Yüksel Yavuz is 15 years old when his father takes him to Germany with him after a summer spent in the Kurdish highlands. His father first took this journey in 1968: going from his life as a shepherd to work as a welder at a Hamburg dockyard. The physical and emotional distance between life in the “Little Istanbul” of the dockyard workers’ estate and village life in Turkey leaves its mark on the family. The mother stays behind in the home country, and the absentee father becomes an annual special guest, returning with suitcases full of gifts during summer. Until he cannot take it anymore and returns to Turkey.
The journey between Hamburg and the Kurdish village is still made quite a few times, whether by the parents visiting their grandchildren in Germany or by the son visiting his parents at home with a film crew in tow. His father wanted to leave his mark, Yavuz says. Yet he did not heed the advice his father gave him after their arrival in Germany, choosing not to follow in his footsteps to become a worker, but rather remaining in Hamburg to study film. And thus his father does indeed leave his mark, in a way that won’t quickly fade, in this empathetic and personal documentary.
Source: 73. Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin (Catalogue)