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Remembering a Film
by Becky Tan

I saw six sections of the Mo&Friese short film festival, or about 30 films. The shortest was about eight minutes, the longest 30 minutes. It’s always interesting in retrospect to note which film sticks in my memory and why. Perhaps I remember BODENERHEBUNG about new constructions in Hamburg-Altona and a film called ARBEITSTITEL because I had already seen them at the Filmfest Hamburg, seven months prior.

More important, I remember MY FATHER AND I not only because it was a good film, winning the Audience Award in the section International Competition, but also because I could relate to the situation of being an immigrant to Germany, although without the experience of violence. Director Ali Tamim interviews his father who came to Berlin via Lebanon as a Palestinian refugee 40 years ago. Ali is the oldest of six siblings and life with his father was difficult, because his father stayed within the values of his own culture, which included harsh physical discipline. The siblings also have a chance to describe their experiences growing up with their father, suffering under a mix of conflicting Arab and German cultures. Perhaps the most impressive part was that, for the film, this father was willing to sit through the questioning without showing any signs of aggression and listen to his grown children contradict practically his entire life.

I definitely remember the Swedish film HOPPFORMET (Ten-Meter Tower), which was very simple but quite effective. Individuals of all ages are invited to climb to the top of the highest diving board in an in-door swimming pool. Once there, they can decide whether to jump or climb back down. We watch as they struggle to cope with his/her decision. Surprisingly, very few retreated, which is definitely what I would have done.