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Hussi Kutlucan, Germany 1998, 95 Min., OV
Followed by a talk with Hussi Kutlucan

The feature film Ich Chef, du Turnschuh (Me Boss, you Sneaker) by Hussi Kutlucan tells the story of an Armenian asylum seeker, Dudie. Played by the director himself, the character Dudie is stuck with his girlfriend Nani on a container ship in Hamburg which functions as an accommodation center for refugees from all over the world. After Nani enters a marriage of convenience with a German, Dudie escapes to Berlin with false documents where he starts working on the construction site at the Reichstag building for little money.

Harassment from his superiors and colleagues, as well as exploitation by his employer, pushes Dudie more and more to seek out a marriage with a German woman. Nina, whom he meets at a dosshouse, is willing to marry him – but she wants 15,000 German Mark in return, which he cannot possibly afford. When he doesn’t get his wage, Dudie organizes a strike. Through this he gains new friends at the construction site, but is forced to flee from the police. In the meantime, Nina falls in love with Dudie, who devotedly cares for her son, Leo. This could be a happy ending – if Nina was not stabbed by her ex-boyfriend. Without money and a home, Dudie and Leo, who refuses to go to an orphanage, are strolling through the city, coming across one tragicomic situation after another.

Kutlucan’s humorous way of dealing with the topic of asylum seems more relevant than ever before. Sometimes the film makes its audience laugh, sometimes cry, sometimes it appears serious and dramatic, sometimes silly and sentimental. Ich Chef, du Turnschuh manages to reveal the inhumanity and absurdity of the refugee existence in the alleged constitutional state through lightness and humor.

Hussein "Hussi" Kutlucan (born 1962 in Kemah, Turkey) is a German author filmmaker, actor and former punk rocker. He was awarded the Adolf Grimme Prize 2000 in Gold for Ich Chef, Du Turnschuh (Me Boss, You Sneakers).