Migration is continuous. The reasons for this are as diverse as people can be. The discourse on this in the German-speaking world is one-sided, hegemonic and rarely without discrimination, and is characterised by a Eurocentric view.
„Grenzen in der Mitte: Migration and its Perspectives in German Film“ interferes with this discourse from an inside view. There are certain interactions of the discourse on migration between media and society. Society is represented by politics. In Germany, as well as in most countries in Western Europe, this discourse moves in a field of tension between a strong and a cemented dynamic. This means that a discourse in the media can be taken over by politics and migration can be instrumentalised accordingly. Or the discourse in politics is taken up by the media, especially in German film and television, and manifested in social perception through generated images. One possible consequence is a quasi-ongoing and self-reproducing production of a supposed "centre" and an equal "margin". Not infrequently, the roots of these prevailing attitudes lie in Germany's colonial past, which has not yet been sufficiently researched.
Against this background, the films are characterised by an expertise in which migration has not only been experienced by their makers. It affects them to a degree in which this witnessing from within forms the subject. Not only, but also because of this, new perspectives and forms of narration emerge. In other words, the films equally enrich the canon. Unfortunately, in terms of film history, this eventuality has only recently been considered.
The curation covers four decades from 1979 to 2019 consisting of 17 programmes with 24 short, medium and long films in different genres. Most of them exemplify films that are unjustly not seen often enough.
They are films that break open the Eurocentric view and replace it with multi-perspective, self-reflective as well as innovative voices, illuminating and advancing the discourse on migration, before and after the fall of the Wall. Nevertheless, they fill historical voids without being pedagogical. Every film was made out of an inner necessity.
Sometimes the films humorously parry the white gaze (FAKE SOLDIERS | IN THE NAME OF SCHEHERAZADE ODER DER ERSTE BIERGARTEN IN TEHERAN), sometimes they painfully convey a bitterness towards the majority society (EMPFÄNGER UNBEKANNT | DER ZWEITE ANSCHLAG | MEIN VATER, DER GASTARBEITER) and sometimes they are about the price of educational advancement (EXIL | MAN SA YAY - I, YOUR MOTHER | FREMD).
The films break down borders, create new spaces, impart knowledge, enable a better understanding of migration and build a bridge for a post-migrant society.
Enoka Ayemba und Biene Pilavci