Written and directed by Nasrin and Yasemin Samdereli, two Turkish-German sisters, Almanya – Welcome to Germany revolves around the crisis of identity experienced by all generations of the (Turkish born but residing in Germany) Yilmaz family, ranging from the young Cenk, who does not fit in with either the Turkish or German groups at school right up to the patriarch Huseyin, who fears accepting German residency because he think he’ll be required to eat pork twice a week.

A strong family unit, Huseyin decides they will all travel back to Turkey as a family to visit a holiday house he has purchased. Cenk is curious about the past and this allows the story to run half in the present with charming flashbacks to the past in Turkey told by excellent actress Aylin Tezel (Canan).  The film is beautifully shot with amazing vistas across Turkey – both rural and urban – and reflecting the open and welcoming nature of the Turks as the family make their road trip to their holiday home.

Back in the past, you fall in love instantly with the endearing young Huseyin, watch as his family grows and feel tearful as he makes the hard decision to move to Germany for work – he makes very good money and the family soon join him. The plot then continues to flip between the present and past.  A particularly sweet quirk of this flashback aspect is that if Cenk asks questions, the characters in the flashback react to them, which is a lovely feature.

I was really impressed with the entire cast of this film, they were all brilliant and demonstrated a lot of talent, particularly in the younger cast. There was genuine chemistry between them and some of the serious scenes were wonderfully acted.

Despite a somewhat jaded palate from sampling the delights of this year’s Film Festival, I was not disappointed by Almanya – I loved this film. Any movie that makes me laugh and cry within 5 minutes is always a winner – highly recommended! 

Cameo 1, 23 June 5.45pm, 25 June 1pm

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