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Mein Vater, der Gastarbeiter

Still from the film „Mein Vater, der Gastarbeiter“ by Yüksel Yavuz. A man with a moustache holds two children in his arms and smiles. On the left side of the picture, two people are hugging each other. Several people are standing in the background.
© Rolf Blank & Ralf Klingelhöfer / zero one film
  • Director

    Yüksel Yavuz

  • Germany / 1995
    52 min. / 16 mm / Original version with English subtitles

  • Original language

    German, Turkish

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. (Anna Hoffmann)

Production Thomas Kufus. Production company zero one film (Berlin, Germany). Director Yüksel Yavuz. Screenplay Yüksel Yavuz, Britta Ohm. Cinematography Rolf Blank, Ralf Klingelhöfer. Editing Markus Silberschmied, Arpad Bondy. Sound Veronique Friedmann, Martin Heckmann.

Yüksel Yavuz, born in Karakoçan, Turkey in 1964, he emigrated to West Germany in 1980, where he studied economics and later earned a degree in visual communication with a focus on film. Since making his debut in 1994, his films have been shown at national and international festivals, including APRILKINDER (1998) at the Berlinale and KLEINE FREIHEIT (2003) in Cannes.

Films: 1994: 100 und eine Mark (18 min.). 1995: Mein Vater, der Gastarbeiter. 1998: Aprilkinder (85 min.). 2000: Beyaz Mantolu Adam / Der Mann mit dem weißen Mantel (15 min.). 2003: Kleine Freiheit (98 min.). 2007: Close Up Kurdistan (104 min.). 2010: Sehnsucht nach Istanbul (58 min.). 2013: Hêvî – Hoffnung (99 min.).

Bonus Material

Interview and Film Review of MEIN VATER, DER GASTARBEITER

  • Still from the film „Mein Vater, der Gastarbeiter“ by Yüksel Yavuz. On the left side, a man with a moustache sits against a white wall and holds a glass in his hand. On the right side sits a woman with a cloth on her head.

    Film Review

    Fritz Wolf writes in 1995 about MEIN VATER, DER GASTARBEITER

  • Still from the film „Mein Vater, der Gastarbeiter“ by Yüksel Yavuz. Four women in headscarves sit next to each other on a bench against the wall of a house.


    Amin Farzanefar speaks with Yüksel Yavuz about MEIN VATER, DER GASTARBEITER 27 years after its making

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur