A Turkish German Masterpiece: an autobiographical work of incredible scale
I am my Mother's Daughter by Seyhan Derin is a film about discovery. Here is a powerful and creative documentary-esque film that details a Turkish German woman's (Seyhan Derin's) path to rediscovering her mother, her father, and her homeland. As a child she was estranged because of her father's many shortcomings as a Turkish migrant worker living in Germany. Through conversations between the main character's family, visits to Turkey, and black and white archival sequences the main character's heritage is rediscovered. Furthermore as the main character rediscovers her heritage in Turkey she allows her mother to rediscover her legacy in Germany, all in context of a grander time-line.
Overall Seyhan Derin's film is a wonderful documentary. While the visuals of the film may not be spectacular, as most indie documentaries aren't, the frames treat their subjects with the same curiosity their subjects feel. In an early scene where the main character and her mother explore the ruins of their long ago home the camera explores it with them, we see little details that accompany their dialog and feel as if we too are rediscovering our childhood home. The meticulously selected archival footage gives fantastic context to the story while also giving the viewer a welcome change of pace next to the mostly informal interviews and documentary shots. Accompanying the archival footage are constructed flashback shots that accompany the major narrative of the film with a touching emotional one. From these archival inserts the viewer can expand the personal story of mother and daughter to all of history. All in all this film is a thorough exploration of family, ethnicity, and how time and distance affect both. Sit back, watch, and discover what you had forgot to remember.
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