section Hommage: Jeanine Meerapfel

In The Country Of My Parents

  • Jeanine Meerapfel
  • DE
  • 1981
  • 88 Min

A look at Germany in the 1980s: the director's parents fled Nazi Germany to Argentina, Jeanine Meerapfel's country of birth. With this documentary, she returns to her parents’ homeland in search of her own German-Jewish roots.

Accompanied by 10-year-old Anna, the director roams the streets of Berlin and visits sites of Jewish history. She conducts interviews with Jews then resident in West Berlin. The question of one's own Jewish identity and how it feels for the interviewees to live in modern Germany represent motives that run through the film. Her findings: that anti-Semitism and a feeling of not belonging are still part of everyday life for those surveyed, and that the wounds of the past are far from healed. As such, Germany’s attempts at coming to terms with the past represent nothing more than hollow phrases. The end product, a social analysis with which the director drew attention to the virulent right-wing extremism present in German society of the 1980s, has unfortunately lost none of its relevance today.

16.6. 17.00 Filmmuseum, followed by a discussion with Jeanine Meerapfel, director
17.6. 17.00 Passagekino, followed by a discussion with Jeanine Meerapfel, director


original title Im Land Meiner Eltern

international title In The Country Of My Parents

german title Im Land Meiner Eltern

JFBB section Hommage: Jeanine Meerapfel

  • director Jeanine Meerapfel

country/countries DE

year 1981

duration 88 Min

Portrait of Jeanine Meerapfel

Jeanine Meerapfel

BIO In her works, director Jeanine Meerapfel not only deals with her own German-Argentinean family biography, but also finds a language through her films with which she gives expression to feelings of un-/belonging and questions about her own identity and origins. She was born in 1943 as the daughter of German-Jewish emigrants in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires. After completing her studies in journalism, she came to Germany in 1964. She studied at the Institute for Film Design ("Institut für Filmgestaltung") in Ulm, among others with Alexander Kluge, who is still one of the most influential representatives of New German Cinema. Against the backdrop of current political and social debates, Jeanine Meerapfel's films are still highly topical today: themes such as migration, experiences of flight and exile find their way into her films, as does the critical examination of the acute dangers of anti-Semitism and xenophobia. The films are political, but not sober political cinema. Rather, they are very personal examinations of history, which always have a highly emotional relationship to Meerapfel's own family history. This year, the Jewish Film Festival Berlin Brandenburg is dedicating a tribute to the director and current president of the Academy of Arts ("Akademie der Künste") and is showing seven of her works, which were made between 1980 and today.