Quarter Life Crisis

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Kebab Connection

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Last year there was the film Gegen die Wand by Fatih Akin which was hugely successful in Germany. It’s story revolves about the difficulties of being the child of Turkish immigrants to Germany and is quite serious in places. So I was a bit sceptical whether the film Kebab Connection which deals with a similar topic wouldn’t turn out to be a bad joke because it’s more of a comedy…

Ivo trying to feed a baby In fact it’s a story that revolves around Ibo whose parents are immigrants from Turkey and who wants to be a director. His plan is to make the first German Kung Fu film. But for the time being he has to settle on making a – cool – martial arts based commercial for his uncle’s kebab shop. Which works quite well. Better than the relationship to his girlfriend Titzi anyway. Oh, and she’s pregnant so we can meet the Turkish world of his father You can date German girls… but you may not make them pregnant and the German world of her divorced mother Have you ever seen a Turkish man pushing a pram?.

Add to that that Ivo is mainly disorganised and obsessed with film, recreational drugs and his skateboard and you see that we’re not going for trouble free times here. But in the end it all works out. So well, in fact, that in the end he makes a communal advert for his uncle’s kebab shop and the greek restaurant across the street – with one of Ivo’s friends being the son of the restaurant’s owner but the owner and his uncle hating each other. That’s quite funny to see as – from a German point of view anyway – the most obvious aspects of the Greek and Turkish cuisine aren’t all that different, just look at the famous kebab and gyros dishes.

Titzi eating a kebab Allegedly you can (or at least could) tell by the local variants of kebab (which is actually called Döner Kebap in Germany and mostly referred to as Döner rather than as Kebap, just like Coca Cola is called Cola rather than Coke) and gyros on offer where the immigrants came from originally. E.g. by the bread they use or whether they offer rolled up variants. Personally I’ve grown up more on the gyros side in Bremen. Back in they 1980s the greek side was more dominant there, but it’s more mixed now. Since I’ve enjoyed both the kebab and the gyros of course, but it seems that there are more Turkish takeaways and Greek restaurants these days.

Anyway, everything turns out just fine in the film without it being excessively schmaltzy or otherwise tacky. And while it’s not as good and serious as Gegen die Wand – which I suppose it doesn’t want to be – it’s really good entertainment.


Oh and they’re playing Mardi Gras Bb’s cool cover version of Kung Fu Fighting during the closing credits! In fact the whole EP it is on is quite cool.

[Buy at amazon .com, .uk, .de]

October 6, 2005, 0:26

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