Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Gastarbajteri nazaj doma - Migrant workers back home

The documentary film “Gastarbajteri nazaj doma” (Migrant workers back home) is a poetic portrait of three former migrant workers who left Yugoslavia in the seventies to try their luck in Germany. The economic boom of post-war Europe produced an increased demand of labour. Hence so called ‘Gastarbeiter’ (guest workers), mostly from Yugoslavia and Turkey, were invited to work in the car industry and custodial services. Whereas Germany became a new home for some of them, the protagonists of the film decided to return to their home country. However, being back home they had to realise that a lot of things had changed: not only people have changed, but also the political system – a new state was born. During insightful interviews, Malika, Jože and Marija speak about their experiences of leaving their families, living in a foreign country and returning home. A film by Stefan Kreuzer, Nino Leitner and Natasa Siencnik Produced by luksuz produkcija / Krsko, Slovenia (Youth in Action Workshop 2007).
Text from the website http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2736399417624166315#

The film was made during the 10 day workshop, organised by Luksuz production,who has been working on an international youth exchange programme involving film workshops at Trška gora in the vicinity of Krško since 2002. The films created at the workshop usually deal with current social themes (youth participation, cultural diversity, European identity, etc) and are available on DVD for festival distribution and also on the Internet. Some of these films have received international awards. In 2007 a 10-day workshop hosted 40 participants working on documentary films. Researches on cultural diversity were made in various countries and presented in the form of short films. Discussions and screenings were followed by work on documentaries under the tutorship of well-known film maker Želimir Žilnik.

ZELIMIR ZILNIK himself made a very powerful short film in 1975 called “Inventur – Metzstraße 11” where using a very simple setting of a tenement – mostly foreigners – come in as though walking down an outdoor staircase and introduce themselves and their life situations to the viewers.
"With this minimal setting, Z¡ilnik strips the administrative term "inventory," taking stock or a census, of its numerical and bureaucratic meaning. Although the position of the camera is fixed, as in a police situation, and each person identifies themselves by name, it is not the number of people that counts; indeed the line of people seems to be endless. This camera situation guarantees their individuality, because each person takes stock of their own situation in the Federal Republic of Germany. They decide for themselves how long they want to speak or what they want to say in front of the camera, also exhibiting embarrassment or pleasure in posing before the camera. All of them are performers of their own role. Z¡ilnik provides them with the framework they need for it.
Zilnik shot this short film in 1975 in Munich, which is only relevant to the extent that Metzstraße is in Germany. He lived in the Federal Republic of Germany from 1973–76, worked as a director and pursued the same goal with his films here as in Yugoslavia, (which he left after being banned from working) tracking abuses and becoming actively involved in discussions as a filmmaker. One of his films was then censored in the FRG as well. “Inventur – Metzstraße 11” is a film that, together with “Unter Denkmalschutz” (1975) paradigmatically shows property speculation in many large German cities. Formerly upper middle class residential areas are systematically turned into slums by being over-populated with guest worker families that usually pay highly inflated rents. Once the objects have been run down in this way, they can be sold – once the tenants have been given notice – as profitable office and condominium palaces."
Text from the website of a very interesting project PROJEKT MIGRATION