Available on DVD
Liberated Zone is a drama-filled movie revolving around money-chasing CEOs, interracial couples, unfaithful partners, racism, a hint of homosexuality, and most of all, sex. What more could one ask for in a film about Germany, which is not typically thought to epitomize any of these traits. Two things I found quite peculiar was the portrayal of racism and interracial coupling in an economically depressed East German town. Therefore, the two main characters this review will focus on are Sylvia (the German girl-next-door) and Ade (the famous African soccer player, who is also the star of the East German team).
When Ade and Sylvia meet the two of them are already involved in a serious relationship, as a matter of fact Ade is married and Sylvia is desperately trying to become pregnant with her boyfriend’s child after finding out about his affair with her best friend. Despite this fact the two of them share a moment of infatuation after Ade rear-ends Sylvia, clearly a double entendre, on his way to soccer practice. Their relationship is purely physical, and this is most notable in a scene when the camera is focused on Sylvia and Ade at a soccer game; most of Sylvia’s attention was on Ade’s body and his movement. Ade even does a pelvic thrust, while Sylvia stood in between her best friend and boyfriend daydreaming about what it would be like to be with Ade. In the end, the punch line is that Ade is already married to a white German woman, and manages to impregnate Sylvia. Of course, Sylvia’s boyfriend is livid when she gives birth to a biracial son.
Race plays an interesting role in this film. First, Ade who is also known as “Blondie” is traded from team to team, resembling a modern-day slave trade. What distinguishes slave trade from Ade being traded from team to team is that although Ade is objectified, he is infact paid, unlike a slave. Throughout the film, Ade is talked about as if he were only a product to bring monetary gain to his owners. The entire town depended on the success of Ade. Everyone loved him, but when he was traded to a Berlin team in hopes of getting more out of the deal the town is let down and returns to the same if not worst economic conditions as before. This ending once again invokes the idea of slavery, or at least the end of slavery when the economy could no longer be dependent on the hard work of black people.
by Monique Goudeau