Im Juli (In July)

With actors Moritz Bleibtreu and Christiane Paul
available on DVD with English subtitles in the US

This film addresses cultural exoticism and stereotyping of one of the largest immigrant groups in Germany. After purchasing a ring with a depiction of the sun from a young German girl named Juli, which is supposed to symbolize light and love coming into his life, the protagonist Daniel, finds himself being enchanted by a young Turkish-German , Melek, on her way to a vacation in Turkey for the summer. Whilst on a spontaneous date with Melek, Daniel is given an introduction to the Turkish culture via food and tales and by the end of the night Melek sings a Turkish song on the beach by the fire under the moon light. This scene appears an exaggerated reference to the trope of the German who is charmed by the exotic Turkish woman. After a night of magic Daniel decides to travel to Turkey to reveal his love to Melek. Much of the film takes place outside following the characters on their travels to Turkey. In some sense, the Turkish culture portrayed appears, through the use of high-key lighting, open with a light and fun atmosphere. On the other side of this depiction of Turkey there is a sense of exoticism via enchantment which can reinforce stereo types. As Daniel sets out to travel, the German girl Juli, who is in love with Daniel, joins him on his journey south. The other characters Daniel and Juli run across whilst heading to Turkey via Eastern Europe tend to be people of sinister, corrupt or criminal nature. We view the characters straight on which gives the audience a more intimate relationship with the character. An Eastern European woman is portrayed as a drug dealing thief who almost finds a thrill with breaking the law. The border patrol officers are seen as lazy bureaucrats who take bribes. Another Turkish-German character that ends up helping Daniel get into Turkey without a passport is first depicted as a hot tempered gangster who is smuggling a dead body. In the end it almost seems fitting that Daniel ends up with the German girl Juli furthering the notion that although it’s great to travel to the exotic south it is better to stick to the familiar. The overall message is that Juli is the true symbol of the sun, light and love, which is the opposite of the moon, dark and mysterious, which also happens to be the symbol depicted on the Turkish national flag. I’m sure that with this film, Fatih Akin attempted to allow for a more positive view of Turkey however I found it to only further negative stereotypes via kitschy and trendy notions of exoticism.
Links: IMDB, Film Portal
Genre(s): Comedy;

This entry was posted in Filmography. Bookmark the permalink.