Film “In the Fire – Two Sisters” on Arte: German soldier

The film “In the Fire – Two Sisters” tells of the search of a young woman in Iraq and her sister. And the search for yourself.


Rojda Xani (Almila Bağrıaçık) grew up in Germany Photo: Pallas Film/ZDF

“I’m not a refugee. I am a German citizen. Do you understand?” It’s about her mother, who wants to bring her to Germany. She just gave them that burgundy passport on the table, but the two officials in the Greek refugee camp still don’t want to believe her: “German citizen?” – “Yes.” – “And I’m Onassis’ nephew.”

The next time she shows her passport, she’s already in Iraq. “We need trained fighters in Germany,” says the man from passport control. “But I’m a German soldier,” she insists. And when she introduces herself to her new superior, Oberfeldwebel Breidmeier – “I am Staff Sergeant Rojda Xani, 1st Signals Battalion, reporting for duty” – and he is happy – “You are the Kurd from Tom’s unit? Great!” – she corrects: “I’m a staff sergeant. I’m supposed to have you as an interpreter at the Education of Kurdish women support.”

Far away from her parents, Rojda Xani (Almila Bağrıaçık) grew up in Germany and has always kept her distance from the Kurdish community where she lives in Cologne. She hasn’t even programmed a Kurdish news channel on her television. To the incomprehension of the mother (Maryam Boubani), who brought her there from the camp and who doesn’t stop at the reproachful looks: “It’s not a problem for you. You live your life here. Don’t you care if she dies there? You don’t care.”

You don’t want something like that and you can’t let your own mother tell you something like that. The German Bundeswehr soldier of Iraqi-Kurdish origin Rojda Xani has herself transferred to the unit of Oberfeldwebel Breidmeier in order to find her sister Dilan, who is fighting with the Peshmerga, and to bring her to Germany to safety. The encounter with the Kurdish women fighters throws their apparently solid self-image and their idea of ​​their identity into sway.

“In the Fire – Two Sisters”, September 15, 10:35 p.m., Arte and in the Arte media library

Daphne Charizani’s films are about striking, ambivalent female characters. Together with Ina Weisse she wrote the screenplay for their second directorial work “Das Vorspiel” – with Nina Hoss as a concise, ambivalent female character.

Charizani, who was born in Thessaloniki, directed “Madrid” in 2003 and talked about the emancipation of a saleswoman from Spain in Germany. She now also shares her migration background with the protagonist of her most recent film: “In the Fire – Two Sisters”.

Is Rojda Xani’s demonstrative self-control a self-evident expression of her specifically German socialization – or is it overcompensation and a sign of her insecurity, which she wants to cover up with it? Their story is also a story of emancipation. The story of a woman’s search for an identity she didn’t even know she had to seek. If that isn’t an ambivalent female character.

But all the characters in “Im Feuer” are actually ambivalent. The peshmerga fighter that Rojda befriends and who seems to know something about her sister – but who doesn’t want to say it. The Kurds in Cologne, who give newcomers a warm welcome – but want to charge them 50 euros for an asylum application form.

The supervisor who threatens Rojda with sacking if she mixes work with private matters – but then does her the private favor of transferring her to his friend Breidmeier (Christoph Letkowski) in Erbil: Breidmeier, Oberfeldwebel – but a more non-hierarchical and sensitive spit has never existed in German film history:

“If I had known that you were looking for your sister, then…” – “What then? You couldn’t have done anything. She has made up her mind.” – “It’s not about your sister for me.” That distinguishes him from Rojda’s mother.

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