Dodua Otoo's writing is efficient and brutal with a journal-like quality. This writing style effortlessly explores complex issues like white supremacy in intimate relationships, cultural colonialism, immigration, the mine-field of divorce and universal human failure. None of these issues are at the center of the story, yet are weaved through everything that happens. Her narrative gives us a sneak peek into the unsaid and often felt universe of a black woman in Berlin.
Last week's premiere event was a great inauguration. "The Politics of Community" was the overarching theme, but after a wonderful introduction to give some academic context, Taylor expertly guided our discussion forth and back to other areas of concern. Topics ranged from politically correct vocabulary (one beautiful Black women rejects both terms "race" and "mixed" to describe herself), to how German administrative forms fail to reflect the diverse background of some Berliners (how can you communicate that your place of birth, ethnicity and place of residence are are varied when there is only one box to check?) to how the emphasis on Germany's Nazi past leaves little room to address the atrocities of colonialism that foreshadowed it.
On Wednesday, 20 February 2013, hundreds of people came out to the Ballhaus Naunynstrasse to hear essays, talks, and music from seven invited guests on the highly emotional and polemic debate on language in children's books currently taking place in the German media. The doors opened 15 minutes late and due to the overwhelming turnout, some hundred guests unfortunately had to be turned away at the door to this admissions-free event.
My mind is a whirl of movies and my pupils are still dilated. Most of the filmmakers in the Berlinale Blackness films were coming from outside of the culture that they wanted to represent. This means that they would be naturally attracted to the most striking elements of the society that they were discovering and may not have had the cultural fluency to appreciate the subtler aspects of that society.
I finally put together the Berlinale Blackness guide and organized myself to see each one of the movies in addition to some festival standouts and recommendations that I have been told not to miss. But since amy daily meditation has not yet made me patient, I decided to internet stalk the movies that I intend on watching and found some great trailers and teasers that made me more excited to see the movies.
The streets are littered with the remains of the orgasmic New Years ritual. The smell of spent fireworks is so present that one can imagine smoke rising from the garbage strewn roads. But smoke never hovers over Berlin for long and soon the garbage will be wiped away by sobered up workmen made more efficient by the lack of snow and ice.