New film series explores nationality, race

Cinemat to show German, Turkish issue films

Lovers of unique and controversial cinema will be happily surprised if they wander into The Cinemat any Thursday night in April, as they will find the first-ever German and Turkish series in Bloomington.\nAddressing themes of race, immigration, gender, nationality and sex, the four films presented in the cinematic series all challenge the comfort barriers of society.\nFiliz Cicek, the organizer of the series, explains that the films offer a wide variety of appeal.\n"At first I liked these films because I fell in love with the aesthetics," Cicek said. "But I think we are living in a very interesting time where we have films that cross boundaries. Are these global films? Are they German? Are they Turkish? What are they? So this makes them very multi-layered and interesting."\nDespite its relation to global issues, the German and Turkish series has a rather local beginning.\n"The reason I started thinking about this film series was because former students would say, 'We have to have a meeting with you. We miss you. Can't we get together and watch movies?'" Cicek said, referring to students from a Collins Living-Learning Center class she taught on immigrant cinema. \nAt the end of the CLLC course, Cicek had her students show their final project films at The Cinemat and the idea of having a film series on immigrant cinema grew from there. In addition to the film showings, a presenter will briefly introduce each film. \nFour films will be shown during the series, each vastly different yet connected by themes of immigration and what it means to be Turkish in Germany. \n"Ali: Fear Eats the Soul," made in 1974 by R. W. Fassbinder, explores the relationship of German widow Emmi and Moroccan immigrant Ali. \n"This film shows the issue from a German perspective," Cicek said. "The conflict arises not only from the fact that you have a Moroccan and a German getting married, but also an age difference because Emmi is 20 years older than her husband Ali." \n"Lola and Bilidikid," a Kutlug Ataman film made in 1998, was the first German-Turkish film that was widely released in the United States. \n"This film involves a male teenager struggling to grow up while also being gay and Turkish in Berlin," said Claudia Breger, assistant professor for the IU department of German studies and presenter for "Lola and Bilidikid."\n"This film is from a more recent generation of German-Turkish films," Breger said. "It has a very dramatic narrative and Hollywood entertainment potential, but at the same time, a lot of complexity. It has the intent to work through stereotypical ideas of what it means to be Turkish in Germany, in engaging stereotypes and problems." \nThe third film shown will be "The Marriage of Maria Braun," a R.W. Fassbinder film made in 1979. The film begins with Maria's marriage to Hermann, a German soldier who is immediately sent to the Russian front of World War II and is soon reported dead. Maria then starts an affair with Bill, a black GI, and becomes pregnant before Hermann unexpectedly returns from war.\n"While this movie doesn't explicitly deal with the immigration experience, it raises questions of German post-World War II identity and reconstruction after the war," Breger said, "The interesting thing that connects this to the other films is that there is a lot of questioning of matters of race."\nThe last film shown during the series will be "Against the Wall (a.k.a. 'Head-On')." Made in 2004 by Fatih Akin, the film explores the sex, drugs and marriage involved in the emancipation of a woman who wants to live a life that her parents do not approve of. \n"This film is unique because of the way the German-Turkish community is represented -- with one community that is really well integrated and the other that is very traditional," said Mihaela Petrescua Ph.D student in the IU Department of Germanic Studies and a presenter for the cinema series. \nThe German &-Turkish Cinema series is free and will take place at The Cinemat with each film being shown twice, at 7:30 and at 9:45 p.m. "Ali: Fear Eats the Soul" will be shown Thursday, "Lola and Bilidikid" on April 13, "Marriage of Maria Braun" on April 20, and "Against the Wall" on April 27. For more information visit \

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