© farbfilm-verleih/barnsteiner-film

Die Tränen meiner Mutter
Germany 2008

Opening 6 Nov 2008

Directed by: Alejandro Cardenas-Amelio
Writing credits: Cuini Amelio-Ortiz, Cuini Cardenas-Amelio, Christoph Silber
Principal actors: Adrian Goessel, Rafael Ferro, Erica Rivas, Fabian Busch, Volkmar Kleinert

Carlos and Lizzy are political refugees from Argentina. They and their 12-year-old son, Alex, find safety and a new home in West Berlin in the 1980s. They join a commune with six other people. They live in a beautiful old factory loft, which would make Andy Warhol envious. Lizzy adjusts to her new life and finds rewarding work as a journalist which takes her and her one-eyed camera man Mucha away from home for weeks at a time, even as far as Scotland. Carlos tries to sell his artwork on Kurfürstendamm and feels uprooted and dissatisfied so far away from home. Alex fits into his new world as any child would, but watches as his parents grow apart and argue about their future. In the end Carlos and his new-found Spanish girlfriend Anita return to Argentina; mother and son stay in Berlin.

Peruvian director Alejandro Cardenas Amelio effectively shows the problems faced by expatriates, even small things like cheering for different teams during the soccer World Cup. The actors are German (Fabian Busch, Alice Dwyer) and Argentine (Erica Rivas, Rafael Ferro) and their conversations in both languages effectively emphasize their differences. Adrian Goessel as young Alex speaks both languages fluently, in the film and in real life, and is the highlight of the film. In an interview Amelio said that the story was autobiographical. He, too, came from South America with his mother and step father and grew up in Berlin. He has also made a documentary about his father who was arrested in Peru. He honored the Berlin Spanish-speaking community (over 13,000 members), but the city is actually not important. Similar problems and groups live all around the world. They could be anywhere. Amelio definitely shows talent with this first feature film. Where else would you see an animated version of cows dancing the tango? This will soon be on television if you can’t rush to the cinema. (Becky Tan)

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