Sunday, March 11, 2018

Everything's fine: the first film about integration in Germany

Trailer for Alles Gut

The original title of the movie is "Alles gut", and it roughly translates to "Everything's fine". It can also be translated to "I don't know where to start. Let's just say everything's fine so we can move forward"

The trailer markets it as the first film about integration in Germany, though it should be clarified to say it is the first film about integration of the wave of refugees that arrived starting in 2016. Movies about integration, especially about the guest workers that arrived from Turkey starting in the 1960s, are numerous. I can think of 2 great movies without much effort: 'Gegen die Wand' and 'Almanya'.

'Alles Gut' follows 2 families, one from Syria and one from Macedonia as they try to navigate German bureaucracy and German society in order to build a life in Hamburg. The stories take place in the here and now. It is not about how they got here. It is not about how their lives used to be. It is told primarily from 4 points of view: the Syrian father, his teenage daughter, the Macedonian mother, and her elementary school age son.

The story is started from the father and mother's perspective, the mother as she enrolls her son in the German school system and the father as he tries to get his family to Germany from Beirut (from where they arrive by plane about a third of the way through the film)

Then the perspective shifts drastically as it is told from the son and daughter's points of view. The most interesting parts of the film are the parts which are shot in the primary school, during classes, during recess, and during school events. The boy is thrown in with the German students and it shows really drastically the chasm that must be crossed.

The German kids come across as understanding and accepting while the boy clearly displays the enormous weight of living as refugee in Germany. He absorbs the fragile nature of their situation from his mother and struggles to deal with that in addition to having to live in a new country.

There are fascinating (and often accidentally funny) interviews with the other kids in the class and a part where the boy is absent from school for an extended period of time due to his refugee status during which the teacher tries to explain why to the kids why he has been missing. There are also meetings during which the teachers, administrators and parent representatives discuss the resources needed for the boy, which enlighten one to the predicament of the school.

The girl's story has a more positive bent to it. Her German is too bad join a German school and so she goes to a school with other kids in her predicament, i.e. kids from immigrant backgrounds who are trying to improve their German to join the traditional education system. It is clear from the beginning why she becomes a focus of the film.

The first shot of her is in a traditional muslim outfit, body fully covered, hair completely wrapped, her face peering out, bewildered at where she is. The film shows her coming out of her shell, realizing that the rules for women in Syria (not allowed to ride a bike, for instance) are sometimes nonsensical. It is not a sudden transformation as she is well inculcated with the rules for Muslim women in a traditional society. But just experiencing Germany on her daily routines, on the bus, in the school, wandering around where she lives, one sees subtle changes that are taking place, questions that are being asked. She comes from a place where there are rules for everything (one hears that about Germany as well) and now she is in a place where a lot of those rules are absent. Some may find that terrifying. She on the other hand seems to find it liberating.

The parents stories lean toward tragedy. They have arrived as adults, as parents, penniless and without accepted qualifications in a very competitive country. They have a mountain to climb in front of them. That is apparent to them from the very start. They place their hopes in their children. What I took away from the film is that Germany needs to as well, help these kids contribute to this country, make them feel like they can play a part in strengthening this place.

6 comments:

shimaa shaker said...

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شركة تخزين اثاث بعنيزة 
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shimaa shaker said...

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shimaa shaker said...

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shimaa shaker said...

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shimaa shaker said...

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يارا said...

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شركة مكافحة حشرات بالمذنب
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شركة مكافحة برص ببريدة
شركة مكافحة برص بعنيزة

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