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Turks are today the most numerous ethnic minority in Germany. According to the latest population census, one and a half million Turks live in Germany, and a great and incredibly funny film about the German Turks was filmed by one such Kanak, as the Germans mockingly call those who came from the Middle East. Cem Kaya filmed a fun, original and incredibly dynamic documentary in which he told the story of the German Turks through their music and pop culture. However, it is a complex and layered film in which the fun, banter and song that covers all the sadness, dissatisfaction, anger and injustice that these people experienced is only superficial.

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Kaya has set the story linearly and chronologically, so we begin in the mid-fifties when post-war Germany was in great need of labor in order to rebuild as soon as possible. Along with workers from Yugoslavia, Italy and Spain, Turks were also invited to Germany, who proved to be the ideal cheap labor force for the needs of all those huge factories. And we follow through the decades what life was like for those Turks in Germany. How they were hidden somewhere far away on the margins of society, bribed, exploited and hated by the local population, worked and suffered for their homeland. And sang.

This film with the cute name “Love, German Marks and Death” brings an insight into a practically invisible world and a market that even the Germans themselves did not know existed. Kaya gathered all the living stars of Turkish music there, and we follow how the Turkish music scene in Germany developed over the years, modernized, took on Western influences, so that today these rappers originally from Turkey became the most popular performers in Germany. This film is a real little cultural treasure and we get to know the typical folk howlers and singers, and then some musicians who also performed more modern music closer to the west.

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We get to know places that are no longer there today, and places where the Turkish community in Germany used to gather for years and even decades, and they remember what their festivities looked like back then. How good old stamps were stuck on singers and singers, and we see how it was a market where there was a really big hunt and how, in the golden days, tapes of the most popular Turkish performers in Germany were sold in millions of copies. We can also see what the cultural exchange between Germany and Turkey looked like, and there is a particularly interesting story about perhaps the biggest star, Cem Karaca, who, after being exiled from Turkey, was in exile in Germany and became a star there as well, and not only among to their Turks. It was a great, equally informative and entertaining, exciting and emotional, audio-visually distinctive and original documentary that is definitely worth watching.

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