German Film Week at IFI: Almanya: Welcome To Germany

 

Almanya: Welcome To Germany screened on Saturday evening as part of the German Film Week at the IFI. A light-hearted and charming comedy, the film explores the experiences of 3 generations of Turks who settled in Germany to make a life for themselves. The film, set in modern-day Germany, traces its family’s history of immigration. Effortlessly shifting from 1964 to the present day, the flashbacks are told from the perspective of Canan, a young member of the family who is telling the story to her 6-year-old cousin Cenk at a family meal. Cenk’s curiosity has been piqued by incidents at school where he doesn’t know which football side to play on and when his teacher’s map doesn’t extend to his family’s original homeland – as a result the teacher’s pin is fastened into the empty space of the wall to the right of the map.

Canan’s story tells how the family’s most senior member Hüseyin left his family in Turkey in the mid 1960s to become a part of Germany’s ‘economical miracle’. His family soon join him setting off this comedy of cultural misunderstanding and family bonds. Hüseyin tells the family at dinner that he has bought a house back in their homeland and wants them all to join him on a trip back to Turkey.

Yasemin Samdereli directs with a keen eye and a feel-good nature, shooting Turkey in glorious dappled colours and widescreen open terrains while Germany is shot in tighter enclosed spaces with a more washed-out palette. Written with her sister Nesrin Samdereli, Almanya: Welcome To Germany  is a breezy, well-paced effort which maintains a buoyant mood throughout. It skillfully feeds off stereotypes for comic affect without ever straying into unpalatable territory. The film is cleverly constructed winning over the audience with its comic heart and likeable characters in such an endearing and affective manner that it is also able to adeptly pull at the heartstrings when it matters most.

The German Fim Week at the IFI continues this evening with the screening of 4 Days in May, Achim von Borries’ controversial film which depicts a true incident that took place in the final days of World War II told through the eyes of its 13-year-old protagonist.

Tickets are available from the IFI Box Office on 01 679 3477 or online at www.ifi.ie

Steven Galvin

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