Starts March 10
In the ‘60s West Germany started to recruit so called ‘guest workers’ from Southern Europe and Turkey to temporary fill the gap that World War II left in the workforce. Many stayed. In this comedy Hüseyin (Fahri Yardim) takes the opportunity to earn a better living. The young family that he left behind in the backwaters of Turkey joins him a few years later to make ‘Almanya’ their home. Now – 40 years later – the family has grown to four generations and we accompany them on a family trip to Turkey, where the old Hüseyin (Vedat Erincin) has – Surprise! – just bought a house.
The trip back to the ‘old country’ is met by the family with almost as little enthusiasm as the move to Germany way back when. The youngest family member, six-year old Cenk, born to Turkish / German parents, is confused about his cultural identity. To answer his many questions and to entertain him on the way to Turkey, his cousin tells the family history. In flashbacks we learn how her grandparents met, of the culture shock moving from Orient to Occident, and of encounters in the new country. Moving to another country holds the chance to see the ‘new’ from the perspective of the ‘old’ - and eventually the ‘old’ in a new light.
Comedy is the perfect vehicle to share these insights, and make unpleasant truths digestible. The film succeeds mostly thanks to the child actors and good lines delivered with good timing in really funny situations. Especially Kaan Aydogdu who adds the perspective of Hüseyin and Fatma’s (Lilay Huser) eight-year old son Muhamed.
Other scenes are painfully unfunny, among them: ‘old Hüseyin’ and his letter to the German chancellor, or the Turkish village women passing on prejudices about ‘the Germans’. Chances were missed to view Turkey with equal bewilderment, when the German-born generation visits the country of their ancestors. I fully expected the family to stay in Turkey; I heard no good reason to return – even though the house in Turkey turns out to be just a façade, without TV.
Script: Nesrin Samdereli
Direction: Yasemin Samdereli
With: Lilay Huser, Demet Gül, Fahri Yardim, Vedat Erincin, Rafael Kussouris