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“For the first time in my life I feel happiness and sorrow at the same time.” These words, from the confused daughter of an absentee dad, sum up the messy emotional landscape in this spellbinding documentary. Fascinating from the first frame, this real-life drama follows filmmaker Vetter as he sets off for a small Turkish town to visit the father he has never known. With dancing eyes and a quick wit, 72-year-old Cahit Cubuk is a charming man on the surface. However, for the son and daughters who grew up without their father, his pleasant smile and innocent shoulder shrugs don’t alleviate a lifetime of pain and puzzlement. Combining candid interviews, multiple narrators, mesmerizing music and wonderful footage of contemporary Turkey and 1960s Germany, Vetter paints a complex, detailed portrait of how one man’s actions changed the course of an entire family. As we listen to intimate discussions about everything from sexual politics to religion, Vetter focuses on the striking faces of these remarkable characters to capture more than 30 years of pent-up feelings and questions. In the end, Vetter weaves a profound story about the power of memories and the cost of forgiveness.

—Brendan Peterson (San Francisco International Film Festival)


The film begins as a love story between Cahit Cubuk, a poor, handsome Turk, and a young, naive woman from Stuttgart are falling in love with each other. Six months into her pregnancy she grudgingly accepts that he goes back to Turkey for what she believes is a short vacation – a vacation with his Turkish wife and daughters. He never returns. In spring their son Attila Marcus is born. Thirty-eight years later Marcus travels to a remote village in Turkey to meet his father. There he not only hears his father’s story, but also meets his two half sisters. The meeting of the father was planned as a happy ending to a long life story. That turns out to be a moving film about getting to know and accept each other’s cultures.

In this autobiographic documentary, themes such as Islamism, family and diverse cultures are examined. The film also provides a particular insight into the petit bourgeois society in Germany at the end of the Sixties. Last year the film received the Prix Europa, the Golden Gate Award and was also nominated for the Adolf-Grimme-Preis 2007, awarded annually to outstanding television productions.


The German filmmaker Marcus Attila Vetter has a Turkish father, Cahit Cubuk, and he goes to visit him for the first time in this documentary. He travels to the Anatolian village of Cubuk Koye, where his 72-year-old father lives with his wife and two daughters. A film crew that got there ahead of him interviews the hopeful father, who wonders what his son will be like. "If he's anything like me, he'll be warm-hearted. If he's more like his mother, the prospects are not very good." Marcus films the Turkish landscape and talks with his newly found family, who all cry many tears. Marcus's father feels that he had no choice back then but to leave Germany, and his halfsisters explain how much they missed their father when he was away. In the meantime, we hear passages read in voice-over from the diary of Marcus's mother Gerlinde, from the time that she was with Cahit - how they met, fell in love and ultimately broke up. Cahit left for Anatolia when his mother was pregnant and wanted her to follow him when he heard that she had given birth to a son. He blames his own wife for having given him only daughters. Marcus also appears on-screen, and occasionally films with an old camera, which gives the picture a grainy, faded, old-fashioned feel.

Festivals

2007   Int. Flahertiana Filmfestival, Russland
2007 Docupolis – Int. Filmfestival Barcelona,
2007 Festival de Cine, Chile
2007 9th Annual New York Turkish Filmfestival
2007 Göteburg International Filmfestival
2007 San Francisco International Film Festival
2007 International Filmfestival Ukraine
2007 International Filmfestival Ecuador
2007 Bellaria Filmfestival Italien

Awards

2006  Prix Europa
2007 Golden Gate Award San Francisco
2007 Best Documentary Filmfest Nürnberg
2007 Audience Award Filmfestival Vera Finnland
2007 Nominated for Adolf Grimme Preis
2007 Nominated for Baden-Württemberg. Dok. Award
2007 Joris Ivens Ccompetition“, IDFA

A production of ARD, SWR and ARTE

Year of production 2006
Lenght 89 minutes
Format HD/35 mm
A production of ARD, SWR, ARTE
In Co-production with Filmperspektive GmbH
Director Marcus Vetter
Co-Director Ariane Riecker
Director of Photography Dragomir Radosavljevic
Editing Saskia Metten

In Co-production with Filmperspektive

Sound Christian Lackner
Wolfgang Orth
Narration Marcus Vetter
Ariane Riecker
Narrator Corinna Harfouch
Commissioning editor Gudrun Hanke-El Ghomri
World Sales Telepool