Babtou is under threat of deportation, so he marries his best friend Dennis. The issue which is usually subtextual in the “male friendship“ genre is at the core here: heterosexual love between two men who are learning how to express their ...
Babtou (Farba Dieng) is such a mess: he was just released from prison and immediately gets in trouble with the police again without having any bad intentions. Since he has no German passport and is having to deal with racist bureacrats, he is under threat of being deported from his home town of Frankfurt to Senegal, a country his parents once escaped from. The search for a woman who would agree to enter a sham marriage isn‘t going well – so he unceremoniously marries his best friend Dennis.
There‘s so much to this premise: Chill gangster film? Deportation drama? Buddy comedy? The answer: yes. TOUBAB is a thrilling surprise package with a cleverly told story. Florian Dietrich and his crew incorporate visual humor and slick dialogue so it never gets boring. At the same time, the milieus depicted are carefully drawn – from Babtou‘s neighborhood and the gang that does business there to the garage Dennis works at. And the gay and lesbian characters and Frankfurt‘s queer scene are portrayed in a respectful and non-cliche way. The way Babtou and Dennis slowly let go of their internalized homophobia is wonderful to watch.
Ultimately, however, it is not about gayness, but rather about the heterosexual love between two men who are learning how to express their emotions. The issue which is usually subtextual in the “male friendship“ genre is at the core here. It‘s not just the system surrounding German citizenship that is questioned, but the status of heterosexual relationships. Farba Dieng stands out in a wonderful cast. TOUBAB, perhaps the best Frankfurt-set film ever made, has the potential to become a cult film.
Translation: Elinor Lewy
Deutschland 2020, 96 min
Director: Florian Dietrich
Author: Florian Dietrich, Arne Dechow
DOP: Max Preiss
Montage: Jörg Volkmar, Florian Dietrich, Heike Parplies, Robert Kummer
Music: Jacob Vetter
Cast: Farba Dieng, Julius Nitschkoff, Valerie Koch, Michael Maertens, Seyneb Saleh, Nina Gummich, Paul Wollin, Burak Yigit, Gerdy Zint
- OV Original version
- OmU Original with German subtitles
- OmeU Original with English subtitles
ALLE ANGABEN OHNE GEWÄHR.
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