When six-year-old Cenk feels rejected by both his German and his Turkish classmates, his older cousin comforts him by telling him the story of the guest-worker family’s beginnings in Germany in the late 1960s. This heightened awareness of his roots will be put to the test faster than he might have liked, because suddenly, at a family dinner, Cenk’s grandfather Huseyin surprises his family with the news that he has bought a house in Turkey and plans to move everyone there, to the old Heimat.
The story jumps back and forth through the generations and almost 50 years of German-Turkish interaction. While it’s been said that Almanya criticizes the failure of the integration of foreign arrivals into German culture, it’s in many ways an entertaining road movie and a comedy, with some very funny moments especially during Huseyin’s early days in a foreign country. At the same time, Huseyin’s sense of alienation becomes very clear, but this is less a criticism than a call for a new understanding.
ALMANYA - WILLKOMMEN IN DEUTSCHLAND | Directed by Yasemin Samdereli (Germany 2011) with Vedat Erincin, Aylin Tezel, Denis Moschitto. Opens March 10