The citizens of Germany’s alternative economy

CRIME: A deep look into the coherences and everyday realities of Germany’s family clans operating within the law's grey zones.

(Translated from English by Google Gtranslate)

«The temptation is far too big.» This sentiment about organised crime is expressed by one of a group of men chatting in a Späti (one of those small, ubiquitous German corner-stores, where you can buy snacks or stand around a table having a casual drink). They’re among those with a hand in Germany’s illegal underground who open up to directors and in Another Reality,na documentary about that provides a glimpse into their daily lives. The seductive nature of this route to easy money comes up numerous times in this winner of the Audience Award at DOK.fest Munich, which recently screened at the Locarno International Film Festival. But this is not a film that demonises career criminals or simplifies their lifestyle as some kind of moral descent into depravity. Nor does it glamourise their gangster personae, as with a measured concern for the sociological context of their alternative economy, it shows how ambition sometimes finds an outlet when conventional pathways to success are restricted for marginalised communities.

Outsider stigma

One thing is immediately obvious when we see this trio gathered in the Späti: none of them are white. The racial dimension that informs their complicated relationship to German identity is overtly discussed, as they describe the outsider stigma that marks them out in the nation’s conventional workforce and society, where they feel dismissed under the derogatory term «Kanake» (denoting someone with Turkish, Arab or Southern European roots), and regarded as foreign even . . .

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Carmen Gray
Freelance film critic and regular contributor to Modern Times Review.
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