Kedai Kebun

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Movie Screening “HALBMONDWAHRHEITEN” – German Film Club

German Film Club

Cooperation between Kedai Kebun Forum (KKF) and Goethe Institut Jakarta

Wednesday, 7 March 2018, 7.00 pm
Auditorium, Kedai Kebun Forum (KKF)
Jl. Tirtodipuran 3, Yogyakarta
Open for public and free


Crescent Moon Truths (Halbmondwahrheiten)

Director: Bettina Blümner, 2012, documentary, 89 min., German with English subtitles

– followed by discussion

Ayu Diasti Rahmawati, FISIPOL UGM


The Turkish men who regularly meet for the fathers’ support group at the Berlin association “Aufbruch Neukölln e. V.” have nothing in common with the clichés of authoritarian patriarchs. While talking about their conflicts, they sometimes appear almost helpless, and are often full of contradictions. Their focus is mostly on family problems. The openness with which they discuss these issues – in the presence of a female German filmmaker and her camerawoman – enables the viewer to gain new and more nuanced insight into a world that is usually inaccessible to outsiders.

Berlin, 5 June 2012. At the memorial service for Semanur S., who was beheaded by her Turkish husband, Kazim Erdogan asks himself the question, “What can we do?” And he provides the answer himself, “We won’t accept violence!” The dedicated Kazim, a certified psychologist, formed an association: “Aufbruch Neukölln e. V.” Here, a fathers’ support group regularly meets to talk about their personal problems. Often, these are family conflicts, as well as conflicts with ex-wives, where the children end up suffering most. The men show sensitivity and sometimes also a helplessness that doesn’t at all conform to the clichés of Turkish patriarchs. The background tragedies are not forgotten in the process, however.

At their first meeting, they talk about a family drama, a woman murdered by her husband. The murder took place within an arranged “consanguineous marriage”, a type of marriage that is common in Turkey. The victim was her husband’s cousin. The case could serve as an example. The culprit was dissatisfied in Germany from the beginning. His wife, on the other hand, spoke perfect German; she gave him pocket money, and he, in turn, felt inferior to her and realised “that his Turkish upbringing and education were an obstacle”. He became depressed and wanted to go back to his homeland, but his wife insisted on staying in Germany. Her husband shot her and then himself. The tragic case forms the basis for an extensive discussion overseen by Kazim. 99 percent of the problems come about due to the humiliation felt by the partner who arrives later, one of the fathers says, because the most important thing for these men is honour – “our misunderstood sense of honour!” Another comments that the problem lies in Germans accusing Turks of being backward and too traditional. The man cites forced marriage as an example – one which, he admits, is something that is often denied by the Turkish.

In their discussions, the men often alternate between dialectics and simple contradictions, analysis and self-deceit. Most important, however, is the fact that they are talking openly in the first place, and are revealing their own sense of helplessness when posing questions to Kazim. Take estate agent Cemal Düz, who is not allowed to see his daughter Josephine because her mother is afraid he might kidnap her and take her back to Turkey. Or Aydin Bilge. One of his two sons has been living in Turkey for five years now, and he would very much like to see him again. A recurring theme is the men’s suffering due to being deprived of contact with their children. Ahmet suffers from panic attacks and complains about them to the group. Sometimes the men also turn up in Kazim’s office looking for advice or to admit to their mistakes – privately, as if they were in confession. One is Hasan Düz, whose children consider him a bad father, and not without reason. There are many confessional moments such as these in the film, but never an Imam or mosque; the world of these men has been secular a for long time.

So it’s no surprise that Kazim feels exhausted and depleted, and reacts very sensitively to the theses published in mayor of Neukölln Heinz Buschkowsky’s book “Neukölln ist überall” (Neukölln is everywhere). These have been heavily discussed in Germany due to their simplistic nature. He is all the more happy about the recognition he receives when awarded the Federal Cross of Merit by the Federal President at a ceremony in Berlin’s Bellevue Palace. The tirelessly committed Kazim Erdogan decides to make a fresh start in the end. After retiring, he wants to go back to Turkey and found a new men’s support group in Özdere on the Aegean coast.

Bettina Blümner

Born in Düsseldorf in 1975. From 1999 to 2004, she studied at the Baden-Württemberg Film Academy. In 2004, she studied at the “Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV” in Cuba. Her first feature film POOL OF PRINCESSES was awarded the German Film Award for Best Documentary in 2008.

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