“Joschka und Herr Fischer” – The „Super-Model“ & TEZA
These days one film, -Joschka and Herr Fischer- of the same category like TEZA is making such an audience in Germany, even before it comes to the public, rummaging around my emotions to force me to break my silence. In my opinion, TEZA makes a contrast to the former, quite in a fine manner, making somehow fool of us, Africans! The beautiful moving pictures, the nostalgic Ethiopian musical tones interacting with sound and scenery of the virgin country side of northern Ethiopia, accompanied by the impressive local actors (like the old mother), colored with the highly zoomed and dramatized urban story of the film, depicting some of the terrible days of Ethiopia during the last decades, cannot change the crux of the matter; I would say.
“Joschka und Herr Fischer” vs “TEZA”
TEZA made in Ethiopia & Herr Fischer made in Germany!
It is a coincidence, without explanation, that I happened to see „TEZA” (a film by Haile Gerima) just a few days ago; a few years later after its production and the awards it collected at some festivals; while a new German documentary film coming soon, is being inaugurated. With “TEZA”, now (May 2011) running in Berlin, these days the new documentary film of a similar category is making the headlines of the German film-public; beginning next week (19.05.2011), may-be awaiting its awards too! -Awards, it would certainly gather for the “objectively modulated” narratives of 60 years protest, which produced “poli-superstars” like Herr Fischer, the realist “rebel”(cf. Project Syndicate); depicting the substantial share the protest movement takes in the formation and development of the post-modern German state. -The German post-modern state, which has sufficient room for its realist “rebels”, who would not mind turning unscrupulous, if need be, in the interest of their nations, to support any war resolutions of NATO and EU.
For me, an opportunity to think twice, to produce the following notion out of the backdrop of the mind: – I remember an age-old comment of a friend in this context. Some decades ago, fascinated by the help I got from some Germans abroad, while I was in a critical plight, I almost praised, “the Germans” in a nut shell to be the only “Engels on earth”. But a sociologist friend of mine, who has enough experience in their community, countered vehemently saying “No! No!”; “the Germans are only shrewd enough to send their “Engels” abroad to work as “aid” workers and to engage their “devils” as immigration clerks.”
This is true! The Germans are masters in subtlety and “functionalizing professions“!
Therefore, I said to myself, beware; simple and sweet “traditional” ideas of the film TEZA could have been undermined by the small capital of the donors!
In spite of some well-meant cultural seeds (Ethio-North-centered), which TEZA tries to promote; I simply feel that “IT” has fallen in the “fate” of being undermined by the small “free” capital it managed to get for its production. In my perception, the film is full of caricatures and simple “parodies” on the “Ethiopian Revolution and social movements” of the last 3-4 decades, subtly suggesting “something” like “you would rather go back to your cultural roots” instead of ransacking your (the Ethiopian) community with “modern social notions, you would hardly understand”, promoting the philosophical bias we know and established “western prejudices” about the “brutality „of “African origin”( ex. out of place and areal, like the victimized young mother, who killed her own illegitimate child in front of the landlord, who abused her !).
Like most of the global protest movements of the period, given the “violent turn” the social movement took in its consummation, the film was intensively keen to demonstrate the brutality, the Ethiopian revolution contained. It has on the other hand clearly failed to show the social forces, relations and causes at work behind the phenomenon (for ex. Southern Ethiopia simply neglected in the narratives).
Moreover, for the critical mind, considering the perceived subtlety remaining in the mind of the observer, I am afraid “TEZA” has even failed to achieve its anticipated exposure of the „Western Racism” – abundantly alluded in the film, -one of the big objectives of the film; – let alone showing the extensive shortcomings and ideological blunders of the Ethiopian „leftist political movement”, mostly lacking national touch in its application or the necessary embodiment of all the diverse cultural indigenous faces Ethiopia could have provided.
To appreciate or understand this notion, after “TEZA”, one has to see by all means the new German documentary film on the polit-star “Joschka and Herr Fischer”, who is neither better nor worse than his “Ethiopian” companions. It is just unfortunate, that most of the “outstanding” ones of the latter, to make it better, have not survived their regimes or the violence they themselves promoted. Regimes and political environments, ransacked to go mad, not only due to indigenous “stupidity”/”Gedankenlosigkeit”(cf. H. Arendt)/ but also substantially influenced and destabilized through global policies made in the “WEST” or “EAST”, in their bitter political game for global hegemony!
And “Herr Fischer”, who has made it to the level of a higher political caliber, is being reinvented to be the “super-model” of the protest generation; while our TEZA is given the role of the blunt political “deconstruction” of modernity.