Refugee drama ‘Club Europa’ hits German screens

Franziska Hoenisch

:: The highest grossing German movie last year was a fizzy feel-good summer comedy about the country’s refugee influx, “Welcome to the Hartmanns.”

Just a year on, German screens are darkening with “Club Europa,” a sobering take on the challenges and dilemmas in the newcomers’ integration that mirrors a growing national sense of ambivalence.

The new movie by 32-year-old Franziska Hoenisch, broadcast on public television ZDF on Thursday, tells the story of a group of young Berlin flatmates who decide to take in a refugee from Cameroon named Samuel.

The Berliners show the newcomer the capital’s famous techno scene and demonstrate how to use a potato peeler while explaining to Samuel that he has arrived in “potato country.”

But the light tone of the movie soon grows ominous as Samuel’s asylum request is rejected by the authorities.

The young adults must now decide if they would keep hosting him even though his residence status is now in limbo.

“We didn’t want to just make a movie about people who succeed, which comforts the viewer and gives the impression that all is well,” Hoenisch told AFP.

The filmmaker said she deliberately centered the movie around young adults in the hopes of shaking them out of their comfort bubble to take responsibilities for their action.

“The people of my generation talk a lot, we want to be politically correct and involved, but deep down, we don’t do much,” said the young director.

“We don’t channel our energy toward changing things for the better, but more to build our personal happiness,” she said.

“It’s not enough to just assuage our bad conscience by helping a little.”

Germany saw a record influx of asylum seekers, reaching 1.1 million over 2015 and 2016.

The arrival of tens of thousands of asylum seekers cheered by volunteers handing out food, water and teddy bears at German rail stations became the defining image then.

Chancellor Angela Merkel was able to tap into a wellspring of empathy for the asylum seekers, particularly those fleeing war-ravaged Syria.

However, that enthusiasm has turned into doubts about Europe’s biggest economy’s ability to integrate so many people so quickly, and filmmaking is catching up to that reality.

Tony Blair warns of Muslim Brotherhood threat in West
Arab star Shirine Abdelwahab shines at Carthage
%d bloggers like this:
Powered by : © 2014 Systron Micronix :: Leaders in Web Hosting. All rights reserved

| About Us | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Disclaimer | Contact Us |