Post-immigration perspectives in German film: Diversity is still not a matter of culture

Hip-hop, t-shirts, well-worn hats, breakdancing: it all sounds like Los Angeles at first, but “Fake Soldiers” is a short film from Germany. The focus is on Tamu, a black German with African roots, and he lets his friend talk him into acting like African Americans because the American style of American soldiers is more popular with women. In just 25 minutes, director Idrissou Mora Kebaye turns this simple idea into an original reflection of being German: Blacks, as wonderful guests, still have more cultural separation in this country than Germans.

“A Certificate in Fiction” is the name of the special program at this year’s Berlinale Forum, which brings together 16 such cinematic perspectives on Germany. Borrowed from the official German language, the cumbersome title describes the temporary right to residence that non-EU citizens initially obtain when applying for an ordinary residence permit. And the experience of being German with reservation is also the subject of several films that will be shown over ten days at the Sinema Transtopia at the Statistical House.

Karina Griffiths, who organized the series with Inuka Emba, Jacqueline Nesya, Benny Pelafci and Can Songo, commented on an online panel in June titled . The team asserts that the 16 short and feature films have their “visual and textual practices of viewing from the inside, not from the edge”. So the series does not want to make German cinema a little hotter than the extremities, but to readjust our view of the center: what was considered German and under what circumstances?

The cinematic voices assembled here not only want to talk about their experiences, they want to have an opinion. Iranian-born Narges Kelhor shows that there are still narrow limits to this right to have an opinion, using the example of the film industry itself as an immigrant director to produce a film that is understood as an artistic statement in itself rather than simply an expression of a particular culture. An editor literally babbles about as hoarse in the film, trying to steer the story down fun, biographical cultural clash paths.

Excursions through a Turkish nightclub

Perhaps also to avoid such pitfalls, actress Sherry Hagen, who was born in Lagos and raised in Hamburg, founded her own production company, Equality Film. Hagen stars in her first feature film Auf dem Zweiter Blick (2013), a sensitive anthology in which the fates of many visually impaired people intersect. Also a film in which the various origins of the cast are touched upon: the inside naturally.


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It is precisely this issue that, of course, shows how the diversity that has existed for so long in post-immigration Germany is rarely seen in a still homogeneous film and television scene. And how small some of the old films are known today, which were hardly noticed at the time. For example “Gölge”, the graduation film of first Turkish-German DFFB graduate Sima Poyraz from 1980, which enriches the fictional degree program just as much as the great road movie Ayesha Polat “Auslandstournee” (1999). While Gölge plays primarily in the living room of a “guest worker family”, “Auslandstourne” takes us to places we rarely see: the Turkish nightclub scene in major European cities.

(The series runs until August 28 at Sinema Transtopia, Otto-Braun-Straße 72, Berlin)

In addition to classic feature films like this one, the series also combines contemporary, short films and classic documentaries like Mala Reinhardt’s “Second Attack” about the continuation of racist murders into the NSU. But also experimental formats, like Zara Zande’s colonial short film Visions of Octavia (2020), which draws a wide arc from the novels of science fiction author Octavia Butler, who died in 2006, to the horrors of Hanau and the future. threatened by climate change.

With Sinema Transtopia at the Berlin Statistics House, “Fiktionsbescheinigung” has now found more than one niche for the path from the digital world to the analog world. The film project of the political and artistic initiative ‘Bbek’ has set itself the task of bringing transnational, post-immigration and postcolonial perspectives to screen, and with discussion events, to understand cinema once again as a space for discourse. The “Fantasy Testimony” provides excellent starting points for this project.

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