Die Eingeladenen / The Invitees [Sinema Transtopia]

I found an institution that curates films and discussions around those films that they’ve selected. I attended three film screenings there which were about the migrant workers in Germany. Just in case they might remove the schedules from their website, I’ll annotate the ones I watched there. I really liked the fact that they don’t screen good films but taking these films as artifacts that one can talk about. It’s good to watch terrible films too, only if you’re in a movie theater where they present 16mm film.

The best one I saw was a documentary called Geld fürs Brot (1994) by Serap Berrakkarasu and Gisela Tuchtenhagen that tells the story of women workers in an industrial canned fish factory. A film that was able to convey the joy of the people working together with the smell of the fish that permeates into the clothes and body. I found the interview questions of the filmmakers full of directives towards the pain and despair. However, the sincerity they achieved was remarkable. There was a weekend scene where one of the workers cooked some food and there were a lot of leftovers. She was insisting the film crew about taking the extra food with them while leaving. That felt like a great example of engagement and relationship that is built during a film. Another good one was a scene during dinner with a couple where the woman was complaining about the gender roles to the filmmakers and her husband having no idea about what the discussion is about. She was telling the filmmaker, “You understand me, he doesn’t.”

I also watched some really weird institutional education and integration films that document how indoctrination works for migrants in asymmetric power relations. One of the films about teaching the rules inside the factory reminded me Staplerfahrer Klaus – Der erste Arbeitstag (2000, oh, now on YouTube). When I first watched it years ago, I was sure that this film was mocking some real-life educational content, glad that I watched what it mocks.

Here is their website: https://bi-bak.de/en/bi-bakino
Here is their about us: https://bi-bak.de/en/about-us

Good Luck in Germany, 01.10.2021

Guten Tag (Episode 26)
FDR 196?, 15 min. german OV, 16mm

Tipps für den Alltag II, Ausländische Arbeitnehmer im Industriebetrieb
FDR 196?, 12 min. OV with german subtitles, 16mm

Viel Glück in Deutschland (Episode 2)
Thilo Philipp / Uwe Krauss, FDR 197?, 15 min. german OV, 16mm

Zu Gast in unserem Land: Kemal
Herbert Ballmann, FDR 1977, 50 min. german OV

“I am a stranger here,” “I am a foreigner,” “I don’t speak German” are all phrases that can be learned in the Goethe Institute’s elaborately produced 26-part language course series, Guten Tag (Good Day). With a great deal of artistic imagination, scenes around “Language, Culture, Germany” are staged and slowly intoned in an effort to bring the newly arrived closer. Viel Glück in Deutschland (Good Luck in Germany), on the other hand, prepares employees for everyday life in the workplace with vocabulary such as “time card,” “personnel office” and “the foreman is waiting”. In Tipps für den Alltag (Everyday Tips), the portrayal of what is characterized as typically German and represented as the ideal norm also has a comic effect, while the depictions of foreign workers can certainly be perceived as problematic. Similar patterns can be found in the educational film series produced by the Federal Agency for Civic Education, Zu Gast in unserem Land (A Guest in our Country). Here, younger generations belonging to the social majority are prepared for confrontations with the so-called “guests”. Following the screening, there will be a discussion in which we dissect the persistent stereotypes unreflectively projected onto later generations of people with an immigration history and the racist behaviors that are subsequently internalized. (ML)

Nurse Kim’s Message Home + Ekmek Parası, 02.10.2021

Nurse Kim’s Message Home
FRG 197?, 16 min. OV

Ekmek Parası – Geld fürs Brot
Serap Berrakkarasu / Gisela Tuchtenhagen, Deutschland 1994, 86 min. OV with english subtitles

In Ekmek Parası – Geld fürs Brot (Money for Bread), the money doesn’t stink, but the fish does. A smell that is difficult to wash off. Women from Turkey and Mecklenburg work in the fish factory in Lübeck. Here, the camera acts as accomplice: Serap Berrakkarasu and cinematographer Gisela Tuchtenhagen establish a closeness to the workers who candidly describe (in Turkish) the working conditions at the factory, answering questions about life, death and dreams. The supporting film, Nurse Kim’s Message Home, produced by Hoechst AG, is accompanied by a paternalistic voiceover and follows a group of Korean nurses working in Frankfurt after the recruitment agreement with South Korea in 1971. (MB)

Bağrıyanık Ömer ve Güzel Zeynep + Geyikler, Annem ve Almanya, 08.10.2021

Bağrıyanık Ömer ve Güzel Zeynep
Yücel Çakmaklı, Turkey 1978, 30 min. OmdU / OV with English subtitles

Geyikler, Annem ve Almanya
Tuncer Baytok, Turkey 1987, 71 min. OmdU / OV with English subtitles

Two figures are particularly central to migration: those who return home and those who remain at home. Despite this fact, both are often forgotten in discussions about migration. With two films found in the archive of the Turkish state broadcaster TRT and shown for the first time in Germany, this film evening is dedicated to these two often neglected figures. In Bağrıyanık Ömer ile Güzel Zeynep, Ömer, a returned migrant worker, confronts his wife Zeynep about adultery in front of her lover: Poetically he shares the memories of his time abroad. The result is an idiosyncratic view of 1970s Munich from the perspective of an immigrant worker whose self-image has been wounded. In Geyikler, Annem ve Almanya, Nigar recapitulates her childhood in Turkey during the absence of her migrant father. Memories of life in the village, the move to Istanbul, longings for the father’s indefinite return, and the mother’s sudden departure for Germany reveal the effects of migration on a child’s life. (ÖA)

In cooperation with Philipps-Universität Marburg, funded by the DFG (German Research Foundation).

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