Film Reviews: “Alles auf Zucker!”

As part of their work in the Multicultural Germany undergraduate seminar at UC Berkeley, students in the course reviewed recent German films relating in various ways to topics of migration, multiculturalism, and contemporary German identity. Jennifer Lau, Jenelle Mathews, and Brittany Scott reviewed Dani Levy’s 2004 comedy Alles auf Zucker

Review by Jennifer Lau: Nothing brings an estranged family together like the death of a loved one and the subsequent promise of an inheritance. In Dani Levy’s 2004 comedy, Go for Zucker (Alles auf Zucker), two brothers are forced to overcome their animosity and reconcile both their personal feud and religious differences, which simmered for over 40 years as a result of the creation of the Berlin Wall and the ensuing East-West divide. This German movie, filmed entirely in Berlin, explores the post WWII Jewish-German identity and the consequences of the rise and fall of the GDR on families through the humorous efforts of Jakob and his spouse’s attempts to regain their familial bond and religious identity….[full review here]

Review by Jenelle Mathews: The 2004 film, “Alles auf Zucker” is a German work that engages with social issues such as religion, family loyalty and identity through the use of comedy.  The film was directed by Dani Levy and is situated in modern Berlin. Levy’s work portrays two brothers and their families, who after many years of severed contact are united by the death of their mother. Jackie Zucker is a pool shark and a secular Jew who lives in Berlin with his estranged family while his brother, Samuel Zuckerman, lives an orthodox Jewish life with his family in Frankfort. The lives of both families are overturned by their deceased mother’s stipulation that to receive their inheritance, the two brothers must sit shiva and reconcile their differences. The resulting turmoil forms the basis of the comedy film. In this review, I will focus on the issues of modern Jewish identity in Germany, particularly how it is informed by the lingering repercussions of history, and the universal struggle of finding oneself despite the input of others…. [full review here]

Review by Brittany Scott: Go for Zucker! portrays the story of a family divided by the Berlin Wall emotionally and physically. The division provides the basis for conflict between Jackie Zucker – a pool shark – and Samuel Zuckerman, his orthodox Jewish brother.  The death of their mother brings them together to uphold the traditional burial right of shivah in order to receive their portion of her estate. However, Jackie plays cunning tricks in order to pay off his debts and earn his half of the inheritance his mother, ultimately bringing the family into his shady dealings to help the family come out of shivah with the inheritance they feel they deserve. Go for Zucker! is a vehicle for discussion of East/West German conflict caused by the creation of the Berlin Wall…. [full review here]

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