Opening 23 Jul 2009
Meek, sensitive Mohsen (Navid Akhavan) is the grown son of Iranian immigrants in Cologne. He lives at home with his parents and helps in the family butcher shop. He knits long colorful scarves to escape from the demands made upon him by his father, who curses him a loser. One day he drives to Poland to pick up some sheep for the shop. His car breaks down, and he takes refuge in an East German village on the Polish border. There he meets Ana (Anna Böger), a huge, blond car mechanic and former shot-put champion whose father owns the local pub. It’s love at first sight. In order to accommodate the suspicions of the villagers, he pretends to be what he isn’t: a rich textile merchant. Soon his parents arrive at the village in their Mercedes and the two fathers – both with remarkable moustaches – become friendly rivals, each trying to outdo the other.
Director Ali Samadi Ahadi has made a terrifically funny “culture clash comedy” about East Germans dealing with foreigners shortly after reunification in 1989. Ahadi said that he could draw on his own experiences, having come to Germany all alone at age 12, where he studied and became a German national. This is his first feature film, although he won many prizes with his documentary Lost Children about child soldiers in Uganda. It is astonishing that he could go from a tragic war report to this light-hearted parody of all-too-typical human frailties, but he says, “Both films are about Heimat, and there is a thin line between tragedy and comedy.” This film is highly recommended to anyone whose German is at all fluent, especially those who appreciate the misunderstanding which comes from mixing cultures. (Becky Tan)