A powerful film portraying institutionalized
racism and police brutality, Otomo provides a convincing
look at the everyday world of refugees, who are continuously surrounded by tension
In the summer of 1989, a Stuttgart newspaper reported the true
story of a West African asylum seeker who physically assaulted an intolerant
subway ticket-taker; fled, and became the target of a city-wide manhunt. Otomo
is a sober, fictionalized reconstruction of a tale that shocked Stuttgart, and
a gripping portrait of how institutionalized racism drives a disempowered individual
to violence and inhumanity.
West African immigrant Frederic Otomo (Isaach
de Bankole) lacks the proper papers to be hired for the most menial of jobs;
he has survived for eight years with the help of a Catholic charity. Otomo
is the target of verbal abuse, is thrown out of his boarding house, and even
scorned by neighborhood dogs. He feels and looks out of place. A stoic bubbling
pot of wrath on the run, de Bankole's performance establishes Otomo's
essence without words-language cannot express the gravity of his situation.
As a ticking soundtrack counts down his fated minutes, Otomo
is helped by a kind, aging hippie and her granddaughter, establishing the potential
for an inclusive German society….if it is not too late...
|Germany|1999|84 mins|drama|German with
English subtitles|Frieder Schlaich, dir.|
"I was impressed by the decision to make Otomo
a bit of an anti-hero, seeming aware that in desperate times, good people may
say or do things outside the norm." -- Greg Dean Schmitz, Greg's previews
"Documents the institutionalized racism and xenophobia that painted one
man into a corner, while never excusing the terrible means by which he took
his final escape." -- Jessica Winter, Village Voice
"Much of the sense of size in this account of an immigrant
worker, who is only one among many thousands in Germany, comes from the performance
by Isaach de Bankole." -- Stanley Kauffmann, New Republic
Bonus Fiction Film with DVD: WAALO FENDO: WHERE THE EARTH FREEZES
Senegal / Switzerland, 1998, 65 mins, drama in Wolof and Italian with English subtitles, Mohammed Soudani, dir.
Milan, like Paris or Stuttgart, and like many other European cities, is the theater of the drama of immigration. Demba reconstructs his story and that of his brother Yaro, both Senegalese immigrants in Italy, in a long and fragmentary flashback that begins with Yaro’s murder and recounts their departure from the village, arrival in Europe, the work they find selling lighters and picking tomatoes in the south of Italy: the stages every “non-EEC citizen” goes through in Italy. It is a story of immigration like so many others but that most people are unaware of. Waalo Fendo illustrates the dehumanization faced by so many immigrants all over the world.
An ArtMattan Films Release
Amazon.com: Otomo: Isaach De Bankolé, Eva Mattes, Hanno Friedrich, Barnaby Metschurat, Lara Kugler, Siegrid Burkholder, Gottfried Breitfuss, Traute Höss, Stefan Moos, Katja Schmidt-Oehm, Hansjuergen Gerth, buy black,ArtMattan,Frieder Schlaich: Movies & TV
|FORMAT Personal/Home Use only: