memory books

ten-year-old dennis and his sister chrissi are two of the 2 million aids orphans in uganda. it’s been almost a year since their mother died, leaving them to look after themselves in one of the so-called “children’s households”. their personal “memory book” gives them the strength to cope. it is full of photographs, stories, tales and songs and the thoughts and wishes of their deceased parents. harriet, christine and betty are hiv infected mothers writing their own memory books. they and their children face up to their upcoming deaths and this gives them unexpected strength and comfort. later these books will become an important guide in the lives of the orphans. the film accompanies the protagonists during their everyday lives. The women resist falling into the circle of lethargy, depression and desperation common for people who know with certainty that they are going to die. they have found a way of dealing with it. this is a film as touching and significant as the memory book project itself. “the memory books, these small notebooks with pasted images and texts, written by people who hardly know the alphabet, could, in many ways, prove to be the most significant documents of our time.” – henning mankell

director christa graf

camera roland wagner

production company kick-film

category documentary cinema

location uganda

length 90 min.

zdf/arte

2007

 

awards

media award german aids-foundation 2009

best photography nominee sichuan tv festival 2009

one-world award nrw 2009

honorary television award for human rights marl 2009

nomination german camera award 2008

grand prix for author's documentaries monte carlo 2008

prix micheline vaillancourt, montreal 2008

shortlist german film award 2008

honorary award berlin filmball 2008

grand prix des jeunes européens 2008

fbw prädikat: besonders wertvoll

 

festival screenings

sichuan tv festival 2009

documentary film festival kassel 2009

hotdocs - festival toronto 2008

monte carlo television festival 2008

documentary film festival taiwan 2008

festival of the art of cinematography - camerimage 2008

documentary film festival munich 2008

film festival ruanda 2008

panafrican film festival montreal 2008

competition fipa biarritz 2008

selection solothurn film festival 2008

 

classified by the german film board as outstanding

 

"memory books is unquestionably one of the best documentaries currently being released. unlike many of the films so carelessly labeled 'important', this film actually deserves to be called just that: important."