Thomas Arslan – Ferien aka Vacation (2007)

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Description: Ferien (Vacation, 2007) was perhaps the festival’s best German feature. Thomas Arslan’s latest outlines the strained composition of a family and the disintegration of a marriage, set in a luminous Brandenburg summer. The film is confined: the story takes place almost exclusively on the grounds of the mother’s country house and the cinematic language speaks only static shots and long takes. Just at the very end of the film does one see the whole family together. Arslan’s feat reveals the shifting constellations of family members in individual conversations and encounters: the grandmother is tender and wise while alone with granddaughter Laura, cold when Laura’s sister Sophie enters, and bitchy in scenes with her daughter Anna. Continue reading

Thomas Arslan – Dealer (1999)

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Second feature film by German-Turkish director Thomas Arslan (Ferien, Aus der Ferne), and a rough diamond of the first generation of the so-called ‘Berlin School’. Can is a young and smart upstart; he dreams of a small family but the money that fuels this dream comes from the streets. Can is a dealer, he works for Hakan who is supplying the kids in his neighbourhood with drugs. And while Can struggles to get control over his life he sees his girl friend, the mother of his kid, leaving and himself increasingly surrounded by false friends. On top of it, a cop (Birol Ünel, the male lead from Fatih Akin’s “Gegen die Wand) is on his back trying to persuade Can to work undercover for the police. The more Can attempts to free himself, the deeper he sinks into a life he never aspired to. Continue reading

Thomas Arslan – Geschwister – Kardesler (1997)

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The first part of Thomas Arslan’s Berlin Trilogy, continued with DEALER and the marvelous DER SCHÖNE TAG.

Quote:
Thomas Arslan’s second feature film and part of his Berlin-trilogy is a slow-paced milieu study of German-Turkish youth in Berlin-Kreuzberg. The film depicts the every day life, domestic conflicts, dreams and disappointments of three siblings and their aimless, meandering strolls through the Kreuzberg district. The family itself encapsulates the culture clash that is at the centre of many German-Turkish films. In Arslan’s film, the mother is German, the father is Turkish and the children have to make up their own minds about their cultural allegiances. Seventeen-year-old Leyla tries to escape from her family by spending most of her time with her best friend Sevim. Her twenty-year-old brother, Erol, has chosen Turkish citizenship and, consequently, has to do military service in Turkey. His mother objects but Erol finds the prospect of continued unemployment and mounting debts, which he cannot repay, in Berlin far more threatening than the prospect of military service in Turkey and leaves. Eighteen-year-old Ahmed is the is about to do his ‘Abitur’ (final exams at secondary school) and, despite being the most ‘assimilated’ of the three siblings, finds the experience of living in between two cultures difficult. (migrantcinema.net) Continue reading

Thomas Arslan – Im Schatten AKA In The Shadows (2010)

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“Trojan is released from jail and goes straight back to his profession as a criminal. He gets hold of a weapon and looks out for new jobs. In just a few takes, Thomas Arslan sets up the anonymous world of his gangster protagonist by falling back on motifs and characters from the genre. The backroom of a car workshop, parking lots, furnished apartments. One meets men and women who distrust each other because they are all out to line their own pockets. The setting changes constantly, with surveillance and chase scenes providing a dynamic narrative rhythm. Since crime makes up Trojan’s daily existence, the film concentrates entirely on the technical nature of a life outside the law. The reduced and clear-cut images – shot with a Red camera 
– highlight the exact sequence of events. In the Shadows (Im Schatten) is a genre film that focuses consistently on the mechanics and external process of a crime. It develops a sense of great suspense, without burdening its figures with personal stories. Each hand movement has to be right.”
(From the Berlinale Forum catalogue – by Anke Leweke) Continue reading

Thomas Arslan – Der schöne Tag aka A Fine Day (2001)

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Description: A Fine Day is, after the films Geschwister and Dealer, the third part in a trilogy about the living conditions of Turkish youth growing up in Germany.

Deniz is 21-years-old, lives in Berlin, works as a dubbing speaker and wants to become an actress. A Fine Day describes a long, labyrinth-like day in the life of Deniz. A day in which she experiences everything that takes place around her with a feverish intensity. The separation from her boyfriend Jan, her relationship to her family, her work, the promise of a new friendship and summer in the city.

A Fine Day is the story of a young woman’s search for happiness, her feelings and her ideas about love. Continue reading