Blog

A Note to Readers: Our blog includes news items, research materials,
and teaching resources – browse past posts by month on the right. If
you would like to contribute your own syllabus or other materials (in
English or German), please contact us at mgp@berkeley.edu.

Transit

With actors Frank Rogowski and Paul Beer.

Premier German auteur Christian Petzold’s adaptation of the 1942 Anna Seghers’s novel follows Georg (Rogowski), a young Jewish man who flees the Nazis to France with the identity and papers of a dead author, only to meet and fall in love a woman searching for her missing husband — the very man Georg is pretending to be. Petzold keeps the historical narrative of Seghers’s novel but refuses any period piece trappings, opting instead for modern dress and sets.

Links: YouTube (Trailer), IMDB

Genre(s): Drama, Romance, Historical

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Zuhaus unter Fremden

With actors Herbert Grönemeyer, Aysun Bademsoy and Meray Ülgen.

In this early made-for-TV engagement with migration and multiculturalism, a young Turkish-German woman, Ayshe (Bademsoy), meets and falls in love with Bernd (Grönemeyer), but is at odds with her father (Ülgen) over not just her love for a German man but over her preference for Germany as well. When her father makes the decision to purchase property in Turkey and move back, Ayshe must choose between her family’s return to the homeland and staying to build a new home with Bernd.

Links: Dailymotion (Trailer), FilmPortal

Genre(s): Drama, Romance

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Yasemin

With actors Ayse Romey, Uwe Bohm, Sener Sen, Ilhan Emerli

Jan (Bohm) joins a judo class and, on a bet, pursues his Turkish-German classmate Yasemin (Romey) romantically. Yasemin is uninterested and has her own problems, first and foremost the strict opposition of her father Yunuf (Sen) to her wishes to go to college. As her family situation deteriorates, Yasemin reconsiders her interest in the persistent Jan.

Links: IMDB, Film Portal.de, German-Films.de

Genre(s): Drama, Romance

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Wolfsburg

With actors Benno Fürmann and Nina Hoss.

Smug, reckless car salesman Phillip Gerber (Fürmann) runs over a young boy in a tragic moment of carelessness, and flees the scene. He follows the boy’s condition until learning of his passing, but doesn’t tell the boy’s grieving and vengeful mother, Laura Reiser (Hoss).

Links: IMDB, YouTube (Trailer)

Genre(s): Drama

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Wir sitzen im Süden (Based Down South)

Four Turkish-Germans born who grew up in Germany and now live in Istanbul share their different stories and divergent paths that all brought them back to their ancestral homeland: one through deportation, two forced by their parents, and only one, Ciğdem, who came to Turkey of his own free will and thrives there while Buelent, Murat, and Fatos mourn for a Germany that for them can never be recovered.

Links: IMDB, YouTube (Trailer)

Genre(s): Documentary

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Wir haben vergessen zurückzukehren (We Forgot to Turn Back)

This made-for-TV documentary film for the series Denk ich an Deutschland (“I think of Germany”) follows Turkish-German filmmaker Fatih Akin and his parents (Mustafa Enver Akin and Cem Akin), as they visit the village the Akin family comes from. The elder Akins were part of a wave of so-called “Gastarbeiter” (“guest workers) who were recruited by the West German government in the 1960s. What was intended to be a two-year stay became a 35-year-long residency in Hamburg, Germany, where Fatih Akin was born. As Akin’s father says in the film: “Wir haben einfach vergessen, zurückzukehren” (“We simply forgot to go back”; a sentiment echoed in the documentary’s title).

This film represents the director’s first foray into the documentary genre, and follows Akin’s parents at work and at home. It was the well-known director’s first foray into documentaries, and he visited the same region of Turkey to make the documentary Müll im Garten Eden. The title references Heinrich Heine’s famous “Nachtgedanken,” which begins with the lines: “Denk’ ich an Deutschland in der Nacht / Dann bin ich um den Schlaf gebracht” (“If I think of Germany in the night / I am????” (trans. Peter Branscombe)

LinksIMDB, Film Portal

Genre(s): Documentary

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Von glücklichen Schafen (Of Happy Sheep)

With actors Narges Rashidi, Marlene Metternich, Benno Fürmann, and Jascha Baum.

Young Can (Baum) lives with his sister Segvi (Metternich) and his mother Elmas (Rashidi). Struggling to make ends meet, Elmas works in a brothel but keeps it from her son. When Can finds out, it drives him and his mother apart, and throws their lives together into confusion.

Links: IMDBYouTube (Trailer)

Genre(s): Drama

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Türkisch für Anfänger (Turkish for Beginners)

With actors Josefine Preuß, Elyas M’Barek, Anna Stieblich, and Adnan Maral.

Based on, but not occurring in the same timeline as, the hit German culture-clash sitcom of the same name, “Türkisch für Anfänger” finds Lena Schneider (Preuß) and Cem Öztürk (M’Barek) stuck together on an island after their plane crashes. Like in the series, however, Lena and Cem soon find that even on a tropical island, polar opposites attract.

Links: IMDBYouTube (Trailer)

Genre(s): Comedy, Adventure

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The Green Wave

Ali Samadi Ahadi’s documentary tells the story of Iran’s Green movement and the brutal repression of protests after the disputed presidential elections of 2009.

Links: IMDBYouTube (Trailer)

Genre(s): Documentary

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The Cut

With actors Tahar Rahim, Hindi Zahra, Makram Khoury, and Simon Akbarian.

In Fatih Akin’s monumental epic chronicling one man’s experience of the Armenian genocide and its aftermath, Nazaret Manoogian (Rahim) is spared from execution by an Ottoman soldier. Nazaret henceforth ceases to speak, and spends the rest of his life trying to find his twin daughters in the hopes that they may still be alive, ending up in the United States as he travels to the town of Ruso, North Dakota.

Links: IMDB, FilmPortal, YouTube (Trailer)

Genre(s): Drama, Historical

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Takva (Gottesfurcht, A Man’s Fear of God)

With actors Erkan Can, Meray Ülgen, and Güven Kiraç.

A tale of the corruption of religious authority, “Takva” (the Arabic word for “fear of god”) follows humble and devout Sufi Muharrem (Can), who receives a promotion from the Sheikh (Ülgen) of his religious order to become the rent collector for the sect’s seminary. Guided into the world of commerce and opulence by the Sheikh and his right-hand man Rauf (Kiraç), Muharrem becomes overwhelmed and finds not only his piety but his entire sense of self slipping away.

Links: IMDB, YouTube (Trailer)

Genre(s): Drama

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Soul Kitchen

With actors Adam Bousdoukos, Moritz Bleibtreu, and Birol Ünel.

When Zinos Kazantsakis (Bousdoukos), chef at a struggling locals-only restaurant in Hamburg, is rendered unable to cook by  a back injury, he stirs things up by hiring a more talented chef Shayn Weiss (Ünel) who insists on revamping the menu to haute cuisine. Juggling the tax authorities, his personal life, and an old schoolmate intent on buying him out to redevelop the property, Zinos has to find a way to keep his kitchen together.

Links: IMDB, YouTube (Trailer)

Genre(s): Comedy, Drama

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Sommer in Mezra (Summer in Mezra)

With actors Hussi Kutlucan and Abdurrahman Selvitop.

Sick of urban life and his family in Berlin, Süleyman (writer-director Kutlucan) travels to his hometown in Anatolia in search of adventure. Looking for excitement with his uncle, Arzuman (Selvitop), he fails to heed the warning of a shepherd and sets off on a search for hidden treasure.

Links: IMDB, Film Portal

Genre(s): Drama, Comedy, Adventure

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Solino

With actors Moritz Bleibtreu, Barnaby Metschurat, Gigi Savoia, Patrycia Ziolkowska, and Antonella Attili.

20 years after Romano Amato (Savoia), his wife Rosa (Attili) move their family from Italy to Germany, the two sons Giancarlo (Bleibtreu) and Gigi (Metschurat) have a falling-out over their love for the same woman, their childhood friend Jo (Ziolkowska), leaving the brothers torn as to who should stay behind for Jo and who should return with their ailing mother to the their hometown of Solino.

Links: IMDB, Film Portal, YouTube (Trailer)

Genre(s): Drama, Comedy

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Sivas

With actors Doğan İzci, Hasan Özdemir and Ozan Çelik.

Aslan (İzci), a young Turkish boy, befriends a fighting dog named Sivas. His brother Şahin takes him to watch the dogfights, and one day, when Sivas is wounded and left for dead, Aslan convinces his brother to let him take Sivas home with them. Aslan cares for the dog, but gets wrapped up in the attention he gets as Sivas’s owner, finally being goaded by the owner (Özdemir) of the dog who wounded him to let him fight once again.

Links: IMDB, YouTube (Trailer)

Genre(s): Drama

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Shirins Hochzeit (Shirin’s Wedding)

With actors Ayten Erten, Jürgen Prochnow, Aras Ören, and Aliki Georgouli.

Shirin (Erten), a young Turkish woman, leaves Anatolia in search of Mahmud, to whom she was betrothed as a child, traveling first to Cologne, where she finds work and hopes to find him. Buoyed by the support of her colleagues, she begins to adapt to the strange new world, only to lose her job and falls into the hands of a pimp and is forced into prostitution. Eventually, she finds Mahmud (Ören), but he is not the same person he was. In the end, Shirin’s plan only brings her ruin, as she is killed in a firefight between pimps and dumped in an anonymous field.

Links: IMDB

Genre(s): Drama

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Sensin – Du bist es!

With actors Fatih Akin and Adam Bousdoukos.

Fatih Akin’s first film, this short comedy won the Audience Award at the International Short Film Festival Hamburg in 1996. Kubilei, a young Turkish man in Hamburg, Germany, knows his dream woman will love three things: Marlboro, punk, and Robert de Niro. She also has to be Turkish…

 

LinksIMDB, FilmPortal, Official Site

Genre(s): Short, Comedy, Romance

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Schattenboxer (Shadowboxer)

With actors Diego Wallraff, Christian Redl, and Alfred Kleinheinz.

When incarcerated gangster Eddi (Wallraff) finds out his new friend Timbe (Kleinheinz), a deserter from an African country where he faces a death sentence, is being deported, they hatch a plan to stop his deportation that brings them face to face with the corrupt underbelly of the police.

Links: IMDB
Genre(s): Drama

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Saniyes Lust (Saniye’s Passion)

With actors Idil Üner and Daniel Krauss.

The German Film and Television Academy (DFFB) graduation film of Verena S. Freytag, credited pseudonymously as Sülbiye Günar, originally aired on ZDF television and follows the travails of a young couple, Turkish-German Saniye (Üner) and her husband Tom (Krauss) as they try to solve their marital problems by getting pregnant.

Links: IMDB, DFFB
Genre(s): Drama

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Salami Aleikum

With actors Navid Navid, Anna Böger, and Michael Niavarani.

Mohsen Taheri (Navid), an Iranian-German butcher’s son is on his way to Poland to acquire sheep in a bid to save his father’s business. Along the way, he stops in a small town in eastern Germany where he falls for a local German woman, Ana (Böger) and is taken for a Persian textile mogul until his father (Niavarani) arrives in the town and shatters the illusion.

Links: IMDB, YouTube (Trailer)
Genre(s): Comedy, Romance

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