"The stories of migration are stories in motion and stories about motion. However, the stories that have not been told in Germany for so long are those of arrival, of existence. The very existence that is understood as the arrival in 'normality'." (1)
The normality of factory work. The normality of the right to a social housing. The normality of bilingualism. The normality of a post-migrant society? Last but not least, Turkish-German cinema since the 1980s has created a media visibility of migration, leaving behind the motif of mute guest workers unable to communicate and integrate, and instead migrants as self-confident subjects (2). Migration, shelter and mobility are a productive challenge to the traditional view of culture as a closed system. However, the transnationality of social, economic and political relations in Europe today increasingly faces the right-wing populist-driven retreat towards the nation, the firm affiliations and exclusions of the alleged other.
Against this background, the six-part film series City, Country, Stranger shows a variety of movements, about leaving and staying, freedom and boundaries, law and violence. The selection of historical and contemporary feature, documentary and short films focuses not only on the location of the city and its changing working and living conditions, but also on the migration movements from West to East and East to West in the following years of reunification and the history and present of structural racism in Germany.
(1) Nanna Heidenreich, V/Erkennungsdienste, das Kino und die Perspektive der Migration, Bielefeld 2015, p. 154.
(2) Vgl. Deniz Göktürk, Migration und Kino. Subnationale Mitleidskultur und transnationale Rollenspiele?, in: springerin, Heft 2/2001, p. 42-47.
With the kind support of the Landesstelle für Entwicklungszusammenarbeit of the state of Berlin (LEZ).
Florian Wüst curates film programs and exhibitions for international art institutions, cinemas and festivals. He is co-founder of the Berlin Journals – On the History and Present State of the City that address the social, cultural, and economic changes in Berlin and other cities.