Residing in the Borderlands

For TAKE VII of our year-long, monthly film series Residing in the Borderlands, we are delighted to have Angelika Nguyen with us. She is a film journalist, writer and curator widely known for her documentary film Bruderland ist Abgebrannt. Through her practice, she complicates notions of East and West Germanness by putting a spotlight on various Vietnamese-German diasporic perspectives. Raised in East Berlin, and having experienced first-hand the disintegration of the German Democratic Republic and the emergence of a “united” Germany, she chose to watch with us Mala Reinhardt’s film Der Zweite Anschlag.

She explains her choice of film as follows: "Many of us have heard of the pogrom of Rostock-Lichtenhagen and the arson attacks in Mölln and Solingen. We heard the names of the NSU perpetrators over and over again. But what do we actually know about those directly affected? What did they have to suffer through, who has heard their voices? This film speaks from their perspective and makes the victims of these attacks visible. What they have to say must be placed at the very center of our society and not just at its periphery."

Our monthly film series Residing in the Borderlands intends to create a cartography of Berlin through diasporic perspectives. As part of our diasporic place-making, we explore different film worlds, considering both the visual and auditory. Through the cinematic experience, we aspire to reach another way of being present, thinking of film as a means of movement that can also propel us into previously unthought of futures. The film screenings are followed by a discussion in which the guest locates themself within the city and talks about points of intersection with the different communities to which they belong.

Angelika Nguyen was born and raised in the GDR and is a writer, curator and film journalist based in Berlin. She studied film science at the Film & Television Academy in Potsdam-Babelsberg. In 1991 she filmed the documentary Bruderland ist Abgebrannt, exploring the position of Vietnamese immigrants in East Berlin following the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 2011 her autobiographical essay "Mutter, wie weit ist Vietnam?" appeared in the anthology Kaltland, in which she explores the area of conflict between solidarity on the state level between the GDR and Vietnam as well as her experience of everyday racism as a social reality. She is a member of korientation e.V., a network for Asian-German perspectives, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the House of Democracy and Human Rights. She writes texts for, TIME Online, Workshop History, Friday and Yalta.