ALI IM PARADIES (JANNAT ‘ALI)

Egypt, Germany 2011 – Director: Viola Shafik – Original language: Arabic, French, German – Subtitles: English

Fassbinder’s ANGST ESSEN SEELE AUF (1974) was ahead of its time in highlighting xenophobia in the Federal Republic of Germany. Fassbinder’s partner at the time, Mohamed El Hedi Ben Salem, played the role of the migrant worker, Ali. Travelling between Germany, France and Morocco, Viola Shafik reconstructs and deconstructs the unknown life story of El Hedi Ben Salem through interviews with his companions and family members as well as archive material. With openness and slight naivety the interviewees explain how “Ali” became an oriental object of projection for the Fassbinder group, while El Hedi Ben Salem, the human being, was overlooked in order to establish the foreigner as “other.” A no-frills examination of a piece of German and Munich film history. Silvia Bauer

English/Original Title: My Name Is Not Ali. Writer: Viola Shafik. Camera: Viola Shafik. Sound: Viola shafik. Editing: Doreen Ignaszewski. Production: Onsi Abou Seif und Viola Shafik. Producer: Onsi Abou Seif. Length: 93 min. International Sales: mec film. Distribution: mec film.