What’s Welcome in German?

Photo: Pier53

Yesterday night, I made a film director very happy. At least that is what he told me and a couple of hundred people. But let me start from the beginning.

In the afternoon, Tina, known from Come Dine with Me, asked if I wanted to come along and watch the new documentary about refugees in Germany and how Germans react to them. I had heard about the movie and would not mind seeing it but ah, going home and then go out again? Cycling all the way to Abaton when one could spend the evening on the sofa? Geez, I told myself, this has got to end. I cannot live in a metropolis where I have the chance to see the smallest documentaries on big screens and still always choose to watch Let’s Dance on my couch. I already vowed before to bring more inspiration into my life so I’d better live up to my own ideas.

Because I had an important phone call to make, I was late. When I stepped into the movie theater, they were just dimming the lights and a staff member told me, “There is only one seat left, in the front row there”. I had to walk past literally everyone and found my seat. Then I sat for 90 minutes and saw Larisa and Malik and Rrko and Herr Prahm and Frau Oelker and Herr Freudewald struggling with their respective situations. Larisa was longing for a home, Herr Prahm felt threatened by the 53 refugees that were to be placed in his 400-people-village. I got to meet Ingeborg and Eveline, two 80-year-old ladies that impressed me deeply by caring so lovingly for the refugee children. I got to see how authorities are trying to make refugees feel welcome and locals felt unsafe. I learned what it is like when you arrive and what kinds of adequate but simple lodgings you are placed in. The thought of my comfortable sofa made me feel rather lucky.

After the film, there was a Q&A with the director. He opened the conversation with saying how happy he was to see a movie theater filled to the last seat. “When we were about to start, there was only one ticket that had not been sold. And then someone came in, that last person, and I was so glad.” So that’s how I made a film director happy last night.

The movie “Willkommen auf Deutsch” (Welcome in German) is playing in selected cinemas now.