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  7. Mein Vater Der Gastarbeiter

Mein Vater Der Gastarbeiter

Yüksel Yavuz, Germany 1995, 52 Min., OV with English subs, 16mm

Introduction by Biene Pilavci

Yüksel Yavuz is 15 years old when his father takes him to Germany with him after a summer spent in the Kurdish highlands. His father first took this journey in 1968: going from his life as a shepherd to work as a welder at a Hamburg dockyard. The physical and emotional distance between the “Little Istanbul” of the dockyard workers’ estate and village life in Turkey leaves its mark on the family. The mother stays behind in the home country, and the absentee father becomes an annual visitor, returning with suitcases full of gifts during summer, until one day, unable to take it anymore, he returns to Turkey, although journeys between Hamburg and the village are still made sporadically over the years. His father wanted to leave his mark, Yavuz says, yet he did not to follow in his footsteps to become a worker, instead remaining in Hamburg to study film. And thus Yavuz’s father does indeed leave his mark, in a way that won’t quickly fade, in this empathetic and personal documentary. (AH)