|Index||4 reviews in total|
An illegal immigrant resists the social support system causing dire consequences for many. Well filmed and acted even though the story is a bit forced, yet the slow pacing really sets off the conclusion. The feeling of being lost in the big city is effectively conveyed. The little person lost in the big society is something to which we can all relate, but I cannot endorse going out of your way to see this movie.
As someone who is familiar with both Turkish and German cinema, I am quite familiar with films about the immigrant experience in Germany. To the German film industry's credit, more films of this nature seem to be made in Germany than they are here in the states. And, not all the films about this experience are negative as Turkish-German director's Fatih Akin's film "In July" is a sterling example of this. But, many films about the dark side have been made by both Turkish and German directors. R.W. Fassbinder's "Ali: Fear Eats the Soul" about a Morrocon immigrant and the humorous, but socially relevant film "Polizei" by Serif Goren, the field director for Yilmaz Guney's film "Yol" illustrate the problems quite well. Though "Otomo" is not quite as brilliant as those two films, it does capture what problems can arise when a man, particularly a man of color, comes into a foreign land. The dual problem is the fact that the man may be oblivious to the new country's problems- in Germany's case, the growing pains of reunification, and the adopted country is unaware of what the immigrant dealt with in his homeland. The lead actor here is quite exceptional, and really carries the film. There is a scene where he gives a young girl a flower which reminds one of Boris Karloff in a similar scene from "Frankenstein." The film is also similar to John Sayles' "Brother From Another Planet" arguably one of the best contemporary films from a white director about racism in this country. In short, "Otomo" is a universal film and anyone who knows a recent Middle Eastern immigrant in the states knows how chillingly real the events that happened in this film can occure. And, since "Otomo" is based on a true story that is a disturbing thought.
This movie at first made me angry at the main character and then angry at myself for feeling that way. I thought if only he had been more cooperative and less scary-looking, what transpired would never happen. Sure-cooperate like the Jews did in the 30's & 40's. Police brutality, racial prejudice and provocation do happen and that something like this could happen in a German city with a small African population is not a stretch of the imagination. It could happen, and does, almost everywhere and it must be remembered this is based on an actual event. The people who hated it are obviously Germans with a guilty conscience. The acting was outstanding. Isaach De Bankolé's is very believable as an angry, resentful, weary Black man hounded by the police for nothing! He shows tenderness toward a young child and her grandmother (Eva Mattes) who are kind to him. A sad, tragic story and one that should lead to a lot of healthy conversation and debate.
I haven't seen this movie yet - would like to. I don't think it's out on video. I've seen Brother from Another Planet - an excellent movie. the actor here Isaach De Bankole is very good - he was in Ghost Dog, The Keeper, Chocolate, and other films. The thing about movies like Otomo: they're very hard to find, I heard about this by just reading about the actor Isaach De Bankole. I prefer foreign films of a socially conscious nature. Stories like these are certainly relevant today, with immigration issues capturing newspaper headlines, and xenophobia. If it was possible, I would purchase the film if on e-bay or amazon.com. California newsreel also has socially conscious movies with people of color, but they're generally for classroom teaching.
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