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Screening Religion

Once a month, we screen documentaries and movies rarely seen in German cinemas. Religion features in every film, be it as a catalyst for negotiation processes or a source of conflict, a marker of identity or a constitutive element of social background. Thus, we seek to screen films on religion whilst simultaneously screening for “religion” as a cinematic object.

Some of the films will be presented by their directors, others will be introduced by KFG scholars. We look forward to a curious, cosmopolitan audience to join us on a journey of discovery and in countless lively exchanges.

We organise the screening series in cooperation with the independent cinema Cinémathèque Leipzig. All films will be shown at nato, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 46. Free entry, donations welcome.

Summer 2022


Outback Rabbis

directed by Danny Ben-Moshe
18 May 2022 | 7 p.m. 

On a road trip like no other ultra-Orthodox Chassidic Rabbis hit the Aussie bush looking for ‘lost Jews’. Dressed in black suits and fedora hats, the Outback Rabbis embark on a journey filled with surprising and emotional encounters with Aussie outback characters and laced with Jewish wit, music and culture.

The film will be followed by a discussion.

Winter 2021/2022

Download programme flyer winter 2021/2022



Dealing with Death
directed by  Paul Sin Nam Rigter
24 November 2021 | 7 p.m. 

The many cultures in Bijlmer, a suburb in the southeast of Amsterdam, all have their own rituals around bidding farewell to the dead. Funeral director Anita is tasked with finding out what the community would want in a new multicultural funeral home, which the funeral organization Yarden hopes to establish there.

The film will be followed by a discussion.




Outback Rabbis

directed by Danny Ben-Moshe
12 January 2022 | 7 p.m. 

On a road trip like no other ultra-Orthodox Chassidic Rabbis hit the Aussie bush looking for ‘lost Jews’. Dressed in black suits and fedora hats, the Outback Rabbis embark on a journey filled with surprising and emotional encounters with Aussie outback characters and laced with Jewish wit, music and culture.

The film will be followed by a discussion.



Between God and I
directed by Yara Costa
16 March 2022 | 7 p.m. 

Karen is a Muslim independent young woman who advocates for Sharia on the diverse Ilha de Moçambique but is filled with doubts and contradictions about her identity and the community she lives in.

The film will be followed by a discussion.

Summer 2021

Download programme flyer summer 2021


Inxeba | The Wound

directed by John Trengove
14 April 2021 | 7 p.m. 

online screening

Eastern Cape in South Africa. Xolani, a quiet factory worker, travels to an isolated camp in the mountains to participate as a mentor in an ancient Xhosa circumcision ritual. While there, he secretly reunites with his old friend and lover Vija, a married man he sees only once a year, on the sidelines of the ritual. When their secret is discovered, Xolani is faced with a momentous decision.

The film will be followed by a discussion with ethnologist and Africanist Magnus Echtler.



directed by Jessica Hausner
12 May 2021

online screening

Christine, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, is paralysed and the doctors see no chance of a cure. Hoping for relief, she travels to the Catholic place of pilgrimage Lourdes. Miraculously, her condition improves and she is finally able to walk again.

The film will be followed by a discussion with scholar of religion Bernadett Bigalke.



directed by Chris Wright and Stefan Kolbe
9 June 2021 | 7 p.m.
online screening

For one year, two atheist filmmakers accompany a group of young men and women in the final phase of their parish training in Wittenberg. While at the beginning it is mainly about learning the liturgical "craft", in the course of time they are confronted with very fundamental human questions and the boundaries between faith and unbelief, comfort and despair become blurred.

There will be a discussion following the film.


The Heart of Jenin

directed by Markus Vetter and Leon Geller
15 July 2021 | 7 p.m. 
online screening

The documentary "The Heart of Jenin" tells the story of the Palestinian Ismael Khatib. who lives with his family in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. In 2005, his son Ahmed is fatally shot in the head by bullets from Israeli soldiers while playing with friends. Ismael donates his son's organs to Israeli children, saving their lives. Two years later, he embarks on a journey across Israel to visit these children.

We will show the film together with "After the Silence" as part of the science festival "GLOBE21".


After the Silence

directed by Stephanie Bürger, Jule Ott and Manal Abdallah
15 July 2021 | 8.40 p.m. 
online screening

The documentary is Israeli Yaël Chernobroda's direct response to "The Heart of Jenin".

In 2002, her husband Doy died in Haifa when a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up in a restaurant. Doy was a peace activist and worked all his life for reconciliation between Jews and Arabs. Eight years later, his widow Yaël decides to visit the family of the bomber in the West Bank. The two directors Stephanie Bürger and Jule Ott accompany Yaël on her journey and try to understand what seems unimaginable. How do people live in this conflict? What does one know about the tragedies of the other?

We will show the film together with "The Heart of Jenin" as part of the "GLOBE21" science festival. After the film there will be a discussion.


Holy Rights
directed by Farhun Khatur
11 August 2021 | 7 p.m.
Cinémathèque Leipzig at nato (Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 46)

Safia, a deeply religious Muslim woman from Bhopal in central India, is convinced that the conservative interpretation of Sharia law by male jurists and judges restrains Muslim women from social equality and justice.

So she joins a programme that trains women to become Qazis – Muslim clerics who interpret Muslim law and are traditionally male. Other women join Safia in fighting against the arbitrary nature of triple talaq, the immediate divorce declared unilaterally by the man.

After the film there will be a discussion with Professor Anindita Chakrabarti (IIT Kanpur, India).


The Judge

directed by Erika Cohn
15 September 2021 | 7 p.m. 
Cinémathèque Leipzig at nato (Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 46)

When the young lawyer Kholoud Al-Faqih announced that she wanted to become a judge, she was laughed at. But only a few years later, she was appointed the first female judge in the Shari'a courts of the Middle East. The documentary follows her on her career path, her tireless fight for women's rights and her visits to clients, friends and family.

The screening will be followed by a discussion with scholar of Islam Markus Dreßler.

Winter 2020/2021

Since we currently have limited seating capacity, we recommend that you reserve tickets online. Reservations must be picked up 20 minutes before the performance starts.

Due to the current situation in the Corona Pandemic, it is also possible that we may have to reschedule or cancel some performances at short notice. Therefore, please always check this homepage before your visit to make sure that the screening takes place as planned.


Der große Navigator - Gott ist auch nur ein Mensch
directed by Sigrun Köhler, Wiltrud Baier
7 October 2020 | 7 p.m.
Cinémathèque Leipzig at nato (Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 46)

The Swabian missionary Jakob Walter converted the “cannibals” in Papua New Guinea for 22 years. Now he is sent on a mission to Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. There he meets people who have lost all connection to ‘religion’ or who never knew it. An incredible film about an impossible mission.

The film will be shown in German with English subtitles and followed by a Q&A with sociologists Thomas Schmidt-Lux and Uta Karstein from Leipzig University.


Virgin Tales
directed by Mirjam von Arx
18 November 2020 | 7 p.m.
Online Streaming via ZOOM

Evangelical Christians proclaim the second sexual revolution: Chastity as a counter-movement to the “attitude” of modern sexual morality. In the United States, for example, one in eight girls already vows to enter into marriage immaculately. The seven children of the Wilson family, founders of the so-called “Virgin Balls”, go even one step further in their quest for purity of body and mind: Even their first kiss will be at the wedding altar.

The film will be shown in English with German subtitles, followed by a Q&A with Bernadett Bigalke and Sebastian Schüler, scholars of religion from Leipzig University.


Emperor Haile Selassie I. His burial and the Rastafarians in Shashamane
directed by Verena Böll, Georg Haneke, Günther Schlee, Ambaye Ogato, Robert Dobslaw
16 December 2020 | 7 p.m.

Online screening

The two-part documentary of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle deals with the burial of the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassi I and its background. Haile Selassi I is still worshipped by the Rastafarians as a god and messiah, but very few of them took part in his solemn funeral, a gigantic ceremony in Addis Ababa in 2000.

The film will be shown in its original languages with English subtitles. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Verena Böll.


Bruder Jakob

directed by Elí Roland Sachs
27 January 2021 | 7 p.m.

Online Screening

The award-winning documentary tells the story of a young man in search of a religion that gives his life meaning. At the age of 23, Jakob turns to Islam and, increasingly radicalised, comes into conflict with friends and family. Elí Roland Sachs documents in observations and conversations how his brother Jakob and his religious views change over time.

The film will be shown in German (with English subtitles) and be followed by a Q&A with director Elí Roland Sachs.


The Road to Mecca – The Journey of Muhammad Asad

directed by Georg Misch

17 February 2021 | 7 p.m.

Online Screening

‘The Road to Mecca’ follows the life path of Leopold Weiss alias Muhammad Asad from the fringes of the former Danube Monarchy to Israel, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and New York. Asad, who became an important cultural mediator and pioneer of a dialogue between Islam and the West, visits places where he has spent time in his life. At the same time, a multi-layered picture of Islam unfolds. At the stops of his journey, Asad’s reflections are juxtaposed with contemporary problems between Orient and Occident.

The film will be shown in the original languages (Arabic and others) with German and English subtitles, followed by a discussion.


The Light in her Eyes

directed by Julia Meltzer, Laura Nix

24 March 2021 | 7 p.m.

Online Screening

Houda al-Habash is a conservative Muslim preacher. Already at the age of 17 she founded a Qur' an school in Damascus exclusively for young girls. Every summer, her female students immerse themselves in a rigorous study of Islam, in addition to their secular schooling. This puts Houda and her students in conflict with traditional attitudes, which see religious education and prayer in the mosque as a male privilege. Using Qur’ anic teachings, Houda encourages her students to pursue higher education, jobs and public lives, while remaining committed to an interpretation of Islam prioritising women’s role as wives and mothers. The film was shot right before the uprising in Syria erupted in 2011.  

The film will be shown in Arabic (with English subtitles), followed by a Q&A with scholar of religion Mohammad Magout from Leipzig University.

Winter 2019/2020

Moschee DE

directed by Mina Salehpour and Michal Honnens

15 October 2019 | 7 p.m.
Cinémathèque Leipzig (Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 46)

The film mirrors the partially fierce debates and protests in the run-up to the construction of the mosque for the Ahmadiyya community in Berlin-Heinersfeld in 2008.

Based on interview protocols with opponents and supporters of the mosque, neighbours and community members, the two directors let enter fictitious characters enter into an equally fictitious dialogue: The convert, the politically correct newcomer, the local pastor, the imam and the chairman of a citizens' initiative that wants to prevent the construction. Soon it is no longer just about building the mosque, but about the fundamental question of how we want to live together.

The screening will be followed by a Q & A. Moderation and introduction: Florian Zemmin, guest: Rainer Frank (actor playing the chairman of the citizens' initiative).

Souls of Zen: After the Tsunami – Buddhism, Ancestors, and the 2011 Tsunami in Japan

directed by Tim Graf and Jakob Montrasio

20 November 2019 | 7 p.m.
Cinémathèque Leipzig (Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 46)

The film is a documentary about the responses of Japanese Buddhism to the threefold catastrophe – earthquake, tsunami, and meltdown in the nuclear power plant of Fukushima – in Japan in March 2011. It impressively shows the role played by Japanese Buddhism in caring for the survivors, burying the dead and rebuilding the affected regions and reflects the complex role of Zen Buddhism in what is by definition a secular society characterised by natural disasters, religious pluralism and demographic change.

The screening will be followed by a Q & A.

The Children of Vank

directed by Nezahat Gündoğan

18 December 2019 | 7 p.m.
Cinémathèque Leipzig (Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 46)

The documentary deals with the descendants of the few survivors of the 1915 Armenian genocide in Dersim (Tunceli) and the 1937-38 Dersim massacre. It accompanies descendants who return to the homeland of their ancestors in an attempt to connect with their lost Armenian identity.

In examining issues of belonging, memory and the long shadow of the genocide that now weighs on many Islamised Armenians in Turkey the documentary draws a line from the survivors to the persecution of the religious minority of the Alevis in Dersim.

The screening will be followed by a Q & A with the directors.

The Venerable W

directed by Barbet Schröder

15 January 2020 | 7 p.m.
Cinémathèque Leipzig (Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 46)

In recent years, violence against the ethnic Muslim minority of theRohingya has grown steadily and eventually escalated in Myanmar. Villages have been systematically destroyed, houses burned down and people were killed or displaced.
The documentary portrays Wirathu, a Buddhist monk and ideological leader of a radical movement against the Rohingya. The film also deals with the aggressive and violent nationalism in general that has spread in Myanmar.

The screening will be followed by a Q & A.

Confucian Dream. Opening Film of CHAI Film Festival

12 February 2020 | 7 p.m.
Cinémathèque Leipzig (Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 46)

For Chao Yan, every day begins with Confucius. Together with her little son she immerses herself in the teachings of the Chinese philosopher every morning. The other members of the family should also follow the moral guidelines of Confucianism in order to enable a harmonious coexistence - so Chao Yan hopes. Her husband, however, takes a critical view of this, and not only the marriage of the two is facing a crucial test. Li Mijie vividly documents how a young mother seeks answers to questions of raising children and family life in the millennia-old "Confucius' Conversations".

Get – Der Prozess der Viviane Amsalem

directed by Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz

11 March 2020 | 7 p.m.
Cinémathèque Leipzig (Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 46)

The drama tells of the fate of the Israeli Viviane Amsalem and her long, desperate struggle for a divorce from her husband Elisha in the Jewish Orthodox Rabbinical Court.
Although the court can require the husband to consent to the divorce, it only becomes effective if he personally hands over a Gett, a divorce letter issued by the court, to his wife. Elisha refuses the divorce, although Viviane has been living apart from him for years.

The screening will be followed by a discussion.

Download programme flyer

Summer 2019

Shoot Me

directed by Narges Kalhor
22 May 2019 | 6 p.m.
venue: Strohsack-Passage (Nikolaistraße 8−10, room 5.55)

In her award-winning documentary “Shoot Me” ( (co-directed with Benedikt Schwarzer) from 2014 Kalhor portrays the exile Iranian rapper Shahin Najafi. When he published a song named after a Shiite prophet that deals with many of Iran’s political and social problems, he was confronted with death threats.

Introduction: Adrian Hermann

REASON. The war between faith and rationality

directed by Anand Patwardhan
19 June 2019 | 5 p.m.
venue: Bibliotheca Albertina, Vortragssaal (Beethovenstraße 6)

In what is perhaps his most urgent and thorough exploration of Indian society yet, renowned documentarian Anand Patwardhan charts his country’s slide away from secular democracy and toward divisions of power, caste, and religious belief — and the violence that has followed.

Introduction: Nadja-Christina Schneider


directed by Vikram Gandhi
17 July 2019 | 7 p.m.
venue: Bibliotheca Albertina, Vortragssaal (Beethovenstraße 6)

Sri Kumaré is an enlightened guru from the East who has come to America to spread his teachings. After three months in Phoenix, Kumaré has found a group of devoted students who embrace him as a true spiritual teacher. But beneath his long beard, deep penetrating eyes, and his endless smile, Kumaré has a secret he is about to unveil to his disciples: he is not real. Kumaré is really Vikram Gandhi, an American filmmaker from New Jersey who wanted to see if he could transform himself into a guru and build a following of real people. Now, he is conflicted -- can he unveil the truth to these disciples with whom he has spent so much time, and who now look to him for guidance?

Introduction: Adrian Hermann

Mata tertutup (The Blindfold)

directed by Garin Nugroho
14 August 2019 | 7 p.m.
venue: Bibliotheca Albertina, Vortragssaal (Beethovenstraße 6)

The film is built around three loosely interwoven stories of young people who fall prey to a banned extremist Islamic sect called Negara Islam Indonesia (NII). The stories attempt to come at the phenomenon from different perspectives of wealth, age and gender, showing that this is a problem that crosses all these primary social distinctions, and hence has a salience for all major social groups.

Introduction: Leona Pröpper (Watch Indonesia!) & Saskia Schäfer

Mr. and Mrs. Iyer

directed by Arpana Sen
10 September 2019 | 7 p.m.
venue: Bibliotheca Albertina, Vortragssaal (Beethovenstraße 6)

"Mr & Mrs Iyer" was conceptualised as a love story set amidst violence but ultimately says a lot more. On the whole, the film reflects ace director Aparna Sen's humanism depicted through finely blended emotions. It mirrors a frightening reality in the wake of the WTC attacks and the Gujarat carnage through a masterfully told story. A masterful Sen captures contemporary India, its people and the social and political complexities within which they exist.

Introduction: Monika Wohlrab-Sahr and Sushmita Nath