Bruderland ist abgebrannt – (Bruderländer is burned out)
Angelika Nguyen, Germany 1991, 28', German and Vietnamese with English subtitles

In 1989 over 90,000 ‘contract workers’ from the so-called brother countries lived in the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Around two-thirds of them came from Vietnam. The work contracts they signed with the GDR authorities lost their validity during the course of German reunification, and consequently many people found themselves unemployed shortly after the fall of the Wall and lost their accommodation in residential facilities. The increasing racism and the structural ostracism exacerbated the precarious situation of the former contract workers while they searched for a way out and a perspective for the future in unified Germany. 

Angelika Nguyen’s film was made during this time and is regarded as one of the earliest, rare filmic documents of this period of upheaval, which also brought with it existential uncertainty for the Vietnamese community in East Berlin. In Nguyen’s film the GDR airport in Schönefeld is the scene of tragic events. It is a place of parting for those who were more or less forced to return to Vietnam.

Sorge 87 
Thanh Nguyen Phuong, Germany 2018, 10', German and Vietnamese with English subtitles

In Sorge 87, Thanh Nguyen Phuong employs animated fabric prints in her homage to the ‘contract workers’ who came to the German Democratic Republic (GDR) from Vietnam. A Vietnamese and a German couple look back to the time when they lived together in the small town of Werdau in Saxony. Sorge is the name of the neighbourhood where the film-maker lived with her parents as a child. In 1987 a number of new buildings were constructed here to accommodate the Vietnamese textile workers. Their everyday lives played out between housing complex, language school, and factory, accompanied by difficulties adapting to this context and cultural misunderstandings. However, a cinema where Vietnamese films in their original language were shown also belonged to this world. With the addition of further interviews, image and text materials, the film maker has developed the autobiographically inspired short film into a documentation project that can be accessed under

Bonne Nuit Papa
Marina Kem, Germany, Cambodia 2018, 31', German with English subtitles

Bonne Nuit Papa is a film about reconciliation, parting, and being connected. It documents Marina Kem’s search for her father’s story. A father who was alien to her in two respects: alien due to his Cambodian origins, alien in his silence. Dr Ottara Kem never spoke about his home. However, on his deathbed he expressed the wish to be buried in Cambodia. For his daughter this formed the start of an intensive, poetic journey of reconciliation. On the trail of her father, she delves deeper into the history of the ideological wars, and eventually finds a new family and a rapprochement with her roots.