Jesper is a soldier in the German army. Although his brother was killed whilst serving in Afghanistan, he nevertheless reports for a new tour of duty in this war zone. He and his unit are ...
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Jesper is a soldier in the German army. Although his brother was killed whilst serving in Afghanistan, he nevertheless reports for a new tour of duty in this war zone. He and his unit are to protect a remote village from the Taliban. One of the people accompanying Jesper is a young interpreter, Tarik, whose job includes mediating between soldiers and villagers. Both sides have a hard time trying to overcome the differences in their respective ways of life. Jesper must gain the trust of both villagers and the allied Arbaki militia and his nerves are soon on edge. He finds himself increasingly morally conflicted as a result of his superiors' orders. His association with the Germans means Tarik's life is constantly under threat, but when Tarik begins to fear for his sister's safety, Jesper has to make a decision. Feo Aladag uses this portrait of an ISAF soldier in Afghanistan to explore questions of affinity and otherness, trust and failure. How humane can your actions be if you are ...Written by
A German view off the Afghan war looks like a winner at Berlin 2014
. "Zwischen Welten" (Between Worlds) a Stark new drama about a German military unit on a peacekeeping mission in a most inhospitable Afghan village has Golden Bear written all over it. It's German, it's political, it's timely, it's depressing, it's unhappy, it's a very well made military thriller -- and the director, Feo Aladag, is a woman ~ what more could a Berlinale Jury ask for! Of course there are other emotionally draining films in contention, and I haven't see all of them, but if I were a betting man this is the one I'd be betting on.
Director Feo Aladag (née Feodora Schenk), 42, is an Austrian actress, writer, director, producer. She has 34 acting credits going back to 1996, mostly in TV series but this is only her second directorial effort and what an effort it is -- a truly gripping tale of German soldiers having to cope with the open hostility of the people they are supposedly protecting from the Taliban. It centers on the moral dilemma of a young German officer (Ronald Zehrfeld) who has already lost a brother in this crazy civil war and goes against orders to leave his command post in order to rush a young Afghan woman to the German military hospital before she bleeds to death -- victim of a drive-by shooting, presumably the Taliban, but maybe others in a situation where nobody really knows who the enemy is any more.
Actress Saida Barmaki looks very much like Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who inspired the world after surviving a Taliban bullet to the head last year. In the film she is the sister of interpreter Tarik, who is on the Taliban hit list as a collaborator. (Mohamad Mohsen)
Four languages are heard in the film, German, English, Dari, the Persian dialect of hero Jesper's interpreter, and Pashto, the majority Afghan language of the leader of the ragtag anti-Taliban force holding the village.
A cultural difference becomes a bone of contention between the Germans and the Afghans when a cow wanders into the barb wire of their compound and is shot to "put it out of its misery". The owner of the cow demands a redemption of 500 uros, because the cow is his only means of livelihood and he holds the Germans responsible. Putting animals out of their misery is apparently not part of their culture. The sum effect of the film is to force western viewers to ask themselves, "What in hell are we doing in their country, anyway?" -- The picture was strongly applauded, at the Haus Der Deutschen Festspiele cinema, which is a drag to get to by U-Bahn far from the festival center of Potsdamer Platz. However, so many of the hot ticket films are being shown there that this trip to the festival sticks is nearly unavoidable. This one was certainly worth it!
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