Aşk, Mark ve Ölüm – Liebe, D Mark und Tod

Cem Kaya

“Bathroom and toilet are in the factory,” Metin Türköz sings in his song “Alamanya Destanı” about his first experiences in Germany. Türköz, now in his 80s, belongs to the first generation of migrant workers. He arrived by train from Istanbul to Cologne in 1962 and became one of the numerous Turkish musicians who processed their experiences through art and founded their own (tape) labels not only in Cologne, but also in Frankfurt (Uzelli Kaset) or Berlin.

Their songs were often created as a response to their disappointment and expressed what the workers could not tell their German employers themselves. At the same time, however, they also contributed to the establishment of their own scene, where people not only worked, but also celebrated, laughed, and lived. The music created during this time did not only become popular in Germany, but also in Turkey, since the tapes travelled with the workers when visiting their home country.

In Cem Kaya’s documentary essay, migrant workers don’t remain the mere footnote in the supposed success story of the German economic miracle which they are so often reduced to. Instead, the film makes their experiences, desires, and their anger at their circumstances - lower wages than those of German workers, poor working conditions, racism – vividly audible and visible against the backdrop of German contemporary history.

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Direction Cem Kaya
Country Deutschland
Year 2022
Duration 96 min
Language Original with English Subtitles
Production Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay, Stefan Kauertz, Florian Schewe, Claus Reichel, Filmfaust/Film Five in Koproduktion mit: WDR, rbb, ARTE
Cast Yüksel Özkasap, İsmet Topçu, Metin Türköz u.v.a.
Camera Cem Kaya, Mahmoud Belakhel, Julis Dommer, Christian Kochmann
Script Cem Kaya, Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay
Editing Cem Kaya


Berlinale 2022 - Winner Audience Award

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About the director

The director, Cem Kaya, was born in 1976 in Schweinfurt. After studying communication design, he first worked as a producer, editor and director of commercials and music videos, before turning to documentary filmmaking.

His third documentary, “Aşk, Mark ve Ölüm”, was presented in February 2022 as a world premiere at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival in the section “Panorama” and won the Audience Award.

Press Reviews

„Cem Kaya’s documentary essay is a lesson in Turkish-German contemporary history: assembly line jobs, homesickness and family reunifications, the bazaar in the Berlin U-Bahn station Bülowstraße, xenophobia and racism, the melancholic songs of the early years and the hip-hop of the post-reunification period.“ (radioeins)

"Caya has created an important historic document and has done true pioneering work with his diligent documentary ambition." (Kino-Zeit)

The director on his film

„There’s the image of the medical examinations during recruitment. There’s always the suffering migrant worker. But my film shows that there are other images as well, that there is celebration as well, that these people lead a totally normal life and should not only be reduced to being industrious workers in Germany.“
(From an Interview with puzzle, the "InterKulturMagazin" of the BR, 25.01.2022)



Future German Cinema

© filmfaust
© filmfaust
© filmfaust