Skip to main content

AUTOMAT KALASHNIKOV

Germany, 2000 (MIFF 2000, Documentaries)

Director: Axel Engstfeld, Herbert Habersack

"I wanted to make the world a better place by inventing a perpetual motion machine. At the front during WWII I realised that there is only one perpetual motion machine: the weapon"—Michail Kalashnikov.

Automat Kalashnikov is a documentary portrait of a weapon which, unlike any other, has become the embodiment of a global political ideal. The AK47 is cheap, extremely reliable in all conditions and deadly. Over 70 million are available worldwide to armies, mercenaries, terrorists, guerrillas, criminals and revolutionaries. Like Oppenheimer, the father of the Atomic bomb, Kalashnikov has wondered if he was doing the devils work."

The film links the parallel stories of the secret life of the AK47 inventor with the struggles in places as unforgiving as the hills of Afghanistan to the streets of Los Angeles where police find themselves out-gunned by teenage gang members toting the firepower of the AK47. An extraordinary story of one man and the legacy of his lethal creation.

See also...

STARS BY HELMUT NEWTON

Notorious for his stark, black and white photography capturing ice-cool Teutonic giantesses in fetish wardrobes, Helmut Newton is one of modern photography's most enduring figures. This alluring ... More »

BERLIN BABYLON

"The Angel of History...sees a single catastrophe. Rubble piles up relentlessty, layers of it are hurled at his feet. He longs to linger, to wake the dead and reconstruct the rubble. But a storm has ... More »

SEE WHAT HAPPENS: THE STORY OF D.A. PENNEBAKER AND CHRIS HEGEDUS

Documentaries about documentary makers are always fascinating propositions, especially when the subjects of the film are as renowned as D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus. Gerold Hofrnann's film ... More »

GOLDWIDOWS: WOMEN IN LESOTHO

The film's title is taken from the name given to the women whose men work as migrant labourers in the goldmines of South Africa. The men (from Lesotho, a small mountainous country surrounded by South ... More »

THE TWO HORSES OF GENGHIS KHAN

An initiation into the little-heard music of Mongolia that is as captivating to the eyes as it is to the ears. ... This highly stylised documentary from filmmaker Byambasuren Davaa (The Cave of the ... More »

LOCKED UP TIME

Not surprisingly, a flood of new documentaries about the New Germany and the horrors of the old, have surfaced over the last twelve months at the Leipzig and Berlin Festivals. Undoubtedly the finest ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director