Abastumani. In a crumbling palatial building high in the Georgian mountains, people who are chronically ill with tuberculosis live in complete isolation – until they find out that their unloved home is to be demolished. In calm and clear images, MAGIC MOUNTAIN tells of a parallel world and how it begins to falter.


Serbia/France/Montenegro/Croatia/Qatar 2022, Mila Turajlić, 100 min., original with English subtitles

Cameraman Stevan Labudović followed Yugoslavia’s President Tito on his transcontinental search for new allies during the cold war. Decades later, the director discovers the film footage created back then in a Belgrade film archive and turns it into a fascinating and touching account of an almost forgotten mission and a time full of hope for a better world. 


France/Switzerland 2022, Alexander Abaturov, 89 min., original with English subtitles

Ash clouds darken the skies over the East Siberian taiga. The sparsely populated land is ravaged by violent forest fires in summer 2021. While great swathes of the subarctic forests are in flames, the population of the barren region must protect itself from the threat. They cannot expect help from the Russian authorities.


Denmark 2022, Łukasz Konopa, Emil Langballe, 105 min., original with English subtitles

Dominic Ongwen was kidnapped at the age of nine by Uganda’s Lord's Resistance Army and trained as a child soldier. Later, as a commander, he committed unspeakable atrocities. Now he faces charges at the International Court of Justice. Is he entirely responsible for his actions? A psychological study of society and, at the same time, a film about the legal question of criminal responsibility.


Bosnia and Herzegovina/India/Netherlands/Norway/UK 2022,
Nishtha Jain, 86 min., original with English subtitles

“Being born, working here, retiring, new people joining – a regular flow”: Außerhalb von Kalkutta drehen sich die Zahnräder der Jutefabriken in einem unermüdlichen Tanz von Maschine und Schweiß. In riesigen Fabrikhallen bewegen sich die Arbeiter*innen in einem Kosmos voller Staub, Jutestoffen und Metall. Ein bild- und soundgewaltiger Film, der tiefe Einblicke in die beschwerliche Arbeit gewährt.


Mexico 2022, Javier Ávila, 88 min., original with English subtitles

The homeless people on the streets of Tijuana belong neither in the USA nor Mexico. Without the right to exist, they turn to the needle and prop themselves up with crystal meth. Their bodies are broken and riddled with disease. The film draws an intimate portrait of people living in one of the most violent cities in the world whose goal is simply to stay alive.


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