During the 1960s, a flood of immigration brought thousands of Turks from their homeland to Germany, with promises of well-paying career opportunities. Without cultural context, one might find such a German and Turkish association to be bizarre -- but when given historical context, which the heartwarming and humorous Almanya -- Willkommen in Deutschland provides, one begins to understand the fascinating culture surrounding that population, which has now spent decades in a foreign country. Almanya documents the story of a Turkish family, headed by a grandpa who has seen his children grow to father more children in Germany. Each member of the large family seems to hold a different opinion about his or her Turkish-German upbringing and personal degree of assimilation -- so when grandpa declares over dinner that he has purchased a home in Turkey and would like to take a family trip for everyone to see it, he is met with much resistance. Even his wife of many years is surprised and disappointed by the news. To this, he sternly questions, "Have I ever asked anything of you?" and the family falls silent, only to eventually acquiesce to grandpa's will. From there, the film flies through timelines and decades, recapping the family's immigration from Turkey to Germany with all of the pomp and romanticism that all who dream of a new opportunities no doubt have. But while the film humorously spotlights the excitement of grandpa's past, it also expresses, on the behalf of both the grandparents and their Turkish-born children, a sense of nostalgia for a motherland that lies as a gateway between Europe and Asia. SEE FULL FILM REVIEW AND TRAILER

 

Written and Directed by Athina Rachel Tsangari; 2010 Although I'm no Greek film aficionado, it doesn't take one to figure out that the new film from writer and director Athina Tsangari is a strange observation on the societal and governmental downfall of Greece. Tsangari's post-modern take on the modernist movement is...

Portland International Film Festival (PIFF) is upon us again, and we have whittled down their list of 100+ international shorts and full-length films to pick what we have determined to be the best and most interesting of the bunch. Portland International Film Festival 2012 runs from February 9th through the 25th,...