© Movienet Film GmbH

Meine Mutter, mein Bruder und Ich
Germany 2008

Opening 1 May 2008

Directed by: Nuran Calis
Writing credits: Nuran Calis
Principal actors: Erhan Emre, Mira Bartuschek, Corinna Harfouch, Erkan Maria Moosleitner, Kurt Ipekkaya

Areg (Erhan Emre) is 23-year-old Armenian immigrant law student who wants to become a film director in Munich. His mother Maria (Lida Zakaryan) has fled her war-torn Armenia to settle in Regensburg with her younger son Garnik (Kurt Onur Ipekkaya). Areg is fully adjusted to being a “real” German. He speaks the language fluently, has a German girlfriend and hopes soon to be naturalized. His mother suffers great homesickness as an uprooted person living against her will with no language skills in a strange country. In the middle is Garnik, the much younger brother (about 10). He is completely integrated, but dreams of the family’s Armenian village where a secret treasure of gold awaits him. Areg visits his mother and brother in Regensburg. There are conflicts of interest which reflect their degrees of assimilation. The interaction changes when it’s obvious that Maria is ill with debilitating diabetes, which causes blindness and loss of a leg. Areg reluctantly faces facts and fulfils her greatest wish: to return to her village. In the process he grows up, sets different priorities and recognizes new values. “If you don’t know your past, you will not recognize your future.”

Director-writer Nuran David Calis of Armenian-Jewish blood obviously wove many autobiographical details into the film. He emigrated from Turkey to Munich; his own mother has diabetes; he has become a filmmaker. The wealth of the Turkish contribution is also reflected in actors Erhan Emre and Kurt Onur Ipekkaya, whose parents also originated from Turkey. There are discussions about living in Germany (“Soccer is German.” “Tombstones must be identical; where would we be if everyone provided his own tombstone?” Germans don’t talk at breakfast.) German actress Corinna Harfouch adds her own wonderful talent as the manager of a film company who wouldn’t mind a little seduction of younger men. Mira Bartuhcek plays the girlfriend Lily and Christoph Franken is Areg’s overweight friend George – the one who really does end up with an Armenian wife. The ending slips into a bit of a fairy tale, but we accept that the gold they find can also be a symbol of their new level of maturity. As an immigrant myself – albeit one who left her homeland voluntarily – I could relate to the story and appreciate this excellent first film. (Becky Tan)

The theaters below show films in their original language; click on the links for showtimes and ticket information.
Interviews with the stars, general film articles, and reports on press conferences and film festivals.
Subscribe to the free KinoCritics monthly email newsletter here.