Thursday, 22 December 2016

ENG: German Movie Tips: Welcome to the Hartmanns'

Finding a comedy which is truly entertaining for the whole family is not easy. Now, I can warmly recommend one in German: Welcome to the Hartmanns' (Willkommen bei den Hartmanns).

In this movie the European Refugee drama sort of moves in with a German family from the upper middle class. Angelika - a retired teacher - feels that she wants to do something and - because the house is so empty since the children moved out - offers to receive a refugee threatened by deportation; Diallo from Nigeria. To this both her husband - an elderly head doctor who refuses to retire - and the couple's adult children react with dismay. They are certainly not xenophobic, but reveal different degrees of confusion and ambivalence, similar to what many of us have gone through in recent years.

It is said that we often find it difficult to feel responsible for anonymous refugee masses, but at the same time want to help individuals, if we only learn to know them a little. When, in the film, Diallo showed pictures of how his home village was burnt down, it was clear that my children empathised with his fate.

The film provides an added value by highlighting tensions also in many everyday questions: How do you find the right partner in life? What may we expect of our partners? How can we be a good parent or spouse? On such questions they native Germans in the film often reply with the comment "Es ist nicht so einfach hier in Deutschland" ("It is not so easy, here in Germany"). That answer would probably fit just as well in Sweden or Switzerland and I think it is quite typical for our times.

In Welcome to the Hartmanns' we see a number of beautiful park and city scenes from Munich. A few actors speak with a certain dialect, but the German language is consistently very easy to understand. All of us (10-45 years) thought so, although none of us has German as his or her mother tongue.

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Welcome to the Hartmanns' premiered in October 2016 and is currently shown in cinemas in Zurich, including Arena Sihl City, where we saw it.

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Find here an article by The Guardian on this movie.

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Swedish version

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