Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB
Original title: Reise Der Hoffnung
Switzerland/Turkey/United Kingdom, 1990. Antea Cinematografica, Catpics, Channel Four Films, Cinerent Filmequipment Service AG, Cineverde, Condor Films, Dewe Hellthaler, Département Fédéral de l’Intérieur, Eurimages, Schweizer Fernsehen, Schweizerische Radio- und Fernsehgesellschaft, Télévision Suisse-Romande. Screenplay by Xavier Koller, Feride Cicekoglu. Cinematography by Elemer Ragalyi. Produced by Peter-Christian Fueter, Alfi Sinniger. Production Design by Kathrin Brunner. Costume Design by Grazia Colombini. Film Editing by Daniel Gibel, Galip Iyitanir. Academy Awards 1990.
A Turkish family from a tiny village are swept away by dreams of prosperity in Europe and decide to make the perilous journey towards a “better life”. A married couple with five children, they decide to go it alone and leave their brood in the care of their parents, but then at the last minute take their youngest son with them to Switzerland where they hope to become prosperous. Taking their son, however, causes no small amount of complications to their plans, forcing them to make their immigration more illegal than originally intended but also putting them at the mercy of those who would take advantage of them. What makes Xavier Koller’s Academy Award-winning film such a masterpiece, however, is that he tells an incredibly tragic story with his gloom-meter under control; the film is full of treachery and evil, but there’s also humanity, kindness and humour, all of it emerging spontaneously and naturally thanks to superb direction and outstanding performances. It’s one of the most moving films you’ll ever see, a precursor to a whole series of films that examine the Turkish immigrant experience in Germanic Europe that would be made in the years to come.