Almanya - Welcome to Germany

Almanya - Welcome to Germany

***1/2

Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

Six-year-old Cenk has a problem, precipitated by a teacher’s unthinking questioning of where he really comes from: is he German, Turkish, Turkish-German, German-Turkish or what?

Though more secure in her identity, Cenk’s cousin Canan also has a problem: She’s just discovered she’s pregnant by her British boyfriend. Her mother is not likely to approve.


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And now their entire family has a problem, as patriarch Huseyin unexpectedly announces that he has bought a house in Turkey and wishes to take all of them to visit and work on it...

Thus the set-up for this this comedy about ethnic (mis)understandings from sisters Yasemin and Nesrin Samdereli is established.

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Thereafter, the filmmakers confidently interweave two parallel narratives, one taking place in the present as the family sets off on their journey to their old homeland, the other in a part-imagined past as Canan tells Cenk the story of how their grandparents and parents came to West Germany in the 1960s and encountered such strangeness as giant rats being taken for walks on bits of rope; that man on the cross whom the Christians eat every Sunday; and flush toilets.

Through these and other gags German and Turkish cultural stereotypes are paraded and gently mocked, although more substantive issues of the type addressed in Against The Wall are largely evaded or left implicit.

Nevertheless, it is undeniably well put together at all levels, particularly for a first feature from someone with a television background. The performances are credible, the child actors not too annoying, and a mixture of German, Turkish and made-up nonsense language is cleverly used to telling effect to indicate the different levels of cultural assimilation and separation.

Reviewed on: 20 Jun 2011
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Who or what am I - German or Turkish?' is the main question of this comedy about a Turkish family living in Germany since the late Sixties.
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Director: Yasemin Samdereli

Writer: Yasemin Samdereli, Nesrin Samdereli

Starring: Vedat Erincin, Fahri Yardim, Aylin Tezel, Lilay Huser, Demet Gül, Denis Moschitto, Petra Schmidt-Schaller

Year: 2011

Runtime: 101 minutes

Country: Germany

Festivals:

EIFF 2011
Glasgow 2012

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