Portraits, literature, music, subculture …

AFRICAN STYLES, 52Min. , 2023, Arte & RBB

For a long time, they were hardly present in the western fashion world. Today, designers from Africa are opening up a new perspective, on fashion and on their continent. Agile and increasingly influential creatives are freely and uncompromisingly demanding their place, telling their stories, in their own aesthetic language. Together with “third culture kids” returning from the diaspora to their home countries, an avant-garde is forming that politically shapes the global zeitgeist and stands for a modern, self-confident Africa.

The echo of the demands for equal rights for people of colour, which have been getting louder and louder all over the world, not only since the black lives matter movement, is also echoing in fashion. Finally, fashion made in Africa is becoming visible. African designers are winning prizes and showing themselves at the big fashion weeks in the western world. International fashion magazines are reporting. The creatives use social media to present themselves and network with each other. The film shows a diverse and self-confident scene that is concerned with new codes and new ideas in fashion and with social change on the continent.
With Adebayo Oke Lawal (Orange Culture), Daniel Obasi, Imane Ayissi, Kenneth Ize, Lukanyo Mdingi, Selly Raby Kane, Sophie Zinga, Sydney Nwakanma

@2023-Along Mekong Productions in coproduktion with RBB and in cooperation with ARTE, with the support of the Medien- und Filmgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg
A Film from: Rabi Yansané, Emmanuelle Wagner and Rolf Lambert. Editor: Carolin Mayer (RBB)

PLAYER OF HIS LIFE – F.M. Dostojewski – MDR & ARTE – 2021

Rien ne va plus! The ball is rolling. Nerves are on edge. For the entire fate will be decided in this single, all-promising second. Happiness or destruction! Like his main character in the novel “The Gambler”, the Russian writer Dostoyevsky also challenges his fate again and again. In roulette, as in life. When writing the novel “The Gambler”, he gambles his existence. If he does not deliver on time, he will lose the rights to his entire work. In the end, Dostoevsky has just 26 days to write the novel. If he doesn’t make it, he is a writer without works.

In autumn 2021, Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky would have turned 200. On the occasion of the anniversary, we tell the moving story of the genesis of the strongly autobiographical novel “The Gambler” as an existential race against time. The film assembles feature film scenes and documentary footage from original locations in Russia and Germany with the statements of renowned experts and shows the stages of a life as uncompromising as it is dramatic, the central turning point of which is directly linked to the writing of the Player novel: when Dostoyevsky believes he has gambled away his entire future, the person enters his life who will be the most important to him until the end: Anna Snitkina, twenty years his junior.

As a stenographer, she helps Dostoevsky write the novel; as a wife, she plays the game of his life. Anna accompanies Dostoyevsky to the gambling tables in Germany, only to end up setting completely new rules for the game.

@2021-produced by Along Mekong Productions for SWR / ARTE with the support of the Medien- und Filmgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg
written and directed by Hedwig Schmutte & Rolf Lambert DoP: André Götzmann, Eugene Rudnyi Editing: Gunther Kreis, Manfred Linke Music: Xavier Bussy, Stefan Eichinger Illustrations: Ali Soozandeh, Annabell Huckele Production: Along Mekong Prod., Plöck 54, 69117 Heidelberg Editors: Suzanne Biermann (ARTE), Titus Richter (MDR)

Friedrich Hölderlin – DICHTER SEIN. UNBEDINGT! Poet, absolutely! – SWR & ARTE – 2019-2020

On September 9th, 1806 the German poet Friedrich Hölderlin is taken, against his will, from his then home in Bad Homburg to a psychiatric clinic in Tübingen. During 231 days he will undergo radical „therapy“ to finally be declared incurable and left to be taken care of to a carpenter‘s family in Tübingen. 36 years the poet will live in a tower‘s room in the carpenter’s house, until his death. The circumstances of his violent arrest stay questioned until today. What are the biographical, what are the political circumstances in which he lived? What did he fight for? What did he risk?

The story of an artistic radicalization on the backdrop of the French Revolution. A story about extremism, aspiration and identity.

Starting from his forced confinement, directors Hedwig Schmutte and Rolf Lambert look at the Swabian poet’s path from his childhood, through his rigorous education, his years of travel, his friendships, tragic love affairs and on to his radicalization as a politically-minded person and linguistic innovator who pushes the boundaries of literature Today Hölderlin is one of the most famous poets in the world. He left behind a groundbreaking work. In the documentary, actor Thorsten Hierse puts himself in the shoes of the Swabian poet, whose life stages and artistic development are commented on by writers such as Durs Grünbein, Daniela Danz and Kurt Oesterle. The music was composed by the Icelandic producer President Bongo, the drawings are by animation artist Ali Soozandeh. Renowned archives have made original documents available, with the help of which Friedrich Hölderlin’s biography is unrolled in a kind of laboratory situation almost like a criminal investigation.

© 2020 Produced by Along Mekong Productions for SWR / ARTE with the support of the Medien- und Filmgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg. Written and directed by Hedwig Schmutte and Rolf Lambert, Hölderlin: Thorsten Hierse, Speaker: Anna Thalbach, Music: President Bongo, Illustration: Ali Soozandeh, Editor: Ulrike Becker


The 52-minute documentary looks at the rise of techno-music as the soundtrack to the reunification of Germany. Following the fall of the Wall in 1989, the young people of East and West Germany converge. In illegal clubs located on the former “death strip”, they dance the night away to a raw electronic music. The new sound reinforces the sense of freedom that arises with the fall of the Wall and Germany’s reunification.

The documentary follows the evolution of the first pan-German youth movement.

Party people and artists have their say, as do the DJs that came from abroad to spin records in Berlin. Their memories, thoughts, considerations, and stories are grouped in accordance to historical events. They tell of clubs and parties and wild nights, but also of Helmut Kohl, the Treuhand (German Federal Privatization Agency), and how the East and West came together. The voices, interwoven with original and historical material, not only paint a vivid picture of the times, but also reveal the close relationship shared by Pop and political history.

The documentary is based on the oral histories found in the book The Sound of Family – Berlin, Techno and the Reunification (Suhrkamp Publishers), by Felix Denk and Sven von Thülen.