Shot in high-contrast b/w, documentarist Schütte's first fiction feature is a disarmingly low-key look at the lives of immigrant workers in Hamburg. One such is Shezad, a Pakistani seeking political asylum from the less-than-sympathetic West German authorities; another is Xiao, waiter at the Chinese eatery where Shezad works, who dreams of opening his own restaurant. With wry humour and an admirable lack of sentimentality, Schütte charts the hesitant progress of the pair's friendship. While the realist tone and understated performances sustain interest in themselves, still more affecting is the assured control of mood, with a lovingly shot, wintry Hamburg constituting a major character. A modest, deceptively simple film, its brevity is a distinct bonus. You're left wishing it had continued for another 30 minutes.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Jan Schütte, Thomas Strittmatter|