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MAMI 2011: These films thoroughly entertain

The plot is intriguing. Huseyin (Fahri Ögün Yardim) has bought a new house in Turkey, his homeland. Although he is an official German citizen, he decides to take his family to Turkey to discover their cultural roots...

bollywood Updated: Oct 21, 2011 13:44 IST

Film Reviews

When two cultures meet

Film: Almanya-Willkommen in Deutschland (Welcome to Germany)
Directors: Nesrin and Yasemin Samdereli

The plot is intriguing. Huseyin (Fahri Ögün Yardim) has bought a new house in Turkey, his homeland. Although he is an official German citizen, he decides to take his family to Turkey to discover their cultural roots. Cenk (Rafael Koussouris), his four-year-old grandson, is confused. Is he German or Turkish? To explain to him his good fortune of possessing a diverse culture, his cousin Canan (Aylin Tezel) begins to narrate a story to him of how it all began.

AlmanyaHe reveals that his grandfather was a worker from Turkey who moved to Germany to work for a better life and support his family. All was well till he returned and decided to make everyone move to Germany.

The movie follows their amusing journey while they adjust to a new life in this strange land where they worship a dead man on a stick and where men have no moustaches. Full of cultural misunderstandings and inaccurate perceptions of German religion and way of life, this movie contains smart laugh-out-loud humour. However, the gentle and tasteful way in which the directors have depicted the same leaves no one offended.

The movie consists of two timeframes set in Turkey and Germany and both beautifully come together at the end of the film. Each runs parallel to each other as Canan continues to narrate his story.

The movie is witty and hilarious in depicting the various misconceptions about Germans and Germany. It is entertaining, engaging and has all the elements of a good film. It follows the life of each member of the family, and their history, fears and dreams.

The acting by each cast member is brilliant. Written and directed by sisters and filmmakers Nesrin and Yasemin Samdereli, the movie is well written and executed on screen. A family film, which will leave you laughing in splits, Almanya is a complete entertainer.

- Tasneem Kakal

Shallow but sweet

Service Entrance is a delightful comedy set in 1960s Paris and is about an uptight, wealthy broker’s curious friendship with the vivacious, boisterous Spanish maids living on the sixth floor of his apartment building.

Jean-Lois Joubert is an uninteresting middle-aged broker living an uninteresting life till his wife, Suzanne hires a new maid-the pretty Maria. She charms Jean-Louis with her perfect eggs and outspokenness almost instantaneously.

When he pays attention to Maria, he gets drawn to the Spanish maids who work for the wealthy families like his in the building. He is fascinated by their world; so starkly different, though just a floor above. The contrast between the prim, aloof and boring high society resident owners and the fun-loving, chatty Spanish maids fascinates him as he finds a refreshing outlet from his stagnant life.

Before you know it, Jean-Lois is attending masses with them, going on picnics and even allowing them to use his phone to make calls to Spain. The change in his demeanour is eyed with suspicion by his wife, who suspects him of having an affair with a rich client.

Soon, he is thrown out of the house and starts living on the sixth floor, thus experiencing freedom and independence for the first time in his life. The transition of Jean-Lois through the film has some delightfully funny moments, as does the camaraderie between the maids.

However, this is a feel-good film that never really delves beneath the gloss that it wonderfully creates to explore the power dynamics between the poor and the rich. It is a journey of self-discovery that remains selfish to Jean-Louis in his perfect Parisian world making it slightly shallow, perhaps artificial and too loyal to nostalgia.

- Manali Sangoi

First Published: Oct 21, 2011 13:41 IST