18 Minuten Zivilcourage
Rahim Shirmahd, Germany 1991, 20 min.
18 Minuten Zivilcourage revisits the violent death of asylumseeker Kiomar Javadi in 1987, who was choked for 18 minutes by a supermarket employee after having been accused of theft. The film gathers statements from witnesses and court records in order to reconstruct the events; it finds no indication that the alleged theft actually took place. The film’s central question is encapsulated by the title of the poem that Erich Fried dedicated to Kiomar Javadi: What if “the man who died had been German”?
Black in the Western World
Wanjiru Kinyanjui, Germany 1992, 23 min.
Germany in the early 1990s: Racist caricatures, picture books and advertisements circulate within popular culture and are consumed by white audiences without second thought. In school playgrounds and classrooms, racist games and songs are part of everyday life. Filmmaker Wanjiru Kinyanjui and her interviewee Tsitsi Dangarembga analyse these supposed gags in a cool, detached fashion despite the traumatising violence of the images they contain. These scenes are cross-cut with others showing two men from Malawi and Namibia discussing right-wing extremism in Germany and encouraging Black people in Europe to fight against racism and neocolonialism.
Jordmannen (The Earthmen)
Muammer Özer, Sweden 1980, 27 min.
Jordmannen tells the story of an immigrant from Anatolia who moves to a new country in hope of a better life. The everyday reality of this nameless protagonist, who is depicted as a clay figure, is marked by alienation, racism and exploitation. It is the grim portrayal of an economic migrant in an affluent Western society which is representative of many others: The unqualified worker’s worth is determined solely by his performance and he is not embraced as a new member of this transnational society. Structured as a series of episodes, the story is narrated sometimes in the first and sometimes in the third person, making use of dolls, toys and live-action actors and alternating between black-and-white and colour film.
Aykan Safoğlu, Germany 2019, 13 min.
In ziyaret filmmaker Aykan Safoğlu visits the Old St. Matthew's Churchyard in Berlin with Kurdish feminist and activist Gülşen Aktaş. The essay film becomes a sensitive tribute to those whose lives were dedicated to fighting against discrimination, patriarchy and homophobia, including Afro-German poet May Ayim, drag queen Ovo Maltine, activist Helga Goetze and theoretician Hedwig Dohm. It is the second part of a trilogy in which Safoğlu examines the ambivalent relationship between photography and memory. While using images to create a commemorative film or even a sort of monument, he takes the etymology of the word photography – writing with light – as a starting point, creating picture-texts that navigate through time and space.
Rahim Shirmahd, born in 1958 in Lorestan Province, Iran. He has lived in Germany since 1980 and is a photographer, author, cameraman and director.